Fic: Progress of Rehabilitation Title: Progress of Rehabilitation Author:unbroken_halo Giftee:umbrus Word Count: ~9000 Rating: NC-17 Pairing: Snarry Warnings: All things asked for by the recipient, and a few more thrown in for good measure. Completely AU, although I picked some canon facts here and there as needed. *g* Snark, innuendo, implied-wife swapping, a smidgen of violence, rimming, tiny bit of biting and hair pulling, jealous-obsessive-possessive-parsel!smut. Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended. Summary: When the Wizengamot releases the most deadly wizards from Azkaban, it's up to Harry to ensure that they're properly rehabilitated. Whether he wants to or not. Author's Notes: Thanks to several wonderful people, to be named later, that listened to me rant and rave when both Harry and Severus decided not to cooperate. umbrus, I hope you enjoy the fic and have a wonderful, Snarry-filled holiday!
Harry was certain that he'd had this dream before; or perhaps it was a nightmare, because things like this had only happened to him when Voldemort was alive, and that had definitely been a nightmare. Hedwig was shrieking in his ear, her claws digging into his shoulder through his pyjamas as she tried to wake him.
But his scar didn't hurt, and he'd been sleeping quite soundly until Hedwig had decided it was time to remind him of those nightmares. Harry knew Voldemort had been defeated in a battle several months ago, so he ignored the deafening noises and tried to snuggle down in the bed.
"Geroff, He'wig," he mumbled and pulled the blankets over his head.
Hedwig clicked her beak and redoubled her efforts. She dug her claws into the bedding and took to the air, pulling the blankets back with her talons. Dropping the sheets to the floor, she attacked again, this time going for the tender skin on Harry's ear.
Harry yelped and sat up to fight back, swinging his arms over his head in defence. He made contact with one of Hedwig's talons as she swooped back in for the next attack. Putting his thumb in his mouth and sucking away the blood, Harry gave Hedwig a bleary eyed glare, while he used his other hand to search for his glasses on the nightstand.
"Bit tetchy this morning, are we?" Harry asked Hedwig.
Hedwig hooted at him, and Harry snorted at the almost indignant noise. The world came into focus when his glasses settled into place, and he saw the reason for Hedwig's frustration.
His entire bedchamber was covered in a sea of postal parchment. Letters littered every surface imaginable, spilling on to the floor, and Harry just stared at the mess. A few piles were smouldering, where he assumed there must have been Howlers at one time. What in Merlin's name was going on? It had been quite some time since he'd been inundated with so much mail, and that thought alone made him frown.
How had it arrived in his home when there was a Fidelius Charm on the bungalow? He eyed Hedwig as she perched on her stand, grooming herself after their wake-up battle. She couldn't have possibly delivered it all. Could she? Were postal owls affected by the charm?
Arching an eyebrow and looking at Hedwig once more, Harry crossed his arms over his chest. "Well, why did you bring me all this? You could have woken me before the place caught fire."
Hedwig stared back at him with her golden gaze, then spread her wings, taking off and clipping him in the head as she flew out the owl chute.
"Ow!" Harry tossed back the blankets and muttered as he looked around. "Merlin, what a mess."
Padding over the parchments to grab his robe, Harry stopped and bent to pick up the Daily Prophet that was lying on top of one pile. He scanned the back page of the paper then flipped it over, gasping as he read the headlines.
Wizengamot Releases Former Death Eaters!
Harry had just started to read the article accompanying the blurb when his Floo flared. He could see the face in the green flames, but he couldn't quite believe that it was actually who his eyes and mind were telling him it was. He shook his head to clear the cobwebs shock had caused, because Lucius Malfoy was staring back at him.
Malfoy smiled and Harry did another double take, still stunned to find the aristocrat in his grate. He narrowed his eyes as he saw another person walking around behind Malfoy. Tall and lanky with swishy robes flaring as the person disappeared out of visual range. Was that Snape? He wasn't certain with the distortion of the green flames, but no matter; he had other more important matters at the forefront of his mind.
"What do you want?" Harry finally managed to say, tucking the paper under his arm. "And how did you get my Floo address?"
Malfoy arched an eyebrow and opened his mouth. He quickly shut it, as if he had wanted to say something but abruptly changed his mind. "Mr Potter, my apologies for disturbing you this morning, as it appears I have pulled you from slumber…"
Malfoy directed his gaze at Harry's body then arched his brow again. Harry had the distinct impression that Malfoy was appraising him. He looked down at himself, realized he was only clad in his pyjama bottoms, and blushed. With Malfoy staring at him, he felt like a side of beef and shuddered, wanting to run from the room in embarrassment.
Barely managing to keep himself rooted to the spot, Harry cleared his throat. Malfoy looked up at him. "You didn't answer my question. This is a private Floo, one inaccessible to the general public, I might add."
Malfoy pursed his lips. "Ah, yes, well… I can see that this is a bad time for you and should Floo again later. Perhaps after you've read the Prophet."
"Maybe you should," Harry murmured, wondering what the hell Malfoy was on about. It could wait, however, until he'd rung the Floo Master and had more wards cast on his Floo.
Malfoy disappeared from his hearth, and the fire settled back down to the normal tones of reds and yellows.
Harry breathed out a sigh of relief and dropped his head to his chest, closing his eyes for a moment. What in Merlin's name was going on? First Hedwig and all the post, now Malfoy was in his fire; what could be next? After the morning he'd had so far, he wasn't quite certain he should ask that question.
Summoning his wand, Harry flicked it at the post lying on the floor, neatly bagging and Banishing the sacks to the attic. He'd deal with them later. At this particular moment, he needed a good strong cup of tea and no more surprises.
Heading out of his bedroom toward the kitchen, Harry was again startled to hear a riot of noise and stopped to stare out the parlour windows. Several reporters stood outside his home, all of them clamouring to get to the window to see inside.
