Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Control Issues :: 02 :: Severus Snape

02 • Severus Snape

Voldemort walked into his house several hours later with a stack of shrunken books in his pocket. He had spent part of his time out in the compound itself, updating himself on how current plans were progressing, though none of them were particularly important. However, it upset his lieutenants if he did not make it appear as though he gave a damn. And during his outing, not one word of gossip filtered past him regarding the location of Harry Potter, or even that he was missing.

He found his ally in the training room, blood seeping out of numerous cuts, and sweat trickling down his naked body. Harry was just finishing up the total destruction of a score of golems. Though, judging by the state of the room, Harry had gone through quite a lot of sets.

Voldemort clapped softly in appreciation of such skill, catching Harry’s undivided attention, then asked, “Why are you bleeding?”

Harry looked confused at first, then answered readily enough, “You have sharp corners in this room.”

Voldemort blinked at that and took a much closer look at the room itself, finally noticing a number of places that were splashed with blood, such as the corner of a table, or an imperfect piece of molding. “Yes, I see that now,” he commented mildly, then continued, “In any case, I wanted to let you know I had returned with those books. I’m going to get myself something to eat and begin reading them, so whenever you feel like it, you’re welcome to join me and help if you wish.”

With that he turned and wandered off to the kitchen to prepare a simple meal for himself, then continued on to his sitting room to settle into a chair. The books were resized and set in a stack on the table aside his plate, and he flipped the first of them open as he began to absently eat.

Harry arrived a short while later looking completely drained and disappeared into the bedroom; Voldemort presumed he was cleaning up. Ten minutes or so later Harry reappeared and dropped into a seat, sliding the top book off the stack and began to read himself. Over time, however, he became increasingly restless, until finally Voldemort marked his page and set his book aside, then said, “Harry, if you’re hungry again, I wish you would simply tell me.”

“But—” The young man looked vaguely ashamed for some reason.

“You gave yourself quite a workout, so it is hardly surprising if you are,” Voldemort pointed out.

“I—yes.”

Voldemort got up and gently removed the book from Harry’s hand, marked the page, and set it aside. “Come with me, and I will let you feed,” he said gently, extending one hand in invitation. Harry hesitated, then gave in and took it, and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet and led into the bedroom.

Voldemort once again found it no kind of chore to push Harry down onto the bed and begin stroking the young man’s silky skin. He had found out over the past few days that preparing Harry was completely unnecessary, but generally did so anyway just to give him additional pleasure. In this case, however, he stretched out on the bed, partly supported by the pillows, so that Harry could hover over him, then take Voldemort’s cock in his mouth and fellate him to hardness.

Harry then straddled Voldemort and lowered himself slowly, closing his eyes and hissing in pleasure. Voldemort found it incredibly erotic whenever Harry slipped into Parseltongue, or even an approximation, so the young man’s hissing made him arch his hips off the bed in appreciation. Harry responded by leaning forward to capture his mouth in a hungry kiss, then start riding him, so Voldemort reached between them to coax Harry along as well toward orgasm.

And it did not take long; Voldemort had also found that the hungrier Harry was, the more quickly sex went, but that did not make it any less satisfying. Harry was shortly spasming in his arms even as Voldemort was thrusting uncontrollably into his partner and releasing himself.

He made no attempt to move once he came down from his bliss high. Harry was nestled against his chest and had buried his face in Voldemort’s neck, and that was perfectly all right with him. Voldemort drifted off to sleep feeling . . . content.

They went back to reading after they awoke, Harry once again not bothering to put on anything resembling clothing. Voldemort could not quite decide if it was out of habit, or if Harry flat out did not like them, and wasn’t so curious as to actually ask.

The more he read, though, the more he became distracted. The information within the books was making it clear that Severus had probably raped Harry multiple times each day depending on how much exertion they had forced him to. It was also very likely that they frequently knocked him unconscious and awoke him shortly thereafter to completely confuse the young man’s time sense.

