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Sunday, October 24, 1998 ---- 8:22 p.m.

"Yes," Albus simply said, in answer to Harry's frantic question.

So the Dark Mark had been seen hovering over Wolverhampton. Severus frowned. He valued his privacy, but if the Dark Lord was becoming more active, he'd have to start reporting the occasional flares in his mark to the Order.

The moment Albus had spoken, Harry had more or less collapsed into a chair, his features twisted. Well, he always had let his emotions show far too much. "I was hoping we were wrong," he said dully. "He killed someone, then. Or his Death Eaters did it for him."

"Yes," Albus said again, the word gentle. And then, with a hint of tension, "Severus?"

Severus understood the unspoken plea. Pulling a chair close to Harry, he sat down too, and took Harry's hand in his, lacing their fingers together. No point now in trying to feign indifference in front of Albus. The old wizard knew better, and anyway, Harry was more important than the slight embarrassment of Severus being known to care about his young lover.

"The news said the whole family was presumed missing, I think," said Harry, who bit his lip the moment he'd finished speaking. "They're all dead? Were there children, do you know?"

"Their deaths are not your fault. That is what I know," said Severus, squeezing Harry's fingers in a firm grip.

"Of course they are. I should have tried harder, I should have started having sex with you right away instead of waiting until I wanted to-- oh." Harry twisted his face away, clearly upset that he'd said that in front of Albus.

"Harry . . ." The headmaster's voice trailed off as though he didn't quite know what to say.

Harry, though, seemed to have come to some kind of fork in the road. He looked up, his eyes narrowed in clear determination. "No, I'd been meaning to talk to you, anyway. I wanted to let you know that everything's been fine. I mean, even that. Severus has been great and I've been really happy. Well, until this came up."

"That's certainly good to hear, my boy," said Albus in a soothing voice, though Severus didn't miss the man's quick glance in his direction. Clearly, he was a little bit startled to hear Harry characterise him as "great."

"And I'm sorry I was so rude to you during the summer," said Harry, sounding like he hadn't even really heard Albus. "You know, after my birthday. That was wrong. I shouldn't have been wallowing in depression; I should have been getting my act together so this whole Wolverhampton thing could never have happened, and--"

"Harry, Severus is right," said Albus firmly. "These deaths are not your fault."

"Deaths. Plural." Harry slumped in his chair.

Severus abruptly stood up, using their joined hands to pull Harry to his feet. "Headmaster, as there's nothing to be done tonight, we'll return to my quarters, now."

Harry didn't resist, exactly, but when they were at the Floo, he tugged his hand from Severus' and turned back toward Albus. "Sir, I've been meaning to ask you-- Wait, no. Never mind."

Albus took one step closer, the wrinkles around his eyes crinkling more than usual. "Yes, Harry? You can ask me anything. I would hope you know that."

Harry gave a tiny jerk of his head, the motion jerky. "But I can't. This one's a life-altering decision. I have to talk it over with Severus."

"Ah. Of course." Still, as though he couldn't resist it, Albus moved towards then, his robes fluttering, and laid both his hands lightly atop Harry's shoulders. "I would also hope you know how proud I am of you, Harry. You truly are a most remarkable young man, and it's good to see that Severus understands that, now."

Severus very nearly scowled. Interfering old busy-body. He didn't need Albus poking his well-intentioned nose into things. Too many more comments like that, and Harry might start to wonder if Severus had come to care for him. Which would be like handing Harry power on a plate. Power over Severus.

Harry had enough of that already. He didn't need to know he had it.

"It's also good to see you two getting on so well," continued Albus.

Harry abruptly sighed, which made Severus wonder if he was thinking the same thing Severus was: that when it came to getting along, they didn't have a lot of choice, all things considered.

As Severus reached for the Floo powder on the mantle, Harry asked. "Oh. There is one thing. Have you heard from Bryerson?"

Albus slowly nodded. "I'm fairly certain you'll need to continue covering classes for the lower forms all through this week."

"Yeah, all right." Harry stepped into the Floo, clearly bracing himself for the short journey.

Severus stepped in after him and threw the powder down, relieved to be going home with Harry.


Sunday, October 24, 1998 ---- 9:08 p.m.

The moment they stepped out into the dungeons, Harry headed for the reading room where Severus kept his dining table. "Firewhiskey," he ordered in a rasping voice as he sat down.

