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Lilith Morgana

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FIC; 'Hypothesis'; Albus/Severus, R [Mar. 18th, 2006|11:36 am]
Lilith Morgana
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(I'm sorry about the ficspam as of late. Some people leave fandom, I go back to my Snapledore roots and fall in love all over again. Ah. The course of true love...)

TITLE: Hypothesis
PAIRING: Albus Dumbledore/Severus Snape
RATING: R (despite efforts, I doubt it's a NC-17)
WORDS: 2300
SUMMARY: Five things Albus Dumbledore knows about Severus Snape.
NOTES: Angsty as usual. Needy!sex with a touch of violence and degradation. (In other words, just casual Snapledore sex.) Lots of credit to the great rexluscus for the beta. This is part three of the 7spells table, of which I am convinced y'all keep enthusiastic track. The prompt (and please work with me here) is effect of impact on stationary objects. The rest of the table is here.







"... a hypothesis is a statement whose truth is temporarily assumed, whose meaning is beyond all doubt. ..."
(Albert Einstein)




One:


He wanted to be an adventurer.

When he was a boy - small in stature and already impatient, Albus imagines - he crawled up into an armchair in front of the television and drowned in a book every time his parents fought. That way he managed to read a lot. Scattered textbooks on magic with 'Eileen Mathilde Prince, Ravenclaw – steal and you will be sorry!!' scribbled on the inside of the covers. Jules Verne. A book about hedgehogs or garden plants. Or ships. His grandfather liked shipbuilding.

His father read the newspapers and no more than necessary, but his mother bought Muggle literature for Severus's birthdays and holidays. For his seventh birthday, he got Baron Munchhausen's Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia; leather-bound and with strange spelling. When he told the neighbours' girl, Maggie, that he would become a Baron himself, she laughed and threw a ball at him; instinctively, Severus displayed his first signs of magic that afternoon. They never told him what happened to Maggie, but he would always remember Baron Munchhausen.

The scent of leather remained Severus's most vivid memory of the book, even in his father's hand, as it hit his face and landed in the fireplace.



*


He wants to hurt.

He wants Albus to pull his hair hard when he kneels down to take him in his mouth; wants rough hands around his head, shoving him in place. When he's on all fours on the floor in the Headmaster's study, panting with frustration and exhaustion he wants Albus's disgust. Strength guides his long thin fingers beneath robes and undergarments, strength and devotion to whatever cause he has and Albus leans his head back against the bookshelf and spreads his legs a little. You fall to your knees far too easily, Albus thinks, wanting to shape him into something else, stroke his cheek and that horrible Mark on his arm. The first time they practice this ritual, this half-affectionate, half-harmful play, Albus tries - and Severus's eyes turn dead.

He wants to hurt. Sometimes he digs up Albus's most primeval reflexes and is hit by a scorching hex or a fist; sometimes he is satisfied with words.

Filthy. Traitor. Scum.

Albus pretends it does not have a deeper significance, pretends he isn't agreeing to it, and looks away when he has to. This is what he has built his reputation around, after all, this self-built ignorance which he is letting go piece by piece in silence and Severus sneers at the dirty secrets even as he subjects himself to punishment.

He has eager lips and blunt desperation, a tongue that moves hurriedly along the insides of Albus's thighs, his balls, the long-forgotten spots of his body, making him wonder how many pair of hands have shoved and demanded before him.

Severus's mouth is hot and dry around Albus's cock, too-sharp and cruel and he buries his fingers in the greasy scalp until the boy stops, with a low cry of pain. They are plastered together through skin and teeth, all broken edges; Severus draws a deep breath as he is forced back down, lips parted. Every time, every individual scene is a struggle for that which he already has, his eyes pale with fear whenever Albus does not respond immediately. Because afterwards when their fingers are dirty and damp, and Albus feels oddly uncomfortable, Severus always looks up for an answer.

Filthy. Traitor. Scum.

"Good," Albus mumbles. "There's a good boy."

And a soft shade of calmness sweeps over the boy's face.




Two:


The first one he killed as a Death Eater was Professor Burns, who once taught him Herbology.

Basic law of Herbology: natura non contristatur. Nature isn’t sentimental. Professor Burns taught them that there is not one poisonous plant that is completely useless for healing – not one beautiful flower that couldn’t cause death if used wrongly. Severus liked her, loved her, because of this one lesson.

"Nature is neither good nor evil," she said and ordered them to write fifteen inches on the breeding of belladonnas for medical purposes.

She spoke in clichés even as they tortured her to death.



*



He keeps his eyes closed when Albus touches him.

In the Potions dungeon, his body holds a scent of fading monkshood and elder; his breaths taste of averted consent as Albus slides a finger below the tightly buttoned collar. It's been a long winter and an even longer spring, slowly mending – grinding – the Wizarding World back together again in waves. With the first signs of summer Albus licks salty stress off Severus, surprises himself with the washed-out hunger he can feel, as the boy sighs and recoils.

Albus places kisses on the nape of his neck, the taut line of his back, thinking I'm sorry it has to be so ugly.




Three:


On Albus's own orders, he watched James and Lily Potter die.

No amount of time or alcohol would make him speak of this night; no words were uttered about it save the ones Albus dragged out of him with a force that was anything but gentle. Severus sat behind his desk. A Potions master to nobody, least of all to himself, but they had time yet to make the lie more believable. Severus sat behind his desk, hands in his lap like a prisoner before a court, and Albus pried his mind open for the second time in his life.

"I'm sorry," he told the boy afterwards. "Desperate measures for desperate times."

Severus did not look up.



*



The year Harry Potter is about to arrive to Hogwarts, Severus starts knocking on Albus's door late at night. They have already had their tea, their talks, their well-mannered frustration over misty glasses that carry their fingerprints all the way into the bedroom, but this year nothing is enough.

This year there is no satiation in him and Albus has never felt older.

"What will you tell him?" Severus asks, fidgeting with a book on a shelf, thrumming his Morse codes into the wall with fingers that feel icy despite the late August heat. He hides his unspoken questions in a broken language, wraps it in a syntax of muttered insults and desperate desires, Albus knows, and transcribes it as best he can.

"What he needs to know," he answers simply.

What I think he should know, he thinks and kisses Severus, a hand grazing his fully clothed hip. A few useful lies and a good portion of make-believe.

"Bastard." Severus reads his mind without problems these days, late at night when age and sleep deprivation take their tolls. His chin and cheeks are burning, boiling as Albus kisses him, flaring up as though he's coming too close to the core.

"Yes."

Later, near dawn when they have drained another conversation, Albus pulls him towards the desk. Presses him tight against his chest as he thrusts into him, deeper for every gasp, and Severus's fingernails draw blood from Albus's arse. He leaves red swollen streaks across Albus's body in bed; in the growing light, they almost resemble secret messages. Don't take me for granted.

They never speak of it, but as they walk into the Great Hall that September, Albus keeps his hand on Severus’s back a little longer than he usually would.




Four:


One Christmas, when he was eighteen, he and Igor Karkaroff murdered a whole family together.

In the middle of the feast, among the mistletoe and the carols - the parents and the grandparents were kept alive to watch their children being torn apart. Severus practiced the Unforgivable curses on the teenaged daughter. She had been a few years below him at Hogwarts.

Albus wonders, sometimes, if she was one of those who laughed.



*



He hates being fucked.

He growls curses beneath Albus, averts his eyes, curls his fingers on the sheets and clenches his teeth when he comes; and as soon as he can stand up again he does, clothes on and face composed as he leaves. Of course he returns as soon as his pride has recovered and he has lost patience with himself, but it's wordless, a shrug of constructed indifference, of do you really think I need this, that I couldn't restrain myself if I wanted to? Albus believes him.

The first Christmas after Voldemort's return, Albus fucks him anyway, the way he only is allowed to when Severus has had a few glasses of wine.

"We will discuss this further in the morning," Albus says and ends the hour-long debate about teaching Harry Potter Occlumency.

"You will tell me the exact same things and refuse to listen to me, you mean," Severus mutters, agreeing in his own way.

He keeps one hand on Severus's back, trailing the long spine while he undoes their robes; catching a resentful doubt in the shadows behind it, but none of it in Severus's eyes for once. He slumps down on the bed as Albus gently pushes him, hooks into him with hands and slightly intoxicated kisses that make their teeth clash. Adjusting himself comfortably on his knees on the carpet, Albus kisses the pale chest, the visible bones, and scant flesh of Severus's body, pressing down hard over nipples and navel and the black curls of hair between his legs. Ugly disastrous boy, so beautiful in certain angles. If Albus had been a man who made compliments, he would have wanted to tell him that. Severus makes a small noise and shifts position, makes more room for Albus's head. His skin is hot down there, flushed with pounding blood and anticipation, but his cock is still limp.

"On your back," Albus whispers.

Afterwards, when Severus has almost-escaped the bed, he is hindered by a strong grip around his wrist, fingers caressing his arm.

"It's only half past ten," Albus mumbles, kissing the dark-red bruise on his shoulder, where his own mouth rested a little too long. "You should stay."

He wonders if Igor did the same.

He wonders if it means anything at all.





Five:


He will survive the second war against Voldemort.



*


What little they know is cut out of time, like coldly defined fragments.

They know so little. In the dark, when the shadows have lost their homes and fall all over the rooms, Albus counts the facts on one hand; it tires him and comes down to the same thing every time: the word Horcrux has a taste that reminds him of Severus.

They have tried to melt the subject to nothing for months now, tried to tear it out of the spaces around them, masticate it with quiet fury. Severus grows colder for every morning they share, less inclined to outbursts. Albus drinks his restorative draughts and wears out his own light-heartedness. They do everything one day at the time: live, die, pretend. He tells the boy he needs someone to count on, means that he must ask someone to give up a soul to be of use. He tells the boy it's an act of trust, means I have nobody else to ask.

"But when I'm gone, Severus--"

"No."

"You haven't even heard the rest of the sentence." Albus feels very tired.

"No."

"Severus…"

"No," he hisses and turns back to his potions. He stands like that for minutes, his head slightly bent.

The following day Albus brings it up again, as they take their Sunday afternoon tea in his office. Something in the air of this room makes it easier, less appalling to form these words. It's a room accustomed to disgust.

"You will accept it, eventually." Albus says it as a statement, thinking it's true, thinking of bonds and promises running so deep they're indiscernible from the scars on Severus's hands, his stark scent. I've had you on loan, my darling boy. You always knew that.

"No," Severus says. Over and over again, as if he's trying various intonation of the single syllable. "You can't force me."

Oh, I can, Albus thinks, but says nothing. He's silent as he moves closer, silent as he sinks down beside Severus's chair, silent until he's caught the boy's gaze and its utter horrification.

"Please," he says, simply.

"Don't do that, Albus."

"Please," he says, again, his hand tight over Severus's own. Harsh fingers to drive out the right words from this loveless desperation, their mutual fear of failure. Severus spits the consent – I hope the Muggles are right about hell - much later, when his head rests against the cold wall and his fingers enclose Albus's throat. Severus forces a knee in between his legs, his teeth into Albus's lower lip and fists strangling his hair, pushing him up and down as the roles are reversed and the boy pants with anger.

"Please," Albus says for the last time. That lights something in Severus's face – a streak of the cruelty he manages to keep at bay, a touch of the Death Eater in him tearing at the surface. When Severus relents, arches back, and relaxes his hold of him, Albus is not surprised to feel his erection brush against his own stomach. He reaches for the opening of Severus's robes.

In long, slow strokes and with his mouth breathing warmth to Severus's face, Albus touches him; the boy closes his eyes as he comes, finally calm.

Albus pulls him against his own tired body afterwards, thinking about love, thinking about testaments and faith, thinking write it on my old bones, don't let me be wrong. In his hand, Severus holds the Headmaster ring, its engraved history gleaming in the light from the windows. Albus presses his lips to it.

"Precautions," he says softly. "We can't afford to fail this time."

He kisses Severus's lips, kisses his sweaty forehead.

Severus doesn't answer.

All through that night, Albus watches him sleep, counting his worries on one hand. I do love you, he thinks, wondering if the boy can tell. I do trust you, he thinks, forcing the sharp tang of doubt beneath his swollen tongue. He wonders if it means anything at all.

He knows so little.





--
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Comments:
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: lilith_morgana
2006-03-18 06:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you liked.
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[User Picture]From: bethbethbeth
2006-03-18 11:57 am (UTC)
Powerful and strong and tear-inducing. And oddly enough, the moment that touched me the most - out of so many touching moments - was one of the most simple ones: "They never speak of it, but as they walk into the Great Hall that September, Albus keeps his hand on Severus’s back a little longer than he usually would." It's so clear that Albus knows Severus and that he wants to comfort him, but it's that "a little longer" that got me, because it's never going to be long enough...and Severus is still going to have to face Harry without Albus's hand on his back. Thank you for posting this.
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[User Picture]From: lilith_morgana
2006-03-18 06:06 pm (UTC)
but it's that "a little longer" that got me

I know, it's all angst and quiet desperation with these two. :) It almost makes me want to write about a cheerful, pain-free night out or something.

