Title: It Still Feels Good
Author: ave_ebony firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: All rights belong to Mrs. Rowling, I just fooled a bit with a few characters. No money, nothing gained – just fun.
Feedback: yes, please, please, please, email@example.com
Beta: Mika – the best beta ever and forever
Sequel to: That Felt Good
Summary: Remus and Severus have a Master/pet relationship, as calm and peaceful as they can have in a war. How things go between them and what makes them feel good? I suggest you read That Felt Good first, but it is not necessary.
“That felt good.” Remus sounded content, sated and very out of breath. He was sitting in an armchair and Severus was kneeling before him, resting his forehead on Remus thigh. “Your mouth is so clever and your tongue...” Remus left the sentence unfinished and petted Severus’ shoulder gently.
“Keeper,” Severus whispered. He felt content. His Master, no, his Keeper, because Remus insisted on not being called the same as the Dark Lord, his Keeper appraised him. And besides, sucking Remus’ cock was pleasant; his Keeper was clean and he tasted good. Remus was also careful not to hurt Severus. He never pounded into Severus’ throat until it was so damaged Severus couldn’t talk properly for days like Lucius used to- ‘No thinking about Lucius,’ Severus reminded himself sharply, ‘I have a new Master and he is satisfied with me. Up until now,’ added his traitorous inner voice ‘Up until now.’
Suddenly Severus’ head jerked up, he hissed and clutched his left forearm through the thin textile of his white shirt.
“You-know-who?” Remus asked, though evidently he knew the answer.
“Hurry, then.” Remus drew Severus’ head close and kissed him gently, “Be careful.”
Burning! Oh, Gods! He was burning. Severus gritted his teeth forcefully to prevent any sounds from escaping. Inwardly, he was screaming and groaning in excruciating pain. His skin felt as if it were going up in flames.
The Dark Lord had been more than displeased tonight. Severus was quite used to being in pain, usually a Crucio or two found its way to the spy at meetings and he was left with an unpleasant feeling of burning, especially in places where his clothes came into contact with his skin. Clothes and shoes.
Tonight, however, Severus was exposed to such a long Crucio curse that he had eventually lost consciousness, which happened so rarely that he was released when he woke up. Not before humbly assuring his Lord that he had learned his lesson, of course.
His skin was burning. Severus was on fire. He had been forced to take off the shoes and cloak at the apparition site or, he was certain, would have never made it to the castle.
Now he was standing in the sitting room in his dungeons, spelling the rest of his clothes away, the cold air caressing his oversensitive skin.
Suddenly there was a loud knocking on his door.
‘Who the hell?’ Severus started and immediately whimpered in pain as his tortured nerves protested against the sudden movement.
‘They will wake up Remus!’ He could already hear sounds from the bedroom his lover had been resting. Severus retreated into the bathroom as quickly as he could. He tried to ignore the pain as he listened attentively.
“Harry!” he heard Remus’ surprised and worried voice from the entrance door. The door slammed shut.
“Snape!” Potter shouted, evidently gasping for breath, as if he had been running. “Voldemort is torturing Snape!”
Severus realised that Remus, in his distress, might have not noticed Severus’ dirty clothes while he hurried through the living room to answer the door. ‘What if he goes to Dumbledore or on a useless rescue mission?’ Severus took a heavy bottle of shampoo and deliberately let it fall on the floor. It worked.
“Someone’s in the bathroom,” Remus said and then he shouted, “Severus?”
“Here are his clothes,” Harry observed.
“Severus!” Remus must have been behind the bathroom door now. ‘Stupid Potter!’ Then Severus finally realised what the brat had said. ‘He can see the Dark Lord’s actions? Yet another piece of vital information Dumbledore has refrained from sharing with me. And Remus didn’t seem to be surprised by it,’ Severus thought bitterly. ‘Perhaps Remus just didn’t realise that I had not been made aware of it?’
“Severus, open the door,” Remus ordered in a gentle but commanding voice.
“No,” Severus wanted to say, but his vocal cords betrayed him. “No!” Severus rasped when he tried again. His throat was throbbing painfully.
Then he heard Remus leaving and saying, “Harry, Severus is already here. Thank you for coming here and telling me. Now go to your bed and try to sleep, will you?”
“Good night, Remus,” Harry wasn’t arguing.
Severus didn’t hear the silent conversation at the entrance of his quarters. He was trying to clear his mind, so as to cope better with the pain.
“What happened?” Remus asked.
“Voldemort was pissed off. He said he had heard Snape was treating me nicely now,” Harry made a face. “As if he did.”
Remus was curious about the Death Eater meeting but couldn’t help but ask, “How has he treated you recently?”
“Well, not exactly nicely,” Harry admitted, “but, he stopped attacking me every time we meet. During his lessons, he was mostly kind of ignoring me. I even got away with Hermione helping me with a potion once.”
Remus felt a pang of guilt, as it was his doing that Severus was less harsh with Harry. He had made it clear that he wouldn’t tolerate quarrelling amongst the members of his pack. Now Severus could have paid for that with his life. Remus was aware of Severus’ uncertainty about his position in the pack, which was probably the main reason why he treated Harry better. Remus forced himself to push those thoughts aside and returned to the matter at hand. “Voldemort was angry just because of this? What has he done to Severus?”
