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

BY : SparklySprinkles
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Dudley/Harry
Dragon prints: 7521
Disclaimer: Fictional story based on fictional characters. I own nothing of Harry Potter, and make no money.

    Harry was rewarded for his good behavior when he woke, and drowned in the instant onslaught of love and gentle touches. 
    He rose after for his shower and was rewarded again on the way to the door as Snape told him that he was welcome to come down on his own for meals, provided he always wore the mask, and always stayed mindful of where the potions were in case of visitors. Harry nodded and thanked him, and left for his shower.
    At lunch Neville tried again to get permission for Harry to roast pumpkin seeds with him, and Snape shut it down with a solid No. Neville frowned, and Harry, for a second, thought he would go further, but he didn't, thankfully, and the rest of that meal, too, was done in silence. Until as it was ending, "Longbottom, I want you to cross the two species you have thriving in the basement."
    "Cross the two species?"
    "But -"
    "Try to find a way."
    "Yes, sir." Neville left, and Harry watched him go, content to know what the basement was. To have that space mapped in his head, and therefore existent.
    Snape sat still, staring at Harry until he felt it was probably time to move or something. "May I clean this up?"
    "I would like to see you in my study." 
    Harry nodded and rose, then followed the trail of confused, angry terrified love this man was haemorrhaging as he walked. Harry was soaked by the time the door was closed behind them, but still he knew better than to advance. Or make direct eye contact. He looked down but towards him, and followed, close enough to touch, but not assuming. His best imitation of grace. Until Snape was sitting in his chair, and he pulled Harry in until he was in his lap, back to the man's chest.
    "Perhaps now I can get some work done." Didn't seem like that made sense, but Harry wasn't going to argue, he was going to sponge. He settled in close and an arm wrapped around him like that was the right thing to have done. But perhaps Snape had been serious about what he'd said, because he really did pull up some papers and start reading them. Absently he waved them towards the door, or a shelf by it as Harry saw the familiar goblet sitting on it, "the polyjuice is kept there, in case of visitors." Harry nodded quickly then looked around the rest of the room, eager to map another space here in his head. He could know the whole house someday. 
    It was all luxurious looking, a warm fireplace, dark wood lining all the walls, books everywhere, neatly shelved. Bottles seemingly randomly placed on nearly every shelf, but Harry seriously doubted it was random. Third shelf on the left to counter stinging hexes, shelf over the mantle for the bottle to freeze opponents coming through the fireplace. All neatly planned out, most likely. 
    And perhaps he knew nothing about this man. He was really curious, then, and wanted to ask what they all did, but that would be reaching for too much, a very stupid thing to do when he was in the state of having everything. His mind drew in, to the chair and everything in it. And his eyes glanced over the paper, a letter attached to maybe five more sheets. He started reading, idly. And he was reminded, as the words soaked in, very viscerally, that this was a death eater holding him. Holding him.
     A muggle, in Sudbury, who'd been collared, forced to serve a family, and had poisoned the family. Verita serum had been applied, but no one knew what had gone wrong. So they had resorted to torture, constantly, and managed to get out of him, "I just wanted them to all die. That's how I fucking did it. Now just fucking kill me already." And there was more. It went on.
    Holding him. He moved a bit, and looked at the desk. Papers like this all over, and another potion bottle. Must have been important to be kept on the desk, in arm's reach. and under that a map of Spain. Or more, the north eastern quarter of it. And raised in places, like the land would be, the Pyrenees cutting upwards sharply, and a flat plane of Nothing above it all, keeping everything else on the desk from touching it. Harry stared and tried to understand what he was seeing, tried to compare it to the little bits the Daily Prophet said. The mountains were dotted red and green, and below that were a line, almost, of green with a fat one in the middle, and below that again, more red ones. And as he looked he noticed one dot move, just a fraction. 
    A hand started to stroke his thigh, and thoughts scattered for it. But the man was still concentrating, so Harry dind't think he was supposed to do anything. And he'd had his hand burned to many times to think he should try on his own. That remark about his uncle still stung when he thought about it, so he had to try hard not to. The trick here was patiently waiting until Snape had sufficiently convinced himself that Harry was her, and not move until then.   
