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The Sexual Fantasy of Your Dreams… Turned Nightmare

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EXPERIENCE A SEXUAL REAWAKENING!

Clean.
Experienced.
Discreet.

The sexual fantasy of your dreams, come to life.
Veela, vampire, werewolf, mermaid. If you have fantasised about it, we have it here.
Entry off Knockturn Alley. Just speak to the bouncer.

The flyer shook in Harry’s hand as his fingers trembled. A sexual reawakening. His real-life fantasy. And all for, he had to figure, an incredibly high number of Galleons. Clenching his hand, the paper crumpled.

“What've you got there, mate?”

Ron’s hand slapped down on Harry’s shoulder, causing him to stumble a little. The flyer had been shoved into Harry’s hand by some passing leaflet distributer as he wandered Diagon Alley behind Ron. He shook his head as he scrunched the flyer even further.

“Nothing. An ad for some random company.”

Ron snorted disgust. “Come on, then.”

Ron strode off towards the opposite end of Diagon, moving faster than Harry could keep up with. The early morning crowd soon closed around them, separating them rather effectively. Not that he minded. He knew where they were supposed to meet Hermione and George, so it wasn’t as if he was worried about getting lost. Besides that, the time spent walking towards The Grind – the newest coffee shop in Diagon – could now be spent contemplating the flyer.

Harry’s sex life since the divorce from Ginny had been… well, practically nonexistent, if he was to be honest. At fifty years of age, he really didn’t have that many options open to him, from what he could tell. Of course, he could pounce on any of his ‘fans’ that he so chose, but that felt… cheap, somehow. He wasn’t about to take advantage of some young man or woman just because they recognised his name from the press he still garnered. This, however, had potential. Glancing quickly around, he smoothed the flyer out on his thigh and scanned it again.

From the very first line of the advert, it made it clear that what this club offered was prostitutes. ‘A sexual reawakening’ with any of your choice of magical creatures. There was no price, but he had to assume that they would not be cheap.

“Harry!”

Startled out of his thoughts, Harry gasped. Glancing up, he realised he was about to walk past the coffee shop. Ron and George stood outside, waving at him from a table in the small courtyard. Harry shook his head. Folding the flyer, he tucked it safely into the pocket of his jeans and went to join his friends.

*~*

The sexual fantasy of your dreams, come to life. Veela, vampire, werewolf, mermaid.

Harry stared up at the ceiling of his bedroom, the words of the flyer racing through his mind. He had not been able to get them out of his head the entire day, despite the many distractions spending the day at the joke shop with George and Ron offered. A fantasy.

It had been a long time since Harry had indulged in anything even close to a fantasy. He was too old for nonsense like that, he figured. Fifty was not an age to be dreaming about sex with anonymous strangers; that was reserved for young people. People who could last through more than one session without needing an hour-long break in between, at that.

You have all the time you need right now.

Harry grinned into the darkness. A creature he had fantasised about. Clearly, it was going to be a humanoid creature, not something like a centaur or mermaid. For a first time, he would not be wanting to venture too far out of his comfort zone. Perhaps a Veela?

Tall, with white-blonde hair, like Fleur and Gabrielle. They have those beautiful wings they can spread to cocoon their partners with. It would be soft, and gentle, and… Pathetic for a fantasy sequence. Frowning, Harry tried again.

A werewolf? No, he discarded that thought before he had even begun it. Werewolves brought up images of Remus and, as much as he had liked the man, sexual fantasy material he had not been. He tried again.

Vampire. Dark and mysterious, with fangs that would brush along the pulse point in his throat. Strong hands that held him down. A silky voice with just that touch of persuasion to make certain he obeyed every command. Harry hummed as his cock twitched with interest.

A dark figure stood in the corner of the room, blanketed in shadows. Harry’s nerves shivered as excitement rushed through him.

“On the bed.”

The voice was deep, and held a command to it that Harry could not disobey. Moving slowly, he lay down on the bed, realising that he was now completely naked.

Clothing was such a distraction in fantasies. Shaking his head, he refocussed.

The shadows shifted, seeming to wrap around the man as he took a couple of steps into the room. Harry kept his eyes pinned on him, waiting for the next command.

“You are enthusiastic tonight, Mister Potter.” It was a statement, not a question, so Harry kept quiet, still waiting. “Are you that eager to allow me to feed?”

Harry sucked in a breath. Feed. Would he want to be bitten by a vampire? Or was this purely a sexual thing? Were the two things mutually exclusive, or did vampires always bite their sexual partners? Blinking up at the ceiling, he realised he had no idea. In fact, he did not know a single thing about vampires besides what they had learnt in school. Teddy had been the one in the family who had gone into the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and the Auror Department did not often cross over with them. Determinedly closing his eyes, he returned to the fantasy.

“You know what I want.”

The voice chuckled, a deep sound that sent shivers through Harry’s body. “You want to be held down. You want to be told what to do. You want to give up all decision-making and follow commands given to you by someone stronger than you.” The shadows shifted again as the man moved closer. “You want to be fucked, Potter. You want to be dominated. What you want, Potter…”

The man mounted the bed, crawling up from the bottom. His black robes brushed along Harry’s heated skin, tickling and scraping. Harry’s breath hitched in his chest. The man’s face was still obscured by shadows as he leant down to whisper in Harry’s ear.

“…is to lose control.”

*~*

Nerves tingled down Harry’s spine as he entered Knockturn Alley the next night. He had to force himself to stop glancing around too much, as he really did not need to draw attention to himself. It was this kind of press that he had avoided his entire life and starting now would undo a lot of effort.

What a way to break that media silence, though! He could picture the headlines now: Harry Potter: Sexual Deviant!Dear Rita would have an absolute field day. Ducking his head, he tried to suppress his grin. Knockturn was definitely not the place for that kind of behaviour.

It was not the nicest place to be. Rats ran the street, unafraid of the people sitting in the gutters. Centuries of dirt and grime and slush coated the cobblestones, lending the street a smell that Harry could not identify. It was a smell that he didn’t want to be able to identify. Pulling the hood of his black robes further down, he hunched his shoulders as he walked.

Judging by the address on the flyer, he knew that he would have to walk two or three blocks before arriving at the door that supposedly led into the club. Even at such a late hour as he had chosen – almost eleven on a Friday – people still roamed the street. Bedraggled youths and wizened old men sat in doorways, watching as he passed. Prostitutes – both male and female – stood on nearly every corner. People wearing similar black robes to his stalked from alleyways running off the street, hands tucking whatever they had purchased into hidden pockets. Harry’s Auror senses picked up on it all. He tried to force himself to ignore it, however. He was here for one purpose and one purpose only.

“Welcome, sir.”

The bouncer that the flyer had promised would be standing at the door was… intimidating. He stood at least a head taller than Harry and was nearly twice as broad. The black suit he wore stretched across his chest, the buttons of the white shirt beneath straining with each breath. He crossed his arms and glared down at Harry.

“Are you here by invitation?”

“Invi– Oh! Oh, er, no, I’m not. I was given this…” He paused to rummage through the many pockets hidden in his robes for the flyer with the address. “…by someone in the street in Diagon yesterday. It says…”

Harry trailed off when the man held out a meaty hand. He tried to smooth out the flyer a little on his thigh before handing it over. It was still crinkled from where he had scrunched it to hide it from Ron the day before. The bouncer nodded slowly.

“You were invited. Please, follow me.”

A shiver ran down Harry’s spine. This time, however, it was not a good shiver.

Invited? By a leaflet distributor in Diagon Alley? Had he been targeted? What was the purpose, if he had? His Auror instincts kicked in again, thirty years of training coming to the forefront of his mind to heighten his senses. A small wave of the bouncer’s hand revealed a door in the darkness behind him.

“Down this hallway and turn right. The receptionist will answer all the questions you have. Have a nice night.”

The man moved aside, revealing a door hidden in the wall behind him. It was covered in the same amount of grime and dust as the rest of the street, making it difficult to see if you didn't know that there was something there. It added to the caution currently shivering down Harry's spine. Nodding slightly to the bouncer, he stepped inside.

The hallway he was greeted with was painted black. Small candles mounted high on the righthand wall cast a minimal amount of light, just enough to see by. Harry's hand twitched towards his right thigh, where his wand sat concealed. He'd never been in a sex club before, so he had no idea whether this was normal or not.

An odd mixture of scents assaulted his senses as he moved down the hall. Fresh paint was a dominant smell, the tingle he associated with it making his nose twitch as though he needed to sneeze. As he got closer to the end of the hall, a strong musky smell began to take over. His top lip curled as he recognised it.

Well, dumb arse, it is a sex club. What were you expecting?

There was no option for turning left at the end of the hallway, as he had expected from the bouncer's instructions. Touching his fingers to the handle of his wand, he cast a quick series of revealing charms around the area, but found nothing suspicious. Following the instructions he had been given, he turned right into a small reception room. His hand slid surreptitiously away from his wand, but stayed close, brushing lightly over the side of his thigh.

"Welcome, sir. Are you here by invitation?"

The voice belonged to a short witch with electric blue hair. She stood behind a desk that was separated from the rest of the room by not only the architecture– a large, plastered-over bulkhead allowed the desk to be boxed in by what looked to be some freshly created walls – but also by a shimmering ward. The fact that the club was not trying to hide that they were protecting their receptionist from magical attacks helped to set some of Harry's strung-out nerves to rest.

"Er, yeah, the bouncer said that the flyer I was given yesterday was an invitation? He kept it, though…"

Harry trailed off when the witch bowed her head and began scrolling through an appointment book. Her long, bright red nails tapped over some names before moving on. She stopped in the middle of the book and glanced up.

"Harry Potter?"

He froze, the tension that had drained from him returning full-force. How did they know his name? Sure, he knew that he was one of the most recognisable people in wizarding London, but he had taken precautions. His hood shaded his face and the voluminous robes hid his body completely. For all the receptionist knew, he could have been twice his weight beneath them. With his hand now resting comfortably on the handle of his wand again, he took a small step back.

"Why are you asking?"

The witch blinked up at him. "I need to confirm your appointment, sir. I have your name here; the bouncer has sent your invitation through. I just need verbal confirmation."

Harry's mind worked fast. If he truly had been invited by being handed that flyer the previous day, then them having his name would make a certain amount of sense. But then… Pressing his lips together, he let out a sharp breath through his nose. Would Ron's name now be on that list if it had been him the flyer distributer had targeted? Or was he back to suspecting that this had been done on purpose? That the intended target of this invitation had been him all along? He did not have enough proof to come to a conclusion either way. Keeping his hand on his wand, he nodded slightly.

"Yes, my name is Harry Potter."

He did not know what he was expecting – sparks, fireworks, a media crew to come bursting through the back wall – but all that happened was that the witch nodded and made a checkmark in the book. She flipped through to the back of the book, her finger scanning along the rows that passed.

"Who is your pleasure tonight, sir?"

"My pleasure? What do you–"

Harry cut himself short before even finishing the question. He was in Auror mode. The atmosphere and tension rolling through the place had put him on edge and the questions had come naturally to him. Clearing his throat, he shook his head. The receptionist was not acting shifty in any way. Perhaps he should give the place a chance? The worst that could happen was that he would discover things that violated human rights and would bring himself along with a team of his best Aurors back there the next day to shut the entire operation down. He still had his wand, so there was no need for concern at that point in time. Trying to force his shoulders to relax, he took a deep breath and let it out slowly. This was a sex club; of course the receptionist needed to know who he was there to see.

"I understand that there are, er, vampires here?"

He could hear the nerves in his voice. The receptionist did not seem to mind, however. Scanning the rows of writing before her, she paused at the bottom of the page and cleared her throat delicately.

"My apologies, sir. All of our vampires are booked out tonight. May I suggest one of our other services? Werewolf, perhaps? Or maybe mermaid?"

Disappointment made itself known beneath the tension still roiling through Harry. He had come into this expecting to have the fantasy he had concocted the night before at least partially fulfilled.

"Sir?"

He shook his head. Choices, what were his choices? Werewolf still screamed Remus to him, so that was out of the question. Mermaid, or merman, seemed too much like having sex with an actual fish. There seemed to be only one logical option left.

"Veela, then?"

The idea was disappointing, but there was nothing to be done. He was here and had seemingly been invited, so there was no point in wasting the opportunity. At the very least, he may be able to discover just why he had been invited. The witch scanned the rows again and this time came up smiling.

"Yes, there are a couple of our Veelas free at this moment. Would you prefer a male or a female?"

The whole idea behind him choosing a vampire was to be fucked by someone stronger than himself. While he was absolutely convinced that a male Veela couldn't possibly have the same effect over him that a vampire could, he was not going to turn down a good buggering if it was on offer. He gave the receptionist a small smile.

"Male, please."

The receptionist nodded. She made another small checkmark in the book before returning it to a drawer in the desk she stood behind. A casual wave of her wand towards a seemingly blank wall opened up a concealed door.

"The room with the light outside will be yours for the night, sir. Please do not try to enter any other room, as they are all warded. There will be lubricants and stimulants in the room if you need them, as well as Muggle condoms if you prefer that form of protection. Each room has a small supply of alcohol. We ask that you pay before entering." A strongbox shimmered into existence just beside the newly-revealed door. "That will be seventy Galleons, sir. Would you like to purchase some alcohol tonight?"

Harry barely bit back a strangled noise at the cost of the night. For seventy Galleons, he could feed not only himself, but all three of his children and their respective partners for… Well, a lot longer than one bloody night. This fucking Veela had better be worth it.

"No, thanks. I'd like a clear head."

"As you wish, sir. Have a good night."

The door returned to its walled state the second Harry stepped through it. This hallway was much more inviting, much more what he had expected of what appeared to be a highly exclusive club. The walls were white plaster, adorned with artistic renditions of the kinds of magical creatures who were 'on offer' at the club, so to speak. Harry paused at each of them, trying to send the remaining nerves he was feeling to the back of his mind.

Once again, the vampire proved to be the biggest drawcard for him. Standing in shadows, the couple had their wands poised, as though ready to go into battle. He was tall and muscular, while she was curvy, with hips and breasts that Harry knew he would love to just… He cleared his throat. Picturing a woman when he was about to go meet a man was not the start he had hoped for. He moved on.

The Veela picture wasn't quite what he had expected. Thanks to Fleur and Gabrielle, Harry's mental image of Veela was that they were soft and gentle, with blonde hair and big, blue eyes that looked entirely too innocent. The man in the picture, however… Harry shivered. He stood, proud and strong on a hill, his wings spread and wand in hand. He glared down at the artist, his short-cropped hair standing in spikes. The energy and strength he emanated caused excitement to rush through Harry's veins. If the Veela he was about to go meet was anything like this one, he may have to give up on the idea of the vampires altogether.

