PAIRING: SS/James Potter


WEBSITE: http://home.earthlink.net/~thehivemind/RL/

FEEDBACK: Willowlywisp@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Disclaimers carry absolutely no legal weight. It's true. It makes not a whit of difference. Fanfic disclaimers in particular have been mentioned in the Digital Copyright Protection Act of 2000. It sucks. That being said, I don't think it's necessary to tell you that I own nothing in this story other than the plot.

SUMMARY: Sometimes compassion isn't enough.


Authors note: Part of the Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest Easy pairing: Snape/James. This is my first fic, and, although most writers' request feedback, I'd be really, really interested to know what people think. Criticism is particularly welcome, although I'd love anything! Thanks to my Beta readers, and extra special thanks to Sushi, who did an absolutely fabulous job with this. It wouldn't be what it is without you.

ARCHIVING: Rodentia Litterarius. The Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest Archive and archives and anybody else who wants it.

"You're not going to go, are you?"

Silence. I could feel his eyes on me.

I sighed, resting my head on the cool stone of my bedroom wall. "Potter, please." My voice broke; I was so tired.

"You know that it's not that easy, Snape. I'm here now. I can't just go." His voice sounded sad, resigned. "I can't let you sleep, either. Not like this. It's been too long."

"You're not even real," I snapped. "You're dead, James Potter! Do you hear me? Dead! Leave me be! I have to be awake in less than six hours to try in vain to teach yet more idiot children a craft they care nothing for, then watch them all toddle off to die in a war I helped start. Don't speak to me about it being too damn long. You've been free for fifteen years. What do you know of too damn long?" I refused to lift my head to look at him. No, I thought, there is nothing to look at. Potter isn't real; he's just a shade, a specter from my tortured mind.

I was going mad.

Not five hours before, Albus assured me that I was fine, that the hex had no long-term effects as young Mister Malfoy clearly didn't cast it correctly. I should have let it hit Potter. Maybe he would learn to dodge. The little idiot was a walking target. At this rate he wouldn't be able to dodge a curse thrown by Longbottom, let alone a Death Eater. Yet Albus, in his infinite wisdom, maintained that young Mister Potter would be fine when the time came, that he would know what to do when the time came.

Die, that's what he'd do. Another small body on a killing field that I'd helped plant.

"Goddammit, man! Haunt another. Haunt your son, for Merlin's sake! God knows he'd be happy to see you. Perhaps you can have a nice father-to-son chat. Maybe you can give him some advice about brassing off the Dark Lord-- Oh, wait, you never learned that lesson yourself, did you?" My eyes remained fixed on the wall "You and your wife got yourselves killed despite your exalted bravery." I could hear the sneer in my voice. "Very nice. How very nice. And I particularly liked how you left your son to deal with the aftermath. Very brave, Gryffindor. Very brave indeed."

Silence. Maybe the apparition had gone? Perhaps I wasn't going mad after all. From the head of the bed I glanced around my room, straightening my limbs and cursing myself for curling up in cowardice. No Potter.

I released a breath I didn't know I was holding. I was alone. It was only a momentary blip of insanity, then. Overwork and lack of sleep, nothing more. I had been sitting in my bed, reading as I do every evening. I had sneezed too hard and blacked out for a moment. Yes. James Potter had not walked out of a shadowed corner of my room and offered me his handkerchief. A sneeze-induced coma made far more sense.

Sighing in relief, I let my head fall back against the wall. "Much more of that, Old boy, and you're off to St. Mungos."

"You talk to yourself often?"

"MERLIN'S BALLS!" I leapt from the bed in shock. Potter was huddled in front of the fireplace, back to me, visible now that my armchair wasn't blocking him from view. I could see the firelight glint off his glasses, obscuring his eyes as he gazed into the hearth. He spoke to the flames, rather than to me, and I wondered what secrets he hoped to find in them. They had never revealed any to me.

"I don't think I've been dead, Snape."

"I beg your pardon?" I tried to convince myself that I was not hyperventilating.

