[personal profile] valentine_veela
Title: Restauration de la Morte
Author: [personal profile] rons_pigwidgeon
Pairing: Severus Snape/Harry Potter
Prompt #: 173 (first prompt)
Rating: NC17
Word Count: 14,413
Summary: When Harry decides to play Potions Master, the results are never good. Or are they?
Warning(s): (highlight to read)* possible dub-con, if you squint, explicit sexual content, cursing, rough play*
Beta: [profile] kristan1
Disclaimer: This piece of art or fiction is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc. No money is being made, no copyright or trademark infringement, or offence is intended. All characters depicted in sexual situations are above the age of consent.



Harry Potter would be the first to admit that he was complete rubbish at research. He had no problem admitting that had Hermione not been at his side, the only way that he would have defeated Voldemort, or passed his first year exams for that matter, would have been through a random series of extremely opportune twists of fate. He would never have managed it on his own. That was why it was so unusual to see him ensconced in the library of Grimmauld Place one Sunday afternoon six months after Voldemort’s fall.

He had spent the morning in the Creature-Induced Injuries ward of St. Mungo’s, talking to healers and sitting at the bedside of Severus Snape. The discussion with the healers had done him in. They were quickly running out of ideas, and Nagini’s corpse was proving to be of little assistance. Voldemort had apparently put several enchantments on her when he discovered that St. Mungo’s had found an antidote for her venom, and none of the healers or experts they’d hired could discover what those enchantments were. Harry had grown frustrated with the talk and spent most of the morning sitting with Snape, talking to him and reading him books from Snape’s own library. In his mind, he’d begun to form a plan, and that plan had led him to his own library.

Harry had been astonished when he went back to the Shrieking Shack after the Battle of Hogwarts and found Snape breathing shallowly, his heartbeat feint, but there. He’d sent a Patronus to Madame Pomfrey with an urgent plea for her to come and help him. He never knew, but the desperate, broken sound of his voice had been the only reason Pomfrey had left her packed ward full of critical patients to rush to his aid. Had he not sounded on the brink of a full mental break-down, she never would have risked her other patients’ survival for a traitor like Snape. It was only later that the truth was revealed, that Severus had been working on their side the entire time, and only then did was she content with what she had done.

As soon as she set eyes on Snape she knew that he was only just hanging on to life, and immediately set a powerful stasis charm on him so that she would have time to assess the damage. Once the stasis charm was in place, she took a deep breath and looked Snape’s body over. There was a large portion of his throat torn out, blood seeping from it slowly. Her brows knit together in thought. Obviously, the snake hadn’t reached the jugular vein, or he would have bled out several hours before, but the wound should have begun to clot by now. She did a diagnostic scan and found high levels of toxin in his body, much more potent than she had ever come across before. Even if St. Mungo’s still had the antidote to the snake’s venom, and she doubted Voldemort would have permitted such a cure to remain, the antidote probably wouldn’t be strong enough to save him.

She looked to Harry, unsure whether or not to tell him there was little hope of Snape’s survival, and she all could see was the devastation in his eyes. It shocked her. She had had no idea that Harry cared for Snape, and yet here he knelt, looking as though his entire world might shatter if the man died. He turned those dark green eyes to her, wet with emotion, and silently asking the question she dreaded to answer.

“We need to get him to my ward. It doesn’t look good, Harry, but we have a better chance if we can get him into a bed and cleaned up.” Harry nodded, eyes clenching shut.

“Please, do whatever you have to. He… he saved me. He needs to live.” Harry’s voice cracked and he had to fight to hold back a sob. All he could think about was Snape’s survival. He didn’t know why, but he knew that if Snape didn’t make it, Harry himself wouldn’t survive. He clutched tightly to Snape’s hand as Pomfrey conjured a stretcher underneath Snape and began to guide it to the tunnel entrance that led back to the school.

Later they would find out that Nagini’s venom was much more powerful and much more deadly than it had been when Arthur Weasley was attacked, two years before. Madame Pomfrey was correct in thinking that Voldemort had destroyed the antidote. They were able to re-make it using Nagini’s corpse. It worked well enough so that they were able to clean and heal the gaping wound on Snape’s neck, but it wasn’t nearly potent enough to neutralize the venom completely. They were forced to keep Snape under the stasis charm until a better cure could be found.

Harry was kept very busy helping to re-build at Hogwarts and studying to sit his NEWTS, but when he wasn’t doing either, he was in the Creature-Induced Injuries ward, at Snape’s bed side or trying to help the healers in any way he could. He used his influence to gather the greatest experts available to find a cure, but six months later there was still little hope. Ron and Hermione told him that he was obsessed, that he was behaving the way he had in sixth year when he thought Draco Malfoy was up to no good. Harry ignored them, not caring what they thought. He owed the man a debt for saving his life, and he was going to pay it.

And that was why he was sitting in his library, surrounded by every book on potions and cures for poison he could find, his nose buried in one of the darkest Dark Arts books still in print. He read and took notes all day and deep into the night, only going to bed when his eyelids could no longer stay open for more than a moment at a time. Little came of that first day of research, but he would not be discouraged. A routine of sorts developed. He would rise early, spend the morning studying and helping with the re-building efforts. By tea time, he found his way to his library and spent the rest of the day (and many nights) reading and taking notes on every poison-neutralizer and restorative potion or spell he came across, desperate that one of them might serve to help Snape. Sundays were reserved for the hospital, though he no longer spoke to the healers.

He continued this routine for a month, in which time Ron and Hermione had given up in frustration and left him to himself until such time as he could see sense. This suited him quite well, as it afforded him the privacy he needed when he began to set up a potions lab in a third-floor bedroom so that he could brew some of the highly illegal and dangerous potions he found in his books. Some of the ingredients themselves were illegal, and Harry knew that Hermione would never be able to stand back quietly and allowed him to flagrantly ignore the law.

Harry worked so intently at his task that he never even noticed how alone he was without his two best friends. Their absence had its benefits, however. He learned that without distraction, and with a determination to produce a finished product that was perfect, his ability to brew potions improved ten-fold. Soon he was able to create complex concoctions that he never would have dreamed he would be able to do during school.

After three months of intense work, he finally believed that he had found the cure. It was a potion called Restauration de la Morte, which, if his French translation was correct, would completely restore Snape’s health and vitality. His readings told him that it was extremely powerful, and deadly if used incorrectly. He had brewed it ten times, until it was the exact shade of deep violet described in his notes, before he was willing to try it on Snape. The potion called for an ounce of unicorn blood, freely given, as well as many other illegal ingredients that he had had to go to extreme lengths, and pay astronomical amounts of galleons to procure. The unicorn blood had been the most difficult, though, because the potion required that he harvest the blood himself. He had had to go deep within the Forbidden Forest to find the wild herd that lived there. Once found, he had had to go through several trials to prove that his intentions for the blood were pure and that his heart held nothing but love. The shock at finding out that it was indeed love that drove his actions, and not the gratitude and obligation he had originally attributed to them, had stopped Harry in his tracks. That he wanted to cure Snape to make up for Snape’s having saved Harry’s life made sense to him, but wanting to cure Snape because he loved the greasy, snarky git was a whole other animal. He had passed the test, though, and left the forest with a vial of blood from each of the unicorns in the herd, more than enough to ensure that he would be able to perfect the potion before giving it to Snape.

A month later, he was satisfied. He hid the vial in a pocket of his robes that he had spelled to be undetectable to the wards of St. Mungo’s, to ensure that it wouldn’t be visible to the monitors set at the entrances to the building, and went to the Creature-Induced Injury Ward. He tried to look as stoic and sad as he usually did when entering the ward, careful not to let the mixture of fear, hope, and excitement that was buzzing through his body show on his face. He quietly entered Snape’s room, empty as usual except for the still figure on the bed. He closed the curtains as he usually did, to prevent any journalists from photographing him at Snape’s side and publishing yet another article about his bedside vigil.

Once he could assure himself that there would be no interruptions, he took the vial from his pocket and uncorked it. Lifting Snape’s head up, he pressed the vial to Snape’s parted lips and poured it into his mouth. When the vial was empty, he gently massaged Snape’s throat to help him swallow, and then lay him back down on the bed and took up his usual seat to wait. The potion worked quickly. Within a minute, the glowing pale light that had surrounded Snape for the nine months he had been under the stasis charm faded away, and he began to show signs of life.

