Author: Athea (
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Harry/Severus
Title: The Child of Love, part three
Date: 25 December 2001

When I woke up, I was plastered along Severus' side with my head on his shoulder. Oops, he was probably going to be unhappy about that but at the moment I was too comfortable to worry about it. He hadn't had another nightmare that I could tell and when I moved my head a little, I could see that he was still asleep.

All the frown lines had smoothed away and he looked like an older edition of the young boy I'd seen in the headmaster's window. My hand was on his bare chest and I could feel the steady thump of his heartbeat. That was a rather comforting sound and I lay there and just enjoyed it while I thought about what had been said the night before.

He was prepared to do his best for the prophecy but only if I took control. I wasn't sure exactly what that meant. Dumbledore was right about his feelings of inadequacy. He really did fear that he would be like Voldemort. And that just wasn't possible. Severus would never hurt me or cause me to be hurt. I wasn't sure how I knew, I just did. But how did I convince him of that?

Breathing deeply, I realized that I liked the way he smelled. Sandalwood and some kind of musk that I'd smelled before in the potion's lab. It was just uniquely him. Suddenly, I wondered what he would taste like and I stuck my tongue out to lick his skin. His mouth had tasted sweet and now his skin did, too.

"Harry, what in the world are you doing?" His voice was sleep roughened and I caught a sleepy dark gaze when I looked up.

"I wondered if you tasted as good as you did last night." I leaned up on one elbow and watched him blush. "May I please have another kiss?"

"Now?" He looked a little shocked but his eyes dropped to my lips so I figured that he was okay with it.

Leaning in, I slowly laid my lips onto his. He gasped a little and that opened him up for me to come inside. He was hot and his tongue immediately sought mine so we could rub together. That felt wonderful and my fingers stroked his skin, marveling at how smooth it felt. But finally we had to breathe and I watched him open dazed eyes to look at me.

"My goodness." His voice was faint that made me feel pretty satisfied. "Harry, you are quite ... good at that."

"Thank you. I wouldn't be very good if it wasn't you that I was kissing." I realized that with a flash of intuition. I wasn't doing this for Headmaster Dumbledore anymore or even for the prophecy, I was doing it for Severus. His eyes widened and I could see a bit of fear there so I leaned in and kissed him again until he relaxed. When I pulled away this time, I smiled and jumped out of bed . "Last one into the shower has to make breakfast."

I dashed into the bathroom between our rooms and turned the water on, hoping with all my heart that he would follow. I was biting my lip and trying not to be too disappointed when I felt the whisper of another body behind mine. Turning, I smiled happily and welcomed him in. It was fun showering with somebody else and we played until the water suddenly went cold.

I dressed in my bedroom while he dressed in his. He was all lean muscle that I'd traced with soapy fingers from his head to his toes. Severus was bigger than me ... everywhere but he'd only twitched when my hands ran down his legs. I'd been half-hard by the time he'd finished washing me and he'd run a gentle finger over the tender skin that had me biting my lip. For a moment I thought he might really touch me but his hand had started to shake and I'd been quick to pull him to his feet.

We had time for more later.

By the time I got downstairs, there were already good smells coming from the kitchen. I set the table and held the plates for the eggs and ham. The teakettle whistled and he made tea while I put our breakfast on the little table by the big window. Pretty soon we were eating and I practically inhaled everything on my plate.

"You needn't hurry, Harry. I promise to make more if you want more." His little smile was great to see and I grinned at him with a nod because my mouth was full.

He got up and fried two more eggs for me and I finished them while he slowly drank his tea. I watched him and wondered what he was thinking. He caught my eye and blushed a little. "Severus, what shall we do today?"

"I ... don't know, Harry. This is so far outside my experience that I don't know what we should do." He was still flushed and I wanted to protect him from everything, but most especially his bad memories.

"Then I'd like to take a long hike, come back here for lunch and then do some reading. Would that be all right?" I watched him nod. "Good, after I wash the dishes we can go."

