Title: Soft Touch
Pairing: Snape/Harry
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: ~15,000
Summary: Harry's love life has been dismal, and he finds himself checking into a therapeutic massage clinic just to get off - the same clinic to which Snape had been delivered three years earlier for physical therapy.

A/N: Originally posted on AO3 for the Harry Potter Kinkfest 2018. Basically another PWP with a few character flourishes. I've been tinkering with a coda to it, and I still might add it someday, but right now I can't tell if I like it or not. Since the fest ended last month, I've decided to post this fic and move on to the next.

***

After the attendant led him down the hall and left him alone in the cosy wood-panelled room, warm enough that he could lie around in his smalls and not suffer goosepimples, Harry performed several quick spells to blind spying eyes, disable extendable ears, cover holes in the walls, and silence illegal recording charms. Not that he was paranoid, mind, but he wasn't an idiot, either.

The candles flickered peacefully, and amber highlights rippled across the silk-upholstered massage table in the middle of the room. Ducking the low-growing tendril of a flowering plant, Harry walked over and let his hand caress the cool, slippery surface, then decided, in an exact replica of his thought processes the last time, that it would be ridiculous and extravagant to buy something this self-indulgent for his bed at home.

His solitary bed.

Not sure whether he was more annoyed by his predictability or the maudlin turn his thoughts had taken, he snorted and tugged his nondescript robes over his head, folding and tucking them into a cupboard whose doors had been left invitingly open for just that purpose. He'd changed out of his Auror uniform before Apparating here; no reason to risk catching the eye of a passing stranger or former classmate.

The Soft Touch guild promised total confidentiality, enforced by oaths of service and charmed terms of agreement, and so far that promise had been borne out. No gossip columns in the papers, no rumours circulating at work, no sympathetic or disturbing conversations with a baffled Ron or concerned Hermione. Even the witch at the front desk had maintained an attitude of impersonal warmth, barely letting on that she'd dealt with him before. Nobody – or no one who mattered – knew he was here.

Harry finished shedding the rest of his clothes and stood uncertainly in his briefs, feeling like a berk. Silly not to strip and get it over with, since keeping his pants on was the equivalent of cranking up the Wizarding Wireless to advertise his insecurity. This was a massage parlour, for Merlin's sake. No, not even that; a therapeutic clinic. And it wasn't as if he was normally shy. Last time – his first time, actually – he'd worn boxers, knowing full well they provided easier access.

Of course, considering how well that had turned out, maybe he'd be better off keeping his clothes on.

Shaking out one of the fluffy towels stacked on a chair, Harry pressed down on the massage table until it sank to the proper height for him to slide aboard and stretch out. Once he was settled, the table rose gently to its previous position. Last time, the masseuse had instructed him to lie on his stomach with the towel across his arse, and after a really lovely session of grinding out the knots in his back, she'd asked him to turn over. He'd already been half-hard, so he'd squirmed around like a schoolboy, shielding himself with the towel and smiling with embarrassment, gone from a floating state of low-level bliss to sudden discomfort. The sure hands smoothing and stroking his legs, combined with his increased sensitivity, stiffened his cock, but they also stiffened the rest of him. He hadn't been able to relax as she got nearer and nearer, brisk and professional but with an obvious goal in mind.

When she folded the towel down and started calmly massaging his prick through his boxers, Harry had done his utmost to lie still and enjoy it. He was there to enjoy it, right? He'd known what he was paying for.

The masseuse had been about twenty years his senior, with a curly mass of dark-brown hair twisted into a bun, shrewd, humorous eyes, and broad, heavily knuckled hands skilled at locating all the spots where he stored up tension. The weirdness of having her fondle his bollocks for money had set off a series of fight-or-flight twitches he couldn't suppress and a deep, sinking mortification in his belly. Shame. He was ashamed. Fuck. What would Ginny say if she found out he was paying for sex, after all those years when he'd been – Merlin knew what, too complacent or passive or simply not interested enough? Not "physically compatible," she'd said at their separation.

He couldn't fend off the sudden cramp of self-disgust, the sense that this was wrong, that it was pathetic to expect a woman he'd be just fine having a pint with to wank him off.

After a few more agonising seconds, he'd lifted the masseuse's hand away and cleared his throat. When she touched his thigh in silent inquiry, he'd blocked that, too, and pushed up on his elbows. "Sorry. No offence, but I think we're done here."

"It's perfectly all right," she'd said once he was sitting up, the towel and his glasses back in place, his burning face lowered so he had an unavoidable view of his oil-damp belly. "Truly, Mr. Smith, you've no reason to apologise. I'm not here to force you to do anything you don't want to. But please understand you're not forcing me, either. As a licensed professional, it's my job to soothe your body and, if you so desire, provide sexual release. You can tell me to stop at any time. I won't be insulted.

"There's a shower in the corner," she'd added, barely grazing his naked shoulder with her fingertips and stepping back when he flinched. "As soon as you're ready, go in and get cleaned up. Or use your wand if you prefer. You'll find the elves have freshened your robes and returned them to the cupboard." She'd tilted her head to peek into his face and smile reassuringly. "Take your time, lad, and please don't think you've done anything wrong. We'd love to see you again."

Harry sighed now, the memory of how utterly he'd bollocksed that up bringing a brief relapse into stomach cramp. He lay on his back, the better to keep an eye on the door. He needed to see the face of whoever entered. He reckoned at that point he'd know whether or not this was a lost cause. Two weeks of brooding, three polite failures at dating, and one self-sabotaging attempt at hooking up in a Muggle pub had led him to owl for another appointment. He needed someone to touch him, even if it meant being insanely discreet.

This time he'd requested a male healer. If he was going to pay someone to jerk him off, maybe it would feel less sordid, more equal somehow, asking another man to do it.

He was already beginning to think that had been a mistake.

A double rap at the entrance had him sitting up nervously, clutching the towel to his privates. He had his mouth open to say he'd changed his mind when the masseur slipped inside and pressed the door shut, leaning back against it with outspread hands and narrow shoulders. The floating candles wavered in the draft he'd let in, their low flicker bringing out the golden-brown glow of the bamboo-tinted panelling. Shadows in corners started up in confusion and then cautiously settled back again like cats disturbed from sleep.

Doing his best not to fall off the massage table, Harry slid his feet to the carpet and stood, legs braced and heart racing. His skin had gone cold. This was what he got for not trusting his instincts. This was the punishment he'd brought down on his own head by risking getting caught.

The masseur watched his graceless descent from the table and didn't say a word. Over the rims of the tinted glasses, the eyes that scrutinised Harry were possibly the darkest things in the room.

Oh God. What had he been thinking, taking his clothes off? He needed to cover himself right up. Bad job his robes were in the cupboard behind him, out of reach.

Harry snatched up his wand, but a soft, derisive snort stopped his hand before he could make the summoning gesture. No. Better wait. It wouldn't be smart to open himself up to ridicule for behaving like a prude.

The man sent to give Harry an orgasm stepped away from the door and into the shifting intimacy of candlelight: ex-Death Eater, sadistic professor, unrequited lover of his mum, nemesis of his teenage years, killer of Albus Dumbledore, unsavoury, unsung hero of the war. The violent pink of still-tender scars were abruptly visible on his uncovered throat. His long hands branched upward into wiry bare arms beneath the folded-back cuffs of his sleeves, and as he made his way at a slow prowl to a nearby cabinet, his narrow calves, pale despite the black hair covering them, split the sheath of his dressing gown enough to make it clear he wore only pants – and possibly not even those – beneath.

Breathing shallowly, Harry controlled the impulse to rush past him and out to the front desk to cancel his appointment.

"What the hell," he said at last, sounding to his own ears as if a mouthful of firewhisky had gone down the wrong pipe.

The cabinet creaked, its front panel swinging open, and there was a clink of glass bottles being sorted. Careful hands retrieved a carved wooden bowl and poured a full vial of oil into it.

Harry wasn't sure what to make of the lack of response, but he was aware something wasn't right. Something besides the obvious. Maybe it was the fragile body language or the fact that no tidal wave of suppressed anger, no fierce, sardonic energy, seethed through the room. Silence prevailed. Silver threads like unravelled embroidery meandered through the tail of black hair tied at the nape of the man's neck, straggly against the muted green of his dressing gown. When he turned to face Harry again, the candle flames seared across the lenses of his dark glasses like flashes of sunlight, and Harry saw his eyes flinch.

"Well, well. Fancy meeting you here, Mr. Potter."

Of course Snape would forgo the clinic's pretence of anonymity and use Harry's real name. Of course he would. A slight pinch at the corner of his mouth betrayed the smirk he must have been holding back.

Braced for the worst, Harry was thrown off-balance by the nagging sense of wrongness. The voice was wrong, too, but no mystery there: snakebite had destroyed the vocal cords responsible for scarring teenage psyches and humiliating students into exploding their cauldrons. All that remained was a slightly distorted rough-textured whisper, like an echo rippling at the bottom of a well.

Slowly Snape circled to the far side of the massage table, the bowl cradled in his hands. He set it on a shelf, murmuring something. A second later, the fragrance of heated almonds drifted through the air, and he turned to study Harry, his eyes like black holes over the tops of the tinted glasses.

Incongruous, those. They put Harry at a disadvantage, somehow. He wished Snape would take them off. In fact, take off the glasses, untie his hair, spell his dressing gown black, sneer or scowl or do something recognisable.

Warily, he darted a look around the peaceful, plant-crowded room with its walls of polished wood and its patterned carpet. What was the git doing here? He glanced back. Snape was still watching him. Not a flicker of emotion showed on his face, but something in his preternatural calm wasn't right, and his eyes weren't right, and Harry really ought to leave now, but with his initial moment of panic over, he was conscious of a nervous intrigue seeping through him, a hot, sleazy anticipation, halfway sexual in nature and similar to the taut suspense he sometimes felt when he was out in the field tracking down Dark wizards.

