|snarryhols (snarryhols) wrote in snarry_holidays,|
@ 2007-12-04 11:50:00
|Entry tags:||fic, rated: r|
Contractual Obligations, for alexis_sd
Title: Contractual Obligations
Word Count: 3385
Warnings: thoughts of suicide, angst, nonpenetrative sex
Disclaimer: JKR owns the characters, and I'm quite sure she wouldn't like what I'm doing with them. No insult is intended, however.
Summary: Severus Snape has decided that Harry Potter owes him a life debt. When Potter acknowledges it, however, things don't go exactly the way Severus had thought they would.
“Severus, this is most unusual,” Albus Dumbledore said; his brow creased with a worried frown. “I’m not sure Harry will wish to honor it, no matter what I tell him.”
“Mr. Potter’s wishes are hardly at issue here, Headmaster,” Severus Snape replied candidly. “The ancient magic of a life debt is binding; and the number of times I’ve saved that brat’s life would make a life debt quite valid, as you well know.”
“But why would you want to do such a thing?” Minerva McGonagall asked, her voice rising shrilly in defense of her precious Gryffindor. “Everyone knows how much you and he despise one another! Do you think that’s going to change if this... travesty is permitted to take place? Harry will only come to hate you even more than he already does now! Is this what you truly want? Are you so willing to heap more misery on that poor young man that you’d do something so petty and downright cruel to him?”
Severus ignored her ranting. Instead, he kept his eyes trained on Albus’s face, waiting for the old man to grant his wish. Now that the blasted war was over, Dumbledore owed him; and they both knew it. Severus was perfectly willing to take payment on that debt, as well as the many slights and insults, embarrassments and inconveniences that Potter and his father before him had heaped upon him since his early childhood.
“Well? Are you going to sign my contract, Headmaster? I believe that as Potter’s legal guardian, it’s up to you to do so. I’m not going to change my mind, and I’d like this little matter of business completed today so that I may spend my summer holidays in peace.”
“I want to get Harry in here first,” Dumbledore replied stubbornly. “He has the right to have his say, at the very least. Besides, I owe him as much as I owe you, if not more, Severus. You may not believe that now, but one day, you’ll know the truth.”
Severus shrugged his shoulders, determined not to show his fury at the old man’s audacity. As far as he was concerned, Dumbledore had given the Potter brat anything and everything he’d ever wanted or needed. He’d even made the brat his ward last year for reasons he hadn’t bothered to explain to anyone. Now, he had the gall to sit here talking about how much he still owed the boy? Severus cynically decided that some people were simply entitled to Albus’s favor. He, obviously, was not going to be one of those people. He wouldn’t let it bother him; nor would he allow Potter’s life to be one of ease and comfort while he worked to pay off his debts and atone for his father’s sins.
Harry walked up to the office door with trepidation. He knew that Albus wasn’t going to make him go back to the Dursleys. He’d promised him that much. There were other things that the man could do to make life less than fun for him, though.
“Ah good; come in, Harry. Professor Snape has come to me with a proposal. Before I make a decision regarding it, however, I want you to know what it is and give me your thoughts since it concerns you closely. What do you know about wizarding life debts?”
“I know that Pettigrew owed me one, and that because of it, he let me inside Malfoy Manor so that I could find and kill Voldemort. I guess it’s something one person owes another if that other person saves the first person’s life, is that right?”
“That’s part of it, yes,” Dumbledore replied solemnly. “It’s a magical contract, much like the Triwizard Tournament. It’s binding, you see, and if you enter into a life debt contract with someone merely by acknowledging it aloud in the presence of other magical witnesses, you’re signing a verbal contract that is admissible in a court of law anywhere in the wizarding world. Do you understand what I’m saying so far, my boy?”
“I think so,” Harry replied dubiously. “I take it that Professor Snape feels that I owe him a life debt because of the many times he’s saved my... erm... me from my idiocy and Voldemort. How would I be able to even the score? What does he want from me?”
Severus was surprised. He hadn’t expected the brat to cotton on so quickly. Apparently, he had more brains than he’d been letting on for all these years. Perhaps he hadn’t been letting Granger do most of his work for him in his difficult subjects.
