TEAM PHOENIX ALTERNATE STORY: Unbroken_Halo "Chains of Burden"
Nearing the very end of the Games, the mods needed an emergency pinch for Team Phoenix. Three team members stepped up to bat, and we are pleased to present the second of two Alternate stories that did not make it into the Games for the team. Enjoy!
Title: Chains Of Burden Author: unbroken_halo Team: Phoenix Genre(s): Romance Prompt(s): Trial, Learning to Dance Rating/Warnings/Kinks: NC-17, * First time, bonding fic, some DH compliant but much disregard to canon in general.* Word Count: ~10, 384 Summary: We, the Wizards and Witches of the Wizengamot, find the defendant, Severus Snape, guilty of the charges of murder. From this day forth, he is sentenced to Azkaban; with no parole, stripped of his title and magicks immediately. A/N: Thanks to alisanne, eeyore9990, and jin_fenghuang for the cheerleading, handholding and betas. Viva Las Vegas, darlings. Any mistakes you find now are entirely my fault as I had to fiddle with it one last time. *g* Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Company belong to JK Rowling. No money was made writing this bit of fiction.
Chains Of Burden
“We, the Wizards and Witches of the Wizengamot, find the defendant, Severus Snape, guilty of the charges of murder. From this day forth, he is sentenced to Azkaban; with no parole, stripped of his title and magicks immediately. Wizengamot dismissed.
The Chief Warlock banged the gavel on the bench and then rose, dismissing the entire panel.
Harry stared at the Warlock, the noise of the courtroom rushing in his ears and he barely felt the barrister's hand on his arm. No, it couldn't be, he thought. He'd given evidence and showed them the memories. He'd testified that Snape had been on the side of the Light the entire time. Why were they convicting him?
He watched as two burly wizards appeared and walked toward Snape. They pointed their wands at him, weaving a complicated spell. Snape's body went taut in the chair, the chains holding him down and in place.
"No! Stop!" Harry stood and yelled out across the courtroom.
The Chief Warlock looked away from Snape to Harry and arched an eyebrow. "Are you questioning my judgement, Mister Potter?"
"Harry, no!" Ron and Hermione stood up and tried to make their way through the audience to the front of the courtroom. The barrister stopped them from going any further as he looked back over his shoulder to watch as well.
Harry swallowed and looked up at the Warlock, tearing his eyes away from Snape. "I… yes, sir. There has to be some other way."
The Warlock blinked. "Surely, you can't still want to save this man after all that has occurred?"
Harry crossed his arms over his chest. "I testified to the contrary, didn't I?"
The Warlock looked at Snape then turned back to Harry, narrowing his eyes as he studied Harry. "You did that, young man and your testimony did not fall on deaf ears, but regardless of the fact that Snape was only acting under orders, he did commit the crime and therefore must be punished. Were Dumbledore here to stand trial, he, too, would face charges."
Harry stared at him. "How… how can you say that? Dumbledore was a great man. Yes, he made bad choices, but he tried to fix them."
Ron groaned loudly and Hermione sucked in a breath. People that had once left were now filing back into the courtroom, taking seats and watching with bated breath as Harry Potter stood up for a convicted murderer.
The Warlock chuckled and held up a hand. "And it is those choices that he would have to answer for, dear boy. Just like Snape has to now. I am afraid that my decision is final; there is no other way."
Harry shook his head. "I don't believe that. There must be some other way. You can't just lock him up and throw away the key."
The Warlock frowned and sat down in his chair. "Mister Potter, I already explained my decision to you, something I don't normally do but under the circumstances, I think it's justified. However, you are trying my patience with this. I suggest you let these wizards continue with their duty and you move on with your life."
Harry shook his head again. He couldn't let Dumbledore down. There had to be a reason that Fawkes had come to him and given him the memories of his conversations with Snape. "My apologies, sir, but I have to do this."
The Warlock cleared his throat. "Then, Mister Potter, you leave me no choice but to have you confined as well until the matter is resolved." He raised his gavel to bang out the sentence and summon two more wizards to take Harry in.
"Wait! What if I take him in?"
"Oh, Harry," Hermione sighed and Ron shook his head.
"Shut-up, mate, before they take you away to St. Mungo's!"
"I beg your pardon?" The Warlock stared at Harry, stunned at his tenacity.
"What if I take him in? You've already broken his wand, so he'll not be doing magic. Are you saying that I can't be trusted to watch over him?" Harry eyed the Warlock and narrowed his eyes.
The Warlock turned red in the face, glaring at Harry. He waved his hand at the two wizards next to Snape. "Release him. Mister Potter, approach the bench."
Harry hurried forward, a smile on his face. He watched while the chains holding Snape slithered away and Snape got to his feet. He rubbed his wrists and looked wearily from Potter to the bench and back.
"Come forward, Mister Snape. I have decided to re-think my decision based on Mister Potter's vehement arguments."
Snape eyed Harry and the Warlock but walked carefully toward the bench. He stopped next to Harry and leaned toward him. "This is going to be a mistake, Potter," he hissed.
Harry shook his head. "No, you deserve better," he whispered. "This can't be worse than Azkaban. It has to work."
Snape sneered as if to say something else when the Warlock cleared his throat. Snape and Harry looked up at the man.
The Warlock grimaced as he looked down at them. "This spell has not been used for many, many generations but I find it oddly appropriate." He drew his wand and Snape's eyes widened as if he knew what was about to happened.
"No, wait! I think I should get a say in this," Snape began.
The Warlock's voice rang out in the courtroom as if magnified ten-fold, surrounding Harry and Snape in an icy-blue white light. Both men sucked in a breath, each reaching out to steady the other as the magicks rifling through their bodies drew them taut in reaction. The spell permeated their very cells, reaching deep into the hearts and souls of both men, binding and bonding them permanently and irrevocably.
Ron and Hermione watched from the audience, the powerful spell dazzling the entire room and nearly blinding them. They sheltered one another, only looking up when the light had faded. Hermione gasped and rushed forward, pushing past the barrister and kneeling down in front of the bench next to Snape and Harry's bodies.
She looked up at the Warlock, wide-eyed. "What have you done?"
The Warlock sagged in his seat and sighed tiredly. "Just what he asked, Miss Granger." He stood and banged his gavel on the bench again. Two medi-wizards appeared and rushed forward. "May Merlin have mercy on them both." He turned and stumbled away from the bench.