The room with the light on sat at the end of the hall. Harry shook his hands out, trying to release the nerves and tension that still ran through him. Taking a deep breath, he pushed the door open.

The room inside was dark, almost too dark to see in. Harry took a couple of steps before he felt a strong charm wash over him. The door clicked shut behind him just as his clothing was magically charmed off his body. It folded itself neatly on a chair in the corner of the room.

"Good evening, sir."

Harry jumped, his arms automatically moving to cover his nudity. He squinted, trying to see through the dark.

"Who's there? Show yourself."

The shadows beneath a pair of high-set windows across the room moved, drawing Harry's attention. Frowning, he stepped closer, trying to see who was hidden there.

"There is no need for shame here, sir. No need to hide yourself from me." The man stepped out from the shadows, standing in a single patch of moonlight coming in from the high windows. "I have nothing to hide, and will not judge you."

Unable to help it, Harry let out a small gasp. The Veela's wings were on full display, spread and fluttering a little as though in a breeze. His feathers were mottled shades of browns and whites, reminding Harry of Ron's latest owl. Despite the showy entrance, however, it was not the man's wings Harry focussed on. While he did not have the chiselled features and buff body of the Veela in the picture, he looked strong. There were definitely muscles hidden in the voluminous sleeves of the sheer white robe he wore, and he had a good three or four inches of height on Harry. He still could not imagine him in the same kind of role the vampire had taken in his mind the previous night, but he would do.

"Nothing to hide?" Harry stepped closer and ran his fingers along one hem of the robes, following it along the man's chest. "Strip for me, then."

The last of Harry's nerves and tension drained from his body as the man began to move. He hadn't actually expected his words to be taken literally, but he wasn't going to stop the show once it started.

The man was much younger than Harry, perhaps in his mid-twenties. He moved sinuously, gyrating his hips and running his hands all over his body. Harry took a seat on the bed, his legs spread before him. The man used his wings as another part of his dance, fluttering them and spreading them towards Harry in enticing ways. It was not what he had wanted, but it was doing the job. By the time the man began to crawl slowly up the bed – his robes and underwear shed and lying crumpled on the floor – Harry was hard and getting needy.

"May I?"

The man's hands slid slowly up Harry's thighs. He swallowed harshly.

"Yes."

Wet heat surrounded him. The man was good – of course – but Harry had not expected this good. He bent his knees as pleasure rushed through him, digging his heels into the bed.

"Christ, that's… that's…"

The man hummed around Harry's cock, sending sparks shooting through him. He grunted.

"You're good… Mmm, yeah…"

He tangled his fingers into the man's short hair, gripping him tightly. Clearly, the man knew what was coming, as he drew back just before Harry thrust up into his mouth. The sucking sensation increased around him and Harry squeezed his eyes shut tight. Jerking his hips, he used the man's mouth. Images from the fantasy sequence flashed through his mind, adding to the pressure building rapidly in the small of Harry's back. When the fantasy got to the best part, however, he struggled to stop.

"Not… Not like this…" His hands clenched, trying to force the man off him. "Want… want…"

Harry couldn't get the words out. Gasping as his muscles clenched and his brain screamed at him to keep going, he pushed the man away.

"Need you…"

"You wish me to…?"

"Want… wanna be…"

He was so hard – so far gone – that his mind wasn't forming words properly. Trying to ignore the heated need coursing through him, he silently cast preparation and protection charms, the strongest he knew. Rolling over onto his knees and elbows, he presented the Veela with his arse.

"Fuck me."

The man's cock was as talented as his mouth. Harry's hands clenched in the sheets beneath him and he bit into the pillow, trying to hold his orgasm off as long as possible. The fantasy continued in his mind.

The vampire thrust into him, setting a punishing pace. Harry arched his back and rocked with him, taking him deeper and deeper.

"I will take you apart."

The man's voice was deep and rough. Harry groaned in response.

"You will be screaming my name, begging me to allow you to come."

Harry reached beneath himself, palming his straining cock. Pleasure surged through him, setting his nerve ends on fire.

"Let me hear you."

The man thrust harder, hitting Harry's prostate. The noise Harry let out in response didn't sound human.

"Please…" His hand sped along his cock, trying desperately to bring his orgasm on. "Please…"

"You love being like this, don't you? Under the control of someone more powerful than yourself." The vampire's nails dug deeply into Harry's hips as he thrust into him. "Let go. Give your control up."

Harry's muscles tensed. He gasped into the pillow as he felt himself teetering on the edge. The vampire leant forward, his hot breath ghosting over Harry's cheek.

"Come, Harry. Be good for me."

The sound Harry made as he came was more sob than moan. Pleasure and relief washed through him in equal amounts. The vampire continued to thrust into him, letting him ride out his orgasm before taking his own pleasure.

"Good, good." His voice was strained, causing Harry to smile. "Stay still."

He thrust harder and faster, digging his fingers into Harry's hips in a bruising grip. As his breaths became more and more ragged, he leant forward again.

"Very good."

His fangs sank into the soft flesh of Harry's throat. Harry opened his mouth, but no sound came out as a new wave of pleasure coursed through him. His muscles contracted and spasmed, his cock spurting one last time before he collapsed down onto the bed.

Harry panted, his chest aching from the cool air rushing into his lungs. The bed was wet where he had landed in his own spunk. The Veela lay behind him, his breathing just as harsh as Harry's. Just before he drifted off, Harry's last thought was that he really should come back and try to score himself a vampire.

It was a few hours before Harry awoke. When he did, it was slowly, with a feeling of relaxation that he hadn't felt in a long time. His mind drifted for a few seconds before what he had done caught up with him. His thighs ached, his arse throbbed, and he was pretty sure there were rug burns on his knees and elbows. Shame caused his skin to prickle.

It had been a few years since he had been with a man, and a couple more since he had bottomed for someone. Shifting in the hired bed, he winced. Not only did he ache something shocking, but he was also sticky. And the smell! Blinking his eyes open, he cast a wandless cleaning charm.

The Veela was gone. The bed was cold where he had landed behind Harry after… Harry couldn't help his automatic grin. The sex had been good. Admittedly, he had been fantasising about some faceless other man, but still. He was relaxed, and he was satisfied in a way he hadn't been in a long time. Seventy Galleons was a lot, but if he could come out of it feeling like this, then it may be worth it? He honestly didn't know.

But, that was a question for another time. Scooping up his clothing, he pulled it all on, made sure the robes were covering his face, and began to make his way home. A hot shower and his own bed were what he needed. He would sort through the feeling of shame that hadn't left since he had realised where he was in the morning.

It was almost four when he finally managed to collapse into his own bed. His skin had been scrubbed red, and he had downed a pain potion, just in case, then proceeded to sleep until noon. Saturdays tended to be his only day off from everything, and he used them in any way he wanted. Apparently, the way he wanted to use this Saturday was in sorting through the emotions battering against his conscience.

A prostitute, Harry. You visited a prostitute!

Sometimes, his inner voice sounded way too much like Hermione for his taste. Lying in bed staring up at the ceiling, he sighed.

Part of the shame he had begun feeling the night before must have come from his moral compass, he knew. While not illegal in the wizarding world, prostitutes were still looked down on as being the dregs of society. And for the club he had visited to be located in Knockturn Alley, he knew it might not be considered as one of the more high-class sex clubs. Still…

He did feel good. That Veela, whoever he was, was definitely good at his job. His fantasy sequence hadn't changed, however. The vampire of his dreams, so to speak, was still haunting him. Perhaps it was the element of danger they presented? He knew he had a thing for dangerous situations; had ever since he was a teenager.

Shaking his head, he tried to clear it. He couldn't spend the entire day in bed picturing a faceless man pinning him to the mattress. Well, he considered as his thoughts strayed that way again, he could, but he shouldn't. Letting out a sigh, he shoved himself into a sitting position. Diagon. That was where he would head. It was always packed on Saturdays, meaning he would be distracted enough to not have to fall back on his apparently highly overactive imagination. He could have a nice cuppa while people-watching, and maybe grab a bit of dessert before having a real lunch.

*~*

As predicted, Diagon Alley was packed to the brim. People spilled out of shops, yelled to each other across the street, and chased children of various ages. Harry moved slowly through them, not wanting to bump into anyone and cause a scene. Well, that, and his legs still burned a little if he moved too quickly.

"Harry!"

The voice came from over near the pet store. Harry, having always been slightly lacking in the height department, couldn't quite make out who was calling to him. Ducking his head, he began to make his way through the throngs of people. Children collided with his knees, women trying to shove their way up to the windows of the shops jostled him, and he was elbowed in the ribs more times than he could keep track of. Perhaps Diagon hadn't been the best idea. By the time he made it through the people, he was scowling and rubbing various bruised parts of himself.

"Bad day, mate?"

Harry inwardly sighed when he finally recognised the voice. High-pitched and squeaky, it could only belong to one person.

"Hello, Ambrosia. How are you?"

Ambrosia Fortescue – a cousin of the family Harry had known when he was a teenager – had taken over the management of the ice-cream parlour a couple of years before. She was… enthusiastic, Harry believed was the correct term. Mostly because all the other terms he could use to describe her would be considered rude.

"Good, good." Ambrosia stepped close enough to nudge him with her elbow. "You look like shit, though. What's up?"

Despite how squeaky and feminine Ambrosia's voice was, she was anything but. Tall and strongly-built, she could stand up to many of the men Harry knew. Come to think of it, it was rather a shame she had taken up the family trade, as she probably would have wiped the floor with many of the Auror trainees if she put her mind to it. Shaking his head, he sighed.

"Nah, it's just… I always forget just how crowded Diagon gets on Saturdays. Today is my one day off, so I figured I'd come in, but I probably should've waited."

Ambrosia grinned. "Well, I'll tell you what." She leant close, her smile widening. "How does a free ice-cream sound?"

Unable to help it, Harry had to smile back. She may be loud and obnoxious, but Ambrosia was also generous and willing to help whenever and however she could.

They had to head back through the crowd again to reach the ice-cream parlour. Ambrosia had no trouble pushing through the people, so all Harry had to do was follow along in her wake. Or, it should have been. Just before he made the opposite side of the road, a hulking wall of muscle appeared in Harry's peripheral vision. He only had time to brace himself before he collided with the man.

"Sorry."

The voice was gruff. The apology did nothing to stop the throbbing of Harry's hip, where it felt as though the man had tried to punch him. Harry grunted and kept moving, not wanting to hold the rest of the traffic up any longer than needed.

At least the ice-cream was worth it. Ambrosia didn't skimp out on the offer of free ice-cream, and so offered Harry anything in the store he wanted. Once he was settled in a booth at the back of the parlour, nursing a large triple chocolate sundae, she grinned again and left him alone.

Triple chocolate sundaes were about as good as life got sometimes, Harry thought vaguely to himself as he got stuck in. Carefully slicing the banana with his spoon, he dipped it in both the ice-cream and the chocolate sauce, then licked the spoon slowly clean. His eyes slid shut as the sweetness washed over his tongue. Leaning back, he let out a contented sigh. Now, if only various bits of him would stop throbbing…

Placing a hand on his aching thigh, he began to rub slowly. The ice-cream did enough to distract him for long enough that he didn't realise that the sound of crinkling paper he could hear was coming from his own pocket. Once he did realise, a frown creased his brows. He knew he hadn't put any paper in his jeans pocket today, so unless he had accidentally washed the jeans with some in them… But no. Paper that had been washed tended to make a mess of the entire load. Digging his hand into the pocket, he drew out a very crinkled piece of plain black paper. It took a couple of seconds for the words to shimmer into life.

EXPERIENCE A SEXUAL REAWAKENING!

Clean.
Experienced.
Discreet.

The sexual fantasy of your dreams, come to life.
Veela, vampire, werewolf, mermaid. If you have fantasised about it, we have it here.
Entry off Knockturn Alley. Just speak to the bouncer.

A cold shiver ran the length of Harry's spine that had nothing to do with the temperature of the ice-cream. He was vaguely aware of dropping his spoon back into the bowl before him as he stared down at the flyer. It only took a second or two before his Auror training kicked into high gear.

The wording was exactly the same as the previous flyer, although he was certain that he hadn't seen the words forming when he had first glanced down at it two days previously. The only difference this time was the slightly darker word, drawing his attention away from any of the other options.

Vampire. Fuck.

So. It was now apparent that he had been targeted with the last 'invitation'. It seemed that the receptionist had foiled the mysterious writer's plans, however, by booking all the vampires out the night Harry arrived. Although, it must have been a coincidence, right? He hadn't booked his appointment; hadn't even known that he was going to take the flyer up on the offer until just before he threw on the clothing and robes and left the house.

That meant that whoever this was must be taking a chance that he would arrive at just the right time to end up in the right room. Was someone in danger and unable to get themselves out of it? The club had seemed slightly shady, but Harry had never visited a prostitute before, so he had no idea of how these sorts of clubs were supposed to look. His mind raced as he took up his spoon again.

He needed to get a team on this. First, however, he might have to speak to Teddy. Having taken up a position in the Creature Department – as they were known within the Ministry – Teddy would have a much better idea of what was legal and what wasn't when it came to this sort of stuff than Harry himself did. Harry's speciality, after all, was capturing Dark witches and wizards, not knowing the ins and outs of creature rights. Fleur might be of some assistance there as well, now that he thought of it, having had to deal with the Department since moving to England to be with Bill. A list of things he had to do – and things he had to ask Teddy the next day when he saw him at the weekly Weasley Sunday lunch – began forming in Harry's mind as he finished off his sundae.

*~*

"Harry!"

It was almost impossible to not jump at the sound of his name being called. It was a ridiculous reaction, considering the person who was calling him was clearly Ron, and that he was clearly safe with no need to worry, as he was approaching the Burrow. Still, that was what happened when you spent half of the previous day and the entire night completely paranoid that someone was watching you, Harry figured. The second note – and whoever had sent it – had been playing on his mind the whole night. It hadn't helped him to sleep. In fact, he had spent the night tossing and turning. Rolling his shoulders, he tried to shake the sensation.

"Hey, Ron. Alright?"

Ron stepped aside so Harry could enter the house. "Yeah, not bad, not bad. Things've been a bit hectic at the shop, with all the kids buying up for the start of term. I've been back and forth between Diagon and Hogsmeade these past couple of days, keeping up with the stocks and seeing what's popular this year so we can keep it all up-to-date." Gesturing that Harry should follow him, he began to move through the house, still chattering away. "Hermione's out back with Fleur and Angelina. Some of the kids have actually shown up, although I don't think any of yours have, mate, sorry. Hugo's bringing some partner or other again. Can never keep up with them, they change so often."

