|snarryswapmod (snarryswapmod) wrote in snarry_swap,|
@ 2007-01-31 14:02:00
|Entry tags:||creation: fic, lesyeuxverts00, rated: nc-17|
Happy Daft Day alliekatgal!
Title: Stains of Belladonna
Warnings: Character death; semi-public sex
Summary: Severus has brewed a potion that will give the drinker access to their deepest and most heartfelt dream.
Author's Note: I'm sorry I wasn't able to include any snark - somehow it got buried under the angst and the romance, but I hope that you like this.
Thanks to svartalfur and virginie_m for the wonderful beta-work!
The customers scatter and leave a wide aisle for Severus Snape to cross the pub, scurrying away from him as though he's the devil brought to earth with an arsenal of new torments. This is the ragtag resistance, with their secrets held close and their tattered robes pulled closer, to ward off the winter wind, to ward off his prying mind. The counter is covered with a layer of grime, and Severus blasts it with a flick of his wand, accumulated grease and dirt spurting into the air and into the barmaid's face. Her eyes tear up as she's passing him the bottles and the goblet, and Severus smirks at her discomfort, flipping a Galleon onto the counter. He never pays, but he always tips well, and she bobs a curtsey at him as he turns away.
There's a flicker of green that catches Severus's eye, the photo in its obligatory place of honor over the fireplace, the flash of Unforgivable green. It's a bitter reminder for them to swallow with their ale and their secrets and their seditious plots, these ragged rebels, these forsaken dreamers. He lifts his glass to it, his fingers steady on the crystal, and turns away. His robes swirl around him, dark and threatening, as he makes his way to his table.
Severus mixes his drink with precision - like mixing a potion. You thoughtless boy, don't add the belladonna now, a flash of explosion, his sooty face - and he focuses on the exact measurements, the clink of glass against glass. There are flashes of color, the grainy swirl of dissolving sugar, the clinking of ice cubes, and it all comes together, blending into perfection the way a potion does.
A woman is sitting at the table, her fingers folded into a tense mesh against the grimy tabletop. Severus's spell blasts the grime off the table, burning her fingers, and she sits upright as though shocked. Her hood falls away to reveal her face, and Severus knows her. She's familiar to him after a succession of identical women, their hands outstretched, their expressions desperate, their voices rough. Still, this woman is not the girl he knew.
They have no faces, these women, only lips stretched wide with longing and eyes that burn like embers in sunken pits. White masks with holes for eyes that shine red, a scream, pain that spreads from his spine to every nerve, his scream burns his throat. There's the blessed relief from pain, "My loyal servant, my faithful one, you have brought him to me," another laugh, another Crucio, another scream, "You will be rewarded with power beyond all dreaming, my devoted servant," and it burns, it burns and Severus blinks at the empty-faced woman. She leans across the table and pushes his goblet closer to him, her dirty fingernails clicking against the glass and scraping against the table as she draws her hand back across the wood.
The smooth surface of the glass is familiar to him, cold against his fingers, and when he drinks, the burn is familiar also. He knows this, he knows this by heart. Warmth tingles along his lips, down his spine and to his extremities, and Severus closes his eyes as he finishes his drink. The bitter taste lingers on his tongue and he wets his lips, licking away the last grains of sugar, the last drops of his drink.
He rests the chilled glass against his forehead, takes a deep breath of the smoky dim air and holds it until he feels the burn in his lungs. Spiderwebs flicker against the dark of his eyelids, green and pink and blue, the colors bright against the darkness, and at last Severus opens his eyes.
Potter is there, his shining green dress robes and gamin grin out of place in this dark and grimy bar. He runs a hand through his hair, that hand on Severus's arm, that hand poised over a cauldron and clutching a fistful of belladonna, that hand grasping a Horcrux, that hand curled around the stone rim of his Pensieve. "Budge over, Hermione," he says. "I need to talk to the Professor."