Horrified, Harry slowly began to back-pedal out of the room. They noticed him, and began shouting. Several flash bulbs went off in rapid succession and Harry groaned, covering his face with one hand as his half-naked body was captured for posterity's sake.
"Mr Potter! Mr Potter!"
"Care to comment on the Wizengamot's decision?"
"Have you been contacted by the former inmates?"
"Which one will be pardoned first?"
Harry finally shook off his embarrassment and turned, slipping and sliding on the hardwood floors as he fled the room. He waved his wand behind him, casting a spell to pull the drapes and shutters closed. The noisy, nosy questions from the reporters were silenced just as he escaped to his bedroom.
Closing the door and locking it, Harry threw himself in front of the fireplace and tossed in some Floo Powder, calling out the high security password and Kingsley Shacklebolt's name.
Harry tapped his fingers on the hearth, waiting impatiently for Kingsley to appear. He didn't even allow Kingsley to speak, cutting him off as soon as his green, shiny, bald head coalesced.
"What in the bloody hell is going on? Reporters are banging down my door, Hedwig brought me a tonne of post and bloody Lucius Fucking Malfoy was in my Floo this morning. How is it that my home is now visible to everyone? "
Kingsley grimaced, "Good morning to you too, Harry. Why, yes, it is a lovely day out there," he muttered.
Harry stared at him then frowned, crossing his arms over his chest. "It's too early for sarcasm, Kingsley, and you didn't answer my questions."
"I wasn't expecting a dressing down from one of my recruits, either," Kingsley retorted. "Now, if you think you can calm yourself, then I could tell you what's been going on, but you're not going to like it."
Harry narrowed his eyes at Kingsley. "Really? You think?"
Kingsley chuckled. "Yes, I see you're having a right lovely morning." He took a deep breath and eyed Harry. "Have you read anything in the Prophet today?"
Harry shook his head. "Just one headline and I'm certain that'll explain it all. Give me the short, true version."
Shacklebolt closed his eyes, breathing out a slow deep sigh. "The Wizengamot—in their infinite wisdom—decided to release the Malfoys, the Crabbes, the Goyles, and, despite our best efforts, the Lestranges from Azkaban."
Harry whistled. "What were they thinking?"
Kingsley shook his head. "There's more; the Wizengamot's also invoked *Leges Pacis."
"Let me finish, before you jump the wand." Kingsley glared at Harry. "It's an old contractual bond spell, which places a geis on magic. The geis binds all forms of magic, making it inaccessible to the witch or wizard under influence of the geis, until the designated peacekeeper deems them worthy of having the ability to wield power once more. The magic must be won back honourably and peaceably or the contract is null and void." He finally paused to allow Harry time to digest all that information.
Harry mulled over the information and gasped as the realization of what Kingsley had said sank in. "Oh, bloody hell. They didn't…"
But Kingsley was already nodding, giving him an apologetic look as he spoke. "As the one to defeat Voldemort, Harry Potter is, in the eyes of the Wizengamot, a most trustworthy individual, more than capable of being the Peacekeeper to the former followers of You-Know-Who. His humane methods in bringing about the downfall of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and rounding up the remaining followers, showed a truly forgiving and compassionate nature...
Harry stared at Kingsley then cut across him. "One spell and I'm branded for life."
Kingsley chuckled. "Afraid so, Harry. Every one of the witches and wizards I mentioned before has had Leges Pacis cast upon them." He paused, biting his lip before continuing. "There's just one more thing… Snape has been targeted too."
Harry blinked. "Snape? Severus Snape, greasy potions master, double agent and terrorizer of small children. That Snape? Why is he on the list? He's not guilty nor was he a true Death Eater. He was my… our liaison… undercover man of sorts, if you could call it that."
Kingsley shrugged. "I know. I have no idea why, if you'll pardon the pun, he's part of their witch-hunt. I was unable to find out any more information than what I have already told you. My apologies for not getting it to you sooner."
Harry sighed. "It's all right, Kingsley. I guess I'll need to put in for a furlough."
"Already taken care of, Harry. The Wizengamot wants you to focus only on these high profile cases first…"
The doorbell interrupted their conversation and Harry frowned. "Merlin! First my Floo, then the damned reporters showing up; now there's someone at the door. Kingsley, do something about this."
"I'll try, Harry, but as the Peacekeeper you must be accessible to the former prisoners. As I said, an indefinite, temporary leave of absence has already been granted from your training so you may see to this matter."
"Guess that answers my next question of how they found me; the Fidelius Charm is broken." Harry scowled. "Thank you, Kingsley. Hopefully, I won't need too much time with this."
"Good luck, Harry. Come see me once this is over."
Kingsley vanished from the Floo, and Harry got to his feet. The doorbell rang again and Harry shook his head as he made his way to the foyer. "Impatient little bugger, aren't you?"
Pulling the door open, Harry stared at his visitor in shock.
Draco Malfoy stood on the stoop, a smirk masquerading as a smile on his thin lips, his robes draped suggestively on his trim frame. His gossamer hair had been brushed back, tied at the nape of his neck with a ribbon that matched his robes. His pale skin was peachy with health, and the entire ensemble just seemed to enhance Malfoy's features, making him appear more handsome than Harry had remembered.
Although his stay in Azkaban had left its mark, Harry could see that his spirit still lived on in his eyes. Malfoy looked him over as his father had done earlier, and Harry was quite certain this Malfoy was also appraising him.
Stunned into silence, Harry just stood there, letting Malfoy look his fill. He watched with a suspicious fascination as Malfoy's mouth curled up at the corners and his hand came up, sliding along Harry's cheek, caressing his face. Air rushed in Harry's ears and the world narrowed to the point where his skin was connecting him to Malfoy.