Harry grinned. It was nice to know that, no matter what he had going on work-wise, he could come back here and begin to relax by simply walking into the place. Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly.

"Rough day? I'll make you a cuppa. Mum's just brewed a new pot."

"Bit of a shit couple of days, to be honest." Collapsing down onto one of the kitchen chairs, Harry stretched his arms above his head, hearing his shoulders pop. "Tea sounds great, thanks."

The Burrow hadn't changed all that much since Harry was a teenager. There was an extra floor that Arthur had added when everyone had begun having children, but beyond that, it was exactly the same. The ghoul still clattered away in the attic, the house still slanted to the side due to the weight of all the additions, and chickens still had the run of the front garden. All in all, it still felt more like home than anywhere else Harry had lived, including the house he and Ginny had purchased before marrying.

"Anything much going on at work?"

A strange feeling crept along Harry's shoulders as Ron placed a steaming cup in front of him and took a seat across the table. It almost felt like reluctance, but that couldn't be it, surely. He'd never hesitated to let Ron in on the cases he worked unless there was a need for privacy. It was nice to have someone who knew the business to bounce ideas and theories off. This one seemed a little different, however. First – and perhaps most important – because it wasn't an actual case yet. Secondly, Harry had a personal stake in this one, it felt. He had been the one the mysterious flyer-writer contacted. Twice. If he had been actually targeted – which it increasingly seemed he had been –then he wasn't going to upset the person's efforts by letting slip that he had been contacted. He blinked when Ron waved a hand in front of his face.

"Sorry." Shaking his head, he sighed. "Just the usual, really. A couple of the new recruits need to be taken down a peg or two. Might send them off on Azkaban duty for a few weeks. We're still hunting for Lestrange. I swear, that man is slipperier than a fucking eel. You know, the last sighting we had of him that was even sort-of confirmed was in Italy?"

Ron shook his head, chuckling. "You know, if old Voldy had wanted to stay alive forever, apparently all he had to do was go on holiday with Rabastan Lestrange. Italy, you say? Nice for some."

Harry let out an amused sound. Sitting and talking shop with Ron, he could feel his shoulders relaxing. There was still an underlying tension running through him, but it was nowhere near as bad as it had been. By the time they had both finished their tea, others were coming in search of them.

"There you two are!" George's daughter Roxanne stood in the doorway to the back garden, a look of exasperation on her face. "Grandma's going to have a conniption if you don't come out and be social. She's been asking about you for the past hour, Uncle Harry."

Ron, of course, made a fuss about Harry being the favourite child, but Harry knew it was all in jest. Molly treated all her children the same, even if they were children by marriage. Rolling his eyes, he shoved Ron out the back door, chuckling at the indignant sound he made.

"Slowing down in your old age?" Harry made sure to keep out of reaching distance. "You'd want to watch it. You might break a hip one day."

"Oi, come on." Ron shot him a glare. "I wasn't ready."

"Maybe it's all the chocolate he scoffs at lunch."

Harry would have been unable to prevent the laugh that burst from him at the sound of George's voice even if he had wanted to. Glancing over towards the three long tables that were usually set up on Sunday mornings, he grinned.

George sat with Bill and Charlie at the end of one of the tables. Harry could see Teddy and Victoire, Roxanne, and Hugo with his newest date – just as Ron had promised – standing off to the side. Molly and Arthur had claimed the head of one of the opposite tables. George waved them on towards the table Molly and Arthur sat at, grinning widely back at Harry.

"Good morning, Molly, Arthur." Harry leant down to place a kiss on Molly's cheek. "Sorry I'm a bit late. Talking shop with Ron."

"You boys and your work."

She fussed a little over both of them before announcing that lunch was ready. Harry made sure to grab a seat near Teddy when she called them all to the tables.

"How are you, Ted?"

"Good, I'm good." He hesitated a second before fixing his eyes on the table, a slightly sheepish look crossing his face. "Honestly, Harry? I don't know how you raised three kids at once. We've only got Genevieve and she's almost too much to handle at times."

Harry grinned. "I was a lot younger than you are now when James was born, don't forget. Hell, I was twenty-eight when Lily was born, so I was done before you'd even started."

Leaning back against the back of the bench they sat at, Teddy let out a deep sigh. At thirty-two years of age, he and Victoire had only just settled down enough to have their first child and, while Genevieve couldn't have been more loved, Harry had to admit that she could be a bit of a handful. Harry glanced across Teddy to where Victoire sat on the end of the bench, nursing the baby in her arms.

"You were a bit of a handful yourself for Andy, you know."

"Please," Teddy scoffed with a grin. "I was an angel, I'm sure."

"No one believes that, Ted." Victoire shot Harry a smile across Teddy. "How's work, Uncle Harry?"

Harry had been wondering how to bring up the fact that he wanted a private word with Teddy. He waited a few seconds, taking a couple of bites of food, before responding.

"Alright. Busy, really. I, er, was wondering, though, Teddy. After lunch, do you think I could have a word? There's something with a potential case that you would know much more about than I do."

"Yeah, sure. Just don't try to drag me away before pudding."

Harry grinned. Settling in and digging into the delicious food, he allowed his mind to wander a little. He knew he had to organise exactly what he wanted to speak to Teddy about, but he also knew that he didn't have enough information for there to be a real case here, yet. For all he knew, the club could be completely legitimate. He simply didn't know enough about magical creature rights to say for himself. By the time lunch ended and people were beginning to drift away to other parts of the garden and house, he still hadn't got his thoughts in order properly.

"We could probably head off over there, if you want to talk now?" Teddy was halfway out of his seat, shooting Harry a questioning look. "Vic's going to put the baby down for a nap."

He was gesturing over by the old shed that held the Quidditch equipment. Gulping down the last of his butterbeer, Harry nodded.

"Lead the way."

The flyer was sitting safely in Harry's pocket. He'd taken the precaution of charming the pocket so that nothing could either enter or exit after he placed the paper in there that morning, so he knew it was secure. Uncharming the pocket, he withdrew the paper and smoothed it out on his thigh.

"What do you know about those magical creature sex clubs?"

Teddy coughed. "Ah, well… Not a lot, to be honest. There's not that many that are legal, I know that. Why?"

Harry glanced over at him. The very tips of his hair were turning a deep red, indicating that he was embarrassed. Teddy had always shown his emotions in his hair colour, even if it was by accident. Shaking his head, he indicated for Teddy to take a seat on one of the old benches behind the shed.

"Sorry for the random question. I just…" He sighed. Time to come clean, it seemed. "When I was in Diagon with Ron the other day, I was handed a flyer. I didn't see who was giving them out, it just appeared in my hand as I was passing through a group of people. Ron didn't get one, so I figured that the person must have been on one side of the road, just handing them to anyone who passed. The thing was, this flyer was different."

"Different how?"

Harry frowned. "It's kind of hard to explain. I'd never seen one like it before. It was advertising something that'd never occurred to me to even think about."

"And that was…?"

"Er, well… The club. A sex club, to be precise. With magical creatures."

Teddy's hair turned a deeper red. "Harry, I'm not sure I'm the one you should be talking to about this kind of–"

"No! No, Ted, not…" Harry could feel his own cheeks heating at the thought that Teddy assumed he wanted to discuss the sex part of the sex club with him. "I don't want to talk about that side of things, I just… Here, take a look at this."

He handed the second flyer over. It was a little creased, but he had managed to not fold it where the highlighted word was.

"This is…"

"I was handed this flyer yesterday. Look: it emphasises the word 'vampires'. Surely that's got to mean something, right?"

Teddy sat and stared down at the flyer for far longer than Harry thought necessary. He didn't cast any magic at it, didn't try to reveal anything on it beyond what was already there. He just sat and stared down at it.

"Teddy?"

"This is the flyer you were given? This exact one?"

There was a touch of urgency to his voice that caused Harry's blood to pump faster. Had he stumbled onto an active investigation?

"Yes. The only difference between this and the last one is the highlighted word. Why? Does it mean something to you?"

Teddy's eyes hadn't left the paper. He frowned.

"I… Damnit." Leaning back, he ran a hand through his hair, which was rapidly turning back to its usual mousy brown. "I can't discuss an open investigation with someone outside the Department."

Feeling his adrenalin spike, Harry leant closer. "But it is part of an investigation? This club, it is dodgy?"

Teddy shook his head. "I can't–"

"Ted," Harry interrupted. "I can help with this. Someone in that club is trying to contact me."

"Contact you? Harry, I don't think–"

"They aren't just flyers, Teddy. This person, whoever it is, is trying to contact me, I swear. You have to give the bouncer at the door one of these to even get in. I just figured it was an exclusivity thing, but if this place is as bad as it's starting to sound, then I'd say that these are used as invitations to keep the wrong sorts of people out. People that they don't want knowing about them."

"If that was what was happening, then wouldn't the Head Auror be someone they would want to keep out?"

Harry's mind was racing with excitement. He grinned. "Not if the flyers I've been given were put out by someone who wants to get in touch with me. Don't you see, Ted? These invitations were designed to be given out to people on the street classified as 'safe'. But someone messed with the system. I ended up with that one last time and went to the wrong room, according to the person who sent it. They want me to go to the vampire, so they–"

"Ugh, Harry, please. No details. You actually went into this place? You used the first invitation?"

Teddy's hair was reddening again. Harry couldn't find a way to put it more delicately, though, so he just shrugged.

"Yeah, I did. And I plan on using this one as well. I need to know just what's going on." He watched as Teddy's eyes slid shut. "Is there an investigation on this place, Ted? I could help out, if you want a report, you know."

"I…" Teddy let out a deep sigh and ran both hands over his face. "I cannot believe I am discussing a sex club with my godfather." This time, his cheeks turned red along with his hair. "Can I convince you to not go?"

"No." Harry was going to add more, but he felt that a simple 'no' was sufficient when he saw resignation cross Teddy's face. "I'm sorry, Ted, but if I have been targeted by someone who needs help, then…"

Teddy sighed again. "Yeah, I know. You have to help them. Look, I'll look into it from my end tomorrow. I'll even suggest bringing the Aurors into the investigation. I can't guarantee anything will change, though. Without proof that there's anything weird going on, the Department might just leave it as it is. This isn't my investigation, so I don't have the full details."

Harry nodded along, his mind still racing with anticipation. "I'll take a proper look around, if I get the chance. And keep you updated if there's anything that needs looking into." He smiled as he stood. "And Ted? Sorry for the overshare. I didn't really plan on giving you that much information."

Teddy shook his head as he stood. "'s alright. You can pay for my therapy when I need it."

*~*

Harry was as good as his word. Monday night found him stalking along Knockturn Alley, covered once again in his black hooded robe. The difference this time, however, was that he wore the Auror field uniform beneath the robe. Having experienced the magic that had removed his clothing from his body the first time, he was taking no chances this time, and the field uniform was completely magic-proof. Because he was so used to standing tall and trying to look intimidating in these clothes, he had to remind himself to not look as though he was there on a mission. Well, potential mission. Keeping his head bowed, he slumped his shoulders and cast furtive glances out from under his hood every now and then, imitating the first night he had made this trip.

The street was much quieter of a Monday night than a Friday. Many of the people who had stood in the doorways had cleared out, as had a few of the prostitutes. Harry moved past the remnants as fast as he dared. The big bouncer stood in front of the blank wall entrance to the club, his arms crossed over his chest.

"Back again? Good on ya."

Harry handed over the second invitation with a quick nod to the bouncer. His heart was beginning to pound in his chest, and his breathing quickening. He swallowed noisily as the bouncer stepped aside and the entrance became clear.

"Have a nice night."

"Yeah, thanks."

The black walls with the high lighting hadn't changed. Neither had the reception area. Harry kept the hood of the robes covering his face as he stepped up to the receptionist.

"Ah, Mister Potter, good to see you back." The receptionist gave him the same sort of vague smile she had the first time as she flicked through the book before her. "Are you here for the Veela again, sir?"

Harry cleared his throat. "No, I er… I want to try the vampire, please. Is one free?" His palms were sweating. There was no way to dry them off without the receptionist seeing him, though. Licking his lips, he took a step closer. "I wanted to see the vampire the first time, but they were all booked out?"

She smiled at him again. "Yes, sir, I remember. Please wait just a moment."

Was she taking longer than last time? Had the mysterious flyer-writer been caught? Schooling his features into a calm mask, Harry waited. Her finger scanned down a column of words, then a second. When she hit the third, Harry's nerves jumped.

"Ah, yes, here we are. We have… one free tonight." Harry had to force himself to not let out a relieved sigh. "I assume a man is appropriate for your preferences, Mister Potter?"

It felt as though his heart was beating in his throat. Harry nodded and vaguely thanked her as he moved over to where the payment strongbox had shimmered into existence again beside the door that led into the hall.

One hundred and forty Galleons in three days. This had better be worth it.

Following the receptionist's instructions, Harry this time turned left, then took a right before arriving at the door with the light above it. The paintings in this part of the building were different to the ones in the hallway that led to the Veela, but Harry didn't – couldn't – stop to examine them this time. He was so wound-up that his hands were flexing and clenching in turn, over and over again. Standing outside the vampire's room, he took a couple of deep breaths before pushing the door open.

The room revealed was almost completely pitch-black. This room had no windows set high in the wall to shed light on anything, just a pair of very dull candles that flickered with a low orange light above the door. Harry's eyes widened in response.

"Hello?"

He took another step forward and felt the magic that was supposed to whisk his clothing away wash over him. He couldn't help the grin that spread across his face when only the robe went and folded itself on the chair to his left. Widening his stance, he planted his feet and crossed his arms over his chest, standing as tall and with as much authority as he could muster.

"Who are you and what do you want from me?"

"Good evening, sir."

Harry's hand twitched over to rest just above his wand in the holster on his right thigh. The voice was a rich baritone, but there was something strange about it.

"What is your pleasure tonight?"

It almost sounded as though the words were being forced through clenched teeth. 'Snarled' was probably the best description Harry could use. Something tingled in the back of his mind, some remembered sensation, but he pushed it aside, not wanting to be distracted.

"Come here and tell me what you want."

He kept his voice even, the tone authoritative. He hadn't moved from his original position in front of the door, knowing that it allowed him the advantage if he needed to retreat.

"Anything you want, sir."

