A Very Real Dream

by Drake of Dross

Summary: A disturbing, reoccurring dream blurs the line between dream and reality for Severus Snape.

Warnings: MPREG, slash, noncon

Rating: R

He stood in a hallway. It was a narrow hallway that appeared to go on forever. If he held his arms out to either side, both hands would be able to touch a wall made of thick stone. There were no paintings. No murals. No tapestries. No statues, gargoyles, or even a decorative trim. There were no lighting fixtures; no candles, no torches, no muggle contraptions. And, though it was dark, he could see just fine.

He realized abruptly that he was not alone. It did not alarm him, however, because he trusted the other. Utterly.

They walked down the hallway together, not touching, not speaking.

It was very quiet. Their footsteps were strangely silent on the stone floor. Only if he tried very hard could he hear even their breathing. It should have felt eerie, but it did not. He was comfortable in this hallway where there was nothing to see and nothing to hear. His companion was completely trustworthy. He knew that. He was safe here. They continued to walk.

They passed no doors, no windows, no side corridors. There were no clues to the time of day, the weather, their location. He had never been here before.

He had no memory of entering the hallway, either.

Between one moment and the next, they had reached the end of the endless hallway. They stepped into what appeared to be a bedroom. A large bed dominated the center of the room. Its drapes and coverings were a blue so dark they were almost black. It was neatly made. A bookcase lined one wall, though he recognized none of the books. He wasn't entirely sure where the impression came from, but he did not believe they were even in English.

A dresser occupied the next wall, made of darkly stained wood, and offering no insight into its owner. No pictures, no statuettes, nothing sat atop its surface but dark blue comb. The last wall was broken only by a chair of the same dark blue as the bed's drapes, and a half-opened door into what appeared to be a bathroom. The room had no windows, and was equally devoid of decorative objects as the hallway had been. It was marginally brighter in this room than the hall had been, though it also contained no sources of light.

Though he believed he had worn robes in the hall, he noticed that now wore nothing. He did not think it odd, despite that neither hand nor spell had undressed him.

His companion touched his arm, just below the shoulder, and led him to the bed. His companion, too, wore nothing. Strangely, he could not make out the other's face, or even his hair colour. This did not bother him. He trusted the other. It did not matter that he did not know who he was.

His companion lowered him gently onto the bed, arranging him so that his back lay on the thick blue quilt, and his knees hooked over his companion's shoulders. No words passed between them.

He felt the other slide inside him. Though no preparation had been done, it did not hurt. It was, in fact, oddly pleasant. He did not wonder about the fact that his own equipment remained soft even as the other's hardness thrust deeper and deeper into him with an increasing intensity. Soon, wet seed shot into him, and he collapsed weakly onto the bed. His companion disentangled himself from him, and lowered legs that felt like putty onto the blue-black quilt.

Severus Snape's eyes snapped open and darted frantically around his room. The books lining their shelves were comfortingly familiar and in English, Latin, French, German, or Russian; languages he knew and could read. His dresser was covered with potions vials and ingredient jars. The half-open closet beside the dark green chair was open and displayed robe after robe, each and every one identical to all of the others, and no sign of a toilet within. The quilt on his bed was a solid black, embroidered with a glossy black snake. No drapes enclosed it. Assured that he was truly in his own room, his breathing slowly returned to normal.

Deciding that he wasn't going to be able to sleep again after a nightmare like he had just had, he sat up, intending to accio over a bottle of Dreamless Sleep from his dresser.

Pain shot through him. Pain and Severus Snape were old friends. In most circumstances, he could ignore it without any difficulty. If not, he could at least appear not to be as bothered as he was. He had felt pain far far worse than this. But this pain was different. This pain scared him to the foundation of his soul.

This pain should not exist.

With a shaking hand, he undid enough of the buttons on his nighclothes for him to reach underneath, slide over the skin of his stomach, his hips, and down between the cheeks of his buttocks. Fear clenched his heart as his fingers encounted a sticky wetness.

"Lumos." A small, wandless ball of light appeared near his head as he drew his hand out to inspect it. His fingers were streaked red and white. A sniff of his sensitive nose confirmed the presence of blood and semen. "No," he denied, as if saying it aloud would somehow make the fluids disappear. They did not. Neither did the pain inside him. There was only one thing that could make him hurt where he hurt. But it had been only a dream. A very disturbing dream. A very real dream. But still just a dream.

Hadn't it?

He drew his wand from under his pillow and cast cleaning and healing spells on himself. He had simply had a disturbing wet dream. That was all. Go back to sleep, you paranoid Death Eater. He summoned the Dreamless Sleep potion.

The next day, he was on edge. The Gryffindors suffered the most from it. In only four potions classes, they lost just under 200 points. Minerva was furious, though he barely hear her raging at him as he poked at his dinner that night. The more he thought about the dream, the more it became obvious that it hadn't been a simple dream. The level of detail and the clarity of the memory alone was proof enough of that. The blood clinched it. A wet dream would account for semen, but not blood. Not the pain of having sexual intercourse without the neccessary preparations.

So if it wasn't a dream, that left some unanswered questions. Who was doing this to him? Why? How? Was it revenge motivated or a warning? Was it someone's twisted idea of entertainment or were they trying to throw him off-balance? Could it be self-inflicted, a psychosomatic manifestation of a vivid dream or vision? He didn't know and he didn't know how to find out.