Severus would not have wanted to ever fully feed his captive as that would make Harry more appealing to him, which would make it more likely he would inadvertently feed the young man properly the next time. A nasty little cycle. It was far safer to half starve him, and feed him a bit more frequently in consequence.

On the other hand, some of the information was quite fascinating, and he was no longer so worried about what might happen to him personally should he touch Harry’s scales. It was more likely that doing so would cause Harry to lose control of himself and beg to be fed or taken, whether he was sated already or not. In any case, it should be safe enough to stroke Harry’s back during sex, and would probably increase the amount of pleasure the young man received, not to mention how much he gave.

He had just finished one book and was preparing to open another when Harry gasped softly and shot to his feet. A second later he was shoving a book under Voldemort’s nose and tapping the page urgently. “Did you see this? Anything like this?”

Voldemort looked down and started to read, almost instantly understanding why Severus had done things a certain way in his handling of Harry. He looked up a minute later with a grave expression and nodded.

“You did?”

“Yes, the first time I fed you, Harry. I did not—I simply wanted you to enjoy yourself as well, thinking that you would feed more easily. I did not know what that glow meant at the time.”

Harry stepped back and slumped in his abandoned chair. “I guess you’re stuck with me,” he said eventually.

“I cannot bring myself to mind, Harry,” he said honestly. “Do you?”

Harry worried his lip for some time before he ventured to say, “I am grateful that it was someone like you, Tom.”

“As opposed to one of your trainers, or even a random person off the street.”

Harry nodded. “Still, I feel kind of bad.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, I understand that . . . I can’t help but respond. Anyone could have gotten me to whore myself if they’d simply approached me the right way, so none of it is really personal. It’s more about it being food for me. I feel like . . . I’m doing you some kind of disservice. I can’t feed off anyone else now and I’m totally dependant on you for my survival. I wouldn’t blame you if you got tired of it and decided to let me starve or just killed me.”

“Harry, I think perhaps you did not read far enough into the text. Having inadvertently bonded with you—I suppose our agreement might have had something to do with you feeling safe enough—I will fight to keep you. I don’t think I am capable at this point of getting tired of you.”

Harry looked up curiously and snatched the book back, his eyes flicking quickly over the printed words. “Oh,” he said in a mildly surprised tone, then set the book aside. “But—”

“If I understood that correctly, it means that some part of you, on an instinctual level, decided I was safe, and caused you to attempt to permanently bond yourself to me. I could have resisted, and did not. Yes, I believe my will is strong enough to let you starve or even kill you in retaliation for doing this, but I won’t. I had already recognized part of your insidious nature, Harry, and accepted it. And I have not been unhappy about the realization that I am becoming addicted to you.”

“Oh,” Harry repeated, looking a lot less despondent.

“On a related note, I think that this nullifies any partial claim Severus might have had on you. While I cannot be sure, I get the feeling that you’ll be able to attack him at will. I’ll know better once he reports to me.”

Harry’s lip curled into a soundless snarl. And then he sat up straight with a puzzled expression. “I wonder what happened to my friends.”

“Is that a general query?”

Harry gave him a wide-eyed look. “I don’t know. Are they okay? Did they know about any of this? Should I want them dead, too? Or are they innocent, and merely stupid enough to believe it when someone like Dumbledore says I’m off being trained and everything is just fucking peachy?”

“I get the feeling you have not seen them since that day.”

Harry shook his head. “No, not since that last train ride. I was never taken to Order meetings, either. I might have been, eventually, if they were sure I’d behave properly. I don’t know. The only people I ever saw were Snape, Moody, and sometimes Dumbledore. Well, and whoever I was sent out to kill. I thought it was a little surprising, actually.”

“Why?”

“Well, wouldn’t it make sense to see if I would behave myself around others? Wouldn’t that prove beyond question to them that I would obey my orders? That they had broken me so badly that I was their perfect weapon? Can you just see me sitting there at Fortescue’s, eating an ice cream, and saying such glowing things about Dumbledore to Ron and Hermione? And there’s Snape, lurking around the corner, ready to zap me with a jolt of electricity if I do the least little suspicious thing. I should think he’d have gotten off on it, then promptly dragged me back to my cell and gone for another round of torture and rape to celebrate his accomplishments.”