'Snarled' was definitely how Harry would describe the words. It was still too dark to see much, but he resisted casting any light just yet. Let the scenario play out as it was supposed to, he figured, so he wouldn't alert the man that he knew there was something amiss. Shadows shifted before his eyes, but he couldn't be sure if that was just the effect of the darkness pressing in all around him, or whether it was the man moving. It wasn't until the man moved into the small circle of light cast by the candles above the door that Harry could make out anything about him. When he finally did, he almost stumbled backward in surprise. Tall and thin, the man had shoulder-length, lanky black hair, an enormous hooked nose, and dark eyes that Harry instinctively knew not to look into.

"Snape? What – but…"

Harry's mind raced. He hadn't seen or heard from Severus Snape since the end of the war. After recovering in the hospital, he had simply vanished from every wizarding social circle Harry had access to. Harry had put him out of his mind, if he was to be honest. If Snape wanted nothing to do with wizarding Britain, who was Harry to try to force the issue? He could totally understand the want for privacy, really. But it seemed that someone had caught up with Snape eventually, as the man standing before him right there was definitely Severus Snape.

"You're the vampire I'm supposed to be meeting?"

He tried to keep the disbelief out of his voice. He didn't know what he had been expecting, but an ex-professor was so far down on that list to be almost impossible. Snape avoided his eyes. Standing there before him, Harry could see his hands clenching, his nails digging into his palms. He didn't move at all, other than when an almost pained expression crossed his face, scrunching his eyes and curling his top lip.

"How may – I serve you – sir?"

The words were definitely being forced out through clenched teeth; Harry could see it this time. He frowned.

"Snape? Severus Snape? Do you not recognise me?"

It had been thirty-two years, after all, Harry figured. Was it perhaps possible that he had changed enough that Snape couldn't recognise him? His frown deepened when Snape's head twitched to the side and he bared his teeth.

"Come – get – comfortable… onthebed."

The last words were said so fast that Harry had a little difficulty working out just what they were. Placing his hand over his wand, he stepped to the side, trying to catch Snape's gaze.

"Look at me."

Almost as though he was resisting a strong force, Snape's head turned towards Harry. His movements were stilted, jerky. Harry stepped closer.

"Snape. Look at me."

Harry immediately regretted the demand when Snape finally met his eyes. Deep and dark, they were as cold as he remembered them, but it wasn't the colour that caused the regret. A desperate, forceful hammering of Snape's Legilimency battered against Harry's Occlumency shields the second their eyes met. Harry let out a gasp, unprepared for the assault, and stumbled backward yet again.

"Stop!"

Snape immediately stepped back. Without the constant eye contact, the Legilimency connection broke, allowing Harry to shake his head clear.

"Alright, alright." Standing directly in front of the door, he took stock. His heart was racing, his hands were shaking, and his mind buzzed with alarm at the fact that Snape had nearly managed to break through his shields. If it hadn't been obvious before that something was incredibly wrong with this place, then Snape's reaction just then would have confirmed it. "Alright."

"Sir?"

It was infuriating, how calm Snape sounded. That was another clue that something was wrong, however, Harry knew. The Severus Snape he had known in school wouldn't have stood calmly by when Harry blocked him. He would have derided him for not doing it correctly. He needed to work out just what was happening, and it seemed that there was only one way. Harry's jaw clenched.

"Look at me." Watching as closely as he was, it would have been impossible for Harry to miss the tensing of Snape's shoulders. "I said, look at me."

A muscle twitched in Snape's jaw. His breath whooshed noisily out his nose. There was no battering of Legilimency when Snape's gaze met Harry's this time. Snape's eyes were… dead. They had always been incredibly dark, but this was something different. This sent alarms ringing in the back of Harry's mind more than anything else that night had. He took a deep breath.

"Try again."

Lowering his shields in what was clearly a dangerous situation went against every instinct Harry had. His Occlumency shields were not strong, he would be the first to admit that, but lowering the shields he did have when standing up against a man he knew to be a strong Legilimens was unbelievably stupid. If it was the only way to get information, though… He set his jaw when he felt the first touch of Snape's mind to his.

Dark. Not a cell, the bed was too soft. Prison? No, the room lacked that claustrophobic feel to it. Where was he?

"Snape! Get out!"

The door to the room clanged open, revealing a heavy-set man pointing a wand directly into Harry's face. Bright light flooded the small room, causing tears to spring to his eyes.

"What–?"

"Get out, I said! Or do I need to remind you who's boss here?"

Harry gasped as the man in the image being projected into his mind cast a series of jinxes, each bordering on the edge of illegal. Imagined pain bloomed across his chest before the image changed.

The world was fuzzy. Not a nice fuzzy, but a dangerous one. Everything held that slightly off sensation that developed when you had been given the wrong medication, or when you combined the wrong types of alcohol, or when… Drugs? Had he been drugged? His mind was too muzzy to remember. The door to the room opened.

"Good evening, sir. How may I please you tonight?"

A man stepped into the room, the charm removing his clothing as he moved. Harry stepped forward, obeying a silent command in his mind. The room swung before his eyes, but he stayed steady.

"What can you do?"

The man was old, fat, and clearly drunk. There was a stench of arousal and fear that surrounded him. That didn't matter, though. The client's wishes always came first. Harry moved, revealing himself slowly, as he had been instructed.

"I can do anything you want me to, sir."

His skin crawled. This was wrong, but he couldn't find the willpower to stop it.

"I've never been sucked off by a man with fangs before."

That memory nearly made Harry break the contact. His stomach churned at the sensations associated with it. He could feel the man's hands in his hair, could smell the alcohol seeping through his pores, and the musk of his arousal. He shuddered.

He was back in the cell. It was cold and damp, but they had left him with a blanket for the small bed. Curled up into a tiny ball beneath it, he tried to clear his mind.

If he could just avoid drinking the blood they sent him, he could keep his mind clear enough to get a message out to someone. These people had to be stopped, not just for him, but for the others who had been held prisoner for much longer than he. He saw them occasionally. Walking husks of human beings, their minds completely consumed with the drugs they had been fed for way too long. He knew that those ones were far too gone for anyone to be able to save, but there were others who had been captured around the same time as himself. They had only been on the drugs for two months, so they had a chance. He had to believe it, because if they didn't, then neither did he.

"Next stop, boys! Welcome to London."

London! Knockturn Alley, it had to be. This was his chance. If he could manage to get word out to someone – anyone – that this kind of operation was moving about the country, surely he would be saved. But whom to try to contact?

A bleak sadness washed through Harry's chest as Snape broke the contact. Enforced prostitution. That is what this club was. His hand went automatically to his mouth when the truth finally began to sink in.

He had had sex with a slave. A man who had been drugged and forced into working as a prostitute for the benefit of… Someone. Snape hadn't provided that piece of information.

Images from the memories Snape had shown him flashed through his mind. The part that stuck was the rows and rows of people filing out into the club part of the operation. Their pallid skin, the bones sticking out where they had not been eating, and zoned-out gazes that drifted, never staying in one place. Harry's stomach heaved.

"I didn't know." The words sounded harsh, forced around the bitterness building in his throat. "He was being paid. It looked legit. I… I didn't know."

Turning from Snape's dark gaze, Harry placed a hand on the post of the bed, needing to balance himself out. Closing his eyes, he leant forward, trying to steady his breathing.

"Enforced prostitution. Kidnapping. Drugging. Slavery. Starvation. Abuse." Listing the crimes didn't make him feel any better about what had happened, but it did help to clear his mind. Taking a deep breath, he turned back to Snape. "What else?"

A touch of Legilimency washed over his open mind, but he could tell that it was more of a request than an outright intrusion. Clenching his hands, he nodded. This time, he was not drawn into a memory, but instead received flashes. Each image was of a different man, their faces twisted in pleasure. There was nothing specific about them, but there was a heavy sense of coercion laced through everything. It almost felt as though Snape was being forced into participating in the activities Harry was witnessing. Confusion clouded Harry's mind for a second before the pieces began to fall into place. Stepping back so his knees hit the bed, he broke the contact.

"Compulsion. On top of the drugs? They make it so you can't resist?"

Snape's fingers twitched towards him. There was something else there, something in the way he moved, that told Harry that he was beginning to fight whatever force was being put on him. When no other attempt at Legilimency was made, Harry took another step closer.

"Snape?"

His head twitched almost violently to the side, and a grimace crossed his face, baring his teeth. "How… How…"

With his jaws clenched shut as tight as they were, Harry had to wonder how the compulsion was making Snape speak at all. The struggle he was witnessing sent adrenalin through Harry's muscles, the need to help in some way almost overpowering, but he knew that there was nothing he could do right now.

"How – can – I please – you… sir?"

The words were snarled once again. There was disgust on the parts of Snape's face that were capable of expression, although his eyes stayed dead. Harry shivered. It seemed they had no choice.

"If I refuse?"

He was certain that if Snape's eyes had been capable of expression at that moment, he would have been pinned with a look that called him all kinds of horrible names. Another quick flash of Legilimency knocked against the light shield Harry had placed after the last bout. He nodded.

The hallway was cold and dark. Puddles pooled along the walls, being fed from running streams through the cracks in the windows. Harry moved in a straight line along with many others. The scents of human bodies and waste assaulted his senses. He was reluctant to swallow, as he didn't want to know what the air tasted of. A deep groan caught his attention.

"This is what happens when you disobey. Do you hear me?"

The heavy-set man from the doorway stood above a pile of rags, a lash in hand. The rags groaned again when the man brought the lash down. Harry shuddered.

"If I hear of you allowing a client to walk out unsatisfied again, it'll be The Box for you."

An image of an isolated room, barely tall enough for a grown man to stand in, followed the memory. It was accompanied by a sense of fear so strong that Harry cut the connection before Snape could show him anything else. Scrubbing a hand over his eyes and trying once again to control his breathing, Harry mentally added 'torture' to the growing list of crimes committed in this club.

"Fulfil the client's wishes, or be punished."

Snape's fingers twitched towards him again, this time accompanied by a half step to bring them a touch closer. Harry didn't want this. Well, he didn't want it like this. He had, after all, come into the club with some kind of expectation that night. Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly.

"Let me – please – you, sir."

Snape was still struggling against the words, it was clear. Harry's mind raced. What had his expectations been that first night? Sex with a vampire, or something more? A spark lit in the back of his mind as an idea came to him. He moved slowly, allowing Snape to see his hands as he hooked his fingers through the beltloops of Snape's black trousers. He was certain Snape could hear his heart hammering against his ribs as he let out another breath, trying to steady himself.

"Drink."

Snape's head snapped up to meet Harry's gaze. Images of Snape drinking from people before his capture flashed through Harry's mind, all with an enquiring tint to them, as though Snape were asking if this is what Harry meant. Licking his lips, Harry nodded.

"Drink. You need it, right?"

Un-drugged blood; probably the first Snape had been offered since his capture. Harry tried to put aside the fact that the bite of the vampire in his fantasy had been what had brought him to orgasm with the Veela. His skin tingled in anticipation as Snape nodded slowly.

Stepping closer, Snape kept their gazes locked, a tiny tendril of Legilimency still running between them. Harry could sense the question over whether this was truly what he was requesting drifting in Snape's mind. He didn't want to give the fantasy sequence away, but knew he had to find a way to make certain that Snape knew this is what he wanted. Dragging a memory up from just after he and Ginny's divorce had gone through, he projected it to Snape.

Lyle, an American Harry had encountered up in Hogsmeade a month after the divorce had been finalised, had been into all kinds of different things. Things Harry had never dreamt about had been on offer. What he showed Snape was Lyle nipping and biting at his skin, and the resulting bodily reaction. By the time the memory faded, Snape was barely a centimetre from Harry's face.

"Anything you want, sir."

There was no struggle in his voice now. Harry held his breath as Snape's hair brushed against his cheek. A deep gasp of breath rushed along Harry's throat as Snape sniffed, clearly following the line of his carotid artery, and the blood flowing quickly through it. Snape's long fingers trailed up Harry's body, one hand coming to rest on his right shoulder, and the other moving to tangle in his hair. Snape tilted Harry's head to the side and began to brush his lips over the pulse now pounding in the side of Harry's throat. Harry expected pain; sharp pinpricks as the fangs pierced his skin. He couldn't have been more wrong.

Pleasure exploded through him the second Snape bit down. There was definitely pain underlying it all, but the pleasure was so acute that the pain was cancelled out. Harry's mouth fell open.

"Fuck…"

Snape pressed close, moulding their bodies together. Harry could feel himself reacting – could feel his hands scrambling at the back of Snape's shirt, and his cock hardening – but couldn't do anything about it. And neither did he want to do anything about it. Being held there in the middle of the darkened room, he allowed himself to submit to the sensations flowing through him.

He rocked his hips and clenched his fingers into Snape's shoulder. His mind spun as he moaned and gasped. Sharp jolts of white-hot need hardened him further. Snape pressed forward again, pushing Harry back so he leant against the post of the bed. Harry spread his legs, allowing Snape to slip his thigh in-between them.

"Please… please…"

Harry didn't know exactly what he was asking for but couldn't stop the words. Hardness pressed against his hip. He thrust forward, trying to force the stimulation he desperately craved. The room was beginning to spin. Rutting against Snape's thigh, Harry closed his eyes. Heat spiked in his groin. He was so hard, so close to the edge. Just that little more…

"Yes, I… Mmm…"

Harry's whole body spasmed as his orgasm crashed through him. Snape pressed his thigh even closer to Harry, putting more pressure on his cock as he thrust uncontrollably. By the time it released him, Snape was licking the wound clean.

"I… I…"

Words were beyond his capability at that moment. Forcing a leaden arm up to grasp Snape's hair, he pulled him back so he could look into his eyes.

Bliss. A clear head for the first time in two months. Relief. Thankfulness.

All words and expressions Snape could not utter himself. Harry smiled. His other hand dropped from Snape's shoulder, where he was certain he had accidentally broken the skin, to where Snape's hard cock still pressed into his hip.

"May I?"

Snape leant forward to rest their foreheads together. His eyes were still dead, no spark flickering at all. He licked his lips.

"If it pleases you, sir."

The words were breathless, sending a jolt of pride through Harry. It didn't take long. Snape was rock hard against Harry's palm. A silently-cast lubrication charm had his hand sliding steadily along the thick shaft, dragging small gasps and moans from Snape. In less than a minute, Snape was groaning aloud as his release coated Harry's hand and clothing. They fell backward onto the bed as Harry's knees finally gave way.

"We'll fix this. I'll get a team and coordinate with the Creatures Department, and we will fix this."

Snape rolled off of Harry, his breath coming in short gasps. "I would be grateful, sir."

Harry didn't allow himself sleep that night, not at the club. Lying there as both he and Snape tried to catch their breath, he tried to order just what he had to do in his mind.