When nothing appeared, his nostrils flared. "What, am I not allowed anything stronger than wine?"

"You might consider giving the elves a moment to see to it," said Severus mildly.

"I hate how you can be so calm." The drink came then, and Harry wasted no time in snatching it up and swallowing a big mouthful. God, but it burned going down. But that was all right. Harry thought he needed the discomfort, just now, even if it did make him cough and sputter. Severus gave him a knowing look, but Harry ignored it and swigged his drink again. The second gulp was easier.

Though not by much.

"Perhaps some ice," suggested Severus.

Harry almost told him to piss off. He wasn't sure why he was suddenly feeling so angry. It wasn't Severus' fault that Voldemort was stepping up his attacks on the wizarding world.

No, but it is his fault that he's going to tell you that you can't join the Order, Harry thought.

Ha. That was probably why Harry had wanted a drink to begin with. He'd been putting off asking about the Order all along, because he knew what Severus would say about it. Harry wasn't like any other adult; he couldn't do as he pleased. He had to do what Severus thought best.

"I don't want ice," he said, taking a deep breath before he threw back the rest of the drink. "Another," he said, slamming his glass back down to the table. "I just want to join the Order."

Severus' features tightened, as Harry had known they would. But instead of simply saying no, he took the seat across from Harry. "We should discuss the matter. Water. Room temperature."

Resentment flashed through Harry to see that Severus got his water before Harry's refill arrived. Some part of him knew it was probably a case of water being easier for the elves to procure, but mostly, he felt slighted. Like his wishes took second-place to Severus', and even the damned elves knew it! "Enjoy your water," he said, practically snarling.

At that moment a glass glimmered into existence, right alongside his hand. Harry wasted no time in snatching it up and taking another big swallow. That time he didn't even cough, though he could still feel the liquid burning as it went down his throat.

"The water's for you," said Severus. "Unless you want to go to class with a terrible hangover tomorrow."

"I'm sure you have some potion that's just brilliant for that," muttered Harry, draining his second glass dry. Fuck the water.

"It works better if you exercise some judgment to begin with."

"Look, why don't you just tell me I can't join the Order and get it over with?"

"Don't lay that at my door," said Severus, his voice no longer quite so mild. "You know perfectly well what a colossal mistake that would be. You'd be a junior member, your glorious past accomplishments notwithstanding. They'll hatch plans to vanquish the Dark Lord and they'll expect you to fall in line with them. Or were you planning to tell all and sundry that you have a far more brilliant plan of your own?"

"Like Podentes is my plan, at all!" Harry told the table to give him a third Firewhiskey, but that time, nothing appeared though he waited a good two minutes. "Oh, great. You're countermanding it, somehow!"

"Oh, yes," said Severus softly. "Because of course the elves have strict orders to let staff get roaring drunk on request. So it must be me stopping you. It couldn't possibly be any concern on the part of Hogwarts for the well-being of those in the castle's employ."

"I'm not roaring drunk!"

"You're not far off. And you're an angry drunk, it seems. I wouldn't have expected that."

"Why don't you just go fuck off, Severus? But before you do, tell the table to get me another damned drink!"

Severus suddenly got his feet, a muttered oath crossing his lips as he strode away towards the sitting room. He returned with a squat bottle of golden liquid in his hand. Harry peered at the label. Crown Royale. He'd never heard of it.

"My personal stock. By all means, get as drunk as you please," said Severus, waving for him to get on with it. "And perhaps then you'll believe that I have very little interest in controlling your behaviour, no matter how ridiculous you might get."

So Harry was ridiculous, was he? That was probably just Severus' way of trying to get him to stop. The man did seem to think insults the best way to handle things, didn't he? Look at the nasty things he'd said about James back when he'd wanted Harry to stop falling into mindlessness.

Harry wished he could fall into that again, now. So much easier than thinking. But he couldn't summon the mood on command. Really, he probably couldn't ever fall into that again. He'd started doing that because it was the best way to deal with verbal and physical abuse from Vernon fucking Dursley. And annoying as Severus might be at times, he wasn't going to abuse Harry.

And Harry knew it.

Harry had a feeling then, that maybe it was actually stupid to have a third glass of liquor, but it seemed like he had a lot more reasons to drink than not to. Death and destruction all around, and it was only going to get worse from here on out. Harry recognised the signs. He might have pretended to himself, back in that hotel room, that the news was just the news, but deep inside, he'd known better. Voldemort was moving, again. He was active. He wasn't going to stop until Harry stopped him.

