|Summer Born (summerborn) wrote in summerfic,|
@ 2008-02-21 17:59:00
|Entry tags:||best of summer, harry, rated nc-17, snape, snape/harry|
Number Thirteen, part 1 of 3 (Snape/Harry, NC-17)
Originally posted 2007-09-12: part 1, part 2, part 3.
TITLE: Number Thirteen
SUMMARY: Harry and Hermione have been friends for a long time, but he still isn't too sure about her suggestion to use a dating service (especially when that dating service has a reputation for catering to, shall we say, "alternative" tastes). What follows is a mix of passion, disappointment, meddling, and new discoveries, as Harry finds himself facing choices and situations he'd never dreamed of.
WARNINGS: AU. D/s relationships.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Written pre-DH, but AU anyway. Many many thanks to the exchange moderator, and to my betas for their help! Any remaining errors or plot holes are entirely my fault. ~28,000 words.
It had not been a good day for Harry.
First he'd overslept, missing his alarm clock for the second time this week, and he'd been in too much of a hurry to get breakfast. Then Professor Marshall had wanted to speak with him about the history project he had due – in just two weeks! – and he'd been late for his next lecture. Finally, he'd spent two hours at the library shelving books, which was fine except that the bloody heater had gone on the fritz again and he hadn't remembered to bring an extra sweater – although with as cold as it was, what he needed was a full overcoat, extra sweater, mittens, hat, and scarf.
"I swear," he said to his flatmate as he dumped his books on the dining table, "it was colder inside that old building than it was out!"
Hermione Granger pushed her bushy brown hair back out of her face and clucked in sympathy. "Sounds terrible, Harry. Have a biscuit."
"Thanks." He slumped into one of the other chairs at the table and grabbed one of the biscuits from the table. He bit into it and eyed his books warily for a moment before glancing up at Hermione. "Are these... low-fat or something?"
She put down her pencil. "Honestly, Harry, you sound like I was trying to poison you. They're nutritious. And it means you can have two instead of just one."
"Two? I was hoping to help with the rest of the box."
"All right, all right." He pushed his glasses up on his nose and frowned over to peer at what she was working on. Math. Pretty advanced stuff, too. He made a face. "How's that big paper coming? Wasn't it due sometime this week?"
"Tomorrow." Hermione went back to her papers.
Harry stared. "Aren't you worried? You were freaking out about it last weekend."
"Ah, that was before I had my monthly session with my Mistress." She smiled, and he blinked for a minute before remembering.
"Oh... yeah." Normally he might like thinking about two girls in bed together, but not when one of those girls was Hermione! She was practically a sister to him.
He just didn't think he would ever understand the kind of things Hermione did for fun. Anyone who actually enjoyed vector calculus was obviously living in a different plane of existence. He sighed and reached reluctantly for one of his history books.
"Harry? Are you all right?"
"M'fine," he mumbled, flipping the book open to the middle. "I just had kind of a rough day, is all."
Hermione was looking at him critically. "You need to get out more."
He rolled his eyes. "Get out more? Hermione, that would just give me less time for revising, and I need more time, not less."
"No, that's not right at all. Studies have shown that you need some relaxation time, to regather yourself, between revision sessions. You can't just work all the time, your brain would overload."
"Are you sure you're the Hermione Granger I know? 'Can't work all the time'?" He looked pointedly at her homework she was revising, and she blushed a bit.
"That's exactly why I make sure to go out once a month at a very minimum. It helps me come back fresh. You haven't – well, I'm sorry, Harry, but you haven't had a date since the start of term, have you?"
"No," Harry replied glumly. "I've just been busy."
"Maybe... Maybe you should think about a Master, Harry. Someone to make sure you do what you need to do, at least part of the time. And you don't have to worry about anything when you're with a Master – you just do whatever they say and someone else is responsible for everything. It doesn't even have to be about sex if you don't want." Hermione sighed, a far-off look coming to her eyes, and Harry began to think he understood why she liked it. To Hermione, even sex wasn't really about sex, it was about responsibility and trust and emotions and stuff like that.
"I don't think I could do it, Hermione." Harry flipped the book shut in frustration. "I can't even find someone to go out on a normal date with – how am I supposed to find someone to be a 'Master' and do all that other stuff for me?"
"Oh, that's the easy part," Hermione said. "There are services set up for this sort of thing, you know. You just call one up and tell them the sort of person you'd like to meet, and they arrange it all. Very discreet."
Harry stared. Trust Hermione to know the answer to everything. "A service? I can't imagine calling up and telling some eighty-year-old receptionist that I want to be hooked up with... I mean... Ugh, Hermione. Really ugh."
Hermione gave him a Look. "Don't go imagining things to be the most horrible they could possibly be, Harry. Honestly. I used one called Moonlight Escapes – it's run by a friend of a friend of mine, together with his partner. But like I said, he's very discreet. And I've known him for years, so it's not like this is some stranger." She hesitated for a second, and then went on. "I'll call him for you, if you like."
Harry played with a sheaf of papers, thinking. Someone else to be in control for a while. Someone else to make the decisions, and if there was some physical satisfaction thrown in, well, he certainly wasn't going to complain about that. And Hermione was willing to help him out – there was a reason they were best friends, after all. "All right," he heard his voice saying. "Give him a call. Then what happens?"
Hermione was smiling at him. "Remus will come over with a portfolio, some options, and then he'll help you pick someone out. Oh, I think you're going to be in for a treat, Harry. And just see if it doesn't de-stress you at the same time."
"Yeah," Harry mumbled. Actually, it just added one more thing for him to stress about, but he also had a kind of nervous anticipation curling in his chest, too. Maybe it would be good. Maybe.