Fic: Unexpected Gifts - for eriador117 Title: Unexpected Gifts Author: Crookshanks! Giftee:eriador117 Word Count: 3865 Rating: NC-17 Pairing: Harry/Severus Warnings: *Mild D/s, teacher/student, Harry is 17* Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended. Summary:He might not know what to do with those gifts, but Severus did. AU, Established Relationship Author's Notes: Eternal thanks to lovetoseverus for encouragement, general ass-kicking, and a wonderful quick beta. Without her, I would have forgotten deadlines, procrastinated unforgivably (which I did my best on anyway) and generally been even more of a pain.
“I really wish you would come to the Burrow for the holiday, Harry,” Ron said, for possibly the millionth time, as they walked into the Transfiguration classroom.
“Ron, you know I love your family,” Harry said, as patiently as he could. “But it would be too awkward, you know it would.” They found their usual seats, Ron and Hermione together and Harry one desk over. “I don’t want to mess up your family’s holiday. I’ll be fine here.”
“But Ginny’s not mad, really!”
Hermione made a doubtful noise.
Harry shared her skepticism. “She’s been really great, Ron, but there’s no way it would be totally comfortable. For her or me.”
“But it’s been nearly half a year!”
“Harry’s right,” Hermione said. “Yes, Ginny’s been very understanding, but it hurts when your boyfriend breaks up with you because he’s gay. He’s doing the right thing by giving her space.”
Ron looked about to argue, and Harry cut him off. “I promise I’ll come some other time. Just not this time. It’s too soon, for both of us.”
Also, the holiday would allow him to spend more time in his new relationship with Severus – a development that had been wholly unexpected, but had quickly become a valuable part of his life.
Before Ron could come up with a response, Professor McGonagall entered and the classroom quieted.
“We’re going to begin a new concept today,” she announced, and a chorus of groans echoed through the room. Her tightly-drawn mouth smirked a little. “Yes, I know it’s the last day of class and all your other classes have probably been review. But this concept is something I want you to think about over the holiday.
“We will be working on casting glamours.”
The tone of the room changed notably with this pronouncement. Harry heard Parvati and Lavender squeal, while a general buzz broke out through the room. He found himself rather curious, as well – the ability to cast glamours could allow him a freedom in the wizarding world he’d never known, in addition to being a source of protection.
McGonagall held up a hand for silence. “I am aware that you can’t practice if you’re underage. However, this is a concept that requires not only power, but mental control, and understanding of the nature of magic. You have to sense it to have a good connection with your own magical energy, and that’s something you can work on over the holiday.” She scanned the faces in the classroom. “It will actually be easier for those of you not able to use magic – as your magical energy gets pent up, you’ll find it easier to connect with on a conscious level. In fact, I’m going to recommend that those of you who are of age refrain from using magic while at home, because it really will help you with this.”
She moved to the blackboard, and Harry could feel the real lecture beginning. “The key to a successful glamour is connecting with your personal magical energy,” McGonagall said. “You draw on this energy and project it out in a more generalized way than you’re used to when casting spells. And to maintain it, you have to learn to do so on a subconscious level. A good glamour will remain intact until the caster consciously removes it; a bad glamour will vanish as soon as the caster’s concentration slips.
“This ability to maintain a spell subconsciously is a foundational principle to becoming an Animagus.”
Harry felt a thrill go through him as the class burst into excited chatter again. McGonagall looked on, an unusually indulgent smile on her lips, until they began to settle.
“Now,” she said, breaking through the last of the whispers, “let’s go over the theory of connecting with your energy…”
About twenty minutes later, they were allowed time to practice. Hermione sat very still, her brows knit, as she attempted to process all McGonagall had said and put it into practice. Beside her, Ron’s face was turning red, he was concentrating so hard.
Harry closed his eyes and mentally felt for his magical core. It was bright and vivid to him, a pulsing glow of yellow light. Ever since he turned seventeen, feeling his core had become as easy as breathing. It was like a flame that had always been inside of him, but had grown into a roaring fire when he came of age – one that would occasionally flare out of control.