    Snape turned the page over, and went over the next one. Not really having anything better to do, Harry read along. It was all the details for the letter before. Not pretty.
    The subject has of course failed all magic detection tests. However, to rule anything out we are keeping him in a constant state of distress in order to force a possible demonstration of something that was ruled out accidentally, as requested. Meanwhile, if the Dark Lord has some other use for him, he is of course available, and in usable condition for nearly all purposes.  
    The collar has passed every test recommended for inconsistencies, and has now been melted down to discover anything there. Will keep you informed.

    Harry's eyes passed that back to the room. He did rather like it in here, horrific torture aside. It was a warm room, and it was full of information. Not that he could do anything with it. Perhaps it had seen better days? He tried to imagine Snape running through this room as a child, and was unable. He couldn't see this man as a child. Some people had to skip that step. 
    The hand in front of him opened and the sheets flew to the desk, settled in a neat stack with others, and a new group came to his hand from a different stack. He leaned back again. Harry settled back with him, and when he couldn't look away anymore he read those, too. 

    My dear friend and most trusted advisor to the Dark Lord, 
To follow that last little bundle of good news I gave you, it occurs to me that I may need more holdings to pass on. Narcissa always did have a passion for the Loire Valley, and as you know we already have a summer home there. Of course, all I ask is that you do not speak against my requests at the next meeting, on the fifth. 
And in the future you may expect a crate of wine every Christmas, of course.

    They were on a first name basis with each other, though why that should have impacted Harry any more than anything else here in the desk was beyond him. Trailing behind that was the thought, with a tiny sense of empowerment, that it was the third.   
    Snape shifted Harry to one knee and leaned forward, pulled paper and quill to him, and had to move awkwardly around Harry. He tried to get out of the way, and was scowled at for it. Then Snape handed the quill to Harry and sat back, watching him. "Lucius," and stared at Harry until he finally picked that up and wrote it down. Like a bloody secretary. Dictated the short letter for him as he scrawled out his spidery writing. Harry frowned over the paper, and then frowned over his major concern being that Snape would disapprove of his smudging the ink. "Now, hold it still, please." He planted his hands where the ink wasn't, and Snape leaned in and signed it, Severus. Harry wrinkled his nose, but only because his master couldn't see it. 
    Papers changed again in the hands in front of him and he leaned back with them, settling back on both knees as he did. 
    It was a series of proposals for how the City of London should be replanned. Harry grew numb over that while his mind nearly disintegrated. The levels here. London. And rebuilding. The magnitude to which everything was over. He sank into the nothingness, lost in a fuzzy void, and was called back when something came through the bond, startling them both. A smugness, and Snape was trying to put it away, like it didn't belong. But it kept coming back, until he let it, and stroked Harry some more, and not absentmindedly, giving Harry some way to connect it to something. Harry pushed away every nasty thought that was forming. Snape was excited to have the love of his life here, in his room, not anything else. Harry moved for his hand, just a little. Lips stroked Harry's ear as asked softly, "you like it in here?"
    "Yes," he said quickly, a little conflicted. 
    "Good. Perhaps going forward you should spend your afternoons here. It's been difficult for me to concentrate lately." He leaned right back and put both hands on him, all intent and unfiltered attention, and Harry leaned back on him, until his eyes rested on a death eater's symbol, huge, and right over the mantle. Like a proud coat of arms almost, but the dark mark, on a wall. The skull looked very real, and Harry was positive in his mind that it was. Why would someone go halfway on such a thing? Green light flowed from it, and the snake emerging from its mouth was a very realistic carving, detailed scales, and glowing eyes. He leaned back and looked at Snape, who seemed to be looking at the same thing. He pulled his eyes away to stare back at him. "You don't mind this?"
    "No. I don't," he said seriously, and Snape stroked his face, held it and leaned in a kissed him, smiling slightly. 
