I Don't Think You're a Waste of Space

BY : SparklySprinkles
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Dudley/Harry
Dragon prints: 7520
Disclaimer: Fictional story based on fictional characters. I own nothing of Harry Potter, and make no money.

    Severus spent a day repairing the shields. They were more important than anything. They kept them alive. If The Dark Lord were to come when they were down he would see everything in a moment. And they would all be slaughtered. Even Minerva, if she was still where she'd told young Dursley she was. His master would see that with everything else. Minerva wasn't even the tip of the iceberg.  
    All would die except Potter, who would survive them all and cry for death for years. 
    His weakness was enough to bring it all down. His weakness was a mountain, overshadowing everything that had been built over years, too strong for a man to have inside him. 
    And she was upstairs waiting for him. So willing. So warm. And completely entranced with her own body, as a woman should be. But she would need him in a week, and he turned giddy at the lecherous thought.
    And to add to that, as if anything more were needed, that foolish boy was doing something to the bond. Pulling at him, from a distance. A child playing with matches. Severus had been caught doing that once. He liked the taste of the sulfur on the heads of them, a taste that had transferred easily to alchemy, and led later to potions, but Tobias had beat him for touching them, then showed him how much fire hurt. No one had ever bothered to teach Potter such necessary lessons, and the pull was a powerful thing. Severus had to keep a clear image of the boy in his head, to remind himself that it of course wasn't Lily beckoning to him, commanding him up the stairs. What the hell was wrong with the boy? He wanted more of that? It had to be that he was enjoying this massive joke the universe had played on them both, and would crash and burn gladly if it brought Severus Snape down several pegs in the process.
    Longbottom had been raised in a home that venerated the Order, he would have known her face nearly as well as his mother's. Severus did indeed sort through the hairs collected from the drain, using a spell to identify them properly, and it helped feed his anger. Helped ground him to where he should be. He would have sought out the cauldron, just to have something perfectly healthy to occupy himself, but he felt it best to stay away from the basement. Merlin alone knew what he would have to say about this. Nothing useful. Give the boy the sword, trust him, lemon drop? 
    He emerged from his study repaired, whole, and angrier than ever. This was his fault. And perhaps Potter had done something, but his magic was only available to him as his master chose, a fact that had been wisely held back from Dursley. 
    No, Severus had done this. Polyjuice, in tandem with unwieldy, unpredictable wish magic, and the little bit the bond would allow of transformation. And perhaps that it had been the solid week to complete the spell. Potter did odd things to random chance on his own, as well. He was like a lode stone to probability. Severus felt he should be recording this himself, and perhaps he would find a way to do so without it being found until after his seemingly more and more imminent death. Decent wizards deserved some warning about things like this. 
    And sex magic was never to be underestimated or ruled out, he supposed, but he had never really spent much time there, not thinking it would ever serve him. But it had to be taken into consideration here. It was a stew of possibilities, and the only conclusion to draw here was that he was an idiot, and he should have stayed away from Godric's Hollow.     


    Harry woke on his side, and the breast pressed against the bed had leaked out into the mattress while he slept. What a fascinating problem this was. And the other one was almost painfully tight. He took them to the shower and relieved what he could, a little less turned on about it, and a lot more circumspect, now that he was getting used to their presence, and now that he could see them as something that would need maintenance. He still loved them, of course. Who wouldn't? But there was work related to this, and he just had to find out what that was. Did he need to wake in the night to empty them? 
    He didn't mind that at all, or the upkeep they would need throughout the day, as he'd just lost his main past time of a potion addled slumber that killed most of his hours. He had nothing else to do. 
    Neville came up with breakfast, eyes still closed, and left in a hurry. Snape had told him to be quick again. 
    Harry watched out the window and saw they weren't in the middle of nowhere at all. They were in a city. It was just that the wilderness out the back made it seem different from ground level. There were apartments that spread out in the background, but it was silent like no city should be. Silent like Privet Drive had been.
    He laid down after eating and stared at the ceiling. Until it dawned on him, finally, where he was. Snape's childhood home, where he'd killed the flies like it was all he'd ever done. This was the same ceiling. Why on earth would Snape choose such an unhappy place to make his adult home? But didn't that just sit with everything else about this man? That he really wouldn't want happy? Wouldn't know what to do with it? Was most comfortable in misery? 