"I said-"

"I heard what you said. I'd like to know what led you to that conclusion, seeing as you've been gone for fifteen years, the fact that you seem to be a ghost, and, oh I don't know, I've been to your funeral." Obstinately, I walked over and perched in my armchair. Hell, if I'm going to go insane, I might as well go in comfort.

"I don't think I'm a ghost."

"Rubbish. Of course you're a ghost. I've established that I am not asleep, and I refuse to sit here and talk to a hallucination. So, if you insist on speaking to me, you must be a ghost." I palmed the glass paperweight from the table next to me. "Watch. This will go straight through you." I threw the chunk of glass with rather more force than needed for this little demonstration, but I'd always wanted to pitch something at his great big Gryffindor head. Too bad he's not really here, thought, t'd be nice to see that hit. It did make a nice noise when it smacked him soundly on the skull.


I stared in shock as the apparition rubbed his head and turned to glare at me.

"What the Hell was that for, Snape?"

I blinked at him. Hesitatingly, I prodded at him with an extended foot. Solid. It really was James Potter sitting on my hearthrug, rubbing the back of his head and glaring at me.

In a heartbeat I was filled with blinding rage. How dare he! How dare he fake his own death and leave the rest of us to clean up after him. I started to shake, trying to force words from my curled lips. Did he have any idea the sort of trouble he'd caused? The deaths, the torment the rest of us went through? And the bastard just left his son with those, those... people, and-

I stopped dead. If he was alive, then Lily...? The anger drained out of me, leaving my insides cold and tight. I wasn't used to this sort of mercurial emotional uproar, and it left me feeling decidedly ill.

"Potter," I said slowly, "where is your wife?"

His glare softened somewhat. "Snape, I'm not a ghost, but I'm not sure I'm real, either. I've never been married." He stood up and perused the mantel fingering the memorabilia. I winced as his fingers brushed the fragile edges of the dried mandrake head.

I rubbed the bridge of my nose. It didn't ease the fatigue gathering at the base of my skull. Fuck all of this. "So, what you're saying is that, A, you're not a ghost, B, you're not dead, and, C you're not the James Potter who somehow managed to get a beautiful girl-- who was way above your station, by the way, -- to marry you?"

He nodded, but said nothing.

"Then what are you? His twin, perhaps? A sick practical joker with a taste for Polyjuice Potion? Yes, that must be it." My voice dripped sarcasm. I arched a brow at him. "Who are you? Malfoy, perchance? Or Black, here to torment me before you finish your botched job? For god's sake, man, just kill me and be done with it! I'm tired of these word games, and I'm certainly too tired to deal with you." The mockery was too hard to maintain. I let my voice drop back to neutral. Potter never got sarcasm anyway; it was far too subtle for the likes of him.

"Kill you?" His turn to be confused. Well, his as well as mine, I suppose.

"Well, yes. Obviously you are here to kill me. It doesn't really matter what you are or who sent you. Just do it already, will you? I've got a splitting headache and I'd rather appreciate it if you'd relieve me of it." I let my head rest against the back of the chair and closed my eyes. I didn't even try to go for my wand. I would have to die in the most ignoble way possible, in my dressing gown and shorts. It didn't matter anymore. I simply didn't care. How appropriate it would be that Potter would do it, or rather, something that looked like Potter. He gave me my life all those years ago in that shack; how fitting that he should be the one to take it.

"Snape..." I heard his footsteps coming closer to me, and tried not to tense. This is it, I thought. These are the last moments of my miserable life. I should open my eyes. Oh, bugger that. Nobody will know that I died like a coward with my eyes shut, curled in my chair while my enemy advances. At least I hit him with a paperweight. I could feel his hands, ghosting above my face. I tilted my head back farther, exposing my throat. I'm so tired.

There was a sudden feather-light touch on my face. "What's happened to you, Snape? You're not how I remember. Where's the fire?" I felt his legs brush mine where I had curled them up under me.

