Several days pass without me being able to collect the reward Severus mentioned. Suddenly, Severus' days get busier because he has an influx of orders from Aleksej’s customers who are queuing for Severus’ potions. He has no potions lab at the cottage so Alexej offers Severus to use the lab adjacent to the apothecary and work on the orders together. It seems Alexej is keen on learning something from his former apprentice and I can see how proud it makes Severus to excel at something so completely. I do not like the arrangement very much but try to keep my thoughts to myself, remembering the consequences for causing a scene without proper cause.
The days alone in the cottage leave me feeling empty and hollow. I try to read, take care of all the chores and go for long walks but somehow the isolation is getting to me more than I anticipated. I think for long hours about my lost memory and all that is hiding underneath the black veil of nothingness in my mind.
Today I am not alone however, Severus has told me he would not be needed at apothecary, which has caused my tense shoulders to relax somewhat. It has been days since we had lunch together and Severus suggests that we enjoy the surprisingly warm and sunny autumn day by having a picnic in the garden. I love the idea and busy myself preparing fruit salad and sandwiches while Severus finds a spot in the sun in the backyard and puts a checkered blanket on the grass. He is wearing a jacket and slim trousers that accentuates his build and a scarf to shield himself from the slightly chilly breeze.
I walk outside, carrying a basket with our lunch and a bottle of sparkling water. Severus is already lying on the blanket, feet crossed at the ankles and his head resting on his propped up hand. He looks relaxed and content, suddenly I am aware of how much I have missed him. I sit down before I stretch out on the spacious blanket, lying as close to him as I possibly can without seeming way too needy.
Severus looks down at me with a lazy smile before he bows down and puts a soft kiss on my lips. His lips linger for only a few seconds but I can feel his warmth for minutes to come.
“How are you doing, little one?” He asks seriously, taking my hand in his own. I am prepared to answer by brushing it off and saying that I am just fine but I just can’t form the words. Instead the last couple of days play on repeat, making me feel so alone in this world. Before I can reply anything his body covers mine and black eyes stare down at me intently. He takes my chin in a tight grip and moves my head back when I try to avoid his burning gaze by turning my head away from him. Severus' body is heavy on mine and I feel the hard ground beneath my back. I take a fistful of the blankets fabric, holding on in an effort to not let myself get overwhelmed by his intense presence and my own feelings.
“Tell me what you need,” he commands, his voice is stern but I can hear the affection underneath.
“I don’t know, I don’t …,” I say, embarrassed of my own reaction. I don’t want to be a needy boyfriend who can’t be on his own when his partner is working.
“Tell me what you need,” he repeats, this time his voice is colder, stricter and leaves no doubt that he expects me to give him a better answer this time around. I shake my head, tears are gathering in the corners of my eyes while I fight the part of me that I still can’t fully embrace and accept. The need inside of me is raw and burning but I struggle against it, not ready to admit out loud what my whole body and soul urges me to say. Instead I press against him, trying to find an outlet for these tangled emotions that leave me aching for something I can’t fathom. Severus holds me down by the waist, his grip is surely going to leave some marks on my skin.
I am writhing in his strong embrace, not sure if I want to flee it or melt into it. It feels like my whole skin is on fire, I want to peel it off, climb out of the constraints of my body and just become one with him. I still haven’t answered and he seems to get irritated at my lack of verbal response.
“Harry, I think it is time to establish some rules for this relationship. I am not pleased at your behaviour right now. Stop fighting this,” he whispers the last words right against the shell of my ear. My whole body reacts to his tone and gets heavy, I stop writhing and look at him with big eyes.
“That's it, baby boy. Now you tell me what it is you need, all of it,” he continues, his gaze feels like it could burn holes in my longing soul.
“I need to be with you, I want you to take me and be completely yours, please don’t leave me alone all the time. When I am not with you it feels like I am standing on the edge of a cliff. Please take care of me, please take me…” I stammer and tears stream down my face. I have no idea what I am asking of him but I put all my longing and aching need for him into these words in the hopes that he will understand.
“I understand, little one, calm down. I am right here. It’s time to establish some ground rules and boundaries.,” he replies confidently and brushes the tears away from my lashes with his thumb. Severus bows down and puts a small kiss on my trembling lips before he rubs his nose lovingly against mine. I am thankful that he doesn’t change position, laughs at my neediness or otherwise shows signs that my behaviour is strange to him. Instead he blankets me with his heavy body, his hands holding my face gently while his eyes never break contact with mine.
