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Trappings of Privilege

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Trappings of Privilege



"Severus. Severus, please help me...

The snake crept closer, the soft brush of scales on cloth as death approached. The acrid smell of urine, a last desperate sob, a bright green flash…


Draco Malfoy woke with a shout, pressed against his headboard, pyjama trousers damp and sticking to his groin where he'd pissed his fear; his heart felt as if it would leap out of his chest.

Cursing, he tried to calm his racing heart. Damned snake, damned Muggle Studies professor, damned – he censored himself before he thought of his Master. He plucked at his wet pyjamas and then slid out of bed and tore them off, face flaming.

"Incendio!"

The pyjama trousers disappeared in a burst of flame. He snarled a charm to freshen the air and shouted for a house elf. The creature popped into the room and cringed; it was probably the only thing in the Manor more frightened than him, Draco reflected bitterly. He left it to its work and headed for his bathroom.

By the time he'd showered, the mattress was clean, the bed linens had been replaced and the house elf had disappeared. He knotted the belt on his robe and lay on his pristine bed.

No use trying to sleep again. The Hogwarts Express would be leaving in just a few hours. Draco looked at his trunks, neatly stacked by his door. It all looked normal; his room was emptied of his schoolbooks and Quidditch gear in preparation for the trip to Hogwarts.

He rolled over and took his wand from the nightstand. He immediately felt safer, though with Fenrir Greyback and the Carrows roaming Malfoy Manor, he knew any safety was illusory at best. And the damned snake…he shivered, drew his knees up to his chest and settled in to wait for the sun to rise.

vVvVvVv



Draco ignored Crabbe and Goyle and looked out the window of the Hogwarts Express. His mother had been circumspect at the station, though he couldn't fault her caution: Amycus and Alecto Carrow had watched their leave-taking like hawks. 

He remembered the look in Amycus' eyes and repressed a shudder. Draco silently vowed to avoid him as much as possible once they reached Hogwarts. Thank Merlin that the Dark Lord had given Professor Snape the headmaster's job. His father said the Carrows had asked for it and were furious when Snape received the honour instead.

Outside the carriage, Draco heard the lady with the sweets trolley. Someone loomed over him, and he looked up to see Crabbe frowning down at him.

"Give us some money, then."

"What?" Draco frowned in confusion. Crabbe never asked for anything. He knew that he could only expect to be given whatever Draco chose to grant him. 

"Give us your money, Malfoy."

"You're asking me to give you my money?" Draco glanced at Goyle, who looked uncomfortable but didn't offer to help him. He looked back at Crabbe. "And why, pray tell, would I do that?"

Draco didn't see the blow. Suddenly he found himself lying across the seat, dazed, his face exploding with pain. He put a hand to his mouth and was shocked to see blood on it when he took it away.

A big hand pushed him deeper into the seat cushion as his pockets were rifled. Too shocked to squirm, he watched in horror as Crabbe systematically searched him, emptying Draco's pockets and stuffing the money into his own. Crabbe took Draco's wand, too.

"What the hell are you doing?" Draco demanded.

"You're pathetic," Crabbe sneered. "My dad says the Dark Lord took your dad's wand. Not so big now, are you?"

Draco looked around in a panic. "Shut up. Don't talk about things like that here."

"Why not? Dumbledore is dead. Snape is headmaster. I reckon Hogwarts belongs to the Dark Lord," Crabbe said.

"Goyle," Draco said, turning to him, "tell Crabbe he's an idiot."

Goyle looked at Crabbe and slowly spoke. "I think you'd better do what Vincent says, Draco."

Draco sat up, his bloody lip forgotten. "What?"

"Things have changed," Goyle said, still looking at Crabbe.

"I'm hungry," Crabbe said. He stood and sneered at Draco. "Thanks for the money, Malfoy."

Draco watched Crabbe leave the compartment and elbow his way through the crowd surrounding the sweets trolley. "Greg?"

"You're not in charge anymore, Draco." Goyle squirmed. 

"Who says?" Draco demanded.

Goyle shrugged. "Everyone knows you messed up killing Dumbledore and that the Dark Lord took your dad's wand. That Malfoy Manor doesn't belong to you anymore."

"Malfoy Manor still belongs to us," Draco hissed. "Just because a bunch of --"

"Don't say it," Goyle snapped. Draco's eyes widened as Goyle looked at him, pleading. "Don't say it, Draco. 'Cause if you do, I'll need to tell someone."

"Holy fuck." Draco slumped in shock. 

The door slammed open and Crabbe entered the compartment, his arms full of sweets. "Hey, Greg, look what I've got."

Draco watched as, with one last glance at him, Goyle turned his attention to the sweets. Neither offered him any.

He wiped his bloody mouth again and winced. "Give me my wand."

Mouth full and chocolate staining his lips, Crabbe was slow to answer. "If I do, you'll hex me."

Draco rolled his eyes. "If I hex you, you'll beat the hell out of me in my sleep. I'm not an idiot."

Crabbe seemed to consider Draco's answer, then finally shrugged and handed over the wand. Draco was tempted to hex him anyway, but he decided not to. Instead, he left the compartment to find the loo so he could clean himself up.

The corridor was empty of other students, which was strange. But, Draco reflected, hardly anyone had actually been at Platform 9 3/4, either. He hurried along the corridor to the loo and ducked inside.

It was the work of a moment to heal his lip and Banish the smeared blood. He straightened his collar and then paused as he glimpsed himself in the mirror.

Dark circles cradled his eyes; his hair looked limp. A line seemed permanently etched across his brow, deepening as he frowned at his reflection. His grey eyes were bloodshot and haunted, his expression less wary than skittish. He shook his head, ran a hand through his hair and leaned forward to examine his healed mouth.

In the mirror, Amycus Carrow smirked back at him.

Draco whirled, his wand out and aimed at Carrow, who ignored it and closed the door of the loo behind him. Draco heard the lock click.

"Not so pretty as you were, are you?" Carrow stepped forward, crowding Draco in the small space. He leered. "But pretty enough, I think."

"I don't know what you mean," Draco lied. 

Carrow pushed Draco's wand aside. "Put that away, boy." He raised his own wand, a nasty smile on his face. "You won't need it. Not with me." He traced his wand down Draco's cheek. "I'll need an assistant at Hogwarts. You'll do nicely, I think."

Fuck, shite, fuck. Draco felt sick. He had no doubt what Carrow was talking about - he'd overheard his father talking about Carrow's taste for young boys. He'd just been sure that it would be someone else, someone younger. "I'm a little old for that, don't you think?" he asked desperately. "I've got my NEWTs coming up; not much time for extra-curricular work." 

"But you're a Malfoy," Carrow purred. "NEWTs are irrelevant to you."

Draco jumped as the loo door crashed open. 

Headmaster Snape stood in the doorway, a frown on his face. "The younger students reported the lavatory door seemed to be inexplicably locked. I trust that nothing untoward has happened. A prank gone wrong, perhaps?"

Carrow's eyes narrowed. "No problems at all, Headmaster. I was merely talking to young Malfoy about his future." 

"Ah," said Snape, "a conversation that requires the privacy of a train’s lavatory, I’m sure."

Carrow flushed, anger distorting his features. 

"Draco, I suggest that you return to your carriage," Snape said. Heaving a sigh of relief, Draco slipped past him. "Mr Carrow, a word," he heard. Draco glanced back to see the headmaster cast an Imperturbable Charm on the loo door as it slammed shut behind him.

Ignoring the stares of the students that suddenly filled the corridor, Draco made his way back to Crabbe and Goyle. He settled in the corner and stared out the window, oblivious to Crabbe’s contemptuous taunts and Goyle’s troubled looks.

vVvVvVv



Draco pushed his food around his plate without eating anything. The Great Hall was barely half-full. Even the Slytherin table was sparsely populated. Goyle seemed to have made up his mind to follow Crabbe’s lead and actively ignored Draco.

Around him, half-hearted conversations died. Draco looked up to see Headmaster Snape standing at his place at the head table, Amycus and Alecto Carrow sitting at either side. Snape waited until all eyes were firmly fixed on him.

"There will be no foolish calls to unity or demands for loyalty this year, no genial good wishes for school spirit. Instead, each of you is responsible for him- or herself. You are here to learn. If someone takes advantage of your weaknesses, don’t come running to me. You are here to master magic - I expect no less from any of you.

"For those of you who are in your final year, I say this: Heed your future. You will be asked to make choices. Do not make the wrong choice, or you will likely pay for it with your life."

The students remained silent, a stifled sob or two the only sounds. Snape glared at each table in turn. Like everyone else (even the Gryffindors, he noted with satisfaction), Draco dropped his eyes under the fierce black gaze.

Seemingly satisfied, Snape continued. "Anyone not achieving the highest of standards will be sent to my Deputy Headmasters, the Professors Carrow, for discipline. I trust you will work to keep their duties light."

A collective gasp sounded through the room as Draco’s heart sank. He knew he had fallen behind in his sixth year; he also had no delusions that he would be able to overcome his fear for his parents and compensate this year. He imagined what his first disciplinary session would be like, and shuddered.

"You are excused." 

Students hesitated, then rose and began to leave the Great Hall in groups, Houses remaining cohesive. Draco caught a glimpse of Professor McGonagall’s angry face before she was surrounded by Gryffindors. Jaw clenched, he rose and trailed out after the rest of the Slytherins towards his common room.

"Mr Malfoy." Amycus Carrow’s wheezy giggle sounded close behind him.

Draco froze. He could feel the blood drain from his face. Slowly, he turned to face Carrow.

"Sir."

"I don’t like your attitude, Malfoy," Carrow said. "I expected you to lead applause for the headmaster’s speech. There was no applause. I hold you responsible."

Draco’s eyes widened. "Excuse me?"

"You will address me with the proper respect. I expect to hear the word 'sir' when you speak to me." Carrow glanced around the empty corridor and seemed satisfied. "My office. Now." He started down the hall, and Draco slowly followed his squat figure.

As Carrow closed the office door behind him, Draco’s heart beat faster. For the second time that day, he heard a lock snick into place, leaving him at Carrow’s non-existent mercy. He knew what was coming.

Carrow circled him. "As I see it, you have two choices. You can become my assistant." He leered as Draco swallowed, his mouth dry. "Or, you can serve as an example for the others."

"Sir, my NEWTs," Draco said, weakly. He looked at the floor, avoiding Carrow's eyes. 

"Pathetic." Carrow smiled and raised his wand. "Imperio!"

A comforting vagueness descended upon Draco. He knew he should be upset and frightened, knew that if he tried hard enough, he should be able to throw off the curse, but he couldn't muster the energy to try. It was so much easier to give in.

"I presume that you've reconsidered my generous offer."

"Of course, sir," he whispered. His voice sounded empty, but he couldn't make himself care enough to do anything about it.

"Now, tell me how much you look forward to being my assistant."

Draco struggled, but the words flowed smoothly regardless. "I would be honoured to be your assistant, sir."

