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Hits the Ground

Snape comes back from a Death Eater meeting, and his Issues manifest in a decidedly ugly way.

Snape/Harry  |  R  |  3,200 words  |  August 2004
warnings: implied non-con, channish, UTTER SUCKITUDE

*

Come to me whenever you wish. I will give you what you want.

School had been back in session for almost a month, and Harry hadn't gone looking for Professor Snape. Not really. They'd found each other anyway, a few times, but Harry had never just knocked on Snape's door and started begging for it. He wanted to, but he was having trouble working up the nerve.

Snape wasn't at dinner on Friday. Nor was he at breakfast on Saturday. Harry scanned the staff table at lunch, but there was still no sign of him. Panic settled in his stomach when dinner passed with no sign of the Potions master.

After dinner, Harry told Ron and Hermione he didn't feel well, grabbed his invisibility cloak, and slipped down to the dungeons. He would deal with them later. He took a quick peek inside the Potions classroom and Snape's office, but both were empty. That left Snape's private quarters. He knocked softly and when he got no answer, muttered the password and went inside. His stomach clenched a little more when he realized they were also empty, and that Snape was almost certainly with Voldemort.

Snape had never talked to Harry about what happened when he was summoned. Harry, having been the guest of honor at a Death Eater meeting, knew they weren't pleasant, and he'd often wondered if Severus might like some company when he returned. It must be awful to have to go through everything alone. Then it occurred to him that maybe Severus would need to work off some tension when he got back. He felt a rush of excitement, nerves, and guilt, but decided to pull out the latest copy of Quidditch Weekly and settle in.

He didn't have to wait long. Harry hadn't even finished scanning last week's scores when the door opened and Severus walked in. He looked paler than usual, extremely tired, and his walk was strangely stiff. He didn't see Harry. Severus went to the kitchen, and with hands Harry could see shaking from where he sat, started pulling out bottles and glasses and devices Harry hadn't seen before. He looked like he was about to take medicine, or a potion of some sort, and Harry felt he'd better make his presence known before he saw something Severus wouldn't want him to. He stood, walked toward the kitchen, and cleared his throat.

Severus, his back to Harry, froze and visibly stiffened.

"Severus... I, um, I'm sorry to startle you like this. I--"

"Get. Out." Snape's voice was low and menacing. He didn't turn around. Harry's nerve faltered somewhat.

"I was worried."

"I'm fine." Snape sounded as tense as he looked. "Leave." Harry took a deep breath.

"No."

Severus whirled, and the bottle he'd been holding in his hands shattered against the wall, inches from Harry's head. Harry ducked and then Snape had him by the throat and was slamming his head back against the wall. Harry hadn't even seen Snape move. The man's teeth were bared in a feral snarl, and his eyes were flashing, cold as stone. Harry gasped for air, and Snape shook him.

"No?" He growled, his eyes boring into Harry's. Harry, still more shocked than scared, forgot to breathe. "What did you think would happen, Potter? Were we to curl up by the fire and discuss the afternoon's events? Were you to stroke my hair and hold my hand as I told you about the people I tortured? Would you like to hear about the gang rape?" He spoke quietly, each word precise, and Harry winced as they fell like lashes on his skin. Snape slammed Harry against the wall again, and Harry felt his tears begin to fall. He was suddenly terrified.

"N-n-no. I thought, I thought we could, that you might want-- I didn't think. I'm sorry. I'll go." Harry struggled, trying to get away, and Snape threw him to the floor. Harry tried to scramble to his hands and knees, but collapsed with a cry of pain when Snape stepped on his neck.

"You'll go nowhere, Potter. I gave you that chance. Twice. You refused. You'll get what you came for." Harry whimpered. "Which was what, again? Enlighten me." The pressure on Harry's neck eased a bit, and he knew he was expected to answer. He took a deep breath, but his voice shook anyway.

"I'm sorry, sir, but I was worried about you. You were gone for so long. I wanted to make sure you were all right, see if you needed anything. I'd never-- seen you come back before, so I didn't know how you would be. I thought maybe I could, that you might want to..." He flushed bright red, and couldn't finish.