“Voldemort said he might as well have changed sides, because Snape hadn’t brought him any valuable information for quite a while.” Harry rubbed the bridge of his nose. “He shot a few Cruciatus curses on Snape. The last one went on for such a long time that he passed out.” Harry looked at Remus, his green eyes worried. “He should probably stop being nicer to me. Voldemort didn’t accept his assertion that Dumbledore had ordered him to treat me better.”
“I am afraid you are right, Harry. I am sorry. Please, don’t take it personally if-”
“That’s okay, Remus, I understand that. Dumbledore should allow him to reveal some information, though. But-“ Harry cut himself off and sighted in exasperation. “Well, there must be some information that is not too dangerous?” Now his eyes were pleading. Remus, like most of the people closest to Harry, knew that the young man felt guilty for each of Voldemort’s victims.
“I will consult the Headmaster about this, Harry. Don’t worry.” Remus paused for a moment and then said, “Maybe we should intensify your training, Harry. Severus could punish you with detentions and instead of mindless tasks we could both train you. Killing two flies in one go.”
Harry nodded, though he didn’t look particularly happy about training sessions with Snape. “Goodnight, Remus.”
“Severus?” Remus was back behind the bathroom door. “Severus, come out or I will come in,” he said firmly.
Severus was thinking feverishly, trying to decide what he should do. It was highly embarrassing to be seen in this state. On the other hand he wanted to go out and retrieve a pain killing potion from his study, even though he knew it would hardly have any effect against this kind and level of pain. And of course there was very little hope that Remus would let himself be persuaded to go back to their bed and leave Severus alone.
“Severus! Pet! That’s an order.” Remus was evidently unsatisfied with the procrastination.
’Pet.’ Severus felt as if he was breaking. He felt salt in his eyes and shook his head angrily and immediately groaned in pain. He was Remus’ pet and he had been promised by his Keeper that he would be taken care of. Severus unlocked the door and stepped out of the bathroom.
“Keeper,” he whispered with his head hung.
Remus raised his hand and touched Severus’ chin. The naked man hissed in pain. Remus withdrew his hand quickly. “Burning?” he asked.
“Yes.” Severus’ answer was hardly audible.
Remus wasn’t stupid. “With the length of the curse the burning intensifies?”
Again the whispered ’yes’.
“Should I bring something from your study?” Remus asked, evidently feeling helpless. Severus named the pain-killer and Remus frowned. “It will hardly help you, if I don’t miss my guess.” He raised an eyebrow and watched the Potions Master intently.
“No,” Severus said dejectedly. ’Nothing will help me.’
“Poppy?” his keeper tried.
Severus shook his head and regretted it immediately.
“Stay here,” Remus ordered, “I will call a pain specialist.” With this he left swiftly before Severus managed to object.
’What? Another person should see my humiliation?’ Severus was horrified and retreated back into the bathroom as quickly as the pain allowed. He supposed he was acting ridiculously but he knew he couldn’t let anyone else see his mortification. There was no cure for after-effects of the Cruciatus Curse anyway, so there was no point to call anyone. ‘If only Remus listened. Impetuous Gryffindor!’ Severus was whimpering softly and hated himself for that display of weakness.
In less than five minutes Severus could hear voices approaching. “... prolonged Cruciatus.”
“How long did it last?” a woman’s voice asked. ‘A woman!’
“I don’t know, actually,” Remus admitted. “The curse was repeated, too,” he added. “So, here is the patient.”
“Severus?” After a short, surprised silence Remus voice came from behind the door, “Severus come out!”
There was some kind of murmuring but even the werewolf could make out only a few words, “nothing... woman... naked... stop... some point.”
“Athena is a healer, Severus. She will help you.”
“Won’t.” The short word sounded a bit louder from the bathroom.
“Severus, don’t argue. Come out this very instant!” It was clearly an order now.
Before the pained man could decide what to do, the healer spoke. “Remus, there are rules. I can’t treat a patient without his permission.”
“You will have his permission, Athena.” Remus said firmly.
“Fine. But he will have to confirm personally.” Athena said equally firmly and added, “Where I can unpack my stuff?”
“This door leads to Severus’ study,” Severus heard Remus reply and he seethed ’He would allow a complete stranger into my study!’ He hesitated for just a few seconds and then burst out of the bathroom.
“You— How dare you! Get her out of there immediately! Away from my workroom!” He croaked angrily through his damaged throat. A part of Severus’ brain, the part that wasn’t fogged by the unbearable pain and anger, was appalled by his words and tone. It wasn’t the proper tone to use with his Keeper. Would Remus get angry?
Remus only smirked, however. “I knew it would coerce you out of there.” He said with an air of satisfaction. Remus knew all too well how possessive and private Severus was when it concerned his workroom.
Then Remus turned serious. “Don’t be cross with her, Severus.” The words were said calmly, but were unmistakably a warning. “I promised you that I would take care of you and I am doing so. It is not only my duty, it is my right. Don’t try to stop me.”