"Potter," Snape whispered, the words scraping past his lips. "I can't begin until you take your place on the massage table."

"Yeah, not going to happen," Harry said. "I didn't expect – I mean, you're not who I expected. You bloody well know this isn't what I – "

"On the contrary." Snape started back around the end of the table with the same focused, pacing tread, one hand sliding across the fabric of the cushions as if trailing over the surface of a pond. "You requested a man to service you instead of a woman. Do you deny I fulfil that requirement?"

Oh, Merlin. The rough, subdued whisper caught on some raw edge of Harry's nerves that had been waiting all week for this appointment, for hands on his body, that sweet, hair-raising sweep of erotic pressure on his skin.

"No." He watched Snape's spidery fingers drag five rippling lines across the silk and imagined them doing the same to his back. "I'm not denying anything."

Snape's snort was a little louder this time. "Under the circumstances, we'll just let that obvious falsehood lie. I expect denial is precisely why you're here. So if we could get on with it?"

Sod this. A dignified exit was out of the question, but dignified or not, he ought to flip Snape off, collect his clothes, and get out. Instead, he blurted, "So this is what you do for a living now?"

"I wouldn't call it a living, no." Snape came toward him, glided, really, the slight shifting of the dressing gown drawing Harry's attention down to his feet, which were bare. Bare, and just as narrow and fine-boned as his hands. An attempt to look harmless? To get Harry to relax his guard? A sharp, jarring recollection flashed through him of being on his hands and knees, gasping and shaking on the floor of the dungeon, the black leather of Snape's boots blocking his view. The same boots he'd seen kick against the floorboards of the Shrieking Shack after –

Right. None of that. It wouldn't do to bring an Auror's methods into this space, to treat Snape as a suspect whose motives – whose feet, for fuck's sake – needed analysing. Harry was aware that Snape had convalesced here for months after the war, so it was probably just a case of when in Diagon Alley and all that. It didn't have to mean anything. Anyway, it stood to reason not every part of Snape was repellent. Not every part was cruel.

He tensed a little when the feet that had set off this bout of speculation stopped in front of him, too close for comfort. Above them were skinny ankles and hairy shins. Good. That was more like it.

Still, Harry could have resisted and didn't when Snape eased the wand from his grasp and sent it floating to the cabinet where his clothes were stored. On its return trip, Snape's hand passed lightly, without permission, down his bare arm. The touch trickled over Harry's skin, deliberately teasing, a taste of what he could expect if he allowed this thing to go forward. It made him aware of his arm in a way he usually wasn't, of his arm as an erogenous zone, his whole body standing receptive and all but naked in front of his former professor.

Snape whispered, "You know the terms, Potter. I'm oathbound to honour your wishes. I'll do nothing," his voice faded out for an ambiguous moment, "unless you want it."

In the ensuing silence, a faint, predatory tension darkened the corners of his mouth, implying there was more to it than that, and fuck, it was not reassuring. He stood between Harry and the door, but that wasn't what worried Harry. He was more concerned with the way Snape's presence registered on a cellular level, like an electromagnetic field, an effect he'd always had in his capacity as an unpredictable explosive force in Harry's life. Harry could feel his body's magic and adrenalin reacting, unsure whether to view Snape as a hostile party or a – well, what was Snape when he wasn't being hostile?

"You're here for release," Snape supplied, in his almost inaudible rasp. "And I'm here to … release you. I gather you're having a difficult time wrapping your Gryffindor morals around that. Frankly, in the past, you couldn't have paid me to touch you. Now, however… "

The pause rose, circling like a Snitch, and it entered Harry's mind that he was about to find out what else Snape was. Well, no, actually it entered his dick, which thickened a bit, nudging at the fabric of his pants.

He had an inkling Snape was about to try something on, but even so, he wasn't prepared for the git to reach up and trace a faint, fleeting tickle around the rim of his ear, then slide the finger under his jaw and up from his chin with a sharp flick of fingernail.

All the microcellular seismographs of desire in Harry's body spiked alarmingly.

"You might remember, Mr. Potter," Snape continued, his voice curling out like tobacco smoke, "how good I am with my hands."

Right. There you had it. What was Snape when he wasn't being hostile? Seductive, apparently. Weirdly seductive. Christ. Harry wasn't certain he could accept a universe in which Severus Snape was … that. In which his own sexual hackles rose, not in perceived threat, but in competitive arousal.

He tightened his hold on the towel and tried to take a similar grip on the situation. "You know this is insane, right?"

"Get on the table, Potter. We're wasting time."

Harry barked a laugh. Trust the stroppy bastard to break the mood. He did his best to relax his posture, to camouflage his discomfort at the idea of allowing Snape to touch him. "Come on, Professor. What was it you just said about an oath? Honouring the customer's wishes and all that?" Defensively insolent, he lounged back against the table's padded edge. "Don't tell me what to do."

The dark glasses had been creeping down Snape's nose and were presently stranded on the high side of the hook. With exaggerated precision – probably sublimating his urge to throttle Harry – he disentangled them from the pulled-tight curtains of his hair, folded the stems with an irate click, and slotted them down a pocket. His exposed eyes slid over Harry the way his fingers had skimmed the silk cushions, lingering on his pelvic region – sarcastically, it seemed to Harry, although he couldn't pinpoint any change in Snape's expression. He had to stop himself from rearranging the towel to cover up more skin.

Once upon a time, he'd compared Snape's eyes to empty tunnels. Even learning about Occlumency hadn't shaken his conviction that they reflected Snape's cold, malevolent soul.

Black and bottomless now, dilated to such an extent it was both disconcerting and a little hypnotic, they rose to meet his. "You have two choices. Get on the table, or tell me to go."

This close, and with that expanded, thousand-mile stare to give him a clue, it was suddenly apparent what was wrong with Snape. Or no, that was unfair. What was different.

There were no lines in his face.

The furrows alongside his mouth, the tense wrinkles like creased parchment at the corners of his eyes, the knot between his brows yanked tight by bad temper and fierce concentration, had been smoothed out of existence. His skin, still sallow, hugged the edges and precipices of his face, but the lasting impressions of age were no longer visible. Shadows of ill-health and sucked-in vitriol hollowed his cheeks, and his nose still implied – accurately, in Harry's opinion – a bird of prey. But the marks of spleen and experience were gone.

Not that it made him young. It made him uncanny. Pure and inscrutable, like a mask.

And his eyes – holy Merlin. No wonder he wore tinted glasses.

"What happened to you?"

The scent of almonds rose in a sudden draught, mingling with the paraffin odour of melting wax. The candles winked, their flames burning hot, a dark gold that was strangely secretive.

"You were there, Potter. You should be able to figure it out."

Harry's cheeks flushed. All right, not his most diplomatic moment. He set the heels of both hands on the massage table behind him and shoved it down enough that he could boost his arse up and sit on the edge. "You mean Nagini." He scooted back as the table floated into position, the towel draped across his groin, his legs dangling. "But Arthur Weasley was attacked, and it didn't affect him that way."

"Arthur Weasley wasn't left for dead in the middle of a battle. Arthur Weasley also had the benefit of people who cared what happened to him. As I recall, you were the one who ensured he was found and rushed to a healer and everything possible done to counteract the physical trauma."

The lurking guilt over all the people he hadn't saved pulled at Harry's gut. Snape was quick to sense an advantage. He bent and hooked Harry under the knees, hoisting his legs onto the table with a thump and rotating him a quarter turn sideways as he did so, nearly tipping him onto his back. The silk sleeve of his dressing gown pressed for a moment against the underside of Harry's calves, maddening the hairs there as he slipped his arm free.

He was stronger than Harry expected.

Stepping back, Snape adjusted his cuffs and murmured, "I had only myself."

Confounded, Harry hunched there on the cushions and chewed his lip, trying to ignore the fact that he'd just allowed Snape to manhandle his body. It was all very distracting. But the pang of guilt prompted an earnest, "I'm sor – "

"Shut it, Potter."

Harry jerked, feeling like a fish who'd swallowed the bait and just had the hook ripped out.

Snape sighed. "For fuck's sake. Tell me you're not still an idiot with a hero complex. I wasn't implying you should have saved my life, fortuitous as it was that you turned up when you did. Merely that, compared to Arthur, the venom in my system had far longer to stew. By the time I was able to halt its progress, it was too late. The damage had been done."

It had been – Merlin, over three years. "Meaning it's permanent?"

Those disturbing eyes considered him as if from somewhere outside the room, outside the moment, somewhere in the dark and hostile past they shared. Then Snape extended his hand, this time giving Harry plenty of warning that he intended to touch him, and slid his thin pickpocket's fingers over his shoulder, even though, with Harry being so very naked, there was nothing for him to steal.

"Enough with the interrogation, Auror Potter," he breathed, giving Harry a slow push. "Lie down. You're here, so you might as well get what you paid for."

Harry scowled at first, but by now he was curious to see where Snape would take this. After a token resistance, he huffed and slumped back, wiggling his toes as he stretched out. The silk cushions were cool on his skin, while the silk of Snape's dressing gown had been warm, emitting noticeable body heat along the thin bar of muscle. Harry decided the best thing to do was to approach this bizarre confrontation as a fact-finding mission rather than a quest for pleasure. The Soft Touch contract would protect him, no matter what Snape had in mind.

"Better," Snape said, scanning him from head to toe. Then he picked up a corner of the towel and toyed with it. "We might as well dispense with this, since you won't be needing it. May I?"

Harry had already slammed his hand down to keep the towel in place. Snape cocked his head, looking beady, like a human member of the corvus family, his black hair and eyes catching reflections from the fluttering candles, the fire all over his face like hexlight, which gave his non-expression a strangely voracious cast. "What are you afraid of? That I'll hurt you? Don't worry, that's not on the agenda for tonight."