He pulled at the fire with his mind, watching it expand and contract in response to his will. His control wasn’t perfect; only the week before the light had surged on him without warning, causing a minor explosion in Charms. Today, however, it moved easily with him.
He spent some time manipulating it, spreading it out thin and then pulling it back in, arranging it in pulses and waves, getting a feel for what he could make it do.
After awhile, he felt comfortable trying to implement some of the principles McGonagall had explained. Envisioning a face with dark blond hair and broader features, he pulled at his magic.
He heard Hermione gasp, and he opened his eyes, trying not to lose his concentration. She was staring at him, eyes wide. “Harry! You did it!” Swiftly, she conjured a mirror, and passed it over. Looking back at him was the face of someone who looked a bit older and more masculine: a broad nose on a wider face, pale blue eyes and dark blond hair.
McGonagall heard Hermione, and looked over from where she had been speaking softly with Neville. He saw an expression of shock pass over her face before she composed it again. “Well done, Mr. Potter,” she said. “Well done, indeed.”
By this time the rest of the class was staring too, an awed murmur spreading across the room. His concentration slipped, and the glamour melted away with it. Reappearing in the mirror was his finely-featured face, his black hair not quite as unruly as it brushed his shoulders.
The class seemed subdued after that, with occasional looks of astonishment – and resentment – being tossed his way. By the end, Harry was feeling the all-too-familiar self-consciousness that he hated and had experienced far too much of that year. It was bad enough that his features had remained fine and pretty while his friends’ had broadened and roughened; his stature small and delicate to their tall and gangly. Sometimes he could comfort himself with the compensation of his magical abilities, but often that only served to make him feel more different, more like a freak – and feel more keenly the weight of his prophesied future.
By the end of class, Hermione had managed to turn her hair a pleasant shade of auburn. Otherwise, the class’s efforts were fruitless. McGonagall closed by reminding them about the need to connect with their internal magic, and to practice reaching for it over the holidays.
Harry let out a long sigh as they all gathered their things. He tried to ignore the glances thrown his way by his classmates: awe and envy and fear. “I wish they wouldn’t do that,” he mumbled as the three of them left the classroom.
“You can’t blame them, Harry,” Hermione said. “None of them know you as well as we do, and only a few really know you at all.”
“Besides, you’ve gotten so much more powerful since you came of age,” Ron interjected. “It really is a little scary.”
“Thanks, Ron,” Harry said dryly, then looked back at Hermione. “They should know by now that I’d never use my power to hurt anybody!”
“I think they do,” Hermione said thoughtfully. “On a conscious level, they do. But you’re an unknown in a lot of ways, Harry, and that’s always a bit frightening on a subconscious level.”
Harry scowled and quit talking as they continued to Defense. As they approached the classroom, they passed Ernie Macmillan in the hall. Harry was surprised when Ernie said, somewhat hesitantly, “Harry?”
“Yeah?” Harry asked, and stopped to face him.
“I… I wanted to give you this,” Ernie said, and offered a small, neatly wrapped package.
Harry stared at it for a second, taken aback; he’d never even considered exchanging gifts with Ernie before, and wasn’t sure what to make of the overture. But Ernie looked nervous, and Harry thought that refusing it would contribute to the ‘unknown’ reputation he apparently had, not to mention it would just be rude. So he reached out and accepted the package. “Thank you,” he said, the words coming out almost as a question.
Ernie gulped. “You’re welcome. I need to get to Charms.” And he hurried off, leaving Harry staring after him, the small package in his hand.
After Defense, Blaise Zabini approached him once the classroom had emptied of other students. “Harry, I would like to offer this to you, and I hope you’ll accept.” In his hand was another small package, slightly bigger and more elaborately wrapped than Ernie’s.