    "You should." Harry nodded. He should. This was another snake's den, if he'd been under any illusions otherwise. He was in a room where world domination was being detailed. He licked his lips, but it just became more of the kiss, and his tongue was licked. "You did." He stared at him, and Harry felt very much like shrinking away or licking more at the lips so near his own. Or something. He felt tiny, inconsequential and stupid. The lips smiled. "Perhaps if you lifted your robes, you might get somewhere."
    Yes, that was the invitation. If he reached, his hand wouldn't be smacked. And he would be wrapped in wonderful instead of this queasy unsureness. This shaky ground. Harry was quick to grab it, and lifted himself to pull them right off his body, revealing every bit of wonderful he'd been distracted with for days. He looked behind him and felt a thrill over the look of wonder behind him, eating him up from thigh to crown. He waited a bit, gave in to a moment of sheer madness and moved his body for him, until hands came up and stopped it by pulling him back, just as he had been. 
    Snape held his face up and back, for the kisses he wasn't done with. Harry would have filled himself with this man, but he was still clothed. So he ate up what his mouth was being given, and moved against him, hoping, but not daring to grasp for more. 
    Snape reached out and a bottle flew to him from a shelf. Harry flicked his eyes to it as it was handed to him. He took it and drank, eager to show his trust. And curled a lip at himself for the uselessness of that sentiment. Snape could have just commanded him to drink. His body tightened in a weird and uncomfortable way, and he looked down, wondering. His bones felt as though they were rearranging in odd and small ways in very odd places. His breasts grew smaller. Not much. But smaller. Who would want that? He frowned, and held them. They were empty. He looked up at Snape, still holding himself, what he'd just lost. 
    Snape smiled at him, albeit a little coldly. "They'll return to what you had earlier in a few hours. But now they're just a little younger. A couple years, only. I get too distracted with you as you are. It makes me think things I would sometimes rather not." 
    Harry stared still, as he adjusted physically. Snape was insane. He blinked a few times, trying, for no good reason, to place this, to make it make sense. "You ... don't like them?" That couldn't be true. He'd seen this man grow drunk off them. 
    "I love them," he said in dead seriousness, as his hand tried to prove it with soft touches around Harry's hands. "And this is still them, just not so heavily claimed." Harry thought for a second, claimed by whom, a baby? But he would get nowhere with thoughts like that. Not right then. "I would rather you drink that potion when in this room." Harry nodded. If that was what he wanted, that was what Harry would do. The love had never wavered in all that. Steady like the earth beneath one's feet. Not going anywhere. Not dependent on the potion, the potion was just what Snape wanted in this room. 
    Snape pulled him in again, and Harry went with it, as one who's sole purpose in life was to go along with whatever it was. Harry was wondering if he should ask to turn around, but Snape's hand, the one not cradling his face, came up between his legs and parted his lips, stroked inside, soft and delicate. Harry sighed and melted for him, basking. Receiving everything. As long as he didn't look around the room, and kept his eyes on Snape's face. His hands switched, from the hold they'd kept like they could stop further loss, and he played with himself, rolling nipples and stroking the flesh, almost to see what else he'd lost, but as it turned out, it was no more than the actual milk itself. 
    Fingers pressed into him, and he moved with Snape's hand, pressing himself back into his master in little motions, and he could feel his cock pressing into him. He adjusted so it could just nestle between his cheeks, and kept moving, straining to get more of the long fingers inside with every stroke. All while having his face desperately sucked on like it was the source of life. 
    Snape moved his fingers in Harry with long strokes and his thumb stroked his nub steadily, stubbornly, until Harry came on him, gasping and arching himself over him, tightening his thighs to keep the hand close. Then he relaxed back, draping over the smiling man behind him, and caught his breath against his neck. Once he had, he was pushed forwards, off the man, until he was face down over the desk. He had a sinking moment to realize the map was ridiculously detailed; he could see little trees in the mountains and snow and lakes, all looking sickeningly real. Like the ground was thousands of feet below, and he was held above it by a flimsy desk. The coloured dots did little to reassure him it was just an image. 