Harry raised his head. "Are you being a dick on purpose?"

"What do you think?" Snape purred, something his damaged voice made less a metaphor and more a vocal inevitability.

With excruciating slowness, he began dragging the towel off Harry's hips, sliding it out from under his clenched hand. His eyes narrowed when the shrinking towel revealed Harry's briefs, but he didn't pull any faster. There was no way Harry could ignore the soft snaking of terrycloth moving sinuously over his prick.

When only an inch remained, Snape jerked the towel free and tossed it behind him, then stood for a moment rolling his sleeves above the elbow. Harry tried to be subtle about checking, but Snape had been waiting for it and immediately held out his arm. A cloudy discolouration marked the pale underside, a nebulous bruise no longer resembling either skull or snake.

"My badge of shame," he said. "One I would give a great deal to remove. Knife, wand, I don't care which, as long as it got the job done."

Arm still outstretched, he beckoned. Harry peered up as the wooden bowl came sedately off the shelf and coasted down to hover above his stomach. Snape cupped a hand under it, and the bowl tipped a slow, rich trickle redolent of almonds into his palm. Then it righted itself and moved aside as Snape twined his hands together, taking his time oiling his palms and slicking his fingers one by one as if fitting slippery, shiny-wet gloves down onto the slender bones.

Harry cleared his throat and shifted atop the table, trying not to squirm. He felt like a wand vibrating in the presence of the magic about to lay claim to it.

Snape took up a stance at the table's midpoint and positioned his gleaming hands palm-down, not quite touching. Harry held his breath. The heavy pulse in his belly ricocheted through his balls in a slow-building throb. His stomach muscles were braced for that first contact, and he stared at Snape's bent head, his lowered eyelids, and willed him to get on with it. He kept searching for the vindictive glint he was sure still lurked behind the blank façade, the veiled mockery Snape's acerbic face had taught him to expect. Sweat gathered on the back of his neck. What was the git waiting for?

"Relax, Potter," Snape said without looking up. "Let someone else do the work for a change."

As he spoke, his hands settled in a silky glide along the curve of Harry's stomach, smoothing calmly up to the border of his ribcage and down to the waistband of his y-fronts. They retreated and met at his navel, then slid over to paw gently at his sides, hand over hand, rocking him slightly on the table's surface.

Harry let out a whuff. He was startled by the warmth, by the firm finger pads and easy, supple span of touch as Snape explored the terrain; was startled again by the almost tender pressure as Snape cupped the sensitive stretch above his hipbones and applied his knuckles in soothing circles, careful of the vulnerable organs within.

To keep his mind off his body's reaction to those trespassing hands, Harry looked away and tried counting the candles suspended in the dimness, but he lost track when Snape shifted a hand to his thigh and walked the few steps to the table's end. It left Harry's stomach a wobbly, beating drum, impatient for the touch to come back.

The slippery palm fetched up atop his ankle, finger and thumb pinching his Achilles tendon. The bowl followed obediently behind, and Harry craned partway up to watch. This time, instead of catching the oil in his palm, Snape held his hand over Harry's instep, his wrist curved and fingers pinched together in a downward-pointing spout, curiously elegant. The stream spilling from the lip of the bowl spread wetly over his knuckles and oozed down in glistening rivulets, enveloping each joint and stringing in a viscous fluid from his fingertips, breaking and sliding over Harry's bare foot.

The oil was hot, and each thick splash against his skin felt ridiculously good, but also lewd. Harry's prick appreciated both the heat and the obscenity. He drew a deep breath and let it out in a tremulous sigh.

Snape's lids rose without warning, and he trapped Harry for a moment in his nocturnal stare, a moment that stretched liquidly between them like the fine thread of oil spinning from his hand to Harry's body. The wide-ringed eyes alerted Harry to the fact that his mouth was hanging open. He shut it, earning himself one of those ghostly non-smirks. Then Snape waved the bowl away and returned his attention to what his hands were doing. His focus was hypnotic, critical and calm, and as his slim fingers closed around Harry's oil-smeared foot, it was as if the world narrowed to this one sensory experience.

Harry watched as long as he could, shivering and twitching as Snape drove his knuckles up and down the tough, sensitive skin of the sole, thumbs widening the calloused ball of his foot and pressing in, fingertips elongating his toes, descending to skim between the long spokes of his instep. A niggle in his brain finally turned into a full-blown, disorienting image of those dripping hands wrapped around his cock, applying coat after coat of warm almond oil exactly as they were doing to his foot.

He lay hastily back down and scowled at the ceiling, thinking No.

No, he wouldn't fall for it. No, he wouldn't let Snape touch his dick. Of course Snape had taught himself anatomy. After all, he'd been cooped up with healers for years. Harry's body was the equivalent of a cauldron and a table of ingredients for Snape to play with, to test for temperature and consistency, to mash into a fragrant paste and strain through a cheesecloth, simmer and stir and melt like cream, pound and boil and pour forth in a steaming, frothing –

He heard a squelch as Snape's squeezing hand pulled away from the sole of his foot, and a mildly hysterical snort flew out his nose as he realised where his thoughts had led. Sodding hell. This was mental, all of it.

"Something funny, Potter?" The stroking stopped.

"No," Harry said. Thank all the Merlins in the world that he still had his pants on. He could feel the way his bollocks splayed out between his thighs, and didn't need to look down for confirmation that the bulge at the front had got bigger. "Or yes. Maybe. Never mind. I don't think I can explain it."

The pause went on, and Harry refused to raise his head to see how thoroughly Not Amused Snape was. Then a drizzle of heat meandered its way up his shinbone, dripping down both sides of his calf. Harry could feel the silk getting stained, the cushion warm and sticky beneath him. He swallowed, suddenly remembering where this was going. They were getting close to the point at which things had gone tits-up last time. Snape's hands started petting his shin in sweeping, circular motions, working oil over the muscle and combing the hairs on his leg with blunt fingernails.

Harry kept his eyes fixed on the ceiling. Small haloes of flame bobbed in his peripheral vision, and he could see the leafy green stems of hanging plants waver minutely in the overheated air.

Then Snape picked his foot up and braced it against his midriff, nestling it above the knotted belt of his dressing gown. He was already kneading Harry's lower leg by the time Harry's brain managed to sort out the mixed signals rocketing through his body. The bottom of his foot rested on Snape's stomach, tangible through the folds of silk as it breathed in and out against his toes. Meanwhile, Snape's fingers feathered upward along the flesh of his calf, compressing and releasing, sleeking him in oil. The heel of his hand probed and dug gullies along the side of Harry's leg, the almost-pain of deep pressure giving way to tingling rushes of relief.

By the time Snape finally lowered his foot to the cushion and moved upward to repeat the hot oil ritual along his thigh, Harry was desperate to distract himself. "So are you going to tell me?"

Snape let the bowl pour for longer this time before gesturing it away. Liquid flowed across the top of Harry's thigh, shimmering soundlessly from Snape's fingertips and splashing as it landed. Snape sluiced his hand through it, swirling it over Harry's skin like syrup, soaking the elastic leg band of his briefs. Finally he rasped, "Tell you what?"

Harry turned his head, knocking his glasses askew. "What happened to you."

Pensively, the long fingers rotated his kneecap. Then both hands embraced the lateral muscles of his thigh and swam upward in a series of butterfly strokes. Leaning closer, so close Harry had a sudden fantasy of Snape licking his skin, he fanned his thumbs again and again over the slab of solid flesh, swiping crescents through the thick sheen of oil and sending ripples up Harry's skin. The hairs all got rubbed the wrong way, but it was stimulating even so, little crackles of irritation that were like pepper flakes, a spice to complement the luxurious sensation.

Harry resisted the urge to squirm and tried to keep his leg under control. To stop it from sagging open and presenting his crotch. An occasional delicate touch tapped the heat in his belly, pinching his insides in small, accelerated throbs, quickening even more when Snape's knuckles brushed his low-hanging sac.

Snape straightened then, nails scraping over the tight inner tendon, harsh and startling on the softer skin, sliding away before Harry could object. He walked back down to the table's end, and the dark smudge on his dressing gown had Harry shifting his buttocks in uneasy anticipation.

As he stood slicking Harry's foot with bare, gleaming hands, Snape suddenly volunteered, "It's a form of paralysis. The healers have helped me devise a potions regimen for suppressing the worst symptoms. Without treatment, my organs would eventually cease to function, my brain would be paralysed." He fondled Harry's foot in silence, twisting and pulling moodily at his toes. "I'm not interested in discussing my condition with you, Potter, but without medication I'd probably not last a fortnight."

Harry pushed his glasses back into place and frowned, not quite taking this in. He'd made his own funds available to cover the cost of Snape's initial treatment, but otherwise had stayed clear and not concerned himself in his recovery process. Two weeks prior to Snape's trial, he'd made a stab at approaching the man, wanting to assure him he was acting as star witness for the defence and doing everything possible to clear his name. And because, after everything he'd learned, he'd wanted to ask about his mum.

Snape – skeletal, shaky, not exactly overjoyed to be alive – had squeezed his eyes shut at the sight of Harry's face and simply turned away.

It hadn't sunk in at the time that he was incurably ill, and for some reason his admission sent a tiny shock of sadness through Harry. After all he'd done to escape the past, Snape still wasn't free.

Lying here now, naked, healthy, bottled up but not suffering from anything worse than sexual frustration, Harry made a pact with himself to stay on that table and accept whatever small humiliations Snape had come here to dole out.

As if testing his resolve, Snape bent Harry's right leg up, but instead of placing it against the existing stain on his dressing gown, he guided Harry's foot under the lapels and pressed it directly to his own body.