"Please, less banter, more murder, if you will. I have no wish to stay in this world any longer, and the world would be a damn sight better without me, so get on with it!" My own vitriolic passion shocked me. I wasn't even aware I had that much fire left. "Do you need me to goad you into it, is that it? Fuck you. I don't have the energy. Kill me or leave. I don't care which."

"How about option number three?"

I frowned, confused. "Option number three?"

Before I knew what was happening, his lips caught mine. My eyes flew open. Shocked, I opened my mouth, only to be invaded by his slick-hot tongue. "Mgurgl!" Oh, very nice, old boy, I thought, that was damn near English! I hadn't been kissed in nearly eighteen years, even longer since another man had kissed me. Hell, I don't remember ever being kissed like this before. Potter was licking at my teeth, rubbing his lips over mine. One of his hands cupped my head, bringing me closer. The other dropped to the open front of my dressing gown.

The first unexpected touch of his hand on my chest jolted me out of my confused haze. I kicked him away and surged to my feet. "What the hell was that? I told you to kill me, not kiss me!" I stood there, chest heaving, dressing gown half off from the rapid movement. How dare he? Just like him, to assume that a bit of snogging from him would make it all better. Bloody Gryffindor.

Potter lay on the rug, laughing. "God, I've wanted to do that forever. Ever since Remus said your lips were brilliant..." he held his stomach and rocked.

"I remember that little comment, you pervert! The werewolf was baiting me, and you know it. Now get up so I can knock you down again."


"Pardon?" My hands were clenched so tight that the nails were cutting crescents into my palms

"I said, 'no'. What, you're hard of hearing as well as a prude? You want to hurt me, you come down here and do it, you sad prat."

"Hurt you? Hurt you? Oh, I'll do more than hurt you, you insufferable little- " I stopped, panting. I was cataloguing all the things I could do to him, even without magic. My mental list of 'things to do to annoying people' unfurled. What to do... what to do? I couldn't decide.

He kicked my feet out from under me, making my decision for me. I crashed to the floor stifling a groan as I found how little cushioning a rug gave to stone. I rolled to a crouch immediately, tensed and ready to spring. Potter smirked at me.

"Ooh, there's that fire! Are we done with the verbal sparing, then? You going to 'sink to the level of physical violence'? Always knew you were a hypocrite, Snape-- Ooof!"

My shoulder caught him in the solar plexus, knocking the wind out of him. A low growl left me as I looked down at him. James Potter, right where I'd always wanted him. The first punch landed square on his nose, knocking those ridiculous glasses of his askew. "When in Rome--" I growled, pulling my fist back for another punch.


I froze. Potter's voice had deepened, dropped into that range that I obeyed instantly. I blinked at him. When did Potter have that voice? Merlin knows I've used it enough, working at this school. Schoolteacher voice. The 'obey now because bad things will happen to you if you don't' voice. The Master voice. For all that I've used it in ten years, I still respond to that voice. Albus has used it on me twice; both times I stopped dead and didn't argue. I can't argue with the Voice. I was trained too well by people that know how to break a man and put him back together with hardwired reactions. And here was this ghost from my past halting me dead in mid-rage with one word.

He rolled forward, pressing me back against the floor. Still blinking at him, confusion and a fissure of arousal spiraling through my guts, I found myself prone with him crouching over me like some great wretched beast. He loosely wrapped a hand around my throat.

"We're done with that now, Snape." Merlin, that voice! I hardened against my shorts. I prayed to every deity that I had heard of that he wouldn't knotice. I'd rather expire on my bedroom floor rather than let James Potter know that he had me hot simply by pushing me down and talking to me. What is wrong with you, Severus? This is Potter, for Merlin's sake! You can't let him see you like this! Move, damn you! I tried to command myself, but his intense eyes and that equally intense voice owned me. I felt myself slipping back into a forgotten role.

His hand tightened briefly around my throat. "No more, hear me?"

I managed a nod.