"Hurt you? Thought you could help me... work off some tension? How thoughtful. Get up." He took his foot off Harry's neck, and Harry pushed himself to his knees. "That's far enough." Harry froze, not daring to disobey, and concentrated on breathing.

"Look at me," Snape ordered, his wand inches from Harry's face. Harry, still trying to come up with some way out of this, took a deep breath and tilted his head. He let out an involuntary cry and fell back against the wall, his eyes locked on Snape's.

There was nothing there. Snape's eyes had never been overly expressive, but in the past months, Harry had got used to seeing trace amounts of emotion. Irritation, sarcasm, and smugness, usually, but sometimes lust, triumph, amusement, or even affection. Now he saw nothing. His heart pounded in his chest as it finally dawned on him how much danger he was in. He wasn't dealing with any Severus Snape he knew. The man in front of him was a rapist and a murderer. He was a Death Eater. Harry had no idea what to do.

He'd never make it if he tried to run. He thought about trying the safeword they'd set up, but he knew the man in front of him wouldn't honor it; trying it would probably make things worse. He had only two options, neither good: He could fight, or he could surrender. His eyes darted nervously between the door, the bag with his wand in it, and Snape.

"Oh, please try," Snape whispered, barely audible, but deadly just the same. Harry's eyes locked with Snape's, and he made his decision. Trembling, he moved slowly and deliberately to his knees, dropped his eyes to the floor, kissed the hem of Snape's robes, crawled backward a pace, and waited. It was a flawless imitation of the Death Eaters' supplication, and he was not surprised to hear Snape's bored voice snap, "Crucio."

Harry screamed as his bones caught fire and ripped away from his muscles. He sobbed, twitching on the floor, praying for death, his eyes rolling back in his head. He wasn't sure how long it went on, but it stopped almost as suddenly as it started. His muscles spasmed several more times and Harry wept quietly, mindlessly pushing himself back up into a kneeling position. A mirthless laugh sounded from somewhere above him.

"Very good, Potter. I didn't realize you had it in you."

Harry wasn't sure what Snape was talking about, but he didn't dare ask. He knelt, and wept, and waited. He didn't think Snape was going to kill him, and that was as much as he could hope for.

*

"Enter," Snape called. He was unsurprised to see Albus Dumbledore walk into his quarters. Severus was at the kitchen table, and Albus sat down across from him without preamble.

"Severus. Are you drunk?"

Severus considered. It was 10 in the morning. "Yes, sir. Quite."

"Harry Potter mysteriously appeared in the infirmary this morning."

Severus muttered a few words under his breath, and a piece of parchment appeared in front of Dumbledore. "What is this?" demanded the headmaster.

"My resignation, sir."

"It is not accepted." Albus ripped it up without opening it, and Severus raised an eyebrow.

"Forgiving the Unforgivables, Albus?"

"Excuse me?" The headmaster's blue eyes glinted, and Snape knew he was on dangerous ground; he really didn't care. Albus was not nearly angry enough.

"That's two out of three I've hit him with, you know. I began the evening with the Cruciatus. It was downhill from there." Snape's mouth twisted. "For him, anyway."

"Why would you do this, Severus?"

Snape poured himself another drink, downed it, and fixed the other man with as steady a look as he could manage.

"I was summoned. It was-- worse than it has been in a very long time. Harry was waiting when I got back. I tried to send him away. He wouldn't go. I lost control." He drew a shaky breath, but kept his eyes locked on Dumbledore's.

"Regrettable. He's asking for you."

Snape's lips peeled back from his teeth. "He's what?"

"Go," Dumbledore ordered. It was almost a snarl. The headmaster left, leaving Severus staring after him. Dumbledore was probably suitably angry at this point. Severus poured himself a sobering draught and started to drink it, but he wasn't sure he could face Harry entirely sober. He diluted it, swallowed, and Flooed to the infirmary.

*

"Professor Snape?" Harry blinked up at the black form above him. He wasn't sure where his glasses were. He heard a sigh.

"Yes, Harry." The voice sounded dead. Hollow.

"Do you see my glasses?" He heard a bit of motion, and then he felt the glasses drop onto his lap. He tried to put them on, but Madam Pomfrey had given him a muscle relaxant that made it nearly impossible to move. Nor could he feel anything, which was probably good. "Will you help me put them on?"

"No."

