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Nights Like These

His friends think their plan is working.

Snape/Harry  |  R  |  900 words  |  October 2004
warnings: kink, channish


His friends think their plan is working. They think they've figured out how to fool him, figured out how to make him look the other way. They think they've become better at hiding the truth, better at sneaking around, better at lying. They think he believes them when they say there is no news, nothing's happened, nothing's wrong, don't worry about it. They think he's accepted that he can't do everything, can't know everything, can't be everything. But it's not that he's accepted anything or believes anything or listens to anything they say. It's that he doesn't care about anything.

At night, he wanders the halls in his invisibility cloak. He knows everyone knows and that no one tries to stop him. He knows they think it's good for him, this time to himself, this time to sort out his thoughts. He used to go to the Astronomy tower and look up, watch the stars shine and the moon rise and remember what it was like to fly. One night he looked down and imagined what it would be like to fly again, to rush towards the ground and finally be free. After that, he started wandering in the dungeons.

He knows Snape knows he's there, knows Snape is watching, knows Snape is wandering, knows he's careful never to let their paths cross. He knows Snape has told Filch to stay out of the dungeons, knows Mrs. Norris has been chased off by the Bloody Baron, knows the Slytherin dormitory is locked up tight. He feels like an intruder, encroaching on Snape's territory, and he likes it. He likes the way his heart pounds and his palms sweat and the blood roars in his ears when he's about to get caught. What he doesn't know is why he never is.

He still blames Snape for Sirius' death. He blames Snape for calling Sirius a coward, for goading Sirius into leaving the house that night. He blames Snape for refusing to teach him occlumency, for allowing Voldemort access to his brain, for not telling him what could happen. He wants to hurt Snape, but he doesn't know how, doesn't think anyone knows enough about Snape to hurt him, and maybe that's a pretty good strategy. Just in case, he breaks into the potions laboratory one night and destroys it. In the morning it's back to normal, as if nothing ever happened.

He breaks in again the next night and doesn't bother with the silencing charm as he smashes phials and flasks and cauldrons. He overturns tables and knocks over shelves and does a very thorough job of destroying the room. His heart pounds and his breath quickens and no one comes to stop him. In class the next day, everything is back to normal, except he thinks Snape might be smirking at him more than usual. That night he breaks into Snape's office, planning to smash bottles and tear up parchment and maybe set a fire. That night Snape catches him.

Snape wields whips and words with equal precision, reducing him to nothing on a nightly basis. He's berated for his stupidity, his arrogance, his failures. He's made to pay for every flask broken, every ingredient lost, every spell cast to repair the damage. He's punished for every life he's put at risk, every life he's failed to save, every life exchanged for his. He arches into the pain, welcomes the insults, knows he deserves every scrap of punishment Snape can mete out. Their sweat mixes on the floor of Snape's office, and he wonders which of them will break first.

He doesn't remember the last time he cried. Crying made Dudley laugh, and so he stopped. Snape makes him scream, makes him choke, makes him bleed, but he's never made him cry. And then one night he does. He writhes under the lash and he weeps for his parents, for Sirius, for Cedric, for Neville, for Mrs. Weasley's boggart and for Remus all alone in that house. By the time he stops crying, the sun's up, and the hot strokes of the whip are the cool strokes of Snape's hands and it feels good in a way he doesn't understand.

It's different the next night. Instead of calling him ugly and stupid and worthless, Snape is calling him beautiful and brilliant and brave. His methods are the same, but Snape is building him up rather than tearing him down and somehow that knowledge morphs the pain into pleasure. When the beating's over, Snape gathers him close with strong arms, and he realizes the night hasn't yet begun. He clings to Snape as he's carried to the bedroom, and Snape slides in slowly, slams in savagely, and when the sun comes up, they're both covered in sweat and saliva and semen.

His friends think their plan worked. They think they know why he seems more grown up, more secure, more stable. They're relieved he's not as angry, not as mean, not as bitter, not as prone to hysterical screaming fits. They're glad he's doing better in his classes, he's showing interest in their lives, he's talking about playing Quidditch next year. He's listening to Dumbledore and helping with the Order and working against Voldemort. They're hopeful that soon, he'll no longer feel the need to wander the halls in his invisibility cloak. He kneels in front of Snape, and knows otherwise.


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