Harry clutched the cushions and gasped a little as the bottom of his oily foot ended up flat on Snape's solar plexus, wedged against soft, bare skin. Snape's eyelids flickered slightly, but otherwise he gave no sign of noticing Harry's reaction. With velvety strokes, he massaged his calf, caressing it, using the firm, swift passes of a sculptor's cupped palms.

Confounded, Harry lapsed into a half-helpless sensual state. He was acutely aware of Snape's naked male body pushing and breathing against his foot, nervously alive to the presence of flesh, greedy for a deeper heat, a wetter, more possessive contact. His toes curled along the ridge of rib cage. He was sorely tempted to rub upward into Snape's chest hair, or downward against –

Oh shite. Was Snape hard? Snape was hard, wasn't he. He had to be. He was doing this expressly to fuck with Harry's head. Wasn't he? Stupid question. Oh God. Why was he suddenly thinking about Snape's cock?

Without comment, and certainly without answering that question, Snape eased Harry's foot away and with a last squeeze set it down. He moved alongside the table and slopped Harry's thigh with the slippery run-off from his tapered hand, the honeyed sheen of liquid seeping between his fingers, webbing them in gold. Harry was mostly erect now, his cock a nice obvious lump, his fingers worrying anxiously at the cushion, as Snape lubricated his leg with long, polishing motions. As before, he bent close, his hands buttering Harry up with rapt intent, heat and friction criss-crossing his slippery skin.

A slow burn emanated up Harry's leg from the inside out until the muscles felt positively radiant. He floated half-alert inside this strange bubble of pleasure. For one confused moment, he considered sneaking a hand down his pants to haul his cock out, but no. He couldn't go that far. Not yet, anyway.

Then Snape traced a spot on his leg, very gently. Threads of sexual urgency gathered inside Harry, tugging rhythmically at the root of his prick, forcing tiny, ecstatic jerks from his nervous system. Desperate for a helping hand – even Snape's – he arched his hips, swelling against the snug fabric.

Ow, fuck. Fuck! Harry snapped his eyes open, incredulous. "Did you just bite me?"

Snape straightened and looked down at him, heavy-lidded. "Do you want me to stop?"

The whisper was as soft as the heat-halo around the candles, barely disturbing the silence. His thin lips glistened. Snape had pressed them to – oh God, Harry's leg. They would taste of almonds now. Harry stared at them. Snape's hands rested side by side atop his thigh, unmoving. Harry shifted and stared at them, too. Silky with light, they shimmered in the dance of candle flames. Snape's hands and Snape's mouth. They gave greasy a new meaning.

Between his thumbs was the spot that stung, where Harry had felt the pinch of teeth. His cock gave a desperate little pulse.

"Yeah," he said hoarsely. "No biting."

There was a moment's silence. Then, for the first time since the massage had begun, Snape removed his hands entirely from Harry's body and stepped back. "I see. Very well. It's your choice, Potter. Would you like me to send someone else in, or are you satisfied for now?"

"What?" Harry said. "You mean that's it?"

"You asked me to stop."

"I said don't bite me!"

"Thus bringing this session to an end." Snape wiped his hands together and summoned the towel Harry had used to cover himself.

"I'm not asking you to – are you fucking with me?" Harry hadn't meant that to come out as whingy as it sounded. Really, he was just indignant and horny.

"Would you like me to be?" Snape said quietly, as if the possibility were real.

Harry started to sit up, then realised that would undoubtedly lead to an argument, which would finish destroying what was left of the mood. He lay back again, frustrated.

His right hand strayed to the spot on his thigh. Not that it hurt, really; he was simply aware of it.

Snape's eyes tracked where he touched himself, and the towel dangled loosely in his grasp. There was a hot, very personal intensity to the way Snape watched him, steadier than the candle flames, as if he wanted to bite Harry again, as if he'd liked pressing his mouth to Harry's skin.

Then his gaze wandered upward to Harry's crotch, and Harry tensed.

Snape swung the towel back and forth a few times, staring at his erection, but in the end he turned away, blotting his hands on the terrycloth.

"All right!" Harry burst out. "Fine. I've changed my mind. Go ahead. You don't have to stop, just – " He clenched and unclenched his fists. "It's fine. Whatever."

Poised in the act of leaving, Snape glanced over his shoulder, his hunting-owl's eyes riveted on Harry. Then he dropped the towel and turned around. Harry swallowed and tried to relax as Snape paced back to him, the green silk of his dressing gown glittering under a passing candle.

A thin hand lifted, and the bowl slid under it, hovering. "You're sure you want me to continue?"

"Provided I can still say no," Harry threw in, just to be sure.

"Don't be ridiculous. You're the client, Potter. Of course you can say no."

Snape dipped two fingers, and Harry couldn't stop a surprised twitch when he reached down and laid them – a shining bead of oil trembling at their tips – across his mouth, pressing down as if shushing him. Oil leaked into the seam of Harry's lips.

Evidently Harry was entirely within his rights to say no – though not if Snape could help it.

With excruciating slowness, the fingers dragged back and forth, around and around in smeary circles. Snape spent nearly a few minutes dwelling on Harry's mouth, petting it, painting it with almond oil, until Harry went from being halfway annoyed by Snape's oral fixation to being very uncomfortably aroused. His whole face softened, yielding to the repetitive touch, and he let his jaw relax as Snape's probing fingers breached the seal and folded his lower lip down, holding it there, fingers hard and smooth on the cushiony inner skin, warm with Harry's saliva.

He couldn't keep the tip of his tongue from sliding over the smooth nails, and it jump-started the rapid, apprehensive beat of excitement in his groin again.

Fingers pulling at the slack corner of his mouth, Snape circled around and stood at the head of the table, looming over him. They stared at each other upside-down. From Harry's perspective, the infamous hooked nose took up a lot of the view. Hanging in front of that eerie composure were a few lank black strands, like congealed shadows that had escaped the hair tie.

Still staring, Snape reached for more oil, shook off the excess, then clenched and worked his fingers together. Two drops landed on Harry's forehead.

"Glasses off," Snape murmured. He drew his fingers slowly out of Harry's mouth and smeared an indentation up his cheek with his own spit.

Fumbling, Harry did as he was told, then squinted up into Snape's face. "That's the venom, isn't it?" he said, feeling the need to push back against Snape's control of the situation. "Your eyes, I mean."

Snape didn't blink. In fact, he leaned closer. "Do they disturb you?"

"I don't know," Harry said, even though the answer was "yes" and by locking eyes, he was holding the mental door open to a Legilimens. "It's hard to stop looking at them, though."

Snape smirked. This time Harry recognised the slight muscle strain for what it was. "Many species, including our own, instinctively perceive dilated pupils as a sign of threat … or sexual excitement."

He cradled Harry's cheek in his slippery hand and dunked his saliva-damp fingers in the bowl before pushing it away. Oil trickling down his palm, he cupped the other side of Harry's face and lightly rotated both thumbs, digging in. He was still bent close, the black tail of hair almost brushing the top of Harry's head. Whether or not it had been true before, his eyes were undeniably tunnels now, wide and dark but not cold, not empty, and Harry would have bet his last two promotions they could suck every filthy thought from his head.

"Fuck or fight, Potter," Snape whispered. "I suspect your hindbrain is reacting to both."

Harry licked his lips, discovering that almond oil didn't taste nearly as pleasant as it smelled. "We were always pretty good at fighting, Professor."

He expected a snide, possibly obscene comment. What he didn't expect was a long, wet hand to curl with cool precision around his throat.

Heart leaping, Harry waited for whatever happened next. It should have been sinister, a sly reminder of all the times Snape had undoubtedly fantasised about choking him. Instead, it filled him with anticipation. Microscopic pathways of response tingled outward along his limbs like streams of hot bubbles. Here and there, fading patches of it fizzed inside him like sea foam dissolving.

After a second, both of Snape's hands – hands that had gutted flobberworms, sliced mandrake roots, crushed stinksap pods, hands covered in Dark magic like gunpowder burns – slid casually back up to his face, whispering across the line from gentleness to seduction, and Harry suppressed his disappointment. He mapped both sides of Harry's face, thumbs wiping the strain from his forehead, so carefully, so reassuringly, like wings stretching open, his fingertips squeezing along the arches of Harry's eyebrows, and it was so good, so unbelievably good.

Harry forced himself to stay alert. Snape ignored his blatant staring, although the few times their eyes met, Harry saw him take note of the struggle not to succumb, and shadows of something Harry couldn't name added a layer of strangeness to Snape's face.

Then Snape nudged his eyelids shut, and even that anchor was lost as the whole room became shapeless and dark and unknowable.

Merlin. This was nothing at all like his last massage. Waves of sexual restlessness flowed inside him, a whirlpool forming and dispersing, and he could have sworn his body lengthened, that the end of the massage table suddenly seemed much further away. Seeking relief, Harry shifted his legs apart. He could feel Snape's presence exerting a tidal pull, electricity prickling in the air between them, the breathless, overcast energy of a storm building and gathering right to the edge of breaking.

A small part of him wondered – not hoped, mind you, just wondered – if Snape planned to bite him again.

Something slick ran over his eyes, and he jerked. Sensory impressions came at him from all sides: the butterfly-wing displacement of air, the moist seep of warm, satiny wetness being applied to his quivering lids, a preoccupied nasal exhale from Snape, the rustle of his dressing gown and the kiss of silk where his sleeve came in contact with Harry's cheek, the private, intensely physical musk of Snape's sweat. It filtered under Harry's skin, a boiling effervescence that made him want to twitch and swear and drag Snape's maddening hands down to his crotch.

The shadowy presence lowered over him, and Harry held his breath.

"Much as it disturbs me to admit it," Snape's ruined voice whispered, "you saved my life."