First his chest began to rise and fall, then his mouth closed and his eyes began to flicker beneath his eyelids. Next, his tongue darted out to lick his lips, and slowly, very slowly, his eyes began to open. Harry grinned, overjoyed that the potion had worked. He stood and leaned over Snape’s bed and kissed his forehead. As he did so, Snape took a deep inhale of air and his eyes met Harry’s. “Potter?” he asked, voice cracked, barely a whisper. Harry nodded, kissed his forehead again, and called for a healer.

At his call, the room was flooded with noise and activity, nearly the entire ward having come to see what happened. Harry slipped away in the chaos, the empty vial hidden safely back in his pocket.

-


Severus awoke to the loveliest scent he had ever encountered, and a pair of familiar green eyes. He blinked and croaked out Potter’s name, but his voice was much un-used and it hurt to speak in more than a whisper. Potter smiled at him, nodded, and pressed a kiss to his forehead, a very strange thing to do, Severus mused. His brows knit together, and he wanted to ask what the boy thought he was doing, but before he could utter the question, he was surrounded by healers. When he looked again, there was no Boy Savior in sight. For a long time afterwards, Severus would attribute this incident to a dream.

Immediately after Potter’s departure, he was too distracted by the confusion of healers asking him questions and poking and prodding them with their wands to be able to think straight. It took him a while to glare them into submission and even longer to find out what had happened. He was stunned to learn that not only had he survived Nagini’s venom and having his throat nearly ripped out, but he had been in a healer-induced coma for nearly a year, and his only regular visitor was Potter. Potter, who had apparently saved his life and fought tooth and nail to keep the healers from giving him up as a lost cause. Severus couldn’t fathom why Potter would have gone to the trouble, but he had no time to consider the matter in the days to come.

The healers were baffled by his sudden recovery. According to their research, he should have still been under the stasis charm, blood completely saturated with venom. They performed every test they could think of. They took so much blood from him that he finally snapped and shouted at them to stop behaving like vampires. He was exposed to so much spell light that he thought he might go blind, and began having flashbacks of the war. In the end, the poking and prodding proved useless. They could not determine how he had recovered; they only knew that he was healthier and in better shape than he had ever been.

“It’s a miracle, Professor. That’s the only way I can explain it,” Healer Atwood told him three days later. “Other than an increase in pheromone production, all of the tests have shown to be normal, better than normal really. I’m ready to let you go, if you’d like. You’re welcome to stay a few more days, if you’d like to go through some more physical therapy to help recover from the muscle atrophy, of course.”

“I don’t think that will be necessary. I would like to leave this facility as soon as possible. Could you send a message to Minerva McGonagall for me?”

“Yes, of course, Professor.” Atwood left to retrieve quill and parchment.

Severus got out of bed and went to the small cupboard in the corner to see if there’d been any clothing left for him to change into. He didn’t like the idea of leaving hospital in his pajamas, even if he was just apparating home. A pair of simple, black robes hung in the cupboard, along with a pair of black trousers, black pants, black socks, and his favorite shoes shined to a gleam. He heard the healer come back in, but didn’t turn from his study of the clothing someone had provided for him. “Who brought this clothing in? I hadn’t been aware that I’d had any visitors.” He’d rather been under the impression that all of his former associates still believed him to be a traitor. In fact, he’d expected Aurors to be posted at his door, ready to take him to Azkaban as soon as he was fit to stand. The healers hadn’t said anything about it, and he’d been too distracted by the mystery of his recovery to ask.

“I did. I hope they’re all right. I had them cleaned and pressed before I brought them, but that was months ago. I don’t know if the refreshing charms are still active.” Severus froze. He knew that voice, though it was a little deeper and a little more adult-sounding than it had been the last time he’d spoken to the young man.

He turned slowly to face his visitor and took a moment to process the man standing in front of him. Potter was a bit taller than Severus remembered, much broader at the shoulders, and he’d changed the frames on his glasses to a thinner, modern style. There was something else, too, a more subtle change. The man (for he was a man, there was no question of it now) looked… happy. Truly happy, as though all of the weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Something deep within Severus twitched in pleasure at the sight, but he ignored it. “They will do, thank you. I understand that you are responsible for my survival.”

Potter’s gaze dropped to his shoes, a worn pair of red plimsolls. “I couldn’t let you die.”

“And why not? I’m a traitor. I was the Dark Lord’s second in command. I am the reason your parents are dead. You should hate me and wish me dead.”

Potter’s head snapped up and he stepped closer, looking Severus directly in the eyes. “You might still be a git, but I saw your memories. I know you were working for us until the very end, and I know that, had you known that telling Voldemort about the prophecy would result in my mother’s death, you never would have said a word.”

Severus sneered. Bloody Hell, he’d forgotten he’d given Potter his memories. Would it be possible to Obliviate them from the brat’s mind now? He wasn’t even quite sure where his wand was at this point. “Be that as it may, you failed to take into consideration that perhaps I wanted to die. The war is over and the world sees me as a villain. There is nothing left for me now.”

Potter took another step closer. Severus tried to step away, but he bumped into the cupboard. “That isn’t true, Severus. There’s Hogwarts. We’ve almost finished the restoration. The school will be open next fall, and Slughorn’s decided to retire again.”

“You think I want to spend the rest of my life teaching ungrateful brats potions?” he growled, rankled that the brat had used his first name without his permission.

“If you don’t, you could always travel. You aren’t a spy anymore. There’s nothing tying you to England, if you don’t want to be here. Or you could open up your own apothecary; I know loads of people who would spend top-galleon to get the kind of quality potions only you can brew.”

“And be at the mercy of my patrons? I think not.”

“You could write potions text books, or really any sort of books you’d like. You write beautifully and with as much adventure and intrigue as you’ve had in your life, I’m sure you’d never run out of compelling material.”

Though he rather liked the idea, he sneered at it just to spite Potter. “Even if I was interested in writing, which I am not, I doubt I would be able to find anyone willing to publish me. You seem to forget that I am considered an evil Death Eater.”

Harry smiled and took the final step to Severus, so close now that their chests almost touched. “Not anymore. I told them everything. You’ve been exonerated of all crimes and rewarded the Order of Merlin, First Class. They had a huge ceremony and everything.”

Severus’ glare deepened. “You told them everything? What gave you the right to tell them such intimate details of my life? I only showed them to you because I thought I was dying and I needed you to trust me. I cannot believe you would share that information with the general public. Actually, no, I can. It’s the sort of thing that someone as inconsiderately narcissistic as you are would do.”

Potter shook his head. “No, you misunderstood. I didn’t tell them anything about your feelings for my mum. They weren’t my secrets to tell. I told them about Dumbledore ordering you to kill him instead of Draco, and all the other things you’ve done for the cause. No one knows about my mum, I promise.”

“You know, and that is torture enough.”

Potter’s eyes flashed with what could only be hurt, but he quickly recovered and changed the subject. “Do you want to go home? Healer Atwood said that he was releasing you today, if you wanted. I’ve left your wand at your house, so you can’t apparate yourself, but I can take you. Would that be all right?”

No, it wouldn’t. Severus wanted Potter to step away and leave him entirely alone, but he knew that wasn’t a sensible request to make. Potter was right; he didn’t have his wand and his floo was doubtless still tightly shut. He would simply have to take Potter’s offered assistance and then make sure to never see him again afterwards. “Yes, fine. May I have some privacy to get dressed?”

“Of course, I’ll just be outside.” With that, Potter finally stepped back out of Severus’ personal space and left the room, shutting the door behind him. Severus dressed quickly, but took a moment to settle himself and take a breath. Something about Potter’s presence was unnerving him and he didn’t like it.

There was a quiet knock and Potter stuck his head in. “Ready? The healer has all the paperwork you need to sign and then we can go.” Grudgingly, Severus nodded and followed Potter to the healer’s station to sign his release papers.

“Well, Professor, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but I am very glad to see you go. None of us thought you would ever recover. I’m happy to see you completely healed,” Atwood said, shaking his hand.