Malfoy's lips were moving, yet Harry couldn't comprehend what he was saying due to shock from the unexpected petting. The touch was warm and tender, inviting and welcoming all in the same instant, and he wanted to dive into the sensations. He couldn't remember the last time someone had touched him with such ease and familiarity. Harry very nearly leaned into the fondling before it dawned on him just exactly who was doing the stroking.
"What in Merlin's name do you think you are doing?!" Harry yelled, jumping back and scrubbing at his cheek.
Malfoy's face fell, and he sneered at Harry. He quickly composed himself, glancing over his shoulder, and then turned back to Harry, clearing his throat before answering. "I'm trying to make you an offer, Pot—Mr Potter."
Harry arched an eyebrow. "An offer? You were trying to give yourself to me to gain your magic back? You thought if I fucked you…" he trailed off, imagining the possibilities and paled. "Oh dear Gods… is that really a requirement?"
Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Merlin, Potter, grow up. There's no need to act so prudish. Sex is sex, regardless of the gender. It is used as a bargaining piece in many agreements."
Harry made a face. "Perhaps for you it is, but I'd rather not catch any diseases."
Malfoy's eyes widened, sputtering for a moment. "Are you suggesting that I am unclean?"
Harry leaned against the doorframe. "You said it, not me."
"Why you filthy—"
Malfoy was suddenly silenced when he disappeared from Harry's stoop with a loud crack.
Harry jumped, drawing his wand and looking around for Malfoy. A rolled scroll appeared where Malfoy had been standing and dropped to the ground. Carefully, Harry bent and prodded the vellum. When it didn't burst or curse him, he picked it up, unrolling and reading the message, still glancing around occasionally in expectation of Malfoy's return.
Peacekeeper Harry Potter,
The Wizengamot has been notified that Inmate Draco Malfoy has incurred an infraction under Leges Pacis. Inmates must follow a strict codex when contacting the Peacekeeper, and we apologize for the rudeness of Inmate Draco Malfoy. Due to Inmate Draco Malfoy's inappropriate actions, his freedom has been revoked as a reprimand.
We would like to remind you that the spell does take time to work and to not factor this episode in to your decision about the inmate's progress of rehabilitation.
Once again, we apologize for the slight and thank you for your cooperation in this legal matter.
Griselda Charter Chief Warlock The Wizengamot.
The missive folded in on itself and vanished in a puff of smoke. Harry looked around the empty street for any of his neighbours that might have been watching. An odd sensation rippled across his skin and he turned, spotting a man at the street corner. Slowly, he aimed his wand at the pedestrian, readying the Memory Charm just in case.
The man walked around the corner with his head down and Harry froze, wand arm half-mast in front of him and stared. With the morning sun glinting off the lamppost, Harry thought that the man turning the corner across the street looked like none other than Severus Snape. He blinked, looking again at the man's black cloak flaring around his feet as he walked.
It had been some time since he'd actually seen Snape, but the man was hardly forgettable, especially with all the history the two had between them.
During the war, Snape had been a double agent, hardly trusted by either side, and yet Harry had followed Professor Dumbledore's request to trust Snape. It had taken some time for Harry to overcome his childhood prejudices against Snape, but when it appeared that the war would continue on indefinitely, information was made available that helped Harry defeat Voldemort. Information that could have only come from someone on Voldemort's side and Harry had known it had come from Snape.
Harry felt a bit of relief as well as a small surge of panic flow through him as he continued to watch the man walk. He couldn't see the person's face but he would know that stride anywhere. It had to be Snape. Tucking his wand behind his ear and pushing his glasses onto his forehead, Harry rubbed his eyes, and then adjusted his glasses on the bridge of his nose once more.
Time stood still for Harry as he focused on the path, looking for Snape. A flash of black caught his eye, and he turned. His eyes followed the line of the cloak, watching it swoop dramatically with each step until the material stretched across the broad back, and Harry held his breath as the man looked up.
Bright blue eyes in a handsome face stared at Harry, and he felt a bit foolish at having become flustered over the thought of Snape actually coming to him.
The surreal quality of the situation slammed into him, and Harry couldn't quite believe his position in the matter. He bit his lip, trying to contain the almost hysterical laughter that was threatening to break loose.
Just this morning, he had been appointed Peacekeeper, been ogled by Lucius Malfoy, and then propositioned by Malfoy's son. Now he was imagining a former professor staking out and prowling his neighbourhood. Perhaps he'd finally gone round the twist. Harry doubled over, clutching his stomach and chuckling as his control broke. Loud laughter bubbled forth, bringing tears to Harry's eyes.
Wiping away the wet trails from under his glasses, Harry entered his home and slammed the door behind him, unable to keep his laughter from escaping again before the door closed completely.
His neighbours must think him completely barmy now, after everything that had happened since he'd moved into this bungalow. At this particular moment in time, Harry wasn't certain he would disagree with them.
Harry spent the rest of his day in his personal library, going through the books he'd retrieved from his vaults. Once he'd come of age and inherited the Potter and Black lines, Harry had a fortune that he had no clue what to do with. The goblins had assessed the value of his vaults for him, and Harry had taken only what he'd needed to live on his own until he could decide what to do with his life.
The war had still been raging at the time, and with so many friends scattered around the globe, doing their part in fighting off the threat, Harry had closed off his heart to romance and concentrated on finishing the task Dumbledore had started him on his first year at Hogwarts.
With Voldemort taken care of and the last of his Death Eaters in Azkaban, Harry had felt bereft. His friends had moved on without him and he was alone, with nothing but his training and a legacy to keep him company.
Kingsley Shacklebolt had taken Harry under his tutelage, and Harry had started to flourish in Unspeakable training. He'd not minded the almost solitary lifestyle, and it was peaceful after the first half of his life.