Hermione backed away as the medi-wizards conjured stretchers and began tending to Snape and Harry. She turned and buried her face in Ron's chest. He wrapped his arms around her and watched them ready to take Snape and Harry away. "He'll be all right. If anyone can work that spell, Harry can," he told her softly. "We'll have to help him."
Hermione looked up at him. "What was it? I only caught part of the spell."
Ron made a face as he watched Harry float away and shook his head. "Your Latin is better than mine, but it's an ancient bonding spell. I just remember it as "Chains of Burden." He squeezed her tightly for a moment. "Come on, they'll be waking soon."
Snape groaned and held a hand to his head as he sat up on the bed. He blinked in the harsh white lights and looked around. His stomach rolled, and he moved his hand from his temple to his mouth as he retched suddenly. A cup of steaming tea was shoved under his nose, and he recoiled from it, glaring up at the person who had presented it to him. Potter, he should have known.
"Here, it's peppermint tea. It should help since we can't have any potions until twenty-four hours after the spell."
Snape snorted. "And how do you know that?" He took the cup and saucer anyway, inhaling the brew and sipped slowly, sighing softly as he looked up at Harry for an answer.
Harry smiled at him. "Gretchen. She's our medi-witch. She's very nice and explained what happened to us." He sat down beside Snape and poured himself another cup of tea, adding honey to the cup from the dipper. "Anyway, she also said that she's to make certain we could have a light meal once you woke and were able to keep down the tea. I sicked my first cup up. Drank it too fast but after that I was right as rain…"
"Potter, you are babbling."
Harry blinked as he looked up at Snape. "Oh… er… right. Sorry about that. Side effect. Gretchen says it'll wear off shortly, but until then I can't do anything about it. How's your tea? I'm afraid I just guessed at how you took it."
"Stop." Snape rolled his eyes as he sipped his tea again. "Just nod or shake your head. Does anyone else know what has happened?"
Harry nodded and bit his lip to keep from elaborating. Snape groaned and closed his eyes, rubbing his temple once more.
A knock sounded on the door and it opened, and both men looked up as a paper airplane entered the room, followed by Ron and Hermione Weasley. Hermione was carrying a large dusty tome. "Oh good, at least you are still somewhat apart. We can fix that though."
Snape arched an eyebrow and sighed, shaking his head as Harry hopped down off the bed. "What have you found out? Was it difficult? How angry is Ginny? Is your mum terribly upset as well?"
Harry turned to look at Snape, his arms crossing as he glared at the other man. "Look, I know you just woke and a moment ago, I excused it, then, because you didn't know, but this is a tad bit ridiculous. These are my friends and I asked them for help. If you don't like it, then you can just shove off."
"Harry…" Ron began and was cut off when Harry pushed his hand in his face.
Snape stood, his eyebrows climbing into his hairline. "Is that so, Mister Potter? Well, we wouldn't be in this predicament if someone had kept their mouth shut."
Ron and Hermione watched horrified as the two wizards began to glow an icy blue-white and inched closer to each other.
"Harry… please…" Hermione moaned softly but it went unheard while the two men continued to argue and get louder as they did so. The paper airplane whizzed around the room then moved above Harry and Snape's heads, circling madly as they fought. Ron reached out to grab it then passed it to Hermione.
"Pardon me for trying to save your hide from something I consider worse than death."
"No one asked you to save me, now did they, Potter?"
"Yeah, if you must know, someone did. Dumbledore did."
"Yes, and you always follow the directions of your elders. I should have known the old coot had a hand in this. He's probably enjoying himself immensely."
Snape snarled this last bit and his lip curled back as he glared at Harry. His mouth opened at the same time Harry's did, but it was Ron's voice that was heard over the others.
Snape and Harry turned, bumping into each other when they did and glaring at one another. Harry pushed Snape and Snape shoved him right back, the two of them going nowhere as their feet scraped on the floor.
Ron rolled his eyes and drew his wand, sighing. "Merlin, never thought having siblings would come in handy." He pointed his wand at the two scuffling men. "Stop! Don't make me do it. Mum taught me the spells, so you know I will."
Snape and Harry froze then pushed against each other one more time. They moved no further apart than the space that their arms had been occupying. In fact, when that obstruction was clear, they moved closer together, their shoulders brushing up against one another as they fidgeted like two small children in the midst of a tantrum.
"What happened?" Harry demanded and glared at Snape as if their situation was entirely his fault.
Snape returned the look. "Don't look at me like that. I'm not the one who put us in this place."
"Actually, both of you did it, and if you don't stop fighting, you'll both end up in Azkaban," Hermione murmured. "There's more if you'd consider acting like adults and choose to hear it."
Snape and Harry looked at one another then at Hermione, nodding in concert. They crossed their arms over their chests, jostling each other slightly and glaring at one another but argued no more.
Hermione tapped the book. "Vinculi sarcinaria, or Chains of Burden, is an ancient bonding spell. It was initially created to help couples understand one another better in arranged marriages, then later it was modified to be used as a slavery spell when Britain formed the penal colony on Australia. The Ministry discontinued its usage when they implemented the Dementor program on Azkaban."
Harry stared at her. "Hermione, that's all well and good, but how does it pertain to Snape and I?"
Ron shook the glazed look off his face. "Right. You and Snape are bonded for life now. The more you fight, the closer you'll get." He glared at them. "You're stuck that way until you can reach a 'covenant' of some sort."
Hermione held up the unfolded paper. "According to this, you also have to meet some Ministry regulations by the set deadlines or you both will go to Azkaban," she finished softly.
Harry blew out a breath. "Well, how hard could it be?"
Snape glared at him and opened his mouth to answer him but Hermione interrupted.
"This one looks like it's fairly easy to do, but you aren't going to like it."
Harry looked up at Snape then back at Hermione. "I still stand by what I did, no matter what. Tell me what we have to do."
Snape rolled his eyes. "Foolish Gryffindor," he muttered.
Hermione shook her head and read the missive.
"Misters Harry Potter and Severus Snape,
As newly bonded partners from the Vinculi sarcinaria spell, the partnership has been automatically registered on the Ministry books. However, official paperwork still must be filed at the Office of The Registry within seventy-two hours. A public announcement, printed and notifying both parties relations, must also appear within the seventy-two hour time frame.
Failure to comply with Ministry guidelines will result in the withdrawal of the agreement of the Wizengamot's decision. Both parties immediate detention by Ministry Aurors will follow.