Even more confusing than the words – I did? Harry thought. When? – was the minuscule flutter against his ear that could only have been Snape's lips and the warm puffs of air that were Snape's breath. On reflex, Harry moved his head aside. Biting was one thing, but this was too much like kissing, and kissing was not on.

Still stroking his eyes over and over in hypnotic rhythm, Snape went on, "Being sentenced to Azkaban would have killed me. The expense, the difficulty of brewing the potions, the daily intake needed to keep me alive – absurd. I'd have been dead within a week." His dry tone implied although clearly you haven't wasted a single second thinking about it. "It was your testimony that kept me out of prison."

The sense of close quarters lessened. From this, Harry assumed Snape was standing upright, and he managed to breathe again. "Well," he said, almost croaking. "Good. I'm glad you're – "

"That wasn't an invitation to babble, Potter. I don't need you regaling me with lies about how overjoyed you are that I'm alive."

"'Overjoyed' might be exaggerating a bit, but I am – "

"Spare me."

Since anything Harry could imagine saying in response fell too close to the brink of piss off, he grimaced instead, and his eyes widened. He could open them now; there was nothing stopping him. How odd that he hadn't noticed.

Snape was already rolling and crumpling the shells of his ears, sliding down to rub the base as if he were a cat, then pulling upward at the tips. "No more talking. No more, if I may use the term loosely, thinking. That's not why you're here."

Harry grunted agreeably. Right. Not a problem. If this was the only way Snape could bring himself to say thank you, he wasn't going to object. Snape was welcome to do this all day, and he'd be fine with it.

The dexterous fingers started sweeping through his hair, tugging and scratching gently, combing backwards and forwards in long furrows. By now, the rest of Harry's body felt suspended, slightly off-centre of his disturbing sexual flush. He didn't mind as long as Snape kept playing with his hair.

Of course, the moment he thought it, Snape ceased petting him. The narrow hands snaked down and met where his skull joined his spine, forming a supporting wedge that lifted his lolling head and eased backwards. The pull slowly straightened the tight line of Harry's vertebrae and dragged all resistance out of his shoulders. His teeth dented his bottom lip in an unvoiced, "Fuck," as, one by one, knots of cartilage popped and stretched between the discs of his spine and everything grew looser and more elastic.

Snape set his head back on the cushion, one hand under his neck, the other reaching out for the floating bowl. Harry smiled up at him, dazed and grateful, but Snape's attention was on the tiny pool of oil running over his palm. Leaning forward, he distributed it drop by drop down Harry's left arm and started working it into the skin, his upper body curved closely above Harry's face. The dressing gown hung away from his bare chest, inviting Harry to peer inside. He saw prominent collarbones thrown into relief by the shrinking reserves of flesh, the shallow dip where muscle met breastbone, the wisps of black chest hair and uncannily smooth skin.

And Harry could smell him. He smelled the marshy, carnal scent of sweat forming on skin and trickling down armpits, short hairs curling damp with salt. It blended with the faint sweetness of stained silk, the eucalyptus-oil tang left behind by what must be Snape's daily potions. It invaded Harry's system like a drug, and he opened his mouth to breathe in more deeply.

He could feel desire mounting again. He wanted – he wasn't even sure it was Snape, or just Snape's maleness. The sparse dark hair, the nipples he could faintly see in the shadow of green silk, the humidity of underarms. The knowledge that he was lying almost on a level with Snape's cock.

If he twisted his head to one side, he'd be just about able to press his face to –

No. Hang on. No way. He wasn't that hard up, at least he hoped not. This wasn't mutual. Or even sex, really. It was therapy. He wasn't here to give. Just receive.

Interrupting his argument with himself, Snape grasped his wrist and hauled his left arm into the air.

Harry made a garbled noise as his arm was slung at a careless angle over Snape's shoulder. The git resumed rubbing, as if this were nothing worth remarking on. Baffled, Harry waited, feeling utterly ridiculous with his arm sticking up over his head, practically tucked against Snape's face. When he tried to move, Snape pulled him right back into position and stared at him for several seconds without blinking, which Harry reckoned was the closest he could get to glaring these days.

The thing was, his curled fingers kept trailing and getting tangled in Snape's increasingly dishevelled ponytail, and where his forearm rode Snape's bony shoulder, rucking up the silk as it slid back and forth, the underside where the upturned skin was most sensitive lay directly in the path of Snape's breathing. Each time Snape exhaled through his nose, it tickled.

That tickle drifted down the skittish surface and somehow got mixed up with the agreeable feeling of Snape's fingers probing and pinching the half-moons of shoulder muscle around his left socket. After a moment of this, Harry swallowed dryly and fixed his attention on a candle hovering nearby. The bobbing and flaring of the small flame soon had him blinking in rhythm with it, lulled by the silence and the patience of Snape's hands.

The sudden scrape of nails caught him off guard. Up, back, across, the soft clawing motion raked his exposed armpit. Snape even went so far as to twine the sweaty curls in his fingers and pull. The backs of his knuckles slid lightly up the inner skin of Harry's arm to his wrist, then descended, fingers hooked so the clipped nails could draw faint, tingling scratch marks all the way down.

It wasn't even the strangest thing he'd done, or the most disconcerting. It was probably just meant to fluster him. Yet Harry had to control his breathing as a recoil of absolute, insane lust hit him between his legs, tight and excited, dissolving every shred of calm he'd been lulled into feeling.

Snape shifted his grip upwards over the curve of biceps, but his eyes stayed on Harry's face, brimming with a dark, sultry almost-mockery conveyed entirely through the slant of his lids and the faint amusement curling like an apostrophe at one corner of his mouth. If Harry had been on his feet and fully clothed, that look would have had him spoiling for a fight. As it was – God. It felt as if Snape had just run a slow, assessing hand over his nether regions.

Discomfited, he rolled his head the other way. The single candle flickered directly above him while the rest maintained their distance in a starry gold ring around the walls. Harry had half a mind to sit up and blow out the light from a sense of exposure, but the other half of him was too busy wanting to rub off against the fabric of his pants and wondering what would happen if he stuck his other arm inside Snape's dressing gown and groped him.

Snape put a stop to that by wringing the muscles of his upper arm, twisting firmly in opposite directions. As his grip loosened and the flesh lapsed back into place, blood rushed to the surface. He did it again, twisting the other way this time. Harry winced with pleasure, and his right hand came a few inches off the massage table. All he wanted to do was grab Snape's head and pull it down so he could –

No. What the actual fuck. Kissing was not on.

Overhead, the flame blinked. Unnerved by his own thoughts, Harry blinked back. The candle wobbled, fluttering faster. Too late, Harry realised what was about to happen as a glint of clear, molten wax overran the melted edge and a flashing drop fell.

The wax hit his chest, and he jerked.

Not because it burned; because, at the very same instant, wet heat engulfed his index finger. Slippery and edged with teeth, it pulled off and surrounded his middle finger as the candle spit another drop.

Harry arched sideways with a gasp, rocking his weight back on one elbow. Dumbstruck, he watched the moist ring of Snape's mouth draw upward with slow, sticky sensuality. His own prick drew up with it, standing painfully at attention. Not believing Snape was doing what he could clearly see he was doing, Harry curled and straightened his now-wet fingers, feeling the faint evaporation. His outstretched thumb pressed, not entirely by accident, into Snape's thin cheek.

Changing his grip, Snape bent his head again, his parted lips slick in the candlelight, and without the courtesy of a single word, took the same two fingers to the hilt. The inside of his mouth was obscenely hot, his tongue silky and pliant, like a lubricated pillow.

He started sucking, and a deep shudder dragged through Harry's body, the rush of lust a thick, bristly rope twisting inside him. Watching Snape's mouth work around his knuckles, he reminded himself that this man had been his teacher, someone who'd watched him grow up, who'd belittled him and treated him cruelly and couldn't be trusted, someone he'd once hated so much he'd ditched all reason and morality for a chance to Cruciate the bastard. He'd watched Snape die, or thought he had, and he hadn't been sorry. Not at first.

Now, venom-smoothed and oil-smeared, the bastard had become fuckable. Flashes of heat lit the depths of his strange, blank coolness, as eerie as lightning behind cloud, too muffled to register as more than random, luminous desire. Harry's bare body prickled with his awareness of it. Desire as the scent of almonds, the shush of silk on a pale, marked arm. He could barely remember why the history between them made this a bad idea. Not now, with Snape's lips that colour, the same thin-skinned, distended, rosy flush as a needy cock.

God. He didn't want to want Snape. He didn't.

Until this moment, he would have sworn Snape didn't want to want him, either.

Two drops stung his belly, hissing on contact with the oil, a tiny ssst! like sparks snapping. The burn was brief, but Harry couldn't hide a startled grunt.

Catlike, Snape's eyelids rose. Still casually fellating Harry's fingers, he focussed through several loose strings of hair. There was no mistaking the sardonic gleam: shall I stop, Mr. Potter?

In answer, Harry crooked his fingers and pulled them out, turning sideways on the cushions so the angle wasn't as awkward. Tentative at first, he pushed their wet tips across Snape's still-open mouth, mimicking what Snape had done to him earlier.

Thank Merlin this whole encounter was covered by the confidentiality agreement.

Snape's lips were – well, not full like Ginny's, but so slippery Harry couldn't stop playing with them, fascinated by the liberties he was allowed to take. As he fumbled, self-conscious, Snape slowly turned his head from side to side, dragging the fading flush of his oil-streaked face over Harry's callused fingers. It was sensual, dirty, deceptively submissive, and he kept it up, watching Harry through half-closed eyes. Not bored. Calculating. As if to say this is how you do it, Potter.

The sight of his own hand as it trespassed upon that glistening, unresisting mouth, stretching and teasing it, stirred a strange sort of violence inside Harry. Two more drops of wax splashed down, burning, and he flinched, snorting air out his nose.