Having to put that aside for this business set upon him by the Wizengamot was not only an inconvenience, but also a nuisance. It had upset his carefully balanced daily routine, and all Harry really wanted was to be left alone. He wanted this Peacekeeper business finished as quickly as possible.
After a restless and sleepless night, Harry awoke to find the press outside his home again. Hopes of a semi-peaceful weekend dashed, he locked himself in the library once more, trying to find out as much as he could about the spell.
Slamming the latest useless tome shut, Harry tossed it in the air, and the book zoomed back to its place on the shelf. He sighed and rubbed his face, deciding he needed a break. In fact, he needed chocolate or ice cream. Perhaps both.
Summoning his Invisibility Cloak, Harry draped it across his shoulders then sneaked out the back door of the house and into the alleyway, Apparating to London and the Leaky Cauldron.
Once outside and behind the Leaky Cauldron, Harry raised his wand and tapped out the pattern on the bricks. As they folded back in on themselves, he grinned, watching the magical alley come in to view.
Stepping past the barrier, Harry headed toward Fortescue's for his treat, completely oblivious to the four people following along behind him.
Harry wandered the Alley, revelling in the freedom of being lost in the crowd. After stopping for just a moment to check out the new brooms in the window of Quality Quidditch Supplies, he continued on, grinning as the hawkers shouted out prices for their wares at the street carts. He passed the stationary store, then stopped at Eeylops Owl Emporium to pick up some treats for Hedwig. She deserved them after their disagreement yesterday.
Leaving the pet store, Harry crossed to the other side of the street to stop in at Flourish and Blotts to pick up the latest novel in a series he was reading. He cut his eyes over to the ice cream parlour, reminding himself to grab an extra quart to take home with him once he was finished window shopping.
A scuffle near the entrance to Knockturn Alley caught his eye and Harry drew his wand, darting across the street to see if he could help. He stopped short as he rounded the opening of the alley and came face to face with Rabastan Lestrange.
Lestrange grinned at Harry, and Harry gasped in surprise before remembering the Wizengamot's decision and the fact that he was the only one with a wand.
"Stay back," Harry muttered. Back-pedalling and keeping his wand pointed at Lestrange, he tried to make his escape.
"Oh, Mr Potter," a sing-song voice warbled at him. Harry knew that voice, and a shiver slithered down his spine. Masculine laughter came after the high pitched trill, chilling his blood, and he knew was trapped by the three Lestranges.
Harry swallowed down the fear that filled him and turned, spotting Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange walking towards him. The fear that had cooled his blood a moment ago froze in his veins when they surrounded him, herding him further down Knockturn Alley.
"Now then, Mr Potter, we have some business to discuss with you." Bellatrix smiled as she spoke, her words almost dripping with saccharine.
Harry stared at her in disbelief. "I know what you want, and forcing me to give it to you won't work."
Bellatrix looked at her two companions and began to laugh. Rodolphus and Rabastan joined her for several moments before she cut the sound off abruptly. "If you are speaking about Leges Pacis, then you are correct. However, there are ways to circumvent that particular spell."
Harry was opening his mouth to question her when two more people appeared at the mouth of the Alley. The pair took up almost the entire width of the street, blocking what little weak sunlight managed to penetrate through the dank and dim alley.
The Lestranges turned and Harry narrowed his eyes, trying to make out who the newcomers were. Bellatrix ended his curiosity for him.
"Crabbe! What are you doing here?"
Harry groaned softly, knowing he was in serious trouble now. Not only had the Lestranges found him, but it was suddenly five against one. Not very good odds at all, even if he was the only one to have magic on his side. He heard his name and looked up.
Vincent Crabbe had muscled his way past the Lestranges and was barrelling towards him. "Mr Potter, we're here to help."
Harry's eyes widened and he pointed his wand at Crabbe. "Help?! I don't need you to help them, thank you very much!" He jerked his wand back and forth between the Lestranges and the Crabbes, trying to decide which of the two posed the larger threat.
Vincent stopped and raised his hands in the air. "No! Help you, not them!"
Harry stared at Crabbe as if he were daft. "I've already told you, I don't need any help."
"But he said you did! We were sent here to help you, Potter!"
Harry opened his mouth to question Crabbe's statement when another shout rang out.
"Goyle! What are you going here?" Rabastan's voice rang out over the clatter of Rodolphus, Bellatrix and the senior Crabbe's argument.
Harry and Vincent Crabbe turned to see two more men joining the fray. Harry recognized the younger of the pair as Gregory Goyle from Hogwarts. Crabbe left Harry's side with a scowl on his face as he lumbered over to his former crony.
Harry watched in disbelief as all seven of the former Death Eaters began to bicker amongst themselves. He arched an eyebrow as the squabble became more physical, gasping as Bellatrix reared back and slapped Crabbe senior. Then the disagreement became a free-for-all between the magically challenged wizards and witch.
Harry realized the Death Eaters had forgotten about him as he watched Gregory Goyle land a right hook to Vincent Crabbe's jaw. More and more people were gathering at the mouth of the alley, watching the fighting, and Harry decided this was the best time to make his escape.
Scooting along the wall with his back pressed against it, Harry moved slowly down the alley, crawling deeper and deeper into Knockturn territory. Looking back to make certain he wasn't being followed, Harry checked his surroundings and knew he was lost. He laid his wand across his palm, preparing to get directions, when rumblings from the crowd reached his ears.
Harry looked up to see red-robed Aurors flooding into the Alley and sliding through the crowd. One by one, the former Death Eaters began to disappear with loud cracking noises. Harry breathed a sigh of relief as the Peacekeeping Spell finally started working and Aurors began rounding up the public to take their reports.
Harry sagged against the wall, waiting for his apology scroll to appear, and hung his head. Slowly breathing in and out, trying to calm his racing heart, Harry closed his eyes for just a moment and felt the eerie sensation of someone watching him.