"Why not?" he asked, frowning up at the dark shape. The shape hissed, and Harry winced.

"You think I'm ever going to touch you again? After..." Snape drew a harsh breath and calmed himself. "I have no right to lay a finger on you. Ever. Not even for this."

Harry closed his eyes. He hated not being able to see. "Oh," he said. "Are we alone?"

"The headmaster is watching. He cannot hear us."

"Does he know it was you?"

"Yes. I resigned."

Harry's eyes flew open. "You can't!"

"That seems to be the consensus, yes," Severus said dryly. "He did not accept it, although I fail to see his reasons."

"Because you're a coward." Severus didn't argue the point. "Help me put my glasses on. Please. I need to see you." Severus drew a steadying breath and picked up Harry's glasses. He settled them on the young man's face slowly, carefully keeping his hands from touching any piece of Harry's skin. He sat back down next to the bed. Harry stared at him, and now that he could actually see Snape, he wasn't sure what to say. He couldn't tell if he was dealing with Severus Snape the Death Eater, Severus Snape the Potions master, Severus Snape his lover, or some other Severus Snape he had never met before. He wondered how many there were.

"Which one are you?" Snape's black eyes didn't seem to be focused on anything, and Harry couldn't read them.

"Excuse me?"

"Which Severus Snape are you? I've met three, now." Harry's voice was hard and angry. Snape didn't say anything. "Nothing to say to me?"

"What would you like me to say? I will say anything you wish."

"I want you to say what you want! Not what I want."

"In that case, no," Snape said. "I don't have anything to say to you."

"Are you sorry?"

"No."

"Why not?" Snape's black eyes focused slowly on Harry. There was nothing there. "Oh," Harry said. "You're him. You liked it." It wasn't a question. Snape's mouth twisted, and he kept his eyes locked on Harry's.

"Yes."

Harry flinched from the answer. "But you shouldn't have done it," he insisted.

"No."

"So you're sorry."

"No," Snape said. "We never should have done any of it. You should not have been sent to me this summer. I never should have kissed you. I never should have taken you to bed. You never should have come back to me. And you certainly should not have stayed when I told you to go."

"So it's my fault. That's why you won't touch me. I'm damaged goods."

Snape arched an eyebrow. He looked genuinely surprised for a second. "Is that what you think?" he asked.

Harry let out a groan of frustration. "You're not giving me a choice, Severus! I don't know what to think! I'm not going to insist on an apology if you don't mean it, but I do think you owe me an explanation." Severus looked at him for a long time, and then slumped back, raking a hand through his greasy curtain of hair.

"Fine," he said. His voice was back to sounding flat and dead, and his eyes were far away and empty, fixed on the floor. "I was summoned, Friday afternoon. I spent the rest of the day, the entire night, and all day Saturday in the company of the Dark Lord and his merry band of followers. The Dark Lord believes me to be a traitor -- which, of course, I am -- so he spent several hours on Friday afternoon attempting to extract information from me. I was tortured for several hours and repeatedly raped.

"Once the Dark Lord was satisfied, he sent us out for a pleasant evening of Muggle torture, in which I managed to save two innocent lives and take four more. I am running quite a deficit these days. Then it was into the lab for some groveling, some torture -- this time, however, I got to join in the fun—and some potion brewing. I'm making the Dark Lord's continued inhabitance of his current body possible, as well as brewing potions that allow the Death Eaters to work with Dementors and potions to strip the magic out of Mudbloods. Once that was done, it was more groveling and torture—back to me, this time, my Lord's favorite plaything -- and then I was able to return to Hogwarts. I reported to Poppy Pomfrey and Albus Dumbledore, in that order, and went to my rooms. I believe you know the rest." Harry had listened to the dry account in growing horror, tears spilling unnoticed down his cheeks. Severus hadn't looked at him.

"Tell me anyway."

Severus' hollow voice continued, as if he hadn't stopped. "You were in my chambers, waiting. I... it takes all my control to spend time with the Dark Lord. When I return, I have none. I used all I had to send you away, to try to send you away. You wanted to help me, although it is unclear what you thought you could do. I tried, but you wouldn't go. I snapped. I was cruel. I tortured you. I beat you. I raped you. I probably would have killed you."