“On the other hand,” Voldemort said, “doing that would mean Severus might be forced to share your time with others. As it was, he had access to you on a round-the-clock basis. Still, I can see why you would think that. They might have eventually, if you hadn’t escaped.”

Harry made a huffing noise and slumped in his chair again.

“Once I’ve had a chance to pillage Severus’s mind, and we know if you’re free of their control, Harry, you can always toss on a disguise and visit Diagon Alley.”

That made Harry look exceptionally thoughtful, which intrigued Voldemort to no end. When he spoke, though, it wasn’t very revealing. “That makes me wonder if I even have any money left or if Dumbledore managed to clean out my accounts.”

“You can always check with the goblins.”

Harry laughed softly, surprising him again. “I can sort of see it now. Snape is already out of the way, suppose, and we know they don’t have some bizarre way to bring me under control. So there I go, visiting Gringotts, making sure people know Harry Potter is out in public, at least on my way out. And then I wander into Knockturn Alley and wait, hoping that Moody would show up to leash his dog, and pretend for his benefit to be whoring myself because I’m starving.”

Voldemort chuckled in appreciation. “And then you would knock him flat on his ass and bring him here to be played with?”

“Absolutely,” Harry said firmly. “So long as it’s okay with you, I want to be the one to hurt them, to kill them. I mean, really, shouldn’t they benefit from all that training they beat into me?” The look Harry gave him was almost coyly seductive.

Voldemort laughed outright and nodded. “As you wish, Harry. I have to wonder about other Order members that might show up, though.”

“I guess that’d depend, don’t you think? I mean, if they’re all clueless, and I hauled a few back against their will, they’re going to think to begin with that I’ve done a one-eighty and betrayed them all. But if Moody was questioned with veritaserum in front of them and spilled his guts?” Harry snorted. “They’d either react with horror and disgust, or be upset that I managed to spoil all their plans. I wouldn’t necessarily be adverse to letting innocents go if it meant they’d try to take down Dumbledore for us, but otherwise, I’d just have to kill them as well, or give them to you so your followers could indulge themselves.”

*

Voldemort swept off out of his house, quite sated, and headed toward the building which housed his office and audience chamber. Harry had not let him leave without coaxing him into a round of sex, even though he wasn’t actually hungry. Voldemort was not about to complain.

Severus normally reported to him in his office, so that is where he headed, and settled in to catch up on some of the paperwork awaiting him. When Severus did arrive, Voldemort did not immediately acknowledge the man, and made him wait for a good ten minutes, prostrated, before he looked up and said, “Severus, so delightful to see you. Do have a seat.”

Snape stood and lowered himself into a chair, then presented his usual blank expression to his nominal master.

“Report,” he ordered, then sat back, idly fingering his wand out of view. He was actually rather pleased that Harry had accosted him, as it meant his sometimes hair-trigger temper was pushed fairly deep beneath the surface, and it was very unlikely he would do something foolish like kill Severus out of hand.

“My lord, the Potter boy continues to be a vexing problem for the Order and their efforts to get him properly trained,” Severus began, abrupt as always.

Voldemort nearly stopped listening right then and there, but did keep half an ear open as Severus rambled on in his precise way for another ten minutes, and tried to look as though he wasn’t actually bored by what he was hearing. It was, sadly, more of the usual rubbish. When the man finally shut up Voldemort nodded and said, “I see,” then shot a dose of the cruciatus under the desk, aimed (a coincidence, surely) at Severus’s privates.

And while Severus was writhing in overwhelming pain—Voldemort had not bothered to temper the intensity of the spell—he was easily able to stand up, disarm his betraying minion, then use one of the more esoteric spells from his Dark Arts repertoire to put the man into a coma. He was feeling rather cheerful at that point.