Harry looked up, trying to find the person responsible for his discomfort, and spotted a man across the alley. He stood apart from the crowds, flowing robes cascading around him, making him appear large and sinister in the bleak atmosphere of the Alley.
A sudden crack startled Harry as a scroll appeared and he quickly scanned it for the names of the brawlers. All three Lestranges, both Crabbes and the two Goyles had been detained but there was no mention of Snape.
Looking up, Harry eyed the man in black once more. His face was hidden by the shadows but Harry was certain that this time, the stranger was Snape. It had to be Snape because Harry had been contacted by all the others for the return of their magic, and Snape would have to seek him out as well.
Harry watched Snape, biding his time until Snape made the first move. However, Snape just stood silently on the corner of the path bisecting Diagon and Knockturn Alley.
Frustrated by the lack of action, Harry drew his wand and aimed it across the alley at Snape. Snape took a step back and a shaft of light slanted across his face, revealing a pale face with a large nose and shining black eyes. Harry gasped, dropping his wand as his suspicions were confirmed; the man was Snape.
Staring into Snape's eyes from across the street, Harry felt himself captured and drawn in.
Floating on a fathomless sea of darkness, Harry felt cushioned, safe and protected on all sides. Inhaling deeply, he drew in not the scents from the Alley, but smells of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and happier times with his friends.
He felt something stroke his cheek and Harry relaxed, leaned into the caress, sighing softly as the fingers brushed his fringe aside and traced his scar.
Harry felt someone lean over him and lips pressed against his forehead, the bridge of his nose, then finally, finally grazed over his mouth. He parted his lips, and closed his eyes, moaning quietly when the ghostly presence pulled away.
Harry opened his eyes, breaking out of the dark dream. He blinked his eyes, rubbing his temple with one hand and trying to understand just exactly what had happened. Leges Pacis was supposed to bind the convict's magic, so how had he been drawn into Snape's mind through Legilimency?
Harry looked across the street for Snape and gasped when he saw that Snape had left. The black robes snapped and swirled dramatically around Snape's feet as he walked out of the Alley
The sight of Snape getting smaller and smaller spurred Harry into action. He flung himself away from the wall, scooped up his wand and sprinted down the Alley. "Snape!"
But Snape continued to walk away.
Harry made it to the opening where Knockturn intersected Diagon Alley and ran headlong into a crowd of people, the same people who had just been standing there watching the fight between the Lestranges and the others.
Harry questioned the people milling around as well as the Aurors but not one person had seen Snape. And of course, no one let the opportunity pass to tell him what a rotten person Snape had been due to his association with the Death Eaters.
Harry finally had heard enough of the public's opinion, and after giving his statement to the Auror in charge, headed to the Leaky Cauldron. It wasn't until he had stepped back through the barrier and the bricks had closed off Diagon Alley that Harry remembered that he'd forgotten both his chocolate and his ice cream.
Groaning and slapping his forehead, Harry opened the backdoor to the Leaky Cauldron and wandered inside, hoping he didn't run into anyone else before the day's end or arriving home.
He wasn't that lucky.
Stepping outside the Leaky Cauldron and onto the path, Harry looked both ways before crossing the street and heading for the Underground. He hated taking the tube, but it did give him time to think about all that had occurred in the past two days, most especially that eerie daydream that he'd had when he'd met Snape's eyes in Knockturn Alley.
He'd not received anything from the Wizengamot, nor had he had any time to contact Kingsley. He was certain, though, that Kingsley would have sent the information about the spell to him one way or another; by his owl, Arcadia, or with his Patronus.
Things must be particularly hectic at the Ministry, Harry thought as he pushed his way through the turnstile and plucked his ticket from the machine. Settling on the bench to wait for his train, he watched the people running from train to train and stared off into space, wondering what to do about his dilemma. He put aside the daydream and concentrated on the other Death Eaters.
Draco Malfoy, the Crabbes, the Goyles and the Lestranges had all taken care of themselves, and Harry grinned as he thought about the foolishness that had ended in their loss of freedom.
The train pulled in to the station, and Harry climbed aboard, once more too lost in his thoughts to notice he had two shadows.
Once settled in a seat, Harry's musings turned sober as he recalled that he still had Lucius Malfoy and Snape left to contend with. Malfoy could rest on his laurels for a bit; Snape was the more interesting of the two at this moment in time.
Harry was now certain that he'd seen Snape at all the other contact meetings of the inmates, but what he didn't know was why. He'd always had some kind of warning or a visual sighting of Snape before each person had done something to invoke the spell's safety precautions.
It had Harry wondering if there was more to the spell than just what Kingsley had told him.
The announcement of his stop startled Harry out of his thoughts. He stood and exited the train, walking out of the station and onto the street. As he made his way down the path to his home, Harry's thoughts drifted back to Snape, the spell and why the Ministry would place Snape on their list of wizards to be rehabilitated.
Harry stopped just short of his home and looked around. The reporters appeared to be gone, but he felt a sudden chill shiver down his spine. He rubbed his arms and scanned the area, looking for Snape.
He knew that the sensation meant that Snape was around somewhere, and his training, something that he should pay more attention to, had him sliding his wand into his hand.
Spinning around, Harry came face to face with Lucius Malfoy.
Malfoy arched an eyebrow and took a step backward, raising his hands. "Mr Potter; again, my apologies for startling you. That was not my intention when I sought you out to request a moment of your time."
Harry stared at him, not lowering his wand. "Ever heard of an Owl, Malfoy?"
Malfoy nodded. "It is the correct way to initiate contact with the Peacekeeper, and I did send one the day of our… Firechat. I never received a reply."
He paused and glanced around the street. "Once again it appears as if I have made a faux paus when it comes to the business at hand. The spell is rather adamant in compelling its recipients forward to the evitable conclusion."