I'm glad you liked, thank you for reading!
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[User Picture]From: featherxquill
2006-03-18 02:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow. So poweful and just haunted with that subtle angst - the kind that hangs over everything. The atmosphere you create is perfect, the language and character and just... wow.

And the last line kills me dead.
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[User Picture]From: lilith_morgana
2006-03-18 06:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you, dear. I'm glad you like!
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[User Picture]From: chocolate_limes
2006-03-18 03:12 pm (UTC)
Absolutely brilliant. I love it, I love the writing and the way you weave your words into a rich tapestry of imagery and beautiful descriptions and how the pace gathers around it.

Love it. <3
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[User Picture]From: lilith_morgana
2006-03-18 06:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
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[User Picture]From: cs_whitewolf
2006-03-19 03:18 pm (UTC)
Reading this was just- wow-, there's a certain breathless beauty to it that leaves you aching as you read on bit by bit. This is only really about the third 'Snapeldore' fiction that I've read, ever, and am continually impressed by just how much depth is incorporated into stories for this pairing. I hope I'm always lucky enough to read the well-written ones.

Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed this very much.
Peace,
CS WhiteWolf
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[User Picture]From: lilith_morgana
2006-03-20 07:38 am (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
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[User Picture]From: rinsbane
2006-03-19 05:12 pm (UTC)
This pairing always creates a bit of a pit in my stomach, not because I'm that much squicked by it, but because it's got to be like this, as you wrote it. You captured such an off-kilter elegance here - love that. I like the way you've broken it into segments. The pieces stand apart in sharp relief, even though they must lead to the same place. Such lovely writing.
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[User Picture]From: lilith_morgana
2006-03-20 07:40 am (UTC)
Thank you - this pairing tickles the angst-whore in me very much. :)
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[User Picture]From: perverse_idyll
2006-03-20 02:24 am (UTC)
The way you write this pairing, it seems inevitable. It seems necessary that they would turn to each other - that they'd be locked together in a web of subservience and obligation and inability to heal and need to atone. Oh, the desperate, self-punishing desire to do penance by forcing the one you love/hate to hurt you. And on Albus' side, the unwilling necessity to use love as a tool of obedience, almost as blackmail. They're well-matched, if one may speak of emotional deformities as a prelude to passion. It's an intimacy that will not save them, though. And I love the way you quietly circle this fact. Albus may be the only person merciless enough, and discerning enough, to recognize what Severus needs to keep him human. Or at least alive. And to give him that. But dear god the price he will ask in return, through no fault of his own. (Because "the times require it.") It's quite sad and fierce and - not purgative, exactly, but yes, in the manner of a Greek tragedy, it allows no emotional evasion. The story scars with beauty, then sets us loose to deal with the consequences.

Um, the short version: the way you write is like a translation from my dreamworld. You address all the half-caught yearnings and suspicions and untold, broken promises behind the bright cardboard of the canon characters. You see their dark twins, and speak their thoughts, and draw attention to their sidelong glances. I can't do this, so thank you for doing it for me. :) And it's heartbreaking, without the slightest hint of softness, but still I have that moth/flame attraction to it because it's so fucking BEAUTIFUL. *coughs*

All right, not so short. Say, the middling version, then.

Every time, every individual scene is a struggle for that which he already has, his eyes pale with fear whenever Albus does not respond immediately. Because afterwards when their fingers are dirty and damp, and Albus feels oddly uncomfortable, Severus always looks up for an answer.

Severus breaks my heart from beginning to end here. But then, so does Albus, in his own way. He's the one with the power - no, the imperative - to destroy for the greater good.

his breaths taste of averted consent This is such a Lilith observation, and one of the reasons I worship your writing.

Severus's fingernails draw blood from Albus's arse. He leaves red swollen streaks across Albus's body in bed; in the growing light, they almost resemble secret messages. Don't take me for granted. . .They never speak of it, but as they walk into the Great Hall that September, Albus keeps his hand on Severus’s back a little longer than he usually would.