    Later he rose and watched Neville in the garden, watched the sun track its trails, and when Neville went inside he knew the boy was making a meal that would bring him back up. Funny things to look forward to, but it was wonderful to have that much. He was still here, still safe. And in perfect health. He felt like he was. Felt like he'd never felt before in his life. Or perhaps he'd been this healthy near the ends of most of his school years after months of gorging, but how much of those times had also happened in the hospital wing, as well? He wished Mme. Pomfrey could see him now, and laughed to himself, realizing she wouldn't be seeing him, but whoever this was. 
    He would never take most of this for granted. He held his breasts at most times, just idly, and waited.
    Neville brought him lunch, and he ate it, cleaning the plate. His stomach was something that worked with him. That was new, but took very little getting used to. And he was so thirsty. All the time. But he had access to the sink in the bathroom, and drank every time, feeling almost triumphant over something so basic.  
    He spent his hours like this, frozen in time, almost, watching life outside, such as it was. There were birds everywhere, reclaiming here like they had in Privet Drive. And moving little things in the garden, but he couldn't make them out from here. Perfect eyesight only did so much, it turned out. He grew used to the clock, and how to use it, but still didn't know what the other things meant. Once he identified the moon, and tried to compare it to what was in the sky, but it didn't work, and he didn't understand it. 
    Then at night he had the stars, and tried to find their placements on the clock. And then it worked, in that he could see the comparison between the two, but still didn't know the time. The moon was actually crossing over the same patterns of stars out there that it was on the wall, and Harry felt he might be getting somewhere with this. And how long since he'd seen the stars? Since he had been in the woods with Hermione, most likely, but he'd taken them for granted then. Like an ungrateful fool. Like a child with the world to roam, and not seeing it. 
    He sucked his breasts empty before going to sleep, still enjoying that so much, but seeing it more as breast maintenance, and just hoped they would behave themselves on their own. And tried to sleep on his back. That worked, and he woke painfully full, but on dry bedding.

    Snape was feeling normal. Harry wasn't sure how he felt about that, but there was some reassurance. He knew it was right to want his master healthy in his mind, no matter how needy he might feel. The anger was there, strong and thick, beneath the ice barrier. And he didn't think he could have done anything to any of it. Sturdy enough to walk on.    
    Neville came with breakfast, and Harry asked if he might even have the paper at lunch, when they were done with it. Neville smiled blindly for him and nodded. "Of course. I'll ask."
    It was brought up with the next meal, and Harry poured over it all, drinking in the horrid news like he did the date. It was October twenty fifth. Important. It really was empowering to know the date. 
    The good news and the bad news were both about Aragon, areas won and lost, wizards being urged to flee if they weren't helping. And no safety could be assured anywhere near the mountains. Those had been given up for now, riddled with muggles and some magic folk, traitors, and it was all violent. Good news said that Huesca was a stable base for launching raids against the mountains, and bad news that forces were building up south of that. Harry wished he had a map. Wished Spain luck in their struggles. And wished that the Dark Lord would be called away for this. Nott was called a general in these articles. Harry stored it away. 
    And the forecast, overcast for every city still going through cleansing. Fair enough. Harry had already figured that one out on his own. That had to mean this place was done. And who was left? It was deadly silent out there. He wondered briefly, very briefly, how much of that Snape had done, and shoved the thought away. It wouldn't help him, and he felt like a filthy traitor. To his own self as well as to everyone who ever mattered. And what had Snape said? Because of everything I've ever done to you. And that was a list to chill anyone's blood - if he'd even been talking to Harry then, and not her
    Snape owed Harry a childhood, a family, Dumbledore. And now a prick could be added to the list, but it was a small thing. He snickered meanly, self disparagingly. He'd learned to hate it with his uncle. Had hated his own dick. When it turned on him. When it was in that hateful man's hand, sending waves of disgusting unwanted pleasure through him. And now it was gone. 
    And Uncle Vernon had given the same threat, of turning Harry into a woman. It had scared the hell out of him then, and here he was, holding his breasts fondly, absentmindedly, even as he thought these thoughts. Always with a hand on at least one of them. How could he not? They were always in his sight. 
    Curious that he accepted this so well, reached blissful states of pleasure with this new master, who'd done so much evil against him. That he wanted more, and everything from him. Harry just didn't care anymore. The sun, something he hadn't seen for months and had learned to live without, paled in comparison to the love he'd experienced with Snape, and he just wanted more of that.
    Useless for him to think about, to try and sort through. He was just a crazy mess, and he didn't know much of anything. Not enough to unravel this.   
    He went back to the paper. It was all horrid stuff, and even an article on page four about keeping your muggle servants in line, and what they would be permitted with their collars, and how to make the most of it.
    They could automate dish washing, laundry, mopping, things that helped them keep house better. They could even apparate when their masters called them, just like house elves did. They just didn't live as long as house elves, and were much, much cheaper for it. They weren't some inter generational investment, after all. 
    And beneath that was a short column where wizards and witches could send in questions and receive answers. Harry poured over this, as fascinated and horrified as he'd been at the commercials months ago. 