    Vertigo caved to thrill as Snape got behind him and entered him, swift and harsh, making Harry moan for more and lift his hips for more of this pounding, as it became relentless. This was a new beast, and it felt amazing. And as raging as this was, it was still safe, as the love never wavered, just held him angrily as Snape slammed into him over and over, hitting new places inside him. Soon he was using the desk to drive back onto him, oblivious to everything but that.
    Soft grunts from behind coupled with Harry's crazed pants and cries, and the sound of impact, and there was nothing else. Hands rose to his shoulders to hold him in place, like he was trying to go somewhere. He wasn't. He was dying with it all, crying for it to never end. The grip on his shoulders eased after a time, and Harry lifted to look back. Snape was staring, hypnotised, as his cock reamed him. He slowly looked up Harry's back to his face and pounded some more, pulling moans from Harry for every deep thrust. 
    He slowed just enough to breathlessly ask, "you don't mind me being a death eater now, do you?"
    It took him a second to get over that shock. "No." He shook his head to help it. "Please, more." It was just what his master had wanted to hear, and he smiled. Those were becoming more and more common, and Harry had grown used to them, not mean sneers, but actual smiles showing delight, or surprise, and often, disbelief. This was a pleased one. But he didn't give the more Harry had begged for, and slowed a little more, while still keeping it drivingly deep. 
    "You should have chosen me."
    Harry pushed away the stunned dumbness to respond with the obvious. "You're right, and I'm sorry!" Harry watched as Snape frowned, and looked back down at his dick sliding in and out. 
    "Should have." Every time he lunged Harry moaned, and tried to grind back into him, but he didn't have much room for anything. Snape thumbed Harry's arse, pressing on his puckered hole, and Harry groaned low, wiggled more for him as a deep thrust pinned him to the desk again. He smiled a tiny smile. "You can't want that."
    "I want anything you give me."
    "You don't mean that," he said, leaking bitterness, like this was all Harry's fault again.
    "Oh, god, I mean that. Please, give me everything, I want it. I want whatever you give me. Please." Snape ripped his eyes away from his thumb to Harry's face and stared at him. This might have been a warning sign in the road, Harry wasn't sure. Was something hateful about to come out of his mouth? Harry jumped into the quiet quickly before that could happen, grinding back on him with the little give he had between the desk and the hips holding him against it, "let me show you how sorry I am." Snape pulled back and pounded again into him, resuming his insane pace as he held him down. It was fury and love, and Harry may have dodged a bullet, he still wasn't sure. 
    And Harry was getting a new piece of the puzzle, though his job was not to figure it out. But it was good to know that perhaps Snape had some rage for her. It was a little thing then, as Harry could only soak up the sensations and receive happily. He was shaking, trying to get more and more, always so greedy. But the hands held him down so he stayed there, using only his bottom half to grasp. 
    The man slowed and grabbed the bottle on the desk, dipped a finger in, and returned to Harry, stroking his arse slickly. He writhed for him, letting him know he really did want anything from him, and Snape growled as he shoved a finger inside, making Harry yelp. It melted into bliss in a heartbeat, as the pounding swallowed it, melded it into pleasure, and Harry went limp over the desk. A tiny thought, a stupid hope that Spain and a sliver of France were not in fact looking up and seeing this above as he drooled on them and moaned weakly. It was amazing. Nothing hurt about it, though it felt as weird as it always had, but there was a cock inside him, sliding deliciously and hitting fifty different good places, and it was heaven. 
    "Oh god." He grabbed a breast, since he didn't know what else to do, and that was his go to. He pinched his nipple and grasped onto the pleasure that this was giving him. And somewhere in all that Snape had given him another finger. Harry moved onto it, swallowing him up. Then the fingers curled inside him, fillling him and spreading goodness everywhere they touched. Harry was nearly liquid then. 
    And Snape didn't stop, didn't slow. He pounded, almost ruthless, and Harry let go of a breast to rub himself frantically. A hand reached for his hair and pulled him back, and Snape devoured his neck and face, making Harry moan harder as he answered what he could. His hair was released and fingers followed his own between his legs, resting over them for a bit as he reamed him, and Harry gave up on his own efforts, held Snape's hand close between his lips, and kissed back fiercely, giving little cries into the man's mouth.  