With sudden force, Snape pushed him back down onto the table and pinned his arm to his side, holding it there and leaning close to be sure Harry got the message.

"In a hurry, are we?" he whispered, the hoarseness of his voice vaguely obscene even though it was the product of physical damage. "Still inclined to act rashly? Very well. Let's see where that gets you, Mr. Potter."

He flicked oil onto the other arm and guided it up, arranging Harry's wrist alongside the scar tissue on his neck and pausing to gauge whether Harry would cooperate. Then his palms descended sleekly as if gliding down a greased pole, warm and sure, and his thin fingers started dimpling Harry's shoulder muscles like the sheathed claws of a kneading cat, just a hint of sharpness peeking through now and then.

Harry was already squirming by the time he felt the rasp of nails across his armpit. Daringly, he tangled his fingers in Snape's ponytail and got out a breathless, "Yeah, that's good. I like that."

For a split second, Snape slowed. Then he drove his nails in brisk spirals around and around, giving the tender, sweaty oval of skin and its black tuft a vigorous roughing-up. Changing tack, he gripped Harry's biceps and squeezed upward, twisting voluptuously, the muscles oozing through his hands.

More burning drops sprinkled Harry's stomach, and he twitched, the hand in Snape's ponytail catching on a metal edge. On impulse, he wiggled a thumbnail under and tried to spring the clasp.

Snape's head swivelled, and with no break in what his hands were doing, he closed his teeth around the bones of Harry's wrist.

For a long, heart-pumping second, they watched each other, Snape with his wild, dilated pupils and unnatural calm, Harry with his arm bent at an angle of maximum strain, conscious of his pulsebeat thudding the entire length of it.

The ponytail sifted through his fingers. Snape's grimace relaxed, and the pressure on Harry's wrist lessened. He lowered his arm.

Or tried to; Snape intercepted it, steered Harry's hand back to his face, and bit down. Then bit again. And kept biting, turning his hand this way and that, nipping hard and kissing the bite marks almost before they registered as pain. Harry endured it, the pinch and nuzzle, the sharp tug and Snape's hot, damp breath as he gnawed from palm to knuckles to fingertips, inflicting indignities and then sucking on the livid skin with his warm, wet mouth.

"Bloody hell," he burst out. Shaking off Snape's grip, he reached for the limp ponytail and hauled him down, close enough that his mouth just managed to connect with the thin, oily lips.

Snape reared back at once, wrenching himself free and shoving Harry down onto the table. With wide swipes of his hand, he slicked Harry's bare chest and, in a move he should have foreseen, plucked the candle from midair.

"Hey!" Harry grabbed for it, too late.

Snape held the candle to his lips and blew.

Wax spattered Harry's chest, bright and sharp and sizzling, a spray of burning beads like a meteor shower over the gleaming skin.

Through the rapid small shocks, Snape's low voice hissed, "Kissing is not part of the contract."

Then his hands were skating down Harry's front with punishing force, scraping away the wax and cutting through the oil like wiper blades. When they smoothed upward again, shaping themselves over the curves and planes of his torso, Harry arched up into them with a quick, shuddery gasp, feeling the shadow of each burn extinguished by Snape's fingers, the skin smarting in little streaks of heat. It wasn't pain, exactly, but each spot was so sensitive it felt like a dappling of light across his brain every time one was touched.

With the next sweep of his hands, Snape's thumbnails gouged his nipples. It was only with the third pass upward that Harry realised he was doing it on purpose, less shocking than the hot wax, perhaps, but no less deliberately turning a cruel gesture into an acute, aching physical thrill.

If he'd tried this earlier, Harry would have knocked his hand away and vaulted off the table, prepared to tell Snape to go to hell. Now, though, he was starting to understand. His body tingled and jumped with each rush of stimulation. His nipples, to which he rarely paid attention, seemed suddenly wired to the deep pull between his legs, translating the sharp, painful digs of Snape's nails into jolts that pulled the skin tight on his straining cock.

Then Snape's fingers zeroed in, fastening on the dull pink tips and twisting with calculated ferocity, yanking and dragging them in circles until Harry arched up with a choked sound and curled his hands over Snape's. He didn't try to pry him off. In fact, he squeezed, unsure what he was even trying to convey, writhing on the stained cushions and staring desperately up into Snape's face. Snape stared back with a heat that brought a luminous sheen to his pale, unnaturally still face, his eyes so black and hungry that Harry gasped, "Don't stop," without having the least idea what he planned to do next.

Snape's consuming stare didn't waver. He wrenched Harry's nipples roughly before letting go and using his weight to hold Harry down. Stooping, he licked the abused flesh, long, wet strokes that barely had time to cool before his tongue was back again, a sweet balm on the sore nubs. He stopped at one nipple and slurped around it, sucking, until Harry whimpered and clutched at his head.

Snape jerked back, eyes blazing, and slapped him.

It broke through the haze of sensation, and Harry started up in outrage. "What the hell was – "

Snape slapped him again. The first slap had ricocheted off his stomach; this one made a fleshy smack against the red, sucked nipple. Dishevelled and intense, Snape scattered burning palm-prints across the oily surface, his lips pressed in a thin line as his hands swung over Harry's upper body, slapping, smoothing, smacking again. Harry twisted from side to side, splayed out, shocked, as Snape laid into him, his merciless palms like small hit-and-run explosions crisscrossing his torso, patches of stinging skin blasting awake wherever they landed.

"God," he groaned as Snape grabbed and tweaked his nipples again, then dropped them and latched onto a handful of bare flesh, shaking it, squeezing until his nails sank in. Harry gasped again as Snape applied his mouth to the crescent marks, nuzzling and soothing the dented skin. The tenderness was almost more shocking than the controlled violence, and it sent a strange wave of yearning lurching through him.

Breathing heavily, Snape pushed himself up, the slight shake in his hand stirring butterflies in Harry's stomach. "Well, Potter, which shall it be?" he whispered hoarsely, "Yes or no?"

Harry knew better than to let his cock speak for him, but it sat throbbing atop his groin, aching, musky, impossible to ignore. Sweat slid down his sides.

"Yes," he exhaled, and fumbled for his briefs.

Snape slapped him in the face.

Again, for half a second, it crossed that line, and Harry almost lunged for him. But by the standards of a slap, it was almost a caress, Snape's whole hand pushing his face over sideways, tracing gullies of pressure down his cheek with gliding fingertips. Harry flopped back down, breathless, not wanting to lay bare the turmoil that sharp contact aroused.

Not just turmoil. Need.

Snape's other hand had caught him before he could do more than tug at his waistband. When several seconds passed and nothing else happened, Harry squinted up, his cheek still conscious of the imprint of Snape's hand, just in time to see him drag the clasp from his hair. The crimped black curtains straggled outward until they hung around his face in awkward waves, like a cormorant drenched by an oil spill.

Without thinking, Harry reached up. "Let me – "

"Lie still," Snape growled, landing a wallop to his thigh, considerably harder than any he'd dealt so far. Pretty sure he shouldn't enjoy that, Harry scowled, then shouted as Snape followed it up with a swift barrage of loud, flat-handed, stinging smacks and sweeping scratches, extending his reach all the way down Harry's legs. The volley of percussive impacts shook Harry all over. His nervous system jittered, aflame with crossed signals, sensory overload, the disorienting contradiction of pain blurring into bewildered pleasure, the fleetingness and speed of it making his head spin.

Trying to evade, he rolled back and forth and ended up exposing other parts of his body to that exhilarating assault. Fresh, blazing red overlaid fading pink, every scorching handprint glowing through the shimmering oil until his skin smarted everywhere, a strange symphony of throbbing and burning.

Then Snape was on top of him, his bare forearms holding Harry down, his long hair scattering over Harry's skin and soaking up the oil. His lips drew back in the sort of snarl once second nature to him; the effort it required now distorted his face. Harry shuddered at the sheer weirdness of teeth pricking his side. He tried not to be too vocal, but as the biting escalated, the need to make noise burst out of him in gasps and groans. One hand flailed up and connected with Snape's head, clenching tightly, and this time Snape didn't drive him off. He was too busy moving his harsh mouth from one spot to another, tugging, sucking, worrying, until a series of bright red rings, burning with the intensity of each bite, adorned Harry's bare belly.

The belt of the dressing gown had gone slack, and the silk spreading over Harry darkened in puddles of green. Snape continued to nip his way upward until he reached his goal and with vicious delicacy bit down. Crying out, Harry rocked his hips, wringing the oily black lock of hair tangled in his fist. A deep vein of sensual agony threaded through him, darts of pain radiating from where Snape's teeth dug into his nipple. Then Snape's tongue, his hot, soft, disturbing tongue, touched just the tip, and Harry nearly screamed.

That got the bastard's attention. Lips skinned back and mouth fastened upon him, Snape stared up from his feral crouch with the same fixed, violent hunger as a cat straddling its prey, his dilated eyes glazed with possessiveness, maxed out on threat and sexual excitement.

Panting, Harry lifted his head and stared back. His lips quivered as he resisted the impulse to yell get off! A darker part of him knocked that urge aside, not wanting to lose this, even when he arched in torment beneath Snape's teeth. A ragged red stain of filthy, awful, humiliating lust spilled under his skin, an inflammation spreading with every throb of pain. His untouched cock strained frantically.

"If you don't stop," he said desperately, "I'm going to – "

Snape's arm flew up. Harry's body braced for it, the flare, the shock, the fleshy detonation that would trigger a mindless desire to crawl under Snape's robe and writhe and cling. This had to be the fulfilment of a lifetime's dream, this condoned chance to smack him around. Snape had to be getting off on it, even though Harry suspected from those flashing hands, their sensual ferocity, the trembling attention they paid him when he proved he could take it, that simply touching him was as much a revelation to Snape as the strafing rush of smacked-open lust was to him.