    My house muggle cries constantly. I don't know what to do with him. I was thinking I might put him with the elves until he reaches maturity to help him adjust?

    Dear reader,
Thank you for your question. Do not put your house muggles with your house elves, people. We can not stress this enough. There have been some undesirable consequences there with others who've tried this. We recommend you scrap him. Take the collar off, and call on the department of cleansing. There's nothing that can be done with a disagreeable countenance. And Good Luck in your future purchases.

    And an anonymous one, 

    I'm thinking about buying a house muggle for companionship. Is that recommended?

    Dear reader, 
Thank you for your question. We really don't recommend that house muggles be bought for sport. We haven't yet found a way to sterilize them through the collars, and you would find yourself in quite the mess if something happened there. Authorities would have to get involved. Fraternizing with muggles is highly warned against by the Daily Prophet, and breeding with them is strictly forbidden by the Ministry of Magic.

    The politics told him nothing useful, or nothing he understood, but he read it anyways, eager for this news. This look at the world, filtered as it was. Thicknesse was still the Minister. Good for him to survive this long. He must have been fully braindead by then. But alive, and maybe in more ways than a dementor would have left behind. And maybe he'd accepted his new role enough that he didn't need the Imperius curse.
    Harry combed over the deaths, and found no names he knew. He did the puzzles, mentally, and appreciated the distraction, the challenge to remember what he would have written in the spaces.     
    He went to bed alone, again, but felt a lot better for having the paper. Like he knew what was going on, though not really, and might almost be a person for having that knowledge. 

    Another day came where he woke in his room, and thought easily of it as his room. His window. His view of the world. Neville brought the paper up again at lunch, and Harry read every word on every page again. This was a life. He was living a life. And he got to see Neville, even if Neville never saw him. What was he, a picker and a chooser? Not Harry Potter. He would take it. 
    But he wanted Snape to come up. And accepted that as he accepted everything else. And rested in the fact that Snape would come to maintain the bond he thought, with a desperate giggle that thankfully no one heard, yet he still looked around the room to make sure. He would be taken care of here, and he would taste that goodness again. And he would drink it up happily, reach for every drop. 


    In the morning Severus sent his first charge up to his second with a plate of breakfast in hand, and with strict orders to be quick and not look at him, keep his eyes closed as soon as the door opened, if Potter was in the bedroom. Stand still in the hallway with eyes closed if Potter was in the bathroom. And not to linger while handing over the plate, or after the plate was delivered. He didn't need Longbottom getting ideas, after all.
    He couldn't take any chances, and knew how foolish it was to send Clumsy up with a plate, and tell him to close his eyes for any part of it. But the boy never spilled, lifting Severus' expectations yet another hair's worth. This one was full of surprises, always.
    And it was less of a trap than going up himself. Knowing she was up there was enough of a test for him to fail on a minute by minute basis, but seeing her? He knew his limits, sadly. 
    When Longbottom came back and sat down, Severus let him know he was off the hook for botching the potion by ordering him to brew another, every day. He needed it fresh and always on hand. Just in case. 
    "Yes, Sir," and it was up to him to know he was forgiven for his clumsiness. But he chewed slowly, and spoke again, voluntarily. "Will Harry be able to be here for meals, then?"
    Severus stared a bit, shocked this one had enough spine to voice anything. "We only have so many hairs," he said slowly, ensuring the boy understood. "We can't throw them away frivolously."
    "It's not frivolous," he grumbled, but went quiet. Severus blinked again, but felt it might be best to allow the boy some liberties. Spirit crushing - while off the clock - had never been his hobby of choice, and this boy had already come that way. "He could wear a mask," after a few more minutes of quiet, and Severus was wishing for that back.
    "It's a possibility," he begrudgingly offered. Masks like that existed. How much would Longbottom need for recognition? Just the face. The Face. Severus pushed that away. He was untouchable. Yes, a mask might be a very good idea. For everyone. 
    Merlin, what a blindness she'd placed over him, that it had taken him this long to think of such a thing. And he hadn't! It had been Longbottom of all people that thought that little jewel up! And then she could be down here, with him. In arm's reach. He sighed his most long suffering sigh. How was it that life was just a constant barrage of tests so easily failed? A man should be given just a few lower hurdles, to let him think he could succeed from time to time. Some time in the kiddie pool. 
    That wasn't entirely honest, though. He'd been granted months of peace out here. And now he simply had to settle that score, because nothing came for free. 
    He sent the boy up with all other meals, always with the careful instructions, precise and hopefully all encompassing, and had no problem parting with the paper. Lovely that she was curious. Sad that she couldn't go out there and live her life as she always should have. He should have made sure that it would be wonderful for her, safe and perfect. And what had they done instead? Where it wasn't a midden heap of slaughter it was an active war ground. 

