Harry Potter Fandom @ 05:31 pm
Author: Moth Malaise
Warnings: HBP compliant, but not DH. Anal,COMPLETE,M/M,SoloM
Word Count: 5 chapters, decent lengths, dont have a word processor on this computer to count the words.
Status: Complete. 5 chapters.
Summary: When Snape's mother dies, an unexpected clause in her will requires him to get married or forget about inheriting Prince Manor. He despairs - until a highly convenient possibility arises.
Review: For a story only 5 chapters long, its remarkably in-debth and really gets the reader into the mindset of Harry. The pacing is very well done, its easy to see how the author could have dwelled on certain topics; but s/he did a very good job in hitting all the points that needed to be hit, and not overstating anything. Generally a very sweet story and if you have a few hours I strongly suggest sitting down and reading all 5 chapters in one go. (simply because the chapters end in such terribly tormenting cliffhangers that opne CANT read just one chapter at a time).
Link to first chapter
A Problem Shared
To Mister Severus A. Snape,
With the unfortunate passing on of your mother, Eileen Prince, the Ministry of Magic wishes to inform you of the terms of her will. A property (Prince Manor), all contents of said property and all contents of Gringotts Bank Vault No. 24601 stand to be inherited by you, following the fulfilment of the necessary clauses left in your mother's will.
One clause of concern states that you are required to marry before your inheritance can be passed onto you. As current records show that you are unmarried, the Ministry regrets to inform you that should a marriage not be registered by you within a month, your inheritance will be unfortunately lost. However, if you wish to register a marriage within a month (deadline 3rd November) then your inheritance will be passed on as dictated in your mother's will.
Many regards, Aurelius Featherflick (Ministry of Magic)
"Twisted old sow," Severus spat for the fifth time that night, as he finished re-reading the letter.
Really, he should have expected something like this. His mother had assured him all throughout his miserable life that he would inherit everything - including the house. Trust the cantankerous bat to forget to mention this last little thorn in his side.
She had mentioned marriage several times. Rather, she had mentioned grandchildren. Severus was an only child, and the only opportunity Eileen had for the continuing existence of the noble name of Prince. Her desire had always been expressed in her regular Christmas letter ("And how is your family life, Severus? I don't suppose that you have found anybody to help fill those cold dungeons of yours at Hogwarts?") and occasionally when they met for a birthday or some other special family occasion. Her knowing glances when his cousin married last year were particularly aggrivating. Some comment to the effect of "You're next, Severus." She regretted it at Uncle Cassius's funeral. "You're next, Mother."
Tortive old hag.
And so she was finally gone. It was a shame, of course. No son would ever wish his mother dead, even if your mother was a rancorous rat like Eileen Prince. She had sacrificed a lot for him.
All the same, Severus’s maternal affections were beginning to wane.
As he sat by the fire, nursing a glass of wine and re-reading the letter over and over, he realised he shouldn't have expected her to go quietly. His mother was a fiery witch. She was absolutely hateful, and he would never forgive her for this, but she had been viciously clever. She’d known he'd never have gotten around to marriage by his own accord.
"And with good reason," he said furiously to himself. Realising he had descended into the first level of madness, his lip curled. "Batty old wretch." He stood and topped up his wine glass, resenting the loss of his elf-made red – he’d blame his mother. It was all her fault. "Miserable, shrivelled batty old wretch."
"Now now, Severus," said a pleasant voice from above his head. "There's no need for that. I'm sure her intentions were nothing but good."
Relaxing in his portrait over Severus’s wine cabinet, Albus Dumbledore took another pear drop from the bag on his desk. He smiled. The expression was not one Severus wished to see, not from Dumbledore or from anyone.
He snorted. "Good intentions? My mother did not possess the phrase in her vocabulary."
He returned to his armchair, cradling his wine glass in one hand.
"She was a burden on me throughout my life, and now I don't even have my inheritance to show for it." He grimaced as a thought occurred to him. "The Ministry will turn my manor into a theme park. Snape Land. Come line up and laugh at the homeless bachelor. Free entry for under fives."
"You haven't actually lost your inheritance yet, you know," said Dumbledore mildly. He took another pear drop. "If I heard correctly, and you have read that letter out enough times for it to be entirely possible, then provided you marry you shan’t lose a thing."