Thank you for your cooperation. Sincerely, N. A. Athenaeum, Office of The Registry
Hermione looked up at Harry and smiled weakly. "I'm sorry, Harry."
Harry bowed his head, threading his hands into his hair and pulling at the wild strands as he sighed. Snape eyed him, not saying a word. "You're right, I hate it. How long have we got left?"
"Almost two entire days. You were only out for a few hours but everything is closed now. We can post the adverts tonight for the morning news, but the paperwork will have to wait until tomorrow." Hermione set the parchment on top of the book.
Harry nodded. "Uncle Vernon always had the Surrey Comet and the Surrey Mirror delivered with the post, so I guess I'll need to purchase an advert for both just to make certain. Might as well do one for the Daily Prophet as well and put our own words to it." He looked up at Snape questioningly.
Snape shook his head. "I need no ad placed as I've no living relations."
Harry looked away. "I'm sorry, Snape."
Harry blinked, but didn't say anything. "Thanks Hermione, Ron." He held out a hand to Ron and was engulfed when Hermione threw her arms around him. Her movement jostled Snape as well and he grunted.
Harry smirked at Ron over her bushy hair and patted her back. "I'm all right, Hermione."
Hermione let go of him and sniffled as she stepped back and took Ron's hand. "You know you're welcome at the Burrow." Ron eyed Snape as he shook Harry's hand.
Harry shook his head. "Tell Ginny I'll owl her. I think we'll be allowed to go back to Grimmauld later."
Ron nodded. "I'll Floo you tomorrow and see how you are doing."
A knock sounded on the door and Gretchen stuck her head in, and then entered the room followed by two floating trays. "I'm sorry to interrupt but visiting hours are over. I've got your dinner trays as well Mister Potter and Mister Snape…" she looked at Harry and Snape and their close proximity, the faint blue light still shining around them. "Oh dear! Let me get Healer Atwell. I tried to tell you, Mister Potter, you are going to have to get along with your bond mate…"
Ron waved at Harry and pulled Hermione from the room as the medi-witch fretted over the two nearly stuck together wizards.
Snape stretched and tried to turn over, but the weight on his chest prevented any movement. He nearly panicked in the darkened room before he remembered what had happened yesterday. "Potter, get off me! Lumos!"
Harry grunted, scrunching his eyes when the lights brightened in the room. He tried to sit up and was immediately pulled back, his face pressed hard against Snape's breastbone. "Ow!"
Snape groaned. "The spell, Potter." He pushed his hand between Harry's face and his chest, rubbing the spot gently. "Ugh, and you drool also. Lovely. Just another one of life's indignities."
Harry sighed. "Just shut it, Snape, and hand me my glasses." He snatched them from Snape's hand, opened the arms and slid the spectacles on his face, blinking and looking up at Snape. "On three then?"
Snape rolled his eyes and nodded, bracing his hand on the side of the bed to push them to a sitting position.
"Three." Harry heaved himself up and again was pulled down to Snape's chest, this time his nose bent and cracked as he connected. He groaned. "Dambbit, Snabe! I saib on tree."
"There is usually a one and a two beforehand, Potter. Seeing as we've only the three inches of leeway, one would hope you'd make the best of it and give ample warning before making sudden moves."
The icy blue spell's warning light began to glow and Harry moaned when his face was pressed tighter to Snape, his nose digging hard into the thin chest. He turned his face to the left so he could breathe again. "Okay, okay, I apologize."
"Wonders never cease."
Harry growled. "Then you count us off and get us up off this bed. I really need to visit the loo or we're both going to need clean clothes."
"Potter, if you…
"Don't say it or I will."
"… Foul the sheets and in turn, I as well, you will only think this is misery. Azkaban will seem like Majorca before I am finished with you."
Harry sighed. "What do you suggest then?"
Snape was silent for a moment. "Let me roll to the side. Push off the bed to a seated position and it should be easier to stand that way, instead of trying to heave ourselves upright off our backs."
Harry thought about that. "All right. Just be careful and try not to squeeze me too much."
Snape snorted. "Considering the twelve stone you've currently residing on me, I don't think it'll be that much of a difference."
"I don't weigh that much."
"Potter, my insides are telling me differently and as you've informed me the loo visit is a necessity, I think that shutting your trap would be the wisest course of action for you."
Harry pursed his lips and nodded.
Snape reached across Harry and gripped his shoulder, rolling his body on top of Harry's. Harry's eyes widened as he stared up at Snape, their noses pressed together. He groaned softly as their legs twined and Snape shuddered, and then continued to move, sliding off the bed and standing, pulling Harry up with him.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief as he adjusted his pyjamas, clearing his throat and not looking at Snape. He raised his arm and Snape rolled his eyes, linking his elbow with Potter's as they made their way to the loo.
Snape and Harry shuffled down the corridor to the Registry office, arm-in-arm. It hadn't taken long for the two men to dress themselves, although it had been a chore buttoning Snape's cuffs on his robes. The majority of the morning had been spent by the two of them addressing the fine art of walking side by side and through doors.
While Snape only stood a few inches over Harry, his longer stride toppled them more than once until they were able to compromise on a more comfortable walk.
Snape reached out and opened the door, allowing Harry to enter first. They stepped up to the desk and waited to be acknowledged by the elderly witch. She kept her head bent and Snape cleared his throat to get her attention.
The witch jumped and looked up, frowning at them. "Ah yes, Mister Potter and Mister Snape." She turned and glanced at the clock then pulled open a drawer on her desk. Digging out a scroll, she unrolled it and reached for a quill.
"You've brought the articles with you?"
Harry nodded and reached into his robes, pulling out the papers Kreacher had brought him that morning. "Two Muggle papers and The Daily Prophet."
The witch eyed the articles then nodded as she dipped her quill in the ink pot and scrawled something on the parchment scroll. "All this needs is your signatures with magical imprint seal and then it will be twenty Galleons."
Harry reached into his robes again and pulled out a small money purse then set it on the desk.
The witch turned the scroll around then handed him the quill. "Sign your full name then press your thumb to the parchment."
Harry nodded then leaned over, dragging Snape with him. Snape gave an indignant huff and Harry looked over at him, a bit sheepish. "Sorry."
Snape rolled his eyes and waved his hand at Harry. "Continue, if you don't mind."
Harry wrote his name under the witch's flowing script then set the quill aside and pressed his thumb to the parchment. He felt the magic roll across the page then sucked in a breath, crying out sharply as it sliced into his thumb. He jerked his hand back from the parchment, staring wide-eyed at his bloody print while it glowed then sank into the vellum.