    He went to sleep in his study, as he did these days, restless.

    When he woke a fresh stack of papers came for him to pour over. He was something of a fancy administrator, now. A pencil pusher, looking for weakness and patterns on paper, and passing higher up what information he chose. It was the perfect position for a man like him, in every way. And he knew what was happening in every corner of the world. All information that mattered came through him, and was passed on at his discretion. Killing Dumbledore had put him in such upper spheres of trust that not even withholding Potter could tear him from.  

    Nott's forces would be pinched in Aragon, and Snape knew he would be a fool to be seen to overlook such a thing. Wouldn't be forgiven, would even be seen for exactly what he was. But perhaps he could recommend a few splinters, and if one little force was lost in the easternmost foothills, he wouldn't be punished too loudly for it. He could make it look like tactical sense, like advancing on the mountains in some actual formation. And then he could design a few good names to be in the eastern most force that would be sacrificed. 
    A bountiful list passed before his eyes, offering up too many choices. On a good day there weren't any people he liked. He would need to be careful about it. Make it too juicy, and it might be obvious. And never Nott himself. A man that ambitious and trusting and stupid was a rare gift, never to be wasted.  
    Nott had more coming, too. Reinforcements from the U.S., where people had accepted this too quickly. Had embraced the novelty until it was too late to fight institutions that were completely taken over. The collar had been mass produced, and there were propositions to militarize it. Leave it to the Americans to think something so genius and devastating up. Can it be given to our troops, always, over there. Ingenuity and mass destruction, always in tandem, in perfect unison, like clockwork.  
    It came with a long study, of course, where the master would be directing raw force instead of a floor scrubber, and a troop of them, instead of one. 
    Capable of mass teleportation. And infinitely more expendable. 
    There was only so long Severus could sit on that. He would have to pass it along eventually. And then muggles would have another purpose.
    Lucky them. Not that he cared. 
    He rose stiffly and went out to endure another breakfast with Longbottom. To give him his very specific instructions for feeding the other one, and hopefully enjoy some silence, where he could think in peace. Gryffindors and peace. No, those words had never coexisted on a banner in a dorm. Really he was lucky to get as much as he did from them. Lucky they didn't roar through his home in a constant state of tantrum and noise and entitlement.     

    He watched the lunch go upstairs with the paper, and was deeply jealous of it all, the plate, the paper and the boy, and soured over his own meal all the more. The next day would be six days since completing the bond. And if he had any strength to him, he would force himself to wait seven full days, just to show the world. To show her that he wasn't owned, that he wasn't some animal without self determination. Self control was his middle name. 

    After dinner he picked through more information, and chose some pieces to pass on. They had to be good enough for it, and not something that would end the world in a read. Like the collars on soldiers. He'd been sitting on that one for weeks, sweating it out, hoping Spain would decide a few fates before it wasn't possible to withhold it anymore. 