Severus was taken aback by the sincerity in the man’s expression. Severus would have doubted that anyone cared whether he lived or died, but this man seemed genuinely pleased that he was alive and healthy. He nodded in acknowledgment to the man. “Thank you for everything you’ve done.”

“No problem.” He smiled at Severus and turned to Potter. “Harry, you fought hard enough to keep him alive. Make sure to take care of him, yes?” He shook Potter’s hand as well, and Potter smiled and nodded as though he didn’t mind in the slightest that the man had just indicated that they were in some sort of intimate relationship. Severus himself was indignant, but his gratitude towards the man prevented him from voicing his indignation. Potter turned to him and held out his arm.

“Ready?” Severus glared at him, but clutched onto his wrist grudgingly. He could have sworn he felt an electric jolt at the touch, but the sensation was drowned out by the squeezing sensation of apparition.

They landed in Severus’ sitting room and Severus immediately dropped Potter’s arm. He was surprised to find the room cleaner than he had ever kept it and a nice fire going in the grate. He looked around in silence, trying to take it all in, but the thoughts were coming too quickly. He was home. The war was over. The Dark Lord was dead. He was free to do as he pleased. He was alive. He was… he was going to hyperventilate.

Harry quickly led him to a chair and sat him down, imploring him to breathe. “It’s all right, Severus. I know this is quite a shock for you, but it’ll be all right. I’m here and I’ll help you.” Severus could hear the stream of soothing words that were flowing out of Potter’s mouth, but he couldn’t catch his breath enough to respond. He felt hands in his hair, a forehead pressed against his, and tried to concentrate. “Breathe, Severus. Focus on me; try to match your breaths with mine.” His hand was moved to press against Potter’s chest and he tried to focus on the heavy inhales and exhales of the other man. After a while, he was able to calm down enough to really take a deep breath. Harry kept close for another minute, making sure that he had calmed down and wasn’t going to begin panicking again.

When Severus was finally able to focus, he pulled away slightly to see that Potter had knelt between his knees and had his hands on them, watching him intently. “Are you all right now?”

He cringed. Potter had just seen him at his weakest. How would he ever be able to face the man again? He wanted Potter to go, but the earnest way Potter was looking at him told him that Potter had no intention of leaving until he was completely certain that Severus would be all right. “Yes, I’m fine now. Take your hands off me,” he snapped when he had enough breath to do so.

Potter chuckled and removed his hands, sitting back on his haunches but not leaving his place between Severus’ knees. “Good. You scared me for a minute there. I know it’s a lot to take in. Do you want me to get you a glass of water? Or maybe a firewhiskey?”

Severus was about to bark that he wanted Potter to go, but something stopped his voice. “Tell me what happened,” he said instead. Potter’s brows furrowed and he studied Severus for several moments before nodding.

“All right.”

And he did. In a steady, quiet voice, he began with Dumbledore’s funeral and his decision to leave school. He talked about Grimmauld Place and Black’s horrid little elf, Kreacher, about the hunt for the Horcruxes, and everything else that had led up to the final battle and the defeat of the Dark Lord. Portions he had already known through his contacts within the Dark Lord’s circle, but the majority of the story had been completely new, and when it was finished, he was emotionally exhausted.

Even in his tired state, he could sense that there was something Potter wasn’t telling him, something secret and possibly a little shameful. Perhaps he had had an affair with Granger while on the run and didn’t want Weasley to find out. Studying Potter and the close way that he knelt to Severus, the way he looked at Severus, the other man had a flash of thought that perhaps it had been Weasley, and not Granger. He dismissed the idea as the musings of a tired mind and decided he should probably go to bed.

He stood with effort, muscles still stiff from lack of use. Potter stood as well and automatically took his elbow. He was too tired to shake it off. “Let me help you. I suppose you want to go to bed. It’s been a long day, hasn’t it? Do you want me to make you a sandwich before you go to sleep? I’m sure you’re hungry.”

Severus gave him a sideways look. “I do not need to be coddled, Potter. I can take care of myself, now.”

“I know, but I want to. I’m so happy you’re alive and healthy again. You don’t know how many days I sat by your bedside, thinking you weren’t going to make it. I’m so happy it worked.”

Severus stopped mid-step and turned sharply to the young man. “So happy what worked?”

Potter’s eyes went impossibly wide and panicked. “N…n…nothing. Just the healers, I’m so happy they fixed you.”

“As they have been spending the last three days explaining to me, they did not ‘fix’ me. They are claiming that my return to health was a spontaneous event. If you did something to me, Potter, tell me.”

“Nothing, Severus, I didn’t do anything. What could I have done that the healers wouldn’t have thought of already? I don’t know anything about healing.”

Severus narrowed his eyes. Potter was lying, he knew, and he did not appreciate it. “I do not remember giving you permission to use my given name. I do not know what possessed you to sit by my bedside for all of those months, or why you fought so hard to keep me alive, but neither of these things makes us friends. I would much prefer if you left me alone. I appreciate your having told me the extent of the events of the Dark Lord’s death, but I am quite finished speaking with you or anyone else tonight. Please leave me to my peace.” He pulled his arm out of Potter’s hold and took a step back.

The flash of hurt returned to Potter’s eyes, but he blinked it away and continued to trail Severus through the passage leading up to the second floor, and to his bedroom. Severus glared at him to leave so that he could have privacy. Harry rolled his eyes, “I’ll go make that sandwich. You never said, but I know you’re hungry, and I had Kreacher stock your ice cupboard.”

“What part of leave me alone did you not understand?”

Potter sighed and scratched at his scraggly hair. “Fine. Good night, then. Kreacher’ll be by in the morning to clean. He’s been doing it once a week for a while now. Your wand is in the bedside drawer. I’ll see you soon.” With that, Potter walked out of the room.

Severus muttered to himself as he dressed for bed, pleasantly surprised to find that not only had Kreacher kept things clean, he’d made sure all of Severus’ clothes were fresh as well. It was a matter of minutes before he was tucked in bed and shutting the light out. Just as they blinked out, he heard a soft swishing noise and turned them back on to see a tray levitating towards him. On the tray was a glass of water and the most delicious chicken, sweet corn and mayonnaise sandwich he’d ever laid eyes on. He was surprised that Potter could make one so quickly, let alone know that it was his favorite.

-


Severus awoke the next morning feeling more energized and refreshed than he could remember being in years. He got out of bed and stretched, before going into the bathroom to have a nice pee. Once he was done, he went to the sink to wash his hands and see what the scarring looked like on his throat. The Creature-Induced Injuries ward didn’t have mirrors; there had been too many instances of people trying to off themselves upon first sight of their reflections after a serious attack. Thankfully, he was not a vain enough person for that to be an issue.

Close examination showed only a very faint scar of torn flesh spread in a wide circle at the base of his throat. Not bad, especially compared to some of his other scars. He took a broader look at himself, to see what nine months in a coma might have done to his appearance. He was surprised to see that the wrinkles he had been developing across his forehead and around his eyes were less noticeable. His hair could use a cut; it was past his shoulders now and nearly to his arm pits. He was also beginning to grey, it seemed, because there were streaks of white mingled in with the pitch black now.

He scowled at his reflection and turned away from it. A wash was in order. It was obvious that he had been washed while unconscious, but cleaning charms were nothing to a good, hot bath. He found his wand in the bedside table drawer, just as Potter had indicated, and soon was soaking in a steaming tub of soapy water.

Shortly after breakfast, he was surprised to get a visit from Minerva. She looked much older than when he’d last seen her, and slightly more harassed. Even so, she was happy enough to see him and even attempted to hug him. He quickly rebuffed her. “How did you know that I had left hospital? Potter brought me home before I was able to send you an owl.”

“Harry sent me one last night. I’m very glad to see that you’re up and about. It was touch and go there for a bit.”

Severus was busy pouring her tea, and so she didn’t see the sour look he gave to her expression of pleasure at seeing him. He knew that she had not visited him while he was in hospital, and strongly suspected that until Potter set the Wizarding World straight, she had despised him as a traitor, just as everyone else had. He let the comment go, however, curious to know what she wanted.

“I’ve come to offer you your old job back, actually. Horace has declared that he will be finished teaching for good this year, and I will be in need of a potions professor.”

“I was given to believe that Hogwarts was not fit for habitation as of yet.”

