Title: Flesh and Bone
Pairings: Snape/Harry, Voldemort/Snape
Warnings: Angst, character death.
Summary: After the battle that should have been the final one, Harry wakes up in strange surroundings while Severus Snape waits for his lover to regain consciousness.
Disclaimer: Not mine, just playing.
Author's notes: Huge thanks to my amazing beta, chiralove.
Written for prompt #121:
Voldemort and Harry bodyswitch. How does Harry, in Voldemort's body deal with needing to play the part and/or convince someone (Snape? Draco?) to believe and help him. (suggested by ponderosa121)
Flesh and Bone
Jets of green light shot across the dark sky, accompanied by flashes of blue and red. A crossfire of hexes and curses illuminated the moonless night, fireworks of doom. Death Eaters and members of the Order, Dementors, werewolves and a single giant were the participants in this spectacle, this funfair of death.
The air around Harry Potter was still and stale. A milky aura surrounded him and his mortal enemy, a shield that was impenetrable until one of them fell. This was the only protection his lover had been able to provide for the boy hero, the guarantee that he would be left alone.
Harry's hand didn't twitch when he grasped his wand. He didn't shiver when he spoke the final words. He meant them with every fibre of his soul.
Was it his voice or Voldemort's that penetrated the thick air like a shaft of green steel?
Eruptions of light emanated from both their wands at exactly the same time. They met in mid-air, turned golden and sent strands all over the milky sphere that surrounded the wizards. The web of golden threads started to spin, faster and faster. It closed in on them, threatening to collapse.
Harry clutched his vibrating wand with all his might when his feet were lifted into the air. He was hauled into the centre of the maelstrom, and for the fraction of a second he saw Voldemort's face, petrified in horror. Then he fell.
Twisting and turning, Harry gripped the soft fabric of sheets. They slipped through his hands like water. Desperate to hold on to something, he dug into them with his fingers. The material surrendered, tore with a rasping noise. Harry dug deeper, enjoying the resistance of the sheets and the grinding sound of them being ripped apart.
He feared to open his eyes, feared that the dream wasn't over yet. The darkness behind his eyelids soothed him, comforted him in the same way that watching the ugly face of his lover did. "Severusss," he repeated, and the familiar name left his mouth distorted, a strange sibilant hiss. His breath rattled in his throat, and filling the lungs with air was difficult. Harry coughed.
"The traitor isn't here, Master," a woman's deep voice said.
Harry didn't recognise the smoky tones. Reluctantly, he opened his eyes. He must have had slept with his glasses on, his vision was sharp and clear. Dark hair greeted him, but not the lank and greasy strands he longed to see. Thick and shiny, the luxurious shock of hair before him belonged to someone else. He knew the heavily lidded eyes and the gaunt, skull-like face all too well.
"Bellatrix," he greeted Sirius and Hermione's murderer with a toneless laugh. That was it then, the end. But why wasn't he suffering pain, helpless and in chains? He shifted and pushed himself up, his arms were free to move. The only discomfort was a certain stiffness in his joints.
"Master, can I help you?"
Something wasn't right. He shifted some more until he was sitting upright and raised a hand to straighten his glasses, an unconscious gesture that became conscious when he found nothing to adjust. He looked at his hand. Those fingers reminded him of the legs of a large, pale spider. They twitched of their own volition, thin, long and hideous, the elongated fingernails like sharp daggers. Shreds of red silk adorned them like streaks of blood.
Severus' strict training alone - fools who cannot control their emotions - prevented Harry from screaming. He took a quick survey of his surroundings. He was sitting on a huge four-poster bed. The sheets and comforter glowed crimson in the half-light. Harry couldn't make out the source of the light - the candles in the magnificent chandelier weren't lit - but it seemed to emanate from everywhere, casting an eerie shimmer on every object in the room. The huge space was cluttered with antique furniture and sculptures - from Chinese terracotta warriors over Egyptian masks and statues to the busts of Roman emperors. Harry's eye fell on a glitter in the back. Tiny flashes of light were projected from a dozen or more silvery surfaces.
"Bring me one of those," he said to Bellatrix, pointing with a repulsive finger and trying hard not to let his voice break.
When Bellatrix returned with the mirror, a look confirmed Harry's suspicion. Voldemort's face stared back at him, petrified in horror.
Severus Snape was a shadow in the background. Under other circumstances, he would've welcomed this position - years of hard training had formed him into a perfect spy, a spectre among the living, invisible if he didn't want to be noticed, radiating nothing, not even the warmth of his body. Today he would've preferred another station. Every time he watched that fat Weasley woman dab her wet handkerchief to the sleeper's forehead, every time he saw the impudent girl press the hand of the boy in the hospital bed, he had to swallow back the bitter bile that rose in the back of his throat, burning him from the inside.
It had been three days since he'd brought an unconscious Harry back from the battle that should had been the final one. Severus hadn't slept a minute since then, never leaving the boy's side.
He folded his hands and cracked his fingers, slowly, one by one. Satisfied by the instantaneous success of his performance, he watched the redhead next to him raise his head like a meerkat that had spotted an enemy. "What is he doing here?"
"Oh Ron," his mother answered in a chiding tone, never stopping her useless fussing with the boy's forehead, "he has the same right to be here as we have. He's a member of the Order, and he saved Harry's life."
"He's nothing but a bloody murderer -"
"Ronald Weasley, apologise to the Professor at once. You know exactly -"
"As much as I loathe to interrupt this cheerful family moment," Severus said in his most scathing voice, reserved for annoying fools, "I have to ask you to leave. I'm here to guard Potter for the night."