"Now, tell me how much you want to have me put my –"

The door to Carrow's office burst open. Filch entered, dragging Longbottom and the Weasley bitch in by the ears. Snape came in after him, arms crossed and wand out.

"Your first projects," he announced, and then seemed to see Draco. "Or perhaps not. Mr Malfoy?"

"Yes, Headmaster Snape, sir," Draco said politely. "Professor Carrow asked me to meet him here. I'm going to be his assistant."

Snape's voice was cold. "Imperius. Could you be more obvious, Carrow? Release him now."

Curling his lip, Carrow said, "Finite Incantatem."

Draco's head cleared, and he looked around. 

Weasley looked contemptuous, but Longbottom was looking at him in horror and sympathy. Draco sneered at him. How dare the fat tub of lard pity him? He hoped that Carrow had some particularly nasty plans for the two Gryffindors.

"The Unforgivables must be kept to a minimum, you remember what we were told," Snape said. The last words contained a world of threat. "And you, Mr Malfoy," he whirled to face Draco. "Only the weak of mind are influenced by the Imperius Curse. You're to return to your common room immediately."

Face blazing and resentful of the relief he felt, Draco left the office as quickly as he could, keeping his head down. Safe again.

For the moment.

vVvVvVv



Draco took a deep breath and knocked at the headmaster's door. It swung open.

Snape had claimed Dumbledore's office. It was at the top of a tower, but it looked remarkably like Snape's former offices in the dungeons. Draco relaxed immediately, surrounded by walls of books and jars and the smell of pickling solution. Light fell from a large window, but it was dimmed, as if a shroud were thrown over it even though there were no window hangings. In a corner, a perch gathered dust. The only truly obvious difference was the proliferation of portraits of former headmasters and headmistresses hung on every bit of available wall space. 

Draco avoided looking at Dumbledore's portrait on the wall behind Snape, who sat behind a massive desk nearly as large as the one in his father's study. He looked up as Draco entered and then continued to write.

"Well? I'm quite busy running a school filled with dunderheads and idiots. What do you want?" 

"Sir, that's actually what I came to talk to you about," Draco began.

"What? Dunderheads? Or idiots?"

Ignoring Snape's sarcasm, Draco continued. "It seems to me that having an assistant to help you with your work might make your task easier, sir."

Snape put down his quill and looked at Draco. "I take it that you're here to offer me your assistance."

"I would be honoured to help in any way I could, sir." Draco met Snape's eyes.

"In return for protection from Carrow, I imagine." Snape picked up his quill and dipped it into the ink well. "As undoubtedly intelligent and disgustingly attractive as you are, I hardly need either attribute enough to incur additional enmity from my deputy headmasters. I fear I must turn down your kind offer," he snapped, beginning to write again. "You may leave."

"Sir..." Draco said desperately. Snape continued to write.

Draco turned and slowly walked out the door.

vVvVvVv



The Owlery smelled of ammonia and dust, but it offered a peaceful sanctuary. Draco spread his cloak on the ledge of one of the great windows, then sat on it and leaned against the casing.

His situation was hopeless. He couldn't go back to the Manor or his parents would pay the price for his failure. For that matter, he couldn't leave Hogwarts at all unless he was willing to sacrifice them, and that was out of the question. Greg and Vincent were – well, if not exactly his enemies, they certainly weren't his friends. No other students would be willing to stand up for him, no matter how much he paid them, not when Carrow would make it very clear what would happen to anyone who came between him and something he wanted. Draco shivered.

And Snape. Draco couldn't fault the man for turning him away. The Carrows were snapping at Snape's heels, never mind that he had to answer to the Dark Lord for everything that went on at Hogwarts. 

Really, there didn't seem to be anything for it. He'd have to submit to Carrow. Though the thought of sex with Carrow made him nauseous, he knew that occasionally one had to use one's body as currency, so he could resign himself to that if necessary.

No, it was the thought of the pain that would doubtless be a part of the sex that terrified him.

Draco hugged himself tight. Vain or not, he hoped he'd come through the experience with his looks intact.

He refused to consider that he'd be lucky to survive at all.

vVvVvVv



"Malfoy. You stay."

Draco felt numb. He watched as the other students hurried out the door of the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. There was no hope of a last minute rescue; the Slytherins and Ravenclaws in the class understood the consequences well and wouldn't act like some Gryffindor fool might. He could see many of them glance at him as he slowly packed his books into his bag.

The door closed behind the last student.

"Leave that. Come here."

He straightened his shoulders and walked up to Carrow's desk.

"I've given you two chances. There will be no more," Carrow said.

Draco nodded.

"You'll report to my quarters tonight after dinner."

Draco nodded again.

"Now get out."

Draco felt like he was sleepwalking as he picked up his book bag and left the room.

The rest of his classes passed like a blur.

When he'd made his decision the day before, he'd spent the evening brewing a Numbing Potion. Draco hoped it would be strong enough. Maybe he could steal a Calming Draught from the hospital wing before dinner, too.

But events conspired against him, and Crabbe accosted him outside of Potions, seeming to take delight in pushing Draco around and sneering at him, with Goyle watching stoically. They'd 'escorted' him to the Great Hall, so he hadn't even had the time to pick up the Numbing Potion. Draco found himself pushing food listlessly across his plate and waiting in agony for the headmaster to dismiss them for the evening. 

Snape stood and the Great Hall fell silent. "You are excused."

Draco pushed his plate away and stood. He blindly stumbled through the hallways until he reached the section of the dungeons where the Carrows were quartered.

Before he could knock, the door opened.

"Come in, Mr Malfoy," Alecto Carrow said, a cruel smile on her face. "My brother is waiting."

Draco entered, his eyes trained downward. He silently followed her through the sitting room, walking slower and slower, not surprised to see that she continued through a door on the other side of the room. 

He paused at the doorway, unable to take another step forward.

Alecto crossed the room to sit on the bed next to her brother. She ran her stubby fingers through his hair. They shared a nasty smile and turned to Draco.

"Both of you?" Draco whispered.

"My sister likes to watch," Carrow said. "Get over here, boy."

Draco couldn't make himself move. His breath came short and fast; he felt dizzy. 

Carrow's smile turned into a snarl. He stood and stalked across the room, grabbed Draco's robes and dragged him to the bed. He pushed him down.

Draco panicked. He struggled to his feet and bolted for the doorway. He didn't make it.

"Crucio!"

"Petrificus Totalus!"

The Carrows' voices blended together in fury. Draco stiffened in the clutch of the two curses, pain shrilling through his paralyzed body. Dimly, he heard himself screaming as he fell. 

A sudden pain in his head overrode all the others and darkness overtook him.

vVvVvVv



He woke up in the infirmary. 

The windows were dark, so he reasoned that it must still be the same night. He tried to sit up and winced. His body tingled, the nerves fresh with the memory of the curses. There was a strange ache in his temple.

Madam Pomfrey bustled over to the bed. "Awake, are we? I confess that I'm a bit surprised, Mr Malfoy. Tripping in a perfectly empty corridor? You're lucky Mr Filch found you before you lay there bleeding all night."

The last thing Draco remembered was being cursed by the Carrows. Had they dragged him out of their quarters and left him to be found in a corridor somewhere? "I don't really remember," he hedged.

"Not surprising. You had quite a lump on your head. Now, I want you to remain here for the rest of the night."

Draco lay back. Though he didn't particularly want to stay in the hospital wing, he couldn't deny that it would probably be safer to stay put for the rest of the night. Maybe he could actually sleep, at least for a bit. He pulled the blanket higher.

"Oh, and I'm to pass on a message from the headmaster – he's asked to see you tomorrow evening, after dinner." Madam Pomfrey walked away, the candles dousing in her wake.

Draco felt queasy. Snape would be furious. He'd have to make sure that he concocted a convincing story, though Snape had the uncanny ability to sniff out lies, even the ones that weren't overly elaborate. He hoped that the headmaster would have time to calm down before he saw him.

He turned over on his side and resigned himself to another sleepless night.

vVvVvVv



Draco felt like screaming. The meeting with Snape wasn't going well at all. It was doubly humiliating that the portraits all stared avidly, witnesses to his humiliation.

"I can't help how I look or what family I was born to," Draco said. Whatever else he'd imagined, he never dreamed that Snape would attack him on those points.

"Then you need to be strong enough to take care of yourself," Snape said, a sneer on his face. "Not some pathetic weakling dependent on others to do his thinking for him."

"I'm not weak!" 

"You are." Snape leaned over his desk. "You're weak, you're vulnerable and you're ripe for the picking. I'm ashamed of you. You're a Slytherin! There shouldn't be any situation that you can't turn to your advantage. Yet here you are, mewling to me about needing protection."

"I didn't say anything about needing protection," Draco protested. "I know what I have to do. I'm ready to do it."

"Which is why you ran away and knocked yourself unconscious in the process."

Draco bit his tongue to keep from shouting out his justifications. It wouldn't do to lose his head. He shrugged instead, determined to look competent. "He'll get tired of me after a while."

"You had better pray that he doesn't," Snape said. He sat back in his chair, a look of distaste on his face. "As long as you entertain him, he won't hurt you badly enough to permanently disable you." 

"Well, it's not like I have many choices, is it?" he snapped. "Don't you think I'd fuck even that old bat McGonagall if I thought she'd protect me from Carrow?"

"I'll try to wipe that particular image from my mind," Snape said coldly. "You're intelligent. What are your options?"

"Realistically?" Draco asked bitterly. "You or McGonagall. That's it."

Snape fell silent. 

Draco was encouraged. Maybe he could offer an incentive – sex with Snape wouldn't be anywhere nearly as horrible as it would be with Carrow. He waited for a moment and then said, "I would make a good assistant, Professor. I'm intelligent, I'm ambitious, and I have enough money to provide whatever luxuries you may want. And I'm attractive. You've said so yourself."

"What would make you think that I could help you in that way?" Snape asked. 

Imagining how Snape would react to, 'Sir, I'm desperate,' or 'I'd rather you than Carrow,' Draco straightened his shoulders and said quietly, "I've seen how you look at me, sir."

"Are you accusing me of impropriety?" Candles flared around the room, and several portraits murmured.

"Far from it." Draco raised his chin. "I'm simply saying that you have the excellent taste to admire a Malfoy."

Snape's eyes narrowed, but the high colour that had momentarily touched his cheekbones receded. "And you would reward me for that admiration by offering me use of your body? To do with as I please?"

He'd need to bluff his way through this part. With luck, Snape wouldn't notice. "It's mine to offer. Is there something wrong with that?"

"There are many things wrong with that, Mr Malfoy. For instance, there is the ethical issue of you being a student, and I, your headmaster. Or perhaps I would leave myself open to accusations of nepotism, since you are my closest friend's son and I would be doing you favours I wouldn't offer to others."

Draco doubted that Snape would actually offer these particular favours to another student regardless, but he bit his tongue and stood still as Snape stood and walked around him. Draco could feel the man's eyes on his arse. It was strangely sexy.