Snape rolled his eyes.
"I saw that, Severus."
"Sometimes I wonder why you had to beg me to kill you," said Severus darkly.
The headmaster chuckled. "You can call me what you like, old friend. It makes little difference. The fact remains that you have an entire month to find a suitable spouse, and on the grand scheme of things, that is perfectly adequate time."
Severus took an expression that suggested his wine had been replaced with vinegar.
"Oh yes. An entirely probable possibility. Tell me, after forty-six years of barely being able to get a date, let alone a fiancée, how do you suppose I find one in a month?"
"There's a first time for everything," said Dumbledore, wisely, and his eyes twinkled.
Severus reached up to massage his temples. "I have three Hufflepuff classes to teach tomorrow. My inheritance is gone. I'm now out of wine. Perhaps I've been cursed by one of the students... or perhaps one of the faculty..." He thought, swirling the thought around his mind. "Our new Defence Against the Dark Arts 'master', and I use the term in its very loosest definition, did have his wand on his person during dinner."
"Are you still unable to call him by name, Severus? You've known Harry for ten years now. Is it not time for first name terms?"
"I am on no terms with him," said Snape coldly. He got to his feet. "I can despair about my horrific life in the morning... perhaps a nightmare or two will make me feel a little more positive about the world. Good night Albus."
"Good night, Severus. Sweet dreams. Do try not to fret."
Leaving Dumbledore with his pear drops, Severus moved through to his bedroom. He took with him the letter and the bottle of wine.
* * *
Meanwhile across the school, Hogwarts’ youngest member of the staff was having trouble of his own.
Professor Potter had been teaching for about a month now, and suddenly understood why his own teachers had always looked so very pleased when Friday came around.
Today, Sunday, was always a gloomy day at the staff table. Conversation was minimal, consisting of the occasional murmur that they might finish off another load of marking tonight, several people expressing the desire for alcohol. Harry had actually invested in a generous bottle of firewhiskey. Minerva was right; it was wonderful stuff.
"I admit I've been relying on an extra glass since becoming Headmistress," she confided in him tonight at dinner. "The stress is something entirely different, Potter. It can be tiring when you first start as a teacher, but you'll settle into a routine rather quickly. Perhaps in a few years when you've gotten used to it, you'd consider taking over as Head of Gryffindor?"
"Don't do it Potter," Snape muttered next to him, causing Harry to snort into his potatoes.
Laughing, or nearly laughing, at one of Snape's jokes had been an unthinkable prospect three years ago.
At seventeen-years-old, Harry had believed, like the rest of the Wizarding world, that Snape was nothing more than a murderer and a traitor. If it weren't for Minerva McGonagall, Snape would quite possibly be languishing in a cell in Azkaban at this very moment.
"Albus trusted the man," she said vehemently, every time a member of the Order expressed doubts. "And Albus Dumbledore made no mistakes."
Against all their knowledge, and with the single-handed brilliance that made her as efficient a leader as Dumbledore had ever been, she located Snape and demanded the truth from him. She had his name cleared at the Ministry of Magic. Most miraculously, she coaxed him back to teach at Hogwarts. Harry still wouldn't have believed Snape's innocence if it weren't for Dumbledore's will. The Ministry found nothing but a file of documents in his Gringotts Vault, tied with string. Those documents, written in Dumbledore's hand, were shown to any member of the Order who ever raised concern about Snape.
Harry himself had been shown shortly after he turned eighteen. The story was complex, and more than a little startling. Snape had made some Unbreakable Vow to kill Albus Dumbledore, something about Draco Malfoy, thoroughly intending to break it and die. Snape repeated this himself in front of the Ministry while under the influence of Veritaserum. He said Dumbledore had refused to let him die. It was written in Dumbledore’s own hand - "It is my wish, and my decision, that Severus Snape shall end my life if he must. He is indispensable as a spy for the Order, and a protector of the Wizarding world."
Since then, it had been a strange life Harry led.
He continued to work for the Order, fighting alongside Snape but barely speaking to him, right up until late last year and the fall of Voldemort. The final battle had been terrible. If it weren't for Snape's intervention, Harry would have been killed. He had never quite mastered blocking charms. Through some miracle, or perhaps just through Snape's protection, they both survived. Voldemort and the final piece of his soul were destroyed at last. They were times Harry was glad to leave behind.