Severus scowls at Potter, his fingers tightening around his glass. Potter's lost none of his impudence over the years, sliding into the seat Granger vacated without a by-your-leave. His expression is fierce, flicks of determination flashing through his green eyes, lingering in the set of his jaw and his tense fingers interlaced on the table. Potter the master of defiance, the heavy-set expression of an avenging angel etched on his face, leaving stark traces on his forehead, his cheekbones, his lips. "I will never beg you for anything, I will not cower before you," the echo of a cry, the clatter of a wand dropping, the flash of green.
There's a muffled thump under the table, a shoe discarded, and then Potter's foot is rubbing against Severus's instep, his toes kneading Severus's foot through the soft leather of his boot. The pressure is faint, enough to tantalize and tempt, not enough to satisfy, and Severus leans into the table. Potter licks his lips, his tongue darting out, pink and moist, and making a slow swipe from one corner of his mouth to another.
"What did you want to discuss?" Severus asks, setting his glass down on the table with a soft thud.
Potter leans forward, his foot moving up Severus's leg to knead his calf muscles. "I have a lot of questions for you, Professor. Is our usual arrangement still in place?" He kicks off his other shoe with a thud and now both his feet are rubbing against Severus's legs, massaging his feet. Then Potter slips one foot under the cuff of Severus's trouser leg, and his toes, callused and warm, rub up and down Severus's shin. Severus makes no move to back away from Potter, stares at him, at his temptation freely offered, and does not blink. He knows this game, knows it by heart.
Potter's eyes shine green, bright in the torchlight, and he moistens his lips with his tongue again, leaning forward until Severus can feel warm breath on his cheek. "Have you ever had sex in public before?"
The stairway dark and silent, the boy a warm presence behind him, the hum of his magic vibrating along Severus's nerves, in the darkness the hum of power is addictive, a stumble and a curse. "Have you ever laughed in public before, Professor?" Potter is bewitching like an angel, otherworldly and vibrant, that pink tongue of his an obscene temptation. Severus reaches across the table and threads his fingers through Potter's dark hair, his untidy halo, and he's rough enough to hurt, but Potter makes no sound of protest.
He closes his eyes, leaning into Severus's touch, his eyelashes fluttering. Severus gentles his fingers, rubbing soft circles into Potter's scalp, teasing the tangles out of his hair. "It's been too long since I've seen you," Severus says. He traces the curl of Potter's ear with one fingertip and tugs on his earlobe, then continues down his neck to touch Potter's collarbone, teasing and gentle. The rhythm of their touches resumes as though never interrupted, their hands and bodies moving into their dance, their heartbeats thudding at a familiar pace.
Potter opens his eyes, but his expression is tense, shuttered, and he squirms under Severus's touch for the first time. He leans backward in his chair and Severus lets his hand fall to the tabletop. Not looking at Potter, he traces the patterns, the feathery wings and the deep vortexes embedded in the grain of the wood. Smashed fragments of a Pensieve scattered on a wooden table, the jigsaw reconstruction of the stone, of the memories, the burn of a sharp edge slicing open his palm. Potter's image floating over the fragments, over the silvery whorls and there it is on his face, betrayal. Like a devil emerged from the depths, like the vapor uncurling from a cauldron, he flows across the room to strike, to hiss in Severus's ear, "It's been too long, traitor. You should have paid for your sins long ago."
Severus shudders. It didn't happen, he deserved it, Potter never said that, it never happened. The grain of the wood presses into his fingers and sears the pattern into his skin. Potter's hand is careless on the table, his touch, his redemption, his repentance, a few breaths away from Severus. A flash of pain shivers its way along Severus's nerves, the remembered burn melding with his skin, searing its way down his veins.