“Firstly, Harry, I think it is of major importance that you come to me when there is something that bothers you, makes you feel uncomfortable or sad. I have said this before but you don’t seem to have taken this to heart and once again you have waited until your emotions are in such turmoil that you can’t handle them,” he says strictly, his face morphing into a displeased frown while shame colors my cheeks pink.
“I am your soulbond partner, your friend and your dom. All of which should tell you that you can come to me to unburden yourself. I will be there for you, no matter what. I cannot accept that you won’t share with me what's bothering you because that means that I have no opportunity to address your needs, which makes me the kind of dominant partner I don’t want to be. Can I trust that you understand the importance of this rule for our relationship?” He asks and I close my eyes to push down my raging emotions to focus on thinking through what he just said. All makes sense to me and I know that my reluctance to speak to him about these things comes from a painful and destructive place inside of me.
“I promise,” I croak, trying to find some composure. “I am so sorry,” I add into the silence and lift my head to press my lips against his. A small part of me is afraid that he will push me away but he doesn’t, instead he lets me control the kiss for a couple of seconds before he breaks it.
“Sh sh little one, you are doing so good, just trust me and we will be ok,” Severus says affectionately causing goosebumps to rise all over my body. I hide my head on his shoulder and put my arms around him to hug him tightly. Severus returns the hug and kisses me passionately before he slowly rolls over to the side to lie down on his back. I mirror his position and look up at the sunny sky with fluffy white clouds drifting by. It’s such a peaceful scenery and in combination with his affection I slowly calm down.
“There are a couple of more rules, love, are you up to talking about them?” Severus turns to his side to look at me. I confirm with a nod that he can proceed. This time he doesn’t seem to mind my nonverbal response.
“We already touched upon this subject when we had our kink negotiation,” the memory creates nervous tension in my whole body, “but as your dom I’d like to have as much control over your body as you can relinquish into my hands. You will not pleasure yourself without my explicit permission and you will not let yourself reach an orgasm unless I tell you to. Are we clear on that?” his voice is unrelenting, like cold steel. My palms are suddenly sweaty and my eyes widen at the implication of his words.
“Yes, I understand. What kind of control aside from that would you want to have?” I ask, a combination of curiosity and longing drives me to push the matter further. Severus squints in response and looks at me a long while in silence as if he is trying to assess if I am actually interested or not.
“Hmmm everything,” he says and licks his lips, “in that scenario I’d take care of you completely, you tell me when you are hungry, thirsty, tired, need to go to the bathroom and I cater to those needs in the fashion I decide is best. I know that this is intense and I understand if the thought makes you uncomfortable,” he states, and for the first time I can detect a hint of uncertainty in his voice. Maybe he doesn’t want to ask too much of me but I am glad that he is honest with his own needs as well.
“Honestly, this sounds a bit intense as you said but your needs are just as important as mine in this relationship so I want to try it out some time maybe just for a couple of hours,” I explain my reasoning. In reply he crashes his mouth on mine, pushes his tongue forcefully between my lips and into my mouth. His hands are everywhere, on my face and neck then on my stomach until he takes my clothed crotch into a tight grip that has me gasping in pleasure fringed with pain. Severus sucks my lower lip into his mouth and bites down on it, not hard enough to draw blood but painful enough to have me trembling in his arms.
I push his hair back and smile because this is the closest he has come to losing control in an intimate situation with me. Even when he came on my body it still felt like he had ironclad control over the situation and his body. I can tell that the thought of owning me so completely arouses him and addresses a longing inside of him that matches mine. We break our make out session when we both have to gasp for air.
We untangle ourselves and go back to lying next to each other, trying to regain our breath.
“Anything else?” I ask him and he smiles that beautiful smile of his that brightens his eyes. My heart beats painfully and I realize how devoted I am to this intriguing man. I know rationally that our relationship is only beginning and we will need to get to know each other better but somehow he fits into all the jagged and broken parts of my soul.
“We share a life now, I would want for us to talk about all major decisions that impact on our lives, so that we can shape our future together,” this time around he seems a bit flustered so I take his hand and kiss his palm tenderly.