He wasn't prepared for that punishing mouth to ease off, for how softly Snape licked his abused nipple. It twisted something inside him, and he gripped Snape's hair with one hand and the edge of the table with the other.

The expected slap didn't land. Instead, head pinned to his chest, Snape hooked the floating wooden bowl from the air and flipped it.

A splat of steaming liquid drenched Harry's pants, and the bowl spun away. It happened so fast he didn't even have time to yelp. The oil spread, a seeping wet weight that drooled over his hips and down between his thighs, blissfully warm.

Snape took the opportunity to disentangle himself and stagger upright. He looked as if he ought to be flushed, but except for his mouth he was dreadfully pale. A faint sheen of sweat streaked his strange, beautiful skin, reflecting back the candlelight. For a moment, Harry's dazed stare couldn't get past his lips, which were so bright – so ruddy and wet, as if they'd got in the way of his teeth while he worked Harry over. Snape held onto the massage table, clearly conserving his strength, but his attention was fully focused on Harry's crotch. Harry realised too late that he was unconsciously rubbing up into the fragrant mess soaking his groin.

Snape curved a hand out and cradled him, and they both went still, waiting to see if the world split in two. Cautious, spidery fingers wandered down Harry's bulge and explored his bollocks, inflicting slow, shallow scratches on his inner thigh before circling back up to grab him again. As casually as if crushing sap from a stem, Snape squeezed, and rivulets of oil leaked through the fabric until Harry's shaft was wet. He started sliding the pouched material up and down in a polishing motion.

Then he yanked, and the sopping fabric pulled tight. "I'd say modesty's a bit overrated at this point, Mr. Potter, wouldn't you?"

"You're cutting off my circulation," Harry said through gritted teeth.

"If you're feeling emasculated, I hardly see how that's my fault." A wand appeared from Snape's pocket, flicked, and just like that, Harry was naked. Naked and stiff and glistening in front of someone who would rather castrate him than help him come.

"Any further complaints?" Snape murmured. Without waiting for an answer, he took charge of Harry's prick, wiggled the foreskin down, and applied the pad of his thumb to the sweet spot below the knob.

Harry jolted, hit by a surge toward orgasm. "Holy fuck," he breathed, pushing himself eagerly into Snape's palm. "Yeah, more of that." He angled his hips upward, demanding friction, willing Snape to be brisk. "Come on, damn it. More. Rougher. I'm going to – "

"Are you?" Snape inquired, letting go so Harry's cock slapped down onto his belly. "You're sure of that, Potter? I think not."

Harry bit his tongue barely in time to stop an insult from flying out. "Fuck. What happened to 'you're the client'?" He blew a frustrated breath up into his fringe. Snape's outsized stare was measuring his middle, and although there way no way to tell what he was thinking, Harry would have opted for 'imminent dissection.' "Want to tell me what's going on?"

"If you don't know, Potter, then I suggest leave it to me. Now turn over. I've still got your back to do."

With an exasperated huff, Harry heaved himself over, his cheek landing in the slick of almonds, his erection stubbing and sliding against the silk cushions. He reached down to adjust himself and sneaked a quick fondle.

There was some fussing and rustling behind him, another waft of warm almond, and then Snape flattened a palm to the small of his back. The massage table sank downward at a steady pace, bumped gently, and settled. It was slightly disconcerting to find himself on the floor. Snape's hand stayed firm the entire way down. The candles wavered above him, stirring reflections as if the floorboards were a rippling, radiant pool.

All at once, half the lights went out, the glow in the room going quieter and separating into distant flickers, like pensive stars. Harry smelled rug fibres through the aroma of herbs and oil.

Snape was kneeling behind him, and Harry blinked when hands cupped his buttocks. He readied himself for a spanking, but Snape simply spread and petted his arse cheeks – and Harry had a sudden hunch he knew where this was going.

He wondered if he should say something. He wondered if not saying anything would be taken as a sign of consent.

With a whisper of wet silk and no other warning, Snape swung a leg over and sat right on Harry's arse. The dressing gown trailed behind him, and bloody hell, yes, Snape was naked underneath. His narrow, bare buttocks rested atop Harry's, and a yielding weight that could only be his bollocks draped the small of Harry's back.

"All right, that's weird," Harry muttered into the crook of his elbow.

"It's too late for fig leaves, Potter, so don't bother putting on priggish airs."

Harry shifted, sending a tight pulse into his trapped dick. "I didn't tell you to get off me, did I? Anyone would find it weird to have you sitting on them."

"Whereas I, from my current perspective, see it as the natural order of things.”

Before he could scoff, Snape’s hands shut him up simply by touching him. Harry swallowed, conscious of every place Snape's skin pressed his, the thin haunches and shanks bumping and nudging, the intense heat of his hanging genitals impossible to ignore. But that wasn't the humiliating part. The humiliating part was that Harry's cock approved. It liked Snape's weight forcing him down into the cushions, craved the heavy, humid intimacy of arse on arse, the hairy calves rubbing against his bitten skin.

Snape's balance shifted, and Harry lost the thread of his anxiety at the grip on either side of his neck. Thumbs probed between his shoulder blades, and several muscle groups in the immediate vicinity relaxed. Harry let himself drift for a minute, in thrall to how quickly Snape's fingers unpicked the knots cramping his back. He grunted once when it hurt, but even that turned out to be a deeply buried pocket of stress. When Snape dug into the pain, the heel of his hand scooping down and revolving, the lump spasmed and smoothed out.

Snape sat up then, the tip of his cock leaving a lick of moisture on the small of Harry's back. Harry wondered if he had spunk on his skin now, then his breath caught as a stream of oil hit his spine and pooled there. It was followed by the sweet glide of Snape rubbing it back and forth, up and down, in wide, easy sweeps.

The wings of the dressing gown fell forward, and Harry felt hot breath on the nape of his neck, then a bite – his prick jumped – and the low, provoking words, "You don't get to decide when to come. I do."

Harry's retort was silenced with a squeaking breath as Snape compressed his ribcage and bore down with precise strength. When he eased up, which he did by slow degrees, Harry felt as if his body floated back into position inch by inch, a channel of untrammelled pleasure opening along the sore flesh padding his bones.

"You're really good at this," he mumbled.

Snape's hands continued to slide to and fro. In the vacuum left by his silence, it occurred to Harry that this was the first time he'd ever paid Snape a compliment.

"Do you consider yourself an expert on touch, Potter?" Snape said after a moment, palms wiping over and over at a spot just below Harry's spinal socket, like a fox digging a hole.

Harry's lips had gone slack, and he didn't feel like talking just then, so he twitched his head.

The silence returned, rippling around them with a hazy eloquence Harry blamed on the slow dance of Snape's hands and the punctuation of the remaining candle flames.

"This, for example," Snape murmured, his lowered voice floating Harry down a dark tunnel. He ran his hands between Harry's shoulder blades, thumbs smoothing the flesh outward in small, delicious waves that sent pleasure all the way to his tailbone. "Do you enjoy being touched like this?"

Sharp knuckles pressed into the muscles on either side of his spine and ploughed carefully upward, startling awake tiny electrical discharges that brought him to the brink of stretching like a cat. He was helplessly aroused by the body hovering over him, the aura of trapped heat thickening between them.

“How about this?”

Harry tried to say, “Yeah,” but it came out as a slurred, confused-sounding groan.

"I arrived here three years ago," Snape whispered, "During the first months of physical therapy, I was – " He paused, and Harry stirred, not wanting him to stop. "I was touched more than I had been in my entire life. I was stroked, squeezed, massaged, manipulated – everything, short of fisticuffs, remotely conceivable to a pair of strong hands. Sometimes several pairs at once."

The next words emerged in a snarl of memory. "I hated it."

Harry hadn't expected that, and he twisted around to send a confused look over his shoulder. Snape pushed him back down. "Tell me, Potter. When I do this, do you feel helpless? Do you want to fight back?" Grumbling, Harry nodded into the cushion, and Snape said roughly, "I was ill, and I was helpless. To be that weak leaves one at the mercy of others and wanting to strike out. I was forced to learn to let myself be … touched."

A shock of lust zipped through the slipstreams of Harry's body, and he clenched his buttocks, every nerve awake.

"I had no say in the matter," Snape went on, soft and relentless. "They touched me and touched me and touched me until I couldn't stand it, and then – "

He fell silent, and Harry muffled his curiosity against the cushion, his mind reeling with images of Snape lying helpless, possibly even in this room, shuddering, struggling weakly as vague faceless people forced potions down his throat, smeared ointments on his skin, delved between his legs, turned him over and gently pummelled his arse. He strained for any clue to what Snape wasn't saying.

A heavy lock of hair slithered across his neck, and Snape exhaled the words directly into his ear. "After months of having no choice, I got what I wanted. Several postwar cases of Cruciatus poisoning were transferred from St. Mungo's, and I was left alone."

The weight on Harry's buttocks vanished as Snape rose, slid back, and settled on his thighs, pinning him down. "I re-experienced what it was like not to be touched." His voice was so distant and quiet Harry nearly raised his head, lured by the dwindling thread of confession. "I craved it, Potter. My body kept me awake at night, aching. By the end of a week it was as if I were starving. And I wondered why I'd had to live for so long without knowing I wanted this. How much I wanted this."

At the word "this," he guided his spread hands in one long, slick pass the full length of Harry's back, rolling smoothly over muscle after muscle, with just enough friction to spark chain reactions of half-painful pleasure, just enough pressure to crush resistance when Harry's back kinked. Then he withdrew again. Harry registered the sudden loss of warmth, the disturbing but somehow urgent sensation of having Snape's body cover his.

"By the time I regained the use of my limbs, I had no intention of giving this up. Of voluntarily starving my body. So I learned. To give as well as receive. To make other people want my touch. I learned to savour it as much as I savoured the feel of hands scrubbing my back while I bathed, or working salve into my scars, or twisting my nipples."