The Auror Department needed to be notified the second he got to work the next morning. Kingsley should be there, as well. He had to get hold of Teddy and explain exactly what was going on, as the two Departments would need to coordinate on this case. Would Kingsley want the Hit Wizards informed, or would the Aurors be sufficient? And what about the Unspeakables?

He sighed. There were a lot of questions that could only be answered in the morning, it seemed. Sitting up, he cast a cleaning charm over the two of them. Snape stared up at him from the bed, his face now completely expressionless.

"I'll be back tomorrow. I'll know more then."

A quick flash of memory crossed Harry's mind: a piece of black paper, containing the opening words of the flyer for the club. Harry nodded.

"I'll need an invitation." He paused as he stretched, breaking eye contact. "Or… I could just book? Make a request with the receptionist that you – that this room – be reserved, er, for me tomorrow?"

Now that the words were out of his mouth, they sounded ridiculous. It was impossible for Snape to react the way Harry remembered him reacting to other stupid things he had said and done in previous years, which Harry found himself oddly thankful for. Without meeting Snape's gaze, he stood and donned his clothes again, making sure they were covering him entirely. As he was turning to the door, a hand placed on his wrist stopped him. Snape stood behind him, his shoulders still heaving as he attempted to catch his breath.

"I would – be pleased – to serve you – again, sir."

Harry couldn't tell whether the pauses in Snape's speech this time were due to him struggling against the compulsion he was under, or if it was the result of his shortness of breath. He chose to take it as a good sign, however. Smiling and nodding, Harry turned and left the room.

*~*

"Auror Potter?"

"Not now, Fran, sorry. Is Kingsley in?"

Harry strode through the Minister's office, not waiting for Fran to respond to him. After what he had witnessed the night before, he had no time to wait to do this the politically sensitive way. Admittedly, it was a little earlier than he usually arrived to work – almost a full hour, to be honest – but there was not much time to waste with something like this.

"Harry!" Kingsley stood at one of the tall windows in the office, his hands clasped behind his back. He frowned as he turned. "What's wrong?"

Normally, the hard edge of apprehension to Kingsley's voice would have had Harry trying to reassure him. This time, however, he felt it entirely warranted.

"I need to speak to you and the head of Creatures. It's important."

Harry didn't know if Kingsley was so effective at his job due to his previous work as an Auror, or whether it was because people were just so relieved to have someone competent in the position, but he had found himself grateful for it more than once. Where it would have taken Harry a couple of hours to get in to see both him and Semyon Walcott, the head of the Creatures Department, Kingsley managed to get the three of them in the same room within a half hour. Sitting in a meeting room Kingsley had commandeered with the two of them staring at him, Harry felt nerves flutter through his stomach.

"Alright, Potter. I'm up and in early. What's so important that it couldn't wait?"

Walcott was young. Well, younger than Harry. Also, apparently, impatient. He drummed his fingers on the tabletop as he stared at Harry, his thin lips pressed into a straight line. Harry took a sip of tea before beginning his story.

Kingsley's reaction was completely in line with what Harry expected out of an ex-Auror. The longer Harry's story got, the grimmer Kingsley's expression became. He had seen and heard a lot in his time with the Aurors, and Harry would have been surprised if he had managed to shock him at all. Walcott's reaction, however, was what truly surprised Harry.

"A black flyer handed to you anonymously in Diagon?" Leaning forward on the table, Walcott's eyes bored into Harry's. "When? Where?"

The excitement in Walcott's voice caused an uncontrollable grin to spread on Harry's face. He had been hoping that the story would spark some interest.

"Yes, it was anonymous and in Diagon. Out the front of one of the Quidditch supply stores on Thursday afternoon, then again on Saturday morning. Both times it was when a large group of people were passing by."

"But this makes no sense, Harry," Kingsley interrupted. "Why would they give a flyer for an anonymous and illegal sex club to the Head Auror? That seems counterproductive."

"Well, that's the best part, isn't it?" His adrenalin once again spiking, Harry leant further forward, matching Walcott's body language. "The flyers were sent specifically to me. They were written from inside the operation."

"Wait, you were contacted? We've been trying to get someone on the inside there for months now, but they keep moving around before we can place him. How? Who?"

Harry met Kingsley's eyes before responding. "Severus Snape."

Kingsley's eyes widened and Harry recognised what looked to be horror dawning on his face. Walcott spoke first, however.

"Snape? The ex-spy from the war? You're sure? How do you know?"

Harry grinned again. "It's a sex club, Walcott. Do you really want details?" He shook his head when Walcott's top lip curled. "Suffice to say, I met with him last night and he is the one who explained everything to me. As I've said, the prostitutes are kept under some kind of compulsion, as well as being drugged to the eyeballs with who knows what kind of shit. It's enough to force Snape to not be able to speak freely, so it must be strong. What he can do, though, is use his Legilimency. That's how I know so much detail: he showed me the memories. It's…" He shuddered as he remembered. "It's disgusting, the conditions they are kept in. I've seen farm animals treated better."

Walcott waved a hand as though to brush aside Harry's words. "But these memories you saw. You know how to get in, you know how to get an invitation. You could get us in, Potter."

Harry's gaze flicked to Kingsley, waiting for a reaction. When all Kingsley did was to lean back in his chair and offer Harry a shake of his head, he took it as permission to begin organising things.

"We'll need a large team. There's a lot of people enslaved there, and we'll need a person in each room, ready to get them to safety once the operation begins."

"That'll be up to you and your Aurors, mostly. We have a couple of sub-divisions who should be able to help with the action side of things, but a majority of our Department work in the offices full-time."

Harry nodded along, his mind racing once again through what he would need to get this operation rolling. Slapping his hands down on the table, he let out a breath.

"Kingsley?"

"The two of you have the Ministry's full support. If there's as many people enslaved there as you both seem to think there is, then we have to put a stop to this." Kingsley made to stand before pausing and glancing between the two of them. "This will be a big operation. Make sure you choose the correct people for the job. We'll only get one good shot at it."

Harry grinned again. The adrenalin racing through him heightened his senses and sent his heart hammering against his ribs. This is the reason he had joined the Aurors to begin with: the thrill of knowing that he was onto something good.

"We need a large meeting room," Walcott said as they both rose from the table. "Is there one on your level?"

"We have one used for briefings between the Auror Department and the Hit Wizards when it's needed. It'll be free."

It was rare for Creatures and the Aurors to combine forces for a mission. There were a lot of logistics to work out during the course of the morning, Harry knew, but with the two Departments working together, he figured it should go quick enough. Bidding farewell to Walcott for the time being in the lift, he threw himself into preparations for the inter-departmental meeting.

Gathering all his available field units together was the first step. He had a couple of units out in Ireland who could not be called back, and one who were due back this afternoon, but they would be out of commission for this operation. Department rules stated that anyone returning from field work must have the next twenty-four hours off to rest and recover. So, that left him with six full teams to work with, each of varying sizes and strengths. After getting word out to each team, Harry focussed in on the Hit Wizards.

This was not his Department. He had never wanted to be a Hit Wizard, especially after the children had been born. It was just too dangerous. He knew that he had to speak with the Head of the Department, however, since having a couple of Hit Wizards amongst the ranks of those who went after the people behind the club would be beneficial. Hallewell, the Head of the Department, was more than willing to send in a few of his team once Harry had explained. He even offered to send in a couple of scouts beforehand, to help get the lay of the land.

Harry skipped lunch that day. It wasn't such an unusual thing for him to do when he was deep in a case, but guilt still washed through him. Molly had instilled in him since he was a teenager that you should have three proper meals a day, even when you were busy. He simply had no time that day, however. By two, the meeting was all set up, and people were beginning to arrive from all over the Ministry.

"Don't think I've ever seen Walcott look this harassed, Harry. Congratulations."

There was amusement to Teddy's voice as Harry turned to face him. He'd just entered the large meeting room, a stack of documents in his arms. Teddy scooped up half the stack Harry was carrying before Harry could object.

"I would be too, if someone had managed to accidentally get a break in a case of mine." Their footsteps echoed through the currently-empty room. "I'm surprised to see you here."

Teddy chuckled. "I'm not a field agent, no. I am, however, an expert on werewolf psychology. We know that they have wolves there, so we're going to try to give everyone a crash course in just what to expect when they go in." He lowered his voice as they reached the front of the room, a sombre look crossing his face. "It won't be pretty, Harry."

Placing the documents down on the desk set up at the front of the room, Harry sighed. "Yeah, I know. We have to try, though, right?"

People began filing into the room then, chattering and laughing together. Teddy offered him a smile as he moved off to take a seat on the far right of the room, to Harry's left when he sat at the desk. The meeting room was capable of holding about a hundred people and he was expecting it to be almost full. Not everyone coming to the meeting would actually be useful to the operation, but it was best to have as many minds in the room as possible, in case someone had an idea that no one else thought of. A low, comforting murmur filled the room as more people entered. Kingsley and Walcott were two of the last to arrive.

"Come to order, please," Kingsley's deep voice intoned as soon as he had got himself settled at the desk with Harry and Walcott. Just as he had when Harry was young, Kingsley could command the attention of a full room with no more than a few words. "We have a case that has reached emergency status this afternoon. It is a rather complicated case, and will not be palatable to some here. I want you all to know that there will be no penalty for declining to work this case. We understand that the circumstances under which you are being asked to perform are highly unusual and will clash with your home lives. Please listen to and understand all of the information and instructions you will be given before making a decision here. Semyon?"

It was strange, hearing his story told by someone else. Harry knew he should have been used to it by now, but hearing someone else speak of events that had happened to him as though he wasn't there was very unsettling. Instead of focussing on Walcott, he watched the crowd.

Many of the faces he saw held looks of either shock or disgust before Walcott was even partway through the tale. He could easily tell which of the people present were used to working in the field and which were office workers even without being able to recognise all of them. When Walcott paused, the questions started flowing.

"Do we know the layout?"

"Exactly how many are we expecting?"

"Did you say sex club?"

That last brought about a couple of chuckles. Harry tapped Walcott on the back and raised an enquiring eyebrow.

"Sure, go ahead. You know more about the inside than I do."

Rising, Harry cleared his throat. "No, we don't know the precise layout of the building. What we do know is that the people there are sorted into different hallways, according to the type of creature they are. There could be men and women in the same halls, or they could be separated, we just don't have that kind of intelligence yet. We also, unfortunately, do not know just how many people are there. They only keep one visible bouncer on the outside of the building, and one receptionist on the inside. We do know that there are enforcers who keep the prisoners in line. And yes, Fernsby, it's a sex club."

Voices rose, echoing through the room. Some were laughing, some were shooting questions. Others seemed to just be discussing the case. Harry held a hand up to silence them.

"One at a time, please. We'll try to answer everything. Fernsby?"

"I'm married, Harry. I can't…"

Harry began to nod his acknowledgement of Fernsby's words, but Kingsley stood before he could respond properly. He quietened the crowd again with a simple raised hand.

"This is the part of the case that we expected most people to have a problem with. As you have been informed, these people are both drugged and under some kind of compulsion. We do not know to what extent it will occur, but the compulsion makes it so that they must obey the commands they are given. As they have been taken as sex slaves, they will experience an irresistible urge to commit a sexual act with whoever enters their rooms. That is what the patrons are paying for, and what is expected of them. Unless you are part of the infiltration team, and therefore not going to be having contact with any of the prisoners, feel free to excuse yourself. Once again, there will be no penalty for not wishing to take the case."

Harry held his breath. He knew that giving the teams this option was necessary – he wouldn't have been too pleased to be told that he was going to be forced into a sex club when he had been married – but he hoped that not too many would turn the case down. His breath hissed out between his teeth when only about ten people stood to leave. He was sure that they wouldn't have enough people to cover every single room, but the number of people they had was much better than what he had been fearing. When Kingsley nodded to him and sat down again, Harry began fielding questions. Some were answered easily.

"How do we get in?"

"By invitation only. We will try to book the place out, though."

"What kinds of defences are there?"

"None visible, but they would be fools to leave them unprotected."

"What kinds of drugs do they have them on?"

"No idea, but they don't make them violent. They couldn't afford to bring the attention of the authorities down on them for attacking a patron."

It was when they started asking more technical question that Harry had to hand the session over to Walcott. Since he had only been inside two of the rooms – and Snape hadn't given him anything useful for infiltration in the memories – Harry wasn't as useful as he would have liked to have been in answering the more detailed questions.

"What types of creatures do they have? Are we going to be trying to subdue giants?"

Walcott smiled. "No giants that we've heard of. The flyer lists Veela, vampires, werewolves, and mermaids. We have also confirmed that they have centaurs, a couple of trolls, at least one banshee, three or four hags, and an entire coven each of incubi and succubi. There are unconfirmed reports of a sphinx, some species of elf, although we don't know which, and maybe some goblins."

The room was silent for a few seconds before chaos broke out. People began speaking over each other, some laughing, some shouting. Harry shook his head and was about to silence them all again, but Kingsley beat him to it.

"SILENCE!"

"A centaur and a fucking sphinx, Kingsley? That's bestiality!"

"Why weren't we informed about this? Haven't these people been abducted?"

The same question had occurred to Harry at some point during the afternoon. He glanced over to Walcott, who had his eyes closed and was pinching the bridge of his nose.

"We didn't know."

"Didn't know what?"

Harry couldn't see who was speaking, but they sounded pissed off. He sat up straighter, trying to get a glimpse of the speaker.

"We didn't know that the prostitutes were being held against their wills."

"They're not prostitutes, though, are they? They're normal people who've been abducted and forced into slavery."

"That's more than enough, Dixon. Stand down." Kingsley was now on his feet again, his hand hovering tellingly over his right hip. Dixon – a young woman barely a year out of Hogwarts – snapped her mouth closed. "If we had known about the slavery and abductions, then this would have been a case for the Auror Department, yes. As the only information we have been able to get our hands on before this morning was that there was a magical creature sex club travelling around the country, we couldn't act on it. Not least because we couldn't find them. The information Auror Potter has been able to gain is the best intelligence we have. We are fully aware that there will be some people being held in there who will be in dire need of medical attention. Everyone will be taken as soon as possible to St. Mungo's. They will each be examined and treated there. Now that we know that the prostitutes are slaves, we will be going in as soon as we can manage to get them out."

"When will that be, Minister?" The speaker this time was another woman across the room. Tall and heavy-set, Harry thought she had entered with some of the Hit Witches. "Tonight?"

Harry's heart seemed to stop for a second. He had not yet discussed the timeline for the operation with either Kingsley or Walcott. Honestly, he didn't think any of them had thought about it yet. It seemed that he was wrong, however.