Like the mother hen she was, Mrs. Weasley circled her fledglings and took them under her wings. Severus didn't pay attention to the inane twitter that suddenly filled the ward. His eyes were fixed on the boy in the bed, whose face was pale on the white cushions, almost ethereal. When the youngest Weasley chick pressed her hideous pecker on Harry's lips, it took Severus every ounce of self-control he could muster not to turn her into giblets. Then his ordeal was over. One after the other, the freckled brood followed their mother out of the ward, peeping hostile good-byes.
The moment the door finally closed, Severus Scourgified the bedside chair with such force that a rain of sawdust fell to the ground. After banishing the residue of the spell, he sat down and pressed a shower of kisses to Harry's hands, his forehead, cheeks and lips.
Harry was warm and soft to the touch, alive and breathing. Beneath the stench of useless potions lingered Harry's very own smell, the smell of grass and air and youth and dreams - Severus' dreams. Severus laid his head on Harry's breast to listen to the steady beating of the boy's heart and closed his eyes.
Harry's voice startled Severus from an uneasy slumber, haunted by images of that latest, fateful battle. Casting a quick Lumos, he looked around, but the sleeper hadn't stirred. His eyes were shut, and his breath was as regular as ever.
Severus renewed the wards on the door and cast additional ones on the tiny window above the bed before he sat down again and intertwined his fingers with Harry's. Relishing the feeling of Harry's hand in his - the fingers stubby with short, uneven nails and the palm calloused from handling the broomstick - Severus thought of all the times the boy had touched him.
Reluctant at first, those initial touches had served to confirm his realness to the boy, his humanity. - I never believed you to be of flesh and blood. I thought it was a ghost that led us to the Horcruxes like that. - Soon they became bolder. - But you're a murderer, nothing but a filthy murderer. Why? Tell me why. - After that first kiss, born of hatred and anger, that first kiss which ended in something so new that Severus could barely understand it, Harry's touches grew more and more intimate. Severus had given in and allowed the boy to explore this unfamiliar closeness. In the six months that followed they had shared everything, their love, their hate, their bodies, their souls. Harry had learned to kill, Severus to forgive.
The morning before the latest battle, Harry had finally put into words what had been hanging in the air between them ever since their embraces had become their lifeline. "I love you, Severus Snape," he'd said, and Severus had felt the touch of the boy's lips deep inside his being, imprinted with a much greater force than the brand on his forearm.
Severus touched his lips. It was as if the boy was calling him again, his name a whisper in the stillness, full of despair.
That morning, Severus hadn't answered the boy. He'd led him out of their hiding place in silence, knowing that he might never see him again. Without a word, Severus had turned to join the ranks of the Dark Lord to complete his work in the shadows.
"I love you, Harry Potter.
"Wake up, you selfish brat. Do you hear me, idiot? Wake up."
Neither his declaration of love nor his harsh words showed any effect. Harry didn't stir.
The voice in his head seemed to mock Severus, was just a reflection of his own despair. He let go of the hand he was still holding and retreated into the shadows, an invisible watcher once more.
When Kingsley Shacklebolt arrived to relieve Severus from his duties, he was sitting at Harry's side again. Severus greeted Shacklebolt with a nod and vacated the chair. They exchanged a few words about the lack of news - no calls from the Dark Lord, the boy's condition unchanged, the Order still in the process of regrouping - before Shacklebolt sat down and immersed himself in the morning Prophet.
Not much later, the door opened for a second time. Enter the Weasleys, in single file and babbling. "One, two, three, four, five," Severus counted under his breath. "Where's the dragon tamer today, Molly?" he asked. "Is he keeping watch over the werewolf?"
"Professor, what charm do you use -"
"- to keep your hair -"
"- greasy like -"
"- a monkey's arse?"
"My my, I would've thought the inventors of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes capable of more creative insults. What a pity that -"
"Snape, you bloody -"
"Do you enjoy that your best friend is unable to speak right now? Finally the sidekick has the chance to get a word in."
"You bastard -"
Mrs Weasley shoved her massive body between Severus and her freckled offspring. "Enough of that. Have you forgotten what place this is and why we're here?"
In the meantime, the youngest Weasley chit had all but climbed the bed, salivating over the sleeping boy. She grasped her mother's arm. "Mum, look. Harry. He's ..."
Severus didn't listen anymore. His attention was focused on Harry. Pale and ethereal, he was lying on the bed, stock-still, his eyes wide open.
Harry opened his eyes. He was still lying in the same luxurious bed, and Bellatrix Lestrange was still sitting at his side. He gripped the handle of the mirror and raised it again. He had to face reality, and even if the truth was a nightmare, he had to confront it in order to survive.
Voldemort's face was still there, snake-like, nose-less and with burning red eyes. Harry took a deep breath. It was eerie to see the nostrils, mere slits, open and close. Breathing still hurt. Harry watched the reflection for a while, opening his mouth to inspect teeth that looked as if they were sharpened with sandpaper. Harry blinked, and the monster in the mirror blinked in answer. Harry raised an eyebrow, and his adversary did the same. Harry twisted his lips, and he was grinned at with malice.
After long moments, Harry returned the mirror to Bellatrix. "Put it back where it belongs and give me my wand."
When Bellatrix fidgeted, he wondered if Dark Lords were supposed to say please, but her next words assured him that she didn't suspect him to be an impostor.
"Master," Bellatrix said and fell to her knees, "My Lord, I'm afraid I have bad news."