Harry knew there must be something bigger going on that he didn’t understand, and debated the wisdom of accepting a gift from Blaise Zabini. But Zabini seemed earnest, an odd look on his aristocratic face, and a hint of nervousness lurked under his expression.
“Thank you,” Harry said hesitantly, and accepted it.
When they went to the tower to drop off their books before dinner, Ron rummaged around in his trunk for a minute before pulling out a small, messily wrapped package.
“Here, mate,” he said, tossing it at Harry with forced casualness. “I’m kind of pissed off I’m not the first to do it. But, there you go.”
“Ron,” Harry said, fed up with the mystery, “what is this? Why do people keep giving me these things?”
Ron looked a little embarrassed. “It’s… a tradition, kind of,” he said. “Look it up over break, it’ll give you something to do.” He grinned sideways at Harry and left the room.
At dinner, Harry was approached by Neville, Stephen Cornfoot, and Anthony Goldstein. He was no less confused, but accepted the gifts with more grace, storing them all in his robe pocket. He could feel eyes on him from around the hall, but one pair landed with more weight than the others. Harry looked up and met the gaze of Severus Snape, and widened his eyes at him helplessly. What is this about? What should I do? he thought at Severus, hoping the questions were clear in his gaze.
Later, as he was leaving the Great Hall, he felt a presence sweep up behind him, a hot breath in his ear as deep tones murmured, “My quarters, Mr. Potter. Bring your gifts.”
It was very late before Harry was able to make his escape from Gryffindor Tower. He hurried along the darkened halls in his invisibility cloak, feeling the small collection of gifts bouncing in his pockets as he walked. His strides were too long, the product of too much pent-up anxiety: the usual strangeness that was class lately, along with the small part of him that hated seeing his friends leave without him. Now, there were also the mysterious gifts. They obviously meant something, and Harry was suspicious of gestures he didn’t understand.
He scratched lightly on Severus’ door, and when it swung open, he stepped in and removed his cloak before looking up into the black eyes.
Those eyes were hard and cold, and he felt a niggle of worry creep in. Lowering his gaze, he dug for his presents, pulling them out and showing them to Severus.
“Go put them under the tree.” Severus’ voice was a command, and Harry immediately obeyed, feeling his shoulders begin to relax. He might not know what to do with those gifts, but Severus did.
He knelt down by the Christmas tree, an indulgence that existed exclusively for Harry’s benefit. It sparkled cheerfully, with strings of fairy lights and the few glass ornaments that Severus could be persuaded into hanging. Harry had put most of them on himself, anyway.
As he placed the small packages under the branches, a rough velvet voice murmured in his ear. “They all want a part of you.”
Harry shivered all over, leaning on his hands, feeling the powerful presence looming behind him. “I don’t want them,” he said, the words coming out on a gasp.
“No,” Severus murmured, drawing a long finger down the side of Harry’s face. Harry turned towards it, seeking more. “They don’t know what you need.” His fingers twined in Harry’s hair, tugging firmly. “They don’t know how you crave being controlled.”
Harry was trembling then, breath coming in pants as he stayed on all fours, growing hard in his trousers.
“Who knows what you need, Harry?” the voice growled in his ear.
“You do,” he choked out.
“Who gives you what you need?”
“You do!” Harry stayed on his hands and knees as if rooted there, but craned his neck towards Severus, desperate for a kiss.
Severus jerked at his hair. “Who allows you to surrender your power to his control?”
He was growing desperate. “You do! Severus, please!” he cried, and abruptly found himself flipped onto his back, arms drawn over his head and wrists held captive by a large hand.
“You are mine,” Severus growled, then crushed his mouth to Harry’s.
Harry moaned and arched against him, letting the kiss take him over, nips and tugs and tongue at a rate he couldn’t keep up with. All his attention went to Severus’ mouth, to how it owned him, overwhelmed him.
He whined a little when Severus pulled away, wanting more, wanting to continue on and lose himself completely. He barely registered the thin cord wrapping around his wrists, awareness sinking in only when the warmth of Severus’ hand left him, replaced instead by some sort of binding.