Harry frowned then remembered the post he'd Banished to the attic. Malfoy's last words suddenly filtered through to his brain. He looked up at Malfoy, eyes wide with horror, and Harry lowered his wand. "Wait a moment… you are being forced to contact me? Is the Peacekeeping Spell like Imperius?"
Malfoy opened his mouth and stopped, arching an eyebrow. He gave Harry slow smile and cleared his throat. "No, no, Mister Potter. While the spell is used to punish those accused of using… shall we say questionable practices, it is not itself considered a Dark Art."
Shifting in his stance, Malfoy glanced around the street once more. "Perhaps I might be of some service to you. I could inform you of the intricacies of Leges Pacis. That is, of course, if you have time for me, Mr Potter."
Harry narrowed his eyes at Malfoy as he listened and realized he'd lowered his wand. He brought it back up and jabbed at Malfoy. "Why are you being so… so… polite, I suppose is the word? You're still a smarmy arse though… Ah ha!"
Harry poked his wand at Malfoy, again, and Malfoy rolled his eyes.
"Yes, Mr Potter, you've figured it out. If I've been of service to you, as much as that phrase disgusts me to repeat, then I am fulfilling part of the requirements of the spell."
"And if I refuse?"
Malfoy pursed his lips but made no comment, and Harry watched him, nearly grinning and waiting for Malfoy senior to bung up this chance as his spawn had done.
Malfoy finally plastered the smile back on his face. Harry thought it looked very much as if Malfoy were in a considerable amount of pain and stifled the urge to laugh at him. "Well? I can refuse, yes?"
Malfoy sniffed and tugged his robe straight before answering. "Yes, of course, Mr Potter, you have every right to refuse anything I suggest." He eyed Harry and then smirked. "I am, however, not my son. Young Draco has much to learn, and by the time the Wizengamot releases him from solitary confinement for his lack of respect, then I suspect he will have learned a great deal."
Harry swallowed and ran a hand through his unruly hair. "I… I… about that…"
Malfoy held up one gloved hand and waved it through the air. "Think nothing of it, Mr Potter. You succeeded where I could not in teaching Draco some manners." He glanced over his shoulder and leaned closer to Harry, whispering conspiratorially, "Despite the purity of Malfoy-Black heritage, some family traits that transfer aren't always the most desirable. I'm certain you understand that of which I speak."
Malfoy cleared his throat, and Harry thought he distinctly heard Malfoy mutter something about insanity and Bellatrix. He looked up at Malfoy, took in the smug look on the man's face, then blew out a breath. He'd been certain Malfoy was going to slag on Sirius, but he was extremely surprised to hear Malfoy mention his own sister-in-law.
Harry thought about this as he pulled away, pondering what Malfoy had said. "So, if I allow you to explain the intricacies of the spell, you think that's enough to free you of its bonds?"
Malfoy made a face, then nodded. "That is entirely up to your discretion, Mr Potter, but I think that is a good start, don't you? Considering that I have followed the correct procedures in contacting the Peacekeeper, I had hoped that we could come to an agreement today."
Harry snorted and shook his head. "You've had your magic suppressed and you'll do anything to get it back, is what you are saying."
"You have no idea," Malfoy muttered.
"Pardon?" Harry asked, arching an eyebrow at Malfoy.
Malfoy shook his head, gave Harry another one of those smiles that looked pain-induced and stroked a hand over his hair. "May I suggest some place a little less public where we may negotiate the terms of our mutually beneficial arrangement? We are close to your domicile; if I may be so bold, it would be the ideal place to settle the terms."
"Invite you into my home? Are you mad as Lestrange? How in Merlin's name did you know my house was…" He snorted again and stifled his laughter as Malfoy's cheeks began to colour. "Oh, right, the spell… my apologies."
Harry looked down at his feet, trying to make a decision. He sucked in a breath as the prickle of someone's gaze bore into his back. The years at Hogwarts and the war came rolling back; Harry knew that gaze well. Shuddering, shivering, looking up and gazing around the street, he searched Snape out but saw nothing. And he realized he never had. He didn't need to because Snape had always been there.
He closed his eyes, recalled the caress from Knockturn Alley and revelled in the feeling of Snape's presence. He was safe, protected, and he knew it. Snape would look after him as he always had, because it was in his best interest to make certain Harry was alive.
Harry had his answer in moments; he could allow Malfoy into the house with him and not fear for his own safety. Malfoy had no magic until he, Harry, said so himself and Snape was just outside, somewhere. Opening his eyes, Harry sighed softly as the sensations faded. "All right, fine, I'm bloody tired and just want this day to end."
Malfoy eyed Harry and nodded. "Thank you, Mr Potter, you have been most… kind."
Harry rolled his eyes, turned and walked down the path once more, leading Malfoy to his home.
Harry stared at Lucius Malfoy as if the man had suddenly grown a second head. "Let me get this straight. You were serious and expect me to release you from Leges Pacis, just on the promise of what amounts to a history lesson?"
Malfoy slowly nodded at him. "That is correct, Mister Potter. In exchange for information on how Leges Pacis works, you shall release me from its bonds." He waved his hand in the air. "Once this is accomplished, I will have greater control over my wife and son; all to your advantage, of course."
Harry arched a brow. "Really?" he inquired as he sat on the sofa across from Malfoy. "What use is that to me again?" He crossed one leg over the other, wiggling his ankle, and rested his arm across his leg, his wand firmly gripped in his hand.
"With my magic restored, I'll be established as Head of the Malfoy household once more," Malfoy sniffed and inclined his head at Harry. "Granted, at your leisure, naturally, but I can make certain that neither one of them is a burden on your time."
Malfoy startled. "I beg your pardon?"