And Harry couldn't, because his goddamned crossed powers were about a piss-poor as they could be. If he and Voldemort were going to face off at Quidditch, then maybe, just maybe, Harry might have some kind of chance. But as things were?

He was fucking pathetic, and everything he'd sacrificed for Cambiare Podentes had been one long waste, from start to finish.

Harry downed his third glass without even stopping between swallows, absently thinking that Muggle liquor was really very easy to drink compared to the wizard kind.

But it was just as potent, maybe. Because now Harry felt like he was reeling. But wait, no. That was probably just the Firewhiskey finally kicking in. Well, about damned time.

All at once, Harry felt calm again, like the liquor had finally singed off the worst of his upset and nervousness. So, his life was fucked up. What else was new? At least he was pretty happy with Severus. It might not last long, considering Harry was going to have to go up against Vol-- no, no, the Dark Lord, he'd been forgetting that, lately-- but anyway, if he was destined to die soon, at least he wasn't going to die a virgin, or some maudlin crap like that.

"Let's go suck ourselves fenseless," said Harry, vaguely aware that he was slurring his words. But who cared? It was the thought that counted.

Severus looked like he was repressing a small smile, though his eyes remained as angry as before. Furious, actually. "I don't think so. You'll probably get me hot and bothered and then pass out."

Harry blinked, then lurched unsteadily to his feet. "No, I'm good for it."

"Are you? Really," drawled Severus, one hand coming around Harry to help his balance. His other hand descended to Harry's crotch and palmed him. Quite crudely, really. It wasn't usually how Severus acted, Harry thought, vaguely confused.

"You're soft as a newborn kitten," said Severus, the sound of the words a little harsh. He even nipped at Harry's ear. Odd how Harry barely felt it, when at the same time he suspected he'd have a bruise there, in the morning. "You're good for bed, but nothing else."

" . . . but . . . like fucking," said Harry, barely able to come up with anything more coherent than that. Or maybe he could. "Like fucking you, Sev'rus. Like sucking you. Like--"

"You've forgotten about your burning desire to join the Order, I take it?"

The question was like a bucketful of cold water dumped on him without warning. Adrenaline running high, Harry pushed away from Severus' half-embrace. No matter that the room spun, and he had to grasp hold of the table to keep from falling straight on his arse. He could think straight; that was all that mattered.

"Yeah, and you changed the subject, didn't cha, hmm? Didn't cha?"

"You did that. You decided to discuss whose plan Podentes was. Allow me to inform you that it wasn't mine!"

"So fate fucked you, too!" shouted Harry as he shoved off the table. "Welkerm to my life! Now, I know you're got some ant up your arse about nobody knowing you're sleeping wif me, but git over it, wouldja? I wanna be in the Order, and if that means people know we're screwing, then screw them!"

"It means they would know quite a bit more than that." Severus took him by both forearms, his grip strong enough to hold Harry upright. "I don't care who knows we're together, but I do care who knows that the plan is to cross our powers. The fewer people who know a secret, the better. Or have you learned nothing from your own family history?"

"Albus could lemme in the Order and keep the plan still a secret, keep everybody else from telling me what to do--"

"You really are too drunk to be discussing this," said Severus, his voice kind of fading in and out, to Harry's ears. "If Albus has to dissuade the others from including you when it seems logical to them, it will raise questions. We don't need questions, Harry."

That made sense in a vague sort of way. Actually, Harry had the feeling that he'd thought of that before, all by himself, but it seemed like he really couldn't remember right now. Or think. He felt like he was spinning around and around even though Severus was hanging onto him, his grip tight.

"I-- I--"

"Drink as much water as you can bear and go to bed," said Severus. "And if you throw up in the night, do try to make it to the loo."

"I just wanna feel like a grown-up--" Harry gulped, all at once feeling maudlin instead of angry.

"You have not one job but two, and more responsibilities than most adults ever acquire. Joining the Order wouldn't prove anything that isn't already obvious."

When the floor started tilting at an alarming rate, Harry stepped forward to lean against Severus. That was better. Everything all around him was still gently rolling, but now, he felt safe.

"I just--"

"I know," said Severus, his hands coming up to stroke Harry's back. "When there's no more strategic advantage in keeping you out of the Order, I'll have no objection to your joining."