"Potter. He somehow managed to create a shield so that we haven't been able to get through to you. When the bubble collapsed, you were lying both lifeless on the ground. I," Bellatrix lowered her eyes, "I managed to Disapparate with your body, Master. Snape took the boy. He never turned up with him. That slimy traitor has betrayed us to those idiots that he pretends to spy on."
"I trussst Severusss Sssnape," Harry said, quoting Dumbledore in Voldemort's voice, not blinking when the hissing sounds reached his ear.
"My wand, Bellatrix, did you bring my wand with you?"
"The rat secured the wand that was lying next to you. Unfortunately -"
"What?" Harry asked, scratching a scaly spot on his forearm with dagger-sharp nails.
"Master." Bellatrix laid her head next to Harry's knees, her face pressed flat against the bed so that her words were muffled by the mattress. "My deepest apologies, My Lord."
"What happened?" Harry's hand twitched with the impulse to rip out her black locks that were spread all over the bed, shimmering in the half-light.
"The rat. He brought Potter's wand instead of yours. Your wand is lost."
The woman on the bed shrank into herself as if preparing for chastisement. Harry wondered if he should meet her expectations, to be up to Dark Lord standards. He longed to sink those nails into her flesh, to rip Hermione's murderer apart like the crimson bed sheet, to see the blood of Sirius' killer run through his hands. Harry clenched his fingers. The slight pain when those nails pierced the flesh of the palms soothed him. "Tell the rat to bring me Potter's wand," he ordered.
Like a painting so beautiful, the boy beneath him was a symphony in white and red. His flushed cheeks matched the colour of his lovely prick, lying flat against the cream plains of his belly - a feast for Severus to devour. Only that he couldn't.
Severus stroked Harry's hot flesh like a priest caressing the image of a deity. Incapable of befouling his idol with the stench of his own repugnant carcass, this hideous sheath of an even more hideous soul, Severus retreated.
The boy opened his eyes. Huge behind glasses, they saw everything. Severus longed to hide himself and grabbed for the blanket, but Harry would have none of it. "Please," Harry said, and when his hand touched Severus', an electric shock made Severus' whole body jerk like that of a dead frog on a dissection table when touched by the animating spark of a Potions Master's wand.
"Please," Harry repeated. "I want you, Severus."
The whole world turned upside down. For the first time in his life, Severus Snape was happy.
Severus was owned. From the tips of his toes to the roots of his hair, the boy was all over him, prodding, pinching, pulling and biting. "Severus," he said in a sweet voice, "turn around, lovey."
Harry grinned his most angelic grin. "I want to ride you properly."
Severus hated to do Harry's bidding. It was his favourite pastime these days to watch the boy alive, his whole body flushed with heat and in the throes of passion. Severus' greatest pleasure, to see his lover's beautiful face at the moment of orgasm, enraptured and glowing with ecstasy, was denied him more and more often. "Let's do it the other way round tonight," Severus said, tenderly stroking his knuckles along the boy's cheekbone, "you can mount me like a unicorn does a virgin." He hooked his legs behind his arms and presented himself shamelessly.
"You're not much of a virgin, old man." The boy's laughter was like a shower of sleet on naked skin. "And I believe my horn," Harry stroked his stout prick with reverence, "is much more accommodating than the over-dimensioned and unrelenting sting of a beast."
He pinched Severus so hard that his nails had to be leaving a red pattern on Severus' sallow skin. "Not that I'm going to relent, mind you. Turn around now."
Severus caught the hand that was about to slap him. "You should take better care of your fingernails," he said, viewing the nails that had grown into tiny daggers during the boy's recovery, "or you'll hurt somebody."
Harry laughed his sleet laughter again. "I like them that way," he said, freeing his hand and poking Severus' side. "Stop being a bore, your days as a nasty professor are over. Turn. Around.
Giving in to his tormentor, Severus changed his position on the mess of sheets that was his bed. He should've been glad for the privacy of his own bedroom at Grimmauld Place where even Shacklebolt had to share his space with Mad Eye Moody, but sometimes he wanted Harry to be open about their relationship, now that Severus was at least halfheartedly accepted as one of the good guys, an expression that made him sneer every time he heard it.
"Hey," there was the incessant prodding again, "don't take a nap, sugar-daddy."
Ice pellets raised goose bumps along Severus' spine. Then another sensation took over. Voldemort's wand - Severus didn't know why Harry had begun to use the instrument of so much pain - poked Severus' hole. As soon as the tip was pushed inside, a tingling warmth filled Severus. Covered in a slippery sheath, the wand glided in and out, in and out, before being replaced by a much plumper intruder.
Severus was in heaven. Whatever unpleasantness had passed between them during the last few days, Harry's odd behaviour since he'd woken from his curse-induced coma, everything was forgotten in this moment of bliss. Receiving the boy's thrusts and opening up to the force of nature that was his beautiful lover overwhelmed Severus. Being connected to Harry in this intimate way was a gift he wasn't worthy of, but that, after their first time together, he nevertheless had decided to enjoy to its fullest. Since Harry was bound to tire of him, Severus was determined to change his spots for once and grasp the day.
Grasping the bed sheets instead, rumpled and semen stained, Severus braced himself against the onslaught of sensations. With every stroke of his gorgeous cock Harry touched him to the core, and Severus had to shut his eyes to keep tears from spilling over. Severus was close, so close that he could taste it, when his left forearm began to ache.
Severus shifted on the bed to rub the stinging Mark. It wasn't the same pain as when being called, and he was unsure about the origin of the odd twinge that had been bothering him over the course of the past week.
"What is it?" Harry asked, slamming into Severus.