All anger vanished at once when Severus heard Remus’ words and felt the power of the werewolf. He was too tired and too hurt to fight. He was panting after his outburst and the pain had intensified. His shoulders slumped. “Please,” he whispered, head bowed. ’Please, let me at least keep my dignity.’
The werewolf evidently wasn’t happy to see his lover so defeated. “Severus,” his tone was gentle now, “Athena specialises in dark magic injuries and long term damage caused by the dark arts. If she won’t be able to help you, I promise I won’t make you to try anything else.”
The hurt man still didn’t seem to be convinced and Remus added softly, “Let me do the best I can for you, Love. Please.”
’The man definitely has a Slytherin side.’ Severus thought and he knew he was defeated. Before he could express his grudging agreement verbally, the Potion Master’s sensitive nose caught the smell of a potion. ’She is...!’
Severus was so outraged that he forgot about the burning pain. All thoughts about dignity forgotten, Severus quickly started towards his study. ’She would dare to brew in my study?’
He stepped in like a wrathful god and gave the middle-aged woman inside a death-glare, “How dare you, you-“
“Severus!” Remus’ unusually sharp voice cut him off.
“You!” Severus’ survival instincts quickly re-evaluated and he spat, “Healer!”
“Athena,” the healer said quite dispassionately. “Sorry, I didn’t want to waste time.”
The adrenaline leaving his body, Severus realised the pain had increased again. ‘Gods.’ He closed his eyes and wondered, not for the first time, whether his life was worth all of this suffering.
“Severus!” Remus’ panicky voice sounded as if from a thick fog and then the shots of pain brought Severus around. He choked on a scream.
“Lay him here, Remus,” he heard the healer instruct and realised that the pain sprang from Remus’ grip on his upper arms. ’I must have passed out and Remus caught me.’
Surprisingly his back and the back part of his legs didn’t hurt much more when Remus lay him down. “It’s a special spell, creating an air bed,” Athena informed him. “Usually it is utilised for burn patients.”
She went to stir the contents of her cauldron, put out the fire beneath it and nodded contentedly.
“Have you ever been treated with Mucilla Virdie?” she asked Severus.
The Potion Master tried to concentrate through the veil of pain. He couldn’t remember hearing the name before. “Describe,” he rasped.
“A brew. Green colour. Gel-like consistency. External use. The only known relief for after Cruciatus effects.” Severus was grateful that the healer talked to him factually and didn’t treat him as one would a child or an idiot, which was one of the most annoying habits of the healers he had met. He forced himself to concentrate.
“No,” he grudgingly admitted, “never heard.”
“Mucilla Virdie is a very uncommon brew. As I said it’s the only potion known to ease post Cruciatus burning. However, only about one third of the patients tolerate it, the rest has a negative reaction. Soon we will see if you are one of the lucky ones.” Athene waved her wand and performed a cooling spell. She levitated the cauldron near to Severus’ airbed.
“Please, extend one of your arms sideways; I will apply the brew on it.”
Severus moved his right hand obediently. The healer waved her wand in a simple wave and a part of green gel flew from the cauldron and after another, more complicated, wave it spread on the whole of Severus’ forearm.
“Now we will wait for three minutes for any negative reaction. Please inform me if you experience any unpleasant feelings.”
Severus closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on the forearm. It wasn’t easy to separate the feeling in the part of his arm from the burning pain of his whole body that had been flooding his brain.
After a minute he was sure. He wasn’t imagining it. “The burning in the forearm has ceased.”
Athena scanned the treated part with her wand and nodded contentedly. “We will wait another minute and if there is still no adverse reaction, I will apply Mucilla Virdie on every extremity. Afterwards, while waiting for another three minutes, I will tell you something about the brew.”
Fortunately, there was no negative reaction and the healer applied the gel on Severus’ limbs and later she told him to stand up and covered his torso, neck, and face with it as well. During the procedure she explained that the brew, which was nearly unknown, was unusually quick to prepare; it took only a few minutes, but it also had a very changeable character, which made it impossible to store. She promised to leave Severus the recipe.
Finally, the pain was gone. Severus was standing in the middle of his workroom and for the first time in two hours he could take a breath without agonising pain. He looked around. His eyes flicked to Athena, who was holding the nearly empty cauldron. For the first time he noticed Remus, who had been standing quietly in the corner of the study.
Severus lowered his eyes and said, “I am sorry that I shouted at you.” It wasn’t clear whom he was talking to. Athena nodded. Remus answered him that they would be talking about it later.
“I will spell the room warmer and you will sleep on the airbed under my supervision,” Athena said.
Severus glanced at Remus quickly. He would prefer to spend the night with his Keeper, but after offending him, Severus doubted he had the right to a plea. Severus nodded sadly and gingerly lowed himself onto the airbed.
“Good night then,” Remus said. “Athena, thank you again for coming.”
“Good night,” Athena said.
“Good night,” whispered Severus, eyes cast down.