    Snape pulled back and groaned into his ear and pounded, and his anger was holding Harry too. Everything was. He was in that wall of angry love, inside. Warm and on the verge, and he spilled over, shaking and crying out as he came again for him.
    Snape slowed then, finally, stayed still inside him and Harry could feel his pulsing on the inside gripping his cock and his fingers, until they left his arse to hold his hips tight. His muscles let go and he eased in the arms, until Snape picked him up and sat back on the chair. Harry puddled over him, groaning for the new angle and nuzzling the man's chin behind his head. He ground back to let him know he would take whatever. 
    "You've leaked on my papers."
    "I'm sorry." Snape moaned under and over him, chest rumbling and chin rubbing along the top of Harry's head. "I'm sorry," he said again, with every ounce of earnestness he had. Thick he might sometimes be, but he was picking it up. He turned and looked back at him and licked at his chin and kissed him. "I'm sorry." He put some little kisses into it, and for purely the purposes of playing along, asked a stupid question. "Can you forgive me?"
    Snape looked at him soberly. "I don't think so." He'd asked the wrong question. A tiny flutter of panic because he might have broken the spell, said the wrong thing, as another part of his brain wondered if he could live with forgiveness being withheld, given the man would love him either way and he'd never committed the original sin they were talking about. He thought it was an easy trade. "Too much has been lost." 
    Harry nodded as somberly, as penitently as he knew how. "You don't have to forgive me. I'm still sorry." He moved his arse a bit, and Snape stared down at him, stroked his body and watched. He had to know Harry was playing along. Had to know everything, it was all so strange. Snape pulled his fingers out from between his legs, and Harry siezed the hand and licked it for him, knowing he would love that, and moved against him, getting some clumsy strokes in while looking up at him. Snape stopped moving along and watched, thinking what looked like a thousand tiny thoughts, until he started fucking Harry's mouth with his fingers. 
    Harry hadn't wanted to be forward before, fearing comments about his uncle, or worse, something that would hurt as much that he couldn't foresee, couldn't be ready for. But perhaps now, Snape would allow it. 
    He pulled himself off the man with a sad wince of loss, and turned around, knelt between his legs. Snape was still frozen, still watching. Harry moved quick, feeling his nerve crumble, and sank his mouth around him, looking up at him. He quickly dove as far as he could, not that far, before he was gagging, but when he did Snape gasped, and it seemed a good thing. Harry had felt a throat gagging on him before, and it wasn't anything short of amazing. He held close, to give him all those feelings for as long as possible, drooling uncontrolled to ease everything, then pulled off to slide his mouth on him for some strokes. Snape was still just frozen, held captive by the sight, or the feeling, Harry didn't know, but what he did know was that he was getting away with it. 
    A hand slowly came to his head, and stroked his face, lightly enough to not interrupt anything, just connect with it, like he was ensuring it was real or something. Harry fed off it, giving him some more throat action until he almost puked, then pulled off again, teary eyed, hearing little breathy moans above him then. The hand went in to his hair and gripped for just a second, then Snape pulled him off and pulled him up, back to his lap and thrust up into him, sliding through juices to pound until he came, and held Harry for a long time after, quieting himself and petting him. 

    After a long quiet time, Snape stopped stroking his hair and spoke. "You should hate everything about this. And I should be filled with hate for how everything ended, and I'm suddenly not. I could be happy like this," said in the deadest tone, "and I don't know who that makes me. I would like you to leave now."
    Harry nodded quickly. "Will you come up tonight?"
    "Of course I will," he hissed. "Now get out." That was enough. Harry would wait for that easily. And maybe grab the paper on his way up.  
    Snape came in that night, and Harry stayed quiet. Somber was back, and he kept his bits to himself. Snape had rooms and rooms, and this one wasn't that one. Harry really felt he was starting to catch on here. Snape was some cautious animal in this room, and the nasty professor at the table, and a death eater in the study. His master laid down and closed his eyes, and Harry came close enough to feel the man's body heat and nothing more. Closed his own eyes and went to sleep almost happily.  

