FIC: Cloistered, Chapter Five
Title: Cloistered Author: sioban_parker Translation: from the original French by joanwilder Beta reader: jadzialove Pairing: Harry/Snape Rating: R Genre: AU/AR, Romance, Angst, Drama Warnings: some religious (Christian) content Summary: During fifth year, Harry is stunned to discover that in a previous life he was a novice in a monastery. And that Snape was there with him…
Harry knew what Lucius was going to say even before he opened his mouth. It felt as if his heart had stopped and dropped into his stomach.
"Spend the night with me, and I'll forget the whole affair."
Harry clenched his jaw. Surprising himself, he found the strength to be ironic. "I don't suppose you'll be expecting me to read the Gospels to you?"
Lucius lifted an eyebrow. "Only you can save Ron," he said coldly. "Decide quickly; it's a one-time offer. Perhaps I would derive as much pleasure from tormenting your friend as from deflowering you."
Just the word 'deflower' made Harry squirm uncomfortably. His first impulse was to run from the room and abandon Ron to face the consequences of his actions. After all, he was the one who'd got himself in so deep.
But very quickly, the best of what was deep inside Harry—his loyalty and his courage—rose to the surface. If it was within his power to help Ron, he had to do it, no matter the cost. It would just be a bad experience to get through. How significant was a single event in light of an entire life?
The Prior was able to perfectly interpret Harry's air of resignation.
"I congratulate you for your excellent decision."
Not wanting to hear anything more, Harry left. Once outside, he leant against the wall and took a great gulp of air. It wasn't enough to loosen the vice-like sensation that squeezed his chest. He clapped a hand over his mouth and took off at a run as nausea was about to overcome him.
When the trap was about to snap shut, what was left to ask God? What was there to say to him in prayer? Something like: 'Why do you put men like Lucius in charge of other people?'
One must never question divine will, Harry. He knows better than you what he must do. Furthermore, in this violent and barbaric world, there are people whose fates are worse than your own.
In his head, the soothing words were always in Albus' voice.
Albus, though, could do nothing to help him. He was seriously ill, exhausted, with other things to worry about, and he couldn't protect Ron from a just punishment for having violated the Rule of St. Benedict.
"Forgive me, Lord. I'm going to commit a grave sin. But you know that in my heart, I don't want to do it."
But how many times have you sinned in your thoughts? How many times have you imagined, dreamed, even wanted what's going to happen to you tonight? Your perverted spirit is already reveling in this sin. This will be but one more step in your moral deterioration.
The time it was Lucius' voice that resonated in his head.
Harry clenched his fists. Not Lucius. It wasn't Lucius he'd dreamt of...
To his right, Dean nudged him with an elbow. The evening Office was just finishing; it was time for everyone to go to bed. Harry pulled the cowl up over his head at the door of the church.
Ron, who'd been watching him silently for a moment, said hesitantly, "Harry, are you—"
"Leave me alone!"
Harry left the troupe of novices and headed off in a different direction. It was not his bed that was waiting for him on this night.
Sick in his soul, he knocked on Lucius' door. The Prior was blessed with his own room, unable to lower himself to share a dormitory with ordinary monks.
Within its walls, the abbey replicated the social inequality that existed outside of them. Lucius, as well as Albus, came from an aristocratic family for whom the Church was just one more way to gain power, more influence, more privilege. The manner in which Lucius broke the Rule showed only too well his scorn for the Christian faith. Being a monk in no way prevented him from satisfying his sexual urges.
Saint Benedict of Nursia would've turned over in his grave. He who'd dreamt of purity and equality, to witness his life's work so perverted by those from within….
Lucius opened the door and gestured for Harry to enter. The door slammed shut behind him with a muffled sound that reminded Harry of a tomb being sealed.
The Prior graced him with a smile. "I'm sincerely glad you're here."
"The feeling's not mutual."
"Don't be so distraught. There's a first time for everything."
Lucius reached out to caress his cheek. With a brusque move, Harry stopped him. "Don't touch me!'
"And yet, that is exactly my plan," Lucius said as he lifted an ironic eyebrow. "That shouldn't surprise you. You're perfectly aware of my intentions despite your charming innocence."
"I know, I know. Let's make a few things perfectly clear: I've no interest in tying you up and taking you by force. I will resort to that, however, if you leave me no choice. You agreed and I'll not allow you to change your mind."
Harry's eyes flashed with anger and contempt. "Whether by violence or by blackmail, you're still forcing me, Lucius."
Lucius smiled at him. Harry would've given anything to wipe that smile away with his fist.
"Perfect. I'd rather have you by force than not have you at all." His voice wasn't even menacing—one could detect a hint of desire mixed with a calm confidence. "Think, Harry. Tonight could be satisfying for both of us. You're a virgin: rape would be incredibly painful. With your submission, I could give you so much pleasure. Trust me."