"Good. Let's sit and talk like... civilized men." I was released, and he sprawled into the armchair, smirking. I restrained myself from shuffling over to sit at his feet. This is not who you are anymore, I told myself, you are done with this. You are your own man now. But some part of me was reveling in the return to the role. It was safe. Secure. I knew what was expected of me, and, if I failed, there were consequences. No soft-eyed pat on the head or disappointed sighs accompanied by 'I'm sure you tried your best'. I missed the clarity of the days before I became my own man, if not the situation. Sitting at someone's feet, letting him take responsibly, it was heartrendingly cut and dried. My shoulders ached from the weight of my gray world. And here was a blue-eyed enemy, somehow reprieved from death and suddenly in control. It was liberating to let go of my world for a moment.

He snapped his fingers, and I moved to his side without thinking. He looked down on me, benevolently. I silently wished he would stroke my hair, as one man had always done as I knelt there, and as I had always wished that the other had. A moment later I felt his hand cup the back of my head, guiding it to rest on his knee. I sighed, relaxing against him. But the warmth of his fingers startled me. Always the hands that touched me in such a way had been cold, bony digits scratching at my scalp. This was not the past, and I was not at the feet of my master. This was not right. I needed to move, to regain my equilibrium. To become authoritative Professor Snape again. This was unseemly, to kneel at the feet of a memory. I owed this man nothing.

But, no, I owed this man everything. Wizard's Debt, twice over. Once for pulling me away from the werewolf, and once for creating that boy that gave me a reprieve from a double life for fourteen years. His voice interrupted my musings.

"I thought of this, you know. After that night. Calling in my Debt in the old way, of taking you as my own. Of owning you." His hand tightened in my hair momentary, and I bit back a gasp. " But Sirius would never have understood. Remus, maybe, but not Sirius. He would have had you cleaning the water closets with a toothbrush." His fingers carded through my hair, picking out small tangles and smoothing the mass. I tried not to arch into his too warm touch.

It was entirely too comfortable. I wanted to stay there forever, curled against the legs of someone who understood. My eyes slid shut. Any second now he would properly see who was clinging to his legs: the disgusting Potions master, the revolting Death Eater. He would push me away, and I would again take up my burden of sin and continue on alone.

His hand stilled. I tensed, thinking that he had realized what I was. We were still, so still.

"Severus," he finally said, and my given name on his lips made me tremble, just a bit. "I want to try something. Don't stop me, all right?"

I nodded against his knee.

His other hand snaked down my chest, moving my dressing gown. My breath caught as his nimble fingers circled my nipple.

"Breathe now, Severus." And his fingers closed, tightly.

Sharp pain shot through me. I jerked against his hand, my breath stuttering out of me. He squeezed tighter, rolling his fingers slightly. My nipple throbbed, pain shooting down into my groin and up into my brain. I ached. I arched into his fingers. His other hand left my hair to lift my face to his, but with my eyes screwed so tightly shut I could not see his expression. His sharp, clever fingers pressed again, tighter, and I felt as if my nipple would burst between them. I moaned, shuddering.

It ceased. I gasped as the blood rushed into the abused nub. Panting, I flung my head up to look at him. He was smiling, a dark, hot smile, his eyes smoldering in the firelight.

"Severus, take off your clothes."

I was naked, bound to my bedroom wall by green silk scarves tied to the sconces, tight enough to hold me, but not so tight that I couldn't feel my fingers. My arms ached satisfyingly at being stretched wide, and the floor burned cold on my bare feet. At some point a bit of my spirit had come back, maybe when I stood and realized that I was taller than him or when he slipped his belt from it's loops and I thought, oh, a belt. Amateur twaddle. I've taken worse as a matter of course. I'll bet I don't even feel it. Hard on the end of that thought came another, of course, if he does make me feel it, I wonder if he'll make me bleed? I haven't bled in such a long time. I shivered, half in fear, half in anticipation. I wonder if I'll scar.

I felt his hands run down my back. "Are you sure, Severus? Once I start, I'm not going to stop until it's done."