"I said no. What part of that did you not understand?"
Harry stared at Malfoy, watching as the words seemed to sink in and he digested Harry's answer.
Malfoy's eye twitched for a moment and he cleared his throat. "No? Well, perhaps I can sweeten the offer."
"I don't need money, and the answer is still no."
Malfoy moved to the edge of his chair, sitting up straighter. His fists clenched at his side and then he relaxed, smiling that odd sort of pained smile again. Harry stiffened in his seat.
"Mister Potter, I meant no offence. Let me try again. Money is not the only thing with which I may negotiate."
"I said no, Mister Malfoy."
Harry eyed Malfoy, watching while his lips pressed together as he thought. Their outline went bloodless for a moment, and Harry swore softly at himself when he jumped as Malfoy spoke again.
"My entire estate in Wiltshire, luxurious as it once was, is open to you."
Harry shook his head, "Mister Malfoy—"
Malfoy's nose flared and he shifted in the chair, leaning back and steepling his fingers under his chin, staring at Harry for a long moment. Harry stared back at him, becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the situation.
"Perhaps I have misjudged your desires, Mister Potter. I can see that you have no need of money or property." Malfoy looked around the room.
Harry felt compelled to glance around the room as well. It wasn't lavishly decorated, but it was his home and he liked it. "And?"
"It is unfortunate that you did not find Draco to your tastes, though I can certainly understand. He is rather... youthfully uncouth. Don't you agree? I find that is a quality of the untried, Mr Potter, and that is the exact opposite of you, now, isn't it?"
Harry frowned, wondering where this line of reasoning would lead.
"Narcissa, on the other hand, has always understood the benefits of propriety and shall we say, circumspection, as well as the appealing advantage of soft beauty."
Harry narrowed his eyes, trying to decipher Malfoy's pureblood speech. "Go on."
"Well, Harry, if I may be just a bit familiar, we are both men of discerning tastes. Obviously, you recognized something in Draco, or you would not have let him come so near to you. I can assure you that Narcissa would not be so crass in her handling of you."
Harry drew in a breath, the colour draining from his face as the meaning of Malfoy's words registered. "Are you offering me your wife?!" He closed his eyes and shook his head. "But… you… she's… married! Oh, Gods, no!"
Harry didn't notice Malfoy's reaction, didn't even see him move because everything happened so quickly. There were two loud cracks and Harry was thrown backwards, his wand flying from his hand as the sofa landed on its back, sending Harry sprawling out amongst its cushions.
Harry lay on his back, panting and staring up at the ceiling, his glasses crooked on his nose when the Peacekeeping Spell delivered the scroll. It bounced off his chest and rolled down his stomach, then onto the floor.
Harry grabbed the scroll, frantically scrambling to open the missive.
Peacekeeper Harry Potter,
The Wizengamot has been notified that Inmate Lucius Malfoy has incurred an infraction under Leges Pacis. Inmates must follow a strict codex when contacting the Peacekeeper, and we apologize for the threat Inmate Lucius Malfoy has imposed upon your life. Due to Inmate Lucius Malfoy's physical actions, his freedom has been revoked as a reprimand.
We would like to remind you that the spell does take time to work and to not factor this episode in to your decision about the inmate's progress of rehabilitation.
Once again, we apologize for the slight and thank you for your cooperation in this legal matter.
Griselda Charter Chief Warlock The Wizengamot.
Harry sighed and closed his eyes, chuckling madly at the Ministry's oh-so-polite apology for sending a killer out once more after him. Blowing out a steadying breath, he had a sudden visual of what had happened. The incident appeared in his mind's eye, slowed and detached so he could examine it. Malfoy leapt up from the chair, his hands wrapping around Harry's neck and squeezing.
Almost feeling the sensation in reality, Harry reached up to touch his throat, making certain the prints from Malfoy's fingers were all in his imagination.
"You are fortunate that Leges Pacis is a quick acting spell, Mister Potter."
Harry drew in a breath; he knew that voice. Snape had finally arrived. Opening one eye, Harry looked up at Snape. Snape stared back down at him.
In an instant, Harry knew he'd made a mistake by meeting Snape's eyes as he was once again sucked in to the dream-like Legilimency world of before. He floated on the sea of darkness, drifting down on to a billowy landscape.
Harry struggled, trying to stand up on the fluffy ground and was gently pushed back. He looked up and once again met Snape's eyes. The fathomless black didn't swallow him down as it had before.
Snape reached up and caressed Harry's face, tracing a finger along his jaw and cheek. Harry closed his eyes, leaning his head back and allowing Snape to continue to touch him.
"You do have an active fantasy life, don't you, Potter?" The amusement lacing Snape's voice brought Harry back to himself with a jolt.
Blushing furiously, Harry pushed himself to his feet, searching about for something to say that would put them back on even keel. "Come to beg for your magic back, Snape?"
The quirk of one eyebrow said more than mere words could have as Snape lifted his hand, showing the wand he held clutched in it. "Surprisingly enough, I found my magic returned to me mere hours after it was so viciously driven from me. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that you finally learned something about life and the nonexistent difference between light and dark?"
Harry found that he couldn't look away from Snape nor did he have a comeback to Snape's barb. He stepped closer, reached up and gently touched Snape's face.
Snape froze as Harry's fingers made the same trek that Snape's had taken a moment ago. "If you're not here to bargain, then why have you come? Why are we here, in this… this place?" Harry did look away then, glancing around the dark, shapeless abyss before meeting Snape's eyes once more. "What are you seeking that has you returning to me again and again?"
"Someone must continue to keep an eye on you, Mr Potter, since you are bound and determined to join those that have gone on before."
Harry snorted. "You're lying, and you've never done that before." He narrowed his eyes at Snape. "What are you hiding?"