Severus was lying motionless, his eyes closed and breathing evenly. He pretended to be asleep, but sleep eluded him. Severus felt physically comfortable. He didn’t feel any pain, even the every-present tingling of the Dark mark was suppressed by the Mucilla Virdie brew, however, Severus couldn’t calm the thoughts that were swirling through his head. Through his lashes, Severus could see the healer reading a book in the dimmed light of his workroom, so he didn’t allow the anxiety he felt appear on his face.
What would happen tomorrow? Would Remus leave him? Will he punish Severus for his rudeness, or would he not even waste his time with a punishment and kick Severus straight out of his pack? Severus swallowed heavily.
And if Remus would be forgiving this time, how would Severus be able to remain friendly enough towards Potter so as not to irritate his keeper while at the same time acting with enough malevolence so as not to outrage his Dark Master? How long would Remus be tolerant towards Severus’ disobedience? How would Remus punish him? ‘Lucius always-’ Severus shuddered. He forced his thoughts not to follow in this direction. He took deep intakes of breath to calm himself. Athena, the healer, must have noticed some of his distress, because she came to the airbed to check on him. Severus feigned sleep until she left again.
What would be the punishment? Severus was nearly sure that Remus wouldn’t use anything overly painful. Remus’ hand was, figuratively, firm but not hard. He had been giving his pet clear orders and— Severus realised he didn’t know how would Remus enforce his will, because so far Severus had always obeyed him. Nonetheless, the Potions master was well aware of the fact that Remus’ orders had never had a malicious or even a sadistic undercurrent, unlike Lucius’. Severus supposed Remus’ chastisement would be similar, it might not even be physical. This could seemingly be assuring, but Severus was distressed by the fact that he couldn’t figure what the punishment might be and that he hadn’t even the slightest idea. ‘What if he would get rid of me?’ He swallowed heavily. Suddenly he wished Remus would whip him or did something else of the kind, as Lucius would have done. Severus knew he could bear pain. What he wasn’t sure about was if he could bear losing his Master.
Severus was sorry he didn’t believe in Gods, otherwise he would pray fervently. He had so much to lose! To lose his Keeper. To lose his calm evenings with his Keeper. Severus sometimes had the feeling that he survived days full of teaching horrible imbeciles only thanks to the knowledge he would spend a few peaceful hours with his Him. Sometimes they shared dinner, but usually they had to show up in the Great Hall and they met afterwards. They drank tea and talked about books, or tried to form plans on fighting the Dark Lord, sometimes they played chess and Remus never got angry with Severus when his pet won a game. Often they were marking essays and Remus commented with amusement on Severus’ consumption of red ink. Whatever they were doing, they usually ended in bed together later, sometimes cuddled together, sometimes with Severus on his back, Remus pounding in him with gentle but firm strong thrusts... Severus shook his head. He couldn’t lose this, he couldn’t.
‘If only Remus would keep me.’
Severus woke up with a start. A small window allowed the sunlight to fill the study. The room was empty. Severus wound a bed sheet around his skinny body and went to look for Remus. He didn’t know what he would tell his Keeper, actually, more than anything else he feared Remus would no longer be in the dungeons. And his fears came true. All the rooms were empty. Severus sadly paddled to the bedroom and lay down on Remus’ half of bed, under the covers and sniffed at Remus’ scent on his pillow. Severus felt tired and empty and he longed to fall asleep and never wake up again. ’I knew it was too nice to last.’
Severus lay curled beneath the covers for a very long time and finally he reached a state of peace of mind again. He was a survivor. He was always alone. He always had the strength to go on on his own. The bonus added were the five wonderful weeks to remember. And maybe once, when the war ended, if Severus would survive, maybe then Remus would take him back.
With that Severus fell into a deep sleep and didn’t wake up even when Remus tiptoed in the bedroom during the lunch break.
The werewolf was watching his sleeping lover with soft expression on his face. He knew the war had been asking a lot from the spy’s strength, the Potions Master, his pet. Severus’ chest was rising in slow steady rhythm and Remus admired the peacefulness of the scene. He wished he could have sunk in the peaceful moment and pretend the war didn’t exist at all.
However, Remus’ mind was far from relaxed. Remus lived in permanent fear. He feared Voldemort would learn the truth about Severus eventually. Either their secret relationship would be found out by Death-Eater’s children, or one day Severus would be too tired and his Occlumency shield would slip, or... Remus could only guess how near to the edge Severus had been the last night. Remus shook his head and forced himself to abandon this line of thought. It did no good to go over and over things Remus couldn’t change.
They took every precaution they could have. They visited each other through floo only, hardly ever talking when in public. Remus insisted on revealing the relationship to Harry, but this memory was spelled deep in Harry’s brain, so it couldn’t be revealed. Remus couldn’t help but congratulate himself inwardly. Thanks to his insistence that Harry had to know about their relationship Harry came last night and woke Remus up. Otherwise, no doubt Severus would have suffered silently throughout the night. Remus sighed. He wished he could persuade Severus that he would take care of him at whatever hour. The man was always prepared for the worst and every Remus’ kindness surprised him and Severus accepted it with painful gratefulness. Remus sighed again. The world had wronged Severus badly.