Severus’s wand went into his pocket for safekeeping, naturally. Voldemort spent the next half hour going over every inch of the man’s clothing and body, including checking his teeth, hair, the contents of his stomach, and any other available orifices. He found one emergency portkey, and promptly stashed that away in a box in his desk, appropriately labeled. Severus must have been very sure of his position to be so lightly prepared.

A second round of scanning spells came up blank, so he thought he might have actually disarmed the man totally. No more portkeys, potions, extra wands, or anything else that might potentially be dangerous or allow the man to escape. That is, assuming Voldemort ever released him from the coma. He supposed he would have to if it was feasible to let Harry kill him personally.

And, like any evil son of a bitch with delusions of grandeur, Voldemort had a secret door in his office that led down a cramped, circular stairway (complete with brackish water trickling down the dirty stones) to a private dungeon. It was there to which Voldemort headed, Severus floating along in tow, and he was not particularly concerned with how banged up his minion got along the way.

Once there he strapped a naked Severus into one of the many available torture racks (though, in truth, it was the first time Voldemort had ever used one given that it was generally easier to just crucio people and be done with it) and forced a few potions down the man’s throat that would scramble any mental defenses Severus could still muster while unconscious.

Then he conjured himself up a squashy armchair and settled in comfortably, and began his exploration of Severus’s mind. Quite a few hours later he shook himself back to normal awareness, an odd little smile gracing his lips. He was inordinately amused by the fact that Severus was suffering quite a bit over the loss of his fuck toy, having not been able to completely resist the thrall Harry exuded.

He was actually divided over several plans of action that had sprung to mind, but knew he really ought to let Harry have his say in the disposition of his erstwhile captor. Either way, he was now certain that Harry was completely free of the man’s control, and that meant he could transfer Severus to his house, or bring Harry to his private dungeon for some play time.

On that note, he hastened off home to fetch Harry and bring him around for a visit. He was delayed only a short time while he made the effort to convince Harry to dress, then add a hooded cloak to complete his ensemble and to conceal his face.

Back in the dungeon Voldemort conjured up another squashy armchair and waved Harry into it, then sat down himself. He had even remembered to bring down a bottle of wine and a glass so he had something to sip while they talked.

“Well?” Harry asked anxiously, casting a plainly curious look at Severus.

“You are free, Harry. To put it in simple terms, he was using a combination of being your food source plus blood and sex magic to make sure you couldn’t turn on him, or those he specified. There was actually a sort of method to his madness, what with all the blood he used to draw. However, he would have to keep that up in order for it to continue working, and obviously. . . .

“In any case, you bonded to me, and that negates all prior claims on you, even one such as his. It also explains why you could not commit suicide. At this point in time, you can pretty much kill anyone you want to.”

“Okay. What about why I transformed?”

“He found a way to induce it, Harry. And no, I cannot reverse it, I’m sorry. Though, I have to admit that at this point, I really don’t want to.”

Harry nodded, not at all surprised by any of that. “The potions?”

“Those were meant for several things. Part of it was connected to the inducement, but most of them were experimental potions intended to enhance your speed, stamina, reflexes, and so forth. Also to increase your regenerative ability if possible. Your eyes were corrected in a muggle facility and they obliviated those events from your memories.”

“Okay. Anything else I should know?” Harry was aiming a rather potent glare at the unconscious Severus.

“There’s not that much more to tell. You were fed at times while you were unconscious, but I believe they stopped that when they realized you obtained almost no sustenance from it. Severus took a lot of blood, saliva, and skin samples from you as well, in order to test them and work out new potions. One of the things he was trying to do was introduce your healing ability into a separate subject, but he has not been successful.”

“Yes, but what about—I mean, was the headmaster. . . ?”

Voldemort sighed. “Evidence shows that Dumbledore was supporting this of his own free will, Harry, and Moody was not being controlled by any mind-altering substances.”

Instead of needing to be calmed down, Harry straightened up in his chair and said in a chill tone, “I see.”