He missed the odd look Minerva gave him as he excused himself from the table and left for his dungeon. He missed the worried glance the Headmaster shot at his retreating back. He didn't notice that he hadn't eaten a single bite, but only pushed the food around with his fork.

He returned to his chambers and cast extra wards around his bedroom. Wards to keep out people. Wards to keep out elves. Wards to keep out ghosts. Wards to keep out spirits. Wards to keep out spells. He sat in his green chair and graded some second year essays before becoming irritated by the children's ignorance and tossed the pile into a corner. He downed an extra-large dose of Dreamless Sleep, and went to bed.

It was the same hallway. Unadorned, silent, dark. He was with the same man. The one he trusted in all things. The one whose face he could not see. They walked in companionable silence down the long hallway. At the end of it was the same bedroom. The bed was in the same condition they had found it in the day before: pristine. There was no evidence that he wasn't simply repeating the same dream over.

Dream? Yes. This was a dream. He knew that when he noticed he wore no clothes. A hand touched his arm, and he let himself be led to the bed. Soon, he was on his back, with his knees resting comfortably over his companion's shoulders. The other man's hardness slid into him, and he knew that it should hurt, but it did not. Further proof that this was a dream.

In the fragment of his mind that knew this was a second reoccurance of the dream, he counted the number of thrusts the other man pushed into him, to have another point of comparison should it happen a third time. The part of him that was dreaming and enjoying it, just blissfully let himself be taken.

Severus Snape's eyes snapped opened. The knowledge that he was in his own room did nothing to calm him this time. Ignoring the pain caused by the dream, he sat up and checked his wards. Intact. Undisturbed. His heart pounded. Nobody had come in and done this to him. Nobody had kidnapped him, done this to him, and returned him. No spell had crossed the boundry of his room. Psychosomatic, then. He was doing this to himself. All he had to do was find out his subconcious reasons, rectify them, and then it would stop. Simple.

Though Divination had never been a strength or even an interest of his, he decided the easiest way to do this was to treat the dream sequence as a vision and look for symbolism. That was how he came to be at his desk at 3:20 in the morning, jotting things like no windows - possible sun phobia? down on a sheet of parchment. He frowned as he considered books in foriegn language, eventually adding as a side note insecurity about the progress on Wolfsbane development research.

At man whom I trust, he scowled and scrawled angrily, I trust no one. If the key to stopping these dreams was to start trusting, then he'd just learn to live with them. They weren't exactly unpleasant after all. He just didn't like the idea that he could give up enough autonomy to let anyone do that to him, even a dream lover. Perhaps especially a dream lover. If he were to give over that much of himself to another, he damn well better know the other's name. Particularly since the trust he felt during the dream did not extend to when he woke up. Quite the contrary. Even if the man was just a figment of his imagination, it was a figment he distrusted with every fiber of his waking self.

When he wrote bathroom where my closet is, he immediately discarded the first interpretation that came to him. His wardrobe, though lacking in varition, was not that bad. He happened to like black and billowing, thank you very much. Unable to find another explanation, he just wrote it off as coincidence. He crossed it out almost immediately, replacing it with, Shower more often? It wasn't that he disliked washing. He just tended to . . . forget. Rather like he he sometimes forgot to eat. Or sleep. Case in point. He glanced toward the clock on his wall and found that it was already almost 5am. There was no point in returning to sleep now.

He decided that he was beating a dead hippogryff when he found himself trying to give the number 26 some ultimate significance and wondering how many steps it had taken to traverse the hallway. He frowned and reviewed the 100 plus observations that he had recorded along with what they may symbolize. He pushed the sheet away and scowled, considering the dream as a whole this time.

He snorted, almost in humour, when he translated it literally: Trusting another results in getting screwed. Somehow, he didn't think that was the message his subconscious was trying to give him. It would be preaching to the converted. He had known that truth since childhood. Unless it really was a vision and it was warning him against somebody that seemed innocuous enough? Someone who, though he didn't trust them, neither was he particularly suspicious of. Someone like Moody last year. No one had suspected he was really Crouch, Jr. Snape's distrust had stemmed wholly from the distrust he held for Moody himself.

Nevermind that he wasn't prone to visions. It was still a possibility.

His thought went to the traditional seat of trouble: the Defence Against the Dart Arts teacher. The job was cursed. Even if he had ever wanted it, he would have been cured of the desire by now. Quirrel had his mind taken over by Voldemort, Lockhart lost his memory, Lupin had his secret revealled, Moody was locked into a trunk for some 10 months. If he ever took it, everybody would know he was a Death Eater by the second week, Voldemort would know he was a spy by the third, and he'd be dead by the fourth. He'd keep to Potions, thanks just the same.

The year's current professor was Arabella Figg. An Order of the Pheonix member, and the long-time safeguard for the Potter boy and his muggle family. Aside from an irritating habit of always having a cat or two with her, she had seemed fairly harmless, though Minerva, he was given to understand, may disagree on that point. Rumour held that the new DADA teacher would ambush the feline animagus at the oddest times and places and make her look at photograph after photograph of one mangy cat after another. Harry Potter was rumoured to suffer the same treatment. It was almost enough for him to feel sympathy for the two Gryffindors.