“Harry, is there anything that you want to address that we haven’t talked about yet?” I appreciate that he asks, that this is not only about him setting rules as a dom but also about our relationship in general. There has been something on my mind since I did my research about these kinds of relationships that hasn’t come up yet but that leaves me a bit unsettled.
“I know from my research that having sexual experiences with others than your partner is quite common in relationships including this dynamic but I…,” I need to pause to take a deep breath to steady my nerves, “I don’t want to be touched by anyone but you,” I put my feelings into words and realize how vulnerable that makes me feel.
“Okay,” Severus replies neutrally, I can’t detect any emotion in his voice. His face otherwise full with expression is morphing into a mask that has my stomach churn. I guess he probably has not expected this restriction and this is something he really wants. My heart breaks as I realize that this probably means that he wants to have intimate relations with others. Just because he is the only one I think about doesn’t mean that he is ready to give up whatever lifestyle he has led before to exclusively bind himself to a traumatized and broken boy without memory. I know in my heart that I can’t make him give up on being with others if that's what he really wants. The only thing I can do is put restrictions on my own body. The thought of having someone but him touch me intimately makes me nauseous.
“I understand if you don’t want to be exclusive, I won’t demand that from you I just can’t stand the thought of being with someone else but I do realize that you maybe don’t want to give that up just because we accidentally bound our souls,” I ramble and can’t stop the flow of words. I put them around me like defences, acting like it wouldn’t rip my soul apart knowing he is with another person, another sub that caters needs I can’t fulfill.
He rolls over to once again look at me, his gaze is intense and I try to avoid his questioning eyes.
“Do you want us to be exclusive?” Severus asks and I try to analyse the tone in his voice but he gives nothing away. It would have been easier if I could have gauged what he is thinking about this but now I have no choice but explain my feelings. I curl my hand into fists and bite down on my lower lip. Chances are I am about to confess feelings that are unrequited.
“Severus, you have become my whole world since I woke from the coma. I can’t imagine being with someone else, we are soulbonded, friends and partners. I don’t need anyone else, you are all I want,” I explain, blushing to the roots of my hair while admitting how much I care about him. He doesn’t say anything in response so I swallow hard and continue.
“But I do realize that you might not feel that way about me and that you may have other relationships that you don’t want to let go. I know that we were forced into this even though it doesn’t feel like that to me,” my voice falters and silence settles around us. Silence is not the reaction you want to get upon basically telling someone you are about to fall in love with them and want a future with them. I do understand that all of this is in a way more complicated for Severus because our relationship is like a clean, white paper ark for me whereas he has years and years of baggage between him and me to carry.
“Harry, I don’t want to hurt your feelings but this is not as simple for me. I try to adjust to this new situation, being bonded to you, becoming friends and partners but it is quite a lot to process. I am not a man who easily gets carried away by his feelings so it will take some time for me to be with you and see how our relationship will progress. Do you understand where I am coming from?” His eyes never leave mine and I try to conceal the black pit of pain that opens itself inside my soul when I hear his words. For a moment the crippling pain renders me unable to respond, once again my words abandon me and silence accompanies the screams of my soul on the inside. Of course I knew this, his reaction to our soul bond told me as much, but I still carried a small flame of hope inside of me that he might start to fall for me as well. Hope is a dangerous thing I realize as I look at the man who already stole my heart but refuses to let me inside his own.
When I don’t seem to come up with anything to say I start unpacking our lunch even though my stomach is in painful knots. When I put the chocolates on the blanket Severus takes my hand.
“You do understand that I care about you very much, little one, right?” I look down on our intertwined hands and try to tell myself that this has to be enough and that I always can hope that he will eventually be able to open his heart for me the same way I opened mine. I nod because I don’t trust my voice not to break. He leans forward and brushes his lips over mine almost questioningly and I open mine to let his tongue slip past my lips to tangle with my tongue. The thought strikes me that I might not be the only one he kisses and repulsion makes me shudder. I draw back and break the kiss.
“Just please, if you are having sex with someone else, don’t be intimate with me on the same day,” I hate that I sound like a broken little boy as I say this.
“Baby boy, I think you don’t understand what I want to say. I have no desire to be with anyone else sexually, you overestimate my libido, I am not a teenage boy. What I said was about our relationship and letting it evolve slowly, it has nothing to do with wanting to have another sexual partner,” he explains and squeezes my hand that he is still holding.
“Not even Alexej?” I just have to ask.