“Severus had very little contact with other members of the Order. He avoided them whenever possible, in fact, preferring to report directly to Dumbledore. In any case, I have nothing much to tell you about your former friends or their possible roles in all of this.”

“Okay. I can accept that. So, what about him?”

“That depends. If you want you can kill him right now. Otherwise, we would have to decide what sort of setting you would like.”

Harry turned thoughtful and curled his legs up underneath him on the chair. Voldemort sat there without interrupting, sipping his wine. Eventually Harry looked up and said, “Well, I guess I can think of a couple of ways to handle it. But I suppose what would make me happiest would be to have him completely helpless and bound. Clothes don’t matter, I suppose, as I could always rip those off.”

Harry shrugged. “And then maybe play with his head a little, make him think I wanted a mission briefing before I’d make a move to help him, which would be a nice little catch-22. And then get down to business and start torturing him, such as slicing his dick off, making sure it’s nice and stiff, slicking it up in his own blood, then fucking him with it. Removing his voice box. Crushing his precious hands. Opening razor cuts all over his body and upending a box of leeches on him.”

Harry paused and furrowed his brow. “Or I could just kill him once you wake him up. You know, let him get a good look at me, then behead him. Send the body off to Dumbledore with a nasty little note, or dump him in the atrium at the Ministry. Having given it some actual thought, I realize I’m not all that big on long, drawn out revenge schemes. Too many things can go wrong, for one.”

“How about this?” Voldemort said. “I will move him into the center of the room and stand off to the side, cloaked in shadows, so he cannot possibly see me. You can sit or stand in front of him so the first thing he sees is you. Improvise based on how he reacts?”

A slow smile spread across Harry’s face, and he nodded. “Okay, that sounds all right. I guess it’s a good thing you made me wear my gear, then, huh?”

Voldemort nodded and returned the smile. “If you’d like to start now, we can,” he invited. “As it is, he’s already mostly set up for you.”

“Sure, okay.” Harry got to his feet and gazed speculatively at his tightly bound former professor, then watched as Voldemort vanished his chair, made a few other arrangements, then blended into darkness. Harry moved his own chair so that it was positioned directly in front of Severus and a fair distance back, then sat down and nodded.

Severus slowly came to awareness and raised his head, then barked, “Potter, why have you not released me from this infernal contraption?”

“I cannot,” Harry responded tonelessly.

“And why, Potter, is that?” Severus demanded.

“I have not been properly briefed, sir.”

Severus snarled. “Release me, Potter, and I will.” The man’s voice promised pain.

Voldemort had an excellent view of Harry’s face when it went from stoic blankness to mildly amused. “Sounds like a personal problem to me, Sevvie.”

“What did you say?” Severus responded in a deadly voice.

“You heard me. Perhaps it’s managed to escape your notice—though how that’s possible with your incredible intelligence, I simply don’t understand—but I’m no longer your personal marionette, my dear trainer.”

“Potter,” Severus growled.

Harry shrugged a shoulder carelessly and got to his feet, sliding one of his hands over his leather-clad torso in an artlessly suggestive manner. “I no longer have any use for you.”

“I see, Potter. So you’ve figured out what it is you need to live? You’ve stooped to shaking your ass like a common whore at anyone who’ll dare to fuck you? Is that it? Are you honestly so thick that you think it’s that simple? I demand you release me!”

Harry glanced down, then smirked. “You missed me, didn’t you.” He stepped forward and wrapped his hand around Severus’s partially erect penis and began stroking him. “I guess I can understand that, Sevvie. I mean, they tell me I’m an incredibly good piece of ass. I’ve even had a few offers. You know, the usual. They agree to beat me whenever they feel like it and top it off with a rousing fuck to keep me fed, and I just take it like a good little boy who doesn’t know any better. You know, just to make sure I don’t get uppity or something. Sort of like you, now I think about it.”