"The Minister and I have spoken about that, Boyd," Walcott said, grabbing Harry's attention. "Tonight is the best option, I believe, yes."

This, once again, caused minor chaos in the room. People began questioning Walcott, all speaking over each other. Some were agreeing, some were objecting. They were all loud. Harry sighed.

"Shut. Up!"

Placing his hand on his wand, he set off a wave of sparks crackling around the room. People jumped and yelped, stepping away from the walls. The sparks died out in a second, but they had done their job: Harry had the entire room's attention. Standing, he paced around to stand in front of the desk.

"You are all here in a professional capacity, and you are expected to conduct yourselves as such. Kingsley has told you that this case has reached emergency status, so a quick response will be necessary. If you are informed that the operation will run tonight, then that is what will happen. Now sit down and give Mister Walcott here the attention he deserves."

Sometimes it was almost as though he was dealing with children. Walcott nodded to him as he took his seat again.

"As I said, tonight would be the best option for the people being held there. We have been after this club for months now and each time they get even the smallest whiff that we know about them, they up and disappear in one night. All that they leave is the building they were operating in. There are never any traces of people or possessions. That is why we thought that the prostitutes were all willing. Yes, Boyd?"

"If we go in tonight, then we'll need more information."

Yes, Harry thought, she is definitely a Hit Witch. Always thinking of the practicalities of a case, that lot.

"That is what my teams are here for, Boyd." Walcott gestured to a couple of his team. "They will be able to give you all an overview of each type of creature you are likely to find there. Although, you personally will be part of the infiltration team, I must assume?"

She crossed her arms over her chest and widened her stance. "I will."

Harry had to smile. That kind of determination was what he had come to expect out of the Hit Witches and Wizards. It would be nice to work with them.

"You'll be with me, then, Boyd," he called out. "So will the rest of the Hit Witches and Wizards who are willing to participate, as well as the Aurors. We will be splitting everyone up into different teams shortly."

His mind began to flick over what he needed to get this mission done safely as the questions to Walcott continued. His teams of Aurors were ready to go, he knew that. They were kept fit and prepared to replace anyone on the other teams who had been injured, or otherwise needed to leave the field. The Hit Witches and Wizards were another story altogether. He knew that they usually worked alone. Whether that would become an issue here or not, he had no idea. Surely not, he had to figure. If he placed one of them with each of his teams, and maybe sent the rest in on their own, then it should all work out fine.

And that brought him to his next problem. He really hadn't thought they would be infiltrating the club that night. He had no idea about the lay of the land, or how many people they would be facing. For an Auror with his amount of experience in the field, that was unnerving, to say the least. It didn't look like there was even the slightest chance of getting someone in there early to take a look around, either. He got the feeling from what Walcott had said that that would fail spectacularly. Going in blind may very well be their best option, unfortunately. When he heard Walcott taking the last question, he refocussed.

"…will be split up into your teams shortly. Give the Minister, Auror Potter and me a couple of minutes to confer and we will be with you shortly."

Harry stood with Kingsley and Walcott and moved to the very front of the room, as far away from the rest as they could get. Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly.

"Are we absolutely certain that going in tonight with so little prep is a good idea?"

Kingsley smiled. "I knew that would be your first question, Harry. While you were organising the troops, Semyon and I had a discussion about the timing of the mission."

"Sorry we didn't include you," Walcott interrupted. "But we figured you were busy enough without us distracting you."

"Alright." That did kind of make sense, even if it was slightly annoying. "But why tonight? Why not go tomorrow and give this lot the time to get to know who they're dealing with? We could even get more of an idea about the layout of the building. I'm sure Snape would know enough to help us."

Kingsley nodded. "I understand your concerns, but Semyon knows this outfit fairly well by now. I believe him when he says that they could shift location at any time without warning."

When Harry glanced over to Walcott, he was nodding enthusiastically. "You know we've been tracking the club for seven months now. Each and every time we think we'll be able to get a man on the inside, they pack up shop. It's been so frustrating, but this time we have a real shot. Thanks to you, we can get in there and try to put a stop to this."

Harry was silent for a few seconds, ideas churning through his mind. Both Walcott and Kingsley watched him expectantly. He didn't speak again until an idea began to form in the back of his mind.

"I hate the idea of going in completely blind. It puts my teams in unnecessary danger. So how about we try to reduce that danger?"

"How?"

"Give me the infiltration team when I go in tonight. Since we're trying to place someone in each room – or near enough to it – they can come in one at a time with whoever comes in before me. Get them to wait in a specific spot in the hall, and they can come to Snape's room with me."

"Why?"

"Snape can show them where to go. They need to know at least roughly where they are heading, Kingsley. You know that. You were an Auror before me, and you know how dangerous it is to go into a mission completely blind."

Walcott nodded slowly. "Why not just have them pay for a night themselves and skip out on it?"

"I'd considered that, but the prisoners are punished if they don't, er, satisfy their customer. We don't want to be responsible for more of them being punished."

This produced more nods from the others. With a few more details worked out between them – and the promise of warning St. Mungo's from Kingsley – Harry set off to organise his teams and prepare for the night ahead.

*~*

The air held a slight chill to it that night. Harry wrapped his hooded robe tightly around himself, thankful for its warmth.

Nerves tingled through every inch of his body. He was not to be part of the infiltration team, which was only adding to his concerns. When big missions like this came up, Harry much preferred to be in the middle of the action. It had been decided, however, that it would be safer for the people in Snape's hallway to have an experienced Auror leading them out when the time came. Vampires were unpredictable at the best of times.

The teams had been split into eight. Each had an experienced Auror or Hit Witch or Wizard leading them, with the rest of the team spread out amongst the rest of the people in that particular hallway. Harry had handpicked his team, choosing only those he knew would have a good chance at being able to safely subdue a hungry vampire if needed. He had been correct in thinking that they wouldn't have enough people to cover every possible person they thought to be in the building, but they had done their best. When the front of the club came into view, he slowed his steps, refocussing.

"That's it," he whispered without moving his lips. "Ready?"

Boyd – the Hit Witch from the meeting – poked him in the small of the back. Harry bowed his head in acknowledgement. She was as invisible as it was magically possible to make someone, as were the rest of the infiltration team. He knew they were the last to arrive that night and, if everything had gone according to plan, the rest of her team would be waiting for them in the hallway just off the lobby. Seven people in total, a mix of Aurors and Hit Witches and Wizards, had volunteered to be the ones who went after the people behind the operation. Harry had been pleased with the three Aurors who had volunteered; they were all older, mature, and much more level-headed than a lot of his younger teams. They should work well with the Hit Witches and Wizards.

"Back again, Mister Potter?"

The bouncer never seemed to change, not even his clothing. Harry nodded.

"I've booked this time."

The bouncer bowed his head once, his eyes not leaving Harry's face. "I am aware."

Harry's stomach swooped. Was there something wrong? Had the teams been discovered before they could do anything? The bouncer leant forward, almost as though he was going to open the door, but not quite. His eyes darted back and forth nervously.

"Whatever Snape's got you doing, do it soon."

Shock sent Harry's mind blank for a few seconds. The door before him opened silently with a wave of the bouncer's hand, and everything returned to normal. He nodded.

"Thank you."

He neither saw nor heard Boyd enter the building, but another poke to the small of his back told him she was still with him. The receptionist was her regular self as Harry approached her. There were no secret messages, or hints that she knew something was amiss, she simply took Harry's payment and offered him the alcoholic beverage that was standard with entry. Harry once again declined the alcohol, paid his way in and entered the hallway.

"Boyd?"

"Right behind you."

"Did you hear that outside?"

"We'll get word to the others as soon as we can to not harm the bouncer."

Harry nodded. "Good."

Raising his head, he glanced around. Nothing moved, and there was no indication that the hallway contained the rest of their infiltration team. Not that he expected to be able to see them, but still. Taking a deep breath, he flicked his wand into his hand and sent a quick spark down the hall. It lit the white walls, illuminating some of the corners where the candlelight didn't quite reach. Six responding sparks shot back towards him a few seconds later. He smiled.

"Come on, then."

"We've been scouting, Harry. There are seven different hallways that this one feeds. The Veela are down to the right, the vampires directly ahead, mermaids are down the very end, and the werewolves and the rest are all separated from this group."

The voice belonged to Elijah King, one of Harry's longest-serving Aurors. He nodded again as he began to lead them towards the room with the light on.

"The bouncer is apparently part of Snape's plan. He seems to think that they'll be leaving again soon."

They were all silent as they made their way down to the room. Nerves washed through Harry, causing his hands to clench. He let out a breath as he pushed Snape's door open.

"Good evening, sir."

The darkness of the room pressed against Harry's eyes. The charm tried to whisk his uniform away, but failed again. The robe went flying over to fold itself on the chair, however. He moved further into the room than the last time, this time sure he would not find anything that would harm him.

"Snape?"

Harry lit the tip of his wand, casting a gentle light so as not to blind any of them. Still, he blinked as spots danced before his eyes. The shadows in the room shifted, but did not reveal anyone. Harry took another step forward.

"Snape? Where are you?"

A quiet gasp of air from behind him gave Harry enough warning as his wand swept the recesses of the room to not be startled as the light revealed a figure standing in the corner. His lank hair hung down around his face, his breathing seemed to be laboured, and Harry could make out the edges of bruises at his collar.

"What…?"

A white-hot surge of power caused his wand to spark as he stepped closer still. Snape's hands were shaking and he refused to raise his head, despite clearly knowing Harry was in front of him. Harry's muscles tensed as anger threatened to blind him.

"Elijah?"

"Harry?"

"Make them suffer."

Stepping closer, he Healed as many of Snape's injuries as he could. The cracked ribs causing his shortness of breath would have to be seen to by a formally-trained Healer, as would the muscle strain in his left calf. He was also unable to Heal whatever was causing the whites of Snape's eyes to be bloodshot, but he figured that he had managed quite well for someone whose wand hand was shaking with anger.

"We've got teams poised and ready to get everyone out," he informed Snape as soon as he'd finished. "The infiltration team is here with me. They need to know as much about the layout of the building as you can tell them. Is that alright?"

Snape hadn't moved from his position in the corner. He'd waited silently as Harry had Healed his injuries, merely watching him work. He didn't meet Harry's eyes before stepping forward, limping a little until he stood at the end of the bed. Harry watched as Snape wrapped an arm around his middle and took a deep – and clearly painful – breath. Snape turned slightly to his left.

"Ma'am."

Harry could hear the strain in Snape's tone again, although whether he was fighting the compulsion again, or whether it was because of the cracked ribs, he couldn't tell. A patch of air shimmered for a couple of seconds before Boyd appeared before Snape. She inclined her head slightly.

"Anything you can tell me would be appreciated."

Harry took a few deep breaths while Snape stood with Boyd, showing her what he could through Legilimency. His heart was hammering against his ribs once again and his hand still trembled. Some strange sensation was beginning to build in his chest, but he pushed it aside in favour of trying to calm himself down. Closing his eyes, he clenched and unclenched his hands in turn, switching his wand from hand to hand. A shuffle of a footstep nearby gave away the position of one of the team members, obviously on purpose. Harry let out a breath through his nose before reopening his eyes.

"Do you think they're all like this?"

He didn't recognise the voice. "I would bet that most of them have been in this condition at some point or other."

"Right."

In just that one word, the man managed to impart an impression of restrained anger that had Harry smiling. He turned towards the voice.

"Make sure you catch them all."

"I've never lost a target yet, Auror Potter."

Snape and Boyd stood there for a few minutes. Boyd was unmoving except for her breathing until the second Snape broke the Legilimency contact. She took a deep, shuddering breath and stepped back a couple of steps. Her eyes closed for a mere second before her mouth set in a firm, straight line. Standing up tall, she met Harry's eyes.

"I know where I'm going and who I'm after, Auror Potter. We'll see you on the other side."

With that, she replaced the invisibility charms she had removed and she and the team moved silently out of the room. Snape stood where Boyd had left him at the end of the bed, one arm still wrapped around his injured ribs.

Harry didn't quite know how to proceed, now that they had been left alone. The previous time he had been there, he had come in with expectations. This time felt different, however. And not just because this was the night that the operation to rescue the captives was taking place. The strange sensation in his chest had not abated and, now that they were alone, Harry's mind was throwing images of their last meeting at him at a rapid pace. Stepping out of the corner, he cleared his throat quietly.

"We've got people in each hallway, if not each room. We’re going to get them out as soon as the compulsion has been lifted."

Snape didn't react. In fact, it was difficult to even tell if he was breathing. Harry frowned and took another couple of steps, bringing him up behind Snape.

"I, er… Snape?"

He couldn't help gasping when Snape finally turned to face him. The dark eyes that had been so dead and lifeless just the night before now blazed with… Was it anger? Determination? Harry couldn't quite tell. Whatever it was, it lit his entire face up in a way that excited Harry more than it really should. Snape's Legilimency brushed against his shields, almost as though they were being knocked on. Without even thinking it through, Harry lowered them.

There was no memory waiting to be shown to him this time. Snape flicked through Harry's own memories, touching lightly on them and skipping past. It was clear he was looking for something in particular. Harry's instinct told him to throw him out, but he kept the contact. Snape limped closer as he searched and Harry's body reacted accordingly. Tingles chased each other down his spine, raising goose bumps on his arms. Snape stopped just a step from him when he seemed to find what he was searching for.

Surprise and gratefulness rushed through Harry as he stared down at his first ever real Christmas present his first year at Hogwarts.

He was shaking hands with Kingsley at some event or other, thanking him for… something.

Warmth flooded his chest and a stupid smile spread across his face as James toddled towards him, holding a flower he had picked as a present.

Thanks. Gratefulness. Snape was showing him his own memories of times he had been thankful for the actions of others. Harry smiled.

"Come on." He found breaking eye contact a little difficult, but turned to gesture to the bed anyway. "You should probably sit, since we couldn't Heal everything they did. It'll be best to be rested when everything goes down."

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the fingers of the hand not wrapped around Snape's ribs twitch towards him, and Snape flinch. When he glanced back over his shoulder, though, Snape's face was expressionless again. He frowned.

"I can try a painkiller charm, if you want? It might help?"

Snape shook his head. The movement was jerky, as it had been when Harry had first arrived the night before and Snape had been fighting against the compulsion. He met Harry's eyes again, but there was no attempt at Legilimency. There was something there, however: something undefinable. Harry licked his lips.