"Fuck you, Potter, do it."

"Last chance. No safe word.... Be very sure this is what you want." He used that smoky, hot voice again. I refused to cower anymore.

"Yes, damn your eyes! Just do it!"

He stepped back. I shut my eyes, breathing hard, resting my head against my arm. The scarves around my wrists chafed. I leaned into it, pulling my arm against the binding. Sweet, soft pain arrowed down my arm. I was still hard. He trailed the leather across my shoulders, down my spine. It was cold, the finished surface slipping against my skin.

"How many?" Whiskey hot voice, burning through me.

"How many have you got?" My words scraped my throat. I was tense, the skin on my back shivering in patches, like the flank of a horse. His hands running over my shoulders felt too hot, or maybe my skin was too cold.

"Shhh. Shhh, Severus, relax. Relax. We're going to do this. It's going to happen. You need to let it go. Stop fighting me, it's useless now." Implacable. Calm. Damn you, Potter.

I needed to fight. I couldn't just stand here in my own room and let the phantom of an old enemy punish me, no matter how much I wanted it. I pulled against the ropes again. A great shuddering breath tore from my lungs as I heard him test the belt against his thigh. I felt a cold spurt of panic. It had been so long. I had forgotten how to do this. "No. Let me out of these, Potter. I've changed my mind."

No answer, only another swish-thwack of the belt against his leg, this one accompanied by a soft hiss. Merlin. I can't do this! "Potter! Let me out. NOW."

"You had your out, Severus. It's too late to back out now. Far too late." He stepped closer, the fabric of his trousers scratching against my arse. His breath broke in warm waves against my ear. "No safe word. No way out. No one to save you. This is what you deserve, what you wanted." My eyes slid shut as my body shuddered. Merlin. Yes. Do it. Make me... "Only you and me and all the time you need. This is going to hurt, Severus, but, then again, birth always does."

He stepped away. Cold air rushed in to replace his body heat, and I froze, ears straining for a sound, a clue to when the first blow would land. The wait seemed endless. My muscles knotted, then knotted again. My shudders had been refined into tiny tremors. My chest was so tight I could barely breathe.

Thwack! Merlin! I yelped as the belt caught me across the arse. White-hot sensation flashed though me. Burning, I pressed against the stone wall. I was vaguely surprised that my cock didn't knock a hole in the stones. "Count it out."

A Half-hysterical sob of laughter. "What? This isn't a public school whipping, Potter."

"Isn't it? You want this, it's on my terms. Count it out."

I ground my teeth and stared at the wall.

"Count it out, Severus." Another stripe to underscore his words.

"Shit! Damn you. Just do it! I don't need all these psychological accoutrements. Just fucking beat me!"

I heard the belt buckle ping as it hit the floor. His hands came up and begin to undo the bindings around my right wrist.

My heart pounded, and I broke out in a cold sweat. I craned my neck to look at him. "What are you doing? I-"

"You don't do what I say, and we stop. This isn't negotiable." Nimble hands slipped the scarf over my hand. He was going to stop, to leave me like this.

"No!" I grabbed the scarf from him, my eyes meeting his. "Please! I'll... I'll do it. I can't go on like this. Please..." I dropped my eyes, ashamed. "I need this. Don't stop. I... I'm sorry. I don't want to fight. I can't help it."

His fingers caught my chin and forced my head up so that he could stare at me again. It felt like he was gazing right into my mind, past all the barriers and masks. Inwardly, I cringed, but forced myself not to look away. It went on for a small lifetime. A slight nod, and quickly he was binding my wrist again.

"You will do what I tell you to do. You will say what I tell you to say. You will hide nothing from me, hear me? This is not some kinky sex scene. This is you submitting to your punishment. For everything. No conniving your way out of it. Now. After every blow, you shall thank me and ask me for another."

I smothered a totally inappropriate snigger.

"You find this funny? How about this?" And he brought the belt down across my lower back, hard enough to welt but without bruising my kidneys - I hoped.