She was a competant DADA professor for all that, he did give her that much. Eccentric was probably the kindest word anyone would give her, but she did know her stuff.

He couldn't imagine that she might have anything to do with Voldemort, but the dream him had completely trusted his companion, too. He would keep his eye on the woman. Moody had been above suspicion as well.

He looked at the clock and found he had just over an hour before breakfast. He inspected the state of his hair, and estimated that it had probably been about four days since his last shower. Who knew? Maybe it would make the dream go away. He made his way toward the bathroom.

Gryffindor didn't loose quite as many points that day as they had the previous, though it was still higher than his average. The loss of Hufflepuff house points was also on the rise, victims of sharing a class with Slytherin during the last class of the day. The last class eventually ended, and he barely paused to assign a one foot essay on the properties of unicorn hair before journeying forth from his dungeons to research dream symbolism in the divination section of the library.

He sneered a bit as he took down a book entitled Dreams, A Dictionary of Symbols. He glance around to make sure nobody had seen him withdraw a Divination book from the library shelves, and froze momentarily when he saw Hermione Granger staring at him. Or, more accurately, Dreams, A Dictionary of Symbols. "Is there actually useful information in those books?" she blurted out the disbelieving question.

"Ten points from Gryffindor for impertinence."

"Sorry, Professor Snape." She looked reasonably chastised, but her gaze kept returning to the book. "But is there?"

He gave the book in his hand a nasty look of his own. "I rather doubt it."

"Then why-"

"Another ten points for annoying a teacher. Go away, Miss Granger."

She fled. Her flight, however, only took her to the History section. She claimed a table three away from his own and piled it with no less than twelve very thick books that had probably sat undisturbed for centuries on their shelves. He felt her gaze land on him as he perused the section of 'dream setting'. Apparently, a bedroom scene was indicative of the reproductive system, and a hallway was the uterus. A small room at the end of a hallway was also a uterus. The bathroom had something to do with the liver or kidneys.

Windows meant eyes, which their absence seemed to tell him he was blind. That went along with his theory that he was not as suspicious of someone as he should have been. On the other hand, the book seemed overly concerned with body parts, and neither he nor the other man even had a uterus. Theoretically, he supposed Figg did, so maybe that was the dreams way of saying the person he should watch out for was female.

Books were knowledge. Since he couldn't read them, that meant there was knowledge he didn't have. Dark blue meant he had a negative philosophy of life, but that was no surprise. A wall was the heart and emotions. The walls in the dream were all stone. Likewise the atmospher of the rooms indicated his emotional state: empty and devoid of personality. He sneered at the book. Having sex meant he was repressing his emotions too much; which rather countered the claim made by the previous two symbols that said he just didn't have any. Annoyingly, there was nothing about faceless men that the dreamer trusted implicitly.

He slammed the book closed, earning a glare from Pince, and a curious look from Miss Granger. It was the latter that made him regret the fit of temper. Nothing good could possibly come of one of that trio knowing he was researching dreams.

He returned the book to the shelf and went for a second opinion. Dreams, the Future, and You received a nasty glower, but he returned to his library table and began to flip through that one. After about five minutes, he looked to see who the author was. He was surprised to find that it was not Trelawney. Perhaps this was the piece of garbage that had taught the old fruitbat everything she knew, then. He would recommend to Albus that it be disposed of properly.

That book took a quick trip back to the shelf, since he knew that even a Death Eater didn't stand a chance against Madam Pince should he damage a library book. He did, however, cast a Notice-Me-Not spell on the offending piece of rubbish when she wasn't looking. Hopefully, that would keep any students from touching the thing and being corrupted as Trelawney had. Though, with Trelawney as their teacher, the susceptible ones would likely still be lost.

He drew out his pocketwatch and found that dinner had started several minutes ago. Toying with the idea of just skipping it, he eventually decided that it would worry Albus less if he at least made an appearance. He had already missed lunch. As he passed the study tables, he noticed Miss Granger was still buried beneath History books. "Miss Granger!" he said sharply.

She looked up, surprised that he would voluntarily address her.

"While I wholeheartedly condone such an interest in your studies, Miss Granger, you should be joining you little friends for dinner." She looked at the muggle wristwatch that she wore, and gasped in astonishment.

"Thank you, Professor Snape!"

He scowled to hide his amusement, then stalked down to the Great Hall. He took his usual seat next to Minerva. Not because he liked her mind you. She was every inch a Gryffindor. She was just a bit better than anybody else at the table. Besides, it prevented Figg from sitting next to her, and that put Minerva in his debt.

Since his persecution of Gryffindors had dropped off from yesterday, she only made a handful of comments about it this time, and spent the rest of the meal in conversation with Albus, who sat on her other side. He ignored any attempt of conversation that Flitwick made, as per usual, and merely pushed his potatoes around his plate.

"Playing with your food, Severus?" Minerva asked, amused, shortly before dessert was served. He looked down and noticed that his meal had taken the shape of the Slytherin emblem. If he were more prone to blushing, he would have. As it was, he ducked his head so that his hair fell forward and hid his face.