"Don't lie to me. Is it the Dark Mark again?"
Severus only nodded while Harry pounded into him even more vigorous than before.
"You. Are. Mine." Harry moaned, each word a thrust. "Don't. You. Ever. Forget. That."
"Yes. Yours. Always." Severus answered, stuffing parts of a dirty bed sheet into his mouth to keep himself from screaming.
"Mine." Harry stilled and grabbed Severus' arm, clawing the stinging brand.
Pain and pleasure became indistinguishable, and Severus shot his load seconds after his insides were flooded with hot spunk. Severus opened his eyes. Tears fell on his burning arm where bloody streaks adorned the blemish. Semen ran down Severus' legs as Harry slipped free to jump from the bed.
The boy turned at the door, clothed and pristine. "Don't you dare dress or clean up. I want you waiting for me like that, lovey." Leaving, the boy's laughter followed him like a train.
Wormtail writhed on the floor. "One, two, three," Harry counted under his breath before he said, "Finite Incantatem," in that high pitched voice that made every word he spoke seem less real.
"Let's try again."
Wormtail got up and kneeled before Voldemort's pompous throne, his face a mask of pain and despair. "My Lord," he said in a dull voice, watery eyes bulging.
On Harry's nod, Wormtail stretched out his left arm and pulled the sleeve back past his elbow. The Dark Mark glared in an aggressive red, both eye-sockets as well as the snake's head oozing droplets of blood.
Harry pressed his forefinger to the cankerous brand, breaking the skin with the fingernail. When his magic began to flow, running through his body with the force of an electric current to accumulate where his nail met Wormtail's flesh, Harry closed his eyes and concentrated on Severus Snape. His lover's face materialised in the fog behind his eyelids, and Harry knew that if he only concentrated enough, if he kept focused, that he would be able to call him.
Wormtail's screams echoed through the vast space of Voldemort's throne room, and he struggled against Harry's grip. After immobilising Wormtail with a casual wand-movement in order to prevent him from changing into his Animagus form, Harry's attention riveted on Severus once more. Pale against the rainbow colours that were now swirling behind Harry's eyelids, his lover's face grimaced as if in sudden pain.
His lover opened his eyes, and it was as though he looked right in Harry's face. "My Lord," those thin lips formed, and then everything went dark.
When Harry came round again, Wormtail was lying motionless on the floor, the brand on his arm a smouldering black.
Harry released Wormtail from the body-bind. The instant he was free, the fat little man vanished, and a mangy rat appeared. It scuttled away on tiny claws that skidded on the white marble floor, leaving behind a minuscule trail of blood, intricate like a pattern on one of the lace handkerchiefs Aunt Petunia only used on Sundays for church.
Leaving his room and closing the door with a resolute thud, Severus caught the first breath of fresh air in days. The odours of Grimmauld Place weren't pleasant, the prevalent smell a mixture of dust, mold and Mrs Weasley's favourite cleaning potion, a cheap concoction that Severus wouldn't advise his worst enemy to use - on second thought, it would make the Dark Lord's precious artefacts lose a bit of their all-too-shiny appearance - but in comparison with the stink of his room, anything was an improvement.
Severus was sure that Harry had placed a compulsion charm on it. What else could have made him stay inside that stinking abode of stained sheets and sullied clothes with the window locked and without even trying to clean himself? It was of course rather sweet of Harry to want to keep him safe, but the idiot boy had to learn to set his priorities straight. As long as the threat of the Dark Lord still existed, they had to put their private affairs on hold.
It was the Dark Lord's call that had made him finally break the stupor he'd found himself in since his last sexual encounter with Harry. At long last, the brand on his arm had provided the information where to find his former master, and Severus was determined to learn if his cover was still intact. He hadn't decided if he would inform Harry and the Order of the new development, or if he'd sneak away so as to not disquiet the boy.
Severus met Shacklebolt on the landing, and that tipped the scales in favour of discussing his plans with the Order. It wouldn't do to leave them in the dark and to make Harry worry.
"Severus," Kingsley said, "what are you doing here? I didn't know that you were staying at Grimmauld Place. And why are you upstairs and not at the meeting?"
"I could ask you the same thing."
"I was looking for Moody. He wanted to tell me something incredibly important, but didn't turn up at the secret meeting place, and he isn't in our room either. God only knows what the old warhorse is up to now." Kingsley threw up his hands in mock despair. "You know how he is."
"The last time you made fun of him like that it turned out that Crouch Junior had him stowed away in his own trunk."
"You know what, Death Eaters worry me the least right now."
"What's the matter?"
"Did you see Harry lately?"
On Severus' nod, Kingsley continued in a low voice. "Didn't you notice something odd about him?"
Severus shook his head, not willing to betray anything of their private life.
"I mean, the way he gets Arthur and Minerva to do what he wants, his atypical attempts to control everything, don't they strike you as peculiar?"
"Do you criticise him for assuming responsibility for his life?"
"I'm not sure if that's what he's doing."
Severus watched Kingsley, the serious expression of his face and the deep lines around his eyes. The war was taking its toll on every one of them. Unsure what conclusions to draw from his observations and the information Kingsley had provided, Severus chose to wait until after the meeting and a chat with Harry before admitting Kingsley into his confidence. Something was well and truly wrong, and Severus would find out what it was.
"Let's see what this meeting is all about," Severus said, following Kingsley down the stairs.