Remus was doing everything he could to ease Severus’ burdens, however, he admitted sadly to himself, there wasn’t much he could do. He couldn’t help Severus with marking essays, or supervise students in corridors or at detentions. All he could do was to take care of Severus gently. To give him orders and doing so to liberate him from making decisions for a while. To order Severus to finish his work on his potion experiments and have a rest. To make Severus feel he belonged somewhere, to someone. To persuade him that he was loved. To convince Severus of his being worthy of love, kindness, gifts. To show Severus how much pleasure their lovemaking could bring.
Remus smiled softly when he remembered the “ribbon event”, which had happened only a week ago. It was one month since they had started their relationship and Remus decided a small gift was appropriate. After thinking about what would be a fitting gift for a long time he decided for rich bitter chocolate, the kind that had always reminded him of the Potions Master. At Honeydukes Remus had had a sudden flash of inspiration when he had seen a red-green-silver ribbon and he had asked the seller to make the ribbon decorating the gift extra long. And later everything had happened exactly as in the flash of inspiration.
“A gift?” Severus stared at his desk where a rather small packet lay, an excessive amount of fancy ribbon wound around it. “For me?” And then he had added hesitantly, “Why?”
“Gifts don’t need a reason,” Remus embraced his lover from behind. He nuzzled Severus’ ear and whispered, “And a Keeper doesn’t have to justify his rewards when he is satisfied with his pet.”
Severus lowered his head and whispered, “Thank you, Keeper.”
Remus felt a bit uncomfortable at the evident gratefulness and tried to lighten the mood. “Don’t destroy the ribbon, we will need it,” he said playfully.
Severus gave him a surprised glance and before opening the gift he kissed Remus’ palm.
Severus took away the ribbon carefully and again quickly glanced at Remus. The werewolf smiled at him. “Put it on the table.”
“Thank you, Keeper,” Severus repeated when he unwrapped the chocolate. “Dark chocolate is the only kind I like.”
“You are most welcome, Severus.”
When Remus saw that Severus had no intention to eat the chocolate, he asked, “Severus, do you trust me?”
Severus visibly tensed. He lowered his head and then he raised it again after few moments. He looked into the werewolf’s eyes and answered, “Yes, Keeper.”
Remus was sure there was a hint of fear in Severus’ face, voice and posture. He wondered why. Surely Severus couldn’t think that Remus would hurt him? Especially after giving him a present? But this was Severus. Severus who had had an affair with the cruel Lucius Malfoy. Remus started to wonder if the ribbon idea was a good one after all. But then he decided to play along. At least he would learn if Severus really trusted him or not.
“Come to bedroom then, pet,” Remus ordered gently and Severus obeyed immediately, without hesitation. Remus took the ribbon and followed him.
“Strip your clothes and lie on the bed on your back.” Remus observed lustfully as Severus obediently stripped one layer of cloth after another.
“Good,” Remus licked his lips, “your hands above your head now.”
The Keeper moved to the bed as Severus obeyed his command and he kissed his pet possessively. “Now I will tie your hands to the headboard of the bed. It will be loose enough to free yourself,” he hurried to calm Severus when he heard the prone man’s breathing accelerate, “but you won’t release yourself. Is it clear?”
“Yes, Keeper,” Remus noticed Severus was calmer again and he kissed him in reward. Then he tied Severus’ wrists to the headboard and the rest of the ribbon wound about Severus’ lean but muscular arms and once around Severus’ chest, as well. Remus admired the sight. The ribbon decorated the naked body deliciously and it was all Remus could do not to start salivating.
“Beautiful,” he whispered. “My beautiful pet. What can we do make you moan?”
Severus was flushed and he moaned with anticipation, “Keeper,” he whispered.
And it was the last coherent word he said for the next hour. Remus’ clever hands and mouth reduced him to moaning in ecstasy and mumbling pleas. Remus worshiped his pet’s body; starting with the pale throat, playing with the pink nipples, nuzzling the plain stomach and finally lowered his hands and lips to Severus’ crotch.
“Look at yourself,” Remus’ husky voice rasped and spelled the ceiling to resemble a mirror. He watched Severus’ black eyes, how they widened as the dark-haired man looked at himself.
“Look carefully,” Remus said and he dipped his fingers in the jar of a lubricant and then he slowly inserted his forefinger into Severus’ anus. Both men moaned. Remus proceeded with another finger and soon he added a third.
“Are you ready, pet?” he asked Severus, whose eyes never left the mirror.
“Yes, Keeper.” Severus gasped.
Remus covered his penis with the lubricant making sure that Severus had a good view of it in the mirror. And then he slowly sank into the tight heat of his lover’s body. He moved slowly, keeping his upper body angled upward, so that Severus could watch Remus’ dark cock slipping in and out. Soon the passion overwhelmed him, and he pushed into Severus’ body faster and faster, deeper and harder. Severus met his every trust and suddenly he climaxed without any touch to his penis. His orgasm pulled Remus over the edge as well and he collapsed onto Severus, panting.
