Title: By Any Other Name, Part 3 of 5
Words: 3137 this segment, ~12,000 overall
Genre: Adventure, Slash, Darkfic
Warnings: Adult Language, Sexual Content, Non-con, Torture, Major HBP Spoilers
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, I am merely a hobbyist/tourist visiting J. K. Rowling’s world, for the love, not for the money.
By Any Other Name, Part 3 of 5
by Ravenna C. Tan
The new place was dark. They arrived somewhere utterly dark and close.
“Lumos.” Snape’s incantation revealed a square room, sparsely furnished with a bed, writing desk, wardrobe and a low bookshelf crammed with books. The walls were windowless stone, the floor covered with a fine, Persian-looking carpet.
Draco sat in the chair of the writing desk and wrapped his arms around himself. The sleeves of the robe were too long and his hands disappeared. He hugged himself tightly, thinking over and over, I will not cry, I will not cry.
Snape knelt by him slowly, as if he knew that too sudden a movement might shatter Draco’s equanimity. “Are you hurt?” he asked in a soft voice.
“Th-they’re… evil!” Draco said, which was not an answer, but seemed to be the only thing he could say. Snape appeared to be refraining from making a sarcastic rejoinder through pure force of will. He cocked one eyebrow slightly. “What, why…” Draco couldn’t seem to form the question he wanted into words, and sputtered into silence instead.
“Evil comes in many forms,” Snape said. “The Dark Lord does not favor such games himself, but he tolerates it, perhaps even expects it, in his followers.”
“You mean power games?”
“I mean those that involve physical intimacy. The Dark Lord does not allow anyone to be that close to him. He delegates those tasks to others. Now, are you hurt?”
“Burned, a bit,” Draco said, but made no move to show Snape his scorched skin. He could see the darkness in Snape’s eyes turn a shade darker when he said the word “burned.” “I’ll be fine.”
“How did… you come to be burned?” Snape asked, still on his knees but now his arms folded over his chest.
“Conflagrio Animus,” Draco recited, as if they were in a classroom and not some secret hideaway. “It’s nothing, really.” He forced himself to sound strong, almost cheerful. “Just a bit of a scorch here or there. I’ll be okay.”
Snape closed his eyes briefly. “Conflagrio… those burns will not heal normally, Draco.”
For some reason, Draco started at the sound of his own name. So in front of the others, he was Malfoy. At Hogwarts he had always been Mr. Malfoy. But here, today, alone with Snape, he was Draco. Snape was speaking so softly, Draco almost wished for the pedantic, lecturing Snape. Anything to return things to normal, or some semblance thereof.
“Draco, please, let me see them.” Snape said this without moving.
Draco thought of how last night, Snape had thought nothing of tugging Draco’s sleeve up to bare his arm. He was making this the young wizard’s choice. But Draco did not want to bare his skin at that moment. “Must I?”
A little of the usual flint came back into Snape’s voice. “The burns from Conflagrio, if they are deep enough, will simply turn your body to ash while you sleep, if left untreated.”
“Um, they rubbed… that is, there’s Pyranthus Oil on my burns,” Draco said, cheeks flaming as bright red as the animated dragon had been. He saw Snape’s look darken further and stuttered “I-is that bad?”
“Pyranthus may have soothed the pain, but it has no true healing effects,” Snape said, his lecture voice creeping back. “It can also have… an aphrodisiac effect.”
Draco let his arms fall in relief. “So it’s not…” He knew the blush showed through his pale skin. It was the one drawback to the Malfoy complexion. “I mean, I don’t…”
“Draco,” Snape silenced him with his name. “There’s no need for embarrassment. Let me see the burns.”
Draco relented and stood, fumbling to remove the robe. His cock was hard again but if that was the potion’s doing, he could ignore it. He couldn’t help thinking though, if there was no need for embarrassment, why was Snape so bloody high-strung? He let the robe fall to the chair, and pointed his eyes at the ceiling as Snape’s hands turned him gently in place.
“So where are we, anyway?” Draco asked, to have something to think about other than the fact that Snape’s touch was cool and soothing, and that his cock’s swelling was increasing.