After that battle, the glory they had shared, it was difficult to ignore Snape. They chatted at meetings. They even received their Orders of Merlin side by side. Harry had thought things were well between them.
Taking the Defence Against the Dark Arts job seemed to have changed Snape's mind though. They rarely talked much anymore, unless the snide comments coming Harry’s way during dinner could be classed as talking.
Fortunately, it looked as though Harry would soon have a reason to talk to Snape.
Unfortunately, it was a less than pleasant reason.
"Oh come on..." His head turned restlessly, bare back arching against the covers. His body shone with sweat, gleaming with each jerk, straining against the bed. The tickling charm skated over his inner thighs, up, along his sides, over his nipples. Still, nothing. "Please..."
Something was wrong with him. This wasn't normal. Every twenty-one-year-old in the world could get an erection - how could he be impotent?
He was young.
He'd tried, and tried, and tried and tried until thinking of it gave him a cold feeling of dread, but still he kept on, night after night, praying that something would happen. Nothing ever did. It had been this way since at least a month before his new job, so it wasn't stress. It wasn't his diet. It wasn't his age.
"Come on... oh God, please... please, just - ..."
It would work. He just had to keep trying. Something would break eventually. He reached down and cupped his balls in one hand, squeezing. He would have come in seconds from that when he was seventeen. Now he couldn’t even get hard.
He let out a mix between a moan and a snarl, thrashing. He could force it. He could. Just a bit harder, a bit faster.
It didn’t matter that he was exhausted now, the sweat on his body going cold, didn’t matter that he hated himself. He felt weak and pathetic and abnormal. Everybody could get hard. From what Ron said, he and Hermione were at it like rabbits every night, at least twice. Twenty was, after all, the male sexual peak.
Except for Harry. Where it wasn't any kind of peak. It barely constituted a hiccup. Something was wrong with him.
And so the same as every night, inevitable and unbreakable, and crushing, he gave up.
“Finite incantatem,” he gasped and the charm stopped, the pointless tickling gone. Failure crashed over him, bitter and damning. He fell back against the bed. He clasped his hands over his face.
This was it. He was a freak. There was no other possible explanation for it. He'd researched for weeks now, absent-mindedly taking books from the Restricted Section when Madam Pince was busy reprimanding students, and he'd tried the charms. He'd tried all the magic he could find. Nothing, nothing worked.
There was one thing he hadn't tried.
He'd tried to try. There was a potion that had been mentioned in several books, and it looked as if it might possibly work. Unfortunately the ingredients were not the kind lying around, and the recipe looked nothing short of back-breakingly difficult. It definitely wasn't the sort Harry could brew. He hadn't even heard of most of the required equipment.
Snape would have.
As Harry struggled out of bed, naked and cold yet again, he wondered if never getting an erection again would be preferable to looking Snape in the eye and asking, "Um, you wouldn't happen to be able to cure my impotency, would you?" It was a difficult choice.
He struggled to the bathroom, flicked on the cold taps and washed his face. A slight tremble racked him. This was becoming less of a problem, more of an obsession. It was controlling his life. Every time he caught students kissing in the corridors, or noticed young lovers passing notes in class, his stomach squirmed uncomfortably. He never had the heart to give them detention. At least they could have sex lives.
He knew that if he went to Snape, the man could make the potion for him in a heartbeat. It was Snape after all.
But how would he ever start that conversation? How could he bring up a subject like that? He laughed weakly as he imagined turning to Severus during dinner, and saying, "So, my cock. It's not working."
Was it better to go to Madam Pomfrey? Maybe she could do it subtly... she could mention to Snape that somebody had come to her with a sexual problem, and then she'd pass the potion confidentially onto Harry.
He snorted. There was no chance of that happening. For all her medical brilliance, Poppy was an insatiable gossip. She would just have to confess to Severus who it was with the broken plumbing, and that would be much, much worse than if Harry went to him personally. Maybe if he actually approached Snape with a medical problem, the other man would be professional about it.
What other choice did he have? Lifelong celibacy was an awkward prospect at twenty-one.
He sighed, took a towel and dried his face. There was nothing else. He could either swallow his pride and go to Snape, or spend the rest of his life with the sex life of a blast-ended skrewt. And for all he knew, the problem could be getting worse and worse the longer he left it.