Remus felt himself growing hard at the memory. Maybe they should repeat it some day; the ribbon was in a drawer, Remus had seen Severus place it there. He had understood back then that Severus loved to be at his Keeper’s mercy, but he had to know that he wouldn’t be maltreated.
With a last glance at his lover, Remus left as silently as he had come.
Severus woke up in mid-afternoon and realised that he was incredibly thirsty. He dressed quickly and went to prepare himself a big teapot of Earl Grey. He still felt tired, maybe a bit stiff, and a bit light-headed as well, but otherwise he felt fine. He put a cup on the table and found a note there:
“Stay in your rooms.”
Severus sat down. He had never been happier to receive an order. ‘He still gives me orders.’ Hope started to rise in him again, though he tried to suppress it strictly. Finally, Severus decided that repeated re-reading of the brief note wasn’t productive enough, and summoned some cheese sandwiches. After finishing them he levitated the teapot and his cup, charming them to follow him, and went into his study to mark some essays.
“Severus?” Remus’ voice sounded through dungeons and Severus started. He hadn’t realised it was that late. A quick glance at the clock on the wall showed him it was past six in the evening. Severus felt his heart beating madly in his throat. He swallowed. He was about to learn what his future would be like – alone or taken care of?
Severus got up and went to the living room. He looked at Remus tentatively. Remus didn’t seem to be angry.
‘But he never seems angry.’ Severus never managed to see behind the polite mask.
“Severus,” Remus said and approached him.
“Keeper,” Severus whispered and bowed his head in a gesture of submission. ‘Please, don’t reject me.’
“Pet,” Remus answered and his hand lifted Severus’ chin up. “Are you still hurting? How do you feel?”
“No, Keeper. I feel al right,” Severus said softly. He knew he should apologise for his previous behaviour, but before he found the proper words, Remus had kissed him gently.
Severus melted into the kiss. His head was light and when Remus pulled away, Severus sank on his knees and hugged his Keeper’s legs. He felt as if the whole world was spinning around quickly and Remus’ legs were the only solid thing he could hold on to.
“Severus!” Remus’ voice was full of worries, “You said you were fine.” And with that Remus lifted the other man and carried him to bedroom.
Severus was placed on the bed and he whispered, “I am sorry.”
“Hush,” Remus silenced him, “rest a bit and then we will have a dinner and we will talk afterwards.” Remus waved his hand and dimmed the light. Then he headed towards the door.
In the doorway Remus turned to look back and found his pet looking at him intently. ‘Don’t leave, please.’ Severus begged inwardly.
“Severus?” he went back to the bed, “Is something wrong?” He sat on the bed and passed his hand through the dark hair of his charge.
“So?” he prompted.
Severus snuggled against Remus and pleaded, “Would you— Please, would you stay with me, Keeper?”
Remus gave him a small smile and took off his shoes. Severus shifted to make a space for the werewolf. Remus lay down and his strong arm pulled Severus closer.
“Albus decided you should stay in the dungeons tomorrow, so that nobody learns we have a treatment for the after effects of Cruciatus now. It will give you a bit of time to rest. You need it dearly.”
Severus was glad Remus couldn’t see his blushing face. He felt ashamed that he had never heard about Mucilla Virdie before. He had always been proud about the depth of his knowledge. As rare as the brew could be, he still felt embarrassed about not knowing it.
“It’s Friday tomorrow, so if you stay in your rooms the whole of Saturday as well, it will look convincing to all the little spies. Albus and I filled in during your Potions classes today. Draco Malfoy asked after you.” Remus paused and then said, “I am sorry I insisted that you be friendlier to Harry in public. I already explained to Harry that you will have to treat him as you used to when you are not alone.”
Severus felt a wave of gratefulness wash over him. He wouldn’t have to try to find a fine balance between Remus’ requirements and the Dark Lord’s. “Thank you, Keeper.” Remus raised his hand and caressed his pet’s cheek. Severus turned his head and kissed the palm.
Remus continued, “Harry will talk back to you. You will give him detentions which we will use to hasten his training.”
“Severus,” his Keeper said reprovingly.
Severus stiffened. He did it again. How could he be so careless again? He swallowed and waited for the rest of the reprimand.
“We should have a dinner,” Remus said instead and got up. Severus followed him in the living room uncertainly and ordered them some food. Usually, the one in whose quarters they were taking the meal would order their meals. It wasn’t probable that any student would be curious enough to try to find who ordered food, but for Severus there was never enough precaution. Severus ordered Remus’ favourite meals, T-bone steaks with potatoes and Italian salad with green olives.
They were eating silently and while usually Severus found their silence comforting, tonight it made him anxious. Remus hadn’t said he was displeased with Severus, he even hadn’t reprimanded him, but Severus was sure it had to come in the next minute. Or after the meal. Or...
Severus decided he needed to turn his thoughts, and hopefully also Remus’ thoughts, into another direction. “I didn’t know Potter was able to see in his dreams what the Dark Lord was doing,” he said.
Remus looked up, surprised, and said, “Arthur was saved last year thanks to Harry’s vision. Actually Harry told me that he was hidden inside the snake in the dream. He also told me he dreamed about the corridor in the Ministry of Magic repeatedly.”
