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Notes: A 250-word ficlet, written as an exercise to see whether I could restrict myself to a word count this small.




He had beautiful hands. Knuckles smooth as stone, purpled with old potion stains and iodine. Fingers long and graceful, yellowed at the tips, curling around warm ladle-wood or the warmer, smoother pull of Harry's cock. Palms broad and pale, lines as deeply engraved and dark as the frown above. Palms that bore decades of wand-bearing, marked by callused grooves just above the ball of each thumb. Nails pared down with fanatic neatness, to avoid the gathering of toxic boomslang residue. Skin blue-veined with age and delicate along the wrists, nicked with thin white scars that spoke either of rope or self-punishment. Or both. Far in the past now.

He had hands that told stories. Harry got used to reading them, over the years, stories that Snape either would not tell or could not tolerate the telling of. Hands that were rich with stories, old with them, steady and careful with delicate ingredients or vicious when sweeping scrolls off his desk in a rage; hands by turns kind or cruel in giving or withholding pleasure, hands that could keep their silence by pulling away and folding into fists, or could confess their secrets by allowing Harry to touch them: warm, callused palm to warm, callused palm.

Hands quiet now. Strangely ungainly when robbed of life, just a fraction too lax for sleep on the starched white sheets. Raw-boned and marked like old parchment. Cool to the touch.

Harry pulls away, staring at them, and folds his own hands in his lap.


* FIN *

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