On entering the kitchen, Severus was greeted by a sight that reminded him of Da Vinci's Last Supper. Harry, presiding the meeting at the middle of the wooden table, was framed by the two youngest Weasleys. The freckled chit had even had the audacity to lay her head on Harry's shoulder, where the boy was petting it with absentminded strokes as if it were a hairy lapdog. Minerva was seated at the left end of the table, absorbed in a vivid discussion with Dedalus Diggle and Elphias Doge. More Weasleys, Remus and Tonks occupied the other side. Arthur and Molly, openmouthed and with their hands poised over their goblets, seemingly unaware of the twins jumping up and down behind them, were watching the man standing in front of the table.
With his short-cropped hair and the black-and-white uniform robes, Percy Weasley looked every inch the aspiring Ministry official. He radiated confidence and power, and Severus wondered how a Weasley could have fallen that far from the tree. It was of course not much of an improvement, having left idiocy and obnoxiousness behind just to become a second rate jester at the court of an even bigger fool.
"I'm glad to welcome you here today, Percy," Harry said, smiling a most brilliant smile, even though it didn't reach his eyes. Eyes like the Killing Curse, beautiful and deadly, Severus thought and shook his head to dispel his morbid notions.
"Today is a historical day the importance of which I can't emphasise enough," Harry continued, rising from his chair. "Our children," he petted the red mop at his side, "and the children of our children will speak of today as of the beginning of a new era. United, the Ministry of Magic and the Order of the Phoenix will defeat the evil that is threatening the Wizarding World. Together we'll rid our society of anyone who assumes the position of Dark Lord.
Harry raised his goblet. "To our victory."
Those seated at the table rose to their feet and took their own cups. On Harry's sign, dozens of goblets materialised out of thin air and made their way to the bystanders.
"To our victory," a chorus of voices rang out.
Severus watched the goblet that was hovering in front of him for a moment. It was made of green glass, green like Avada Kedavra and Harry's eyes, so green that it made the red wine inside look as black as soot. The cup nudged Severus' chin, and he noticed the scents of cinnamon, cardamom and clove. It smelled like the potion his mother had made for him when his father had beaten him senseless. Later she'd used it to soothe the pain from the Dark Lord's Cruciatus.
Enticed by the flavour, Severus took the vessel in his hands. It was warm to the touch, almost as if it were alive. Comfort was the word that came to his mind, safety. He raised it to his lips and was about to sip when his eyes met Harry's.
"Severus," the boy said in a high-pitched voice that bore no resemblance to the way Severus was used to hear his name being spoken by his lover, "how good of you to join us.
"Gentlemen," Harry nodded at a group of Aurors behind Percy, "do your duty."
The Aurors turned against Severus. Before he had a chance to react, they had disarmed and Petrified him.
Kingsley, who'd been leaning against the wall next to Severus, turned around. He looked like a half-wit with his eyes wide and his tongue sticking out, frozen at the corner of his lips where it had been licking the last remnants of his drink. "What is all this about?" he asked in a slow, dream-like voice.
Percy Weasley positioned himself in front of Severus. "Severus Snape, I hereby arrest you in the name of the Ministry of Magic on charges of murder, espionage and treason."
It seemed as if time stood still, but then everything was in an uproar. McGonagall was the first to join Kingsley at Severus' side. "What's all this about?" she barked at Percy.
"Silence," Harry said, and everyone obeyed as if under a spell. "I never trusted Snape and suspected that the Pensieve memories exonerating him of Dumbledore's murder had been tampered with. Tests at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement have confirmed my suspicion. Furthermore I'm sure that he cast a dark spell on me during the latest battle. A spell that put me in a coma and enabled the flight of the enemy."
"I knew it," the sidekick howled, jumping over the table to lunge himself at Severus. When McGonagall and Kingsley held him back, he spat in Severus' face.
Severus hardly noticed. His eyes were fixed on Harry, who smiled an odd little smile and blew him a mock kiss. The last he saw when the Aurors carried him away were the boy's eyes, flashing green and deadly. Severus wept.
Asleep, Severus Snape was beautiful. The looks of Harry's lover had nothing of a Malfoy's perfection, nor did they resemble Bill Weasley's former resplendence, dazzling with colour and youthful verve. Severus' beauty was harsh lines, shadow and light.
With his finger, Harry followed the path of thin lips, relaxed under the spell of sleep - a gaping wound finally healed. Careful not to rouse the sleeper, he kissed the tip of the nose - a sculptor's masterpiece, speaking of character and strength. Black smudges under the eyes accentuated Severus' translucent colouring - a complexion worthy of a queen.
Harry watched his lover's pupils move under closed lashes. Afraid of nightmares of impending doom, of bad omens determining the outcome of the battle before it had even begun, Harry kissed him awake.
Relaxed lips tensed at first, then yielded and opened. Harry put all his confidence in the kiss, all his faith and all his love.
Knowing that sometimes a demonstration wasn't enough, he spoke. "I love you, Severus Snape."
Harry was huddled on Voldemort's throne, his arms around his knees, his feet naked. His robes had ridden up to his thighs, and he was scratching two spots on his lower legs. Both his insteps and shins were covered with patches of sore crusted skin and open wounds. After a while, he stopped to have a look at his nails, filthy with flakes of dead skin, pus and blood. He touched his wand, that was jammed between two heads of the wooden hydra, adorning the left armrest of the throne. With his nails clean again, he concentrated on clawing the inside of his knees.
When he heard a clatter from the antechamber, Harry quickly pulled his robes down and took his wand. "Crucio," he said the moment Bellatrix entered.
"Why are you disturbing my peace, woman?"
"Master, my apologies. We have news about Snape. There's a reason he didn't answer your calls. It seems he isn't a traitor after all."
