Jars line the shelves in the dungeon, colourful rows of them, strange ugly things swimming inside. Sometimes Harry feels like one of those things in a jar, slimy and scaly, watched with repulsion when watched at all. At least by Professor Snape, who very wrongly hates him.
Adults shouldn't hate boys, should be above all that, should be settled and reasonable and kind, with pockets full of chocolate like Professor Lupin. Any sweet from Snape would be filled with poison, bitter and shaped like a skull that would explode in Harry's stomach, already fluttering as Snape looms before him, tall and too angular, like he's made from a hundred crows. When Snape moves, his robes rustle like wings, invisible now behind Harry, who remembers the spell he's to master before Snape lets him leave, the others long gone for Butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks. Sometimes it seems like he's always the one left behind like a forgotten kite trailing in the sky.
His wrist, bruised from a Quidditch match, refuses to flick the wand with the necessary smoothness--not that he'd tell Snape, who'd only unleash a vicious speech on boys, superiority and the irrelevance of snitches. Bad enough that Snape shamed him before the whole class, mocking him in that superior way, forcing him to remain behind in this dank room where students are tortured.
"Hopeless," Snape says, and places his hand over Harry's.
It's big and surprisingly warm, fingers blue-stained with ink, and Harry lets it guide him, pretending the hand belongs to someone else, Professor Lupin, who understands him, who smells of tea and chocolate, not bat brains and asphodel. The pretense works until Snape, perpetually dissatisfied, jerks Harry's tender wrist.
When Harry cries out, Snape whisks before him, sneering, "Really, Potter. You're sensitive as a girl. Just like your father."
"It's no wonder everyone hates you," Harry bursts out. "You wouldn't know kindness if it--"
"If it what, Potter?" In the torchlight Snape's skin looks too white, slick and undead, a vampire ready to drain him.
"If it nested in your greasy black hair," he mutters.
Snape's eyes are liquid and brackish, like a river's running behind them, murky water instead of blood, and Harry's lungs press too hard against his chest. What if the jars contain former students, ones who stood up to Snape and paid for it with a future behind glass, turned inside out and shrunk to the size of a heart?
"You think I'm unkind, Potter?" Snape's voice is dead, dead as his skin, dead as the squishy things in the jars, like he's passed rage into something far worse. "Would you rather I coddled you, fed you chocolate like your dear Professor Lupin?"
"Wouldn't hurt," Harry says, and flashes on a future where Snape isn't a monster. "People might like you better."
The air whistles though Snape hasn't moved, his wand hidden. Can someone breathe a spell? Avada Kedavra in a look? No, of course not; Harry's still very much alive, just too warm, sweat gathering under his collar. Under Snape's unblinking gaze Harry feels like melting chocolate, a sticky mess. "The jars," he says, for balance. "What's in the jars?"
"Why don't you take a closer look? I've noticed you staring at them. Go on. They won't bite," he adds impatiently when Harry hesitates.
Harry rises slowly to his feet, pocketing his wand. Something's happening, he can feel it, a storm gathering in the pit of his stomach, and he studies Snape, looking for signs of his fate. But Snape's face is smooth and almost friendly, not unlike Lupin's with its small smile and tame eyes, so Harry walks to the nearest shelf, casting nervous glances over his shoulder. Snape follows him, his wand hand thankfully empty, although he still sounds like a murder of crows, while around them the torchlight hiccups flares of light.
The first jar contains a red-black clump floating in pale green water. The shelf itself is mottled grey like old bone, and carved with leering faces tangled in vines, the lines etched in lichen. Snape stands behind Harry as he looks, so close it's like having the sun at his back, if the sun ever shone in the dungeon.
"The heart of a dragon," Snape says. "A Green Scuttle-Crown. Even the adults fit in your palm. I gutted it myself."
"Oh." He pictures Snape with the tiny dragon on a metal sheet, a knife in one hand, a red clump in the other, and he shivers.
"I suppose you think that wasn't kind of me. But this sort of dragon, though it looks innocent enough, spits venom into a man's eyes, blinds him, and drives him slowly mad. How could anyone be kind to a creature like that?"