He craned his head up to look, and saw that Severus had taken a rope of fairy lights from the tree, using them to secure his wrists. The slender ligature was dotted with white light, and he could feel the heat where it touched his skin.
When he looked back down, Severus was smirking at him, and ran a single finger down Harry’s chest.
“Take off your clothes.”
Harry moved his arms automatically, but Severus stopped him with a look.
“How…?” he asked hesitantly, unsure of what Severus wanted.
“You can do it,” Severus said. “You don’t need your hands.”
Harry was puzzled for a moment before the answer came to him. Closing his eyes, he reached for his magic, and focused.
He’d never tried to do anything like vanish something spontaneously, much less manifesting it again, using nothing but his mind to guide his magic. He concentrated hard, trying to ignore his throbbing arousal, and pushed.
It took a few tries, but then Harry felt the clothing melt from him. He heard a low inhale, and opened his eyes to see Severus standing over him, eyes burning. Severus kept Harry pinned with his gaze as he slowly disrobed.
“So beautiful,” he breathed, lowering himself over Harry and placing a hand on Harry’s face. “So powerful.”
“Yours,” Harry whispered, and then Severus was on him, lips and hands everywhere, hot mouth and warm fingers sweeping over flesh. Harry arched under him, wanting more, always more, and moaned as Severus lowered his body, pressing them together.
Harry’s hips rolled helplessly into the blissful pressure of Severus’ body, feeling the answering hardness against his hip, a point of burning heat. He whined, wanting it, wanting more, but not having the words to ask.
“Shh.” That deep voice vibrated through his body, and a large hand ran down his side, calming him.
There was a murmured spell, and Harry arched up as two slick fingers were pressed into him. His legs fell open, and Severus pressed Harry’s knee to his chest, opening him further as fingers prepared him. His head fell back, and he relaxed into the sensation of being patiently worked open.
Harry keened at the slow burn when Severus finally slid home, taking a moment to adjust, to revel in the feeling of being owned. Of giving himself over entirely, no longer having the pressures of destiny and expectations weighing on him, allowing someone else to care for him.
He shifted restlessly, and Severus’ hand ran up the length of his outstretched arm, reminding him of his bondage. Harry relaxed into it, and Severus gave a pleased murmur before he began to thrust.
The strokes were slow, deliberate, and Harry melted into them, feeling his body relax as the pleasure rolled from the inside out. He felt the binding around his wrists, light but secure, and it calmed him, reminding him that he was not in control; that he didn’t have to be.
Severus ran his hands over Harry’s body; long, slow strokes that soothed every part of him. Fingers traced his features, the lightest of touches over his brows and lips; then a broad palm cupped his face, a thumb stroking his cheek. Lips pressed against his, then down his throat, to his collarbone and chest, the movements slow and measured, the only sound their breathing.
Harry became lost in it; in the slow sensual movement, in the ability to not think and just be. It was what he imagined floating on the ocean would be like, waves rolling underneath and through him, a gentle but overwhelming motion.
They moved together for what seemed like an eternity, and Harry lost track of himself, of what he was feeling, of all ability to judge the intensity of their lovemaking. When the end came, it was as gentle as the rest, like a soft sigh resolving itself into completion.
Harry drifted for awhile, not consciously registering the fairy lights being undone. He was at peace, his body pliant as Severus sat him up and gathered him in strong arms. A blanket was draped around his shoulders to ward off the dungeon chill.
He settled his head on Severus’ shoulder, feeling reality slowly begin to come back, though its progress was slowed by the rhythmic slide of Severus’ hand down his arm.
“You are to open your gifts now,” Severus said, and the words pierced through Harry’s peace, letting the weight of unknown expectations and impossible pressures crash back over him. He recoiled a little, but Severus’ hand stayed on him, petting, soothing. “You must, Harry.”