Severus realised he had seen it during an Occlumency lesson in Potter’s head.
“Can he see what the Dark Lord is doing every night? Was he able to give us other useful pieces of information?”
“Not as far as I know. But Albus doesn’t share all of his information.” Remus thought for a moment. “I wish Harry could sleep better. He is not improving as fast as he should in his studies concerning the Dark Arts and the lack of decent rest is not helping.”
Severus bit back a remark about what he would ascribe the blame for Potter’s lack of progress to.
“That’s why,” Remus continued, “I think it necessary to help him further with more extra lessons. And with moral support.” He added mildly making it sound like an afterthought.
Though Remus’ voice was very calm, Severus could recognise a command when he heard one. He bowed his head in a gesture of obedience. ’Moral support for Potter.’ he thought resignedly, ’Well, I have been ordered to do worse things. And of course, I can always balance the score during Potions lessons.’
After the dinner they were marking essays for one or two hours, but Remus quite soon ordered Severus to bed, and he did so in the husky voice that made the hair on the back of Severus’ neck rise.
After they took care of their evening ablutions, Remus climbed into the bed next to Severus, leaned over his pet to give him a light kiss on his lips and asked, “Are you well enough for lovemaking, pet?”
Severus felt his Remus’ hard penis pressed to his hip. He hesitated for a second. He didn’t feel as good as to be mad with passion like he usually was when his Keeper initiated a sexual contact, in the other hand he craved reassurance of their relationship by his Keeper’s claiming him again.
Suddenly he realised his folly. His Master asked him if he was well enough, not whether or not he wanted it. Severus was lucky to be even asked. He felt a sudden wave of gratefulness.
“Yes, Keeper,” Severus nodded.
Remus noticed the hesitation, though. “Severus, are you in pain?” He looked seriously on the man lying half under him, trying to figure him out.
“No, Keeper,” Severus said softly.
At that affirmation Remus proceeded with kissing Severus’ neck, licking and biting it lightly.
Remus made their lovemaking slow and gentle, exactly as he had done when he had taken Severus the first time. Afterwards, they were lying in embrace and Severus wished he could stay awake throughout the night and enjoy the feeling of the highest contentment.
Saturday and Sunday flowed by peacefully, Severus was alternatively brewing, marking essays and having good times of all kinds when Remus flooed to his dungeons. Monday classes came too early, in the eyes of the Potions Master.
Severus entered the classroom in his usual intimidating manner. The loud bang of the doors echoed through dungeons and even the Slytherins knew they should be extra careful during this double lesson. The Potions Master didn’t pay the sixth years any attention. He pulled out his wand and after a simple swish the name of a potion appeared on the blackboard: Artelis Vadalis.
“No books, no notes, no talking,” Snape spat. “Any cheating will be punished by the loss of 20 points and you will not be allowed to finish your task, which of course means,” he smiled malevolently, “zero points added to your annual evaluation.”
Harry stared helplessly the board, he had absolutely no clue what the potion was, not to mention being able to remember ingredients or the procedure. Finally he shrugged and decided on simply sitting down, doing nothing. There was no point wasting ingredients.
“Mr. Finigan and Mr. Longbottom, 20 points off,” Harry heard. “Each!”
Harry didn’t bother to turn around; he could hear the resigned sighs of his classmates.
“Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger, 20 points off and you don’t have to bother finishing your potions.”
“She wasn’t cheating, sir,” Ron said. “It was me who was looking what she was doing.”
“She wasn’t cheating and she wasn’t talking, nor consulting books or notes!” Ron said angrily, because he, as well as Harry, could see that Hermione was on the verge of tears.
“Twenty points from Gryffindor House for your cheek, and a double detention with Mr. Filch tonight and tomorrow.” Severus just loved to be unfair with Gryffindors and he had to fight to prevent his smirk from appearing in his voice when he added, “And Mr. Potter will serve detention with me. Tonight, seven o’clock.”
Harry sighed inwardly. He knew he had to talk back now. Funnily enough, now that he had to, he didn’t feel any desire to do it. “I did nothing!” he stood and turned around to face Snape. “I didn’t do a fucking thing. Why should I get a detention!”
“So,” the Potions Master smirked, “it will be one more detention for talking without being asked, one for doing nothing and procrastinating in my class, one for the inappropriate tone of your voice, one detention for your choice of words, and three more for not being able to learn how to address your professors properly.”
Harry started to open his mouth to retort but his teacher cut him off, “One single word,” he said very softly, “one word and you have detentions with Mr. Filch every evening until the end of the school year.”
Harry Potter came to the Potion class one minute before seven. Severus looked at him, trying to assess whether the boy was angry, and noticed with relief Potter was looking resigned rather than angry. Severus knew he was lucky Potter was a Gryffindor and not a Slytherin. A Slytherin would make sure his rival was kicked out of the pack in a few days. A word here, turning situations and wording slightly there... Potter didn’t seem to make any steps this way, but Severus knew the boy was not the pure innocence others believed him to be. Severus knew he had to treat Potter with caution.