Harry blinked, feeling like he was hanging on for dear life. "You'll let me choose?"

"Of course." Severus gave him a slight push, then. "Go to bed, now."

Harry did, but Severus' earlier words had proved prophetic. He did throw up during the night, and he didn't make it to the loo. Severus took care of him, though. He took care of everything, helping Harry into the shower, giving him a headache potion, and settling him back into the bed he'd cleaned.

By then, Harry was sober enough to feel like a right idiot. What good did drinking do? Especially on a Sunday night when he had to work in the morning. Especially onthis Sunday night when he had to handle Bryerson's classes all by himself the next day!

And coach Quidditch in the evening.

Harry groaned.

"Just sleep," said Severus, ghosting a hand over Harry's shoulder. But the other man wasn't in bed with him. Severus was standing to the side.

"Sleep better with you," mumbled Harry, grabbing hold of Severus' sleeve and tugging. "In. C'mon."

Once Severus climbed in, Harry felt a little bit better. He moved to snuggle, his head on Severus' shoulder, his bare cock nestled against the man's thigh. Harry was too exhausted to find that arousing, but the closeness was still comforting.

He slept the rest of the night without waking once.


Monday, October 25, 1998 ---- 7:02 a.m.

Severus was fairly sure he knew what Harry's first words on waking were going to be.

"Hangover potion," Harry gasped, just as soon as Severus shook him awake.

Severus had it ready. Part of him would rather let Harry sleep it off, but he didn't want to encourage Harry to drown his troubles in drink. Besides, part of being an adult was dealing with the consequences of one's own actions.

After the things Harry had said, Severus didn't want to do anything that would suggest he was anything but a responsible grown-up.

"You understand about the Order?" he asked, uncertain how much Harry remembered from the evening before.

"Yeah, yeah," said Harry, groaning as he levered himself out of bed. "I do, actually. Why do you think I haven't demanded to join before this?"

Harry had demanded to join before, as Severus recalled, though he hadn't pressed the matter.

Harry stood and stretched, yawning, his feet planted slightly apart, his arms outstretched to either side. Good thing his eyes were closed as he did it, or he'd have seen Severus staring at the sight of his fit body put on display.

Severus' lips curled upwards as he watched Harry stretch. All the daily flying had toned his muscles to perfection. Even better than that, though, was the way Harry had completely lost his self-consciousness around Severus. His cock was nestled in its bed of black curls, a tempting peach-coloured morsel thrusting forward a little when Harry arched his back, but Harry didn't seem aware that he was naked.

He padded his way over to the connecting door, going upstairs where his clothes were kept. By the time Harry came back down, Severus had arranged for a light meal to be waiting for him. Just toast and tea.

"Thanks," said Harry, flopping into a chair. "I don't think I could face breakfast in the Great Hall. My head's still not feeling so great . . . maybe your potion needs work."

"I told you to drink the water."

"Oh, right." Nibbling at his toast a little, Harry sighed. "I always used to hate it when the teachers gave us bookwork to do, but I can't imagine running around the class supervising practicals, right now. Ha. The students today can read a chapter and outline it."

Severus held in his smile.


Monday, October 25, 1998 ---- 8:45 p.m.

Glad the day's finally over, Harry had thought on Monday night as he reached the castle gates after Quidditch practice. He felt worn clear through. After teaching all of Bryerson's sections through fourth year, he'd wanted nothing more than to sleep, but instead, he'd had to plan out his Quidditch lesson. And it had to be a good one, since the first match of the year was scheduled for the coming weekend. Harry's first thought, which was to run the same practices that he'd done the week before, wasn't really an option. Ravenclaw would throw a fit. They'd want some final edge to help them get ready for their match against Hufflepuff.

Harry groaned, and somehow got through the planning and practice, both.

But on Monday night, the Ravenclaws had been absolute hell. Harry's own fault, of course. They were nervous and anxious about the match. He could have set the rotation so some other team was the first to play, but he'd frankly not been looking forward to watching any matches involving Gryffindor or Slytherin. He wasn't supposed to be biased in favour--or against--any team.

Well, at least he didn't coach Hufflepuff until Wednesday. Though that left Harry in the odd position of being relieved that he dealt with Slytherin on Tuesday nights.