“It isn’t, no, but the Malfoys were… gracious enough to allow us use of their Manor as a temporary school for the time being. I know they’ve only agreed to the arrangement as a way to avoid Azkaban, but it has allowed us to continue teaching on a part-time basis. If all goes according to plan, the school should be ready by August, just in time for the autumn term to begin.”

“And you would lower yourself to allow a former Deatheater to teach your students again?”

There was a pause. “I know that I treated you horridly, Severus, but you played your part so well. How was I, or any of us, to know that you were still fighting for us? You murdered Albus. How were we to know you’d done it on his orders? And the things you allowed those terrible people do to the students…”

Severus slammed his fist down on the counter, spilling tea out of the cups he’d just filled, and turned swiftly to face her. “I had no choice! Do not fool yourself into believing that the Dark Lord would not have replaced me in an instant if he had even a passing thought that I might oppose him. I had to allow them to do as they pleased. I did my best to protect the students, but there was only so much I could stop without falling under suspicion.”

A flash of fear crossed Minerva’s face, and then regret. “I’m sorry, Severus. I know I shouldn’t have doubted you, but I was so terrified that we would lose. I didn’t know whom to trust. Can you forgive me?” She took a step closer towards him, pain and sadness clear in her expression. Severus thrust a hot cup of tea in her hand, uncaring of it possibly burning her, and sat at the table. “Severus?”

“I will need time,” was all he said. He drank his tea and didn’t look at her, but the anger and hurt was still simmering inside him.

“I can understand that. Take all the time that you need. I know that you’ve been through a lot in the last few days. I will leave you to your privacy. Think about the position, though, won’t you?”

“I will.” He heard her footsteps across the tile, down the hall, and heard the door creak open. He listened more carefully when she spoke and a second voice answered her, but couldn’t hear enough to detect whose voice it was.

The door shut once more, and there were sounds of shuffling as someone took off a coat and hung it on one of the hooks by the door. Heavier footsteps sounded now, a man’s. And then Potter was standing there, looking hesitant, but smiling all the same. “Hi. Professor McGonagall let me in. I was just coming to check on how things were going. She offered you your job back?”

“She did. I did not say that I would take it.”

“Well, like I told you yesterday, you can do what you like now. Is everything else all right? Did you sleep well?”

Severus sighed and leveled a glare at the young man. “I am fine. I believe I told you last night that I did not require assistance. Please leave.”

“If you really want me to, I will.”

“I do.”

Potter sighed and took the seat across from Severus, completely ignoring him. “Look, I’m sorry if I’m smothering you, really I am. I don’t understand why I’ve come to care for you so much any more than you do, but I have. And because I care, I worry about you. I don’t want you to be lonely.”

“And you pestering me at all hours of the day and night is going to make me feel less lonely? What makes you think that I would want your company? If it hasn’t escaped your notice, I dislike you greatly.”

Potter stared at him, hard, breathing slowly and evenly as he examined every nuance of Severus’ face. “Right. I guess I’ll… leave you to it, then. Do you want me to keep sending Kreacher once a week?”

“I do not want anything more from you than what you have already given, thank you.”

“Right. I’ll tell Kreacher then. Please take care of yourself.” For a moment Severus thought Potter might try and kiss him, but the moment passed, and Potter was out of sight.

-


The next week, Severus decided to take a long holiday in Greece. He’d never been and he wanted to tour the islands. Santorini was his favorite, with its black pebble beach and the towering volcano. It was amazingly relaxing, having no responsibilities and no one to answer to. He thoroughly enjoyed himself, and the lovely Greek wizard he’d met on Crete. He’d never been able to pull such a fit man that easily before, and it had been glorious once he’d got the man in bed.

He came back pleasantly pink and was shocked when he looked in the mirror to find thick, white streaks running though his over-long hair. He stared in the mirror for several minutes, searching for a source of this sudden graying. His thorough examination garnered no clues, and so he decided to ignore the change for the time being. A vainer man would have taken to drinking hair-coloring potions, but he left the white where it was.

He spent the next week puttering around the house, cleaning, cooking, and reading. He had no visitors and only one owl. The house was cleaner than he had expected, given he’d been gone for over a month, and the ice cupboard had been restocked. He suspected that Potter hadn’t canceled the house elf, but he chose not to say anything. He didn’t want Potter to start hovering again.

The rest of April was spent at home, reading and relaxing. He thought he might take up writing, but whenever he sat down to put quill to parchment, nothing came. Potter had been right that he had a well of experience to use as subject matter, but nearly a quarter-century of keeping secrets had made him extremely reluctant to write them down. He spent more time drinking tea and sighing over the parchment then he did actually writing. He eventually put the though aside. Maybe when a few years had passed and distance had been put between him and his past, he might be able to try again.

He knew the decision to put off writing was sensible. There was really only so much time one could spend staring at blank parchment after all. But it left him with very little to do, and he soon became idle, a state he did not enjoy. The prospect of opening an apothecary or a mail-order service was unappealing. Tutoring children about to take their exams was nauseating to say the least. There was very little do besides read, and though he enjoyed sitting by the fire with a good book, something in his veins made him want to get out and do something.

And so he decided to pack up and take another holiday, this time to the United States. He made a sort of tour of the trip, starting in California and making his way slowly east. He visited a few former potions associates in San Francisco, one of which he had a week-long affair with before deciding it was best not to complicate things, and moving on to Seattle. The wizarding community in Seattle was an enjoyable mix of intellectuals and young rock musicians. Severus enjoyed sampling both. He spent a week in Denver, but the snow reminded him of Scotland and he was a rubbish skier. He quickly left for Dallas, where he attended his first American football game. He’d been convinced to go by a very young man in a ten-gallon hat and the tightest jeans Severus had ever seen, and had spent the majority of the match imaging what it would be like to ‘ride’ a cowboy. He soon found out.

By the time he’d reached New Orleans, wet and sticky in the summer heat, he began to think he might have a problem. The second night in Louisiana, he’d agreed to bed a vampire, a very dangerous activity he had always been strictly against. Thankfully, he left the man’s bed with only a little blood loss and aches in muscles that hadn’t seen use since he was a teenager. He had learned his lesson and avoided the nightlife for a few days. His libido had begun to sky-rocket and he needed to take some time to calm down before he made another wrong decision. Avoiding the nightlife in New Orleans was near-on impossible, especially in the summer, and so he escaped to Chicago, where he could lose himself in museums and architectural tours, and exhaust himself enough so that he didn’t have enough energy to go out at night.

The strategy worked for a while. He spent a pleasant few weeks wandering the streets, perusing the galleries, and taking boat tours. But then, he decided to go to New York, where his libido went out of control. He woke up one morning, five days into his stay, sandwiched between two men, with very little memory of how he got there or where he was. He left quickly, panicked at the completely uninhibited behavior that had led to such a knock-up. He hurried back to England and made an appointment with his healer.

-


Healer Michaelson had been seeing Severus off and on since he was an infant in his skinny, nervous mother’s arms. When Severus was a child, Michaelson had worried about him, even going so far as to send in several reports of suspicious injuries. He knew that the father was a drunk and that he liked to get violent, and had said as much to the child protection agents at the Ministry. But since the father was a muggle, there had been little they could do back then, and so the reports were often ignored. As an adult, Severus only came to see him when there was something seriously wrong that he could not diagnose and treat himself, which was very rare.

When Severus came to him the summer after the War was over, he was shocked at the man’s appearance. He had known that Severus had spent nearly a year in the Creature-Induced Injury ward, had even been involved in some of his treatment, but ultimately the problem had been much too specialized for his assistance. He’d had to read about Severus’ miraculous recovery from the Daily Prophet, but the article hadn’t gone into many details and had only had one grainy photo, which Severus spent the majority of the time ducking out of. He was not prepared for the sight of his patient five months after the article.

Severus was still tall and pale as ever, but that was where the resemblance to his former self ended. His skin was luminescent, almost as radiant as the glow of pregnancy. His hair was streaked through with white blond so that it closely resembled that of a zebra. He no longer had any wrinkles, and his nose was noticeably smaller in both length and width. Lastly, and most startling of all, there was a brightness and vivacity to his eyes that had never been there before.

“What brings you to see me today, Severus?”