Potter's feet had paused in their massage, but he resumes it now, snaking his toes around to tease the back of Severus's legs, the hollow behind his knee, his tense calf muscles. "Don't think so hard," Potter says. "Nothing good ever happens when you think about it." He presses a kiss to his littlest finger and leans over to touch Severus's cheekbone with it, a flutter of a touch, fleeting like a summer storm, transferring the kiss with an angelic grin.
"Put up some silencing wards for us, yeah?" Potter asks, and then he slips under the table. Quick fingers unlace Severus's boots and remove his socks, lingering in slow caresses on his bare feet. Severus closes his eyes, losing himself in the patterns of bright colors that flicker against the black of his eyelids, as Potter touches his feet, lays hands on his bare skin, and it is bliss, pure and undiluted.
Severus gives himself over to the bliss, surrenders to the promised ecstasy. Potter's touch is feathery and light, a fingertip stroking the length of his foot from his heel to his smallest toe and lingering there. Fingers, hot and dry, are like a fire searing his feet, each whorl and valley of Potter's fingertips imprinted on his soles. A puff of air escapes Severus's lips, abrupt and uncontrolled.
The patterns swirl before his eyes, bright green light flashing, and it's Potter, his green eyes bright, kneeling at Severus's feet, his hands grasping, his fingernails sharp in Severus's calves. The hum of magic is gone, there, a struggle, a flicker, and Potter is gasping with the loss, failing, beseeching. "Please," Severus says, twinning them together, plea and pleader, past and present. There are no words spoken between them, not when they come together like this in a grimy little pub, but now, Severus finds words for his need. Potter's thumb brushes against his instep with a slow fluttering caress. His fingers linger and tickle and tease. "Please," Severus says.
Potter's mouth brushes his shin, teeth nipping through the layers of thick linen. "Silencing spell," he says, looking up at Severus from under the edge of the table. Severus fumbles with his wand, dropping it with a clatter. It hits the floor between his feet, and Potter is quick to scoop it up. He twirls it between his fingers, an insouciant grin on his face, and Severus knows that look. He'd recognize Potter's mischievous expression anywhere, that devil-may-care attitude cloaked by an angel's smile. Severus reaches down and plucks the wand from Potter's careless fingers, casting a silencing spell around them before returning it to his pocket.
Sullenness replacing his light-hearted impudence, Potter's green eyes cloud over. His voice is thick with longing, burning and tense. "You know that I can't –" Potter's nails sharp in Severus's calves, it's the same despair at the end of every lesson and Severus knows it, knows it by heart, don't you even try, you worthless boy. Potter's wand broken at his feet, the flash of his spirit, his hope, dissolves into the cold air. "I can't –"
Severus tangles his fingers in Potter's hair and rubs whorls and semi-circles in soothing patterns on his scalp. "I know." The hum of magic, the halo of power around Potter is absent, a burning loss, a secret ache. It draws Severus, a weakness to exploit, a loss to mourn, power to grasp and gain and grieve, but this is Potter, and nothing is hopeless, nothing is impossible, nothing is ever lost by that wretched, beautiful boy.
Potter closes his eyes and leans against Severus's leg, his bony shoulder jabbing Severus's knee. Tempted – he's always tempted by Potter, always driven past the boundaries of self-control – Severus lets his hands drift downwards, stroking Potter's fragile neck and collarbones, his rough and ridged spine, his sloping shoulder-blades. There's a bewitching sweetness in touching him, a sense of stolen ambrosia, Severus the defiler of Potter the perfect. Desperate for more, Severus reaches down to grasp his upper arms and pulls Potter up into his lap, nestling their bodies together like two halves of a whole. There's no space between them, no worries, no doubts, and Potter twists around to look over his shoulder at Severus.