She chuckled quietly, and touched his arm. "It's all ri-" Her words stopped abuptly as he jerked his arm away from her touch with more force than he had intended. He normally shied away from touch. All the staff knew that. But he could normally tolerate it long enough to more subltly extricate himself from it. Long enough for the offender not to feel like she was causing pain or serious discomfort. "Severus? Are you all right?"

He nodded, even as he felt phantom fingers on his arm, only a few inches from where Minerva had touched, guiding him to a bed. Hands holding him, lowering him down. His heart rate accellerated. "Excuse me." He all but ran in his retreat to his rooms. Hands on his legs, lifting them into position. Twice, he nearly fell before finally reaching the sanctuary of his rooms, where he could collapse onto his couch as his nerves relived the twenty-six thrusts, this time without the benefit of the pain-dampening aspect of the dream.

Eventually, he came to the end of the sequence or flashback or whatever it was that had just happened. His breathing was ragged, and the stretched and plundered feeling he had awoken from both dreams with was back in full force. With a sense of impending doom and a healthy dash of terror, he began unbuttoning his his robes to inspect the physical damage.

There was a knock on his door as he stared in horror at his red and white streaked fingers. "Severus?" Albus's voice.

"I'm fine. Go away." He was only mildly surprised to hear his voice come out normal. That was all he could spare from the horror of realizing that the vision, or part of it, had happened while he was awake.

Albus hesitated, but then he conceded, "Very well, Severus. If you're sure . . ." The way he trailed off made it clear he was far from sure.

"Yes, leave." Irritability came as easily as breathing. The usual response provided the Headmaster with enough assurance to leave the potions master in peace. Severus wasn't sure if he should be relieved or disappointed that Albus once again missed seeing that he was desperately in need of some kind of help. Even if that help turned out to be a nice padded room next door to Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom. His subconscious mind had, after all, just physically raped his body while he was awake. That was not normal. That constituted a danger to self and others. At this level of mental instability, he had no business being near children.

So far, his uncontrolled magic use had hurt only himself, but how long would that last?

It was his responsiblity to the school and to Albus to report his malady, but he found even considering it impossible. He would not report that he needed to take a leave of absence because he couldn't control a couple of unusually vivid wet dreams.

He cast a cleaning and healing spell on himself, found a vial of Draught of the Living Death, drank it, and passed out.

The stone hallway was as dark, quiet, cool, and unadorned as before. A part of his mind was alarmed by where he found himself. The majority, however, felt comfortable and safe. With his trusted companion there, nothing bad was going to happen. The part of him that was shaken and frightened beyond reason tried to tell the rest of him that he had no idea who the other man was, but the larger portion did not seem to hear, and walked companionably down the hallway with his trusty companion.

Dread grew in the minority as they approached where the the room was, but the majority remained blissfully oblivious. Once they reached it, he noticed his lack of clothing just before his equally naked companion touched his arm and lowered him to the bed.

With his legs draped over the other's shoulders, they came together like two interlocking pieces of a jigsaw, and he felt pleased and complete in most of his mind while the remainder was scared but resigned. This part counted each thrust as it pounded into him, seeming unaware of the pleasure the rest of him took in it.

At twenty-eight, seed flowed into him, and he dropped into happy unconsciousness.

When he awoke again, he was alone. But he was not in his own room. He lay naked atop a dark blue quilt with dark blue drapes tied back around each of the bed's four posts. Partly dried semen gummed up the area between his legs.

A house elf popped into the room, startling him. "Master should not be here!" the creature cried out, as surprised to see him as he was to see it. It snapped its fingers and the room was gone.

Severus Snape sat up in bed suddenly. His eyes frantically sought identifying features of his location. The deep ache inside him was becoming familiar enough that he did not even notice it until he was certain he was back where he belonged. A look at the clock showed the hour to be four AM. His still panicked darting gaze landed on the vial that had contained a dose of the Draught of the Living Death. The potion should have knocked him out until seven. It should have surpressed all brain activity. All bodily functions. He should have been effectively dead for another three hours. Nothing should have been able to rouse him before then.

He had been scared before.

Now he was terrified.

No more sleeping. None at all. There were potions that could keep him awake through anything. The waking vision had happened only after Minerva had touched him. No one would touch him any more. Even if he had to make a scene to prevent it. A fifth repetition could not be risked. There were more powerful magics going on here than he dared contemplate. He didn't want to know what could break through the effects of a perfectly made Draught of the Living Death.

He certainly didn't want to think about why such magics had been turned on him.

One thing was certain: He was not doing this to himself. The relief this knowledge should have brought was sadly lacking.

That day not even the Slytherin point count escaped the potions classroom unscathed. The Gryffindor point loss was unprecidented. Detentions were doled out at the least provocation, and Slytherins raked in even more than Gryffindors during the morning classes when their usual tricks failed to earn them the usual indulgent smirks. Lunch allowed the Slytherins to pass the word about their Head of House's foul mood, and they were on their best behaviour after that.

He missed the noonday meal in favour of brewing Sleepless Night potion. Consequently, he felt the eyes of almost the entire staff on him as he sat down for dinner. Much of Slytherin was also observing him; no doubt looking for something to report back to their fathers about. He stabbed at his food violently, but did not attempt to eat it. He had no intention of eating tonight. It was a bad idea to mix Sleepless Night with a full stomach.