Severus spat in his face. Harry laughed a silvery little laugh and squeezed, causing Severus to bite back a moan of pain, then wiped his face clean nonchalantly with his other hand. “Or, is it that you get off on being bound like this, Sevvie? Come on, you can tell me,” he said conspiratorially. “I promise I won’t tell a soul. Were you secretly wishing all that time that you were in my place? That you were the one being whipped into a bloody mess and then raped? I can arrange that, you know.”

“I will make you pay for this, you insolent little wretch,” Severus threatened.

Harry laughed again and released the man, stepping back. “You’re so adorable when you’re helpless, Sevvie. Now, let’s see. Whatever shall I do to amuse myself. Hmm. I could make absolutely certain you know that you did a very good job of beating your lessons into me.” He gave Severus a speculative look.

“But, I’m not so sure. After all, each person has their own wellspring of creativity, right? It isn’t healthy to stifle oneself. And since you seem so adverse to letting me play with your cock, I’ll just have to. . . .”

Harry made a slow circuit around the frame Severus was bound to, emerging back in front of the man holding a delicate blade in one hand and a barbed cylindrical object in the other. “Now, Sevvie, I can see that you’re still very aroused, so I can only infer that you really are enjoying yourself right now. I’ll just have to help you along a little, okay? Now, see this?”

Harry thoughtfully held up the object. “If you’ve ever studied the sex life of the cat, you would know that the male cat’s penis is barbed. Going in it’s a perfectly smooth deal, but when he tries to pull out. . . . Well, I guess you can imagine how the poor female cat feels?”

Severus began struggling futilely, against all reason, finally accepting that there was no way on earth he could get his former toy to obey him.

Harry aimed a sickeningly sweet smile at the man and said savagely, “Suffer for me, as I suffered for you!”

Then he swiftly skipped behind Severus and forced the impromptu dildo up the man’s unprepared ass. “There we go,” Harry trilled cheerfully. “But that could hardly have hurt. To make it interesting, let me just go ahead and attach these chains. You know, the ones with the weights on them? The ones that will slowly drag that thing back out of your ass and rip you to bloody shreds in the process?”

Severus was going a bit mad in his bindings, still to no avail, and Voldemort was really amazed at how well Harry was handling himself, not to mention his captive. A minute later Harry slinked back around to stand in front of Severus, another sweet smile gracing his lips.

“And, oh yes, I still have this, don’t I?” Harry examined the blade he was holding carefully, as though looking for any imperfections. “I wonder. If I start using this on you, will you struggle some more, and will that mean you’ll be able to expel that little toy more quickly? I think we should find out.

“Oh, and if you spit on me again, Snivellus, you will regret it,” he said coldly, then stepped forward and started slicing precise, thin lines into the flesh of Severus’s chest. “I’m perfectly prepared to hack off that lovely penis of yours and make you choke on it, darling, so if that appeals to you, do go ahead and provoke me.” Harry reached up to caress Severus’s face almost tenderly, then went right back to carving up his skin.

Severus was a quivering mess of blood within a few minutes and was moaning in constant pain, though he was trying very hard to stay perfectly still. Harry must have decided he was just about done amusing himself, as he turned his head to the side and said, “Was there anything you wanted to add, Tom?”

Severus jerked his head up and over, then immediately groaned in pain and renewed fear as Voldemort stepped out of the shadows with a pleased smile on his face. “I think you’re doing an excellent job of torturing him, Harry. It was about time this dungeon was christened.”

“Truly?” Harry asked eagerly. “I’ve never had the chance before. They always wanted me to just kill people quickly. A bit disappointing, really, don’t you think?”

“It does show a decided lack of imagination on their parts, Harry. Now, why don’t you go ahead and finish this up, and then I’ll feed you.”

Harry actually bounced in place like an excited child for effect, then turned back to Severus, who was watching them with a sort of horrified fascination in spite of the amount of pain he must be in. “Well, sorry, Sevvie, but I’m going to have to cut this short. I could really do with a snack, and Tom is so good about feeding me properly. Why, I wouldn’t dream of saying no to him. Your happiness is nothing compared to my needs, so I guess this is where we say good-bye.”