“Professor Snape wants your name, Harry,” Dumbledore explained delicately.
“He wants my name? I don’t understand. How could he take my name from me?”
Snape’s estimation of the boy’s intelligence plummeted once again at his words.
“He wants to marry you,” McGonagall replied bluntly. “He wants to force you to acknowledge your debt to him by signing a marriage contract in order to provide him with the prestige and power of the Potter family name. He wants you to suffer!”
For a long moment after Minerva’s impassioned outburst, there was silence in the office. Severus didn’t even bother to deny her claims. Why should he? A Slytherin proudly went forth and took what he sought, and to hell with the people he ruined along the way.
Suddenly, the boy nodded decisively. Severus stared at him in shock. The expression on his face was not one of helpless rage or confusion. He didn’t look like a young man on the verge of tears. Indeed, he didn’t even seem very surprised by this unorthodox request. Rather, he seemed coldly, calculatedly furious. The usually bright green eyes had gone dark and now looked like nothing so much as jagged tips of jade. Magic crackled around his head like tiny bolts of lightning. For the first time since he’d entered the Headmaster’s office on this errand, Severus Snape suddenly felt very afraid.
“I, Harry James Potter, do hear by acknowledge and accept the terms of this life debt to Severus Tobias Snape. He has saved my life on countless occasions at great personal risk, and must therefore be compensated in the only way possible under wizarding law.”
McGonagall gasped in outrage, glared at Severus, and then turned to face Harry.
“Mr Potter! You didn’t have to do that! There were other ways you could have—“
“I’m sorry to interrupt you, Ma’am, but I did have to do that. Professor Snape would have accepted nothing less from me. Besides, I get the feeling that Albus wanted this matter shoved out of the way as quickly as possible. He has more important things on his mind. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to consult with some people regarding traditional wedding garments, rituals and the like. I’ll be in my room if you need me.”
Stunned silence rang in the office after the boy’s departure. McGonagall was trembling with rage. Dumbledore was gazing into his teacup as if it held the answers to life’s many mysteries. For his part, Severus was analyzing the boy’s actions and reactions. What had he meant when he’d casually dismissed his own problems in Albus’s priorities? Did he truly believe that he mattered so little to Dumbledore? Was that, in fact, the case?
“Well, you’ve had your way, Severus. I suppose you’d like to find a quiet place to celebrate in private,” McGonagall snarled, breaking the silence at last.
Snape, knowing better than to push his luck, nodded, rose without a word, and left the office without a backward glance. Thus it was that he missed the tears which continued to trickle down the Headmaster’s cheeks and into his long, white beard.
Harry tipped his head back and stared at the sky in silence. The sun was bright and spring had finally given way to a glorious summer. Some people claimed that it was the finest summer they’d seen in over twenty years. Whether or not this was the case he wasn’t sure; nor did he much care. All he was thinking about today was getting this ceremony over with and doing his best not to make a fool out of himself.
“Harry? Are you ready? It’s nearly time,” Hermione called through the door.
“I’ll be right there,” he replied. He was glad his voice sounded so calm.
Severus waited for him dressed in the plain, utilitarian robes he favored for this occasion. Standing beside him, Harry felt small and awkward. He refused to allow himself to be intimidated by that; however. He and Hermione had gone over every aspect of this ceremony time and time again, so he was ready and not very nervous at all when the Minister for Magic came forward and began to speak in his deep voice.
“We are here to officially witness the binding of Harry Potter to Severus Snape. They shall be bonded one to another in a ritual that, though it does not involve marriage, is still contractual, and will therefore last as long as one or both of you shall live.”
“Harry, you have agreed to permit this bond. You have sworn to uphold its demands upon your magic, your body, and your property. You have publicly acknowledged before the eyes of two magical witnesses that you enter into this bond of your own free will, knowing what the act of committing yourself to this contract entails. Is this true?”
“This was true when I first swore the bond before the eyes of witnesses Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall, and it is still true today,” Harry replied.