"You could look the other way."
"It's in our nature to look even when the subject disgusts us. We're fascinated by what we abhor."
This new Snape isn't unlike a dragon, the fire simply withheld though smoke clings to his words. He's still too close, a barrier between Harry and the door, between freedom and fresh air, and Harry jumps when Snape's hand descends on his shoulder, white as a dove. The pressure is light, not punishing, grasping him like his father might have if he hadn't died, the two of them at the world's weirdest zoo.
"Is this kind enough, Potter? Or would you like me kinder still? You are, after all, very popular, just as your father was, so who better to teach me the ways of kindness?"
Harry doesn't want to be the adult, not the teacher; he's just a boy and Snape's a man, and now he's too embarrassed to move with his confused body thinking this is night-time beneath the sheets. It's the room's darkness and the heat behind him like a blanket causing the flush and the hardness. If Snape knew, he'd tell Dumbledore, he'd tell the whole school, sneering and cruel, and Harry would have to leave because he's some sort of pervert, though the stiffness has nothing to do with Snape, the worst person Harry has ever met, worse than his uncle, worse than his piggy cousin Dudley, worse than a dragon spitting venom from his eyes, and old enough to be his father.
"You're trembling," Snape whispers. "Too much responsibility?" With his free hand, Snape reaches out, arm extended over Harry's left shoulder to tap the glass jar with one finger. "Not enough kindness left for dragon-killers?"
The position brings Snape fully against him, those angles digging into him, the bones of crows that make up Snape's body. Harry's glasses fog up, a light steam across the lenses obscuring the jar and its contents, leaving only a red and green blur. It's almost like looking at a Christmas tree.
"Did it cry when you killed it?" Harry doesn't know why he asks this, doesn't know much anymore except that he'd rather be anywhere else, even the Forbidden Forest with a pack of werewolves howling for his blood. At least it would be cool in there under the trees, and even running his heart wouldn't beat this furiously.
Snape must hear his heart because his hand falls from the jar to rest directly over it. "No," Snape says, using the tone he reserves for the brighter Slytherins, more matter-of-fact than biting. "It was too scared to cry."
"You could've let it go. It might have wandered off and never bothered anyone again."
"Hiding is not in its nature. It lives to torment men. Since you're curious, I'll show you where I made the first cut."
Harry's shirt buttons are methodically undone, like this is some new lesson he's expected to learn, and he gasps when his bare skin is stroked in a circle, sparks across his nipple.
"Here," Snape says. "One of the most vulnerable spots on a dragon. It sighed just as you did, Potter, as though welcoming its fate. Inviting it."
"You never gave it a chance."
"And you think that's cruel?"
The strokes turn into a gentle corkscrew twist that debones Harry's knees, and Snape's other hand, the one still on his shoulder, drops to Harry's hip to keep him upright. It works a little too well, Snape's fingers arrowed hotly toward Harry's shame, while the twists continue, little burns on his nipples. Harry's arms hang limply, the left one trapped against his side by Snape's; he can't remember ever standing so still, closer to Snape than anyone before, and his pulse beats louder, beats under Snape's fingers, beats along the most private lines of his body.
"I asked you a question, Potter."
Cruelty and dragons. He swallows. "It hadn't hurt anyone. It didn't deserve...what you did to it."
"What if it had attacked one of the students? Or your dear Professor Lupin?" Snape breathes hard through his mouth, a harsh sound, and the hand on Harry's hip slips a little, a downward aligning slide. "Would you want him mad, Potter?"
"You shouldn't hate him," Harry says. How can his own voice sound like that, low and bumpy as a road in the middle of nowhere? "He's done nothing wrong."
"Sitting in his class, you only view him through a glass darkly, seeing nothing of him beyond what he allows. You know very little of him, just as you know very little of me."
Harry knows that Snape kills dragons, that he prefers Slytherins to Gryffindors, that his hand is dangerously...there, solid and warm as Harry fills it. The other hand is still busy over Harry's heart, pinching and stroking, and caught between them Harry isn't sure what to trust anymore. Snape hates him, and dungeons are for torture, but he's never felt or even imagined anything as good as Snape's hand between his legs.