By the time he finally got back home for the evening, he'd been ready to sleep for a week, but then Severus suggested that they should go to the Room of Requirement and see if their time together in Cologne had helped their powers to begin crossing more fully. The glint in Severus' eye said that he expected it had.

The mere idea gave Harry a small burst of adrenaline. Eager to see if Severus was right, he wasn't even been bothered by the Floo journey to the seventh floor. When they emerged into the room, everything was just as they'd left it.

"Incendio?" Harry asked. "Er . . . my wand or yours?"

"Try them both," Severus had advised.

So, Harry had, using his own first. The spell appeared normal enough when he began to cast, but after a moment he'd started concentrating harder, trying to draw on as much power as he could. He tried to recapture that feeling he'd had out on the Quidditch pitch, when enough desire--and effort--could boost his magic to new heights.

"Incendio!" he yelled, his forehead furrowed, his arm flung out in a straight line as he stepped forward toward the hearth.

A fireball burst forth from the tip of his wand and exploded in the Floo. A small explosion, to be sure. Nothing dire.

But the heat had cracked three different stones, Harry noticed.

Severus staggered, stepping backwards quickly until the back of his legs collided with a chair. He promptly collapsed into it.

Harry rushed to his side. "You all right?"

"I could feel the power draining from me," said Severus, sitting up straighter. He pushed Harry away. "I'm fine now."

Harry didn't think so. "You look pale. And . . . I don't know. You're shivering." He reached out a hand towards Severus' forehead, wanting to see if his skin was cold.

Severus batted Harry's hand away. "I'm always pale. It's a momentary weakness. Don't think a thing of it. Try my wand, now."

Harry frankly thought that suggestion was supposed to distract him. It didn't work; he positioned himself so he could keep his eye on Severus this time. But at least the man was already in a chair. No danger he'd fall over, or anything like that.

Severus' wand worked equally well for Harry.

Meanwhile, Severus slumped, his eyelids flickering closed, but only for the briefest of instants.

Harry knew better than to hover over him, this time. Kneeling alongside the chair, sitting back on his heels, Harry just waited until Severus looked at him.

"Don't start," the other man said dryly. "We should have expected this. The power has to come from somewhere, after all."

"Just tell me if it weakened you more or less than you felt that time when I was flying on crossed powers," said Harry, fixing Severus with a stern look. A look that said that Severus had better not lie to him.

Severus hesitated, which told Harry as much as any single word could.

"More, then."

The other man nodded.

"And as we cross our powers further, you'll be affected more and more, still," said Harry slowly.

"Possibly. The effect on me might depend on the type of spell you cast, you realise."

Harry spotted another chair appearing and wasted no time in dropping into it. "Something's gone wrong," he said, thinking out loud. "I mean, this can't be right. I'm sure the crossing of powers isn't supposed to-- to hurt, the master wizard."

"I'm hardly hurt."

"But still! It doesn't make sense."

"The power exchange was designed to help a weak wizard," said Severus, shrugging. He had a crystal goblet of water in his hand, and was sipping at it as he spoke. "You're far from weak. I told you from the start that things might not work as expected in our case. Perhaps our exchange is a bit more . . . extreme in nature."

Harry started to say something, only to have Severus cut him off.

"But that is what we need, Harry. Only something truly extreme will rid the world of the Dark Lord, once and for all."

"But if a normal spell weakens you, what will an Unforgivable do?"

"I don't know," said Severus. "Though I will point out that Avada Kedavra may well not be the best way, or indeed, any way at all, to kill the Dark Lord. I don't know all he's done to make himself resistant to death, but I can't imagine he hasn't thought of that spell."

"Yeah, of course," murmured Harry.

"Regardless, you're not to hesitate," said Severus, his voice stern. "In the thick of battle, you're to think only of what needs to be done. Only that, Harry. Nothing else."

Harry licked his lips and saw a goblet appear for him, as well. His was filled with wine, though. Ugh. Not what he wanted. He wondered how the room could be misreading him, like that. "But what if I kill you when I kill him?"

Severus chuckled, though Harry didn't see anything remotely amusing. "You take things too literally. Incendio didn't set me alight, did it? Believe me, I plan to live a long and rewarding life after the spectre of the Dark Lord is banished forever."

His eyes were glittering as he said it, and Harry wasn't sure if he was thinking of the Order of Merlin he might get, or if the reward he had in mind was Harry himself, enslaved, for the rest of his life.