“Where I should have brought you in the first place,” Snape replied. “Somewhere safe.”
“And what about… the Dark Lord?”
“Let us worry about one challenge at a time.” Snape took a deep breath, drew his wand, and muttered a quiet incantation. He had one hand on Draco’s hip, the other moving the wand through the air an inch from Draco’s skin. The burns under Snape’s wand tip disappeared.
“What’s wrong?” Snape looked up, alarmed.
Draco blinked. The feeling of déjà vu was so strong, Draco suddenly felt he had to sit down. He did, and stared into Snape’s eyes. The memory came rushing back. “You healed me after Potter’s hex. Not Pomfrey. You.” How had he forgotten that?
Snape got to his feet, struggling to make his face impassive. “Yes. I knew the counterspell.”
Draco had spent years bullying his fellow Slytherins. He had observed his father closely. He felt the power shift between them and wondered suddenly why Snape… “What are you hiding from me?”
“Your wounds are healed…” Snape began.
“No. About before.” Draco stood, too. He took a step forward and was gratified to see Snape shrink back infinitesimally before he straightened. “You’re hiding something from me.”
Snape narrowed his eyes, as if measuring Draco somehow. “Very well. Had you heard the Sectumsempra incantation before?”
“You wouldn’t have. Only two people–now three–knew of it. Potter, and myself.”
Draco frowned, but before he could challenge Snape’s story, Snape went on. “I invented that spell myself. Potter learned of it from notes of mine that came accidentally into his hands.”
“So, he didn’t know what it would do,” Draco concluded, remembering Potter’s look of shock and horror. “Gods, I knew Potter was a fool, but I had no idea…” He looked back at Snape, though. He would pursue his line of thought about Harry Potter later. “So you knew it, and you knew how to undo it.”
“Exactly.” The look on Snape’s face said he considered the matter closed.
Draco did not. “You’re hiding something else.”
Snape tried reasserting his dominant position. “Mr. Malfoy, I have no idea why you have decided to interrogate me, but…”
Draco feigned a headache then, doubling partly over and pressing his hand to his forehead. And when Snape, predictably, caught hold of him, asking what was wrong, Draco deftly picked the wand out of the older man’s hand. “Legilimens!”
Snape was caught unawares, unable to close his mind completely to Draco’s surprise attack. And even the most accomplished Occlumens may have trouble hiding certain things he may deep down want to confess. Draco found what he was looking for quickly, for what he was seeking was himself. No sooner had he touched the memory in Snape’s mind than the locked memory in his own mind sprang free.
Draco took two steps backward and fell hard into the chair, catching the writing desk with one hand, his eyes wide open but not seeing this room, not seeing the man who now turned away from him, instead seeing that day at Hogwarts. The blood spurting into the water in the boys lavatory, Snape cradling him, his brow furrowed in concentration as he spoke the countercurse, siphoning away the blood and sealing the wounds. Draco had been conscious through it all, but the memory had been… obscured? Obliviated, more likely. Snape’s argument with Potter, the race to the hospital wing…
Snape’s voice as he ran, carrying Draco’s limp body, “Foolish, foolish, hang on Draco, I have you, I have you.” And the feeling of Snape’s lips against his forehead, kissing him, again and again.
And then, later, in the hospital wing, when Draco feigned sleep as Snape came to sit beside his bed. “Draco Malfoy, you will be the death of me.” Draco had shifted then, as if having a dream, and then settled into a pattern of deep breathing.
“Sleep well, Slytherin prince,” Snape said then, “find peace from your troubles for another hour.” Reliving the memory now, Draco re-experienced the surprise he had felt that Snape would be such a poet. “You have trials ahead of you, Draco. Why won’t you allow me to help you? I want nothing more than to be at your side.”
Snape, the confessor at the bedside when he thought the one he spoke to lay unconscious. “You’re not a boy anymore. I know it well. Perhaps too well. You’ve turned into a fine young man, Draco. And I’m a fool, a fool.” And again, that kiss on the forehead, his lips lingering in the soft fringe of Draco’s blond hair, brushing his skin before drawing away. And then, was Snape crying?