"Nothing is simple," Snape says, squeezing for emphasis.
Red blossoms behind Harry's eyes like a vein has burst, and he's not sure if he settles against Snape or Snape presses closer, but they're fitted together now, firmest below the waist, the hardest part of Snape bisecting him even through their clothes. Snape's cock, he thinks, it's Snape's cock, impossibly stiff for him. Disgusting, so disgusting, and he resists the even more repulsive urge to rub against it, bring it even closer to satisfy the unbearable itch it's causing, an itch that only grows as Snape caresses him through his trousers. Even more disgusting when the grim dungeon air, caught in Harry's throat, comes out in a whispery little moan, and his hips rock back and forth like he's on a carnival ride.
A carnival ride in a dungeon with his hateful Potions Master, who makes a sound of his own in Harry's ear, a mean, satisfied growl, like Harry's done something right and wrong at the same time. Distracted by this double punishment-reward, by the torment of the double itch, he barely notices the steady unfastening until Snape wraps his fingers around the length of hard, bare skin, holding him like a wand or a ruler, and asks, "Is this kind enough for you, Potter?"
"It's not kind at all."
Snape misinterprets him and draws the pad of his thumb over the head of Harry's cock, a slow wet slide. Harry watches this, sees the pale disembodied fingers learning him, and it's easier this way; he can pretend that this is a ghost, that's it's not real, a dream, except that Snape's voice keeps jarring him into the present, like Snape knows and wants to keep him here. A lesson. He doesn't say much, just snaps "Potter," as though Harry has drifted off in class, escaping to the Quidditch field or Lupin's office where there's sun and tea, no hissing black cauldrons and dead things in jars, no Snape with those cutting looks and slicing words, his wide pale mouth or--
--his long fingers, just the tips of them, roaming, squeezing, pinching.
Maybe it's all right to love Snape's fingers, and the part of him pressing from behind; they're not Snape, just pieces of him, brilliant pieces that send lightning strikes under Harry's skin. He wonders if he'll wake tomorrow with lightning scars all over his body because what's happening is too powerful not to leave marks.
"Potter," Snape says again, and this time his tongue lashes Harry's ear, teeth on his lobe. "Potter," he repeats, softer this time, laced with triumph when Harry jerks and whimpers.
It's not just what Snape's doing to his cock and his nipples: Harry's trousers have crept down to his knees, one less layer between Snape's cock and Harry's bottom, turning the itch into a craving. He's not sure how to ask, not sure what to ask for, only knows that not having it is driving him mad. It's Snape, he reminds himself again. Snape. This time the effect is wrong, shamefully dirty-good, like Snape's been lurking under his bedtime fantasies of Cho or Hermione, which makes no sense--surely he knows what's going on in his own head?
He has to leave, has to walk out the door and forget about this, forget about Snape's stroking, teasing, dragon-killing fingers, the insistent pressure of...the rest of him. And Harry does move, but it's only to grasp the solid ledge of the shelf, angling himself for fuller contact, his head bowed. It must be some spell, dark art, and Harry's eyes sting while a hot prickling flush spreads from his cheeks all over his body; he's a good person, not this hungry, dirty thing.
Behind him, Snape laughs. "How kind of you, Potter, to offer yourself like this. If only you were this eager in class."
"It's not my fault."
"No, of course not..."
--an instant of relief--
"...Except that you were hard before I even touched you. And every time I say your name, you become harder." Snape stops his stroking, holding Harry's cock loosely in his hand, and says, "You can't deny the evidence, Potter. You see?" he adds, when Harry twitches against his palm. "I assure you that there's no spell in my voice."
Any protest is swallowed by Harry's groan as Snape begins to stroke him again, long deliberate passes from base to tip.
"And this," Snape tells him, pinching the head of Harry's cock, then dipping his thumb in the wetness gathering there, "is for me. Not for Lupin. Not for one of your giggling imbecilic classmates. For me." With his other hand, Snape tugs down Harry's pants, then presses his wet thumb between the cheeks of Harry's bottom. "And this is where you want me. Me." Snape does utter a spell then, one used to oil rusty locks, and a warm slickness spreads from the tip of his thumb deep inside Harry. "To ignore that would be entirely too unkind."