    He woke, stiff as always, in his horrible chair, and wondered why he didn't just turn it into something better for sleeping. He must have enjoyed the pain. He lightened some at the knowledge that it was day six. Severus measured such things with precision. And he had made some decisions before, but today they melted away under a new resolve. He wouldn't be dictated by the bond. Or, he would, but he wouldn't be taking it to the limit. He didn't need magic controlling his prick. So he would go up a night early, and told himself that it was logic, not lovesickness. 
    Resolve backed it all, and he nodded for himself. It made sense. He was the master here, not magic. Not the boy.  
    The bond still yanked him upwards, but he fought that all day as he had for the days previous, and took far more pleasure from the idea of giving in hours from then. Not giving in. Choosing to go up. And what a joke he was, that these thoughts took up so much space in his mind, when he had so much more weight on his shoulders than this little bit of nonsense. 
    He was almost pleasant as he barked his orders to Longbottom to feed her, and sat for his own breakfast feeling better than he had the day before. He would need to expand on the collar's newness. Its untested qualities, and let some studies to that effect through first, to pave the way. Some horror stories, and those existed. A muggle had managed to kill an entire family she was supposed to be serving just outside Kilkenny. Had somehow beaten the collar's compulsion to never harm her benefactors, and she was still being studied, her and the collar both, for any anomalies. He could find some more stories like that, and pass them on through.  
    After lunch he requested such studies and findings, and thought only of the woman upstairs for hours, when he should have been reading. He would need to be careful to not let go. To hold himself together and not be a fool. And so much the better if Potter was disappointed to lose his amusement at his master's weakness, and pulled at the bond a little less from then on. Severus was no one's fool. He could fulfill a magical contract, and maintain some self respect. 


    Harry did as much as he could to make his paper last before dinner was brought up. He did the puzzles slowly, and read some articles twice. 
    Twice in particular he read the one, under "good news" about werewolves being shipped from the acres of land they'd been given here, to the mountains in Spain, to clean them out. Harry winced over it, hoping people had some warning for that wave of imminent, indiscriminate slaughter.
    He laid down, knowing that his Master would come tomorrow. He'd been keeping count this time. Like a child waiting for his birthday, for his special day. Like an idiot. And it didn't fill him with shame as he knew it should, but rather, warm desperation. He would be so good, and maybe Snape would stay. It made him wet, thinking about it. Thinking about waking up to such a man with such a love.  
    As he was falling asleep to these thoughts, the door opened, and Harry sat up, in seconds he was beaming at him, happier than anyone should be at seeing this man, but Snape wasn't looking at Harry. The wall again. The shields had not moved. Impenetrable and thick. Harry rose from the bed and thought strongly about coming at him. 
    "Turn around, please."
    "Yes, -" cutting off quick and obeying. But nothing more. He wasn't going to assume again with this man. That was always shameful. 
    He sighed loudly. Patiently. "I will try to be more thoughtful about the words used. Perhaps if you undressed yourself, Potter."
    Yeah. Potter. He quickly did that, trying to show how good he would be. And he would be her, gladly. If that's what Snape wanted, and Harry knew it was. He set his robes to the side on the foot of the bed and stayed still, and Snape came up behind him, smelling his hair as he had done before. That was good. Harry knew he smelled like someone else now. He leaned back into it, trying to give everything, and to show he would give everything. And soon the walls would come down and bathe him in it. 
    A hand moved into his vision, touched his stomach and skimmed lightly down to his lips, between, petting, testing. "I would rather -" he was struggling, Harry felt. "And perhaps it's best if neither of us talk too much." Harry nodded quickly, but moved with the hand, happy to feel it. Anything. He leaned his head back on the chest behind. "I need you to try to refrain from engaging too much."
    Harry hunched forward, and felt perhaps that meant not moving his hips, either. He didn't know, and felt helpless to get more and confused of what to do with what he could. And questions would just make him look stupider. Would anger the man as they always had. He held still and let the fingers do their thing, until he was wet and panting, fighting with himself to not move. 
    He felt Snape's cock, hard, sliding between his legs, and to his pussy, and shook in place to not swallow it up. 
    Slowly, gently, he slid inside, and Harry backed himself onto him, helping, but a hand grabbed his hip and held him in place. Long fingers curled around to include his thigh in a firm grip, and Snape stroked long and deliberately. Harry probed at the shields, testing, but it was the thick barrier. No give. And that was good, really. He didn't need this man losing his mind; he kept them safe. Harry kept himself still in the hold, and didn't move. 
    It wasn't easy, but it was what this man wanted this time, and he could do it. Could show how eager he was to do what he wanted, even as his walls gripped at the man for more. More contact, more everything. A hand roamed up his back to his hair, but didn't take it, just existed with it, until it was resting on the back of his neck. The face followed, but the shields stayed strong.
    And then it was over, and Snape left. Without a word. 
    Harry laid down leaking a little, and didn't play with his body for once. 
    What had that been? Professionalism at its worst? No. It hadn't been bad, really. Just very not what he'd expected or wanted. And he was feeling so very stupid for wanting something more, and was remembering purely by accident how his uncle had tried over and over to give him more and he'd never wanted any of that. But perhaps, if his uncle had offered that storm of glowing love, Harry would have. And there were a few times, that he wished he couldn't remember, where he almost reached for it with that man. Had wanted affection. It was a dangerous thing for Harry - to receive it. He'd had so little of it in his life, and it was stronger than him. 
    He laid down and didn't sleep for a long time. He was so restless that he went back to the window and studied the stars some more, always trying to compare that to the clock. He would break that code. It was almost a telly, the way it moved constantly, almost like it existed to occupy him. 