Severus shifted in his seat, looking uncomfortable. Odd, Severus never looked uncomfortable about anything. “I have been exhibiting some… alarming behaviors of late and I wanted to get a check-up to make sure there was nothing wrong with me.”

The healer nodded in understanding. “What sort of behaviors?”

“I have been participating in uncontrollable acts of a sexual nature.”

Michaelson raised his eyebrows. As long as he had known the man, he had shown very little interest in sex. He made a note and pressed Severus to continue.

“I first noticed that there might be a problem when I agreed to, and then had… relations with a vampire.”

“That is very dangerous. He could easily have drained you dry. You’re lucky you walked away.”

The patient nodded. “Yes, I know. At the time, I was so focused on my libido that I didn’t even bother to think about the consequences, but when I woke up the next morning and went back to my hotel, I came back to my senses. It shocked me that I would behave that way. As you know, I have never been much interested in intimacy with others. But lately my libido has grown to unhealthy levels. I’ve woken up in beds I don’t recognize with men I don’t remember ever having met. And I know that isn’t unusual for some people, but I’m not in my twenties anymore and I haven’t imbibed alcohol before these incidents occur.

“And then there’s my appearance. I seem to have gone grey overnight, but my skin is somehow rejuvenating. I haven’t taken any potions for either. They just seem to be happening without any outside factors, at least none that I know of.

“I am concerned that this all has something to do with the ‘miraculous’ recovery I made last February. The healers never found anything in their testing, but Potter indicated that he might have done something to heal me, and I cannot figure out what that might be.”

Michaelson took a deep breath to collect his thoughts after Severus had finished his explanation. There were quite a few factors to take into consideration. “Why don’t I examine you and see if I find anything unusual, and we can move on from there?”

Severus agreed and a long series of tests followed. It quickly became apparent that a fundamental change had occurred in every cell of his body. His very DNA had been altered, and there was no explanation for it. The healer marveled at the results he was getting, but they fit the symptoms. He just couldn’t remember ever coming across such a drastic, yet spontaneous, change.

“Severus, I don’t know how this is possible, but you’re half-veela.”

Severus stared at him for several minutes without blinking. “I’m sorry? I believe I misheard. Did you just say that I am half-veela?”

“I did. You are. All the tests confirm it. Your DNA contains half veela traits and half human. All your cells have been re-structured. Your pheromone levels have increased to those consistent with other part-veelas in heat.”

“In heat?” Severus growled out.

“Yes, the spring and summer months are mating season for veela, which would explain your increased sexual appetite and also the erratic behavior you have been experiencing.”

“How is any of this possible? I have never shown signs of veela blood before. Wouldn’t something so fundamental to my genetics have shown itself earlier than now?”

“Ordinarily, yes. However, if you have imbibed, or have been forced to imbibe, an extremely powerful restorative draught, the type that is highly illegal, it is possible for any latent creature blood you might possess to force its way to the surface. It could be your body’s defense mechanism against the power of the restorative draught, or the venom it was trying to force out. Perhaps whatever was used (if something was indeed used) had to remove part of your genetic make-up in order to remove the venom, and the veela traits filled whatever hole was left. I couldn’t say for certain without knowing what might have been done to you, but I think that the likeliest scenario.”

Severus was quiet at this explanation, but Michaelson could tell that something was seething beneath his calm exterior. Whoever caused this situation to occur was going to be met with strict retribution, he was sure. He could only hope that the retribution was legal. Taking another look at Severus’ face, he thought it probably wouldn’t be. “This isn’t the end of the world, Severus. Now that we know what the problem is, we can work on solutions.”

“Am I going to turn into a bird?”

“I don’t know. Try to keep your negative emotions in check and we won’t have to find out.” He knew that was an impossibility, but it was worth a mention anyway. “Let’s talk about your most concerning problem: your libido. There are a few things you can do to control these urges. Exercise helps, the more vigorous the better. I would suggest trying running, or rowing. Quidditch would be best, but I know you dislike it. Perhaps joining a local dueling club?”

“I’ll look into it.” His voice held only a small growl.

“Good. Your diet will also need to be changed. I have no way of predicting which is going to be the case, but it is often the case that veela either eat an increased amount of meat or lose their taste for it all together. If either of these things happens, you will need to make sure and watch your protein intake.”

“I hadn’t thought about it, but I’ve already begun to eat less.”

“Okay, well, don’t be alarmed if you find yourself a complete vegetarian. It isn’t unusual and it’s completely healthy. And actually, it’s very consistent with homosexual veela. The protein in meat has an odd tendency to decrease the veela’s ability to reproduce, and homosexual veelas’ bodies work to be as fertile as possible to overcome the obstacles of male pregnancy.”

“I do not intend on impregnating anyone.”

“Right now you don’t, but that will probably change when you settle down with your chosen mate. It is very rare for veela not to reproduce at least one offspring once they have mated.”

“Do you honestly believe I will be settling down with anyone, ever? Men may be willing to sleep with me, but no one would ever be able to tolerate me for the rest of his life. At least, no one I would want to be with myself.”

Michaelson smiled to himself, deciding not to argue. Severus would be in for a rude awakening when he discovered his mate.

-


When Severus returned home from seeing the healer, bogged down with informational packets and pamphlets for support groups, he binned the lot and collapsed into a kitchen chair.

So. He was transforming into a veela. How inconvenient. It explained a lot of the changes he had been going through, though. No wonder all of those men had been so easily persuaded into his bed. He must be developing the veela allure. He wondered if it would fully develop. Would he have men fawning over him in the street, singing his praises and making rash and improbable claims of their wealth and accomplishments? That would be mildly amusing, at least. He would have to look into some sort of dampener if he didn’t want to be harassed on a constant basis.

More worrisome than that, was the idea that he might develop the ability to turn into a bird. He had always wanted to be an Animagus, but the thought of changing into one of those hideous, vicious creatures made him want to vomit. Perhaps he would only develop the ability to create fireballs. What a convenience it would be for fighting off unwanted would-be suitors. He snickered at the thought.

He was sighing in the next instant. What was he going to do? He looked around his tiny, grimy kitchen and grimaced in revulsion. He was going to move, that’s what he would do. What had he been thinking staying in this filthy, disgusting house filled with unpleasant memories? He needed to leave, go somewhere and start fresh. He could move to London, perhaps, get a flat somewhere out of the way, maybe try writing again. Yes, that would be very satisfactory. Decision made, he stood and made to leave again, determined to see a realtor before the day was out.

Within a week, the house had been scrubbed, repaired, and stripped bare of all magical traces, and was on the market. The realtor found Severus a nice three-story flat in East London with a back pantry that could easily be magically enlarged and turned into a lab later, if he so desired. He brought his books and personal belongings, but decided to banish all of his furniture and purchase new. Most of the old furniture had been uncomfortable and in a bit state of disrepair anyway and wouldn’t do for his fresh start.

He spent weeks picking out furniture, painting, and unpacking. He had no idea what the cause for his sudden desire to become a decorator was, but it helped him to keep focused and the physical activity curbed his ever-increasing libido.

He turned one of the bedrooms into an office and library, lining three walls with bookshelves, and placing a beautiful writing desk flush against the window. He purchased a typewriter charmed to work like a quick-quotes quill, intending to try writing again. When he had finished the flat, he began to spend time in front of the typewriter. At first, he wrote simple tales of student antics. They didn’t hurt. When Minerva’s letter came asking if he had made a decision about the teaching position, he sent her a curt decline, and then spent all night writing about his year as a teacher. The circumstances that led to his position at Hogwarts were still too painful to revisit, but putting ink to parchment of his first year was a sort of therapy. It was odd, expressing emotions he had been suppressing for nearly his entire life, but it felt nice.

When he wasn’t writing, he filled his time with other activities, none of them involving bedding strange young men. He took up running, as his healer had recommended. He liked running through Hyde Park in the afternoons, dodging Muggles taking leisurely walks, children playing chasing games, other runners. It was during one of these runs through Hyde Park that he accidentally, and unpleasantly, ran into Potter and Lupin’s tiny sprog.