The concern in her voice warned him. He had his wand out and between them before she could lay a hand on him. She froze, and shifted her surprised gaze from the tip of his wand to his find nothing but threat and warning in his black eyes. "Don't touch me, Minerva." He could see in her eyes the moment she realized he was deadly serious. Her hand fell back into her lap, and the worry on her face intensified. And something like fear rose to join it. Though he wasn't sure if that was fear of him or for him.

"Severus, a word if you would." Despite the Headmaster's phrasing, it was more order than request. Albus followed him from the room, and he belatedly realized the students were unnaturally silent. When they were out of view of the children, Albus's demeanor changed from slightly batty old Headmaster to powerful wizard. Severus stood straighter, and stared forward, not meeting his no-longer-twinkling blue eyes. He felt uncomfortably like a prisoner awaiting final judgement.

"Severus, explain yourself. You just pulled a wand on a fellow teacher in front of the pupils."

He did not move or look toward the Headmaster as he answered, "I cannot explain."

Albus sighed, sounding weary and defeated, "Then I will need to place another disiplinary note in your file. Severus . . ."

He nodded, curtly. "I know." One more and the ministry would have the opportunity to reconsider his pardon. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Headmaster about to clap a hand on his shoulder, no doubt in an attempt to get him to say what was bothering him. He jumped out of the way, and his wand was out again. "Don't touch me, Albus, please."

As Minerva had done, he truned a startled look from the wand to his face. It had probably been a very long time since anyone pulled a wand on either one. But where Minerva found threat and warning, Albus found desperation, pleading, and the promise that Severus would carry through with a hex should his hand be forced. Albus's hand fell back to his side. "Why, Severus?"

"Just tell the others not to touch me." He looked away, "I have a potion simmering in my lab. Good night, Headmaster."

"Good night, Severus," he allowed, but did not sound happy about it.

He was reading a potions journal at two AM, when the Mark burned. He grabbed his Mask from the bedroom closet, summoned a House Elf to inform the Headmaster of the call, and hurried to the Aperation barrier.

As usual, he was the last to arrive. He took his place and the meeting commenced. There were the usual reports: Fudge was still denying the Dark Lord's rise, this or that mudblood, muggle-lover, or muggle had been attacked and killed. Severus noted the names. This or that attack had been foiled. These failures were met with crucios. Severus reported that the Slytherin children were making sufficient progress in their training, and that no opportunity had arisen to kidnap Potter, who was, incidently, failing potions.

He was let off with a shorter burst of cruciatus than the other failures.

This was followed by assignments of new duties. Severus took careful note of each name mentioned and every artifact sought.

The meeting ended with a request for Nott and Snape to remain. The others disapperated quickly, leaving the two Death Eaters and the Dark Lord alone. He circled them like a hawk, or perhaps a vulture. "I remain unconvinced of your loyalties," he informed them. "You," he jabbed his wand in Nott's direction, "have not yet succeeded at any of the tasks I have laid before you. Crucio."

Voldemort held it until Nott was either unconscious or dead. Severus wasn't entirely sure which. As if he had not spent the intervening time torturing a man beyond conscious thought, Voldemort continued, turning the wand on Severus. "And you I have not forgiven for assisting Harry Potter four years ago." Severus lifted his chin, not in defiance, but as an admission of guilt. "Too many of the tasks that you hear assigned fail." He did not like the direction this conversation was going. "That, coupled with the excuse you used to avoid imprisonment, leads me to believe it was more truth than excuse. Do you deny you are a spy, Severus?"

"Of course, my lord. I would be an idiot to do otherwise."

Voldemort chuckled without humour. "Kneel before me, my faithful servant." Severus knelt, bowing his head like a penitant church-goer. "Show me your left arm." Severus pushed back his sleeves to reveal the black Mark standing in sharp relief against the paleness of skin that had not seen the sun since he was seventeen years old. He held out the arm, hoping desperately that Voldemort would not touch, or, if he did, that the circumstances were dire enough that he would not be subjected to another incident.

Speaking words of a spell that Severus had never before experianced, but recognized, the Dark Lord tapped his wand against the Mark. Overwhelming agony, far worse than the cruciatus coursed through him. He fought not to show it, but he knew his eyes were squeezed tightly closed, his jaw was clenched against a scream, and he had curled in on himself. His wrist was trapped in death-like vise, and the wand tip was held steady against the Mark. If the touch provoked another encounter, he could not feel it over the other pain.

It did not take long before he blacked out. Sleepless Night only countered fatigue.

He was in the hallway again. Devoid of anything but grey (mental denial of emotions, part of his mind thought gaily, seeming on the very edge of sanity) stone and the two of them. As a change from routine, his companion was helping him stand, helping him walk down the long, plain hallway. He didn't understand why he needed the support. He felt fine. Safe in the other's arms. So he didn't complain. He also didn't hear the stray thought from his own mind, You're on verge of death, buddy, of course you can't walk. In fact, I don't know why we're not dead now.

They eventually reached the bedroom, and he was lowered carefully to the bed. A hand brushed greasy black locks out of his face. That's new, the small, nearly insane part of him noted, What is is it, friend? Feeling guilty about fucking someone who was just tortured?