“As you might have been told, your training will intensify. Tonight we will start with duelling and then will try some Occlumency practise.” Severus said calmly and observed the boy carefully. Potter didn’t look happy but he nodded.
“Very well,” the Potion Master said and proceeded with their lesson by explaining how to weaken or break several protective spells, which he knew Remus had taught Potter during the previous weekend.
That was the easier part of the lesson. Severus had to admit grudgingly that the Potter imp was quite gifted when it came to duelling. During testing Potter’s Occlumency Severus was careful to stay calm and not treat Potter harshly. The boy might not make it a habit to run to tell on Severus to his Keeper, but there was no doubt Potter wouldn’t keep his mouth shut had Remus asked him about their lessons. Severus had decided not to make the same mistake twice. He could keep his calm with the boy.
“Not as bad as it used to be,” Severus told Potter after they finished trying his mental shields. He had to admit to himself that during three weeks Remus had been tutoring the boy, he had managed to help Potter grasp the basics of Occlumency. Severus had been training the boy for the last two weeks and some progress was starting to show. Severus hoped that the brat could understand that this was the nearest to a compliment he would get from Severus.
Potter evidently could understand it, because he dared to look smug. Severus scowled inwardly. “That will be all for tonight. Come back tomorrow at the same time.”
“Er, sir, could I come the day after tomorrow. Please? I’ve got Quidditch practise.” The boy asked with unusual tentativeness.
Severus gritted his teeth and was fuming inwardly. He reigned in his anger though and replied in a calm tone, “Very well, Mr. Potter. I believe you will be intelligent enough not to talk about managing to postpone your detention with your friends.”
“Of course not. Thank you, sir.” Harry answered, his relief evident. Severus suddenly regretted that he couldn’t even remember the times when Quidditch was the most important thing in the world for him.
Severus put on Potter the same safety spell as he and Remus always did. The spell locked the memories and knowledge of certain things in back of the mind, so that they couldn’t be found with Legilimency.
The Potion master retired to his private chambers and wished Remus had been there. No such luck. Severus saddened a bit, but he wasn’t consumed with dark worries as he had been three days before. During the weekend he had received every reassurance he could have hoped for. Severus’ thin lips curved in soft smile when he recalled every detail of Remus’ gentle worshipping of his body, his soft voice and gentle words.
Remus came through floo in the moment Severus headed to bed. Severus couldn’t suppress his happy smile. Remus embraced him and kissed him affectionately. Together they went to the bedroom and Severus was so content he could curl safely in the bed with Remus by his side.
Severus realised, one bleak winter evening in January, that he had been feeling content and happy. This deep feeling of satisfaction with his life was unusual for him and there were only few periods in his life when he had been truly happy. As a child, with his mother, when his abusive father had left them for a few months. Severus could remember well how disappointed he had been when father had returned. With Lucius, before he had started to mistreat Severus. And now… now he had Remus.
Severus was sitting on a couch in his living room, sipping tea and eating the delicious dark chocolate his Keeper had given him.
Severus’ life had settled into a comfortable routine during the last three and a half months; he was waking up in his Keepers’ arms and falling asleep with his warm presence. Remus took care of him and treated him with gentle words and touches and he even gave Severus presents. The relationship provided him with a sense of satisfaction that helped Severus to endure the less pleasant matters in his life.
Even teaching Potter hadn’t seemed to be so horrible lately, somehow. The boy was behaving almost polite and respectful towards Severus. Severus had to admit to himself that, had he treated the boy better during the past years, the brat might not have behaved so arrogantly towards him. Now when Potter knew why Severus had to be harsh to him...
Severus and Potter still had rows every now and then, but Severus realised that Potter wouldn’t complain to Remus; their disputes were only between them. Severus also knew now, that his Keeper wouldn’t abandon him just because of a quarrel or two with Potter. Severus was a member of the pack, wholly and for good. The realisation came to Severus gradually and it still filled him with warmth. He belonged. Forever.
Severus’ thoughts went back to Potter. He still felt quite perplexed by the fact that the boy had given him a Christmas present. He still didn’t like Potter, though. However, Severus had started to believe that after a few years of the extensive training Potter could really become an equal opponent to the Dark Lord. ‘A few years... ‘ Severus wondered how many Death-Eaters would survive a few years and how many of the Order members.
“Deep in thought, pet?” Remus asked amusedly, stepping out of the fireplace.
Severus started to stand up to greet his Keeper, but Remus motioned for him to stay on the couch. Remus sat beside the Potion Master and kissed him. “Is there some tea left for me?”
Severus poured his Keeper a cup and offered him the last piece of the chocolate. Remus gave him a smile and took the chocolate.
“I got a letter from The Salazar Labs,” Severus said, almost tentatively. “The painkiller testing is nearly over and so far everything went flawlessly.”
Remus, who of course knew that Severus was talking about his invention, a painkiller that wouldn’t interfere with the Wolfsbane potion, smiled widely. “That is what I call great news!” he said delightedly. “I cannot wait for it to be available to werewolves.”