"What guarantee do I have that you'll only make me do this once?"
"You flatter yourself, my young friend. You are definitely charming, but once will be enough."
The young man's burden lifted ever so slightly. He stood in front of Lucius, stiff and awkward, his face full of scorn.
Lucius murmured, "You could break a heart of stone." He leant in and captured the novice's mouth in a kiss. Harry stiffened even more.
He'd already been kissed several months before by a boy his own age. That had convinced him of which way his natural tendencies lay, and he'd vowed to himself to never give in to this vice. Now, he could only submit, while Lucius devoured his lips with a predatory ardor. It was oppressive, terrifying, a violation of his person. And of course, it wasn't an entirely unpleasant sensation.
Harry realized that Lucius hadn't lied when he'd mentioned pleasure. He was definitely going to climax tonight, and he hated himself for it.
When Lucius let go of him, Harry had trouble catching his breath. Oh God.
Lucius' eyes, glazed with arousal, inspected him from head to toe. "Are you ready to submit to my will?"
"Yes," Harry replied in spite of himself, burning with shame and repressed rage.
"You're going to have to prove it to me."
Lucius reached out and lifted his chin to kiss him again, crushing Harry's lips, forcing them open, plunging inside with his tongue to wantonly explore his mouth. Harry quivered from being so passionately kissed, of being held so tightly against the man's body. He didn't like Lucius, he didn't want him…but he had to acknowledge his physical beauty and his expertise at kissing. Despite himself, Harry felt his body begin to respond.
Gasping for breath, he pulled away from the embrace.
The most difficult part of monastic life was the complete and utter absence of physical contact. Human beings needed tenderness and signs of affection. Harry more than others, perhaps.
He'd never known the love of a mother, nor anyone for that matter. So it was no surprise that his senses were being awakened by the kisses and caresses, even those of an enemy. The same would've been true of anyone in Lucius' place, provided he wasn't too repulsive.
In spite of this fine rationalization, Harry was deeply unhappy with himself. Aggravating the situation even further, Lucius' half-smile was evidence that he'd guessed why Harry'd pulled away.
"You're going to love it, I promise. Get undressed."
Harry lowered his head. He didn't want to do it; he'd give anything for it not to happen.
"Come, come," Lucius said impatiently. "You don't believe I'll be satisfied with just a few kisses?"
"Go to hell," Harry muttered.
"All in good time," Lucius replied nonchalantly.
With trembling hands, Harry undid his corded belt, let his black cassock fall to his feet, then pulled his shirt off over his head. He stood still, arms dangling at his side. Lucius studied him appreciatively. Harry felt a lump form in his throat as tears filled his eyes. He turned his head to look away, but the Prior's hand gripped his chin and forced him to show his face.
"That will not do," the man said forcefully. "A single tear, and the deal is off. A single tear, and your friend is lost."
Harry had to force himself to swallow his saliva. Lucius lowered his gaze as he dropped his hand to the boyish chest. "As delicious as I imagined…."
Lucius crushed Harry brusquely to him, taking his mouth again so harshly that it hurt; Harry detected the metallic taste of blood on his tongue. He detested the feel of Lucius' clothing against his skin, as if being naked in this man's arms somehow made him more vulnerable. And for the first time, he felt terror overtake him at the thought of what was about to happen to him tonight.
The door was slammed open from the outside.
"Lucius, a moment of your precious time, if you please."
Severus' inimitable voice made the Prior jump, then Harry was released. The Novice Master fixed first Lucius then Harry with an icy glare. He couldn't help but see Harry's uncontrollable shaking, his bloodied lip, the tears now running slowly down his face. But he made no sign that he saw.
Lucius wasn't off-balance for long. "So, my brother, what is so urgent. I'm busy."
"So I see."
Harry wanted to scream. How could Severus be so cold and indifferent? Was he going to go and leave him there? Didn't he comprehend that his novice wasn't there of his own free will?
Severus finally met his desperate eyes. But Harry couldn't detect the least bit of sympathy there.
Feeling nothing, Harry obeyed. He'd been rescued, and yet, his distress knew no bounds.
Lucius frowned and began to reply menacingly, 'Severus, it's inconvenient…"
"Inconvenient to pursue this topic of conversation just now," Severus interrupted. He kept his eyes fixed on the Prior while Harry covered his nakedness with his habit.
The young man stared intently at Severus. He wanted to talk to him, to explain.
"Off with you," Severus advised him with an abrupt gesture.
"Get out of here," Lucius added casually.
The Prior and the Novice Master were watching each other, not paying Harry the slightest attention. Harry went out and shut the door behind him.
His legs carried him to the courtyard without him knowing how. Then his strength gave out and he fell to his knees, choking with sobs.
Severus had saved him, yes, but he'd radiated contempt. What did he think of him now?