They joined together in the usual fashion, most of his mind taking pleasured bliss in the action, while the rest combined sarcasm with clinical observation, Sure, go harder than ever. I'm not going to feel it on top of everything else. That part was irritated by the fact that even staring at the other's face from only a foot away, he still couldn't make out features or even an eye or hair colour.

Seed poured into him, and the room dissolved around him.

His first impulse to open his eyes was quickly checked as his brain registered the level of pain he was experiencing. Ah, so that was why he was not yet dead. Voldemort wanted him to survive to feel this. He found himself wishing the dark lord would hurry it along.

But then he noticed the voices. "Hagrid found him out in the Forest, Albus. He's in bad shape. The cruciatus was the least of what he suffered. Dark magic, that's all I can find out about the rest."

"Soul's Pain," Severus rasped. His throat was raw, so he assumed he had broken down and screamed before he fell unconscious. When they both looked blank, he explained, "It requires an active soul link going from the caster to the victim. The Dark Mark serves the purpose quite well. It follows the same theory as the cruciatus, but where the cruciatus can only affect the body, and sometimes the mind, Soul's Pain does as its name suggests. It is sometimes known as Traitor's Reward, since a soul link can only be created by mutual consent. It's only not an Unforgivable because the average Light wizard never learns of it. In fact, a Light wizard can't experience it at all, since creating a soul link is Dark."

"You are not Dark, Severus."

"Am I not, Albus?" he asked in quiet disbelief.

The Headmaster remainded silent, and Severus rolled over, turning his back on the man.

"Severus." The bed shifted as Albus sat down beside him.

His spying had landed him in the hospital wing enough times to know what was coming. "Don't touch me."

Albus sighed. And laid a hand on his shoulder anyway.

Severus flinched away, but it was too late. The hands were around his shoulder and under his elbow. When he closed his eyes he could see the hallway. He could feel the pain all over his body, and he understood why the other carried most of his weight. Talking with Albus had provided a distraction, a focus for his mind that had nothing to do with the pain. Just lying there did not force him to remember with every tortured step that he had been subjected to the Soul's Pain to, but not beyond, the final breath of his life and sanity.

"Hurts," he cried out pitifully.

"Where, where does it hurt?" The man sounded strangely like Madam Pomfrey. Oddly, he hadn't moved his mouth, either.

"Everywhere, please, stop." They rested briefly, stopping beside a tapestry that hung on the grey stone of the hallway. His mind latched onto the change, eager to think of anything other than the pain. "That wasn't there before," he observed, darting his gaze about to see if there were any other new decorations that he had missed upon his initial pain-filled arrival. Far down the hallway, he could just make out a painting.

"He seems to be having some kind of hallucination," the man said, crisply. Again, his mouth didn't move. How Severus could tell that, while still being unable to make the man's features, he couldn't guess. "Eye movement is very rapid. Heart rate accelerating."

Apparently, his time for rest was over. The man forced him to stand and marched him down the hall at a rate even faster than before. "No, stop."

The distance, remarkably, seemed shorter than before. Even through the haze of pain, they reached the bedroom in record time. He was laid on the bed, which was a mixed blessing. He knew what came next and wanted no part in it. Yet it was good to stop walking. "Please, no." Ignoring the words or not hearing them, the man arranged them to his satisfaction, and began. His body did not respond to his orders to struggle.

"Albus, he's going into convulsions, pass me the potion in the green jar over there." It seemed a strange thing to say while thrusting painfully hard into another person. He didn't even sound breathless from his energetic exertions.

A sharp stink of salt and something worse filled his nose as seed filled his posterior. His eyes snapped open, and Poppy seemed relieved. She snapped the lid back onto a green jar. Looking at Albus, she remarked with a smug smirk, "Blast-ended skrewts do have one redeeming feature. Properly harvested emissions mixed with the right salts make a potion whose fumes alone can wake the dead and jolt a body into smooth running. Severus, how do you feel now?"

"Like a victim of Soul's Pain," he remarked sourly, deciding not to mention his latest injuries. They were relatively insignificant, and, aside from superficial healing, there was nothing she could do about them. "But my mind is back inside my skull, if that's what you wanted to know."

She nodded, her smile forced, and handed him another potion bottle. "Drink this, Severus."

He identified it as Dreamless Sleep, and drank it, knowing that the effects of mixing that with Sleepless Night would result in a Sleepless state that appeared to be sleeping. A state he considered ideal, because it would not put him at risk of the dream and yet he would not be expected hold up a conversation or move or do anything that might aggrevate his condition.

It took only moments for his muscles to relax, easing them of more tension and pain than he had expected. Pleased, he settled down to work through the complexities of mixing wormroot or asphodel into the Wolfsbane Potion to numb the pain of transformation. He had gotten as far as ways to nullify the trace amounts of silver sometimes found in wormroot when he realized Poppy and Albus were talking about him again.

". . . doubt he's completely sane anymore, Albus. You saw his fit. That wasn't a physical reaction caused by his injuries." She sounded sad, but professionally clinical. "Physically, he only hurts, but there is nothing wrong with his body. See," she cast a medical spell that he know only by being on the receiving end of it time and time again. "My God. That wasn't there before."