The look in Potter's eyes, Severus has seen before – they sat like this, mouths close enough for a kiss, the green color of Potter's eyes like the temperamental flash of lightning in a freak summer storm. Pale, skeletal, almost weightless in Severus's lap, that tired expression, a kiss, Potter leaning into them, pressing their bodies together, he's shaking. Now again, Severus rests his hands on Potter's delicate collarbones and there's a flash of fear in Potter's eyes, smothered, and he draws Potter closer for a kiss. Severus murmurs endearments, trite nothings, against Potter's closed lips, coaxing them to open. The taste of Potter, sweet and burning with lingering alcohol, bursts on his tongue, and he grips Potter's shoulders and pulls him closer.
There's an unspoken surrender in every bone of Potter's body, in every pliant muscle, and he doesn't fight, docile as a china doll, when Severus turns him in his lap and arranges his limbs, pulling him snug into an embrace. This is why no words are necessary between them, but Severus, his mouth dry, breaks the silence. "Foolish boy," he whispers into Potter's lips, his words are swallowed by their kiss, "did you think that I'd ever let you go?"
His hands slide down Potter's back, mapping each familiar rib and vertebrae, the bones hard and unyielding under his fingers. It's never been this sweet between them, never - Potter gasping beneath him, face twisted with rage, fingers fumbling, the bitter taste of Potter's skin, the hum of half-forgotten lullabies, the echoing thunder of a summer storm. Alchemy has transmuted their passion into tenderness, like belladonna metamorphosed from poison into beauty, and Severus maps Potter's body with slow touches, relearning each plane and curve.
There's the burn of Potter's stubble against his face, the soft mewling noises that Potter makes as he fumbles with their buttons, the flutter of his dark eyelashes, the thrum of his pulse in his wrist. He's delicate, as frail and skeletal as a snappable china doll, and Severus cradles him close, soothes each mewl and moan with a kiss.
Head thrown back to expose his long white throat, eyes closed, an expression of ecstasy on his face, Potter looks transported, otherworldly and angelic, and Severus half-expects him to sprout feathery wings and take flight for the heavens.
Potter's fingernails dig into his shoulders and Severus arches forward to taste his throat, tracing the spidery pattern of veins with kisses. "No redemption for you, traitor," and Potter bends over backwards, naked in the wan light, his bare skin an open invitation for Severus, a cheeky grin. A bitter taste in Severus's mouth, no sugar to sweeten it, a swirl of green light, a single breath and the sight of Potter is enough to push him past temptation, past reason, past betrayal, he leans forward for a kiss.
Severus kisses the hollow at the base of Potter's throat, sucking hard enough to leave a mark on fair skin, his chin jabbing Potter's breastbone as he starts down a path of kisses. Every angle, every sharp bone and lean muscle is more beloved than ever, Severus pressing his body against Potter as though it were the last day, the last kiss, the last touch shared between them.
This reunion, their bodies meeting, the heat of blood and sweat and skin pressed together again, washes away all the last times, burns all the consciousness of partings from Severus's mind. Harry smells warm, fresh and clean like summer, a flash of something vibrant and pure in this smoky bar. Severus fumbles for his wand, casts layers of obscuring spells and wards around their table, and when it's just the two of them alone in the unnatural silence, it's his Harry alone in his arms.
His Harry, fey and burning bright as a torch in the darkest hour of night, angel and devil, temptation, redemption - away from the window, you foolish boy, learn your lessons, they're searching the streets for you, the flare of torchlight, warmth in his arms, soft breath against his neck - when they are alone together, it all falls away from his Harry. The tiredness, the pretenses, the accusations, they're all gone, dissolved, the grainy swirl of their disappearance melting away into nothing. Harry trembles in his arms, pressing a line of soft kisses along his forearm, caressing the blemish there, and Severus holds him close. Harry's pulse flutters under his fingertips, delicate and uneven.
Severus hoists Harry up onto the table, swallowing his protests with a kiss, warm and sweet. He knows this, knows the shape of Harry's lips, the click of his teeth, the warmth of his tongue. Severus lets his fingers wander, up Harry's tense thighs, his bony hipbones, past his ribs and concave stomach, resting at last over Harry's breastbone, the flutter of his heartbeat fast and reassuring.