Despairing, Harry wrung his hands. He didn't ever want to have to face Severus again. Nor Lucius. He didn't want to have to suffer their stares, nor their comments, nor the consequences of this night. He wanted it all to stop.
He looked up at the tower that overhung the abbey.
He found his answer there. He now knew what he had to do. If he climbed to the top and opened the window, all his problems would disappear.
He could forget Severus forever.
Harry tried to get up off his knees. Just one last effort to get himself to the tower, and that would be the end of it.
A hand grasped his shoulder. "Harry?"
Pulled from his torment, Harry didn't know at first who was speaking. So the monk shook him again, insistently. "Harry!"
Harry got to his feet unsteadily, and finally recognized Ron. He looked at his friend in disbelief. What was he doing there?
"Harry! Did Severus get there in time?"
"What? What do you mean?" Harry cried, coming out of his stupor.
"I'm talking about our beloved Master. You know, the tall, dark-haired, unpleasant man who tortures us all day long? I'm the one who sent him."
Faced with his friend's lost look, Ron explained patiently, "I know what the Prior asked you this afternoon. I was hiding underneath the window. I didn't know what you decided, but when you headed for Lucius' rooms, I ran to see Brother Severus and told him everything."
"You mean he knows?" Harry asked, not daring to believe it. "He knows Lucius was forcing me?"
"Yes. He also knows it was me who went over the wall, but that didn't seem to upset him. When I finished telling him, he took off at a run, so I hope he got there in time."
Ron couldn't bring himself to ask the question outright; he blushed in embarrassment. Harry hung his head in silence.
Ron brightened. "Thank God! I'd've never forgiven myself."
Harry felt as if a huge weight had just lifted from his shoulders. Severus knew everything. He hadn't intervened by accident.
Ron took his arm and led him toward the dormitory. Harry was almost staggering with relief. He stretched out on his bed, happy for its relative protection. At the other end of the dormitory was the Novice Master's room. The man would soon be back to watch over them. And over him.
Just the simple thought was amazingly comforting. Severus had saved him. Harry recalled the man's sensational break-in to Lucius' rooms. He'd believed that his scornful attitude had been directed at him, but maybe…maybe his contempt had been meant for the Prior. Harry couldn't bear the thought that Severus might think ill of him for something that wasn't his fault.
Severus had saved him. And with these words repeating over and over in his head, Harry fell asleep.
A good night's sleep had restored Harry's optimism. The evening before, he'd almost stained his soul with the grave sin of suicide. But in the morning, the situation seemed different.
He quickly realized that Severus intended to act as if nothing had happened. Still, Harry expected to receive a penance (it wouldn't be the first time the Novice Master punished him unjustly), but the man didn't say a word. Harry liked to think that Severus didn't believe him guilty of a thing, and that he'd saved his reproaches for Lucius, when he'd remained alone with him the evening before.
As for Ron, he was climbing the walls, expecting at any moment to be called to the Prior's office. He'd admitted to Severus that he was the monk guilty of leaving the cloister; this would surely not go unpunished.
The day went by, though, without the matter being addressed. Ron didn't understand.
"If it's a new form of torture, it's working. I'm already hanging by my fingernails."
"Maybe Brother Severus convinced Lucius to forget the whole affair," Harry suggested.
"Maybe, but why would he? It's not as if he has any sympathy for me."
Ron twirled his spoon in his soup, for which he had no appetite. Anxiety alone couldn't explain why he was so glum. He missed his sweet Hermione, and he was tolerating the restraints of the cloister less and less. Even prayer didn't seem to give him any comfort.
Harry'd only seen Lucius again from a distance, and he was happy about that. In the refectory, he kept his face in his plate, and at chapel, his nose in his steepled fingers. He hoped that this way he could avoid all contact with the man he hated.
He'd come out of this misadventure very well. He'd kept his purity. He wasn't even cross with Ron for his careless behavior; he'd been the one to help him, after being the cause of all his troubles. But Harry hoped that from here on out, his friend would behave himself.
Even though he acted as though all was well, Harry wasn't able to convince his subconscious. He had terrible nightmares the following night. His sleep was both agitated and noisy, and it took Ron repeatedly shaking his shoulder to awaken him. All the novices were up and standing round his bed. Some of their faces reflected exasperation, but others seemed frightened.
Severus came through their midst, holding up a lantern. "You again. I should've increased your work. Perhaps exhaustion would assure us all of a good night's sleep." His voice lacked its usual sarcasm; it seemed unusually weary. "To bed, all of you."
Before turning on heel, he shot Harry a withering look as he said, "Come to see me tomorrow before the Office."
Some of the novices sniggered. Harry stretched out again. He was afraid to sleep just now. He'd caused everyone enough problems, especially Severus, and he wondered what the man would have to say to him.