As he pulled on his underwear and pyjamas, he decided that he would talk to Snape in the morning. It was no different to any other medical condition. Remus had received Wolfsbane from Snape all through Harry's third year. Just because it was a more intimate problem, it didn't mean it wasn't a problem.
Half-relieved and half-dreading the dawn, he curled up in bed and pulled the covers around his neck, knowing he wouldn't sleep. He was unaware that he wasn't the only one lying awake with worries that night.
* * *
Breakfast next morning was an odd affair.
Harry came down early and sat himself in the seat next to Snape's usual place, nervously buttering some toast, waiting for the older man to show. He planned to chat to Snape a bit first. If things went well this morning and then at lunch, he could ask Snape back to his rooms for a drink. It would be much better to approach the subject when they were alone, and he could talk to Snape properly.
"Morning Potter," Minerva said as she arrived, sitting herself on Harry's right. She scooped a few pieces of bacon onto her plate. "Sleep well?"
"Fine," he lied. "Are you teaching today?"
"Yes, all five lessons... Mondays are the devil's day, Potter."
"You don't need to tell me," he said.
The door to the Great Hall opened. As Snape entered the room, Harry's heart leapt. Snape looked particularly sour-faced this morning; there were dark shadows under his eyes, his grimace ever deeper. All the same, it was Snape and his arrival was the first step to being cured.
Harry poured out a mug of coffee, black with one sugar, nudging it towards Snape as the other wizard sat down. Snape looked momentarily surprised. "Thank you," he said. With a suspicious glance at Harry, he sipped.
"You look like you need it," Harry commented.
"Mm." The noise was non-committal, but Harry detected a hint of gratitude in the gravelled tones. Snape, apparently satisfied he wasn't being poisoned, drained the mug and put it down. Harry filled it again. The Potions Master watched warily. "Did I not receive the message about Let's All Be Friends Day?"
"What?" said Harry. His cheeks coloured. "Oh no, I just... well, I know what it's like. Stress, I mean."
Snape snorted. "You don't know the meaning of the word stress, Potter."
"Oh?" said Harry, his voice mild as he spooned more scrambled egg onto his plate. "Why, what's wrong? How come you're stressed?"
He caught the startled look Snape gave him, before it flickered once more into deep suspicion. "What business is it of yours?"
Harry shrugged. "A problem shared is a problem halved."
An idea occurred to him. He reached for the pumpkin juice, refilling his cup.
"If you tell me what's troubling you, I'll tell you what's troubling me. You never know. We might be able to help each other out." He drank, knowing that Snape was staring at him in alarm. He wiped his lips nervously. "A favour for a favour, and all that."
"Potter, what have you been taking?"
"Nothing, I just..." He paused. How much could he tell Snape here and now? Basic information, surely. Just a little, to keep the man interested. "I could do with some help, that's all. There's something I need from you."
"Oh?" One dark eyebrow arched. "And what is it that I could supply you with?"
Harry dropped an un-necessary glance to his watch. "There's not really enough time to explain it all... do you have any detentions tonight?"
"Not to my knowledge. Are you inviting yourself to my office at nine o' clock then, Potter?"
"I might be."
"Mmm." Snape eyed Harry, darkly, as if wondering just what was going on inside that famous head. "I shall have the coffee brewing," he quipped, with the merest drop of sarcasm.
"Fine," said Harry. He topped Snape's coffee mug for him, and the rest of breakfast passed with only light conversation between them.
Harry left for his first lesson, feeling hopeful. If Snape had some kind of problem, he could try to solve it for him - it would make the request for Impotency Potion much easier, if Snape was already in his debt.
The day seemed to pass much more happily than unusual. Harry was in an excellent mood as he carried his books back to his office after his last lesson, sat down and began the nightly marking. After dinner he read for a while, willing the hours to pass.
At last it was five minutes to nine, and Harry found himself wandering down the dungeon corridor to Snape's office, carrying a bottle of red.
It did seem a little extravagant, resorting to bribery. At least it would let Snape know he was serious. The thought that at last, after two months, he might sort out his problem... it was too much to think about. He didn't want to jinx it.
He reached the door of Snape's office and knocked softly. After a moment, there came the call from inside.
"Come in, Potter."
Harry eased down the handle and let himself in.