Draco looked up, then, blinking his eyes in Snape’s hideaway, to find Snape was, if not crying, holding himself tightly, his face turned away. Draco’s heart raced. Snape’s babying of him was suddenly explained. As well as his stiffness and hesitation earlier.
And the ward on the door, too? Draco’s question, about why Snape had Obliviated his memory, moved aside for a more pressing one. “How long?” Draco asked.
Snape’s back was to him, but he straightened his shoulders.
“How long have you felt this way about me?” Draco didn’t mean for it to sound like an accusation, but even though his voice was soft, Snape looked like he had been stung.
“Since you turned seventeen. Last year.”
Another shock. “How did you know…?”
“Your father and I have known each other for many years, Draco. Who do you think it was who made the potion that saved you from the fever you had when you were five? The fever that kept you from starting your lessons until a year later than usual?” Snape’s voice had returned to its normal tone, and he wiped his face on his sleeve, but did not turn around. He also seemed to feel that, having revealed he knew at least one of Draco’s secrets, that he had regained the upper hand. “Put that robe back on.”
“No.” Draco leaned back against the chair, now, tapping Snape’s wand against the desk’s top. “No, I want you to look at me.”
Snape set his shoulders again. “I think it would be best if you got dressed, Mr. Malfoy…”
“It’s Draco. Let me hear you say it.”
“What is it you wish me to say?”
“My name.” Draco stood up, and moved in close behind the older wizard, close enough that he knew Snape could feel his breath on the back of his neck. “Say it like you said it when you were carrying me to Pomfrey. ‘Draco, Draco…'”
“Stop it!” Snape whirled, his face suffused with emotion, and he grabbed at Draco’s wand hand. “I will not have you toying with me!”
They fought for the wand, all four of their hands gripping the slender wood, but Draco had the leverage of his feet and pushed Snape back. The two of them fell to the Persian carpet, Draco on top, and he felt his erection crushed between his naked belly and the black of Snape’s robes. “You know what McGonagall told me once during a detention?” Draco said, as he finally wrested the wand back and held it pointed at Snape’s oversized nose. “She told me the reason I’m a bully is because of how I have been bullied and mistreated in my life.” He laughed at that. “She told it to me like she was revealing a great secret to me, a great piece of wisdom.” He laughed again, enjoying the feeling of his hardness against Snape. “Did she really think I didn’t know? I knew that.” He pressed himself harder, pushing his upper body up with one arm.
“So what do you think I’m going to do to make up for the bullying and mistreatment I’ve suffered today?” Draco pressed the wand under Snape’s chin.
“I tried to protect you…” Snape began.
“Oh I heard, the ward on my door. What did you do to my skin, you pervy bastard?”
What color had come into Snape’s face during the struggle now drained away. “I told you. My intent was to protect you from the others…”
“But it didn’t work, did it? Why didn’t you tell me to keep my wand with me at all times, you obfuscating old fool?” Draco began to rub against Snape in earnest as his anger grew hotter. “Why didn’t you teach me the warding charm, so I could use it myself?”
“The spell doesn’t work that way,” Snape said, his teeth clenched.
“What do you mean? One flick of your wand and it was like they couldn’t touch me.”
“I know.” Snape struggled to get out from under his former student, then, but failed. Draco held him fast. “It’s because I… I got the idea from Dumbledore. I used my own… feelings for you to create a shield. I hoped it would work when I was not present, but it did not.”
“Your feelings for me.”
“Oh, I like the way that sounds. Say that again.”
“Draco! Get off me! Stop this immediately!”
“Stop what?” Draco now straddled the prone professor and sat up straight, his rampant penis sitting up with him. “Have you got a potion that will fix this, then?” He wrapped his fingers around the shaft and pumped it.
Snape’s voice nearly hissed through his teeth as he replied. “And you called them evil.”
That brought Draco up short, but only for moment. “Heed your own warnings, you poxy bugger. Is this what it means to be a Death Eater? How am I doing now?” He waved Snape’s wand experimentally.