He started as soft hair brushed his cheek.

"But perhaps the greatest wrong in the situation is that you are negotiating from a position of weakness." The quiet voice was deeper – a seductive, dark velvet breath ghosting across the sensitive skin of his neck. "That allows me to name terms far more advantageous to me than to you."

"And they would be...?" Despite his care, his voice wavered on the last word.

"Absolute. Control." 

Draco swallowed. "Right."

"That means, Mr Malfoy," Snape said, yanking him around by his collar, "that you will do whatever I tell you to do without argument and without hesitation. It also means that you will not, under any circumstances, violate my confidence, either in actions or in words."

"I can do that."

"I greatly doubt it." Snape released him. "No, as attractive as your offer is, I do not think it would be wise for me to accept it."

"Damn you," Draco snapped. "What can I do to convince you that I'll keep your secrets?"

Snape raised an eyebrow. "Arguing with me will hardly help."

"Severus..."

"Shut up, old man," Snape replied to Dumbledore's portrait without taking his eyes from Draco's. "I'm headmaster now."

Dumbledore fell silent.

"Absolute control," Draco repeated. He tried to think how he could demonstrate his complete subservience.

Snape nodded, and the light in his eyes reminded Draco of banked coals. 

With as much grace as he could muster, Draco dropped to his knees and took Snape's hand, pressing his lips to the back of it. "I promise, on my honour and the riches of my family, that I will serve you without question and will not betray your secrets to others," he whispered against Snape's skin.

"Very pretty." Snape's voice dripped with disdain, but he did not pull back, so Draco knew he had a chance. Slowly, he kissed Snape's hand again, lingering over the sharp knuckles, nuzzling the coarse, dark hairs that led upwards to disappear under a starched white cuff. It wasn't as hard as he'd feared it would be. He might even be able to get hard for Snape.

Snape turned his hand over. Draco looked up and caught a glimpse of undisguised lust on Snape's face, a fleeting heat that disappeared as soon as Snape noticed his gaze.

But regardless, he had seen it. Encouraged, Draco leaned forward, licked his lips, and then pressed them to the palm of Snape's hand. With mouth slightly open, he trailed his tongue slowly along Snape's lifeline, then sucked Snape's forefinger into his mouth. The callused tip scratched against the soft surface inside his cheek. Snape inserted another finger and began to move them in and out of Draco's mouth, crooking them to dig deep into his cheek, and then smoothing the hurt with firm strokes. He tasted of lemon and blood and mint. Draco closed his eyes and licked and sucked the fingers, trying to get every bit of the unexpectedly seductive flavour.

Snape withdrew his fingers. Draco's heart sank. Then, Snape caught his chin and held him fast. A moment later, Draco had to fight to hide his triumph when Snape took his wand out and cast an Imperturbable Charm on the office door.

"Have you done this before?" Snape's voice was hoarse.

Draco's eyes dropped to Snape's groin, where his robes tented just a few inches from Draco's face. He decided to bluff. After all, Pansy had blown him a few times. He was sure he could reproduce her skills with a fate as Carrow's assistant hanging in the balance. He glanced up in what he hoped was a provocative way.

"I've lived in the Slytherin dorms for seven years, sir," he said. "Surely you remember what that was like?"

Snape studied him. "I don't like my sex neat. Don't swallow your saliva; allow it to drip from your mouth instead. And I prefer a man who has a rougher chin. You will not use a Depilatory Charm at night before you come to my office."

Surprised by Snape's words, Draco's arousal flared. Saliva flooded his mouth even as blood filled his cock. He took Snape's hand from his chin and slowly fed the fingers back into his mouth. Obediently, he allowed spit to escape his mouth and drip down his chin.

Snape's voice deepened. "I'm particularly sensitive where my foreskin meets the bottom of my glans. Do not over-stimulate that area when my cock is in the front of your mouth. I particularly like to feel my cock hit the back of a man's throat, so I expect you to control your gag reflex." His hand brushed over Draco's hair. "I look forward to fucking your pretty mouth, Mr Malfoy."

Draco groaned around Snape's fingers and pushed the heel of his palm hard against his stiff prick. He was sure he remembered the charm that Pansy used so that she wouldn't need to breathe while she sucked him.

"None of that." Snape withdrew his fingers. "You are not allowed to touch yourself unless I give you permission to do so."

Far from being insulted, Draco found Snape's instructions sent a thrill down his spine. He stopped rubbing his prick.

Snape nodded and slipped out of his robe. "You may open my trousers and take me out."

Draco slowly unbuttoned Snape's trousers and glanced up. Snape watched him, his dark eyes narrowed and his pale cheeks flushed with high colour, so Draco carefully spread the placket of the trousers. He dropped his eyes and looked at Snape's cock.

The head seemed huge, outlined clearly against the fabric of Snape's pants, a wet spot dark on the cotton. Draco could smell Snape's arousal, a pungent, exciting smell that made his mouth water more.

"Put your mouth on me," Snape said. When Draco started to pull his waistband down, Snape stopped him. "No. Through the cloth. I want you to taste me, make my pants wet."

Draco leaned forward, holding Snape's thighs for support. He glanced up one last time and then looked at the cock in front of him. He could see it move, a throb as it grew harder under his gaze. He placed his mouth on it.

The heat that radiated from the other man's cock intoxicated Draco, as did the salty bitterness of the wet spot. Soaking the cotton with his saliva, Draco found himself moving closer to get a better angle in order to suck the wet cloth clean. He nudged Snape's cock with his nose, rubbing it up and down the hard length, until he was rewarded by more of the wonderful taste leaking from the tip and seeping through the cloth.

He felt Snape grip his shoulders and braced himself to take Snape's weight. Burying his face in Snape's groin, he stretched the cloth of the pants until he could take the head into his mouth. He sucked hard.

Above him, Snape groaned. "Enough."

Draco reluctantly released his prize and waited for his next command.

"Strip."

He stood and slipped his robes off his shoulders. Once he'd removed all of his clothing, he straightened, confident of his attractiveness. His cock bobbed.

"I see the dittany worked," Snape murmured. "The scars are barely noticeable."

"You made sure of that, sir," Draco replied, reminded of the debt he owed Snape. Well, he'd just have to add this assistantship to the list, he supposed. Meanwhile, there was something quite exciting about standing naked in the headmaster's office while Snape stood before him, still fully clothed, his stiff prick tenting his pants.

Snape returned to his desk, pushed the chair back, and sat. Draco followed and stood before him.

"Conjure a pillow," Snape said. So Draco conjured a soft green pillow threaded with gold, the fringe thick around the edges. Snape nodded his approval. "Place it in front of me and kneel."

Draco did as he was told.

"Touch yourself," Snape said. "I want to see your nipples swollen and red."

Draco ran his hands over his body, following the trail of hair that started at his navel to push down on his cock. When he released it, it sprang back up. He was gratified to see Snape lick his lips and pull down the waistband of his pants to release his cock.

Draco licked his fingers and rubbed them over his nipples, absently pinching and pulling the nubs. Good as it felt, though, he couldn't take his eyes from Snape's prick. It rose, red and angry, from a thick thatch of hair that disappeared under Snape's shirt. The head was purple with blood. A drop of pre-come formed on its tip as Snape slowly stroked himself. Draco licked his lips and pinched harder, thinking of the flavour he had tasted just a few minutes before, eager to taste it again.

"Come here," Snape said. Draco stopped playing with his nipples and shuffled closer. "Between my knees." Snape pulled Draco's head to his groin.

Draco groaned. The smell of Snape's arousal surrounded him. He leaned down to lick the drop of liquid from the tip of Snape's cock, and the salty flavour burst across his tongue. He grabbed Snape's thighs to steady himself and licked a stripe up the underside of the big cock.

"Yes," Snape hissed. "Open your mouth."

The moment that Draco did, Snape thrust up, holding Draco's head so that he couldn't move back. Draco stretched his mouth as wide as he could and immediately gagged as Snape's cock hit the back of his throat.

Snape pulled back. "I told you –"

"I know," Draco interrupted quickly. "You took me by surprise. Can I use my wand?"

Snape paused before he nodded. Draco quickly cast the charm that he'd heard Pansy use and then leaned forward once again.

This time when Snape thrust in, he relaxed his throat completely and concentrated on making his mouth as hot and wet as possible. Snape grunted in approval and began moving his cock in and out of Draco's mouth. Draco wrapped his tongue around the length, used his lips to press hard around the base, and turned his head so that Snape's cock rubbed against the inside of his cheeks. Snape's thrusts came faster.

Draco started getting dizzy and he realized the charm was wearing off. He needed to make Snape come, so he stopped leaning on Snape's thighs, trusting Snape's grip to keep his head in place, and reached into Snape's pants to cup his balls. They were huge, nearly as large as Snape's cock. He rolled them around in his hand, tugging on them occasionally.

Suddenly Snape pushed his head down until his nose was buried in Snape's pubic hair. Snape's hips snapped twice before he stiffened, pumping come into Draco's mouth. Draco reflexively swallowed some of the bitter stuff, which didn't taste nearly as good as the pre-come had, but the rest of it dripped out of his mouth.

When Snape finally released him, he sat on his heels and gulped air. His own prick was hard enough to beat a Bludger.

Snape looked amused and hungry in equal measure. "You look thoroughly corrupted."

"Yes, sir," Draco panted.

"Straddle my lap."

Draco stood on shaky legs and gingerly lowered himself into Snape's lap. Snape's hand closed around his cock, and he groaned, thrusting into Snape's grip.

Snape smiled and began to pull, twisting his wrist at the end of every stroke. It hurt; Snape hadn't used any lubrication, but after a few strokes Draco could care less. The rough friction was wonderful. A burning started in the soles of his feet and sped upwards.

"Ah," Draco gasped. "Fuck!" He spurted semen all over Snape's hand and chest, thick white drops that shone like pearls in the candlelight. He dropped forward against Snape's chest and tried to catch his breath.

"You have yourself a job, Mr Malfoy." Snape's voice rumbled against his ear.

Draco smiled. "Yes, sir."

vVvVvVv



Circumstances improved immediately. Snape made it known that he'd employed Draco as his assistant, and Crabbe and Goyle quickly fell back into their accustomed roles as his lackeys, though Draco caught Crabbe glaring at him in anger on more than one occasion. 

Carrow avoided him, seeming to content himself with sneering at Draco during Defence class.

An unexpected perk literally fell into his lap. Relaxed after a particularly long blow job that left Draco's jaw aching, Snape off-handedly remarked that Quidditch would be cancelled, as he had too many other duties to waste his time on children's games. Draco pounced on the opportunity, and within a week, had arranged for team try-outs in all of the Houses. Using Snape's authority to exclude a few key opponents from the try-outs, he happily made himself both Captain and Seeker for the Slytherin team and spent a few enjoyable hours scheduling matches in such a way as to give Slytherin the advantage in every game.