"Why didn't you?" Harry was genuinely curious. Severus looked up, his face pale. He looked a little shell-shocked.

"I love you."

Harry's gut wrenched. Severus had never said it before.

"Fuck you," Harry whispered.

"Do you think it would help?" Severus' voice was mild. Harry clenched his teeth.

"Are you trying to make me hate you again?"

"I fail to see how you could do anything else. You see where loving me has got you."

"Loving you didn't put me here. You did." Severus snorted, clearly unimpressed with the distinction, and looked out the window. Harry tried again. "Why didn't you kill me?"

Snape slowly swiveled his head around and focused his eyes on Harry's. Harry felt like he'd just been sighted through a rifle.

"You walked the tightrope too well. You deserved neither the punishment nor the reward." Harry's mind reeled as he tried to figure out what Snape meant. He wasn't sure he wanted to know, so he said the first words he could think of.

"But you wanted to."

"Kill you? Yes."

"I surrendered."

"You had no choice!"

"I should have left."

"It was no excuse!"

"I could have fought."

"You'd have died." Snape's sneer was back in place, and his eyes were flashing.

"Y-you wouldn't have killed me." Harry's lack of conviction was obvious. Snape's lip curled contemptuously, and he didn't even bother to respond.

"Are we done?" Snape asked, standing to leave. "Tell the headmaster to accept my resignation. He'll listen to you."

"No."

Snape sighed, and sat back down. "Why on earth not?"

"It's the coward's way out."

"As I am not in Gryffindor, Mr. Potter, that does not bother me."

"Well, as I am in Gryffindor, Professor Snape, it does bother me."

Snape looked up sharply. Harry had matched his tone perfectly. "That is truly frightening."

"I learned from the best."

"So you did." He paused. When he spoke again, he sounded defeated. "What do you want me to do, Harry?"

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe stopping working for Voldemort would be a good start."

"Sarcasm does not become you," Snape snapped. "And it is not that easy."

"Call Professor Dumbledore over here."

Severus sighed, turned around, and motioned the headmaster, who crossed the room quickly.

"Yes?" Dumbledore's face was carefully blank as he studied the two of them.

"Can Professor Snape stop spying for the Order?" Harry asked. He felt sick to his stomach, on the verge of panic. The headmaster considered, his gaze level.

"I'm not sure, Harry."

"They torture him," Harry said dully. "They make him a murderer."

"I was a murderer long before they ever got to me, Harry," Snape said. The words were quiet but the voice was like sandpaper, and Harry shook his head in horror as he heard the truth. His stomach twisted and his body lurched as he vomited over the side of the bed. It was Dumbledore who helped him sit back up.

"Severus. That's enough. Harry, it's not that simple."

"Why not?" Harry asked. His voice was wavering, and he knew he was slightly hysterical. The pounding in his head was making it difficult to hear. "Everyone keeps saying that. What's so complicated about it?" Snape and Dumbledore exchanged glances, and it was Severus who answered.

"First, there is the not insignificant matter of the Dark Mark. It is permanent. Were I to leave, it would burn constantly. It's... it would drive me mad. A small price, I know, but one I cannot pay." He paused, probably waiting for Harry to challenge his sanity. Harry kept his mouth shut, and Snape took a deep breath before moving on.

"Second, I left out the parts of the narrative in which I discovered crucial information about upcoming Death Eater attacks. Information which will allow the Order to do quite a bit of damage to the Dark Lord's cause. Information there is no other way to come by. I took life, yes, but I saved some as well. I don't truly know if I am running a deficit; I stopped counting years ago. But there are more people alive today because of my involvement than there would be otherwise."

"So that makes it okay?" Harry challenged. Severus' eyes closed, and he suddenly looked very, very old.

"No. The things I do, the things I live with..." His eyes opened, and Harry gasped at their naked intensity and shrunk back into his bed. "I'm a monster," Snape said quietly. "I was fooling myself to think I could ever be anything else. Even -- especially -- for you."

Harry's eyes fell shut, and he didn't even try to stop the tears. When he opened his eyes again, he was alone.

FIN.

Fluid 960 Grid System, created by Stephen Bau, based on the 960 Grid System by Nathan Smith. Released under the GPL/ MIT Licenses.