Harry couldn't help it; his hips jerked, smitten like a slap between the legs by Snape's words.

Sneaky bastard. He'd never have thought Snape's nipples could have the slightest relevance in his life. For that matter, 'Snape's nipples' wasn't something that would have occurred to him, period. But he took instantly to the thought of someone twisting them. He would rather have liked to try twisting them himself.

"Which brings me to you, Potter."

Startled, Harry peered over his shoulder. Without his glasses, Snape's wasted face was lustrous in the half-light, a side effect of its extreme smoothness and pallor and Harry's nearsightedness. Of course, Snape's nose was still harsh and aquiline, a flesh-tearing hook, although (Harry saw this thought rise up and tried to squash it) virile in a way he'd never noticed before.

He was swirling his fingers inside a small ceramic pot, which he set aside before looking Harry in the eye.

"There are things you haven't had, either. So I'm here to give them to you. To provide a lesson in being touched."

On each cheek of Harry's naked arse a firm hand descended, twin spots of heat blossoming under each palm. Snape pushed one greasy, coated finger into the crease, smearing it quickly down to his bollocks and back up again. The tip came to rest against Harry’s pucker, and Snape left it there while he murmured a spell, activating something in the unguent that woke a tender prickle of sensation.

Harry’s legs were suddenly restless, his cock downright agonised in its need for release.

"You always hated being taught by me, but perhaps this time – " Snape's finger traced a small, devastating circle. " – you'll be willing to learn."

There it was again, that strange, skin-prickling drop in pressure, the exhilarating crackle of a storm piling up. Harry shovelled furtively at the cushions with his cock until Snape's hands clamped around his arse and forced him to lie still.

"You understand what I'm going to do," Snape remarked, calm and without question.

Harry swallowed and hooked his chin over his forearm, refusing to look back. "Yeah," he said. "I understand. Go on, then. Teach me."

The cushions sloped down as Snape got to his knees. "I've been waiting for this day for a very long time," he said under his breath, and before Harry could have second thoughts, deft fingers opened his cheeks and something slender, slick, and going the wrong way sank inside him.

"Breathe," Snape said, and Harry did, his face ablaze and his heart hammering. Snape moved his finger an inch out and an inch back in, back and forth, in and out, pumping steadily as the peculiar pins-and-needles warmth infiltrated the sensitive lining of Harry's arse.

His immediate sensual world narrowed to the disorienting intrusion, the nerves buried inside him making their presence known, building up to a rapid, intense glow like radiant heat. Snape's finger was rigid and slim, almost frictionless, entering and retreating in precise jabs as if gliding through syrup.

It didn't hurt or feel unsanitary or any of the things Harry had feared. It was, however, almost unbearably strange, and Harry dug his own fingers into the cushion to keep himself anchored. Maybe the ointment contained some slow-release magic that encouraged swooning, because it went to his head all at once, leaving him dizzy.

The plunge of Snape's finger doubled in speed, strokes going deeper, the squishy slapping sound of the ointment suddenly loud in Harry's ears. With each gasp, each stab of ever-increasing frenzy, he emitted a faint moan, which turned to a sharp cry when Snape's embedded finger twisted, and his insides twinged with a bizarrely intense, piercing pleasure.

"Fucking hell," Snape whispered, and to Harry's astonishment scooped him up with an arm under his stomach and dragged him backward, roughly boosting his hips. His slick finger continued to beat its punishing rhythm directly into Harry's raised and open arse, goring him, rubbing relentlessly at his prostate while Harry squirmed and swore.

"Be still," Snape hissed and squeezed his bobbing cock. Harry's insides were so painfully stimulated and tingly he couldn't possibly control himself. Snape's sure hand jerking his cock, Snape's tireless finger fucking his arse, made him twitch and kick and pound at the cushions, sobbing in deep breaths, grinding his teeth as his orgasm crested.

"Will you just fucking come already," Snape snarled and bit him cruelly, a knife-like pain in his buttock ripping through all other sensations with an intensity that whited out his brain. Harry strained and stiffened in Snape's arms, bucking twice, shaking as pain and pleasure overtook him, indistinguishable, his come spurting in short bursts over the cushions, his mouth open in a silent scream.

Snape hung on, finger shoved up his arse, mouth sucking on the bruise he'd just inflicted. Face-down on silk that felt almost abrasive against his burning skin, Harry swayed in Snape's embrace, his head and arse both throbbing.

When Snape finally pushed him away, Harry curled up in fetal position, panting. He was only half-aware of Snape getting to his feet, of the massage table floating back into place, taking him with it, of clinking bottles and padding feet as Snape tidied up. More than anything, Harry wanted to pass out and sleep off this amazing, exhausting orgasm, but a tiny spark of alertness warned him that if he did, Snape wouldn't be there when he woke up.

So he rolled over and was rewarded with a fleeting glimpse of a fully engorged penis swinging partway out of Snape's loosely tied dressing gown, then vanishing again.

"I thought – " Harry paused to clear his scratchy throat. Across the room, Snape stopped what he was doing but didn't turn around, and Harry awkwardly pushed himself up on his elbows. His arse hurt. Not inside, where it still ached warmly, but at the spot where Snape had sunk his teeth. "I really thought you were going to fuck me."

That got the aloof bugger to turn around. In the shadowy yellowish flicker of the burned-down candles, Harry tried to read his face, but he was too bloody out of it and too nearsighted and Snape was too far away. Besides, all he wanted to do was keep sneaking peeks down the front of Snape's dressing gown to where his cock hung, hoping it would poke out again.

Snape came forward a few steps. There was something unsteady about him, something Harry didn’t think could be wholly explained by their recent exertions. His wooziness faded as it occurred to him that Snape might be overdue for his medication.

His voice, however, was still sardonic. "Only you, Potter, would imagine yourself qualified to sit your NEWTS after only one lesson. Sodomy's a rather advanced class. Not everyone is up to it. I would advise experimenting first with putting things up your arse on a smaller scale."

"Or you could do it for me," Harry surprised himself by saying. He was mostly just talking to keep Snape here, although he didn't know why. "You said it yourself. Lessons. You're a teacher, Snape. Here's your chance to teach me."

Snape tilted his head. "This is a clinic, Potter. Therapeutic massage. Fucking isn't part of the contract."

"Right." Harry rubbed his face, blinking. He couldn't understand why he felt so disappointed. "So I guess – "

The words died. Snape was leaning over him, his black eyes watching Harry's mouth, and Harry forgot whatever it was he'd meant to say. Mesmerised, he grabbed a length of Snape's hair, and Snape wrapped a hand around his neck and hauled him up. They lunged into a kiss, as if half-expecting the other to wrench away. The greasy git's tongue filled Harry's mouth, and Harry sucked and slobbered on him, not bothering to question why this seemed like the right thing to do, the thing he wanted to do. And even though he was totally spent, his body still trembled with a fierce, complicated rush of desire that had him clawing at Snape, pulling his hair, baring his teeth against the smooth, resilient skin, and groping desperately for more.

A second later, Snape shook himself loose and shoved Harry back. His hair was all over the place, and his lips had more life in them than Harry had seen all afternoon. There was a hint of triumph in his eyes.

Turning away, he walked to the door, searching in his pocket for his tinted glasses. Before shielding his eyes with them, he turned to stare at Harry.

"Remember, Potter. Kissing isn't part of the contract," he whispered, and then he was gone, the door closing silently behind him.

The End

torino10154: Art by Tripperfunster of Severus and Harry (Snarry)

From: [personal profile] torino10154


You deserve a far better comment than what I am capable of leaving but that was so fucking bizarre (in a good way, if that makes any sense) as well as phenomenally good. Marvelous fic, Brandy. Well done.
kelly_chambliss: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kelly_chambliss


So good to read PI fic again! As always, your writing is sublime; you can create a complex and layered and breath-stealing atmosphere like nobody's business (seriously -- at times I found myself holding my breath). This is the way I like to read kink: intense, but primarily a way of revealing character.

Again as always, your Snape is deep and driven; reading him is like looking into a quiet pool full of tangled twinings and darting bits of light, gone before one fully sees them. And your trademark PI similes; I lose myself in them the way Harry sinks into Snape.

A few great lines:

hands covered in Dark magic like gunpowder burns

Shadows in corners started up in confusion and then cautiously settled back again like cats disturbed from sleep.
Love the two-for-one: simile and personification. The image is so vivid.

as he made his way at a slow prowl
"Prowl" is so wonderfully le mot juste

like an echo rippling at the bottom of a well.

He was more concerned with the way Snape's presence registered on a cellular level, like an electromagnetic field, an effect he'd always had in his capacity as an unpredictable explosive force in Harry's life.
This line so captures the symbiotic tension between them and goes a long way toward making the pairing believable to me.

"For fuck's sake. Tell me you're not still an idiot with a hero complex"
I can so hear Snape. He doesn't say much, but every word of his dialogue speaks volumes about him.

Now, venom-smoothed and oil-smeared, the bastard had become fuckable.
This line deserves its own meme or something. Adjectives as art.

Flashes of heat lit the depths of his strange, blank coolness, as eerie as lightning behind cloud, too muffled to register as more than random, luminous desire.
Another perfect visual -- "lightning behind cloud"

slid his thin pickpocket's fingers over his shoulder, even though, with Harry being so very naked, there was nothing for him to steal.
Ah, Harry, you naive, sweet thing. There's everything to steal. Although maybe you'll just give it away.

Only you, Potter, would imagine yourself qualified to sit your NEWTS after only one lesson. Sodomy's a rather advanced class."
Ahaha! Vintage Snape.

Thank you for this wonderful read, my dear.
.

Profile

perverse_idyll: (Default)
perverse_idyll

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags