Apprenticed to Love 37/?
Title: Apprenticed to Love 37/? Author: Eriador117 Pairing: Snape/Harry Rating: Adult Summary: Six months after the end of the war Harry turns up at Snape's apothecary to beg for a job; they both get more than they bargained for. Warnings: Au, angst, hermaphroditism, mpreg, slash, abuse. Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns the Potterverse; I just play in from time to time.
"He can't do that, can he, Severus?" Harry asked, but it was Kingsley Shacklebolt who replied.
"Malfoy is free to put up whatever defence he sees fit and this is what he's chosen to do. By making out that there are no charges to answer."
"But that's a lie!" protested Harry. "It wasn't consensual!" Harry's voice was rising on every word and he felt like everyone in the room was staring at him. He took a few deep breaths to try and calm himself down. God, this was awful. How was he supposed to stand up in front of the Wizengamot and explain all the vile things Malfoy had done to him? And now to top it all, Malfoy was pretending that Harry had wanted those same things. "I feel sick," Harry mumbled. A few moments later, Molly handed him a glass of water and patted his shoulder.
"Not to worry, Harry," said Shacklebolt. "You'll be given Veritaserum and the truth will come out."
"Harry can't take that," said Severus. "And anyway, even Veritaserum isn't fool proof. Do you really think with his years as a Death Eater that Lucius Malfoy hasn't been taking steps to make sure he's prepared if he ever has to take it?"
"Why can't Harry take it, then?" Percy demanded, puffing out his chest. "It's standard in cases like this."
"Medical grounds," Severus said, but didn't elaborate further. Harry was glad he hadn't mentioned the pregnancy quite yet, but what if the Wizengamot insisted?
Shacklebolt stroked his chin, deep in thought. "If that's the case, then Malfoy wouldn't be required to take it either."
"So it's my word against his?" Harry knew Malfoy would have access to the best lawyers money could buy. They wouldn't stand a chance against him. Malfoy's lawyers would twist everything around and make it out to be all Harry's fault after all. They didn't have enough money to get the best lawyers. In fact Harry wondered if they'd even be able to afford a bad one. The potions shop was just about breaking even and they couldn't afford to finance a long, drawn-out court case. It was as if Malfoy wanted them to give in before they'd even started.
Shacklebolt nodded. "Basically, yes, that's what it boils down to. It would be different if there were witnesses."
Witnesses? As Harry would have wanted anyone to witness all those degrading things!
"There was an elf," Harry said. "A house-elf who used to bring me food and water sometimes when I was locked in the dungeon."
"No good," said Percy. "A house-elf can't be compelled to speak out against their master. We can't summon it."
"Dobby spoke out against the Malfoys," Harry pointed out.
"That was different. He chose to do so, no one compelled him to speak out, it was his own decision." Shacklebolt patted Harry's arm, making Harry shrink back. He didn't know Shacklebolt that well and the invasion of his personal space was just too much on top of everything else today. The Auror raised his eyebrows and stepped back.
"What about Moody?" asked Severus. "He rescued Harry from the dungeons. He'd seen some of what Malfoy had done to Harry."
Too much, in Harry's opinion.
"Again, Malfoy is claiming that Harry being manacled and everything else was consensual."
They were going round in circles and Harry was rapidly feeling sicker by the minute and a headache was forming behind his left eye. He didn't want to talk about this any more. Harry glanced across at his husband, trying to tell him without words that he wanted to go home. The family dinner he'd been looking forward to had been a disaster and Harry just wanted to be wrapped up in Severus' arms and told everything was going to be okay, even if it wasn't.
"Thank you for letting us know, but I think I ought to be getting Harry home now," said Severus.
"So soon?" Molly sounded disappointed, but Harry needed out of there.
"I think it's for the best."
Once the goodbyes were said Severus and Harry took their leave and Apparated straight home.
"Severus, what did Shacklebolt mean about the manacles and everything being consensual? Surely he knew no one would want that done to them, would they?"
Both of them were lying in bed; Severus had been trying to read but his mind was elsewhere. He'd been waiting on this conversation for a while and now that the moment had arrived, he wasn't sure how best to broach things with Harry.
"Harry, do you remember when I spanked you? After your dream?"
Harry propped his elbow up and rested his head in his hand. He was blushing before he nodded.
"It's much the same thing," said Severus. "Some people like to be bound, or hurt. For sexual things."
Harry gaped at him. "You mean some people might want to be tied up and hurt? But why?"
"Because it feels good to them, or feeds a need, a desire they have. But what Malfoy did to you and BDSM are totally different things."
"BDSM? What's that?" asked Harry, sitting upright now, his gaze trained on Severus.