"Well, I, er…"

Standing and just staring into another person's eyes would usually make him incredibly uncomfortable. There was something different this time, though. Harry could feel his cheeks heating and his skin beginning to tingle. His heartrate seemed to rise a little with each passing second. Snape took another tiny step forward, his nostrils flaring as he took a deep breath, clearly sniffing the air around Harry. His fingers twitched again, and this time there was no flinch. Something sparked in his eyes, something that had Harry licking his lips.

"I, er–"

The sentence was cut off as a powerful wave of magic washed through the room. They both stumbled. Harry heard a hiss of breath as Snape grabbed for the bedpost to stabilise himself. The magic had no visible effect on anything in the room, other than to knock them both off their feet. Harry landed on his arse beside the bed. He kept Snape in sight as he tried to push himself to stand.

"I–"

He was once again cut off, this time by an even stronger wave of magic. He had no idea who was casting it, or what it was from, but it occurred to him that now was the time to try to get the people out.

Trying to find his feet was… entertaining. Planting his feet, he shoved upwards, but the magic continued to flow, knocking him back to his knees this time. Waving his wand, he tried to shield against it, but it was too strong, even for him. He could see Snape clinging to the bedpost, trying to keep his feet. A pained-sounding groan reached him after the next wave of magic crashed through the room.

Snape's face was twisted, his eyes squeezed shut. His pain was clear in his tensed muscles and white knuckles as he gripped the post hard. Adrenalin rushed through Harry, lending him a strength he didn't usually have. Forcing his feet under him, he pushed hard, sliding himself along the wooden floor on his knees, using the bed as an anchor. When he reached Snape, he used the blankets to pull himself to his feet. Grasping the bedpost, he wrapped an arm around Snape's waist, helping to support his weight.

"Should have… taken the… painkiller."

The words this time didn't sound forced, but pained. Acting on impulse, he placed a hand softly on Snape's ribs and tried casting the charm.

"Harry…"

"Did it work?"

Something sparked in the back of Harry's mind when Snape met his eyes. A frission ran through his body, sending chills along his spine and causing goosebumps to rise on his skin.

"It did."

It took Harry a second to realise that this was the first time he had heard Snape speak anything other than rehearsed lines. Tightening his grip around him, he leant closer.

"The compulsion?"

"Gone."

"Let's go, then. Stay close."

The hallway was chaos. Wave after wave of the magic continued to flow over everyone, causing them to lose their footing as they tried to escape their rooms. Harry knew that his magic was basically useless, but he had to try anyway. Standing in the door of Snape's room, he cast a shield between two people – he couldn't even tell if they were his people or some of the prisoners – but it failed. Whatever was happening seemed to be cancelling out everything else. When the two Harry had tried to shield reached each other, one bared his fangs, and the other flashed a set of deadly-looking claws. Snape shoved Harry off him.

"Go. They need you more than I do." He bared his teeth when Harry hesitated. "I'm fine."

Stumbling as the magic continued to flow, Harry managed to crash down between the two. The vampire lunged, his fangs fully extended and aimed at the throat of the other man. Harry's fist put a stop to it immediately. His knuckles cracked into the vampire's teeth. The second man lunged as well, landing just beside Harry. Grabbing the man's wrists as the vampire howled with pain, Harry forced the claws towards the floor, threatening to stab them into the wood. The man – a partially transformed werewolf, possibly – froze. Harry nodded.

"Get out. Go. There's Healers outside."

Trying to stand, he forced the vampire to his feet and shoved him toward the end of the hallway. Blood trailed along behind him as he moved. When he glanced back down the hallway, Snape was gone.

Screams echoed along the halls. Harry looked everywhere, trying to monitor certain people, but it was too much. The waves of magic constantly knocking him off his feet combined with the utter pandemonium of panicking humans around him to make it impossible to keep track of any one person. Making it to the end of the hallway, he grasped the wall and clung to it, desperately trying to stay standing.

"Harry!" A waving arm caught his attention. "Harry, over here!"

It was a female voice. People funnelled out of the neighbouring hallways, flooding past him in a lurching, awkward mess. All he could do was to try to direct them towards the exit. The voice had come from down the hall, away from the exit. Pushing off the wall, he began to move, leaning on people to try to keep his balance.

"Harry!"

"Where are you?"

"Blue door."

Harry frowned. A clawed hand gripped his shoulder as he tried to pass. Raising his hand in self-defence, he spun, knocking into a young woman. Her face was furred, her nails lengthened into claws, and eyes wild and yellow. She eyed his raised fist with uncertainty.

"Sorry. Force of habit."

She nodded. "Your friend is over there, by the mermaid entrance."

"Thanks."

He left her and shoved through the crowds, forcing his way through the people. It wasn't until he began to slide on the wooden floor that he realised one thing that they hadn't accounted for. Fear began pounding through him as he got closer on the wet floor.

The mermaid tanks had cracked. Their water was flowing out down the hallway, held back only by the partially-closed door. Marion Bleaker – one of his Aurors – stood in the doorway, trying to keep the door closed. The flow of the water was too much for her alone, however.

"Are they safe in there with just the door closed?" he shouted as he rammed his shoulder into the door, helping her to close it.

"Safer there than if they were flopping on the floor out here." She breathed a sigh of relief as the door clicked shut. "Thanks. Where to now?"

Having someone by his side made things easier. They still slipped and slid on the wet floor, and were knocked down by the magic that still flowed through the building, but having Marion with him to help control the more violent of the captives took some of the worry off Harry's mind. They stayed by the mermaid tanks until the crowds began to thin out.

"Should we try the door again?"

Harry shook his head. "Can you cast anything yet?" His voice was hoarse and breathless. "Last time I tried, it was like someone had cast a dampening field all over the building."

"Auror Potter!"

Harry frowned. "Down here."

A group of goblins passed by, shooting them suspicious looks. Heavy footsteps echoed along the hallway, indicating that another group was heading their way.

"Auror Potter!"

This time, Harry let out a gusty sigh. "What?" Stepping out away from the mermaid door, he had to hold a hand up to shield his eyes from a bright light that shone down the hall. "Who are you?"

"Sorry, sir." The light lessened, but didn't go off completely. The footsteps stopped just as three men came into view. "You're needed outside, sir. Minister Shacklebolt says we're to find you and send you out to him."

Harry glanced from the men back to Marion. "Assist Marion with the mermaids, and I'll go."

The man in the lead nodded. "Of course, sir."

The men's use of their wands told Harry that his own should be working just fine now. The waves of magic had lessened, if not completely stopped, a while ago. Pulling it from the holster, he cast light across the hall. The sight illuminated had him shaking his head as he moved. The water had washed everything it could reach down the hall, pooling into crevices and corners. Ripped bedsheets and feathers from what he hoped were pillows clumped together in spongy lumps. Matted knots of hair and clothing were scattered everywhere, stained with what appeared to be blood.

Harry avoided it all as best he could. He glanced down every hall he passed, checking to make sure no one had been left behind. The mess from the mermaids had spread halfway down that hall, but everything else was dry. The smell hit him the second he was far enough away for the water to not have touched anything. Stale sex mixed with sweat and what Harry really hoped wasn't urine all hit his nose at the same time. He lengthened his steps.

Another bright light hit his eyes as he made his way down the hall to the outside. He held a hand up to shield himself from it.

"Harry!"

Kingsley grabbed him the second he stepped outside. Enormous lights on stands were set up all over Knockturn, illuminating every inch of the face of the building. People buzzed around, calling out instructions. Residents hung out of windows, shouting insults. Harry's eyes began to water and his head began to pound.

"They got them?" His voice was still hoarse. "Boyd and her lot?"

Kingsley nodded. "The magic was an alarm the brains of the operation set off. Tried to keep them out, but all it did was keep his help from getting to him." Kingsley's voice was too loud. "I need to send you off to St. Mungo's. Damage control."

Harry nodded vaguely. Glancing around, he took in the people: the Aurors and Hit Witches and Wizards; the Ministry-types buzzing around. His stomach churned.

"Have you seen Snape?"

"What?"

"Snape! Have you seen him?"

Kingsley shook his head. "Sorry. Been too busy trying to organise things this side. Try the hospital. He should have been taken there."

Harry didn't trust himself to Apparate. Pushing through the crowds, he chased down someone in Healer green who was able to supply him with a Portkey.

"Auror Potter!"

Harry didn't even have time to lose his balance when he landed at St. Mungo's. His arm was grabbed and the person began to drag him from the small Portkey room.

"Thank Merlin you're here. We're in damage control. Some of them don't listen to instructions and we're using injured Aurors to help hold things together."

The man who had grabbed him was short, but strong. He weaved through the crowds of people in what Harry had to assume was the lobby of the Creature-Induced Injuries Ward on the first floor. The chaos from the building he had just left was nothing in comparison to what he was presented with at the hospital.

Cleaning products, the metallic scent of blood, and sweat assaulted Harry's nostrils all at once. People screamed and groaned in turn. Healers rushed around, carrying bandages and looking harried.

"Who's in charge here?"

The man glanced over his shoulder. "What?"

Harry's throat ached as he raised his voice. "Who is in charge?"

The man blinked. "You are."

Fuck.

There was no real time to think. They reached the reception desk in less than a minute and Harry began trying to make sense of what was going on.

"Who is the Head Healer? Why is there not enough staff? Where are the security guards?"

"The security guards are somewhat afraid of being bitten, there isn't enough staff because that is what happens when you Aurors give us only a few hours' warning, and I am in charge here."

The voice would have sounded haughty if it wasn't for the exhaustion heavily laced through it. Harry spun on his heel to come face-to-face with a tall, worried-looking man in Healer green. Taking a deep breath, Harry tried to clear his mind.

"Tell me what you need and I'll try to get it."

"Hands, Auror. We need hands."

Harry's mind worked as fast as it could before feeling like a light had gone off. He nodded. "My teams have a small amount of Healing training used for field assignments."

"Good. Then all that can stand will be put to work."

The Healer was as good as his word. Harry found himself trailing the ward behind a young Healer, helping wherever he could. They stuck to the end of the ward where the werewolves were being kept. It was not a pretty sight.

Some had been held captive by the club for close to a year. Their minds were… simply not there anymore. The drugs used to incapacitate them had taken too much away. Without a regular supply of them, there was simply not enough left of the person to save.

"What will happen to them?" Harry asked the Healer in a hushed tone as they prepared a mixture of potions ingredients. "Is there somewhere they can be sent?"

The Healer raised an eyebrow, but didn't look up. "Like a werewolf retirement village?"

Harry sighed. "Don't be a smartarse. You know what I meant."

This time, the Healer did look up. There was something indefinable in his brown eyes. He shook his head.

"There are places where they can be taken, if needed. They can't stay here, because it's too dangerous to risk healthy Healers being bitten. It's inhumane to take them to Azkaban, so they're placed with a facility somewhere out in the country."

Harry glanced over to where their latest patient was struggling against the charms they had placed on him. "Like a mental hospital for werewolves."

"Yeah." The Healer – Harry still hadn't learnt his name – nodded. "They take them and keep them and us safe. The place has heavy enough wards on it that they would challenge even Hogwarts and Gringotts."

"Good to know they're safe, at least."

The Healer merely hummed his agreement. Refocussing on the potion they were creating, Harry ran through what else needed to be done. By the time they left the room, his mind was already on the next patient.

"This one's a vampire," the Healer informed him as they stopped outside the room. "Had a few injuries, but they've been fixed. We just need to check on him and get a few personal details."

It was a testament to his state of mind that the words didn't even trigger the slightest bells in Harry's mind. He merely nodded and followed the Healer into the room.

"Good evening, Mister Snape," the Healer intoned. "We are here–"

"Snape?"

Harry's head snapped up. His eyes found Snape's unerringly.

"Mister Potter."

Snape inclined his head, his eyes never leaving Harry's. His gaze was intense. Nerves and warmth jolted through Harry's stomach, causing a silly smile to break on his face. The room was small and brightly lit. Standing by the blocked-out window, Snape still had one arm wrapped around his ribs. He appeared to be breathing normally, though, which added a sense of relief to the other emotions swirling through Harry. He took an automatic step forward.

"You two know each other? I can excuse him from the room, if this is uncomfortable."

Harry jumped. Breaking eye contact, he cleared his throat. "That won't be necessary."

"I wasn't speaking to you, Auror Potter."

Harry felt the reprimand as though he were a naughty child back in school. He ducked his head, nodding silently.

"That shall not be necessary, Healer. I am sure Mister Potter has seen much worse in his time than an old vampire with cracked ribs."

"Cracked…?" The Healer sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "They haven't been by to Heal them?"

"Not as of yet."

Harry's hands clenched. His muscles tensed as he fought to keep a surge of anger from showing on his face.

"My apologies, Mister Snape. If you will stand still for me…"

The crunch Snape's ribs made as the Healer magically nudged them back into place sounded painful. Harry took another automatic step forward, but was prevented from offering Snape any assistance by a glare from the Healer.

"Right." The Healer stepped back and holstered his wand. "As I was saying, we are here to gather some information for our records, Mister Snape. If that is alright with you?"

It took a couple of seconds before Snape was able to respond. Taking deep breaths – probably the first he had taken in about twenty-four hours, Harry figured – he stood up straight.

"As you wish."

"Your full name?"

"Severus Tobias Snape."

"Date of birth?"

"January ninth, nineteen sixty."

"And date of rebirth?"

Snape met Harry's eyes here once again. "May sixteenth, twenty eighteen."

Twenty eighteen? Harry did some quick mental math. Fifty-eight; Snape had been turned when he was fifty-eight. There was now, physically, only eight years difference between them.

"Was it a willing turning?"

This time, it was Snape who broke eye contact. His head snapped towards the Healer.

"Excuse me?"

"Was the rebirth willing? Did you ask your sire to turn you?"

Something hardened in Snape's expression. His entire body seemed to tense up, and he drew himself to his full height.

"No, it was not."

"Are you registered with the Ministry?"

"Of course."

"Thank you, Mister Snape. Please, feel free to make use of the bed you have been provided." The Healer turned and gathered his papers together. "Auror Potter?"

Harry let out a breath. "Coming." He allowed the Healer to exit the room first before turning back to Snape. "I'll be back later?"

He posed it as a question, allowing Snape to have the option of telling him not to come back. Snape didn't answer straight away. Stepping closer to Harry, he took a deep breath, his nostrils flaring. Harry swallowed harshly when a small smile crossed Snape's face.

"I shall look forward to it."

The rest of the night was a blur. Harry followed the Healer through the ward, helping with potions, tending to small wounds that the others had not had time to heal, and offering what little comfort he could. The ward emptied slowly as the patients were carted off to various rooms, or other wards if necessary. Harry tried to keep his mind on the task at hand, but it kept slipping back to that room.