Other than that bright spot in his schedule, though, Draco wasn't surprised when Snape made sure that the rest of his time was spent in completing endless reports and supervising dreary and sometimes tear-filled Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw detentions. The second desk that Snape had ordered to be installed in the headmaster's office for Draco was always piled high with work. 

Every evening, after several hours of post-dinner dictation, he and Snape would have sex. Intense, mind-blowing sex.

One evening, when Snape had been called out to a meeting with the Governors, Draco ignored the stacks of work waiting for his attention and mused about his situation.

Yes, there was plenty to resent in the situation – Snape truly could be a bastard – but Draco was sleeping at night and finally felt somewhat safe. The administrative work was neither worse nor better than he'd expected. And on the plus side, he'd nearly guaranteed that Slytherin would win the House Cup while he was team captain. He smiled at the thought.

And the sex was great. Draco loved the feeling of someone else being in control and eagerly anticipated Snape's sharp and inventive orders. Pansy would probably sneer that he was simply so used to people taking care of him and holding him to impossible standards that he'd developed a complex, but he was sure it actually had more to do with the pride he felt in his ability to fulfil those expectations and claim his just dues.

Which Snape gave to him. Every climax he had at Snape's hands left him weak and gasping. And sucking cock was surprisingly sexy – he hadn't realised just how much control he could assert from between a man's legs. The rush of power he felt during the act went straight to his cock. 

vVvVvVv



More and more often lately he'd caught Snape looking at his arse, so he intentionally began to work without wearing his robes. Huge as Snape's cock was, Draco was curious to see whether riding it would give him additional power when they were having sex. Regardless, Snape was definitely a more exciting partner than Pansy or any of the other Slytherin girls had been.

He looked at the pile of work in front of him and sighed. He'd be lucky if he'd get a Snape-induced orgasm tonight. The headmaster had said that he'd be late.

He'd also said that Draco would have to have his desk cleared of all work by the time he returned or there would beconsequences. Draco didn't want to think of those, so he picked up his pen again and started to copy the list of detentions and infractions from Filch's spidery scrawl into the official records. Longbottom, again. The Gryffindor's name was becoming a regular entry in the detention logs.

Suddenly the office went dark. Draco gasped. He jumped when Dumbledore's portrait whispered, ''Hide, Mr Malfoy."

Acting instinctively, Draco dropped to the floor and slipped behind a bookcase.

The door to the hallway opened, allowing in a crack of light. A far cry from Snape's stalking entrance. Draco tried to make himself smaller.

A lit wand preceded two forms that snuck through the door. Briefly, before the door shut behind them, the light from the hall showed two squat bodies.

"Is the brat here?" Amycus Carrow's voice was low and hoarse.

"Doesn't look like it," his sister replied. "The office is dark."

"Suits me. Snape won't be back until late. When we're finished here, we can take a little tour of the Slytherin common room and see if we can scare him up." Both siblings giggled at the pun.

They paused at Snape's desk. "Check the portraits," Alecto hissed.

The Lumos Charm burned a bit brighter. Draco could see the portraits on the wall, slumbering in various uncomfortable positions. Soft snores could be heard. 

"All asleep. Who'd've thought portraits needed sleep?"

"Habit. Too stupid to do things different from when they were alive," said Alecto. "Open the top drawer, where he keeps his forms."

"Right." Draco heard the soft scrape of the wooden drawer opening. "There we go."

"Careful! We don't want to set it off." 

"I know that! Don't jostle me!"

"I'm not jostling!"

"There." Draco heard the drawer close. "It's set."

"Too bad we can't be here to see what happens." The twins giggled again.

"C'mon. Let's find that Malfoy brat and have some fun."

The Carrows crossed the office. "You won't be headmaster forever, Snape. I promise you that," Amycus whispered. The door closed behind them.

Draco remained crouched for several frantic heartbeats before the candles flared back to life. He cautiously crept out from behind the bookcase and walked over to Snape's desk.

"They've set a trap," he said.

"Yes," Dumbledore's portrait agreed. "I'm afraid they hold little love for Severus. We'll need to warn him when he returns."

"Wait a second." Draco looked at Dumbledore's portrait with narrowed eyes. "Why would you want to help Snape? He's the one who killed you."

Dumbledore's eyebrows climbed. "My dear boy, surely you know that, as former headmasters, we're bound support the current headmaster. I must protect Severus, regardless of what happened in my life." 

Several of the other portraits nodded or murmured their agreement. Draco vaguely remembered his father talking about something similar once, so he decided to go along with the statement for the moment. "Fine. I believe you. But the device – do you know what it is? Can I disarm it before he gets back?"

Dumbledore shook his head. "I think you should leave it alone. Severus knows the dangers he faces. I'll warn him when he returns; I'm sure he'll disarm it, whatever it is. It would behove you to emulate his caution, in fact."

"I'm safe enough these days," Draco said.

"So long as you're under Severus' protection. But if something should happen to him, you would find yourself defenceless yet again."

"Don't you think I know that?"

"Hogwarts is not safe."

Draco remained silent. As much as Dumbledore's words infuriated him, he knew they were true. As a Slytherin, he really should have an alternate plan. He just couldn't think of one.

That meant that he was committed to the one he'd already set in motion.

vVvVvVv



"Malfoy. Malfoy, wake up."

Draco squinted up into Snape's face, momentarily confused. "How'd you get into the dorms, sir?"

"You aren't in the dorms. You fell asleep at your desk."

"Fell asleep – oh!" Draco sprang up, ignoring the aches in his muscles from sitting on the hard chair for hours. "The Carrows! They've set a trap for you."

"So I've been informed," Snape said. "Now, if you'll kindly leave, I'll disarm it."

Draco started for the door and then stopped. "No. Actually, sir, I think it would be best if I stayed."

"You fool. Get out, now."

Draco stubbornly held his ground. "It's important to me that nothing happens to you. If you make a mistake, you'll be more likely to recover if I'm here to give you first aid and take you to the hospital wing immediately."

"Quite the hero," Snape said, sneering.

"Protecting my own arse, sir," Draco said. "Don't worry, I'm not an idiot. I'll shelter behind the bookshelves."

"Fine. It's your neck." Snape whirled and approached the desk. 

Draco hurried behind the bookcase again. He watched as Snape opened the drawer; Dumbledore was peering into the desk, too.

"I don't see what it could be. There's nothing different."

"It must be small. They weren't carrying anything that I noticed," Dumbledore replied. "Really, Severus, you should secure your office better."

Snape glanced in Draco's direction and then turned his attention back to the drawer. "I could make it a fortress, and I'd still be vulnerable. A secure office would merely invite attempts to be made elsewhere. The ink bottle, do you think?"

"Most likely."

Snape cast a spell that sounded Dark to Draco, and the ink bottle glowed. "Yes. Incendiary, it appears." He cast another spell and a sphere of glass surrounded the bottle. "That should contain it."

"You'll have to destroy it at the earliest possible opportunity."

Snape nodded and turned towards Draco. "You can stop cowering now, Mr Malfoy."

"I wasn't cowering," Draco said as he came out from behind the bookcase. "I was keeping a strategic distance."

"Of course," Snape said. "It's late. You should return to your dorm."

Now that it was safe, Draco felt unexpectedly disappointed to be dismissed so quickly. "You mean we aren't going to...?"

Snape looked confused for a moment and then stared at Draco. "You can't mean to say that you want to have sex. It must be three in the morning."

Dumbledore chuckled. "He's seventeen, Severus. What do you expect?"

Draco glared at Dumbledore before turning to Snape. "The Carrows said that they were going to go to the Slytherin common room and look for me. I want to stay here tonight. Sir," he added.

Snape sighed. "Fine. My bedroom is through the far door. I'll be in directly."

Draco nodded and headed for the bedroom.

The door opened to a clean, attractive room. Flames burst in silver sconces and settled into a warm glow, gilding the green velvet of the curtains framing the window and embracing the bed. A fireplace took up most of one wall, and yet another bookshelf, overflowing with books, stretched beneath the window. Comfortable chairs and a bedside table made Draco yearn for a good book and a cup of tea.

He turned his attention to the bed itself. It was huge, a dark blue satin cover spilling from it like a waterfall at midnight. Draco smiled.

When Snape entered, Draco was ready.

"A secret desire to be in Ravenclaw, professor?" Draco asked, reclining on blue satin.

"Hardly." Snape eyed Draco's naked body. "I merely thought the setting appropriate."

Draco smiled and stretched out on his side, watching Snape undress. The satin of the sheets felt cool against his skin, and he was sure that he looked perfect, stretched white and gold across their rich sheen. 

This was the first time he'd see Snape fully naked. When they were in the office, Snape had merely allowed Draco to open his trousers and take out his cock, though he ordered Draco to strip naked every time. 

At first glance, the body Snape revealed as he removed his clothing was unattractive. Draco could see the marks of several wicked scars across Snape's pale back. His stomach and groin were thick with black hair, contrasting strangely with his pale skin and Draco's own pale elegance. Snape's only truly impressive physical attribute was the cock that rose from between his legs, the large balls hanging heavy and pendulous behind it. 

Draco had always considered his family's blond perfection to be a display of the ultimate in pureblood power, but he now found Snape's dark imperfection to be equally beautiful, the man's power raw, primal and exciting.

Draco's confidence rose when he saw Snape eye him hungrily as he slipped into the bed.

"Do you like what you see?"

"Impudent boy." Snape slapped Draco's arse, startling a yelp out of him. "There. That's better – much more appropriate than virginal white. I've been looking forward to fucking your tight arse."

Draco ducked his head, but he could feel his ears burn as well as the handprint on his arse. Snape noticed.

"I don't believe it! You're a virgin." Snape rolled his eyes. "I thought you'd lived in the Slytherin dorms for seven years," he said snidely.

"It doesn't matter. I want this." Draco looked up, haughty. "Fuck me. Now."

Snape looked amused. "What? Do you want me to thrust into you at this very moment?"

"You're the one who knows what he's doing. You tell me," Draco snapped.

"I think you should be silent before you say something that we'll both regret," Snape said mildly. "On your stomach."

Draco rolled to his stomach, his mouth dry. He yelped as something cold and wet dripped on his back.

"Spare me your histrionics," Snape said. "It warms up quickly enough."

Snape straddled him and began to massage his back. Draco sighed with pleasure and relaxed. He enjoyed massages, though Snape wasn't as skilful as his personal masseuse, he reflected, as hands squeezed a bit too hard under his arms. Still, they felt good. By the time Snape moved to his arse, Draco had shifted a few times to relieve the pressure on his interested cock.

Snape kneaded the big muscles of his arse, his movements deliberately arousing. Draco squirmed and then yelped again as he felt Snape's thumbs plunge into the crevice of his arse and pull apart his cheeks. They ghosted across his arsehole, gradually pressing in until Snape was rubbing his arsehole over and over, pulling the small opening apart and releasing it until Draco thought he would go mad with the teasing.

"Do it," he begged in a hoarse whisper. "Put it in me."

Snape chuckled and slid back to straddle Draco's thighs. "Impatient brat," he said. "You'll wait and like it." He slid a slicked finger into Draco's hole.

Draco impatiently pushed back against it. It felt strange to have someone's finger inside his arse, but it hadn't hurt like he'd been afraid it would. He could feel Snape stroking the insides of his passage as he moved his finger slowly in and out.

"So eager, Mr Malfoy?"

"Fuck me," Draco whined. 

Snape slapped his arse again and introduced another finger. By the time Snape had worked in a third, Draco felt uncomfortably stretched, but he still felt no pain.

Then Snape touched something inside him that made his cock jump. Draco gripped the sheets and rutted against them.

"Do that again!" he demanded.

In reply, Snape withdrew his fingers. "Up," he commanded, pulling at Draco's hips. Draco rose up on his hands and knees, allowing Snape to position him at the end of the bed. Snape climbed out and stood behind him. 

"Hang on," he said, gripping Draco's hips. He pushed, and his cock slid in.

Draco gasped and fell forward on his elbows as fire raced up his arse and into his back. "Stop," he said.

"No. You can take it," Snape said, pulling out and thrusting in again. "Do you know what you look like? All cream and gold. Debauched." He thrust hard with every word. Draco buried his face in the midnight blue satin and hung on. It's a matter of survival, he thought to himself. At least it's not the Cruciatus Curse.

But after a few strokes, the pain subsided. Snape's thrusts jolted his body, each ending with a grind and a twist. Draco caught his breath. The place inside him flared, and he flung his arse back to meet Snape's next thrust.

"Harder," he panted.

"Beg me," Snape said.

"Harder. Fuck me. Fuck me. Please. Fuck me hard!"

"Who do you answer to? Tell me!" Snape asked through clenched teeth, hips snapping.

"You. I'm yours. Fuck me, take me."

"Bring yourself off."

Draco buried his shoulder into the sheets to brace himself as best he could and reached back to take his cock in his hand. He was so hard he could swear he felt Snape's cock impacting his own prick. He swiped his thumb over the crown over and over, smearing the slick fluid that leaked out until his cock moved in his hand as smoothly as an oiled Snitch.

"More, more, more," he chanted.

"So beautiful," Snape said. His hips slapped against Draco's arse again and again, his heavy balls slapping against Draco's. "I've taken you, been your first. You won't forget that. No matter who else fucks you, I've had you first."

"Yours," Draco moaned. "Oh, gods, Severus, harder. I'm going to come."

"Not until I tell you to," Snape said breathlessly. He pressed close to Draco's back, leaving his feet on the floor to lend power to his thrusts. "Wait."

"Hurry!"

"Brat," Snape panted. "Now!"

Draco exploded with a cry, milking burst after burst of semen from his cock. He felt Snape give a series of short, deep thrusts and then still, his fingers digging cruelly into Draco's shoulders. He collapsed on top of Draco, his hips still moving.

They lay there, panting. Draco felt Snape's softening cock slip out of him with a wet pop. Then, groaning, Snape rolled off Draco and reached for his wand. He cast a cleaning charm on them before dragging Draco further onto the bed and drawing a sheet over them.

"Never call me by my given name again," Draco heard. He smiled, closed his eyes and fell asleep.

vVvVvVv



The day of the Slytherin/Hufflepuff Quidditch match dawned crisp, the air as sharp as the first bite of an apple. It was a perfect day for flying.

Draco adjusted his arm pads. 

"I want a fair game," Hooch said, glaring at him. He smirked, shook the Hufflepuff captain's hand, and mounted his broom.

Once airborne, he flew lazy circles, vigilant but relaxed. Hufflepuff hadn't won a Quidditch match in years. He doubted they would break their losing streak today – he'd overheard Crabbe telling Goyle that there was going to be a surprise at today's game, which should just about guarantee Slytherin the win, considering how close Crabbe was to the Carrows. He was curious to see what they had in store but considered himself forewarned enough that he wouldn't allow anything untoward to break his concentration.

The Snitch took its own sweet time in showing itself. Slytherin racked up goal after goal against the feeble Hufflepuff Keeper. Draco smirked at the raw determination that blazed from the other Seeker's face; he probably thought himself the saviour of his team. Just like Potter, thought Draco.

Just as a particularly vicious and well-aimed Bludger attack brought the score to 140 to nothing in Slytherin's favour, a glint of gold caught the corner of Draco's eye. 

The Snitch.

In a heartbeat, he sped towards it, diving sharply to the right.

The Hufflepuff Seeker had seen it, too, and was closer. Furious, Draco pushed his broom hard, determined to out-fly the Hufflepuff, each twist and dodge of the Snitch bringing him closer. He sneered at the other Seeker as he drew even with him. Stretching, Draco just inched past the other's longer reach when he was rocked by a blow that sent him flailing off his broom. He grabbed the handle as he fell, catching himself as the Hufflepuff raced onward. He dragged himself back onto the broom, his right arm dangling sharp and broken and utterly useless. The pain was too much, but Hufflepuff couldn't win, so he pushed himself forward....

He roared in fury as the Hufflepuff's hand closed on the Snitch.

A bright flash of light erupted, turning into a fireball that engulfed the Hufflepuff Seeker. Draco barely managed to avoid him as he plummeted, screams choked off by flames that burned through leather, wood, flesh. Draco watched in horror as the other boy's writhing stopped long before he hit the ground, where the impact broke what was left into pieces.

Fiendfyre. Draco promptly threw up.

He was the last player to make it to the ground. Draco landed hard and laid there, his arm throbbing and his clothing soiled. He was dimly aware that Goyle crouched by his side as the Hogwarts professors finally brought the blaze under control. 

"Crabbe's going to get you help," he heard, interspersed with, "I'm really sorry, Draco."

Deciding to ignore Goyle's ravings, he fainted.

vVvVvVv



So many students had been injured in the fire and the panicked stampede from the Quidditch pitch that Draco found himself healed and released from the hospital wing within the hour to make room for more serious cases.

Not willing to face the avid gossip of the Slytherin common room, he made his way to Snape's office. Snape wasn't in, so he dropped, exhausted, into one of the chairs by the fireplace and covered his face with his hands for a moment. 

His mind replayed the Hufflepuff's blazing body plummeting from the sky, hearing the boy's screams over the roar of the cursed flames. 

In front of him, the fire crackled cheerfully in the fireplace. Draco dropped his hands and stood. Taking a chair by the window, as far away from the fireplace as he could, he waited for Snape to return.

"I'm glad to see that you're all right, Mr Malfoy."

Startled, Draco glared at Dumbledore's portrait and then looked away, determined to ignore the old fool.

"There is evil afoot at Hogwarts."

"There's always evil at Hogwarts," Draco snapped. "Does the Chamber of Secrets ring a bell? Nothing's changed."

"Everything has changed," Dumbledore replied. "Now, the evil is aimed at you."

Draco snorted. "Don't be a fool. Other than Carrow's harassment, I'm probably one of the safest people in the school."

"Are you?" Dumbledore didn't sound offended, more as if he were musing out loud. "Who would you think would normally have caught the Snitch in a match between Slytherin and Hufflepuff?"

Draco's jaw dropped.

"Mr Goyle is a true friend, Draco. You are safe with him."

"I'm safe with nobody, you senile old git," spat Draco. "I can take care of myself. I'm not an idiot like Potter. I know when to keep my head down."

The door to the office slammed open and Snape stalked in.

"There you are." He grabbed Draco by the upper arms and shook him once, hard. "What the bloody hell did you think you were doing?"

"Playing Quidditch!" Draco sputtered. "I didn't plan to get almost killed in the process, believe me."

Snape released him and waved his wand at the door, which slammed shut. He threw locking and silencing spells on it in rapid succession. Then he grabbed Draco again, his fingers digging deep into Draco's arms. Before Draco could yelp in pain, Snape yanked him close and devoured his mouth.

They hadn't kissed before, which Draco suddenly realised was a damned shame, because Snape kissed brilliantly. He nipped Draco's lips until they were red and swollen and sucked on Draco's tongue only to release it and thrust his tongue into Draco's mouth again and again. 

Snape tasted of darkness and desperation. He gave no quarter in his assault.

Hands fumbled at his waist, and Draco's uniform was ripped open. Snape pulled Draco's cock out and dropped to his knees, swallowing Draco down to the root. Draco shouted and grabbed Snape's shoulders, thrusting hard into the hot mouth. He could feel his climax building.

His cock fell from Snape's lips and he whined his protest. "Suck me."

Snape turned him around and shoved him face first against the wall. Draco splayed his hands against the cold stone and hissed with pleasure as Snape pulled down his pants and spread his arse cheeks wide. 

A tongue stabbed into his arsehole, making him yelp. 

"Oh, shite, oh, fuck, yes, yes, oh fuck, don't stop," he babbled as Snape tongue-fucked his hole. He could feel Snape's saliva dripping down his crack. Abruptly, Snape moved away. The air felt cold, and Draco could feel his arsehole twitching at the sudden loss of contact. "Don't stop."

A blunt hardness pressed against his hole. Before he could catch his breath, Snape pushed inside.

Draco felt as if he was being split in half. Snape pressed him into the wall, setting a punishing pace as he thrust into Draco again and again. "Relax," he panted into Draco's ear. "You're alive." He leaned his forehead against the back of Draco's head and snapped his hips harder.

"Ungh," Draco said as his cock ground against the stone. He spat into his hand and grabbed his prick. For the most part, his Quidditch padding protected him from the rough wall, but where he was naked, he could feel bruises and scrapes forming. He jerked himself hard and fast, his climax building again. He grunted with each of Snape's thrusts.

"Come for me, Draco," Snape whispered hot against his neck. Draco moaned. "I want to look at this wall and know you painted it with your come, with me inside you."

Draco exploded, semen spraying from his cock, jerking backwards into Snape since he couldn't thrust into the unyielding rock. Snape roared and thrust one last time, harder than before, crushing Draco against the wall. Draco could feel the big cock pulse inside his arse and gloried that he could make Snape lose control in such a spectacular way.

They stood for a moment, supported by the wall, then slowly slid down to land in a tangle of arms and legs. Draco found himself cradled in Snape's arms, with Snape's panting breaths warm against his shoulder.

"I spoke with Mr Goyle," Snape said finally. "He told me that Carrow tampered with the Snitch. He was trying to kill you."

"That's what Dumbledore said," Draco replied.

"I expected as much. Did he also tell you that Mr Goyle aimed the Bludger to deliberately knock you off your broom?"

"Not in so many words." Draco lazily nestled back into Snape's warm embrace. "The idiot. He could have killed me just as surely as the Snitch would have."

"Quidditch is cancelled for the year," Snape said.

Draco sighed. "I wish everything could have just stayed the same," he said. "You know. Like it used to be, before Father..." he trailed off.