Harry made to stick his thumb in his mouth and Snape grabbed his wrist, shaking his head slightly. "Use your wand to heal it."
Harry fumbled in his robes for his wand and drew the tip across his thumb as Snape bent and signed the parchment, only a soft grunt signifying his discomfort with the spell.
The witch tapped the scroll with her wand and split it into two documents. She rolled one up, the other vanished in a puff of icy-blue white smoke and held the rolled scroll out to Harry. "Thank you, Mister Potter and Mister Snape. Make certain you put the document in your vault for safe keeping. Good day."
Snape grabbed the scroll and tucked it into his robes. He hooked Harry's arm and turned them swiftly, almost frog-marching them out of the office and down the corridor. They exited the Ministry building and were surrounded by the press and public on all sides.
"Mister Potter, Mister Potter!"
"Bloody vultures," Snape snarled and stepped back, nearly upsetting them in the process.
Harry winced and nodded, clinging to Snape's arm. "I agree completely."
The bond between them flared its icy-blue white warning and the tension eased, giving them a few more inches to spare, once again offsetting their balance.
Harry looked at Snape, eyes wide as they moved around, getting the feel of the newer limited freedom. Ignoring the shouting, Harry secured his hold on Snape's arm. "Grimmauld Place."
Snape nodded, and with a disproportionately loud crack, they vanished from the throng of people.
Ron and Hermione were waiting for Harry in the basement kitchen of Grimmauld Place. Ron shook his head and got up from the table to turn off the wireless as the door to the kitchen opened, Snape and Harry pushing through together as one, the motions a bit easier than before.
They sat down together on the bench seat of the table, both reaching up to run a hand through their hair at the same time and sighing. All the movements were entirely symmetrical, neither man bumping the other and the icy blue glow brightened and they slid a few more inches apart on the bench.
Ron and Hermione glanced at one another then eyed the two wizards. "You survived the Ministry, I see." Hermione murmured, setting the tea service on the table.
Harry groaned and reached for a cup, placing one out for both him and Snape as the other man reached for the kettle. "Barely."
Snape tipped the kettle, pouring the tea into the cups while Harry streamed out the milk. Neither man spoke again when Harry reached across Snape and grabbed a biscuit while Snape dropped two cubes of sugar in each cup of tea.
Sighing heavily, both lifted the cups to their mouths, blowing across the rims of the cups then taking a drink.
Ron blinked and shook his head. "All right, that's just bloody weird."
Hermione slapped him and picked up two pieces of parchment. "These arrived this morning. I managed to stop Kreacher from punishing himself, but I don't know how long it's going to last. He didn't want to listen to me."
Harry sighed, setting his cup down and nodded. "I'll speak with him. Just read them and get it over with."
Snape lifted a hand to his temple and arched a brow.
Hermione nodded. "The Ministry one is more important, I think. The other I'll let you read in private." She bit her lip and eyed Snape. "It's from Ginny. I didn't open it."
Harry moaned. "Go on, then."
"Misters Potter and Snape
As registered partners of the Vinculi sarcinaria spell, a single, permanent domicile must be recorded in the annuals. You have thirty days in which to secure a residence and apply for the proper documents to charm the abode. Due to Mister Snape's past criminal associations, a wardsmith must be present to cast ward magicks.
As protective magicks fall under a grey area, any wards or charms placed on the property must be approved by a Ministry official.
If an abode is purchased that has pre-existing wards then the Ministry reserves the right to disengage the previous charms to ensure the legality of said wards.
A public announcement of the purchase must be utilized and appear within the thirty day time frame. The Wizarding public has the right to be notified of a criminal in their midst, regardless of the partner's status.
Failure to comply with Ministry guidelines will result in the withdrawal of the agreement of the Wizengamot's decision. Both parties immediate detention by Ministry Aurors will follow.
Thank you for your cooperation. Sincerely, N. A. Athenaeum, Office of The Registry"
Harry stared at Hermione then cut his eyes to Snape. Snape's eyes were closed and his fingers dug into the skin at his temples. His lips were drawn tightly together, pulled down into a frown and almost white from the pressure with which he held them clenched.
Harry cleared his throat and looked at Hermione again. "Well, I guess Grimmauld Place is out, considering the Black reputation," he whispered.
Hermione nodded and glanced at Snape. "Professor…"
Snape shuddered out a breath and opened his eyes, glaring at her. "As you recall Mrs Weasley, I no longer have that title. Do not address me as such."
Harry looked at him. "She meant it as a sign of respect, Snape. There's no need to be such a bastard. We're in this together, and as I told you yesterday, I've asked for their help in this matter. The least you could do is pull the wand out of your arse and cooperate some."
The icy glow flared between them but Snape ignored it as he turned on the bench and narrowed his gaze at Harry. "Potter, we wouldn't be in this situation if you'd kept your bloody mouth shut. As it stands, the Ministry and the public are more involved in my life than they would have been if you had left things alone."
He began sliding across the bench, continuing to castigate Harry. "You might enjoy the publicity and spotlight, but I do not. I would have been perfectly happy to die in obscurity than have to live my last days with you."
When Snape had finished, he was close enough that his breaths were ghosting across Harry's mouth, his long nose pressed against Harry's.
Harry's eyes went crossed behind his glasses and he closed his eyes, trying to fight off the double image of Snape. "There is no way you can convince me that you would have been any happier living as a Squib than you were as Dumbledore and Voldemort's lackey," he whispered softly. "I know you, I saw you in those memories."
Opening his eyes, Harry met Snape's, hoping the other man wouldn't use Legilimency to dig any deeper in his thoughts. "And for the record, I hate the publicity. Scrimgeour knew it and the new Ministry is about to find that fact out, as well."
Harry turned his head, swallowing hard when his cheek brushed against Snape's nose as he faced Hermione. "How much of that order can we circumvent and still legally fulfil it?"
Hermione blinked and looked down at the missive. "I… I don't know, Harry. Kingsley Shacklebolt is Minister now. I know you spoke with him when you were looking for support to defend the Prof- Snape. However, he also told you that the public was looking for a way to put this behind them."
She sighed and frowned, rubbing her forehead. "I've not been able to research much on the spell since it's been made public that the Wizengamot has used it again. Everyone is interested in it, so what little public information I can find is in short supply."