    He woke in the morning and begged his master to empty his breasts again. Snape smiled and pulled him in.
    He was strange and passive again, instead of the strange and fierce he'd been in his study, and Harry had to work a little harder for it all here. But he didn't mind that. Who would, if they had that tidal wave of love waiting for them? It wasn't even work, it was feeding oneself. Reaching for dessert. 
    He was taken back into the study after lunch, and happily followed along behind him, wanting more and more. So greedy. He took the potion the moment it was handed, before they even sat down, and he kept his clothes on. He would do nothing until told to. Snape pulled him into his lap as before, and poured over documents again. Harry read some of them, and nearly every time wished he hadn't. But looking around the room required blinkers as well. 
    He had Harry take a letter, writing down a message for him as he dictated, and Harry tried not to think about that one, either. It was to General Nott about tightening his forces back up. He was too exposed. Harry wrote it all down, and Snape signed it when he was done. It went into what Harry had identified as the out pile, with a few others. Harry wrote a few more letters for him, all while sitting in his lap, and listening to his voice from behind some other unrelated report. Probably about torturing muggles. As Snape finally settled back with a healthy stack to read, he said, "I believe I am done with your transcription skills for the time. Your writing could use some improvement." 
    Harry could hear a smile in his voice, and nodded and said, "I'll try harder next time." A grunt swallowed that. "May I turn around?"
    "You may." He did so quickly, hoping to get himself filled. But no orders to undress followed. So he settled under the man's chin, and just rested against him. Snape stroked his back peacefully, and it really was just peaceful. A singular moment Harry had never felt before in his life. The sound of papers being shuffled, or exchanged with the ones on the table, and Harry almost fell asleep to it, but would come to and nuzzle a bit, and settle back into his peace. His net of love. He looked up at him after an eternity of this, and Snape glanced quickly at him. "Are you bored?" 
    Harry laughed softly. "I wouldn't know how to be bored, Pr- I mean, I don't, don't think I can be bored. I'm not." He looked down quick. He'd messed that up. But Snape seemed to be willing to let it slide. There was no rage. Harry turned his face up and put a quick kiss into the flesh of the man's neck, like a cross between apology and gratitude for not being raged at for that one. An eyebrow arched at him, and he had no idea what to do, so he stayed still. A slow smile followed, and the eyebrow was told to stand down.  
    "You ... puzzle me. How possible is it that you're trying to cultivate my madness as a long play revenge scheme?"
    Harry shrank back. The words were said affectionately, but that could mean anything. Could mean this man would fondly embrace the madness he freely acknowledged. And then where would they be?
    "I'm not?" It came out sounding more like a secret than a denial. 
    "You're not?" And he was still smiling. "Open up." And Harry knew what that meant, kept his eyes steady, as his brow furrowed in worry, and his mind was opened, and he felt it. Felt the pleasure nearly first hand, it was so thoroughly saturating his master. Admiration and wonder, and some disbelief. Snape poked around curiously, idly, looking at the past few weeks, unfolding them for Harry, then pulled out and shook his head at him. "You are the insane one, Potter. The structures you have, and their intricacies, if you had ever bothered to apply yourself to anything worthwhile, it could have been impressive. Could have been. And here we are." Harry had no words, no thoughts. Thoughts could have been taken from him anyways. Or reformed. "Tell me, would you do anything for me?"
    "Yes." He couldn't believe he was saying it, but the word had left him before he had to think, and he was grateful for that much.  
    "Yes, I can see it. It's all there. I feel as though it would only be right for me to return the favour." Odd words. Harry found himself looking into them for a threat, even though there couldn't possibly be. Not the way they'd been put together. 
    Snape let go of his face and he lowered it, back to the man's neck, and stayed there. He never should have looked up in the first place. He stayed still until he'd put himself back in the comfortable fuzz, and then he relaxed again. As he did Snape must have felt it, because he stroked him then, easing him further. Harry curled his fingers in the man's robes and settled in.  