They've come together like this again and again, until Severus has learned Harry's heartbeat, his sighs of pleasure, the lines of his body, learned it all by heart, and still he fumbles now with the fastenings of Harry's trousers. His fingers turn clumsy and maladroit, and Harry pulls him into another kiss. It is Harry who is clumsy now, lips and tongue awkward and uncertain, but Severus guides him and gentles the kiss. He opens Harry's shirt and strokes his breastbone, his stark ribs, his nipples.
Harry makes a soft noise and arches up into Severus's touch. There's a flash of something unreadable in his eyes, deep and dark and green, before his eyelids flutter closed and he coats Severus's throat with blind, unguided kisses. The butterfly pulse of his lips is sweet, delicate, irresistible temptation. Severus slides Harry's trousers down to his ankles, settling his smooth, bare arse against the worn grain of the tabletop.
Harry's cock is thick and heavy in Severus's hand. The slide of Severus's hand on Harry's cock, and Harry's eyes are closed, a weary angelic smile lingering on his lips and mixing with a hint of debauchery, the metallic clatter of Severus's mask falling to the floor, there's the flare of torchlight and voices at the door, the flare of discovery, the burn of betrayal slicing into Severus's chest, and Harry thrusts into the circle made by Severus's fingers, action and memory twinning into one moment. There's no fear of discovery now, not swathed in layers of wards as they are. Severus raises his hand to Harry's mouth.
The broad swipe of Harry's tongue against his palm is rough and wet, and Severus wraps his spit-slicked hand around Harry's cock. It's time for movement now, Severus's desire hot enough to burn, to sear him, and there's the smooth slide of skin against skin, the shining fluid gathering at the tip of Harry's cock, the perfect arc that Harry's spine makes. Severus knows this, he knows this by heart. Harry's eyes are bright with desire, his pink tongue moistening his lips, and he leans forward for another kiss.
Harry opens Severus's trousers, spreading his legs and hooking his ankles around Severus's back to draw them against each other. Their cocks brush together, a flash of hot desire, and Severus opens his hand to grasp them both. Harry presses against him, teeth nipping at Severus's ear, fingers twined in Severus's hair, not a breath of space between them. Harry's eyes are closed, a furrow of concentration forming over the bridge of his nose, his forehead wrinkling as he caresses Severus's throat, mapping each twisty, spidery vein from head to heart.
A furrow of concentration mars Harry's smooth forehead, the stain of a potion mars Harry's full sweet lips, the goblet is floating before him. Concentrate you foolish boy, this is the last one, the last task, the last Horcrux, and there's a flash, a bright explosion and burning and darkness, destruction. Harry leans into Severus's embrace, thrusting into his hand.
They rock together, familiar lovers who know the path to completion together, but Severus's pulse quickens at having Harry here with him again and he presses closer for another kiss. Sweet kisses, languid and measured, he drinks the manna from Harry's lips and tangles his free fingers in Harry's unruly hair.
The angelic expression is gone from Harry's face, his lips kiss-swollen, his mouth distended as he tempts Severus with his soft cries and eager thrusts. "Will you love me?" he whispers into Severus's ear. "Will I destroy you as I destroy everything?"
Severus closes his eyes and rests his forehead against Harry's shoulder, seeing a spiderweb of bright lines, blue and pink and green against his dark eyelids. "Hush," he says, his lips vibrating against Harry's chest, "hush."
He brushes his thumb across the head of Harry's cock, smearing the pre-come gathered there together with his own, and Harry collapses against him, pliant and breathless. "More," he says, his voice hoarse and torn. "No more, I can't –" and there's the boy's harsh panting and unshed tears, the clatter of his wand, useless, to the floor, the end of every lesson. You foolish boy, don't you even try, don't you dare give in to this fate, and Severus refuses to surrender to Harry again, as though this is the last time, the last plea, the last struggle between them.