Harry nodded. "Thanks for trying, Hermione."
Snape sighed. "I believe I might be of some assistance on this." He paused. "If the Ministry hasn't confiscated the property."
Snape's jaw rubbed along Harry's and Harry cleared his throat. "All right. I'm willing to listen," Harry murmured and sighed as the spell's light glowed and gave them a small amount of breathing room.
Snape straightened his robes. "I have a small home in Manchester. It is a Muggle industrial area so there are no magicks."
Harry looked at him. "That's where my mum grew up."
Snape nodded. "It should serve our needs."
"Why are you being so agreeable now?"
"Potter, I am a survivor. I have outlasted the Dark Lord, and I can outlast you. The house is large enough to provide for two bachelors but still small enough to not need very many of the requirements the Ministry has established. The wards can be added by the wardsmith to satisfy the Ministry's watchdogs. As the area is almost deserted of Muggles, and no other wizards would even consider inhabiting that district, the chances of our privacy are assured." Snape sneered at him. "Even with your celebrity status working against us."
Snape pushed the bench away from the table, dragging Harry with him. "Let's go. The sooner we comply with this order, the sooner they will leave us alone."
Harry scrambled to stand with Snape, falling over the bench and toppling them to the floor.
"Harry!" Hermione and Ron stood, looking down at the two wizards, tangled together in a pile on the floor.
Harry's response was muffled as he looked up into Snape's eyes. Snape glared down at him. "Move faster next time, Potter. I can't wait as you dawdle with your friends."
Harry narrowed his eyes. "I wasn't 'dawdling'. I still have post, if you don't mind, and I'd like to read it before you go tearing off to the north."
Snape's sighed and the breath brushed across Harry's cheek while he squirmed under Snape's weight. Snape pressed down against him, placing both hands on either side of Harry's head, trapping his face and growling in his ear. "Be still, Potter, until I can manoeuvre us up off the floor."
Harry sucked in a breath as Snape's body heat filtered through his clothing. He froze and stared wide eyed up at him. "A-all right," he whispered.
Snape grasped Harry's shoulders and rolled them across the floor. He sat up swiftly with Harry straddled across his lap for a moment before Snape could bend his long legs under himself and heave them to their feet.
Harry clung to Snape's arms, breathing heavily and his forehead resting against Snape's chest. He jumped, nearly dropping them back to the floor again as Snape's hand ran across his back. "What are you doing?"
Snape rolled his eyes. "Checking for injuries, but if you'd like to wander around with bruises then by all means do so."
Harry shook his head. "I-I'm fine."
Ron and Hermione stared at them then looked at one another before turning back to the two conjoined wizards. Ron leaned in and hissed at Hermione. "What else did you say that spell was used for?"
Hermione shushed him and continued to stare at Snape and Harry.
Snape nodded and held out his arm to Harry. Harry hooked his elbow with Snape's and looked up at him.
"After we check on the status of Spinner's End, then I must procure a new wand." Snape frowned. "Provided the Ministry's placed no restrictions on that."
Harry nodded. "I'll make certain of it." He looked over at Hermione.
"I'll send Ollivander an owl, informing him of your arrival."
Hermione sank down to the bench as Snape led Harry from the room, and shook her head then looked at the note from Ginny.
Ron nudged her. "You want to answer my question?"
Hermione shook her head again and continued to stare at Ginny's letter sadly. "Not right now, Ron. Harry's going to need all the help we can give him, I think."
Harry stared at the row of rundown, back to back houses. It was obvious someone had been in Snape's home. The door was just barely hanging on the hinges, and he drew his wand before approaching the abode.
Snape's face was blank, as he allowed Harry to take point, entering the domicile, the dim light of his Lumos chasing away the shadows. Only Snape's sharp intake of breath gave away his reaction as they saw the destruction.
The shelved walls still held a few books; the rest lay scattered on the floor mixed with the glass from the broken windows. The ratty furniture had been upended and torn to shreds, the stuffing and cushions strewn here and there.
Harry aimed his wand at the candle-filled lamp swinging from the ceiling, the small stubs of wax burst into flames adding their glow to the dismal gloom of the room.
"There's no tingle of magic in the area, so vandals, you think?"
Snape shrugged as he bent and picked up a soggy book. Harry grunted as he was dragged down with Snape. He looked around, clinging to Snape's arm to steady himself as Snape straightened. "I'll replace all the books for you," Harry offered. "Just give me all the titles."
Snape stared at him. "Why would you do so?"
Harry smiled at him. "You are providing your house for us. It's the least I could do so that you are happy," he shrugged and looked around. "How many rooms are there?"
Snape grunted then dropped the mouldy book and brushed his fingers together. "This is a two up and two down, Potter. Kitchen and sitting room on the bottom floor. Two bedrooms on the top floor. The lav is shared with the connecting house; it's outside."
Harry stared at him. "Outside?"
Snape crossed his arms and arched a brow. "Yes. Outside. There is a communal bath up the street, along with the water supply, Potter, if you wish to lounge about. If you don't like it, then there's always the Black fortune that you could dip into and provide us with something more suitable. I sincerely doubt we will be able to find another residence anywhere else, Muggle or Wizarding, which will accommodate the two of us in the time period we have." He sighed, closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Do you not realize what is happening, Potter?"
Harry shook his head. "No, actually, I don't, Snape. All I understand is your negativity, which has done nothing but bring us physically closer together. However, if we work together, the spell seems to grant us some space. Now, I ask you, is that really so difficult to do?"
"Bloody Gryffindor," Snape groaned. "That's just it, Potter. The Ministry is slowly giving us no room to manoeuvre. Each order, though designed to look like it is giving us freedoms, is in actuality weaving a tight web and narrowing the space in which we live." He opened his eyes and looked at Harry. "We can have this but certain obligations must be met. This sentence is no less a prison than the one Dumbledore and the Dark Lord kept me under for the past seventeen years."
Harry shook his head. "No, I refuse to believe that."
Snape rolled his eyes. "Believe what you will, Potter, but I am telling you as it is. Trust in your new Ministry, if you want, but as someone who has lived a lifetime in a web of lies, I know another one when I see it."
He glared at Harry. "I just haven't figured out whom, exactly, this was meant to punish more. You or I, because neither one of us will have a life now."
"I refuse to believe that this is a punishment."
"What part of bonded do you not understand, Potter? This is permanent! There is no happily ever after for you and your red haired chit! You are stuck with a greasy old man for the rest of your life!"