Severus bursts into laughter and I feel stupid once again.
“I have never been involved with him, little one, nor do I ever want to get involved with him. He has been a mentor for me when I discovered my dominant side and helped me navigate this lifestyle. We are friends, that's it.” His tone is amused, I can clearly tell that he is telling me the truth and relief washes through me. Even if he doesn’t feel the same way for me hearing that he won’t be having sex with anyone else is important and makes me feel safe.
After that we focus on our lunch and the tension between us subsides a little. I do realize that I am way too impatient, our relationship has only begun so there is still hope that he will in time be able to develop feelings for me just like I have for him. At first we eat in silence but it doesn’t take long until we are able to find a comfortable conversation about teaching and potions making. Severus seems to keep the topics deliberately light and I am thankful for it.
I take a piece of chocolate and examine it. Severus explains that he loves chocolate, especially expensive ones and that the one I am holding is spiced with chilli. He urges me to taste and I can’t help but sigh in delight when the spicy sweetness hits my taste buds. Severus takes a piece as well and closes his eyes after he pops it into his mouth. I can tell that he is enjoying this simple luxury immensely which makes me smile. His features are relaxed and he looks content while he eats his chocolate and lets the sun shine on his face.
Severus yelps in surprise when I pounce on him, topple him over with my weight. I put my body on his and proceed to kiss him fervently, barely giving him time to think before I push my tongue into his mouth. It's the first time the intimate contact I initiate is not shy but I am dying to taste the chocolate in his mouth. The combined flavor of chocolate, chilli and Severus causes me to moan even though I try to stifle it swiftly. Severus lets me control the kiss in the beginning but I can tell that he grows inpatient until he starts to dominate the kiss with his lips, tongue and teeth.
“Time for your reward!” Severus announces and pushes softly against my chest so that he can get up.
It doesn’t take long for us to tidy everything away in the backyard to go back inside. Minutes later I am lying naked on the bed, shivering slightly. Severus is busy lighting a fire and getting something from the cupboard next to the bed. When he returns he holds four silk scarfs colored in blue and gray in his hands. He returns to the bedside and takes one of my hands slowly. He kisses my palm tenderly before putting a blue scarf around my wrist. Severus ties the knot loosely so that the fabric doesn’t hurt my skin and ties my hand with the other end to the bedpost. My breath catches, I feel exposed and vulnerable. Severus proceeds to the next arm, this time he puts tiny butterfly kisses on my wrist before he ties it to the headboard. My arms are now stretched above my head but the position is not uncomfortable despite the fact that it puts a bit of a strain on my shoulders. I try to move my hands and find that I can wriggle them freely to get the blood flow going.
Severus bows down and looks at me mischievously before he takes one of my nipples into his mouth. Teeth grace the tender flesh before he sucks, I feel sensitive there to the point where it is almost painful. He bites down on the hard nubs playfully and stops right before the waves of pleasure morphe into real pain. I breathe shallowly, my cheeks color at the realization how easily aroused I am. Soft fingertips trail down my abdomen and dip into my navel. I yearn for him to touch my penis but he bypasses it and lets his hands wander downwards between my thighs. He pushes them apart and I gasp when he doesn’t stop when he has created a gap he easily fits into but proceeds to push until I am almost spreadeagled.
Severus lets his fingertips glide over the soft skin on the inside of my thighs, creating goosebumps all over my body before he takes my foot. There is a gleam in his eyes when he kisses my ankle. He ties first one then the other foot to the bed as well using the remaining scarfs. I am totally exposed and under his control, my heart hammers in my chest.
Severus returns to the head of the bed and pushes a strand of hair from my moist forehead.
“Harry, are you alright? Remember your safe word and use it if you need me to stop, ok?” He asks and I nod hastily, I want this even though I feel nervous. My whole body feels heavy in a good way. My legs are spread so far apart that I can feel the muscles in my hips protest against the unusual posture. Lying like this is not comfortable in a physical sense but it is not painful either.
I feel completely exposed and I realize that I am about to relinquish much of my control into Severus hands both regarding my life and body. The thought is scary, exhilarating and comforting at the same time. I feel completely safe in his hands, despite his reluctance to open his heart for me more than just a tiny crack. But deep within there is this glowing, nurturing connection, a bond formed from the magic of our souls and it tells me that I can trust in him. I know that he won’t hurt me and I close my eyes in anticipation.