“Listen to me, Draco. You’ve had a very difficult day. And you’re right. There are many things I should have told you sooner. Much sooner.” Snape looked into Draco’s eyes, never letting his eyes stray from Draco’s face, down to where their bodies met. “I can understand if my feelings for you are… unwelcome. They are certainly inappropriate. I owe you many apologies. But are you so determined to make an enemy of me?”
Draco’s hands paused in their motions, and he thought for a moment. “Are you saying you’re sorry?”
Snape gritted his teeth. “Yes. For all that has happened today, and this year, and for what is yet to come. I am truly sorry. Now, will you let me get up?”
Draco did not move, but looked away for a moment. “It’s not fair, you know.”
” What isn’t fair,” Snape said, trying to get out from under his former protege and failing again.
“I finally meet someone who loves me for who I am, not for who my father is or for my money, and it… I… I…” Now he did get up, took a few steps away from Snape, and fell to his knees. Where the tears came from, he didn’t know. A year’s worth of fear that his mother or his father might be killed, a year’s worth of worry that the plan might not succeed, a year of feeling utterly alone and unloved, it suddenly came pouring out of him. That little scene with the Death Eaters in the parlor? Draco realized he could forget it in a heartbeat. It was but a drop in the bucket, and he was crying buckets now.
And then Snape was there, draping the robes carefully, as if from a great distance, over his shoulders. Draco barely felt him lift the wand out of his hand.
Draco expected him to leave, then. To Disapparate, flee. But Snape moved the chair to the far corner of the room–which admittedly was not very far–and sat.
When Draco’s storm of crying passed, he pulled the robes tight around him and sat up. He turned and saw Snape had somehow magicked up a pot of tea and two cups on the writing desk. Draco stood and buttoned the robes one button at a time, then combed his fingers through his flaxen hair. “Why are you still being so kind to me?” he asked Snape.
“I thought you might like some tea,” Snape said, his voice and face flat.
And you’re still in love with me, Draco thought, even though I’ve just acted like a right bastard to you. And even though you never used the word “love.” He wondered how far he could push things. If he picked up the tea pot and smashed it against the wall, would Snape merely conjure another? But Draco’s anger was spent and there was nothing to gain by such a display. Draco took the pot in hand and poured two cups.
“Here.” He thrust one of them at Snape, who took it without meeting his eyes. Draco cradled the other in his hands and sat on the bed. Earl Grey. “Now tell me where we are.”
Snape moved to the chair of the writing desk and sipped his tea. His voice was no different now than it might have been in his study back at Hogwarts, cool and measured. “You have no doubt noticed by now that this room has no door.”
Snape wanted to be able to terrify Draco, to threaten to leave him here in a room he couldn’t escape, but he found he couldn’t. “We’re underground, twenty feet down, just outside of Hogsmeade.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Who else knows about this place?”
“No one. Only I can Apparate in or out.”
“No. Because only I know where we are. Have you ever tried blind Apparition, Mr. Malfoy?”
So, we’re back to formal terms again. Draco let it pass. He realized that Snape probably thought he couldn’t Apparate at all, but did not illuminate the professor to his mistake. “Point taken. How long are we going to stay here?”
Snape took another swallow of tea. “I hadn’t really thought that far ahead.”
Draco couldn’t keep the sneer out of his voice. “What do you mean?”
“My main concern was for your immediate rescue. I’m afraid I did not plan beyond that.”
Draco nodded to himself. “So there was no summons from the Dark Lord.”
“Not yet. But it will be coming.”
“Then I have a plan.”
Snape’s eyebrows arched.
“First, we have to go back to the safe house and get my wand.”
“I shall handle that,” Snape began, but Draco cut him off.
“No. You’re not leaving me here to rot. We’re going back together, and then we’re going to give those Death Eaters something to remember me by.” Draco’s anger, which had been running hot earlier, now ran cold.
“Very well,” Snape said. “But may I make a suggestion?”
“We cannot simply march in there wands ablaze. Draco, please, if it is to be revenge, let us plan it carefully. Wait for the right moment, and then act.” Snape put down his teacup.
“So, you’re with me, then.” Draco watched to see if Snape hesitated.
He did not. “Of course I am. In fact, I think there are a few more incantations I should teach you before we go.”