"What, Poppy? What does that mean?" Severus knew what they must be seeing. The diagnosis spell which the Soul's Pain would have had no effect upon, had found the results of his vision. His torn anal channel would cast a dark red haze over his body where the injury was. As a trained mediwitch, Poppy might be able to read more detail into the shape and intesity of haze than he, as a suffering patient ever had, but the appearance of something where nothing had been would likely be disconcerting enough for her.

He felt cold air against his skin as the witch wordlessly pulled away the sheets, opened his hospital gown, and pushed a limp leg aside. "Merlin," Albus swore quietly. "The boy's been raped," he sounded shocked. "Why did he say nothing?"

"It's worse than that," Poppy sounded grim. She cast the same cleaning and healing spells he had made much use of the last few days. The air felt even colder as it touched places warmed by the thick fluids. He felt more violated by Albus Dumbledore and Madam Pomphrey looking at him down there than he ever had by the man shoving himself inside. "This happened while he lay right here."

Hands smaller than the man's grabbed both legs at the underside of the knee and pushed. If he had any kind of control over his body, he would have cried out as the Soul's Pain sharpened to agony at the movement. "Hold his legs." Poppy instructed as the phantom hands resumed from where the mediwitch left off. Already in position, the man barely hesitated before thrusting into him. No, he silently begged, unable to speak, unable to open his eyes against the return of that room.

Poppy screamed. He was able to recognize her for herself this time. The hands holding his real legs fell away, and Albus cursed Merlin's name again. "Green jar! It pulled him out last time!" Severus distantly wondered if she recognized the double entendre in her words. The thrusts were coming fasting now. His eyes moved passed the man and landed on the painting of Hogwarts Castle. Then, the awful stench filled his nose, making him gag, and countering the Dreamless Sleep. His eyes snapped open, but the thrusts continued. He looked down at himself, seeing his body quake with each deep intrusion, but finding nobody there. He reached forward, but his hand only passed through air where the man should have been.

With a final, powerful thrust, the man came, spilling seed into him, and onto the hospital bed, mixed with blood, as he pulled out and disappeared back to whatever realm he came from. Severus looked from Albus to Poppy to a terribly interesting snag on his sheets. His cheeks tinged pink, and he pulled the hospital gown closed. "It's over. He's gone," he said quietly with none of his usual vitriol.

"Who was he?" Albus asked, equally quiet. Carefully. As if speaking to a small, frightened child.

Though he did not appreciate the tone, he could not raise his normal ire. "I don't know," he admitted, surpremely embarrassed. He ducked his head so his hair could hide his deepening flush. "I can never see his face."

"How many times has this happened, child?"

He shook his head lightly, careful not to do anything that would prompt his body to remember the greater pain. "Lost track. Twice in bed. Once when Minerva touched me at dinner. That night. Maybe at the Death Eather meeting. Voldemort touched my wrist when he cast Soul's Pain. Once when unconscious after that. Twice since I woke up here. I told you not to touch me. How many is that?"

"Seven or eight," Poppy answered, as quietly and as carefully as Albus. As if they expected him to shatter.

"It's better when it starts while I'm asleep. It doesn't hurt until I wake up. When someone touches me, I feel everything. I can see the dream room if I close my eyes, but I'm still aware of where I really am, too."

"How is this happening?"

"I don't know," he looked up from the snag on the sheet to meet Albus's worried gaze. "After I set wards the second night, and it still happened, I thought it was me. I was half convinced it was a vision warning me against Arabella Figg. Then, after the first time it happened while I was awake, I thought I was just going dangerously insane. But when it happened while I was under the effects of Draught of the Living Death, I knew it wasn't me at all." For once, the black depths of his eyes revealed his fear. "I brewed that batch myself. I'd guess the dream takes about thirty minutes from when we start in the hallway. I woke up from it three hours before Living Death was supposed to wear off. Three hours, Albus. I might as well have been truly dead. Even an Avada Kedavra wouldn't have had any effect on me then. And yet I dreamed. There is no antidote to the Living Death. It would be like having an antidote to true death. There is only one diffence between a dead body and a body under the effects of Living Death: one will wake up. Magic, the Universe, God, the Fates, Merlin, Hades, Hel, whatever or whomever you want to believe in keeps track of which is which. No atheist has any right to drink the stuff if they don't want to risk dying for real. The Draught itself is just a poison that the drinker will survive. I had to change my master's thesis because I couldn't figure out why. No one has."

He had lost them somewhere during the potions dissertation, but they seemed to have caught the gist: Living Death = Temporary Death. Albus was even twinkling a bit at him. Clearly, he missed the point he was trying to drive home. "Dead people can't dream, Albus. Whoever is doing this has the power to repel death itself." He could hear the terror in his own voice. Why would such a person take so personal an interest in him?

"Voldemort," Poppy whispered.

It made sense. If he had dared give the thought any consideration, he would have reached the same conclusion. Particularly given that he not only survived, but had also been returned to Hogwarts. His gut, however, rebelled against the idea that Voldemort was fucking him. "He knows I'm a traitor. Why would he bother with a few disturbing dreams?"

Albus made to clasp his hand, but he jerked away, "Don't touch me, Albus! Merlin!"

The Headmaster's hand returned to his side as he looked sadly down at his youngest professor. "That's why, Severus."

Small, cold chills slid down his spine. He shook his head to dispell them, "Voldemort doesn't use subtle revenge. And the man in my dream wouldn't - " He stopped, the words hurt me dying on his tongue and leaving a bitter aftertaste.