Snape didn't answer. 

"Though I'd like to keep the part with us fucking," Draco added thoughtfully.

"Wishing for what cannot be is a useless exercise." Snape abruptly withdrew his arms and stood.

"I'm a mess," Draco said, plucking at his bloody, semen-covered Quidditch uniform. He looked up to see Snape looking down at him with a strange, almost gentle expression on his face. It disappeared as soon as Snape noticed his gaze.

"Get cleaned up. We've work to do," Snape said. He turned his back on Draco and walked away.

Later, after he'd showered, Draco was surprised to see a rash covering much of his face. "Stubble-burn," he whispered as he remembered Snape's desperate kisses. He looked thoughtfully at himself in the mirror before healing it.

vVvVvVv



Draco slipped through the halls, avoiding Filch and his disgusting cat. Tonight he'd stayed late to help Snape prepare for the Halloween feast, mainly by suggesting trysting places he'd used to hide from the teachers when he was younger while Snape updated his patrol maps.

Then they'd fucked like minks. Over the past few weeks, Draco had come to relish the soreness in his arse. Some nights he didn't bother to heal himself right away, instead lying in bed and fingering his tender arse while he wanked to the memory of Snape's cock.

Tonight was going to be one of those nights. He smiled.

A sound floated down the hallway from somewhere in front of him. Cursing softly, he ducked into a curtain-covered niche and waited for Filch to pass.

"How about we use the 'We Need You For Dumbledore's Army' slogan tonight?" a voice whispered not far away.

"Brilliant," whispered another. "It'll be the first thing the Ravenclaws see when they go down to breakfast. We could use more of them."

Draco smiled. It was Longbottom and his little Gryffindor pals. He waited for them to pass and then slipped back to the headmaster's office.

Snape and Dumbledore were talking when he entered.

"He's found another Horcrux, Severus. We need to buy him as much time as we can until he completes his quest."

"The situation is ripe for disaster." Snape sounded disgusted. "Sooner or later, Carrow is going to succeed in his efforts to undermine my standing with the Dark Lord, and now the boy –"

"Hush," Dumbledore said. "Mr Malfoy. What a delightful surprise," he added in a louder voice.

Behind him, the office door slammed shut.

"Professor," Draco said hesitantly. "Longbottom is writing graffiti..." 

Snape crossed the room in several swift strides and grabbed Draco's shoulders. "What did you hear, boy?" he said, his face twisted in anger.

"Obviously something that you didn't want me to hear," Draco retorted. "Whatever it was, I have no idea what you were talking about."

"I need to know WHAT YOU HEARD!" Snape shouted.

Draco's eyes widened in shock. "Right," he gasped. "Well, I heard something about something called a horse crutch and something about a quest, and that you're worried about Carrow worming his way into the Dark Lord's good graces – wait, why would you talk about the Dark Lord to Dumbledore?"

"He's bound to me," Snape said. "Is that all?"

"Yes. That's it." A horrible thought struck him. "Professor, the Dark Lord hasn't given you a task, has he?" The memory of his own failed task made his heart beat faster. "You can't leave Hogwarts," he blurted. "You can't leave me here alone!"

"I'm not going to leave you alone, you idiot." Snape took a deep breath and released him. "But knowledge of our conversation could endanger your life."

"What's new?" Draco said, relieved. "I said I'd keep your secrets."

Snape frowned. "That sounds singularly unlike you, Mr Malfoy."

"Things have changed. I think the less I know about some things, the better chance I have of surviving," Draco said quietly. He didn't add that he was frightened of losing Snape's patronage, but he suspected Snape understood.

Snape considered him thoughtfully. "I'm astonished to hear you demonstrate that much sense."

Draco sighed. "Look, are you interested in catching the group that's been writing the graffiti?"

"No. Leave them. They're an annoyance but little else. Wait," Snape looked at Dumbledore's portrait. "You said that it was Longbottom?" Dumbledore's eyebrows went up, and he nodded once. Snape turned back to Draco. "Never mind. I'll come with you."

They left the office, Draco leading Snape to the Ravenclaw Tower.

When they arrived, it was to hear furtive whispers and a burst of nervous giggling. Draco watched as Snape silently entered the corridor where the Gryffindors were just finishing a particularly striking slogan, with letters that glowed and occasionally burst into showers of fireworks.

"Mr Longbottom."

The Gryffindors yelped and froze, slowly turning to face Snape.

"My office. Now."

Draco gleefully noted that none of them had been smart enough to cut and run the moment that Snape had spoken. He remembered Longbottom's unwanted sympathy earlier in the year and viciously hoped that he'd be assigned detention with Carrow again.

"Malfoy," the female Weasley said as they caught sight of him. "I should have known. Spying little ferret."

"That's enough, Miss Weasley," Snape said. "I think that particular outburst has earned you five hundred lines. 'I must not be stupid enough to play pranks without posting a lookout and arranging for an alibi' will do nicely, I think."

The Gryffindors fell silent at that.

When they reached the office, Snape made them stand in a row in front of his desk. He sat, remaining silent. They began to fidget nervously. 

Draco sat by the window and gloated. Carrow had been talking about teaching students how to cast the Cruciatus curse. He'd hinted that he was going to recruit demonstration 'volunteers' from amongst the students who received detentions. Draco wondered what Longbottom would sound like when he screamed.

"Longbottom, Weasley, Finnegan, and Creevey." Snape spoke softly, in the voice that all Slytherins recognized as dangerous. "Fools, each one of you. Don't you realise that Hogwarts is not the safe, innocent place you all seem to think it is? I have talked to the entire student body about making the correct choices. What do you imagine will happen when I turn you over to the Deputy Headmasters?"

Longbottom paled while the rest looked sulky. At least Longbottom understands, Draco thought with contempt.

"This nonsense about Dumbledore's Army must stop immediately. If I find out that you have once again started that ill-advised and ill-fated group, I will send you to the Carrows immediately. Remember what happened the last time foolish children tried to challenge their betters." 

Longbottom and Weasley glanced at each other, though the others looked blank. Draco suddenly realised that they must have been with Potter when his father was sent to Azkaban. Rage blazed through him.

"This will be your only warning. In the future, your punishment will be swift and thorough. For now, I believe that lines and two weeks helping Hagrid patrol the Forbidden Forest will suffice. I want to see one thousand lines each, 'I must not incite other students to revolt' by dinner tomorrow. No magic. I will be testing the documents. That's in addition to the five hundred already assigned to you, Miss Weasley," he added. "Dismissed. And if you do not return directly to your dormitory, I shall know it," he said as the Gryffindors hurried to the door. It slammed shut behind them.

"Hagrid!" Draco sprung up from his chair. "Why didn't you send them to the Carrows? They deserve to be punished, not babied!"

"Ironic, don't you think, that you're so eager to send others to a fate that you've worked so hard to avoid," Snape murmured.

"It's not the same and you know it," Draco said. "You saw Longbottom and Weasley. They were with Potter at the Ministry two years ago, weren't they? Weren't they?"

"That's neither here nor there," Snape said.

Draco exploded. "They sent my father to Azkaban!"

Snape looked at him coldly. "Your father made foolish mistakes. That's why he went to Azkaban."

"You lie," Draco snapped. "He was doing the Dark Lord's bidding. Then Potter ruined everything. Everything! He took everything away from us, and Longbottom and Weasley helped!"

"Calm yourself," Snape ordered.

"You bastard!" Draco shouted, leaning across Snape's desk to shout in his face. "You're jealous of my father. You always have been! That's why you don't care that he got sent to prison, and I bet that's why you just coddled those stupid Gryffindors. My father was the Dark Lord's most trusted follower, he was the power behind the Ministry, he was on the Hogwarts Board of Governors, and you were just a lowly Potions Master –"

"That is enough!" Snape abruptly pushed his chair back and stood, aiming his wand. 

Ropes shot out of the wand and wrapped around Draco. Off-balance, he fell to the floor.

"That's why you like to fuck me, isn't it?" Draco sneered from the floor. "I bet you imagine you're fucking my father, don't you? Let me go, you bastard!"

Snape was white with fury. Without a word, he Levitated Draco and floated his bound body to the bedroom, dropping him without ceremony in the middle of the bed. The door slammed shut while Snape cast a Silencing Charm.

"You listen to me, you spoiled little pointy-faced brat," he said, his voice low and his eyes blazing. "Your father was a fool who had everything and risked it all in his greed for more. He pledged himself to a madman. He betrayed your mother and me to the same madman, binding all of us to his fate. Do you understand? He'd lost everything long before you were born!"

"You're lying," Draco said. "My father is a great man."

"Your father lives or dies by the whim of another," Snape said remorselessly. "As do you yourself, I might point out. The moment he decided to put his faith in the Dark Lord, your current fate was sealed, you little fool. I can't stop you from living in your pathetic fantasy world, but I'll be damned if you make me a party to it."

"You're lying," he whispered. But Snape's words made too much sense, Draco realised. No matter how much he wanted to blame Potter, Longbottom, and the stupid female Weasley, events had been set in action long before he or any of them had been born.

"And for your information, I don't imagine that I am fucking your father when we have sex. I choose my partners, not fantasise about them. I know who I'm fucking. I wonder if you do."

Draco fell silent as he thought about what Snape had said. Finally, he gave in. 

"It's never going to be right again, is it?"

Snape sat on the bed, looking exhausted. "Most likely not. The question is, are you strong enough to build something new once all of this is over?"

"If the Dark Lord wins, we're doomed."

Snape shrugged. "Perhaps. Of course, that's not the only possible outcome."

"Are you saying –?"

"I'm not saying anything. You would do well to heed what I told the Gryffindors, Draco," Snape said. He laid his hand on Draco's face. "A time will come when an opportunity will open itself to you. You must be vigilant, and you must have a back-up plan."

Draco nodded slowly. He needed – well, he wasn't sure what he needed, but Snape could give it to him, he was sure of it. But he'd have to ask for it. 

"Kiss me," he whispered.

Snape bent and kissed him, a gentle kiss that seemed foreign on his lips but tasted very sweet. Draco moaned and struggled to free himself. 

Snape drew back and looked at him, arousal flushing his face. "You're quite attractive when you're restrained," he said.

"Untie me. Please?" 

"No, I think I prefer you bound. Of course, your current configuration is somewhat limiting," Snape said. The cords loosened; but before Draco could wriggle free, they looped themselves around his ankles and wrists and pulled his limbs wide, anchoring themselves to the bedposts. Snape transformed the cords into silken scarves wherever they bound him.

Draco pulled against the bindings. There wasn't a lot of give, but at least the silk didn't dig too deeply into his skin.

Snape levitated Draco's hips and placed a pillow underneath him.

Fifteen minutes later, Snape was buried deep inside Draco's arse, moving in slow, languid strokes that had Draco begging for more. The combination of helplessness and power was intoxicating. This was exactly what he had needed. By the time Snape built to their usual punishing pace, Draco had come twice and was raw from Snape's kisses.