After another three seconds of Cruciatus - "never call him that again, he's my most trusssted ssservant," - Harry took the copy of the Daily Prophet from Bellatrix's shaking hand.
Severus Snape was huddled in a corner of his prison cell at Azkaban. He noticed the filth and the water running down the walls even less than he had noticed the hands of the Aurors that had grabbed him and brought him here without a trial.
Back and forth, back and forth he rocked. His eyes were closed, preserving the look on the boy's face, Harry's green stare of destruction.
Azkaban was a mere rock in the North Sea, hidden from Muggles, buffeted by gales and shielded by Anti-Apparition wards. There were no buildings other than the ruins of a lighthouse, used by medieval wizard-pirates to lure innocent Muggle ships onto the nearby shoals where they would be easy prey to the plunderers. The prison itself was blasted into the stone, a labyrinth of tunnels and caves. It had only one entrance, a tiny hole half below the waterline, indicated by a massive rock overhang that Harry was looking for.
What had seemed to be a good idea at the time - borrowing a thirty feet longboat that had been bobbing up and down at its anchorage ground at Lerwick harbour in Shetland[x], the nearest place to Azkaban where they could Apparate - turned out to be a huge mistake. Not only was the boat too big to be easily manoeuvred, it was also leaking like a sieve. The magic of all the surviving Death Eaters was needed to keep it afloat. Harry watched them on the thwarts, Grabbe and Goyle senior, Walden McNair, Avery and Nott, stock still and frozen in the ice cold of the storm, concentrating their power to hold off the water. Bellatrix and Wormtail at the bow were steering the ship.
A flash of lightning illuminated the scene and showed Harry their destination. He raised his wand and the boat circled around itself like a huge compass needle before it took a flying leap in the direction of the rock. The Death Eaters tumbled when the intricately carved dragon head at the bow collided with the cliff. Another movement of Harry's wand made the wooden beast lower its head as if greeting the inhospitable stone, forming a bridge for them to enter the prison.
After the last Death Eater had made her way into the cave, Harry crossed the dragon head bridge and jumped inside. The entrance cavern was small and circular, with a dozen tunnels leading in every direction. Avery and Nott had already killed two guards, and Harry hurried to save a third from the same fate, a little man with sandy hair who threw himself at Harry's feet. "My Lord, have mercy. I'm a silent supporter to your cause."
"Are there any more guards?"
"No, My Lord. Only the three of us. Have mercy, please, My Lord."
"Where are the prisoners kept?"
"There's only one prisoner, he -"
"Yes, My Lord. Have mer -"
"Where is he?"
"There," the guard pointed in direction of one of the tunnels, "the first cell to the right."
Harry Petrified the little man with an absentminded wave of his wand. "McNair, take him out of the way. But don't waste your energy on cursing him, you might need it."
Back at the entrance, the dragon was still bowing its head. With a swish and flick, Harry released the ship from its bonds. As soon as it started to drift away, Harry raised both hands. Fiery tongues materialised, dancing around each other and forming a red-hot sphere. A sudden movement of Harry's arms, and the fireball whizzed out of the cave to collide with the rudderless boat.
"Master, what are you doing?" Wormtail asked fearfully. "We won't be able to go back."
"The rat is right for once, Master. What's your plan?" Bellatrix said.
"Don't you see that this is a trap? They'll come for us soon," Harry answered, spidery fingers twitching.
"But Master, why then did you destroy our only means to get away from here?"
"Do you think, rat," dagger-sharp nails sank into podgy flesh, "that I am so easily snared? This place is as much a trap for them as it is for us. The Potter boy will come for me, yesss, and we won't need an extra vessel. Only one of us will leave this hellhole alive."
Hiding the hands of a monster in the sleeves of his robes, Harry watched the burning ship drift to the horizon.
The voices in Severus' head intermingled, became indistinguishable, and he didn't know if he heard his lover or the Dark Lord calling him. Pressing his fists against his ears and squeezing his eyelids even tighter shut, he continued his monotonous movements, back and forth, back and forth.
Back and forth he rocked, back and forth. Harry didn't love him anymore, never had. He'd used him like everybody else had, like his Slytherin classmates, like Dumbledore and the Dark Lord. Hell, even his mother had used him, as a buffer between herself and his father's wrath. Back and forth, back and forth.
Back and forth. - When hands touched his shoulders, Severus was on his feet within the blink of an eye. No matter how hopeless the situation, he wouldn't go down without a fight. Wandless, he depended on his strength and reflexes alone. Kicking with both his feet and at the same time pushing his fists forward, he made contact with something soft. The struggle that followed was one-sided and short. Severus could hear the laboured breathing of his adversary, his coughs and expletives. Then it was over.
Severus opened his eyes. He was unable to move, not Petrified, but held by strong arms. His head was pressed against the dark fabric of robes beneath which he could hear the rapid beating of a heart. A hand started to stroke his hair, and Severus turned his face upwards.
Red eyes greeted him, slits for a nose and the grin of a madman.
Something wasn't right. The stroking intensified. The heart stuttered. A kiss was pressed to his forehead.
"Shush, Severusss, take a closer look."
Red eyes opened wide and beckoned him inside, beneath the hideous shell.
Harry lowered them to the ground where he'd placed his cloak and a cushion charm. Severus was too thin in his arms, fragile, different. With a motion of his wand, Harry created a shield that glowed in the half-light of the cell, generating warmth and preventing the Death Eaters from eavesdropping.
"What did he do to you?"
"Nothing too bad, Potter, don't you worry your idiot brain too much."