"In the broadest terms, it stands for bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism, domination and submission, but it covers a whole host of things. Some people like to be hurt, others enjoy seeing someone submit to them. But in that world, Harry, the people have consented to this, far different than what Malfoy did to you. That was abuse, pure and simple, since you didn't want it and didn't consent."
Harry nibbled on his bottom lip. "But what about that time Malfoy made me come? He could use that to say that since I had an orgasm, I wanted it. I didn't, Severus! I didn't!" Harry's voice rose on the last word and he was outright sobbing by the end of it. Severus pulled him against his chest and kissed his hair. "I know, Harry. I know. Ssh, it'll be all right. He won't get away with it, I promise."
At breakfast the next morning, they were surprised by someone knocking on the door to their living quarters, rather than the shop. "Are we expecting anyone?" asked Severus.
"Not that I know of. Maybe it's Molly come to see if we're all right," replied Harry. "We did leave rather suddenly."
Severus nodded and headed to the door, wondering who would possibly visit them at such an early hour. It was barely past seven. He stood gaping in shock at the woman on the step. "Aunt Agatha?" Severus hadn't seen the woman in years. She must be about sixty by now, but her face was smooth and unlined and there was only one streak of grey in her dark brown hair. Hazel eyes peered at Severus over the rim of her glasses.
"Good you're up," said Agatha, striding past him into the narrow hallway. "Can't abide laziness. Never could. Now, where's this husband of yours? I couldn't get to the wedding, but I'm here now."
In truth Severus had only sent her an invitation as it was considered the proper thing to do; he never expected her to attend. They'd been estranged for years, ever since his mother died. The last time Severus had seen Agatha it had been at his mother's funeral. He had never been one to keep in touch besides a yuletide greeting once a year.
As Severus pushed open the door, Harry stood up to greet their visitor; Harry had always been the epitome of politeness. "Harry, allow me to introduce my Aunt Agatha."
"How do you do?" said Harry, holding out his hand. Agatha shook it and then clasped both her hands around his.
"Great to meet you at last, Harry. I know of you, of course, who doesn't in these times? It's not the same though, is it? Severus, I've been here five minutes and you've yet to offer me any refreshment."
"Oh, sorry," said Severus, feeling chastised like a naughty schoolboy. "We've got some breakfast left."
"No, thank you, I already ate. Just a cup of tea for me, please."
Severus busied himself filling the kettle and getting down the tea things from the cupboard. Harry had been finding the smell of tea and coffee made him feel sick, so Severus had forgone both beverages lately. He hoped one cup of tea wouldn't induce nausea in Harry.
Once the tea was made, Severus set the cup down on the table in front of Agatha. She nodded in appreciation that Severus had used a china cup and saucer and not a mug like he would normally have done for himself.
Severus settled in the chair next to Harry and across from his aunt. "Aunt Agatha, what are you doing here?" Severus asked without preamble.
"I would have thought that obvious, my dear. I've heard about Lucius Malfoy's court case and I'm here to make sure that you win. That vile man mustn't be allowed to get away with it. Kidnapping and assaulting Harry Potter and then pretending that Harry wanted to be locked away in his dungeons for months? A blind man can see that story doesn't hold water, but money talks and Lucius Malfoy will have the best lawyers on retainer."
"So if he's got the best lawyers, how can we defeat him in court?" asked Harry listlessly. It was almost as if Harry had given up already.
Agatha smiled and tapped her nose. "I should have said second-best lawyers. The Malfoys do have money, this is true, but their assets are nowhere near that of the Princes. My dear Julian passed away three years ago and I am his main beneficiary. I am a very rich woman, Harry, and I want to use that money to help you get even with Lucius Malfoy. We will win, I'm confident of that."
"Why are you helping us?" asked Severus. "We haven't exactly been close over the years."
"No, and whose fault was that? Your Grandfather Prince, that's who. The man disowned his own daughter because she wanted to marry for love rather than settle for an arranged match. What sort of man does that to his own flesh and blood? We may not be related by blood, Severus, but I admired your mother and we were in secret contact until she died. You have also helped my son Darius when he gets into those scrapes of his. It's men like Lucius Malfoy who give Purebloods a bad name and I want to see him pay for his crimes. He shouldn't be able to get away with it. Whatever you need for the court case, whether it's lawyers, expert witnesses, specialists, however much it costs, I am paying for it. I want to do this for you both. Think of it as a late wedding present."
"I don't know what to say," said Severus. "That's very generous of you."
"Nonsense! What's family for? You're looking a bit peaky, Harry. Try some dry toast and crackers. It did wonders for my morning sickness when I was carrying Darius."
Harry's mouth opened and closed but he didn't manage to say anything besides a strange sound from his throat.
"How did you know?" Severus asked. "That Harry was pregnant?"