“Very well. And now, Severus, you demanded this debt of Harry Potter. You did so knowing that relations between the two of you were less than cordial. You must therefore make the following promises in order to satisfy the Ministry that your intentions are honorable. You shall never raise a hand in an act of physical violence against Mr Potter. You shall never, ever use any spells involving dark magic against him. You shall never brew or use potions that may influence his mind or body to say or do things he would not normally do of his own free will while his mind is otherwise sound, and you will never forbid him the companionship of others when he asks for it.”
“If you agree to these terms and conditions, say so aloud, and this contract shall be binding from now until one or both of you have died,” the Minister concluded.
“I do swear to honor and uphold these terms and conditions,” Severus said.
There was a small ‘Pop,’ and a scroll appeared. It hovered in front of the Minister’s face. He grabbed it out of the air, unrolled it, signed it, and handed it to Snape. Once he’d signed it, he handed the quill to Harry. Harry signed as well, and then he handed the scroll back to the Minister. He rolled it back up, and it promptly disappeared.
The celebration that followed the ritual binding ceremony was short and not well attended. Harry found that he didn’t mind as much as he’d thought he would have. He sat beside Severus, eating slowly and accepting the good wishes of his closest friends and members of the Order of the Phoenix, as well as the Minister and his personal assistant.
When they retired to Severus’s quarters three hours after the ceremony, Harry was relieved to find that his things had already been moved from his place. Though he didn’t own much, seeing the few possessions he did have sitting among Severus’s things made him feel less like an intruder and more like what he was; Severus’s husband.
“Would you like to use the shower first?” Severus asked; his voice stiff with forced courtesy. “I don’t like to be rushed. I usually take long showers.”
“Oh, all right. Thanks,” Harry muttered, his face heating with sudden embarrassment.
As the water ran over his body, Harry found himself growing calmer. This was yet another thing he couldn’t stop, but there was something he could do about it. He had ultimate control. He could end it all. He did have that final right. A grim smile came to his lips as he rinsed the shampoo from his hair. If he did that, everyone would be shocked. No one would expect the Golden Boy of Gryffindor to do such a horrible thing. The-Boy-Who-Lived would never kill himself. He had far too much to live for!
Stepping from the shower and dressing in the nightshirt Winky had left for him, Harry made up his mind. It would hurt his friends, but they had each other, and their grief would be tempered by the knowledge that he was free from the constant manipulation of Albus and the expectations and demands of everyone else. They would be all right.
He nodded to his bond mate in passing, but did not speak to the man. Instead, he walked to his trunk and pulled out a black backpack. Inside the smallest compartment were over a dozen vials of Dreamless Sleep potion. Hermione had brewed them for him over the years, but he’d been saving the ones he didn’t use. Ever since his Uncle had started severely beating him during the summer just after his fourth year, he’d been contemplating this plan, but though he’d kept the tools in place, he never thought he would be forced to use them until now. The potions Hermione had brewed that would allow him to sleep during the summers so that he wouldn’t disturb his relatives and get into even more trouble had been stockpiled against such a purpose. Though he’d used some of them, most of the remaining bottles were here. He hadn’t wanted to use too much for fear of becoming addicted to the stuff. Hermione had applauded his caution.
“Oh, if only you knew the truth, Hermione,” Harry murmured miserably.
Severus sighed as the water pounded down on his sore muscles. It gave him the chance to relax and forced his mind to wander. Unfortunately, since he had no papers to grade or lessons to plan, his mind chose to wander to the one place it had left to wander. It dwelled upon his bond mate. The boy’s attitude had been very different today. When he’d first agreed to acknowledge the debt, he’d been enraged. Today, however, he seemed positively docile. Severus wondered what had happened to bring about the change in him. Had one of the Weasleys or Lupin said something to the brat?
There were other things that didn’t add up, as far as he was concerned. Severus couldn’t get the boy’s last words out of his mind no matter how much he tried. ‘Albus has more important things on his mind,’ he had said. It was almost as if the boy truly believed that he was unworthy of Albus’s attention. It was as if Potter thought that Albus saw him as a tool; nothing more. If he believed that, perhaps Severus’s perceptions weren’t as accurate as he’d thought. Perhaps Potter was correct; maybe he was only a tool. Albus may not have treated him like that intentionally, but Severus was very familiar with his own treatment by the man, so why should Potter have been treated any differently? After all, winning the war had become the ultimate goal for Albus. The rest didn’t matter.