Harry closed his eyes and shook his head. "You are an honourable man and we can live our lives the way we want. Dumbledore said it's our choices that make us who we are!"
"Stupid Gryffindors!" Snape threw his hands in the air as the spell tugged him closer to Harry. They bumped against one another and rocked when the motion upset their balance. "Stuck, with you, for the rest of my miserable life in this cesspit or Black's hellhole. Lovely, my day couldn't get any better."
Harry pursed his lips, grabbing on to Snape to steady them. "Fine, I believe you! We're trapped, trapped like rats in a cage and the bloody snake is going to eat us for brekkie." He sighed "We'll stay here and make do. We can start tomorrow morning getting this place cleaned up. We've thirty days. Monday, we'll file the petitions and use as much magic as we can. There should be something about this in the Black Library and you can have any of the books out of there to replace yours."
Snape stared at Harry then shook his head. "Bloody optimistic dunderhead," he muttered, then took Harry's arm and led him out of the rundown house.
"You want to do what?"
"Knock down that wall. Knock down that wall and knock down that wall." Harry pointed his wand at the walls in question.
"You can't knock down that wall. It's a retaining wall and the entire bloody building will come down on top of us." Snape crossed his arms over his chest and smirked at Harry. "Besides we don't own that part of the building."
"I'm tired of going outside to the loo and it's time to modernize this place. I want a bath or a shower at least." Harry grinned at Snape as he was pulled across the room to Snape. "And we do own it as of right now." He flicked his wand at the wall.
"Would you like to have a lab?"
Snape blinked at Harry. "Pardon?"
"I got the indoor bathroom, so I figured with extra room we could renovate it into a lab for you." Harry bit his lip. "I mean, really, three bedrooms, enlarged sitting room, library for all the books I had to replace so… um…" he paused, clearing his throat.
Snape continued to stare at Harry.
Harry blushed under Snape's scrutiny and started over. "After we…"
All right… me. I blasted those walls down. The other back to back enlarged our kitchen, so the left over space is almost perfectly suitable for a lab… if you wanted… I just assumed you might like to brew again."
Snape looked down at the book he was reading and nodded. "That is acceptable."
The spell light flared and Harry stumbled, falling over the ottoman, as he was given a few feet of space from Snape.
Snape snorted and turned the page in his book, the corners of his mouth crooking up at the edges. Harry grinned up at Snape, certain that the snort was laughter.
Harry knelt in front of the fireplace, staring at Ginny and trying to ignore Snape sitting a few paces behind him in the arm chair they'd brought from the library at Grimmauld Place.
"Ginny…I'm sorry. I never meant for this to happen."
"I know you didn't, Harry, but it did and there's nothing we can do about it."
"You can still come here, yeah?"
"No, Harry, I'm sorry, but I can't. You're bonded now. I've told you that time and again." Ginny smiled sadly at him. "You have to accept that just like I did. Ron and Hermione explained it to you a few weeks ago… as have I."
Harry stared at her then looked over his shoulder at Snape. Snape met his gaze and Harry felt his face heat before they glanced away. He swallowed hard, focusing once more on Ginny. She reached out and touched his face. "Try to be happy, Harry."
He nodded and closed the Floo connection.
Harry held up a hand at Snape. "I'm ready for bed now," he murmured. Snape inclined his head, offering Harry a hand up from the floor. Harry ignored it and pushed himself up off the hearth. He stumbled and Snape grabbed his arm, steadying him.
"My apologies, Potter."
Ignoring the icy-blue glow as they prepared for bed, Snape crawled to his side and turned his back to Harry. Harry rolled over, manipulating his few inches of space as much as possible to stay away from Snape.
Neither man said a word when they woke the next morning, wrapped in each other's arms.
Harry and Snape walked into the Office of The Registry with one day to spare.
Laying the deed to Spinner's End on the elderly witch's desk gave Snape a great sense of satisfaction. He sneered down at her until she looked up at him.
"Ah, Mister Potter, Mister Snape." She picked up the deed and read over it, nodding in approval. "You've the public announcement?"
Harry pulled the current Daily Prophet and the Manchester Guardian from his cloak pocket. He passed them over to the witch. She eyed the papers then the deed once more and nodded.
"Just sign this parchment, seal it with your magic then pay the fee and you can go."
Harry groaned and leaned down to do as asked. He stood, holding on to his finger and Snape reached out, taking Harry's hand in his own, drawing his wand across Harry's thumb.
Harry looked up at Snape as he felt the magic tingle across his skin. Snape stared down at him, and then drew his wand away from Harry's finger. Harry gasped and looked away, then stepped back out of the way so Snape could sign the parchment, cradling his hand close to his chest.
He waited while Snape scrawled his signature across the parchment, wand in hand ready to return the healing gesture. He licked his lips in anticipation and was oddly disappointed when he heard Snape's soft tenor singing the odd lyrical notes from his Sixth Year.
A flash of icy blue drew his attention as he shook his head, looking up as Snape offered him his arm. Harry took it and they walked from the little room deep in the bowels of the Ministry.
The press was once again waiting for them outside, but Harry was ready for them. He stopped and looked up at Snape, then cleared his throat.
"As you all know, Severus and I have finished the renovations on Spinner's End. That's public knowledge where we reside. It's also fact that while Severus was on trial for being a Death Eater, the Wizengamot bound us together. You might see that as a punishment, but I don't. Albus Dumbledore trusted Severus Snape with his death. I now trust him with my life."
Harry looked up at Snape and smiled at him, then tightened his fingers on Snape's arm. He looked out at the press wizards. "We have nothing more to say."
Snape stared at Harry, then braced himself as Harry nodded and Apparated them away.
Appearing at the end of the cobbled street, Harry and Snape held on to one another for a moment longer, then started down the street. Over the past month, the spell had allowed the two very little leeway and yet, there was a comfortable distance between them.
Harry shoved his hands in his denim pockets as he walked, his eyes focused on his trainers. He watched the leaves blow across the stones on the path and bit his lip, debating on what to say to Snape.
"Why did you heal my thumb?"
"Why did you make that speech to the press?"
Harry looked up to find Snape staring at him. He grinned. "You first as I have been touting your good qualities for quite some time now and it should be obvious."
Snape snorted. "It should also be obvious as to the reasons why I healed your thumb, Potter."
Harry groaned. "Don't start. We just got this distance between us."