    Snape came to his room in the morning instead of Neville, and Harry wasn't sure what to think at first. "If you wear this, you may come down for breakfast."
    Harry looked at his hand, feeling excited, whatever it was. He could come out. He took it, and was unsurprised that it was a mask. A black cloth hood that almost resembled a bell, the fabric stiffer on the lower half. He put it on.
    "Always be sure to wear it when outside this room, or the washroom."
    Harry nodded, making it move along with him. He followed him down the narrow flight, and through to the dining table. Neville was there, smiling widely. Harry said nothing, he wasn't stupid. The newspaper had already been divvied out, and Harry had a part of it in front of him. October thirtieth. But he'd already known it would be. He'd been paying attention to everything in those pages recently. And it seemed as though he would end the year here. The trees were nearly bare, except for a few die hard leaves. 
    Neville put plates on the table, full of food, and sat down at the end opposite of Snape as he always did. "I'm brewing polyjuice daily, so sometimes you can even look like yourself maybe. And the mask was my idea." Snape snapped his paper, and the reminder to be silent was heard. They ate quietly. 
    Harry had no idea how much this meant. Would he be able to come out for every meal, now? Was he free again? It was no issue to eat, the mask ballooned out below his nose, allowing the room. Snape never looked at him, and Harry poked tentatively at the shields. Firmly in place, but under that was the anger as ever. And some suspicion.
    That was this man, though. He was anger and suspicion. And love. So much. Every time Harry thought of that he almost purred in the memory. He'd been denied the night before, and yet it seemed that night (and morning), from a week ago would be enough to feed him forever. To know it was there for him, even if it was for her, and even if it wasn't always let out, it was there. And unending. Limitless. The way love should be. He would be patient, and he would learn.
    When Neville rose to clear the table Harry asked, "May I help him clean up?" He didn't say Master, and he didn't know how else to address him, he'd never been told. Perhaps sir, like Neville? Seemed pretty neutral. "Sir?"
    "You may. But keep your face covered."
    "Yes, Sir. Thank you."
    "And don't call me Sir."
    "Yes." So strange. But he left the table for the counter a few feet away and started to fill the sink. This house was a funny hybrid of magic and mundane, and it eased Harry to have taps and cooktops he was more familiar with. Neville may have known his way around magical appliances, but fully magical spaces like Molly Weasley's kitchen had always been a marvel to Harry, not so much of a workspace in which he could have made himself useful.
    Snape stayed in place, so they stayed as quiet as possible while washing, which was fairly quiet. And the paper never snapped, so they must have been doing something right. But they both worked slowly, like as one they thought that once the work was done Harry would be banished again. It couldn't have been easy for Neville to live his life with this massive wall of angry no all the time. 
    Eventually the paper was folded loudly behind them, and he spoke irritably, "much as it may seem otherwise to you, lion keeping isn't my new profession. Which means I can't very well spend my entire day sitting here and ensuring you don't mess anything up. Go to your room." And that last bit said smoothly, like it had always been Harry's room.
    He nodded and left with a tiny wave for Neville, and a tinier "thank you."
    But he was called down for lunch, and found it a fair trade to not have this paper for the day. Though he was starting to put some stock into having his little collection uninterrupted. Perhaps he would ask for it later. When the noise of cleaning could help to soften the offensiveness of speaking.