He obeyed then, reaching out and taking the nearest one, a tidily wrapped cube that could fit in the palm of his hand. When he opened the first corner, a rich and somewhat familiar scent came out.
Throwing aside the wrapping, Harry opened the box, and was puzzled to see it filled with several black spheres, obviously organic, like very large peppercorns.
“What is it?” Harry asked, staring at the strange, fragrant gift.
“It is allspice,” Severus answered, peering into the box. “It is a symbol of money, of luck, and of power. Who gave this to you?”
“Anthony Goldstein,” Harry replied, still feeling no closer to understanding what this was all about.
“Mr. Goldstein, along with several of your classmates, is following an old pureblood tradition,” Severus said, his deep voice rumbling through Harry’s body. “They have come of age, and are responsible now for choosing a side in the upcoming war.”
“But why now?”
“It is two days before winter solstice. The solstice is the most meaningful time to proclaim fealty to another.” He gestured to the gift. “By choosing allspice, Mr. Goldstein is telling you that he wishes you power, luck, and money, and that he will do all in his power to assist you to get it. He is recognizing you as his leader, and pledges his loyalty to you.”
Harry shivered a little, staring down at the strange black objects in the box. He didn’t like the idea of anyone pledging themselves to him, or being responsible for being a leader to that person. And Anthony wasn’t the only person to expect that, apparently. His head jerked towards the remaining gifts. Ron had given him one, he thought with a mild sense of horror.
“Open the rest,” Severus said, voice calm but firm.
With trembling hands, he reached out for Ron’s, deciding it would be best to just find out and deal with it.
Ron’s gift was cloves, and Severus murmured, “Protection and love.” Harry felt himself relax a bit; he still wasn’t comfortable with that fealty business, but Ron’s gift felt more like friendship than tribute.
Neville gave him cinnamon (“Success, healing, power, and love”) and Ernie McMillian gave him frankincense (“Protection”). The next gift was from Blaise Zabini, a fact Harry found shocking all over again. The myrrh was fragrant and rich.
“It symbolizes protection and healing,” Severus said. “Myrrh is also very expensive – Mr. Zabini has invested in you. Since you came of age, you’ve displayed superior power that you’ve only just begun to develop. Mr. Zabini is an astute young man; he must feel as if you are the sensible choice in the upcoming battle.”
The last gift was from Stephen Cornfoot, who Harry couldn’t remember ever really talking to before. In his box were some dried roots, which Harry picked up and looked at curiously.
“It is black cohosh,” Severus said, with an undercurrent to his voice that Harry hadn’t heard thus far. “It means courage, protection, and erotic love - eros.” He growled out the last, and Harry quickly put the root back in its box.
“I don’t want it,” he said, then looked around at the other spices in their boxes, scattered over the floor. “I don’t want any of it.”
“And yet, you will accept it.” Severus’ voice was calm again.
Harry didn’t speak, either to protest or agree.
“They are declaring themselves your allies, Harry,” Severus said. “This is valuable, and a gesture you cannot afford to ignore. They will be assets. Even,” his lip curled, “Mr. Cornfoot.”
Harry stared at the small boxes, feeling as though they were weights pressing on him, and leaned into Severus as if he could take the weight instead. Yet he considered them carefully, as he knew he should. Each individual had their value, and even while Harry hated being treated as someone to be revered, he appreciated that his classmates were willing to stand with him to such an extent.
Finally, he said, “I accept them.” He kept his eyes on the gifts for a moment, assaulted by the various rich scents that rose from them. Then he reached out and picked up Stephen Cornfoot’s gift. “I accept all of them.” He turned to Severus and raised the box, not quite able to meet his gaze. “I want you to have this one, though. You’re the only one I want to have my,” he paused, heat rising in his face. “This. My… eros.”
He glanced up, and the intensity of Severus’ gaze made him shiver; he automatically curled up into the security of the larger body. Severus’ hand came up and took the box.
“I accept,” he murmured in Harry’s ear, then claimed his mouth in a kiss.