Harry gulped. That would be all right; he knew that now. Not what he would have chosen, not what he would have wanted, but all right, all the same.

But the thought of Severus dying . . . that wasn't all right. Even though it would set Harry free. How could Harry enjoy his freedom, knowing it had been bought at such a price?

"You're still thinking the worst," said Severus, getting up from his chair. "Stop it. Stop it this instant. I didn't invoke the rite with you so that you could hesitate at this late juncture. I want this. I want him gone, and you're to pay heed to what I want, aren't you?"

Yes, Harry was. If he didn't, then all of this had been for nothing. And if Harry didn't do everything he could to kill Voldemort, then Severus was a dead man, anyway. Or worse than dead. Voldemort would torture him horribly--

Severus wasn't done speaking. "Moreover, you're making too much of this. There's nothing, nothing to suggest that I'm in any danger whatsoever. I get dizzy for an instant when the power rushes out of me. You're not to worry about it."

Harry couldn't help but worry, but he could also see that it wasn't going to do either one of them any good for him to say so.

"Now, let's see what else you can do," Severus sternly instructed.

By then, Harry had long since burned through his adrenaline rush. He felt about as exhausted as Severus looked. But Severus was right about one thing: if Harry didn't use these crossed powers, everything he'd gone through would be for nothing.

Everything they'd both gone through.

Harry tried a few more spells. As with Incendio, he could deliver them with more power than ever before. He could lift heavy weights using magic, now, instead of being limited to feathers or books. But there was never any danger that he'd accidentally cause effects he hadn't intended; he had to concentrate in order to use their crossed powers.

If he didn't think about needing more power, his spells behaved exactly the same as they always had.

Each time he pulled power from Severus, the other man seemed to be able to feel it, but it never did cause anything more than a moment's weakness. Even when Harry pulled out more and more power, the effect on Severus appeared to remain the same. Perhaps it was just the shock of the transfer starting each time?

So . . . perhaps he was worrying for nothing.

By the end of the evening, something else was bothering Harry. "Aguamenti that looks like a fire hose is certainly an improvement, but I can't believe it's going to be enough." He sighed, feeling discouraged. "Our powers had better cross a lot more or they won't be good for very much."

Severus, still sitting in his chair, raised his shoulders slightly. "I expected it to be a process."

"And the more I please you, the more it moves along," murmured Harry. Something seemed to click in his mind. "This past weekend, you know how you were giving me loads of opportunities to obey you? That must be it. That must be what's causing our powers to cross more. So we have to keep that up, and do even more of it. Would you mind telling me what to eat, and things like that? I mean, anything to convince the spell."

Severus had a slight frown on his face. "Harry . . ."

Harry set his jaw. "I know, I know, you don't want a slave. And I don't particularly want to be one, especially not that kind, fawning over your every word, but if it helps us cross powers, then we have to, Severus."

"I don't think abject obedience will help us cross powers faster, though," said the other man quietly. "It's not what I want from you."

"Well, we have to try," shouted Harry. Part of him was aware that shouting wasn't very submissive, and demanding things from Severus certainly wasn't, but this was too important to let go. "Wolverhampton, remember? People died. And they wouldn't have, if I'd got my act together sooner! And is what I'm asking so hard? I'm the one who'll have to obey you. All you have to do is tell me what to do!"

Severus' frown was a scowl, by then. "Fine."

Harry nodded, the motion definite. "Fine. Right."

"Floo downstairs and go to bed."

That wasn't the kind of command Harry had been expecting, but since he felt too worn out, it was probably just as well. Besides, the room still didn't contain a bed. If Severus wanted to have sex, one would have appeared, right?

Huh. Harry didn't want to have sex, anyway. But somehow the idea that Severus wasn't interested, either . . . he didn't like that. "Um . . . naked?"

Severus shook his head, his voice still dark. "Not tonight. Just go to sleep. I'll be down a bit later."

"But what are you going to do?"

"I need to think."


Another scowl, this one much deeper. "Just Floo downstairs and go to bed."

Harry clenched his teeth. "Don't treat me like--"

"Like what? A slave? I thought that was what you wanted!"

"It's what I think we need!"

Severus leaned closer to him and spoke in rasping tones. "Then do as I have said!"

Harry's nostrils flared, but then it seemed that there was nothing left to do except obey.






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