“Severus?” Potter asked, staring at him in shock. He sat in the grass, tiny Lupin wavering on unsure feet between his out-stretched legs. Severus could see the faint shimmer of a glamour surrounding the infant, but he didn’t know what it could be hiding. Perhaps some hideous disfigurement from the lycanthropy.

“Yes?” he asked, his voice as annoyed as he could make it. He hadn’t intended on stopping, but something in Potter’s look drew him in.

“How are you? You look… different.” His hands were busy steadying the little Lupin, but his eyes never left Severus’ face.

Severus glared at him. Different indeed. “Thanks to whatever it is that you refuse to admit to doing, I am now half-veela. I would like you to know that if there was not an infant between us, I would kill you where you sit.”

Potter blinked at him. “What? You’re part-veela? What are you talking about, Severus?”

“I am telling you why my appearance is so different.” He leaned over Potter and glared into his shining green eyes, speaking very slowly so that the idiot might understand. “Whatever it is that you did to cause my miraculous recovery seven months ago forced latent veela genes that I did not even know I possessed to the forefront. I am now half-blond, in heat, and in danger of turning into a filthy avian who throws fireballs at any moment. And all of this is because of you.”

Potter said nothing, only raised one hand and took something from his hair. He brought the object to eye-level and Severus was distressed to find that it was a pure-white feather. He growled and shoved Potter to the ground, hands wrapping around the boy’s skinny neck. He could hear the infant crying behind them, but his entire focus was on making sure that Potter lost the ability to breathe. Potter scrambled for his hands, digging nails into the backs of them in an effort to dislodge him. Severus was too intent on his task to notice. There were shouts around them, but it was not until two pairs of strong hands had pulled him off of the scrawny miscreant that he became aware of the world around him.

People were gawking at them in horror, some reaching for mobiles, clearly intent on ringing 999. Two large men were holding him back from Potter, shouting at him to settle down. There were so many white feathers littering the ground that it looked like a gander of geese had just passed. Potter was coughing, rolling onto his side. The child was red-faced and wailing in the grass, having been knocked over by Severus in his enthusiasm to strangle Potter. The scene was a disaster. Severus needed to calm down.

He took deep breaths and closed his eyes, trying to find his center. Once he had, he opened his eyes and pulled away from the two men, both glaring at him. “Thank you, gentlemen. I had a temporary lapse in sense and lost my temper, but I am fine now. You may go on your way.”

“And let you try to kill that lad again? I don’t think so,” the man on his right said in a deep Scottish accent. “You all right, laddy?” he asked, turning to Potter, who had collected himself and was now trying to placate the baby.

“Yes, thank you. Very sorry for the trouble, but Severus’ reaction was entirely my fault. He’s not to be blamed.” He stood, wailing infant on his hip, and took Severus’ wrist in his free hand. “Thank you again. We’ll just be going.”

The hair at the back of Severus’ neck bristled at the touch, but he nodded as if in agreement. “Yes, thank you. I over-reacted. It won’t be happening again.”

The men both looked skeptical, but they eventually backed off, and Harry tugged Severus away.

“Let’s go to my place. We need to talk,” Potter suggested as they continued to walk from the scene. Severus went along with this plan only because he would be able to hex Potter if they weren’t in public. Potter found a secluded corner and apparated them into the hallway of Grimmauld Place. Severus was surprised to see that he had somehow managed to get rid of the shrieking painting, and the hallway was bright and painted white. Instead of the hideous painting, there were framed photographs of Potter and his friends, including an entire section dedicated to the Weasleys.

“Why don’t you go into the living room while I put Teddy down? He’s ready for his nap anyway.” The child had calmed down some and Severus was surprised to see that his hair was now a bright shade of pink. Potter noticed his attention and shrugged. “He got metamorphia instead of lycanthropy. We have to put a glamour on him when we take him to muggle areas.” He disappeared up the stairs and Severus found his way to the living room, much changed from the last time he’d been there. Potter had changed the carpeting to wood flooring, taken down the moldy paper and replaced it with light grey paint. The furniture had changed, as well, to a simpler, more modern set. Severus chose to stand by the window, wand behind his back. He’d hex the brat as soon as he entered the room.

His intentions changed as soon as Potter walked back into the room, sans child, and Severus could get a good look at him. The tan jacket he wore over a black t-shirt fit his slim upper body well, and his jeans had a hole in one knee that allowed an alluring glimpse of lightly furred knee. He took his jacket off and sat on the sofa, concern wrinkling his brows. “Severus, I’m very sorry if you are unhappy, but I will never be sorry that I saved your life.”

“You admit that you did something to me to cause this change?” Severus asked, stalking closer.

Potter looked at his hands, twitching in his lap. “I did. I researched for months for a cure for you. I built a lab out of one of the upstairs bedrooms and brewed the potion myself.”

“And you did this without informing the healers?” He was at Potter’s side now.

Potter’s eyes moved to his face, the gravity of the situation clear in his eyes. “The potion’s illegal. I didn’t want to go to Azkaban. I suppose that’s where you’ll have me sent, now that you know.”

“No. Not exactly.” He knelt over Potter, forcing him to lean back.

“Then, wha—“ Severus cut him off by kissing him, pressing him into the sofa cushions. He was met with an indignant noise, quickly followed by a tongue in his mouth. He took the opportunity to suck on the muscle, enjoying the groan he produced. Potter squirmed under him, burying his hands in Severus’ thick hair. “Severus,” he whispered between kisses. Severus nipped his bottom lip.

“Do not speak, Potter. I am going to fuck you very hard into this sofa. I do not want to hear one word out of your mouth as I do so. Just shut up and take it.” With that, he shoved his mouth back onto Potter’s and buried his hands in the boy’s loose-fitting jeans. Harry let out a groan and arched into the touch, hands moving to tug at Severus’ shirt.

The next few minutes were a blur of violent kisses, torn jeans, and a bit of rough shoving. Soon, Potter was bent over the sofa arm, bare arse in the air, and Severus was preparing him with a bit of spit before shoving in. Both let out satisfied groans as Severus slid home, face buried in the golden skin that stretched across the crook of Potter’s neck and shoulder, inhaling the heavenly scent of the boy. He began to thrust in earnest before Potter was ready, ignoring the grunts of discomfort that slowly turned into moans of pleasure. He sunk his teeth into the sensitive skin beneath his mouth and bit, hard, concentrating on leaving his mark.

Soon he was coming, filling Potter up and enjoying the clench of muscles as Potter came after him. He collapsed across the young man’s back, panting and listening to the racing heartbeat he could feel through the skin at his lips.

“God, Severus, I don’t know what got into you, but that was fantastic,” the idiot panted out, shifting slightly below him.

He shoved the black-haired head into the sofa cushion and growled into his neck, “I told you to shut the fuck up.” He pushed up onto shaky legs, still a little taken with the intensity of his orgasm, and began to pull his jogging trousers up again and smooth his clothing out. He stared down at Potter’s prostrate form, bare arse littered with red hand prints, some of which looked as though they might bruise, a thin line of come dripping down his leg. He looked pathetic, and Severus suddenly couldn’t understand what had possessed him to fuck the disgusting prat. He wrinkled his nose in disgust and left, deciding that perhaps he needed to up his running schedule. Clearly, he wasn’t working off enough of his sexual energy if he had allowed himself to choose such an unworthy lover.

-


Meanwhile, Harry lay across the couch, panting and staring at the bookshelf across from him. He wasn’t sure exactly what had just happened, but he knew that he wanted it to happen again. He brought Severus to the house intending to speak to him, explain what happened with the potion, but Severus had just attacked him without saying a word, and Harry had been so caught up in the heat of the moment that he didn’t even think to protest. Now he didn’t know what to think.

Thankfully, the quiet solitude of the room was interrupted by a sharp wail from above. Teddy had awoken from his nap, and he was probably hungry. Andromeda would be there to pick him up in less than an hour. Harry needed to get cleaned up and get his godson ready to leave. He stood, winced at the unpleasant sensation of the cleaning charm, and pulled his cclothing back together. He would have to change his shirt; Severus had torn the collar in his enthusiasm to bite Harry’s shoulder. He would need to heal it or put on a turtleneck before Andromeda came. For the time being, he jogged up to the first floor and picked Teddy up out of his crib.