He hadn't had time to properly speak to Snape since the compulsion had been lifted. In the confusion, they had barely had time to exit the room before everything had gone to shit. There were so many questions Harry had that needed answering. How had Snape been turned? How had he kept it a secret from London's wizarding society and why? Was he still in touch with his sire? Was the intensity Harry felt every time he met Snape's eyes real, or was it just him imagining it from the stupid fantasy he had concocted a few nights before? He couldn't answer any of them, and annoyance made itself known in a tensing of his shoulders.

"Alright, Auror Potter. That's my shift over for the night. Thank you for all the help. You have actually been invaluable to me tonight. I appreciate everything you have helped with."

Harry blinked. Glancing around, he saw that they had made a full circle of the ward. They were standing once again in the werewolf part of the ward, where they had begun the night. The Healer was stretching, his shoulders popping loudly.

"You're free to go home now, if you don't need medical attention yourself."

"I, er…"

He looked down at himself, frowning. His field uniform was caked in grime. There was a gash on his hand where he had punched that vampire earlier in the night, and a cut on his right calf, although where that had come from, he had no idea. His muscles ached as though he had run a marathon. Exhaustion, both physical and mental, was rapidly making itself known. He shook his head.

"No, I think I'm fine. I can fix these myself."

"In that case…" The Healer held out a hand to him. "Thank you, Auror Potter. It really was appreciated."

Harry knew he should just go home. It was close to four in the morning and he really was exhausted, now that he was allowing himself to feel it. The adrenalin rush had worn off a few hours before and his energy supplies were sadly lacking. He just couldn't rid himself of the thought that Snape was only a few rooms away from him, though. Almost as though they were acting of their own volition, his feet carried him across the ward and he knocked softly on Snape's door.

"Enter."

Snape stood by the blacked-out window still. He had removed the old robes the club had forced on him, replacing them with hospital-issued light blue pyjamas. A strange combination of nerves and heat swirled through Harry's chest when Snape turned and met his eyes.

"Hi – er… I mean…" He cleared his throat, frowning. "I can leave, if you want, I just wanted to check and see…"

He trailed off when the corners of Snape's mouth tilted a little. Warmth suffused his chest as he felt a touch of Legilimency against his shields. It wasn't a request, he could tell, but more of a greeting. He smiled.

"How are you?"

Snape nodded. "I am a good sight better than I was at the beginning of the night, thanks to you and your department."

Relief washed through him when he heard no trace of struggle to Snape's tone. Stepping further into the room, he could feel himself beginning to relax. It was not something he wanted, as he knew that the second he truly relaxed, he would need to sleep. He locked his knees, forcing himself to stay alert and on his feet.

"There's no need for thanks. We–"

"Oh, but there is, Auror Potter."

"Harry."

Snape smiled. "Harry."

The correction had been automatic. He had been mister-this and Auror-that every second that night, and he was getting sick of it. The sound of his name from Snape, however, had Harry's insides doing a delightful little shimmy. He licked his lips.

"You have given me my freedom back tonight, Harry. That is deserving of thanks."

Harry didn't know what to do with his hands. Behind his back felt too formal. By his sides was awkward. They clenched when Snape took a couple of steps towards him. One lifted to run through his hair, causing a cascade of dust and dirt to fall to the floor.

"Well, I… You're welcome. Although, we wouldn't have had any clue about this if you hadn't managed to contact me the way you did."

Snape hummed. He was still moving forward slowly, his eyes now once again locked with Harry's. He stopped a couple of steps away and took a deep breath. Harry watched as his nostrils flared and his chest expanded.

"Are you aware of the advantages being turned gives a body, Harry?"

Unable to help it, Harry chuckled. "It's a bit late at night for me to be answering anatomy questions."

Heat buzzed through him when Snape took another step towards him. It felt almost like an electric jolt, charged and ready to fire. His heart skipped a couple of beats before beginning to race. His hands clenched again.

"Vampires have a very distinct advantage over regular humans, you know." Snape stopped right in front of him, within touching distance, although he kept his hands to himself. "We have heightened senses. Touch. Taste. Hearing. Sight."

Harry tensed as Snape leant forward to take a deep breath. He could feel his cheeks and throat reddening with Snape's proximity. Memories of the previous night flashed through his mind.

"Smell," Snape finished in a voice barely above a whisper. "They are all much more sensitive for a vampire than for a human."

His heart was beating so fast, Harry knew Snape could hear it. He tried to swallow, but found his mouth dry.

"Are you saying…"

Snape stepped even closer, close enough that Harry could feel his body heat. "I can smell your arousal, Harry." He smiled when Harry's breath shuddered out of him. "A deep, dark musk that only increases the longer you are here. It started back in the club. The scent of sex was everywhere, but you were new; fresh. Your excitement last night was clear, despite you trying to hide it. Then…"

A light touch of one of Snape's fingers to the back of Harry's hand caused him to jump. He didn't break eye contact.

"Then?"

Snape smiled, baring his extended fangs. "You offered yourself to me. Freely and without any expectation. It was…" he paused to take another deep breath "…intoxicating."

Raising onto his toes to draw Snape into a deep kiss felt like the most natural thing in the entire world. One of Harry's hands moved to drape across Snape's shoulders while the other tangled through his hair. His skin tingled, feeling as though sparks were crackling over every inch of him. He let out an involuntary groan as Snape pulled him closer, wrapping both arms around his waist.

The brush of fangs against his tongue was a new sensation. Tilting his head back, he deepened the kiss, exploring Snape's mouth slowly. Leaning into Snape's arms, he allowed himself to relax just the tiniest bit, untensing his legs and shoulders to mould their bodies together. A deep sound like a growl escaped Snape's throat, vibrating between them. It didn't become clear why until a delicately cleared throat caught Harry's attention.

"Will I be accepting your resignation from this case now, Auror Potter, or shall we wait to make it official tomorrow?"

Harry jumped and tried to step back away from Snape, but Snape's grip on his waist wouldn't allow him to go far. He glanced over his shoulder to where Kingsley stood in the doorway, staring intently at a painting beside the door. His cheeks heated.

"Er, sorry, Kingsley." He disentangled himself from Snape's grip, resisting the urge to swat at the hands holding him. "I didn't mean to, er… compromise anything. I…" He sighed. There was no getting out of the fact that he had just been caught making out with Snape like a horny teenager by his boss. "Sorry."

"I shall inform everyone that a small conflict of interest has arisen and that you will no longer be the head of the Auror side of this investigation, shall I?"

Harry could hear amusement in Kingsley's voice. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and tried to compose himself. "Er, yeah, thanks. Sorry again."

"It's fine, Harry." Kingsley turned just enough to see that Harry was now standing far enough away from Snape to not make things awkward. He smiled. "I just needed your signature on these documents…"

The paperwork taken care of, there was nothing left for Harry to do, work-wise. With a promise to make sure that there would be more waiting for him when he returned to the office the next day, Kingsley took his leave.

"Make sure to, ah…" Kingsley glanced over Harry's shoulder where he was certain Snape was eyeing them impatiently. "…get some rest tonight, Harry."

Kingsley exited the room with a grin. Harry shook his head. Turning, he felt another rush of heat flood through him when he met Snape's eyes. There was hope and promise there, combined with a heat that Harry hoped matched his own.

*~*

SIX MONTHS LATER

ILLEGAL SEX CLUB MASTERMIND SENTENCED

The newspaper trembled in Harry's hand. This was the moment they had been awaiting for the past six months. Pushing the door of the house open, he took the steps two at a time to get to the upper floor. He tried to muffle them as best he could on the carpet, but was unsure he had managed it. It was just past four in the afternoon, so it was uncertain whether Severus would even be awake yet. He let out a soft breath as he came to their bedroom door.

"Severus?"

He slipped his heavy boots off and laid them beside the door. Nothing moved in the room, telling him that Severus was likely still asleep. Moving as quietly as he could, he slipped over to the dresser to place the paper down.

Harry had grown used to moving about the bedroom in the pitch darkness over the past few months. Severus required complete darkness not just to sleep but, obviously, to survive. It was a compromise that Harry had discovered he was more than willing to make.

The intensity of their relationship had died down a little since those first few frantic months. Not that Harry had expected to be able to keep up that kind of pace, but he found himself liking this part even better. Lazy mornings spent in bed together, just as he was waking and Severus was winding down. Late night dates spent walking along beaches or deserted streets in the dark. Harry smiled as a shiver ran the length of his spine.

"Thinking of me again, Potter?"

Harry gasped as Severus' hands circled his waist, pulling him back against his chest. A deep rush of breath told him that Severus was, once again, sniffing him. Or, more specifically, the air around him. It had been a little strange, knowing that his partner could tell his mood by his scent, but also useful, in some ways. He leant back into the touch, allowing his head to fall back onto Severus' shoulder, exposing his throat.

"Bit of a cocky assumption."

Severus slipped a hand lower down his body. "Not from where I'm standing, it isn't."

Harry chuckled. His eyes closed as he felt Severus begin to massage him through his uniform.

"They've sentenced them."

As promised, Harry had stayed out of the investigation of the club, to avoid any accusations of a conflict of interest. His teams weren't allowed to give him any extra information, and he hadn't asked for any. This case was too important to fuck it up by being impatient.

"Death has not been legal in the British justice system for many years."

Harry frowned. "Of course it hasn't."

"Shame."

Harry shivered. While the sentiment was vicious and stated in a chillingly calm tone, he could understand it. After what these people had put Severus through, he couldn't blame him for wishing death on them, despite the fact that he personally was strongly opposed to the idea of killing as punishment. Much better to leave them to rot forever in Azkaban.

"The leader got six life sentences in Azkaban. The underlings got between one and three life sentences, depending on what they'd done."

A deep sigh ruffled his hair just before Severus stepped back away from him. Harry let out a sound of protest as he stumbled backwards.

"What–?"

He turned to see only the outline of Severus standing behind him. The room was too dark to see much else, but he knew from the brief contact they had had that Severus wasn't wearing much more than a pair of underwear. His head tilted when Severus crossed his arms over his chest.

"Our entire lives for the past six months have been about this case. Giving testimonies and interviews about what happened, having cameras shoved in our faces every time we want to go outside together, seeing every move splashed over the papers. I am sick of it."

Harry froze. A cold sensation began to settle deep in his stomach.

"Severus, are you… What are…"

He paused as his chest constricted. Severus was correct: their lives had been about the case for the past six months. Harry didn't see how they couldn't have been. This was the biggest story London had produced in many years, and for it to involve not only him, but Severus as well – and for them to have developed a relationship from it – the press and public ate it up. Frowning, he tried again.

"What are you sick of?"

His skin tingled with what felt very much like fear as Severus sighed again. If it was him Severus was sick of, after everything they had gone through… He shook his head.

"The case is over, Harry. It has been over for me for months now. All I want is to move on, to get on with my life."

"Oh."

A low buzzing sound entered Harry's ears. Move on. Alright. But what did that mean? Now that the case was over, did that mean that they were as well? Could Severus have just been using him as a momentary body to use while he had to stay in London? Was this it for the relationship they had been building? Frowning again, he cleared his throat.

"Right. Well…"

"With you, you nitwit."

Before Harry could react, Severus stepped forward, scooped him up and dumped him on the bed. He bounced once, unable to gain a sense of balance, then Severus landed on the bed beside him. An arm crossed over his waist, pulling him to the side, close to Severus' chest. The sound of Severus taking a deep lungful of air had him smiling uncertainly.

"Severus?"

"You are so predictable."

Brushing his fingertips along the side of Harry's face, he pushed on the bed, rolling them over so Harry was pinned beneath him. This time when he leant in, it was to take a deep breath along the side of Harry's throat, following the line of his carotid artery. Harry smiled as his heart fluttered pathetically.

"Predictable?"

Severus hummed. "You are worth much more than you give yourself credit for, Harry."

The words were whispered against Harry's throat. A shiver that began at the base of his neck ran through his entire body, causing his toes to curl.

"Severus?"

When Severus raised himself onto his elbows, Harry met his eyes in the dark. His shields were already down when Severus' Legilimency tentatively reached forward.

Warmth and expectation spread through him as he stood on a balcony. Journalists and the public all pressed in around the hotel entrance he was watching, all hoping to catch a glimpse of… someone? Harry recognised the hotel, but not the situation.

"There!"

"Potter! It's Harry Potter!"

Tension entered his chest as the crowd below surged forward. A group of Aurors exited the hotel, clearly guarding someone. The expectation he was feeling peaked in a rush of hope and joy as the man they were guarding looked up to meet his eyes.

Harry.

He opened his mouth to try to say something, but Severus pressed on, showing him another memory.

Pain. He was in a too-bright room, the light blinding him. The musky stench of stale sex surrounded him once again, but this time, there was no escape. He was tied down, trapped. Harry gasped and struggled, but it was impossible to free himself.

"Good, Snape, good. Struggle. It will make things better for me..."

He screamed as he awoke, covered in sweat. His hands scrambled for his wand. A nightmare, it must have been. A warm hand on his arm caused him to jump.

"Shh… Shh, Severus, it's fine. You're safe. It's a nightmare."

The hand moved slowly, trailing up to trace the lines of his face as he lay back down, gasping for breath.

"It's just a nightmare. You're safe, I swear."

Warmth and comfort surrounded him as he recognised the voice.

Harry.

He fell silently back to sleep, safe in the knowledge that he wasn't alone.

This time, Harry didn't even try to speak. He just let the memories flow.

His own goofy smile that first night at the hospital when he had realised Severus was in the room he had entered with the Healer. Himself standing in the doorway of the bedroom, smelling deliciously musky. Deep green eyes staring into his own, the mind behind them completely open to him.

Harry.

He managed to take one deep breath when Severus released him from the link before their lips connected in a passionate kiss. Adjusting his position on the bed, he spread his legs and wrapped his arms around Severus' shoulders. Settling in, he let out a contented sound when Severus broke the kiss to rest their foreheads together.

"I love you, Harry. It may have begun in the wrong place and at the wrong time, but when I think of moving on with life, it is with you. If you'll have me."

A warm sense of pleasure spread rapidly through Harry, causing a wide smile to break on his face. They had been through much more than most couples go through in their entire lives together in the space of only half a year, but that had only seemed to cement their relationship further. He hadn't had eyes for anyone other than Severus since the first night they had re-met. There was no question in his mind of what he wanted. Brushing a hand through Severus' hair, he pulled him down into another kiss.

"Love you, too," he whispered a couple of minutes later, rather breathlessly. "Wherever you go, I'll be right there with you."