Snape smirked. "That is not my problem, Potter. If you'd listen to me more often then we wouldn't have to share a bedroom any longer."
"I'm not the only stubborn one, Severus."
"No, you're just a Gryffindor."
Harry rolled his eyes as the spell's light rippled along their skin. He ran his hand along his arm, caressing the magic and letting Snape's 'insult' slide off him. "All right, I get it. The two things are mutually beneficial in allowing us more space."
Snape hummed and the spell light brightened.
They stumbled and reached out for one another as the space between them widened even more. Harry's fingertips graced Snape's shoulder and Snape straightened, his stride even as if nothing had happened. He arched a brow at Harry and stepped a few paces away, testing the new boundaries.
Harry moved out as well until both men were several metres apart. They met each other's gaze and took one more step. The spell light flared and snapped, bringing them back together like stretched rubber bands. They crashed into one another and fell to the ground on top of each other.
Snape groaned and growled softly.
"No, no, no, don't. We were doing so good." Harry muttered and pressed his mouth to Snape's.
Snape's eyes snapped open and he looked up at Harry. Harry stared down at Snape then moaned and closed his eyes, pressing harder against Snape's lips.
Snape grabbed Harry's shoulders, rolled them and sat up, moving Harry off his body. "Potter… do you even know what you are doing?"
Harry hung his head, shaking it slightly. "No. I just didn't want to argue with you again."
Snape sighed. "And offering me yourself was the answer to that?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't know."
Snape rolled his eyes and heaved himself to his feet. He offered Harry his hand. "Potter, once we arrive home, spend some quality time in the loo… alone. It will do you some good."
Harry covered his face and groaned. "Oh, Gods, you did not just tell me to go wank."
"As a matter of fact, Potter, I did."
Harry looked up at Snape, mouth hanging open. Snape smirked.
Thirty days after "The Incident", as Harry had taken to calling it, the wardsmith arrived. Once a new house was completed, any spells used during construction had to be certified as stable before new wards could be cast. A predetermined period of an additional thirty days had been granted to Harry and Snape while they waited for the magicks to 'cure.'
The wardsmith drew a drop of blood from both Harry and Snape to cement the foundation for the protection spells before he began his wand waving. Harry stepped back and watched as the wizard weaved the spells they had chosen to protect the home he had built with Snape.
Snape hummed as he watched, rolling his eyes as the man finished with a wide flourish of his wand. "Ravenclaw," he muttered and Harry grinned.
The wizard approached them and bowed. "There you are, sirs. I just need your signatures and magicks imprints. All that is required of you is to 'seal the wards'."
"Seal the wards?" Harry asked and looked at Snape. Snape stiffened.
"You are a bonded pair, correct?"
Harry nodded and glanced at Snape again. Snape pursed his lips, spots of colour forming high on his cheeks.
"Then it should be no problem. You had to cement your bond and it's the same to seal your wards. Every couple must do so to consummate the bond and the wards so you can control them and manipulate them to add family members or visitors." He eyed them and held out the parchment.
Harry nodded, "Thanks for the explanation, mate." He scrawled his name on the parchment then pressed his thumb on the vellum.
Snape drew his wand and held out his hand for Harry's. Harry's pulled his hand away and shook his head. "I've got it."
Snape shrugged and scribbled his name on the parchment then left his print on the document. He grasped their copy, then stormed into the house.
Harry thanked the wardsmith again, then followed after Snape.
Slamming the door behind him, Harry stared at Snape. "It's been four months. Why didn't you tell me?"
Snape glared at Harry, angrily shaking his head. "Don't start, Potter."
The icy blue glow of the spell lit up on their skin and Harry gasped as he was pulled toward Snape.
An owl flew in the window, distracting both men and dropping a letter on the low table in front of the sofa. It flew right back out without stopping. They stared at the missive, not speaking at all, the glow from the spell still lighting up the room.
"That's it, isn't it?" Harry whispered. "It's the order to consummate the bond."
Snape grunted and nodded. "Most certainly." He looked up at Harry and frowned. "As for why I did not tell you, Potter, coercion is not something I engage in. For all the sins I have committed, rape isn't one I want on my conscience."
Harry bit his lip and nodded. "Then why didn't you accept when I was offering last month?"
Snape just shook his head and bent, picking up the parchment. "Again, there are certain burdens we must choose to chain ourselves to, Potter. You had no idea what you were doing. It was an offer made by an impulsive and randy young man. Not someone in their right mind at the time, obviously."
Harry narrowed his eyes at Snape, pursing his lips to keep a retort inside.
Snape ignored Harry's glare, carefully unfolded the letter and read the note.
"Misters Potter and Snape
The Ministry of Magic has receive a report that the Vinculi sarcinaria spell has not been consummated. Official documentation to the Office of the Registry must be received no later than eight a.m. tomorrow. Due to the late registration of this act, an additional fine has been imposed and must be paid immediately.
Failure to comply with Ministry guidelines will result in the withdrawal of the agreement of the Wizengamot's decision. Both parties immediate detention by Ministry Aurors will follow.
Thank you for your cooperation. Sincerely, N. A. Athenaeum, Office of The Registry"
Harry smirked at Snape. "So, it's fuck or die, is it?"
Snape folded the letter up and tossed it on the table. "There's no need to be so crass, Potter."
"You know, you could call me Harry, since we're about to shag."
Snape glared at Harry. "We are not about to shag, as you so eloquently put it."
Harry blinked. "What? But…how?" he pointed at the note. "I am not going to prison because you are too frigid to get it up."
Snape's cheeks pinked and the icy blue spell lit, flaring along his skin. He narrowed his eyes at Harry. "Potter, there is more than one way to satisfy the broad meaning of missive. The word consummate is defined as such; to fulfil or bring to a state of complete perfection."
Harry let the spell draw them closer, then reached out and grabbed Snape by the lapels. "Oh, yeah?"
Snape's eyes grew wide as he realized how close Harry was and he drew in a breath, placing his hands on Harry's chest. "What are you doing?"
Harry walked them backwards, searching Snape's face until they hit the wall. Harry continued to stare at him. "You are a potions master, yes? Isn't mastery also a 'complete state of perfection'?" he inquired then slanted his mouth across Snape's.
Snape fisted his hands in Harry's shirt, tugging on his clothing and pulling at him. He growled and Harry moaned, running his tongue across Snape's lips, demanding entrance.
Harry eased back, panting, and looked up at Snape. He reached up and caressed Snape's cheek. "We've not let them win so far. Don't start now."