Harry cocked his head to the side briefly, then stepped forward and plunged his long knife into Severus’s abdomen and twisted, hauling it back out and dragging the man’s entrails with it. Then he plunged the knife back in a bit higher, aiming for the heart. But for good measure, just to be sure, he slit Severus’s throat from ear to ear, stepping back quickly as the blood began to spray.

Voldemort wanted to laugh when Harry looked at him and asked, sounding rather dismayed, “Do you know any good spells to get blood out of leather?”

He made Harry wait, though, until after the blood had stopped spurting, then directed him to completely behead the man. The last thing he wanted was some upstart bringing his former minion back as an Inferius. Once that was taken care of and the remains were placed in stasis for the interim, Voldemort helped Harry back into his hooded cloak, escorted him to the house, then ushered him upstairs and into a hot shower.

Only once they were both squeaky clean did he tumble Harry onto the bed and ravish him, drawing out the encounter for as long as possible before succumbing to a blindingly powerful orgasm after Harry had found his own release.

*

“So, how do you feel?”

Harry gave him a bright smile. “Well, I wasn’t really kidding about the whole revenge thing, but I have to say, that was satisfying. I never expected to feel any kind of pleasure in torturing someone, or killing them. Have I gone mad?”

Voldemort eyed him for a moment, then said, “I suppose that depends on how you define things. If I presented you with a complete stranger five minutes from now and said you could play as you wished, what would you do?”

Harry furrowed his brow. “I think I’d wander off. I mean, what would be the—oh, I see what you mean. Maybe I’m not crazy, then, just a bit pissed off and vindictive.”

Voldemort nodded. “I would agree. No matter how far above their origins mankind would like to believe they have risen, some things are extremely unlikely to be eradicated, Harry. And I find it difficult to believe that you will suddenly decide that killing people for no particular reason is a nice hobby to take up.”

“But I can still kill Moody and Dumbledore.”

“Of course. And anyone else who was in on the plan to break you. Far be it from me to stand in the way of some well deserved retribution.”

Harry furrowed his brow again, then gave him a peculiar look. “Maybe I am mad. After all, shouldn’t I be wanting to rend you limb from limb for killing my parents?”

Voldemort blinked. “Well, when you put it that way. . . .”

“Don’t misunderstand me—I don’t think I could at this point. Still, I should think I’d hold a grudge or something. As it is, I look at you and want to cuddle, or snuggle up on your lap.” Harry rolled his eyes.

“Chalk it up the the bond, I suppose, or the past few years, Harry. Perhaps both?”

Harry shrugged and curled up in his chair sideways, resting his head on the arm. “What happens if I don’t have any money now?”

Voldemort gave a shrug of his own. “I will take care of you if you wish. I have plenty of money, in both worlds. Otherwise, you’ll simply have to figure out some sort of job you’d like to do.”

“Huh, all right. What shall we do with the body?”

“I haven’t decided. We could send it back, but that would be a rather blatant statement and could cause people to feel a bit antsy or paranoid. They might even suspect you had something to do with it. After all, you did spend rather a lot of time with that knife.”

Harry crinkled his brow. “Should I have not done that?”

“I suppose we could heal him up before shipping him out. Otherwise, I think certain people are going to become suspicious if they see reports that the words ‘you reap what you sow, you sodding rapist’ are carved into his chest.”

“Oh. Next time I’ll just do nice patterns. Well, if I feel the need to. I’ll just let you decide what to do with him. Is that okay?” Harry cast a vaguely anxious look at him.

“It’s fine,” Voldemort assured Harry. Quite frankly, he wouldn’t be surprised if his adorably kittenish little incubus (not that Harry was actually little) ended up romping his way through half the people in positions of power before he reached the end of the conspiracy against him, totally doing all of Voldemort’s work for him. He might even be able to retire before the end of the year, taking Harry away with him to a nice island somewhere to live a life of indolent luxury. Harry might even be interested in having a child; it was something to consider for later on.