Severus' sneer made Harry's heart ache, made him want to kiss the mock scorn from his lover's lips. Harry smiled at Severus' effort at normalcy, but then he remembered that his smile looked depraved and threatening on Voldemort's face, and he hid it behind a hand that was hidden in his sleeve.
"Tell me," Harry said in the demanding voice he had cultivated during all those weeks of living inside Voldemort's flesh.
Severus raised an eyebrow. "Snap out of it. Wallowing in self pity is not only futile, it's dangerous. The Ministry has set up wards around the rock, undetectable when passed from the outside, but impenetrable from the inside. They will drain every unauthorised wizard or witch of their magic if they even try. It was foolish to come for me, and now you're as much of a prisoner as I am. We need a plan to get out of here."
"Oh, I have a plan."
"You have?" The brow rose higher, and while it questioned Harry's intelligence and strategic abilities, it also insisted in establishing their old familiarity. Harry's breath hitched in his throat and his heart fluttered.
"You'll stand sentry at the entrance hole whatever happens, is that clear? Make as many prisoners as possible. Don't kill them, Petrify them, they might be useful. When you capture Potter, you'll bind him, but leave him his wand. Wormtail will bring him to me. Wormtail, I repeat, not you, Bella, and none of the others. You'll defend Azkaban to the last man. Understood?"
Severus watched Harry giving orders as if being the Dark Lord had become his second nature. He had to look closely to recognise Harry in the scaly monster that was standing in the middle of a circle of kneeling Death Eaters, cold as ice and focused on his speech. It was a difficult exercise, but he succeeded, detecting Harry in the way he moved his head sideways, in the small gestures of his hands, in the little twitch of his eyes that weren't all red and deadly, but warm and comforting for the fraction of a second when they fell on Severus' face. If he was able to discover Harry in the monster, why hadn't he noticed the Dark Lord's presence inside Harry's beautiful flesh?
"Snape will accompany me."
Harry's words startled Severus out of his reverie. He rose to his feet and bowed his head. "My Lord."
The other Death Eaters followed his example, but Harry stopped them before their circle dispersed. "Remember, my faithful servants, that this is the night of decision. My magic will protect you, I will weave my web and lure our enemies into the trap where you can capture them. Tonight the foolish boy will fall, and we will establish our Dark Empire for eternity."
While the Death Eaters applauded, Harry took Severus by the hand, and together they climbed out of the hole and onto the surface of Azkaban Rock.
Again they were huddled in a corner, sheltered by the warmth of Harry's magical shield that illuminated the darkness with its soft golden glow. The only difference was that now they could see the night sky, the storm-lashed sea and the burning boat that had run aground on the shoals. The ruins of the medieval lighthouse provided an ideal hiding place, perched on top of the rock like the aerie of an eagle, overlooking the whole world. Harry had warded it against intruders, a tedious exercise that had taken him nearly half an hour to complete. Severus was sure that not even an ant could find its way inside without setting off the alarm.
"Show me again."
Severus shook his head. "I've demonstrated it three times, that's enough. Rest assured, the wand you brought for me is working. Not like my old wand, but well enough."
"Everything has to go according to plan. To the last detail. You know how important that is." Harry jumped to his feet and paced the small space between the crumbled walls.
"Calm down. It's equally important that we don't exhaust ourselves in advance."
Harry kicked a heap of rubble, causing a miniature avalanche that landed right on his foot. "Ouch," he exclaimed, grabbing the afflicted appendage while hopping around on one leg.
Severus couldn't help but break out into laughter.
"Do you know how ridiculous you look, dancing about like a stork in heat."
Dark Lords don't grin sheepishly, and the grimace on Harry's face looked menacing, but Severus had learned how to read it. "Sit down," Severus said, patting the spot beside him.
"Do you think it'll work?" Harry hid his face under Severus arm, making odd noises with his nose.
"I know that I can cast the protection sphere exactly the way I did before. I do not know if the Dark Lord is stupid enough to subject you to the Killing Curse again."
"What else can he do? He'll die if he doesn't strike back."
For a long while, there was silence. Severus caressed Harry's back and the skinny head, nearly succeeding in imagining a shock of unruly hair. "Do you really want to go so far as to kill your own body?"
Harry's head under Severus' armpit nodded. "I can't go on, living in this ... this cankerous flesh. But I can't allow him to go on, either. Tonight, one of us must die."
Harry laughed, untangled his body from Severus' and shouted across the roaring sea, "I'll give him his stinking flesh and bone back."
"Don't forget his blood."
"The blood was mine in the first place."
Time passed. The stars behind the ragged clouds were different, and the ship had burnt down. Harry held Severus in his arms. His lover hadn't spoken for hours, but Harry was sure that Severus was wide awake. The night seemed to stretch endlessly, and there was no dawn in sight.
"How long will it take them to get here?" Harry finally broke the silence.
"I'm sure that he wants to bring as many Aurors and Order members as possible to witness his triumph, and it takes some time to arrange for all the boats. He'll be here soon, though."
"If only he brings his wand."
"He hasn't parted with it once, not even ... anyway, since he doesn't suspect you to have planned to meet him here and assumes that you've been drained of your magic in an attempt to break through the wards - I don't see a reason for him to believe that you're a challenge. He'll surely bring it, it's the one thing he loves most in his life."
"Did you really ... you and him?"
"What do you think, Potter? ... I thought he was you, dammit."
Harry took the strands of Severus' hair that obscured his face and stuck them behind his ears. He caressed the beaky nose and the creases around Severus' eyes and his mouth, harsh lines that had become even more prominent since he'd last seen his lover.