Ahem. Another reason I worship your writing. You imply in a few lines a complexity other writers take several paragraphs to spell out.

Ugly disastrous boy, so beautiful in certain angles. I have a kind of fetish for reading the various ways fandom writers describe Snape, because he drives them to fashion barbs of compressed insight and conflicted empathy - perceptions that brand themselves onto my image of him, to my great and swoony delight. (Although "in certain angles" should probably be at, if you don't mind my mentioning it.)

He tells the boy he needs someone to count on, means that he must ask someone to give up a soul to be of use. He tells the boy it's an act of trust, means I have nobody else to ask.

And here we have it, the price tag, the Judas kiss. Asking Severus to give up his soul? Really, Albus is like some sort of sacred monster here, heartless and yet undeniable. The fact that he's also sacrificing himself doesn't make it any less awful.

bonds and promises running so deep they're indiscernible from the scars on Severus's hands, his stark scent. I've had you on loan, my darling boy. You always knew that.

Gods, it must be hell to be Albus.

Four more stories. I am in Snapledore heaven.
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[User Picture]From: lilith_morgana
2006-03-20 07:59 am (UTC)
Oh god, your reviews... I wish every writer had you as a reviewer! I swear you see things that I never even though of when I wrote it. Ha!

Albus may be the only person merciless enough, and discerning enough, to recognize what Severus needs to keep him human.

Yesss. You know, when Rowling said in some interview that Albus has been a very lonely person, unable to share his life with lots of people and that no, McGonagall was never that close - the Snapledore part of my brain sang with joy. :) (Because obviously she was referring to the friendship between Snape and Dumbledore, duh!) Because I do think they match. They're both so very capable. You'd want them on your side, but not necessarily in your life.

Albus breaks my heart, too, definitely.

HBP made me an Albus-fan (god, the bastard was SARCASTIC! Impatient! Unpleasant and open about it, finally!), and I'm glad it shines through that I don't wish to make him as awful as it may seem!

My replies aren't half as great as your reviews. I am humbled. :)
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[User Picture]From: perverse_idyll
2006-03-20 08:57 pm (UTC)
As long as you don't mind me spamming your journal with endless comments! I was feeling particularly verbose yesterday, sorry. But LJ allows me to give direct feedback to writers who make me happy and I LOVE that. So maybe I overdo it a little. :)

Ooh, I haven't read the Rowling interview where she talks about lonely Albus. It's the perfect missing piece. It adds a dimension to him the books don't have time to deal with. At least JKR got her act together long enough in HBP to let Albus act like a snarky, intelligent grown-up for a change, before she offed him.

Capable, yes. And agreed, who else would put up with Severus? With Albus? At least Albus has the experience to keep Severus' darker impulses in check. Except for the ones they share like a dirty secret, of course. And who but an ugly disastrous boy would keep battering himself against the erotic extremity of sex with a wrinkled 150-year old Wizard? Unless it were someone needing answers, expiation, the raw abrasion of power.

*cough* Which is also one reason why I like Severus/Harry. The potential for eliciting darkness and power, and Severus' conflicted feelings about it.
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[User Picture]From: lilith_morgana
2006-03-20 09:15 pm (UTC)
Spam makes the writer go round! :) I didn't think anyone would read my 7spells fics in the first place, my friends-list is definitely not the target audience for Albus-fics. So yay!

Severus/Harry has never been a favourite ship of mine, though. Mostly, I think, because I really don't like Harry. But there's definitely that dimension of guilt and darkness and power...

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[User Picture]From: lyras
2006-03-20 10:13 am (UTC)
Oh! I am indeed Snapledored; these two fit together so well the way you write them. Their relationship feels almost inevitable, and there's so much in this story. I like the way Snape becomes more vulnerable at Harry's approach, and the way Dumbledore reacts by holding on just that little bit longer (although even there I thought there was some ambiguity as to whether the arm is meant to be comforting or controlling).

The last section is just right, bring in Albus's doubts and love.
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[User Picture]From: lilith_morgana
2006-03-20 03:05 pm (UTC)
Ha! I'm glad I manage to Snapledore people, it's a little known but important mission in fandom, I feel. ;)

Thank you very much!
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[User Picture]From: monitorscreen
2009-04-13 08:43 pm (UTC)
Moving in its cutting sharpness. Very powerful.
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