Harry becomes lost in the slow circles of Snape's thumb; the room spins with them, Harry's head does, endless revolutions that leave him pushing back to urge the thumb deeper even while he wants to kill Snape, see him torn to pieces, each one placed in a jar of its own.
"What would people say if they knew greedy you are, the famous Harry Potter? How desperate you are for this?"
"I'm not," Harry says weakly, but can't stop wriggling, trying to snare the thumb, empty without it. "Please. Please. I'm not."
"Don't lie, Potter. Tell the truth, and I'll give it to you."
The circles are tiny now, concentrated over the hole, and his skin feels abraded. Sweat trickles down his face, down his chest, and if only Snape would leave him alone, stop touching him before and behind, he'd be able to think, to explain and defend.
"The truth, Potter. Nothing less."
"I hate you."
"The truth. 'I want you inside me, Professor Snape.'" He gives another bone-melting squeeze to the head of Harry's cock, draws more teasing circles.
It's not like this is a war; saying "No," or "Stop," would hurt more than giving Snape what he wants, what they want, with Harry so hollow and Snape's thumb practically there. "Please," he says again. "Please, yes, Professor Snape. Inside." More blushing, a furious red that he knows from the bathroom mirror after a tough Quidditch match, but at least Snape can't see.
Snape's hand tightens around Harry's cock, and he presses with his thumb. The slightest resistance, then he's inside, Harry stretched around him. Little Jack Horner, he thinks, dazed, as an old memory breaks the surface. Little Jack Horner and his Christmas pie, putting in his thumb, a good boy. Harry is Snape's plum with his swollen ripe skin ready to burst, and no one is good. But the wet greedy sounds as Snape explores him drown out the worry, the rumble of Snape's voice as he says, "Not so defiant now, Potter. Not so eager to give lessons in proper behaviour. I do appreciate your kindness in allowing me do whatever I want. Like this."
His thumb finds some new part of Harry, caressing it, and at the electric charge Harry shakes uncontrollably, his angry words jostled back down his throat, replaced by a whimper.
"Really, Potter, this is almost too easy."
Harry squeezes his eyes shut, grips the shelf tighter, and says through gritted teeth, "Professor Lupin...Professor Lupin would never do this to me."
Snape's laugh is brusque this time. "Given your hungry response to everything I've done, Potter, I can only assume that you're disappointed because Lupin is too cowardly to touch you."
'He's not a coward. He wouldn't even think to do this."
"Don't be an idiot. He stares at you, his tongue hanging out, whenever he believes it's safe. All of those private meetings in his office--you don't think he doesn't picture doing to you what I am now? He was the same with your father."
"You're wrong. He's helping me."
"Just not the way he really wants." Snape's hand, which has slowed on Harry's cock, begins to pick up speed, his thumb matching it. "He's a hypocrite."
"Shut up," Harry says. "Shut up, shut up, shut up." But he can't stop rocking, rhythmically filled and stroked.
"Always so rude." And Snape removes his thumb, leaving an aching gap.
Harry has barely stifled his frustrated moan when Snape begins to slide two fingers inside him. A wider stretch, greater fullness, and the second moan bursts out as Snape works them deeper; it's not long before Harry's impaled. His eyes open, and he sees his cock in Snape's hand, harder than it has ever been, the head and shaft gleaming as Snape spreads the leaking wetness over him, tender and perverse at the same time.
Being with Snape is like reading a book backward, right to left, end to beginning, because now he's sure of the conclusion, with Snape's cock brushing his back, big and hard; it's only a matter of time and teasing before Snape will fill him with it. He's not sure it will fit, with Snape's fingers already stretching him taut, and of course he doesn't want it, hates the thought of it crammed inside him, with Snape stroking him in front and licking his ear. Hates it.