    Eventually Snape grew bored of his tasks, and bent Harry over the desk again, pounded him as he had the day before, just as magnificently brutal, sending him away just as satisfied. 
    Harry retrieved his news paper and read it upstairs as he waited for dinner, then put it with the others. 


    Severus woke next to her, as he should, and of one mind, peaceful and contained, knew his war was over. Defeat and victory had come wearing the same colours, and in the moment he'd bowed to one, he'd seized the other. And now there was no more turmoil inside, as there had been for a few days, no second guessing about the correct way to go from here, those had all been after shocks. Not true battles, after the fact. If he thought he was still fighting something after that loss, then he was simply mistaken. 
    And all he needed to do from there was acknowledge it. 
    He was, as the words went, a happy man. Not a good one, necessarily, but that was seriously inconsequential when measured against all he had. Or the reasons he'd been who he'd been for years. The Reason. It was gone. It had all been revenge, and now he had her back. There was nothing left to avenge. 
    And. If one needed little bits of justification - and he was no such fool. But if he had been, or if he was trying to put it right to a Gryffindor, say, then one could squint, very hard, and perhaps see that he was still protecting her son. In a dark room, wearing darkened glasses, with a little confirmation bias already equipped before entry. But, he didn't need these things. He had Lily. The sweetest, most forgiving and loving version of her that was possible. He'd rewritten her. Not that she needed any improvement. Well. She could have been a little more forgiving. And now she was. 
    With a mind so suddenly unfettered and united he wondered how he'd made it through years fractured like that while escaping madness. 
    He made his first breakfast of her eager, grateful body. Then he found the table for his second breakfast, where he watched her eat and breathe and move quietly under her shroud. He wished she would make more noise, but this was the quiet room, after all. He wanted to set no inconvenient precedents here. 
    He went to his study after, gathered his stack of out letters from the day before and brought those to another room where he kept an owl, far from his other pets as a precaution. Then he received his own fresh stack. Everything was being revised. Everything was different, in his new acceptance. He'd turned a corner. Information was gathered differently, valued anew, and reassigned different piles with different destinations most of the time. 
    He went for lunch, and took his little prize back with him to his study after that. She sat in his lap, and he just held her. He didn't need to rile his blood too much before the meeting that evening. He needed his shields in place more than ever. And if he could build them with her in his lap, almost sacrilegious, but if he could, then that would be a solid step towards survival. He failed, but it was fun to try. 
    He sent her away as the sun fell low, and finished up what was needed in here. 
    Then, at dinner, with the least possible amount of warning time, since he would hand out no advantages to them for planning anything against him, he announced, "I'll be leaving you alone for the evening. Stay in your rooms, unless your life depends on it. Do nothing of which you think I would disapprove." He paused. "And think strongly before acting." He stared at both of them.
    Potter played with his fork nervously before asking, "you'll ward the house against everyone?"
    "I will." The softness in his own voice paused him. He didn't have long before he would need all that very much contained. "Anyone who would be a threat will be under my eyes. But yes, I will. No witch or wizard alive could pass the wards that I set up regularly around here." And, it wasn't true anymore that only Death Eaters were a threat. If Minerva came now for what he owned? He would fight in truth this time, and accepted that with everything else.   
    Potter apparently decided to push it. "We would be good if we could stay here, at the table." 
    Snape narrowed his eyes at him. "You could get me killed by even speaking to me this close to such a meeting. Please keep yourself quiet for the remainder of dinner, Potter." He nodded emphatically, like he really didn't want that, and Severus buffered himself inside against that, against the full minded pleasure of owning someone as almost completely as he did this being. And after a while of silence, once he was sure no emotions would sound, "you may go to your rooms when you choose, I suppose." Potter nodded again, but kept his mouth shut. 