"Christ! Not funny!" The heat of the lick burned my laughter away.

"Count it out, boy."

"Boy? I'm older than you!" I spat, indignant words that I immediately wanted back.

His hand was in my hair, wrenching my head back. I blinked at the cobwebby ceiling. "Are we going to discuss everything? I thought we were clear on this." His face moved close to mine, and my stomach clenched in fear. His eyes behind the glasses seemed sharp, glittering. His lip was twitching as if it would writhe into a snarl any second. He reminded me of a wolf about to bite. I didn't know Potter had it in him. Back at school he had always seemed so jovial, if unkind. The only time I had seen a glimmer of this was when he had pulled me out of that tunnel and then rounded on Black.

But this was not anger. I didn't know what this was. It was possessive... aroused... powerful. I whimpered. Me, Severus Snape, feared Potions master, Death Eater, and all-around unpleasant fellow, whimpered like an omega to James Potter's alpha. No one would ever believe it. I didn't believe it myself.

He pressed my head forward until it touched the wall. "Now, boy, I believe you were counting?"

I had lost count. "Two?" I hazarded.

"Lets start over, then?"

Shock against my arse.


"One what?"

I blinked. One lick? Oh. Oh, Merlin. I don't think I can say it.

"One what, boy?"

"One, s..." I couldn't say it. Not to him.

"Hmmm? What was that?"

"One... sir." I could feel his shark grin behind me, sharp and triumphant. Blood in the water. Now that I had given him that much, he would wrench the rest from me. Like a thread picked from a tapestry, I could feel my resistance unraveling, all the walls and barriers softening. I felt... naked. More so than I had been a moment before, even though I was still only clad in the scarves that held me to the wall.

"Good boy! I think that deserves a reward, don't you?" Another sharp strike, this one to my thighs.

"Count it."


He began untying my wrist again. The pain of the strop paled next to the pain of it going away. "Two, sir!" I yelled. "Sir! Two, sir!" His fingers faltered, and to my guilty relief, he stepped back. I swallowed, shame thick in my throat.

"Good!" Another.

"Three sir." I was panting lightly, burn washing through me like lightning, fleeting and hot. Potter was wielding the belt differently than anyone I had been with. No gentle taps until the endorphins kicked in, building up to a good hard strapping. But he wasn't going full strength either. The lick was somewhere in-between, above the level of sexual stimulation, but below that point where the pain was so bad it became a null feeling. I felt all of this, every touch, completely. I had always wanted this, always dreamed of this devastation. Where had he learned this?

"And? Ask me for another."

This was puerile. This was childish, a bad line from a horrible Muggle skin flick. But it increased my feeling of submission a hundred fold. I tried, but I couldn't bring myself to say it.

"Ask, boy."

"I can't," I ground out.

"Yes you can. Say, "'Thank you, sir, may I have another?'"

"I can't!"

His fingers brushed the knots at my wrist "You will. Come, say the first part. You've already called me sir, this isn't that much harder."

I sighed, rubbing my forehead against the stone. "Thank you, sir."

"Good. Now the rest."

"Please don't make me beg for it like some penitent slave." I couldn't look at him. I was afraid he'd give in, that he'd not make me say it.

"You're not my slave, Severus," he said almost kindly, fingers tightening ever so slightly on the scarf, "but you are being punished. Say it. You want it. Ask me."

"Christ... May I have another?"

"Yes, you may." Thwack!


"The rest, boy."

My head thudded against the wall. "Thank you, sir, may I have another?" It didn't seem to be any easier to say the second time. I felt he was pulling the words from me. Humiliation burned high in my cheeks.

"Yes, you may."

This one hit higher, and the words fell from my lips before I realized I had said them. "Five. Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

"Yes, you may." Thwack!

Another, and the answer came without me.

"Yes you may." Thwack!

I begged. I had become my pain.