His pace is unchanged, unhurried, he strokes their cocks together, and it's as familiar as he has always known it. The touch of Harry is enough to drive him a little mad, to send him past the edges into temptation, to steal his self-control, and it's the same now. Harry reaches out to him, the flat of his palm warm against the back of Severus's neck, caressing his throat, stroking his jaw, and the gentle touch undoes him.
He ruts against Harry, his breath coming in sharp and uncontrolled gasps, his hand moving faster and faster on their cocks. He pulls Harry against him, resting their foreheads together, looking down into Harry's green eyes. Harry twines his arms around Severus, their breath mingling, their pulses racing.
Severus knows this by heart, he knows the sound that Harry makes when he comes, and just as Harry's semen spurts onto his hand, he's leaning forward to swallow the last of that sound, claiming Harry's lips in a last kiss before he comes.
Severus's heartbeat burns, his pulse thumping through his veins, and he puts his arms around Harry and pulls him into an embrace with a sigh. He knows this, knows the expression on Harry's face when he's sleepy and angelic with afterglow, he turns his head away to look at the flickering shadows on the wall. There's no betrayal here, Severus turns away, his heart burning in his throat, he rolls over to the cold side of the bed, there's nothing here.
This is nirvana, breathing with Harry, his heart beating in time with Harry's heart, and Severus closes his eyes to feel the soft sated kisses on his neck, to see the dancing spidery patterns bright against the darkness. Harry's fingers press against his forehead, against his lips, against his breastbone, a silent benediction because there's no need for words between them. Everything is in his touch, everything that needs to be said, love and forgiveness and it undoes him. Severus trembles.
Harry is gone. The empty space in Severus's arms is enough to burn, the skin that Harry had last touched is cold, and when the network of bright lines disappears, blue and pink and green fading into black, Severus opens his eyes.
The empty-faced woman, expressionless, her layers of tattered shawls drawn close around her, is watching him. Her fingers trace the feathery patterns in the grain of the tabletop, her eyes blank and measuring. "It didn't work," she says.
She is the girl that Severus once knew, she is not, she's been burnt down into a shadow of desperation, a candle-flicker, a ghost. "My potions always work," he says.
The girl he once knew is there still, brave enough to reach across the table, to let her finger hover over his cheekbones, over the corner of his eye. "You're crying," she says.
A glare is enough to make her crumble, the power there before Severus thinks to wield it, his power, his nirvana, his promised dark glory. "You remember nothing, idiot girl," he says. "The belladonna-based potions give you no shadow of a dream, no happy wisp of a daydream, nothing so fleeting or insubstantial."
He leans across the table, his shoulders straight, his eyes flashing. His fingernails dig into the wood of the tabletop, scarring the grain. "This is no transitory euphoria, no false hope, nothing but your deepest, most heartfelt dream." There's the bitter aftertaste in his mouth, the sense-memory of Potter in his arms, the burn of his Harry's absence, the memories, his deepest desire.
"How much?" she asks.
Severus looks down at his goblet, swirls it to watch the grainy, impenetrable patterns moving in the green dregs. There isn't much of the drink left, enough to show the reflection of Severus's face, wavery and twisted. He sets the goblet down with a thud.
"A Galleon for both doses," he says, pushing the half-empty vial part of the way across the table toward her. There's a flash of light reflected from the shimmering liquid onto her face, and a hint of desire creeps into her expression.
"There's only one dose there."
Severus shrugs, a severe and economical movement of his shoulders. "I've no doubt in my potions and it was you who insisted that I take a dose to prove its efficacy."