    Severus was not reeling, not second guessing, as he perhaps could have been right then, or another man would have been, in his place. No crashing thunder, no sounding bells to accompany his second turn to the dark side. Just as there had been none the first time. And it still seemed incongruous that such moments should be unsounded, unrecognized in any way, even in his own head. There had been no other choice. This was the price of surrendering to - and then keeping - his Lily. And he knew that made perhaps, to some, questionable sense, but he also knew, as he made his leave of Malfoy Manor and company, that she was at home, waiting for him, right at that moment. And he also knew she would wrap him in herself if he turned to her in the bed she owned. If he reached for her and opened his arms she would fill that space. 
    He hadn't held back in the meeting. That felt strange, but not because he'd given valuable information to the Dark Lord's cause, but because he'd given information at all. That was a hard habit to form, and it just felt awkward every time he volunteered any information.
    And so.
    Reinforcements were being sent to Nott coming from France, to bolster his forces, to swing around from the south, trap the revolts between. And the strung out pattern of Nott's soldiers would wrap around, like a hand around a throat, while the werewolves would run all night to guard the foothills against the same being done to Nott's men behind their backs. It was a resolved thing. 
    The collar would not be given to forces. It was untrustworthy, and these were people that resisted change in all its forms. This was not just a thing of the magical community, it was a thing of humans. The collar was too new. Too many bugs to work out, and no one really understood how it was being overcome in small amounts. And Carrow had stated the bald fact that if muggles weren't being preserved in such high numbers, then the army wouldn't even be necessary. That had stilled the room, and then nods. Anyone could do math that simple.    
    Really, it had turned out that the time he'd spent sweating over the collars being militarized had been a huge waste. No one had spoken for that idea. No one had thought it a good one. And he supposed it may have made sense, that blood purists would resist giving magic to muggles and especially in such numbers, but Severus would never forget how the initial proposal had chilled his blood at the time. How he had found it a stroke of intelligence, and if he'd been in the Dark Lord's place, he would have made cautious use of it. 
    Lucius had asked for his fat tract of land in France, and no one said anything while the Dark Lord waited for greedy children to protest, or ask for their own gifts. Severus had stepped in, as Lucius had obviously requested in his letter, and gave precise numbers for how much they controlled, and therefore owned, specifically in the valley Narcissa had apparently been so fond of, and it was granted. 
    And then, Severus had spoken of noise here, at home, from opposing forces, those forces being the remnant of the Order. There was no one else, except for some malcontent muggles disorganized enough to be inconsequential. Minerva and whomever she'd managed to collect. Possibly the Lupins, as they had never been reported dead, but it was also equally likely that they'd run and hid to raise a child. Andromeda Tonks was being watched closely, obviously. Had been for over a year by then, but there was no news, ever. Just a grieving, lonely woman, living as quietly as she could. Shacklebolt was one Severus had often wished he knew more about. Nothing had been heard of him from the day Potter had been taken. His little radio appearances had stopped, messages supposedly from him had stopped, everything. The Weasleys were fully neutralized, with their two youngest being in the hands of people in that very room. Fairly convenient, as they made nearly a third of the order, or they had when everyone had been alive.   
    The Dark Lord had asked after Potter, or Harry as he softly called him, in front of everyone. It rankled, since Severus knew the weight of the use of that word, but he'd kept it under control. He would need to be forever very useful to the Dark Lord. More useful than anyone, if he wanted to survive this, and he very much did, suddenly. He was rejecting the price Dumbledore had decided for him to pay, that he himself had embraced for years, and it was jarring, confusing, and required rewiring of his brain. He was questioning every thought before allowing its existence, now, and many were rejected as suicidal madness before he was able to instill this new thought process in his head. 

    Severus came home excited to do so. Happy to be home, to call it home, to have his warm soft body waiting for him. He walked through his rooms, warding as he did every night, layering them, all doorways and the fireplaces. But now doing it with a highly suspicious bubble of happiness, of protecting what was his
    He came to her that night, in bed, and she opened her eyes to softly look at him, almost questioning. He hoped that he was answering what that question specifically was by opening his arms to her. She came in, as he knew she would, and he was nearly desperate to fill her. It was redemption and claiming at the same time. His new two favourite things. 

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