Snape shrugged and brought one hand up, studying his fingers as he spoke, not answering Harry's accusation. "I came to see what I saw, Mr Potter. Each one of the worst of Voldemort's followers has been returned to Azkaban, and it will be quite some time before the spell will release them again."
Snape dropped his hand and looked at Harry once more. "This should give you ample time to do the research on Leges Pacis so you do not have to completely rely on another for protection." He paused, narrowing his eyes at Harry. "Although why I should think you have changed your habits from your academic career is beyond me."
"Spare me the insults to my intelligence; I've had a rough day." Harry sighed, backing off now that Snape had returned to the snarling bastard of his school days. Nothing had changed.
Snape shook his head, his mouth curling into a sneer as he watched Harry. "Poor Potter. It must be tiring being you. Dodging the Wizarazzi and yet still managing to make the society pages with a scantily clad, risqué photo or two and a poor excuse for a child pretending to play Death Eater."
Harry froze, his hand clenched at his side. He turned and looked at Snape, eyeing him. "How did you know?"
Snape didn't flinch under Harry's scrutiny but instead looked him in the eyes. "Where else would the perfect, pure wizard who has everything go looking for a little entertainment? Certainly not Knockturn Alley." He enunciated each word harshly.
"Jealousss, Sssnape?" Harry hissed as he narrowed his eyes and stepped closer to Snape. He knew Snape had the irritating habit of baiting him until he lost control and gave away something he did not intend. This time, however, they weren't in the classroom, and Harry was going to win this round of verbal foreplay.
A barely contained shudder ran through Snape's body, and Harry stepped back, knowing he'd finally hit the root of the problem.
Snape cleared his throat and looked at Harry again, sneering as he approached. "Jealous? Of you? Certainly not. I did not risk my life to have you throw it away on a mere whim of childish fantasy or sullen pique when you do not get your way, Mr Potter."
Harry's eyes widened as he watched Snape bearing down on him, and he backed up. Snape seemed to slither through the inky and obscuring landscape, his eyes narrowed to slits of glittering black that radiated menace. Harry was sorely reminded of the Pensieve incident and shook his head. "Sssnape…"
Snape barely faltered as the low rasp left Harry's lips. He shook his head and continued forward. "Potter…" he breathed. "There are things in this world that cannot be explained, spells that create, make life easier, heal and force those to do our bidding…"
The breath left Harry as he crashed into something hard and unyielding. He splayed his hands flat against it, bracing himself. "Sssnape… sssstop." Harry hissed again, the sibilant sounds escaping him effortlessly.
Snape did as Harry asked and closed his eyes, and Harry breathed a sigh of relief. Then Snape spoke again, and Harry had to lean forward to hear the softly spoken words.
"While Leges Pacis is not a particularly volatile spell, it can enhance certain… tendencies the person under its influence already possesses. These traits can be anything from simple friendship or loyalty to the more complex emotions of lust or mental madness."
Harry gasped and Snape opened his eyes. He looked Harry over from the top of his head to his feet. The same sensations he'd had every time he'd thought Snape was near crawled over his skin. He moaned and pushed away from the rigid surface, reaching out for Snape.
"Did you notice anything in particular about the other inmates, Potter?"
Harry shook his head, stopping in front of Snape. "Just you, Sssnape," he whispered, adding the extra sibilance intentionally.
Snape sneered then jerked Harry forward, bringing him flush against his body. He bent his head, slanting his mouth over Harry's and roughly bit at his lips until Harry's mouth parted, allowing Snape's tongue to slide inside.
Harry moaned, returning the rough kiss, and wrapped his arms around Snape, clenching his fingers in Snape's robes. He tugged on the heavy cloth and it came away in his hands, leaving him pressed against Snape's sallow skin.
Pulling away from Snape, Harry opened his eyes, seeking to look his fill of Snape's body. Snape reached out for Harry, pushing him to the pliant and shadowy ground.
One pass of Snape's hand had Harry's clothing vanishing as Snape's had, and Harry began writhing as Snape's tongue laid a warm, wet trail across his jaw, chest and abdomen.
Harry gasped and reached, up tangling his hands in Snape's hair as he moved lower and lower down his body. Arching up into Snape's mouth, his fingers slipped from the dark, slick strands and he cried out as Snape bypassed his prick. Then Harry was unceremoniously flipped over.
Snape started over on Harry's shoulders, nipping and biting his skin, his shoulder blades, teasing and tasting each perfect imperfection along Harry's spine. Snape's hands glided over Harry's gently abused back, grasped his hips and lifted him to his knees.
Harry gripped the dusky softness under him, nearly falling forward as he felt a wash of magic flow over his body followed once more by Snape's tongue. Another wave of magic, and Harry groaned as Snape's slick fingers brushed against his arse. He pressed back against them, bowing his head when they breeched his body, stroking and stretching him.
"Are you mine now, Potter?" Snape panted, leaning over Harry, moulding himself to Harry's back and licking his ear.
Harry pushed back against Snape when he felt Snape's fingers ease out of him. The blunt pressure of Snape's cock teased Harry, and he nodded, hissing out his answer. "Are you mine, Ssssnape?
Snape growled and thrust forward, hard, in answer. Harry closed his eyes and howled. The darkness brightened, eclipsing them in white light as the bond was cemented and released.
"You'll have the Fidelius Charm added to the new house, and the Wizengamot knows that knows that once the inmates are release for the second chance at Peace that they are to contact my barrister before a meeting can be scheduled?" Harry inquired of Kingsley as he leaned into the fireplace.
Kingsley nodded and smirked. "I think it's rather convenient that you are finally taking some time for yourself, Harry. Not that I blame you in the least."
Harry chuckled as he felt fingertips graze his backside. "It has been a long time coming, but I deserve the peace and quiet."
*AN#2 Leges Pacis loosely translates to Entrusting Peace