He dried after I washed and we took a pair of walking sticks by the back door before we set out. Everything was so green around us and I couldn't help but see that we were deep in a Scottish burn surrounded by craggy mountains. When I asked him where we were, he chuckled a little and gave me a history of this hidden valley. It was only accessible by magic and thus the Muggles never even knew it existed.

That felt right somehow and I felt freer than I ever had before, safe and protected. Within an hour we'd reached a small lake and he showed me how to skip stones across the choppy deep blue waves. But when he spotted a small brown head, he caught my arm and pointed. We sat down on the rocky beach side by side and soon an entire family of river otters popped up to play.

They had no fear of humans because so few came here. Severus was able to smile at their antics and he whispered that sometimes he pictured some of the other instructors as otters or hawks or other animals. I had done that too and we shared some of our favorites with each other. That felt better than good and I found myself leaning against him with my hand on his knee and his arm around me.

"Harry, you must promise me something." Severus looked down at me with such an odd look in his eyes. "If I ever do anything that frightens you, you will tell me to cease and desist. If I hurt you in any way at all, you'll leave me and get to safety."

"I promise, Severus. But you must promise me something, too." This was serious and if we were to have even the smallest chance of fulfilling the prophecy, I needed to know that he was being open with me. "If ever I push too hard or do anything that brings up old, bad memories, you'll tell me to slow down or stop or whatever it is that you need."

He nodded and pulled me closer so he could rest his cheek on my hair. "I promise. You deserve someone so much better than me, Harry. Someone who can really love you for the bright spirit that you are."

"Headmaster Dumbledore said that you had the brightest soul he'd ever known." I brought both arms around him when he shivered. "That spirit is still there, Sev. It's just hidden away beneath all the pain of being a Death Eater. Don't give up on yourself, please."

"I'll try not to." There was a quiver in his voice and I think he might have shed a few tears into my hair but then I was blotting a couple of my own on his sweater.

He held me for a long time while we watched the otters play. Only my growling stomach brought us up for the walk back to the cottage. It was almost two before we got back and he let me help him make the sandwiches that we devoured in front of the fire. We were both pretty relaxed by the time we finished and I snagged a couple of pillows from the couch to curl up on.

Severus had just put another log on the fire when I tugged him down with me. He looked a little unsure but cooperated nicely when I pulled down the blanket, too. I wanted him relaxed when we did a little light reading. I'd searched the shelves and found a copy of one of the books that I'd been reading on tantric beliefs. I firmly did not think about why Headmaster Dumbledore might have it here in his cottage.

"Now, let's see what the index has to say about sexual trauma." I said jauntily, pretending not to notice the way that his hand shook while patting the blanket over us. "Oh, there's a lot here."

He cleared his throat. "Look under power gathering."

I shot a look at him and saw the misery in his eyes before they dropped. So I looked at the subheadings and sure enough it was there, page 245-248. Turning to the first page, I started reading. Ouch, this sounded incredibly painful. I hurried to the countering of such a spell and read it out loud.

"First the traumatized partner must be made comfortable with their own body. Self- hatred is common and can have lasting effects in every part of their life. A loving touch must be soothed everywhere until no taint of what has come before is left." I stopped reading and laid the book aside. "Will you let me touch you, Severus? I've never touched anyone like that before."

His eyes were tightly closed and his hands were shaking. "He always made me come to him naked when it was time for my 'lessons'. I was flawed, he said but he would just have to make do with me until someone better came along."

Voldemort was so going to regret hurting Severus.

I vowed that as fiercely as I'd ever vowed anything before. "You are not flawed. You were so beautiful in the shower this morning. Please let me touch you."

He turned his head towards me and those dark, beautiful eyes blinked away unshed tears when he whispered. "As you wish."

There'd be none of that, I decided. "Of course, you need to touch me, too. It's only fair, so I'll know what feels good."

A tiny smile twitched the corners of his mouth when what I had said finally got through to him. "Fair has nothing to do with it, Harry."

"Good." I smiled at him and sat up to peel out of my sweater, throwing it on the couch behind us before starting to unbutton my shirt. A long slender hand stopped my fingers and I looked up into frightened eyes. "Please, Sev, I want to at least try."