"Listen to you," Snape says. "Panting like a dog, moaning. I know what you're thinking, Potter. I know what you want. No one knows you like I do, like I will in a moment." The fingers are cruelly withdrawn while Snape rings the base of Harry's cock with his other hand--
--and there it is, a solid, blunt pressure behind him. Snape's cock, about to penetrate him. The worst and best thing ever, the most hated and most needed. Except Snape doesn't move, dead-still, and Harry expels his breath in a hiss, his heart clanging, his body aching for more.
"If I were kind," Snape says, "if I were Lupin after a dose of bravery, I'd make it easy for you and simply give you what you want. But you were right, Potter. I'm not a very kind man. If you want it, you'll have to take it. You do understand the mechanics? You go backward, my hand goes forward, and you'll get everything you so desperately need."
It's the excitement under Snape's gloating tone that drives him back. Harry had forgotten that Snape needs this too, that Snape is as hard for him as he is for Snape, but latches onto this new secret truth, quietly gloating himself, and listens hard as he starts to take Snape inside him.
Armed with his secret, Harry pushes back too quickly, bringing a searing jolt as the head of Snape's cock enters him. But there's also the half-inch glide of Snape's fingers on Harry's cock, and even better, Snape can't hold back the smallest groan, so small that Harry would've missed it if Snape's mouth wasn't so close to his ear. He lets both comfort him until the pain fades, lets them push aside the fear that the pain will last forever, then pushes back again, more careful this time.
The worst, though, is over, and as his body opens for more and more of Snape's cock, as Snape's hand slides further up Harry's cock, the jolts are hot and electric again, the craving back. His mouth is dry, his skin slick everywhere with the air heavy as a thunder-cloud, Snape buried inside him, gasping unsteady breaths in his ear. Just one more push--
The thumb, the fingers, were nothing compared to this. He's spread impossibly wide, like a mouth open in a scream, a dragon's mouth as a knife cuts into its heart.
"If Lupin could see you now," Snape whispers, stroking him with one hand, the other gripping Harry's hip, "he'd be so disappointed."
Harry twists around to stare at Snape for the first time since this began and catches a wild openness on Snape's face before it goes blank. "But you're not."
"I never thought you were a hero," Snape says, and begins to thrust.
"Then we're even." Harry turns back, his eyes already closing as Snape takes charge, his double strokes long and thorough.
There's nothing left to do but take it, take the hot fill of Snape's cock, the firm grasp of his pumping hand, the ragged sound of Snape's moans, each one bitten in half as they leave his mouth. It's more than enough, at least for now, this closeness that might not be real but feels it, anchored to Snape...
A revelation. Because it's good to be anchored to Snape, who despises him, but still touches him like no one else has: people you love will leave you or forget you, but hate is now and forever, the strongest thing in the world.
That's why he tells Snape, "I wish you were Professor Lupin. I wish he was the one doing this to me."
Snape rewards him with a snarl, sinking his teeth into Harry's throat, ramming his cock far into him, over and over again, sharp as a blade, perfectly hateful. A bruise forms on Harry's hip from Snape's clutching hand, another at his neck from Snape's teeth, and surely a third one is blooming somewhere deep inside him.
"Show you kindness..."
The jars rattle on the shelf and Snape grunts like an animal, pounding into him, Harry burning and blind, taken somewhere new and black and eternal. It's going to end, until the next time, and he knows in the back of his brain that this is only the start, because Snape hates him too much to stop, and he rides that knowledge all the way, his muscles tensed to the snapping point...
He comes cursing Snape, using words he's only heard, words he doesn't even understand, the most ugly ones he knows. There's a roar inside him, another one outside, Snape's angry cry gutting him, splitting him in two and binding him back together. He's shaking, Snape's shaking too, leeched to him with cock, teeth and hands, with hate, both of them coming so hard, wet rush against Snape's fingers, hot bursts inside him, explosive, harsh and perfect.
When he finally opens his eyes, still panting and dripping with sweat and semen, Harry sees the dragon's heart. His face is reflected in the glass, Snape's too over his shoulder, as though they're trapped forever in the jar's pale green water.
Dragon-Blind. (c) Thamiris, January 2004
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