“Hey there, big guy. Had a good nap after all that excitement? How about we get a snack, yeah?” Teddy seemed to agree, as he blinked up at Harry with big golden eyes and then promptly started tugging on the tear in Harry’s shirt. Harry sighed and took the baby downstairs. He couldn’t wait for Teddy to start talking.

-


Harry was tired. No, scratch that, he was exhausted. After Severus’ rejection, he had thrown himself into his school work, studying day and night. When it came time to sit his NEWTS, he managed an O in all of his regular subjects, and E’s in Ancient Runes and Arithmancy. According to Professor McGonogall, his marks would open the doors to nearly any profession he chose to pursue, and his celebrity would open everything else. Unfortunately, he had no idea what it was that he wanted to do, so he focused on the rebuilding. The castle was completed by the end of July, but Harry still had no idea what he wanted to do. He had to do something, though, or his mind went to Severus and what he was doing, and that ripped open a wound he cared not to touch.

Without a focus, he was caught up in the storm that was Hermione and her Magical Creatures’ Rights campaign. She had given up on trying to free house elves, finally recognizing that they did not want to be freed. Instead, she fought for laws that regulated their treatment. She started a werewolf support group and was trying to get many of the laws Umbridge had put into affect repealed. With Harry’s help, they found grant funding to make the Wolfsbane potion less expensive and more widely accessible. Part of their grant funded a research team working towards an improved version of the potion, and eventually (they hoped) a cure.

They also founded a sort of council for Magic Creatures. They met once a month, and there was a representative from every sentient magical species. The council consisted of Winky, the house elf, Firenze, the centaur, Handel Rothborn, who had been a werewolf for nearly fifteen years, Vivien Silverfringe, a veela of high standing, Luminaria Fishwell, a mermaid who could only come to the summer meetings, as she migrated with her people to the Mediterranean for the winter, Gwap, the giant (He never contributed much more than ‘Hermy!’ and the occasional thrown rock.), Grindmore, the goblin, Merryweather Arboria, the dwarf, and Sean McGee, a leprechaun. The council provided an opportunity for the representatives to give input on the changes to Ministry policy that Hermione and Harry were pushing and to voice concerns and grievances.

Overall, the meetings went well, but it was rare for a fight not to break out, most frequently between the goblins and the dwarves. When this happened, Harry usually had to get between them to separate them. It was difficult, as his natural instinct was to put a hand on each of their foreheads and shove them apart, but Hermione insisted that would be disrespectful. There was much shouting and much digressing, and Harry often left the meetings exhausted and feeling as though nothing had been accomplished. He went anyway, to appease Hermione.

Harry also spent as much time as he could with his godson, Teddy. He’d started taking Teddy every third day to give Andromeda a break, and because he loved spending time with the little boy. He never would have guessed that one of his days out with his godson would be the means to his meeting Severus again, though. He had thought about meeting the man nearly constantly for the last several months, imaging what he would say or do if the man happened to pop up around every corner he passed. Even though he did his best to drive Severus from his thoughts, the man was a constant presence in his brain. He wanted to see him again so badly, but he had to respect Severus’ wishes, even if they included never seeing Harry again.

This was why he was so surprised to see Severus, looking incredible, but much altered, running passed on the path in the middle of Hyde Park. He often took Teddy to the park to play, happy to let the toddler toddle around on his unsure legs in the soft grass. The poor little boy had been attempting to walk for several months now, but he hadn’t quite managed it on his own yet. Harry often spent their time in the park fantasizing about seeing Severus, possibly striking up a conversation with him.

He was not prepared for the confrontation and assault that occurred instead. And the brutal bought of sex that happened afterwards had thrown him for a loop. He had been under the impression that Severus detested him, and yet he had attacked him with the veracity of a wild animal. And it had been so good. All he could think about now was the feeling of being pounded into the sofa over and over again until he saw white and forgot his own name. He wanted to do it again and again.

And to his surprise, they did. Severus showed up in his floo a few times a week, always very late at night, always insisting that Harry not say a word, and always just as enthusiastic and lustful as he had been the first time.

Two months went by, and Harry was beginning to get frustrated. He was tired all the time now from being woken up at all hours of the night, and not being able to go back to sleep afterwards. And he was lonely, left alone in his empty bed, sticky and cold. He lost concentration, started forgetting things, snapped at Hermione when she hadn’t done anything wrong. Finally, Hermione became fed-up with his behavior and confronted him.

“What exactly is your problem? You haven’t been this moody since we were fifteen,” she snapped, crossing her arms across her chest and glaring at him.

He let out a sigh and tugged at his hair impatiently. “I’m sorry, Hermione, I’ve just got a lot on my mind. I haven’t been getting any sleep lately, and I guess it’s taking its toll.”

The anger in her expression melted into concern. “Why haven’t you been sleeping? Are you having nightmares? Flashbacks? You never really dealt with what happened at the Battle…” She moved closer to him and put a comforting hand on his arm.

Harry shook his head. “No, nothing like that. I’ve had a… very late-night visitor almost every night for the last two months.”

This shocked her into stepping back a pace. “Who? I didn’t know you were seeing anyone.”

Harry held back a snort. If only. “I’m not really… seeing him. I’m pretty sure he still hates the sight of me, but it’s like some weird addiction. I don’t know how to describe it. He just sort of… attacks me in the middle of the night, won’t let me say a word, fucks me, and then goes on his merry way without a word. It’s very strange.”

Hermione gave him a sour look for his language, but her face was still concerned. “Who is it, Harry? If he’s assaulting you, you need to tell the authorities and have him arrested.”

Harry pulled violently from her and started pacing the length of her living room. “No, it’s not like that. I want him to come, and I really like what he does to me. I just wish he’d show a little less contempt for me when he does it. And I wouldn’t mind starting a real relationship with him, but I know that’s out of the question.”

“Who is it, Harry?”

“Severus.”

Hermione’s entire expression changed from concern to skepticism. Harry had told her about the veela transformation, though he had omitted his part in the change, and she’d been suspicious ever since. “Look, I know that you care a great deal about him, but this can’t be healthy. Have you tried talking to him? Does he only ever come at night?”

“Yeah, usually after midnight. Like I said, he won’t let me talk. He’s even gone so far as to gag me and tie me to the bed. I doubt he’d listen if I tried to talk to him.” Harry would be embarrassed to admit that sort of thing to anyone else, but he knew Hermione would look at the situation clinically, and would probably get frustrated with him if he showed embarrassment over it.

“Well, have you tried going to talk to him during the day at his home? The worst he can do is slam the door in your face.”

“That’s the thing, I don’t know where he lives anymore. His place at Spinner’s End is up for sale and completely empty. I tried asking him where he lived, but that was when he gagged me.”

“Maybe you should just put your foot down, then. Push him away the next time he comes over. If he tries to force you, call the MLE.”

“I don’t know…”

“What’s the worst that could happen? He stops coming and you finally get some sleep? I know you care about him, but if he doesn’t respect you enough to speak to you like an adult, then I think it would be a lot healthier for the both of you if you moved on.”

Harry knew she was right, but it was several weeks before he took the advice.

-


“Severus, stop,” Harry demanded, pulling his wand and holding it to Severus’ throat. If this was the only way he could get the man to listen to him, then so be it. “We need to talk, and you aren’t touching me until we do.”

Severus sneered at him. “I have no interest in talking to you.”

“Well, you’re going to, or you can just leave.” To Harry’s surprise, he meant it. As much as he wanted to touch this man and feel him deep inside, he knew that he deserved more. He wanted to be with this man in every sense of the word, and he wasn’t going to settle for being used like a rag doll.

“I will do no such thing. Stop being a whiny brat and get back on the bed.” Severus moved to shove him in that direction, but Harry stood his ground, shooting a few warning sparks from his wand.

“No, you will listen to me or you will leave. You are not going to treat me like some sort of whore anymore, understood? If you want me, then you need to treat me with more respect. I deserve more than to be used and treated like an object rather than a human being. Don’t get me wrong, I like what we do. But sex by itself isn’t enough for me.” Harry took a deep breath and steadied himself. The next part he had to say was going to be hard to admit. “I saved your life because I am in love with you, and if you don’t care about me, or can’t see yourself ever loving me back, then we need to stop now. You already broke my heart once. I don’t think I could stand it if you did it again.”