"Is it subtle, Severus?"

He looked away. "I'll be labelled a crazy, paranoid freak by those who don't know, a victim or a whore by those who do, and the master's plaything by the Death Eaters, including many of my own students." He shook his head. "It's subtle for him, which, I admit, isn't saying a lot. He doesn't let an enemy live any longer than he's useful. He's overly fond of the death and blood idea of revenge."

"Speaking of blood," Poppy interrupted, gesturing toward Severus's crotch region. A wet pinkish circle had seeped through the pale blue-green hospital gown. She cast another healing and cleaning spell, and the spot disappeared. She cast the diagnosis spell again, which left most of his body in the clear, but a thick yellow haze appeared near his stomach.

She huffed. "That happens for pregnant witches and for people who have not been eating for days. Tell me, Severus, when did you last eat?"

He tried to remembered actually injesting any of the meals he had recently attended. "Does Sleepless Night potion count?"

Muttering under her breath about wizards in need of mothers, she summoned a House Elf and ordered a bowl of soup. "Eat that," she ordered when it arrived. "Albus, will you be here a while?"

He smiled in amused anticipation. "I think so, Poppy. What do you need?"

"Make him sleep. Do something to counter that vile potion he took. Wake him after two hours and make him eat another bowl of soup. I'm going to sleep for four hours now myself. When I come back, he'll eat more soup. Two hours after that, he'll eat porridge. Then more porridge." She left the hospital wing still muttering about even more porridge, then when he's ready, something beefy. That boy needs meat on his bones. . .

Severus glowered as Albus chuckled. "You heard the lady, eat up."

"I am not a child, Albus."

"Of course you are, Severus. Now, eat."

The hallway was less barren this time. Instead of blank stone or a solitary tapestry and a lonely painting, the walls were starting to look like they belonged to a lived-in house rather than a deserted tunnel. On the walk to the bedroom, they passed several paintings (all landscapes), a few tapestries, and even a suit of armour. The room, too, looked more inhabited. The dresser held a few pewter statuettes of various famous wizards. The painting of Hogwarts hung directly across from the bed. A pale gray throw covered part of floor as if it had always been there.

The changes in decour had distracted the part of his mind dreading the coming action, but the touch of fingers on naked skin abruptly returned his attention to his 'trusted companion.' He tried to see Voldemort in the other's face, but could make out nothing of the features, familiar or otherwise. He was laid down on the bed, as he was unable to stand without assistance. But instead of setting to the main attraction, the other straddled him.

The part of him not happily excited about his dear lover's new idea realized his mistake. Instead of dreading the sex, he should have eagerly wished for its swift completion. The operative word here being swift.

Hands touched him all over, and the gibbering idiot that controlled his body blissfully let him. Eventually, though, the screwing commenced, and, some time after that, the screwing ended.


The Headmaster startled awake. "Severus. You should be asleep."

"Tell that to Voldemort. Levitate me to the bathroom. I need to bathe."

"Certainly," he agreed, sounding sorrowful and old.

Severus glared at him. "I am not dying, Albus." Not yet, anyway. That would come in due time. "Don't you dare pity me or a swear I'll hex your beard off."

He quirked a smile and a half-twinkle. "Good to have your temper back, Severus."

"I threaten, therefore I am. Get me to the damn tub, Albus."

The hot water felt good on his cursed muscles. After almost forty minutes, the charmed healing bubbles had restored him enough to allow him to stand and walk a short while without assistance. If asked, he'd swear under veritaserum that he had not just taken a bubble bath. He justified the experience by calling it 'a much needed soak.' His fingers and toes were not soft, pink, and wrinkled. They had simply suffered an overdose of hydrogen hydroxide. Most wizards would not be familiar enough with muggle chemistry to translate that to mean they were submerged in water for too long.

He hobbled back to his hospital bed to find a bowl of soup waiting for him. Albus beamed at him as he sat himself down on the bed without any help and reached for the broth and noodles.

When he finished the proscribed medicine, he set aside the bowl and spoon, and asked the Headmaster the question that had occurred to him while he soaked. "Where's my wand, Albus?"

His eyes darted away, then returned almost immediately. But it was enough to warn him of the coming bad news. "I'm sorry, Severus," he said. He reached into his robes and pulled out two halves of a hollowed ebony stick. "The core was missing." Severus accepted the pieces as if they were the remains of a family member. Stoically and solemnly.

"I'll need to go to Ollivanders, then, soon."


"Can't teach a class with Longbottom in it without a wand. I've cast more containment spells in that class than in my entire life before he came to Hogwarts."

"Do you want someone to go with you?"

"No. Merlin, Albus, stop treating me like a child."

"You should go back to sleep now."

"Go to Hell."

"If you go to sleep."

Neither spoke of the Dark spells that could make use of a victim's wand core. Neither connected those spells to Poppy's carelessly dropped and quickly forgotten words: That happens for pregnant witches.


a/n: I swear, when I wrote the initial dream sequence I hadn't done any research into dream interpretations. It just happened to interpret very closely to the truth and provide foreshadowing. It was supposed to be a dead end for Severus's research, something to occupy him until he discovered the pregnancy. See the avcweb site for more about dream interpretations.