Finally Snape stiffened and pushed in hard, groaning. Then he collapsed on top of Draco.

"I hate to mention it," Draco said dryly, "but would you be good enough to untie me and bring me off again, please?"

Snape snorted and rolled off him. "Untie yourself. You should have been practicing some wandless magic by now. The incantation is 'Solvo Mihi'."

It took him several tries, but Draco eventually loosened his bonds enough to wriggle out of them. Snape rewarded him by giving him a blow job. 

"Fuck. My prick is raw," Draco said, sprawled in post-orgasmic abandon. "Do you realise I've come four times tonight?"

"Do you realise that it's well past midnight? You should return to your dorm." Snape had already stretched out and closed his eyes.

Reluctantly, Draco crawled out of bed, cast a Cleansing Charm on himself, and began to dress. Sex aside, he was still shaken by what he'd learned that night, and the thought of simply going back to the dorm to sleep seemed wrong. He slowly buttoned his shirt. 

"Professor. I'm confused."

"Spare me your adolescent misgivings about bondage sex."

"That's not what I'm talking about." He had a hard time forming his words; his mouth was dry. "I'm talking about Dumbledore. And..." he tried to swallow, but failed, "...and about – you, sir."

Snape snarled and sat up. "Shut up now."

Draco persisted. "Everyone knows that Potter doesn't stand a chance. But you – you're talking to Dumbledore, and you implied that the Dark Lord might not win. Like Potter has a chance against..."

"Stop right there!" Snape roared. "Do not say another word." He swung his legs off the bed. "You idiot boy. What do I keep telling you? You cannot afford to be confused. I won't be here to protect you forever." 

"Then tell me," Draco begged. He stopped dressing and crossed the bedroom to kneel in front of Snape. "Tell me what to do, what to think, who to trust."

Snape looked at him in disgust. "Get out."

Draco refused to turn away, allowing all his fear to show. For a moment, Draco thought Snape might relent, but then his face hardened. He spat at the floor, glared at Draco for another heartbeat, and then swung his legs back into the bed, turning his back to Draco and pulling the blankets over his shoulders.

"Nox."

At Snape's word, the room fell into darkness. Draco slumped against the bed and listened to Snape breathing.

Eventually, he stood and cast a quiet "Lumos," finished dressing, and left Snape's quarters, quietly closing the door behind him.

He knew Snape hadn't yet fallen asleep.

vVvVvVv



After that, Snape, wary to begin with, became nearly paranoid. He refused to speak to Dumbledore's portrait when Draco was in the office, and Draco noticed that he'd set warning wards on his office door. Several times while working on reports, Draco looked up to find Snape staring at him, face unreadable. 

vVvVvVv



Draco stood, stretching his back and shaking out his hands. He'd been compiling the weekly curriculum report for hours, a task he loathed and that Snape assigned to him every Wednesday. Sometimes he envied Crabbe and Goyle their lack of scholarship – Snape would never make them write up curriculum reports.

"Bloody paperwork," he muttered. 

"You've been very helpful to Severus," Dumbledore's portrait said. "I believe he appreciates it greatly."

Draco looked at the portrait. "He has you spy on me when he's not here, doesn't he?"

Dumbledore twinkled. "Now you sound as paranoid as Severus."

"And you didn't answer my question," Draco said. "Not that it matters. He'd be a fool if he didn't, and Snape's anything but a fool."

"He cares for you deeply, you know," Dumbledore said gently.

Draco frowned. "What does that have to do with anything? Caring for someone doesn't mean that you trust them."

"For many, it does." Dumbledore sighed. "But, I agree. Under the circumstances, you may well be well-served by caution."

"Look," Draco said, crossing to stand in front of the portrait, "he's not here right now. What do you think? Do you think the Dark Lord will win this war?"

"I don't think my opinion is as important to that question as yours."

"I don't know!" Draco said agitatedly. "Nothing makes sense. There's no way that Potter can defeat the Dark Lord, yet if the Dark Lord wins..." he shivered. "I doubt that I or my family will survive for long."

"You have options," Dumbledore said. "There's still time."

"Don't be stupid. If I do anything other than what I'm doing now, he'll kill my parents," Draco said. 

"Your mother and father made their choices long ago. You have the right to make yours, too. Do you understand me, Mr Malfoy? If you sacrifice your right to choose, it is a choice in itself. And that may not what is best for you or for your parents."

Draco's shoulders dropped. "I cannot abandon them," he whispered.

"Nor am I suggesting that you do so unless absolutely necessary."

"Snape killed you. Yet the two of you work together. Did you – did you forgive him?"

"Draco," Dumbledore said, "I can assure you that your parents will still love and forgive you regardless of what you may have to do."

Draco nodded and glanced at the door leading to Snape's bedroom. "But would he?"

Dumbledore sighed. "Severus does not find it easy to forgive. But he would understand."

Draco remained silent.

Snape entered the office, looking tired. He paused when he noticed Draco and Dumbledore both watching him.

"I'm not in the mood," he said. Draco stood aside as Snape crossed to his desk and sat.

"Mood for what?" Dumbledore asked.

"For any idiocy," Snape said. "From either of you. This thrice-damned Halloween party is one of the most ill conceived travesties ever known to wizard-kind. The Bloody Baron has helped me to organise the ghosts into patrols, but even with them this castle is too bloody big."

"You can't keep them from having fun," Dumbledore said.

Snape put his head in his hands. "Four hundred idiots running about in costume, many of them masked. Illegal student factions for and against the Dark Lord. Too few arguably sane individuals, living and dead, to patrol properly. The Carrows teaching Unforgivables in the classroom. Would you like to take odds on the number of murdered bodies we find in the morning?"

Dumbledore looked troubled. "I had thought the event might relieve some of the tension."

"Perhaps we should leave them to cull their numbers themselves," Snape muttered.

"You could cancel the party," Draco said. 

"We'd have a riot," Snape said. "The body count would likely mount even higher. No, we seem doomed to follow the path of folly already established."

"Hope for the best, my boy," Dumbledore said. "Perhaps you are too fatalistic."

Both Draco and Snape looked at Dumbledore in disbelief. 

vVvVvVv



The traditional Halloween Feast had come to an end with no poisonings. Or at least, no fast-acting poisons.

Within moments, the house elves had moved the cleared tables to the sides of the Great Hall and a cowed band had taken the stage under Snape's glaring eyes. Soon music filled the room. 

Students stood in tight groups, waiting for someone to brave the dance floor.

"Pathetic," Draco muttered. He watched as Snape impatiently gestured with his head. A group of seventh year Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs shuffled onto the floor and half-heartedly began to move to the music. Gradually, more students joined them until the dance floor was as crowded as the Great Hall ever was these days, with so few students at the school.

Draco prowled the edges of the crowd. He'd instructed Goyle and Crabbe to keep their eyes open for the Gryffindor delinquents and to let him know if they left the hall.

A few minutes later, his vigilance paid off. Crabbe and Goyle shoved dancers out of the way as they crossed the hall to Draco's side.

"The Gryffindors are gone," Crabbe announced.

"Did you see which way they went?" Draco asked.

"It looked like they were headed for the staircases," Goyle said.

"I want the two of you to split up and search for them. If you find them, come and get me. I'll be waiting here." Watching the Carrows, he silently added to himself.

They left the Great Hall, and Draco looked around until he located the Carrows again. As always, they stayed close together, ridiculously dressed like seventh year Slytherins, Draco noted, and his nose wrinkled at the thought of them being his age. They seemed to be rooted to the corner behind the stage, their heads close together and their shrill giggles clear whenever the band finished a song.

Satisfied that they'd stay there for a few minutes at least, Draco searched the crowd for Snape. He wasn't in the Great Hall, so Draco slipped into the main corridor. 

There, he spotted Snape talking to the Bloody Baron. The whispered conversation between the two ended, the Bloody Baron floating off towards the dungeons and Snape stalking back to the doors that led to the Great Hall.

Draco turned to enter the Great Hall again when Crabbe appeared at his elbow.

"I found them. They're outside the Headmaster's office. I think they're trying to get in," Crabbe said, a disturbing grin on his face.

Draco cursed. "Right. You go and get Snape; I'll head for the Headmaster's office and see if I can stop them."

"Okay, Draco," Crabbe said, slipping into the Great Hall.

Draco raced towards the moving stairs, hoping against hope that they'd cooperate in order to get him to the Headmaster's office as quickly as possible. To his amazement, they did.

He paused at the bottom of the staircase that led to the office. Hearing running footsteps behind him, he slipped behind the gargoyle that guarded the stairs.

Crabbe appeared, panting hard.

"What are you doing here?" Draco demanded as he stepped out from behind the gargoyle. 

"Snape sent me," Crabbe said.

Draco nodded. "Fine. Let's go. You go first."

Crabbe started up the stairs, Draco following close behind him. When they reached the top of the stairs, Draco grabbed Crabbe's robes.

"Wait. Something's wrong. They're not here."

"Maybe they've got inside already," Crabbe whispered back.

If so, the Gryffindors were smarter than Draco had given them credit for. Snape's wards were very strong. Draco drew his wand.

"Let's see," he said grimly.

He disabled the wards and slowly entered the room. It was dark, and there was no sign of Longbottom and his cronies. He turned to Crabbe, "They're not –"

"Imperio!" Crabbe shouted.

The familiar fog of the Imperius curse settled over Draco's mind. Horrified, he tried to fight it; but just like before, it easily defeated him. A small part of him remained conscious and gibbered its fear deep inside him.

"Give me your wand," Crabbe said. Draco handed his wand to Crabbe just as Goyle came running up the stairs.

"You got in!" he said.

"It wasn't hard," Crabbe said, handing him Draco's wand. "Malfoy is the most gullible fool I've ever met."

From somewhere within the vague depths of the curse, Draco watched as Crabbe and Goyle kissed passionately. They smiled at each other.

"You hussy," Goyle said. "Business first. Take Malfoy further into the room. The real Crabbe is on his way to Snape with a message. It seems the Carrows," and both Crabbe and Goyle giggled, "have Mr Malfoy trapped in the Headmaster's office."

As Draco watched, the two boys began to bubble and boil. In a few moments , the Carrows stood before him, still clad in their ridiculous Slytherin House costumes. Draco's heart sank. Polyjuice.

Alecto gestured with her wand. "Over there. Now."

Draco obediently crossed the room to stop by Snape's desk. He saw Dumbledore try to catch his eye. Desperately, he tried to respond, but his body turned to face the door at Alecto's command.

"Rip his clothes," Amycus said. "We need to make it look good."

Alecto spelled his clothes into shreds until Draco was nearly naked. Inside, he raged.

"Do you remember that curse that Snape used when we went to collect the Potter brat?" Alecto asked.

"Sectumsempra," Amycus replied. "Hush. I think he's coming." He took a position to the side of the door while Alecto aimed her wand at Draco.