    This was an exquisite new torture for Severus. Having her in arms reach, where she could have just as easily been sat in his lap, would have followed the order either way, but perhaps even eagerly. He did everything in his power to not stare at the hands moving with fork and knife, knowing they were hers. At his table, again after so many years. Not that she had spent much time here. Her home had always been much safer. Warmer. That had been the thing that showed him how possibly horrid his own parents were. How wrong the hostility was. 
    But no matter. She was here now. And no one knew. Longbottom sitting there, feet away, not having a clue. She was his secret. All his. 
    What he really wanted to do was take her to his study, where she could sit there in his lap while he did his work, sorting through papers, quietly attacking his details on paper. And then, he could pull himself out and have her warm his cock while he read. Or she could think up on her own, little ways to distract him, and she would. She was so eager.
    Not so much today, though. Much more subdued. Not pulling at him at all through the bond. And he should have felt triumph over that, but it was only the opposite. He'd lost there. Like a fool. Like always. His mind was his own worst enemy, and he had some formidable enemies outside that. 
    If he pulled her to his study, she might just stand quietly, now, and not try anything at all. Like having a cat declawed. What was he thinking? And to whom was he trying to prove anything? 
    And why muddy his mind with thoughts of her in the study, when there was a bed upstairs that she could be found in nightly? She was rotting his brain. And his prick was still cold. It was so hard to think with her here. What a mistake. 
    He stood abruptly. "Do nothing you think I would disapprove of. And try to think strongly." Yes, much better. That scare with the potion had been too much. It was one thing to have someone bound in obedience, but to know that there was a world of loopholes waiting to trip him was another. "Be in your room after an hour." Yes, just to make sure. It was hard to imagine what else they could think up together. Hard to downgrade his mind that much. Like trying to anticipate what a dog might think. He smirked as he left them, and sought out the safety of his study, where they couldn't bother him anymore.
    He sat and thought for a time. He'd recorded what the bond had done, as though it was his duty to warn the next poor chump. And the constant state of his living and breathing concealed the writing in the books where he'd recorded it. It wasn't the only bit of information recorded in such a way, either. And on his death, it would become visible, but for now the books were safe to be seen by anyone.  


    The next morning Neville knocked on his door, and Harry tried not to be disappointed by seeing a plate of food in the other boy's hand. He was being given food, after all. 
    "Sorry, Harry. He's in one of his moods today." 
    Harry nodded and felt at the bond as he said "thank you." Yes, his master was in a mood today. Morose was the word. The anger was there, as always but sharper, stinging. Harry's nose wrinkled, like that had anything to do with it.   
    Harry ate his breakfast, but at lunch Neville told him apologetically that there would be no paper that day. Harry frowned, remembering the risk he'd taken to get yesterday's, and how that would be wasted now that he would be forever missing today's. A little thing, though, he knew. 
    "That's alright. I have these to re-read." He had developed a little stack of them. He had nothing to write with, but he could still do the puzzles again. "Perhaps there's a pen here somewhere."
    "I'll ask if I can bring you a quill and ink. But he's funny today."
    "Right. Don't ask him today, then. It doesn't even matter."
    "He closed the curtains and the owl left with the paper. Then he took his plate to, well, to his study I guess. Since you have this. It happens sometimes." Harry nodded, and remembered Neville couldn't see that.
    "Right. That's fine, Neville. Thank you. I really can play with these some more. Maybe I missed something the first time."
    "Alright. Sorry, Harry."
    "Thank you." And he left. Harry went to his papers, and went to the window often, but Neville never went outside, either. Harry prodded lightly at the shields, enquiringly, but they were strong. Reinforced ice. Anger was there, beneath, and so much sadness. Snape was a sad man, this wasn't some revelation. But it was something that the anger was a little dulled, and then it pulsed, like it was fluctuating. Harry kept a mental finger on it through the day, since it was something that moved, flowed and changed, like the hands on the clock. Anything that moved was enough to catch his attention. It was a lot harder to kill time in storage like this with a fed brain that thought. 
    Dudley would never have neglected him like this. 
    The resentment there was something he needed to shelve. He had no right. The world was burning and he was starving for attention. Such an idiot.
    Neville brought dinner up later, quiet as ever, like the floor hid landmines. It must really have been rough down there some days.  