"So brave, you are so brave." He took a deep breath then another before batting my hands aside so he could tackle the first button. His hands were shaking but they steadied the lower he got. Then he was slipping my shirt off and the look on his face would have made me blush if I hadn't already started to swell.

He noticed of course but all he did was slowly drift a single finger over the growing bulge. Then he pushed me down gently and unzipped my pants, drawing them off along with my underwear. I swear I could feel his gaze like a hand ghosting over my body like a caress. We'd left our shoes by the back door so all he had left were my socks then I was naked. The rug beneath us was a soft, silky weave that felt really good to my overheated skin.

I think I would have been embarrassed except for the look in his eyes, the starved look that made me swell even harder. Then those long elegant hands were moving slowly up my legs until they reached my groin and I thought I'd come without him even touching me. But then he did that one finger thing around the crown and I came all over us both.

"Oh," was all he said before bringing his finger to his mouth and licking it. If I hadn't just come harder than I ever had before, I might have laughed at the look of surprise on his face.

But I was pretty much a quivering heap at that moment, unable to respond in any way, which was probably a good thing since what he did next almost made me shout. He leaned in and lapped at my skin where I'd made a mess. His tongue was slightly raspy and his breath was hotter than the fire. I burned everywhere he licked me and my moan surprised us both.

He immediately stopped what he was doing and sent a panicked look up at me. I raised a shaky hand and touched his arm. "That wasn't a bad moan, Sev. I think it was what page 76 calls an 'oh, my God, he's licking me' kind of moan."

His eyebrow went up in that little quirk, that I used to think was sardonic. "Page 76?"

Now, I had to blush. "Um, the Wizard Kama Sutra."

"That was in the Library?" He'd gone back to his cleaning and I was having a really hard time concentrating on the conversation since most of my tiny little mind was otherwise occupied.

"Shelf 69 in the Self-Development section." I managed while wondering how he was making me hard again.

He stopped what he was doing and bit his lip to keep from laughing. "69?"

"Yeah, I thought that was pretty appropriate myself, especially when I read chapter 12 on Same Sex Loving." I was pretty proud of making him laugh out loud again. I was mostly clean now so I sat up and put a hand on his chest, just letting it rest there until he was down to a chuckle. "Please let me undress you, Sev."

If he wasn't careful he'd bite all the way through his lip. I leaned in and kissed away the pain. Well, at least the pain that I could see, there was a whole ocean inside of him that would take some time to heal. But at least he was going to try for me because he was nodding jerkily and pulling his sweater off. Then it was my turn to start unbuttoning him, slowly but surely exposing him to my gaze.

And he was beautiful. I'd seen the occasional bare boy chest after a Quidditch game when we were all changing clothes but his was so much ... bigger. His clothes hid his broad shoulders and tapering torso. He didn't have any more hair than I did but his muscles were much more defined. His nipples were hard peaks and I pushed his shirt off while wondering what they might taste like.

But the trembling ripples that raced across his skin told me that we'd gone far enough for the moment. I tossed his shirt up with mine and leaned in to kiss him again. He tasted a little different and I wondered what it could be before I blushed, remembering where his tongue had been. But my hands were still busy with the buttons on his pants. This had to be that multi-tasking that Professor McGonagall was always talking about.

With this kind of incentive, I think I could get to like it.

His skin was soft beneath my fingers except for the little raised lines that I could feel with my fingertips. He raised his hips just a little so I could slide his pants completely off and then his socks. His skin felt cool and I pulled the blanket over us both while I cuddled as close to him as possible.

"Thank you, Severus. You're beautiful everywhere." Those tremors were back but I wasn't going to push any harder right now. So I faked a yawn that turned real once my jaw almost unhinged. "I think we need a nap."

I made sure we were touching everywhere and I kissed the shoulder I was lying on. But part of my mind was plotting a campaign to free him from the old fears that had kept him a prisoner all these years. I'd discovered a rather surprising possessiveness when it came to the man in my arms.

Voldemort couldn't have him.

He was mine now.

The end for now