"Yes you may." Thwack! Again, again, the burn flashing through me like a strobe, marking me from shoulders to knees. I burned. The belt spat fire, scorching my skin and scalding my self-imposed walls. Each lick brought me closer to tears, closer to letting go. But I wouldn't. I couldn't. Without my walls I would be exposed, and he was here to see it. I felt as Potter had a huge knife, and was peeling layers off of me, exposing my innards to the light. But I had been in a dungeon for the last eighteen years, and the light would destroy me. I had to hold on, no matter how much I wanted to let go.

Somewhere around fifty, I stopped saying it. Somewhere around seventy and he stopped asking. Somewhere around a hundred, I lost count. Somewhere after that, I lost everything.

The tears that had been hidden behind my eyes for the last twenty years escaped. A raw, tortured sound fled my throat, rising and falling with his arm, oozing out of me like pus from a wound. A lifetime of regret, an eternity of sorrow abandoned me, broken free by the sharp blows of the lash and washed clean in thudding, hot pain. Pain, and Potter. I felt like the top of my head was floating off, like the soles of my feet were swollen with blood and joy. They ached.

The rhythmic thudding against my flesh stopped. It took me a moment - or an hour, there was no way to tell - to notice the void in my abused nerves. The only sound was my choked breathing.

It was over.

I sobbed against the wall, my face wet with tears and mucus. His hands played over my back, lightly touching the weals, dragging his nails softly over the welts. A wet lick across one shoulder made me sob harder. This gentleness striped the last layer, leaving me wet and exposed in the air. I felt newborn, flung helpless and naked into a bright, loud world.

"That's it, Severus, let it out. You've done well. You're forgiven." Soft breath in my ear. I choked on my relentless tears. His arms wrapped around me, holding me up when my legs gave out on me. Endorphins surged into me, belatedly siphoning away the pain. His hands felt right on me. I moaned through the tears, hips jerking back.

His hands moved around and over me, pressing and releasing my nipples, stroking down my stomach. One hand wrapped around my hard cock, the other moved down and cupped my balls. I twitched. "You want to finish this?"

I nodded mutely, my sobs finally tapering off to soft gasps. His hands wrung sensation out of me, moving in tandem on my leaking shaft and my aching balls. His thumb circled the head, smearing the gathering moisture. Sharp bursts of pleasure. But I wanted him in me. I needed more. I moved against him, feeling the hardness in his trousers.

His hands stilled. "You're sure?"

I nodded again, pressing back.

"We need something... Lotion?" He set me on my feet again, letting my wrists take the extra weight as I sagged against the wall.

A long wordless cry escaped me as his hands left. I shook my head. I wanted him just like this, hot and here and now. He chuckled darkly against my hair.

"My little pain slut. All right. You'll have what you want." One hand slipped between us, and I could feel him fumbling with his buttons. The other snaked it's way up to my mouth, and I opened gratefully, sucking at the long fingers, tasting myself and leather and the tang of his sweat. I pulsed against the wall. There was a fabric sound, soft and low and then his skin next to mine, his cock digging a furrow into my arse. I almost bit his fingers when I realized how large he was; perhaps begging to be taken dry was not the cleverest thing I could have done! But the thought of him in me, taking me as I writhed, impaled on his cock, hardened me further. I whimpered.

"A bit much for you, Severus? Hmm? I'll see what I can do..." He slid down my back, his chest hair pricking the welts, his tongue following. Down, down, his tongue hot and slick against my flesh, laving over my hole, wetting me. Slick fingers pressing in, breaching the tight entrance to my body. I pushed against his fingers, impatient for more. More saliva slicked me, his fingers pulling me open and wide to that ravenous tongue. I panted, hips humping against that mouth, into the wall, mindlessly eager. He slid his body up my back, sending little shocks of pain through the welts, and bit lightly at my neck. His thumbs held me open.

"You're ready, then, Severus?"

"Please... please, please!" I whimpered. I pushed against his fingers.

His broad head pressed against me, hot and thick and wonderful. One hand guided him, the other still holding me open. He fucked into me with small motions, pressing deeper and deeper, full and scratching and wonderful. It had been so long since I felt this, this fullness and connection. I couldn't take his small motions anymore, and forced my hips back, taking as much of him as I could.