Severus could do nothing but stare, trying to understand what Potter was telling him. Love? He’d never had anyone say that word to him, except his mother, and maybe Albus. He certainly never expected anything like a declaration to come from Potter’s petulant mouth. He hadn’t really known what he was doing, coming to Potter all these nights. He’d just known that he couldn’t stop himself, no matter how much he ran off his sexual energy, or how much he buried himself in his writing. He was addicted to the feel of Potter’s skin against his and hearing those noises of pleasure fall from his mouth. He still hated the boy, though. Or at least, he had thought he still did. Looking at him now, vulnerable in just his pants, and yet strong at the same time, determined to make his point, something sparked in Severus’ heart, a nice feeling of warmth and home.

“What makes you think that I would want what you are asking of me?”

“Do you?”

Severus hesitated again. Even if he did, which he wasn’t sure about, he didn’t think he would be able to say it. Potter smiled at his befuddled expression and stepped closer, dropping his wand. He wrapped trembling hands around the back of Severus’ neck and pulled him down for a deep kiss, opening him completely. Severus groaned and wrapped his arms around Potter’s slim waist, hands spreading out against his smooth, tanned skin. Things went much more slowly that night than they ever had before. They explored each other carefully, like cartographers trying to learn the terrain. Severus found the sex to be much more fulfilling when they took their time and he allowed Potter to be an active participant in the proceedings.

Afterwards, Potter insisted he stay, pressing a palm flat against his chest and giving him a steady, unyielding look.

-


Severus woke with his nose buried in messy black hair that smelled like heaven. The head belonging to the hair rested against his chest, rising and falling with Severus’ breathing. He inhaled the scent and brushed a hand against Potter’s back, taking the moment in. What was he doing here? He shouldn’t be getting involved with Potter, knowing that the boy loved him. Even if Severus didn’t like the brat, that didn’t give him the right to play with his heart.

“Mmm… that feels good,” Potter mumbled into his shoulder, stretching a little into the touches. Severus said nothing, but didn’t stop his stroking. He liked the smoothness of Potter’s skin under his callused fingers. Potter pressed dry lips to his chin and curled closer to him. “Hungry?”

“Not at the moment.” He watched the light move across the ceiling, trying not to think about the implications of his actions.

“Your head is swelling with doubts, isn’t it? I can feel the thoughts moving around in your brain.” Potter sat up a bit and propped his head on one elbow so that they could make eye contact, a Cheshire grin across his face.

Severus groaned and squeezed his eyes shut, feeling a headache coming on. “Stop talking, Potter.”

“Harry. If we’re to make a proper go of this, you will call me by my first name.”

“I never said I would make a go of anything but sex.”

Potter smirked at him. “That’s not what you said last night.” He leaned down and began to trail kisses down Severus’ chin. “You were all but purring sweet nothings in my ear. Don’t try to deny it.”

“I’m not calling you Harry.”

“Yes, you are. We’ve been sleeping together for over two months. We’re on a first-name basis.”

“No. We’ve been fucking for the last two months. There’s a difference.”

Potter rolled his eyes. “Well, last night wasn’t just fucking, and neither will this morning be.”

Severus raised an eyebrow. “This morning?”

The smirk he received in return could only have been described as evil. Before he knew what was happening, Potter was underneath the covers and licking up his shaft. Severus was soon convinced to call him Harry.

-


It was late afternoon before they got out of bed, and then only in response to the rather loud insistence of one Hermione Granger. “Harry, where are you? You missed the Wizengamot meeting this morning!”

Harry groaned and rolled over and out of bed, bare arse red with teeth marks. Neither was prepared for the bedroom door bursting open with barely a knock, or the indignant squeal Hermione let out. “Oh my god, I’m so sorry! I had no idea you had company.” She turned her back to the bed, hand flying to cover her eyes. Severus made sure to cover his lower half in bedding, while Harry dug his pants out from under the bed and pulled them on.

“Knocking helps, Hermione.”

“Sorry, I thought you were just lazing about. You missed the meeting and you never owled!”

“I forgot, sorry. We were busy.”

It was at this moment that Hermione turned around and gasped loudly. “What happened to you?!” she exclaimed, hurrying to Harry’s side and moving his chin to the side to examine the rather large bruised indention of teeth on his neck.

“What’s wrong?” Harry asked at the same time that Severus said, “That is none of your business, Miss Granger.”

Both Hermione and Harry turned to Severus. “What did you do to him?”

“What’s the problem?” Harry asked, rubbing at the bruise and wincing. He went into the bathroom to look in the mirror. Severus watched him, smiling to himself. The mark was possibly the best he had ever given, and he enjoyed the look of fascination on Harry’s face as he examined it. There were other scratches and finger marks on his skin that Hermione could have commented on, but he could understand how that would be her focal point. “Merlin, when did that happen? I don’t even remember you using your teeth, Severus.” He rubbed at the mark absently while coming back into the bedroom. “Don’t worry about it, Hermione. It’ll heal. Did the meeting go all right?”

It took a moment for Hermione to snap out of her shock. She glanced quickly at Severus, still sitting up in bed covered only by a duvet. “We’ve been given permission to put the Werewolf Rights Referendum on the next ballot. It’s still a long way to being ratified, but at least we’ve passed that hurdle.”

“That’s great.” Harry grinned at her before turning to dig for a t-shirt in his chest of drawers.

“Yes.” She looked away, as though she just realized the awkwardness of the situation. “Right, I better get going. I’m glad you’ve sorted yourselves out. Or at least, I’m assuming you’ve sorted yourselves out. I’ll see you later. Please get that healed, Harry. Good bye, Professor.” She gracelessly backed out of the room, shutting the door behind her. Harry called a farewell to her through the door, smirking at Severus.

“I think we embarrassed her.”

Severus narrowed his eyes at him. “She should mind her own business.”

“What? About the mark? She just worries. It looks pretty terrible, you have to admit.”

“I know. It’s my best work.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “You would be the type to like hurting people.”

“Just you. And it wasn’t as though you disliked it. You may not remember, but you screamed rather enthusiastically while I was making it.”

“I’m sure I did. Are you hungry yet? I’m going to make some breakfast.”

“It’s nearly tea time,” Severus informed him, finally getting out of bed. He was hungry, and he could probably use a wash. He hunted for his clothing, but only succeeded in finding his pants. “Where did you hide my clothes?”

“Doesn’t matter. I like you better practically naked.”

Severus growled at the comment, but followed the brat downstairs and helped him cook.

-


The mark didn’t heal. It stopped hurting, and faded to a dull pink, but the teeth marks remained clearly visible no matter how many healing charms were used. Eventually, Harry went to his healer, worried that Severus had done him serious damage. He was surprised to find out that the mark was in fact a claiming mark, used by veela to claim their mates. He came home looking as though he was the cat who got the cream.

“You love me.”

“I’m sorry?” Severus asked, looking at him skeptically from over his evening Prophet.

“You heard me. You love me. I talked to my healer about the mark you gave me, and he told me that it’s a claiming mark, given by veela when they’re claiming their mates. You’ve chosen me as yours, which can only mean that you love me.”

Severus rolled his eyes and went back to his newspaper. “Figured that out, did you? You were insistent enough that I commit to you. I didn’t think you’d mind.”

“I don’t. Are we going to get married now?” He moved closer to Severus’ chair and sat on the arm.

Severus snorted. “We already are, you dolt. That’s what a claiming mark means. I suppose you’re going to want me to buy you a ring?”

“Maybe.”

“I’ll think about it.” He was unsurprised to have his Prophet-reading interrupted by his lover sliding into his lap. “I was actually attempting to read.”

“Only the Prophet. Barely worth the parchment it’s printed on.” He tugged the parchment from Severus’ hand and tossed it to the floor. Severus was indignant for only a moment before he was distracted by a kiss. “I love you, you know.”

“Yes, you’ve said.”

“Do you love me?”

Severus gave him a sour look. Why did the brat insist he say everything? “I suppose.”

Harry rolled his eyes and kissed him again. “I suppose that’s the best I’m going to get out of you, isn’t it?” Severus answered by brushing his fingertips across the mark he’d made, and the answering shiver through Harry was electric. The kiss that followed was fantastic.

The End


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March 2010

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