“Have you come to any conclusions insofar as Gringotts is concerned, or even how you might tackle Moody?” Voldemort asked.

“Well, you’ve said I’m free, so I don’t see any particular reason not to sneak into the bank and see if the goblins can help me. I guess if there’s nothing left I can live with that. It can’t possibly cost you that much to take care of me, though I suppose I ought to consider buying some clothes. I can’t wear my gear all the time when I go out.”

Voldemort nodded. “If, when you go to Gringotts, you do learn that you’ve been completely wiped out financially, just tell me. I will provide the funds for your new wardrobe, and anything else you might want. Also, when we do have Moody here for our amusement, Harry, I will try to teach you the proper way to extract information. For example, once I had Severus in a coma I fed him several potions to render useless whatever mental defenses he had left. Then I entered his mind in a not dissimilar way to Legilimency and began sorting through his memories with certain goals.”

Harry lifted his head for a moment, then lowered it and said, “Is that so I could see for myself? So that I wouldn’t have to bug you with questions on what you were able to find?”

“In part, yes. It’s not that I think you would distrust my word. I do think it would be useful for you to know how to do this yourself. That way, should you have need of the technique, and I’m not available for some reason, you would not have to wait.”

“I like that,” Harry said unexpectedly.

“Sorry?”

“I like that,” he repeated. “I appreciate it. You . . . really do seem to want me to be me and help me keep learning and. . . .” Harry uncurled and sat up, though one leg was kept tucked underneath him. “I get scared sometimes, that what I did will . . . take over, and I won’t be Harry any longer, I won’t exist. And I’m so grateful that you’ve helped me stay sane and—”

Voldemort opened his mouth to respond, then snapped it shut as Harry began flailing his hands around wildly.

“No, no, no. Don’t tell me something like it’s all right and so on and so forth. I know, I understand. I just—I know I need help, that what I did was really dangerous, and I might not ever be able to fix it, but—I’m not comfortable talking about this, and I don’t want to talk about it. I just feel like . . . I ought to at least once, or maybe I need to, and need to know you’ll keep helping me, please, because I don’t want to lose my mind and I don’t know if I can do it alone.”

Voldemort hesitated, and when it seemed as though Harry really was done, said, “Yes, Harry, you have my word.”

Harry exhaled heavily and said, “Okay,” then got to his feet so he could crawl onto Voldemort’s lap and press up against him, burying his face in Voldemort’s neck.

Voldemort brought up his hands to loosely encircle Harry’s waist and sat there simply luxuriating in the feel of the warm body so trustingly and willingly snuggled up against him. And were it not for the actual gravity of the situation, he might be tempted to feel amusement over the fact that anyone, not just Harry Potter, was looking to the Dark Lord for help and comfort. But, it was obviously a heavy weight on Harry, the fear that his persona might shatter, or somehow take over, and render his sense of self completely nonexistent.

And then Harry spoke again, his tone breathy and ever so slightly mischievous. “But, I find I don’t mind at all when you play with my scales and make me melt inside and lose control and practically beg you to take me. I rather enjoy that, actually.”

“Really,” Voldemort murmured, then swept his hands up Harry’s back so he could glide his fingers over the cool, hard scales to either side of the young man’s spine in a deliberate and delicate way. Harry responded by flattening himself against Voldemort and trying to force his knees farther apart, even as his hips rocked in time with the fingers stroking him.

Voldemort kept up his gentle torture until Harry began mewling against his neck and whining piteously, at which point he shifted forward until he was sitting on the edge of the cushion, then urged Harry to unfold one leg and wrap it around his waist instead, and then the other.

He continued to stroke Harry’s back as he pushed to his feet, using his other hand to make sure his writhing burden did not slip, then walked a few steps and gently lowered Harry to the sofa. “Yes, my sweet Harry,” he murmured, “I will take very good care of you.”


Associated Snapshot: Humble Servant