Sectumsempra. The small part of Draco that remained free of the Imperius panicked. Flashes of memory: spell trails, a slick floor, Potter's voice and a horrible, tearing pain. 

With all his will, he fought the Imperius. He couldn't even make himself breathe faster.

The door to the office flew open and Snape rushed into the room. "Draco!"

Behind him, Amycus shut the door. Snape froze and then slowly turned. Draco was frantic to see that Amycus had Draco's own wand trained on Snape.

"Carrow," Snape said. "What is the meaning of this?"

"I call it a promotion," Carrow said. 

Snape's eyes narrowed. "I take it that you've put Malfoy under Imperius again."

"You seem very sure of his allegiance," Alecto said. "Tell him, Draco."

"I thought of the plan," Draco said.

Snape didn't bother to acknowledge him. "I see you have Malfoy's wand. Clever."

"Come here, Draco," Amycus said. Draco started towards Carrow. "No! Not in front of –"

Snape whirled and pushed Draco towards the bookcase. 

"Petrificus Totalus!"

Snape stiffened and fell to the floor.

"Good work, Amycus," Alecto said. "Draco, come here."

Draco picked himself from the floor and walked to Alecto. Amycus kept Draco's wand trained on Snape, but he crossed over to meet them.

"Take the wand," Amycus said.

Draco felt a frisson of hope. He took his wand from Amycus. 'Avada Kedavra,' his mind shouted. Nothing happened.

"There's a very special curse I want you to cast, Draco," Alecto said. "Can you guess what it is?"

"Sectumsempra," he replied. 

"That's right. Now, cast it on the headmaster."

Draco raised the wand and turned. "Sectumsempra!"

Dumbledore's portrait leapt out of the frame as the curse shredded the canvas. Draco breathed a sigh of relief. Now, if he could only figure out a loophole every time they gave him a command.

He wasn't given the opportunity. "You idiot!" Carrow shouted. "Cast it on Snape!"

Draco felt himself turn. He looked down at Snape, watched his wand hand rise, heard himself say, "Sectumsempra!"

'NO!' he screamed inside.

Great slashes gouged through Snape's clothing, blood spraying everywhere. So much blood. Draco stood frozen, looking down in horror at Snape, whose frozen expression didn't change as his eyes met Draco's.

The Carrows laughed and clapped. "Well done, boy! Now, you stay here," Amycus said. "We'll come back for you in the morning. I'm sure the Aurors will appreciate getting a good night's sleep before dealing with Snape's ugly carcass." Still laughing, they left the room.

"Draco!" 

Since the Carrows had only ordered him to stay there, he thought he might have enough freedom to turn. Slowly, he forced his body to move.

Dumbledore stood in another portrait, one of Draco's relatives, if he remembered correctly. "Draco, you must fight the Imperius. Are you going to allow someone to tell you what to do?"

"Help me," he begged. The words made it out of his mouth.

"You must staunch Severus' wounds immediately."

He looked back at Snape. Blood puddled around Snape's frozen body, and the wound still bled. "Tell me," he said, not knowing if it would be enough.

Dumbledore seemed to understand. "Draco, cast the spell that Severus cast on you last year," he said. "Cast it on Severus."

Half-remembered words spilled from his mouth in a musical litany, and his wand began to move along each of the horrific gashes that flayed Snape's body. The bleeding seemed to slow. He tried to push more magic through his wand.

The bleeding stopped.

"Tell me," he said. 

Under Dumbledore's commands, Draco brought Blood-Replenishing Potion and dittany from Snape's personal stores.

"Finite Incantatem!"

Snape slumped, his body sprawled. Draco watched, silent, as Dumbledore said, "Severus. You need to take the curse off Draco."

Snape groaned, but reached for Draco's wand. "Finite Incantatem," he whispered.

Draco fell to his knees. "Fuck." He crawled over to Snape and pulled him to a sitting position. "Drink this," he said.

Snape seemed better once he'd drunk the potion. He struggled to sit on his own.

"Stop it," Draco said. "I nearly killed you. The least you can let me do is hold you up."

"I cannot afford to look weak." Snape tried again.

"Don't be an idiot. Look, you've got to rest."

"We need to find the Carrows. Merlin knows what they're doing if they think I'm dead."

"If you think I'm hauling you around the castle to look for those homicidal maniacs in the middle of the night, you don't know me very well. Besides, a few less Gryffindors or Hufflepuffs won't change the world."

"I agree with Mr Malfoy, Severus. Not about the loss of non-Slytherin students, of course, but with his advice to rest."

"I'll need to be on my feet in the morning," Snape said. "I might as well get started now."

Dumbledore sighed. "Unfortunately, you're correct about the morning. I imagine that the Carrows' plots will be seriously undermined if you are in the Great Hall for breakfast."

"The Dark Lord will not be amused to see them bring Aurors to Hogwarts," Snape agreed. "But we need to keep this quiet," he added, looking at Draco.

Draco nodded and looked away. 

He was aware that Snape studied him for several moments, but when Snape spoke, it was to Dumbledore.

"I'll commission another background for you in the morning."

"That will work very well. Thank you, Severus."

Draco glanced at the ruined canvas. "I didn't really mean to kill you again, sir."

"You did a remarkable thing, Mr Malfoy. Something that I've never seen done before."

"I didn't throw off the Imperius," Draco snapped. "I should have been strong enough –"

"You did even better," Dumbledore said. "You undermined it. A unique approach, I must say."

Draco rolled his eyes. "I don't need to be lied to; I'm not some child you need to make feel better. I failed."

"But we survived," Snape said. 

Draco sighed. "Come on. Let's get cleaned up and go to bed."

"If you think I can perform –"

"No sex," Draco interrupted. "No performance issues. Just this once, I don't want any lies or manipulations. I just want you to be okay."

Snape looked at him, distrust written plainly across his face. "Very altruistic of you, Mr Malfoy."

"Yeah," Draco sighed, slipping his shoulder under Snape's arm and pulling him to his feet. "Just call me Potter. C'mon."

Slowly they made their way to Snape's quarters. After helping him to settle as comfortably as possible, Draco sat by Snape's bed all night, a candle burning on the bedside table, watching the lines in Snape's face relax as he slept.

vVvVvVv



One year later...

Draco re-read the letter from his solicitors.

...'we are pleased to inform you that the Ministry of Magic has withdrawn all claims against Malfoy estates, properties, accounts, and chattels. In addition, probate has been expedited. Please allow us here at Grimshaw, Gaye and Grimshaw to extend our humble congratulations and well-wishes to you and your household. We ask that you make expedient arrangements to visit our offices to sign the necessary paperwork entailed...

Only a week had passed since Lucius' execution. Draco would have sworn that nothing could stand between the Ministry and their determination to acquire the Malfoy estates in the furore surrounding the trial, but here it was, written in plain words on his solicitors' crested parchment, delivered by express owl. His inheritance was his.

A house elf entered the study and bowed low, its nose brushing the carpet. "A visitor, master," it squeaked and then Disapparated. 

Draco looked up.

Harry Potter stood in the doorway, shifting a bit from foot to foot as if uncomfortable. He probably was, Draco reflected, thinking back to Potter's last 'visit' to the Manor. "Potter," he said, standing and walking out from behind his desk. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

Potter looked down at the floor before looking up to meet Draco's eyes. "Um, I'm sorry about your dad."

Draco's eyebrows shot up, but he controlled his disbelief. "He made his choices," he replied instead, "long before we were born. They could just as easily have been the correct ones."

Potter's eyes flared with annoyance, but he also seemed to be determined to remain civil. "I've brought something for you." He held out a vial filled with a swirling, pearl-coloured mass.

Draco accepted it. The vial felt both warm and cold in his hand. 

"It's a memory. One of Snape's. I thought – well, I thought you had the right to decide what to do with it."

"It's about me."

Potter nodded and blushed. "Um. Yeah. If it helps, I think it was really special to him. He used it to make a Patronus."

Draco looked up sharply. "How do you know?"

"It's funny, but Patronus memories have a feel to them," Potter said. He shrugged. "I don't know how to describe it, but there's a brightness to them that I haven't noticed in other memories."

"Because of course, you've seen memories from so many people," Draco retorted.

"Actually, I have." Potter looked both defiant and distinctly uncomfortable. "I entered a Pensieve for the first time in fourth year, and sort of accidentally learned Legilimency in fifth. We've been using them a lot for the trials over the past year," he added.

Draco wondered if Lucius' memories had been gathered and watched. Not that it mattered, he supposed, but it still bothered him. Probably best not to know.

But now, he had a decision to make. There had been rumours that Potter had been with Snape when he died, something about memories and Potter's mother. He squashed a flare of jealousy before it could grow; after all, if he'd been there he wouldn't have been able to change anything, if reports were true. And he'd have the memory of Snape really dying, no chance of recovery, which he most definitely did not want. "How many people have seen this one?"

"Just me," Potter said. "I separated it from the others before I gave the rest to the Ministry. I wanted to prove that Snape was on the side of the Light all along. But some of the memories were, well, personal. I kept those."

"I knew he was on Dumbledore's side," Draco said. "I found out in seventh year."

"And you didn't tell anyone?" Potter seemed to realise how rude the question was. "Sorry, I didn't mean –"

"Yes, you did. And you'd be right." Draco met Potter's eyes. "I had my reasons."

Potter seemed to search his face. He finally nodded. "He was a great man."

"He was an arrogant, misanthropic bastard," Draco said, deliberately not thinking of Snape's kisses or of his face in the throes of orgasm. "But you're right, he was a great man."

"I'm sorry that I didn't know him better. But I'm trying to make things right for him now," Potter said quietly.

Draco's eyes narrowed. "'Trying to make things right'," he repeated. "As in making sure that the people he held – 'special', I think you said – are taken care of?"

Potter looked down and shrugged. "I'm just trying to do what's right. That's all. And I wanted you to have that," he nodded at the vial. "I'd better be going."

"I'll see you out," Draco said. 

They walked together, silent, to the front door. Draco opened it, but put his hand out before Potter could leave. "Wait. I – thank you, Potter," he whispered. "Just one thing."

"Yeah?"

Memories flooded his mind: of a perfect autumn day, crisp and clear, a day for flying; of a wall stained with semen; of a strange, gentle look. "The memory. Is it..? Am I wearing Quidditch robes?" His face was blazing, he could tell, but he needed to know.

Potter shifted uncomfortably, his face equally bright. "Um, yeah."

"Right. Thanks. Again."

Potter nodded and left. Draco closed the door behind him.

He stood in the entryway and looked at the vial he held. Before he could change his mind, he uncorked it and upended it over the marble floor. The mass flowed smoothly, falling into the floor with a last flare before it disappeared. Draco thought of a black robe, whirling with heavy grace, and swallowed hard. 

He had his memories. They'd have to be enough. He wouldn't raid Snape's.

"Rest in peace," he whispered.

He had an appointment to make with his solicitors. Taking a deep breath, he turned and headed to his study and the waiting owl.

~fin~