We both yelled. One of his hands gripped my hip; the other steadied him against the wall. I shuddered around him, and he trembled in return.

"God, Severus! You're so tight. I... god." He grunted, forcing the last few inches inside me. I wailed softly. It hurt, it hurt so much. I never wanted it to end. I felt it in my hands, scrabbling at the stone wall. I felt it in the bottoms of my feet, my toes curling and uncurling ecstatically. His trousers bunched around his ankles rubbed my heels.

"Move. Please, move! Fuck me!" I was babbling, rotating my hips, feeling him inside me.

"Fuck, yes," he muttered, pulling back. I panted; his egress was almost as exquisitely painful as his entrenchment. His hips began to move, forcing that glorious hardness into me, fucking me hard against the wall. My cock scraped the stones; another layer of pain wove into this tapestry of twisted pleasure. I grunted in time with his thrusts, bracing my hands as well as I could. Close, I was so unspeakably close."

His hand fisted in my hair, hard, dragging my head back. He murmured into my ear, "You feel me, Severus? There," a hard thrust against my prostate, "inside you? I own you. Feel it. Take it. You're mine. Everything about you is mine. Your body, your mind. Your sin. All mine, to do with as I please, and it pleases me to fuck you until you scream. Scream for me, Severus. Come around my cock and scream for me. Now."

That voice, the words... I came in a wrenching spasm without a single touch to my cock. I screamed, as my Master ordered, hard and long and seemingly forever. His own guttural yell of completion rang in my ears.

And then I passed out.

I woke in my own bed, the clock chiming at me. Half past six. No. It couldn't have been a dream. No dream ever felt that real! Crushing despair flooded me. No! Shutting my eyes in misery, I breathed deeply for a few moments. Even in the wake of grim loss, my body felt relaxed. My shoulders weren't tense. In fact, other than the soreness of the beating, I felt wonderful.

My eyes flew open. I could feel the welts on my back catching on the sheets. Imagined beatings don't leave welts! Throwing back the coverlet, I scrambled from my bed to one of the mirrors. I glanced at my back, over my shoulder. Ecstatic tears pricked at my eyes.

There, painted across my sallow skin, were row upon row of welts. Soft blue, yellow, red, a fabric of lines woven in pain and redemption. No scabs; he hadn't broken the skin at all. I would not scar, but it was no dream. My eyes closed, trying to trap the memory. But where was Potter?

Looking around the room, I spotted the scarves neatly folded on my armchair. A note was tucked into the fabric.


By now you've noticed I'm gone, no doubt. Don't be upset, I didn't really leave. I've finally figured out what happened, and, as I sit here writing you this note, I can already feel it fading. I'm not the real James Potter, as you correctly surmised. Nor am I a ghost, or someone else. I'm your memory of James Potter, apparently just before school ended, made flesh by some bit of magic. I'm not sure what sort. You'll probably figure it out; you always were clever. I'm fading now, as either the magic dissipates or as you slip further into sleep.

You are so beautiful like this, spread across the bed, beaten and fucked and forgiven. I didn't forgive you, Severus, you forgave yourself. Don't let that go. You needed it too much to pretend it didn't happen.

I have to go. I can see through my legs now, and it feels like I'm moving through molasses. Remember me, and maybe I can come visit you again.

Don't be sad, Severus. Memories don't die. We only fade away.


The memory of James Potter

I sat down, hard, in the chair, wincing as my arse protested. Memory made flesh, shaped by my own mind. None of it had been real. But all of it was.

Shaking my head, I tucked the note into the book I kept by my chair. I would read it again later. I had to get ready for breakfast, and I needed to revise my lesson plan. And memories didn't count in the long run, so I wasn't truly obligated to examine last night too closely. None of it counted, really. Forgive myself, indeed! I thought as I walked to the bathroom to shower.

But, if none of it counted, why was I smiling?