"Ouch," Severus whispered and caught Harry's hand. "You should take better care of your fingernails, or you'll hurt somebody."
"Can you please hex them away?"
Severus moved his wand over each nail, causing tiny flames to erupt that sparkled for a moment before they turned into smoke. Harry watched the miniature fireworks burning down before he touched the short nails in wonder. "Wow, that didn't even hurt."
Spidery fingers that were still hideous, but no longer weapons, continued to caress Severus' face, his neck, started to play with the ragged collar of the prison robes. "Severusss?"
"Would you mind very much ... I mean ..."
"What do you want?"
"A kiss. I know what I look like and it's disgusting, but -"
"Potter, stop talking."
Strong arms wrapped around Harry, and Severus' face came closer, so close that Harry couldn't distinguish his features anymore, even closer, and his breath warmed Harry's skin. Harry groaned and captured those lips, thin and chapped, but honey sweet. Tongues met, and hands groped, and robes were torn apart.
Much later, when Harry came to his senses again, Severus had shrugged out of his shredded robes and was lying before him in all his naked glory, sallow skin and protruding ribs, peaky and hairy and a little bit filthy, with a cock that strained for attention, red and proud against a dark nest of curls.
"Are you sure?"
On Severus' nod, Harry lost all restraint. Swirling his tongue around the head, he used his hands to stroke Severus' shaft and caress his balls. His tongue followed soon, and he took Severus' bollocks into his mouth, one after the other. Licking his way back up along the thick vein, Harry swallowed the tip of Severus' cock and started to suck.
Deepthroating turned out a catastrophe. Voldemort's nose wasn't made to do all the breathing without the help of his mouth. Gagging and coughing, Harry let go of Severus' prick. "Sorry."
Severus took Harry in his arms again, and they kissed. "Take that off," Severus said, pulling at the hem of Harry's robes.
"No. I can't. Why?"
"Because I want to touch you."
"This isn't me."
"Tonight it is. Or don't you feel my touch?"
"I do." Harry pulled his robes over his head and slipped out of Voldemort's dragon-hide boots.
Caressing the crusted wounds on Harry's legs, Severus kissed a trail up to Voldemort's prick, a small and wizened thing that was not at all interested.
"Tomorrow all this is over, one way or the other," Severus said, pressing a kiss on Harry's gory knee, "but tonight I want you to fuck me. I want to feel you inside me, you, Harry Potter. And if this body is harbouring you, I don't care in the least what it looks like. Understood?"
Hot wetness engulfed Harry, stirring his cock. Heat and fire spread through him, and Voldemort's flesh came to life in an overload of crawling, tickling sensations. "Arrgh," Harry groaned and bucked his hips to meet Severus' delicious mouth.
All to soon, Severus released the wet prick with a plop and retreated, leaving Harry to shiver in the sudden cold. Harry bit his lips, ashamed that he'd forgotten his repulsive appearance and allowed himself pleasure. Then he saw that Severus was lying on his side and had started to finger his hole.
"Let me do this," Harry said, grabbing his wand, "we don't have lube, but -"
Severus lowered himself on the eager prick - "I want to feel you. I'm sufficiently prepared." - and started to move.
Harry met each thrust with one of his own, his eyes fixed on Severus - the beads of sweat on his forehead, his knitted brows over soot-black eyes, the concentrated frown. This was the image he would remember all his life, the ugly and beautiful face of his love, shadow and light, darkness and fire. If he were to die in the morning, there would be no regrets.
It was over too soon. Harry gripped Severus' hips, turning them both around so that their positions were reversed, Severus below him, but still face to face. Harry pounded Severus' arse with abandon now, each thrust eliciting a moan from his lover. "Touch yourself," Harry gasped, and Severus stroked his prick with hard, vigorous pulls.
"Too much, too much," Severus screamed, and, "Harry," shooting his load up to his chin.
"Severusss, sweet Severusss," Harry answered, and then it was too much for him, too. Every fibre of his being concentrated on Severus, the essence of what he was accumulated where they were joined. He exploded into a million hot sparks, and, for an indefinable amount of time, he was Harry and whole again.
A milky aura surrounded Harry Potter and his mortal enemy, impenetrable to eyes, ears and magic. It was a shield and a prison at the same time, indestructible until one of them fell.
Severus watched from the shadows, invisible to the bystanders. He didn't know what was going on at the prison entrance, if the Death Eaters were still holding out, or if the Aurors had taken Azkaban in the meantime. The Dark Lord hadn't joined their fight. He'd been strutting about the place, carrying an illuminated wand, only accompanied by the two youngest Weasleys and Kingsley Shacklebolt.
Harry Potter's body had walked right into Harry at the entrance of the lighthouse. Everything had gone according to plan, and the first rays of dawn greeted Severus when he cast the protection shield. Now he was waiting to fulfil his last promise.
Bright sparkles illuminated the sphere from within. Forming a web of golden threads, they soon covered the whole dome. The airy construction started to spin, faster and faster. It lifted off the ground, still spinning faster, before it collapsed in a shower of light. Two lifeless bodies fell back to earth.
It took Severus only the fraction of a second to be at their side.
Green light shot from Severus' wand and hit the Dark Lord's body right in the heart. It jerked and slumped back, a lifeless shell.
With the sun rising, the boy opened his eyes.
[x] In case you wonder what a Viking longboat is doing at Lerwick harbour in Shetland at the end of the 20th century, read all about the Viking 'Up Helly Aa' festival of fire.