Her shoulders slump and Severus sneers at her. There's a flash of green on the other side of the room and he turns his head to look, but it's only a beam of passing torchlight cast through the grimy windows onto the photo over the fireplace. Severus blinks his eyes shut, his fingers twitching, convulsing, grasping the cold metal mask in his pocket. Don't you dare surrender to your fate, you foolish boy, my foolish love, you don't even try. The thud against the door, Harry's face sleepy and angelic in the flickering torchlight, and there's grasping hands and screams, a cruel laugh and a cruel praise, but none of it is as painful as the burn of his Harry's absence, and Severus turns away from the photo before opening his eyes again.
With a casual flick of his wand, he summons Granger's pouch and digs through it, searching. His fingers find the coin by its warmth and he draws back, burned, before grasping it and pulling it out of the pouch. It's a Galleon, gold and warm and smooth, humming with magic unlike the deep complex magic of the goblins. Severus raises the coin to the dim torchlight and finds it blank, devoid of any marks or numbers.
"Is this it?" he asks her, his voice a desperate low hiss in the silence. "Is this the signal you used for your little club, Granger? Is this the signal that you use for your pathetic little resistance? Tell me, did Potter ever touch it?" The burn of bright anger, the smash of a Pensieve, heavy stone shattering, and there's the swirl of silver vapor, Harry rising out of it, images flowing past Severus. Harry grasping the belladonna, the stain of the potion dark on Harry's lips, Harry's face sleepy and angelic, Harry with a devilish grin, Harry with a golden coin held tight in his hand, his fingers following the perfect curve of its edges.
She covers her eyes, dark and empty, with one hand, and her "yes" is half-audible and swallowed up in the silence, but Severus takes the Galleon and shoves the pouch back at her. It's a solid weight in his pocket, warm and clinking against his mask, and he keeps his fingers steady against it, wrapped around its warm reassuring weight.
The woman swallows, her pale throat twitching, and she stares at him, her expression empty and weary. There's a protest hidden in her, in the girl that Severus knew, but it hangs silent and unvoiced, her eyes burn with their emptiness, her dirty fingers clutch the edge of the table. Severus fondles the Galleon in his pocket, rubbing its ridged edge. He has it now, has all their secrets, has the coin that Harry touched, and the two are twinned together, the coin of betrayal, the caress of redemption.
He reaches across the table for the half-empty vial and grasps it, the glass cold against his fingers. Severus mixes the drink for Granger with precision, each measurement exact. The colors flash bright in the dim lighting of the pub, there's the grainy swirl of dissolving sugar, the clink of ice against glass, and it comes together like perfection in a potion. The smile of trusting lips, that hand accepts a potion, a kiss, Severus's hands stained with potions and the dark juices of crushed belladonna as he cradles his Harry's head, as he traces the delicate veins in his Harry's throat. To ease the pain for you, my foolish love, as he kisses the last taste of sugar from his Harry's lips. Just in case, the last whisper between them, the last words, the last kiss.
Severus pushes the goblet across the table to Granger, the dark green liquid almost slopping over the rim, and he turns to leave without a word. Her face takes on an expression as he turns, as she swallows, the potion staining her lips, emptiness giving way to desire, to euphoria, and Severus casts a silencing spell around her table.
A flash of green catches his eye and Severus pauses, his gaze frozen on the photo over the fireplace. "You've lost your magic, Harry Potter. Did you like my trap waiting for you with the last Horcrux?" The mask is white, the voice is cruel, Potter shudders, useless, resigned, defiant. There's the stain of the potion on his lips, his last moment of ecstasy, his last angelic smile. Severus half-expects him to sprout feathered wings and soar for the heavens, there's a flash of green light, the bright flash of a camera, the moment preserved forever.
Severus's heart thumps, ice burning through his veins in the wake of the potion, and he turns away from the photo, from the picture of Potter sprawled, as lifeless as a pale china doll, in a halo of green light. Severus fingers the Galleon in his pocket, warm and round, and he strides to the door, his robes fluttering around him. They scatter, the ragged rebels, the plotters, their secrets in his pocket, resistance melting before him, and they're clearing an aisle for him as though he were an avenging angel, dark-robed and merciless.