Severus sighed again. “I’ve wronged the boy,” he said aloud. “Perhaps it is time for us to start anew. I only hope it isn’t too late. I’ve done a great deal of damage.”
When he returned to the room, it was just in time to see the boy pouring something into a tall glass. His nostrils picked up the unmistakable aroma of Dreamless Sleep potion. Gasping as the realization of what the boy was about to do hit him, Severus rushed forward and swept an arm out and around, knocking the glass from the boy’s hand and causing it to shatter on the tiles of the hearth; its contents went everywhere.
“Oh, Harry,” he whispered, as the magnitude of what the boy had almost done nearly caused him to pass out. The boy’s anguish crashed against the barriers of his mind, but he gently tilted his chin up and forced himself to look into his green eyes—his mother’s eyes—anyway. He needed to see everything. He had to know why Harry was so desperate to do something this final. Most of all, he wanted to comfort him.
“I’m sorry,” Harry muttered; his voice oddly lifeless and dull. “I didn’t mean for you to see me do that. I wasn’t trying to seek attention or fame or anything like that.”
“I know,” Severus replied. “I’ve been very wrong about you, Harry. We’ve both been ill-treated by some rather trying circumstances, but I believe we’re strong enough to rise above those circumstances and start over in spite of them. Would you agree?”
Harry found himself blinking back tears. He never thought he’d hear Severus Snape saying words like that in his life. Apparently, he was sincere, though. Harry made a quick decision, somehow knowing that this was one reckless Gryffindor impulse he wouldn’t regret. “I’d definitely agree with that,” he said. “I know this isn’t going to be easy for either of us, but I’m willing to give it a try, as long as you are.”
Severus reached out and cupped his chin once more. Leaning forward, he kissed him. Harry gasped. The kiss was unlike any other kiss he’d ever had before. It was firm and demanding, yet there was an underlying tenderness to it that could not be denied. It had none of the softness or wetness he’d felt when he kissed Cho or Ginny, though.
He closed his eyes and leaned in again to claim another kiss from Severus’s lips. What he lacked in experience, he made up for in longing and intensity. The realization that he’d very nearly ended his own life hit him just as their second kiss ended, and it left him feeling desperately horny. He pressed his body against Severus’s, frantically rubbing against the older man’s leg in an effort to gain more friction, but Severus stepped back.
“I think not, Mr Potter,” he growled roughly. “If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this the way a real couple should. There’s a perfectly useable bed right here, after all.”
Harry couldn’t believe Severus was still this coherent. In an effort to change that, he reached down and squeezed the other man’s cock and smiled sweetly up at him, then flopped backwards onto the bed, flipping his nightshirt off over his head as he went.
“Oh, you brat!” Severus cried, stalking forward until he was standing beside the bed and staring down at his naked partner. “Don’t play with fire, Mr Potter. You’ll get burned.”
He’d long since abandoned the towel he’d brought with him from the bathroom. Now, he removed his sleep pants and crawled on top of Harry, pressing down on his body and letting their cocks rub against one another, causing them both to gasp.
Faster and faster they moved, until Harry was no longer sure where he ended and Severus began. Time had no meaning for him. All that mattered right now was sensation and heat. Severus’s weight was a pleasant reminder that earth and gravity actually did exist.
They exploded in tandem; their climaxes causing the color spectrum to shatter and reform before both of their eyes. In that timeless moment when their orgasms had crested, the power of their magic had combined to form a strong soul bond. The resulting outburst left them physically, magically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. It also left them happy.
“Do you have any idea what just happened?” Harry asked wearily. “I didn’t expect that.”
“Neither did I,” Severus admitted. “I think I know what occurred, but I’ll need to research it before I can be certain. I’m too tired to do that just now, though.”
Harry laughed softly. “We’ll do it in the morning, then,” he murmured sleepily.
Severus mumbled something, but Harry was already asleep, so he didn’t hear what he said. Smiling, Severus nodded to himself. They would find out tomorrow.