    He was sleeping, in the bed, and the door opened. Harry woke to the sound, having been a light sleeper for so long, but stayed still. He could feel it wasn't the Dark Lord, and that was all that would have been disturbing to him. It wasn't him, it was his master, of course. 
    Snape came to the bed and laid down beside him, and Harry tried very hard to stay still, but he could feel eyes, judging as they devoured, and it felt as though they should be weeping. 
    Harry breathed a deep breath for steadier nerves and looked at him. Snape still didn't move. And the grief poured through him to Harry, overwhelming. His own eyes filled with it, even though he didn't know what they were grieving. 
    He looked away, wondering if this was some punishment for something he'd done. Or what the hell it was. It dulled just a little with him looking away, so he stayed like that, actually fighting to not weep. This was torture. 
    Driven by the need to dull this pain, he turned back and put his hands on Snape's rigid face, light as air. Everything pulsed around the touch. Harry leaned in slowly and kissed him. Snape didn't move, but let his mouth be taken in this way, passive. Odd. So strange. The sadness rippled and flowed, and a longing, that Harry latched onto, and moved in a little more. Stroked the face as he moved, and licked at his lips carefully. Looked up at him, and put his hands in his hair. Was this what he wanted? He still wasn't pulling away, or deriding him for being forward, for touching him. 
    Harry moved from his mouth to his jaw, spreading it where he went, and trailed a hand down his chest. But he was still fully clothed. Fully. And smelled strongly of whisky but felt of sobriety. 
    Harry was further encouraged by the odd passivity from this man, and raised up over him, and his long red hair spilled over them both as uncontrolled as his hair ever was, but so much more of it now. Snape moved his head under the flow, breathing deeply, letting it spread messily over his face. And sighed loudly. 
    Harry felt a thrill and quickly lifted the rest of himself over him. He was going to get it all back here, if he could just push away this pain. He sat on the man's groin, and slowly moved against him, softly like he hadn't before, but deeply afraid to actually attack his buttons. They were the sentinels of the shields. He looked just below the man's chin and shakily tried at one, and wasn't stopped, but watched closely, warily. Like an untrustworthy dog that could turn. Harry looked back at the buttons and kept going as he moved his hips, not daring to speak. Second chances were precious things. 
    He nodded inwardly at the thought and leaned down for some more soft kisses that couldn't possibly be seen as a threat, and kissed the bare bit of flesh below the throat he'd managed to expose, and Snape groaned weakly. Harry licked it quick and backed away, moving for more buttons. What was it with all these? His hair was falling everywhere, always in the way. Harry should really do something about that, but hair had never been something to control, but endure. Harry kissed his way back up the neck and chin to the mouth, and Snape tilted his head to the side, but didn't rise for anything. 
    The wounds were still there, across his chest, but not so deep. Harry shied away from them, remembering the bond's quaking when he'd given them something last time, and stuck to what he didn't think would disturb this already disturbed man. 
    He moved down, licking the stomach he'd just worked so hard for letting the hair trail behind and around him. Snape was really enjoying the hair, so Harry let it do what it was doing. One thing here was doing something right. He was leaking into his robes already, in a couple places. His breasts, when they hung, leaked quicker. He didn't understand them very much, but he knew some of the things they did. 
    He had reached the man's crotch, and paused, hesitating, thinking of looking up and begging permission. Like that would get him further with this man. But words would break whatever spell had brought him here, Harry felt. And was he assuming again? But he hadn't been stopped so far. 
    He looked up quickly. His master was still watching him, still as a stone. But not inside. He was a storm. Gale force winds. Harry loved the feeling of being whipped about by it, because some of that was for him, or her, or whomever, but he was holding it. 
    And a long hand reached out and grabbed his. "Stop it." But it wasn't said roughly. If anything it was a question. A plea. Harry instantly stopped everything, and he was pulled up, his face to Snape's. "Not tonight." He held Harry's face at his neck and smelled him some more. "She could be watching." Harry looked around the room quickly, before he could think better of it, allowing his master's madness to infect him a little. They were of course alone. Snape was insane, was all. Just a little late night madness. Nothing to worry Harry, as he settled into a hold that was everything. 
    He stayed awake for hours, just to not miss any of it, practically on top of him, just his hips and legs resting on the bed. He would leak onto him, these things were something he was always conscious of, but he would deal with that in the morning. 
    Snape watched him, hours of staring, and the odd time he would reach out and stroke him, his hair, a tangled mess that he should care for better. If only for moments like this. But what was he supposed to do, keep it constantly in check for the odd chance Snape would touch him? Was it even worth the effort?
    Harry shivered over the thought of shaving his legs for this man. Should he offer? Men liked that, smooth legs. But again, it was a lot of effort for very little chance of payoff. And, further? Should he shave his lady bits? Snape had seemed to revel in his hairy muff, and Harry thought no, perhaps some maintenance there, but he didn't think Snape would want it bald. He seemed to be getting off on Harry's ginger hairs wherever they sprouted. 
    Funny thoughts to counter whatever had Snape on the verge of a mental breakdown. 
    Eventually he slept.

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