Snape closed his eyes, fighting not to lean into Harry's fingers. "Do you even know what is expected?"
"No, but I'm a quick study." Harry chuckled. "I learn better with hands-on experience."
Snape groaned and pushed himself off the wall, guiding Harry toward the sofa, hands tugging on Harry's clothing. "You will do as I say and no more cheek." He pulled the shirt from Harry's body and tossed it away, running his hands down Harry's chest and tucking his fingers in the waistband of his denims.
Harry nodded, fingers quickly undoing the buttons on Snape's robes. He licked his lips and grunted as his legs hit the sofa. He fell back onto the cushions and dragged Snape down on top of him. "Yes, sir."
Snape smirked. "There's a good lad; I rather like to hear that coming from your mouth." He shrugged his robes off his shoulders and leaned over Harry, settling himself between Harry's legs.
Harry chuckled, leaned back and scooted down on the sofa. He fumbled with his belt and zip, arching his back as he lifted his hips and shoved his jeans down.
Snape pulled on one trainer, sending it flying over the back of the sofa, the other one following, then Harry's jeans and pants were airborne as well. He looked down at Harry's body, running one hand along the pale skin.
Harry rose up into the touch; the spell's icy blue colour blossoming into life, highlighting the hollows and dips. He reached up and splayed his fingers on Snape's flat belly, sliding his fingers along the dark hairs then hooked them in the band of his briefs.
Tugging on the small bit of material, Harry eased them over Snape's prick and off his hips. Snape leaned forward and slid out of the pants, flinging them away. Harry wrapped his arms around Snape's neck and brought him flush against his body.
Naked skin brushed against naked skin, and the spell light engulfed them both. Snape and Harry hissed from the contact as the magicks rushed along their bodies. Harry threaded his hands into Snape's hair and lifted his head, realigning their faces then brought their mouths together once more, sliding his tongue across Snape's thin lips.
Snape reached down and dug through his robes, searching out his wand. He tapped Potter's hip with the ebony wood, then flicked it toward the stairs, summoning something to use for lube. A bottle flew down the hall and Snape dropped his wand to catch the phial.
He pulled away from Potter long enough to look down at him. "Are you certain this is what you want?"
Harry reached up and tucked one long, dark strand behind Snape's ear. He smirked at Snape and nodded. "Yes sir."
Snape groaned, and then rested his forehead on Harry's shoulder as he tipped the bottle open and poured out the lube on to Harry's stomach. He dragged his fingers through the puddle and ran them over Harry's prick, across and underneath his sac.
Harry shuddered at the touches and arched his back, spreading his legs wider for Snape as he felt Snape's fingertips spreading and pressing against the opening to his body.
"Just relax… Harry."
Harry closed his eyes and swallowed hard, holding on to Snape and listening to his voice. Snape's words caressed his skin, soothing his nerves and calming his heart. Long fingers played over his body, gently pressing and massaging, exploring and touching him. He writhed and wriggled under Snape, babbling and begging as Snape fondled every bit of him, never really assuaging the urges but continuing to tantalize and tease, then he felt him push inside.
"Breathe, Harry, and push back. Stop me if I hurt you."
Harry blew out the breath he was holding and Snape's fingers slid in deeper, opening his body. He moaned and moved with Snape, rocking back and forth on the long digits. He reached down and wrapped his hand around his cock and stroked, groaning as the sensations changed, increased, intensified. Harry bit his lip, trying not to cry out as he felt his bollocks draw up.
Snape watched Harry and licked his lips, smirking as he added another finger and continued to stretch Harry. The blue spell light danced across Harry's pale skin and Snape gasped as it moved over to Harry then traversed to his own body.
The magicks raced up his arms, leaping from Harry to himself and back again as Harry's hand stroked up and down the length of his shaft. Snape watched as Harry's body drew up taut and then he arched his back, the muscles tightening down on his fingers as Harry came.
Harry collapsed back on the sofa, panting and opening up his eyes to look up at Snape. "That… was…"
Snape nodded, interrupting Harry in his haste. "It'll be easier this way now."
Snape scooted closer to Harry, pulling his fingers from Harry's body and lifted Harry's legs to his shoulders. He leaned forward, bending Harry almost in half as he brushed his lips against Harry's.
Harry opened his mouth to Snape, licking and twining his tongue with Snape, moaning and bowing up to meet him as the icy blue spell magicks skittered across their glistening skin.
Snape drew back, dragging his fingers through the puddle on Harry's stomach and slicking his prick. He wrapped his fingers around the shaft, rubbing the head of his cock against Harry's relaxed and stretched opening.
Canting his hips, Snape pushed forward and pulled back on Harry's hips at the same time. He thrust again, sheathing himself completely inside of Harry and holding still. He looked down at Harry, biting his lip to keep from pulling back and slamming into the tight heat again.
Harry held in the shout from the rough penetration, clenching his fingers on Snape's arms, his eyes closed. He opened his eyes then nodded at Snape. "I'm ready."
Snape eased back and thrust forward as Harry arched up to meet him, the spell light once again racing over their entire bodies. They fell into the age old dance automatically and Snape threw his head back, mouth open in a silent scream as he came with just a few shallow dips into Harry's body.
The icy blue spell fire burst out from them, engulfing the house with its light. The magicks sank into the foundation and the glow dimmed as Snape collapsed forward on to Harry.
Harry wrapped his arms around Snape and held on to him.
They lay on the sofa, spent, for several long moments and Harry sighed. "That… was… intense."
"Intense doesn't even begin to describe it," Snape murmured and pulled away from Harry. He ran his hands over his face and sighed, then leaned down and grabbed his wand, flicking it over the both of them and cleaning away the mess.
Harry chuckled and sat up. "Can you tell me the real reason we had to wait after I asked?"
"I did not want something offered just because it is an obligation, Potter. This shan't happen again."
"Stubborn bastard." Harry shook his head and leaned forward. "If that was what it feels like for an obligation, every time, you are required to oblige me more often," he murmured, pressing his mouth to Snape's.
"Insatiable, are we?" Snape moaned and closed his eyes. "I believe, if that is your only demand, then it can be met." He threaded his hands in Harry's hair, opened his mouth and took over Harry's kiss.
The missive on the table wriggled and turned icy blue, bursting into flames then fading away.
Neither man noticed as they got to their feet and walked to the bedroom, hand in hand, silvery blue rings appearing on the third finger of their right hands.