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Watching the Moonlight

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'Come watch the moonlight with me...' Lucius Malfoy's voice is low and soft, and Severus Snape wakes up slowly, not really aware that somebody spoke to him. He stretches the long limbs with a cat-like moan, the old leather chair creaking beneath his tensing body. It has been a long time since he had slept well, but it had been so calming sitting there after dinner; in a soft chair with a good Brandy and a roaring fire. The room smells slightly of burning wood and dust, the many books lining the walls are beautiful and useful, but also the home of dust-bunnies and a little mould.

'Wha...' Severus is not quite coherent yet, he sits up in the chair, reaching for a glass of water. He drinks a little and puts the glass down on the side-table.

'The moon, Severus. The bright, white thing that hangs in the sky at night.' Lucius Malfoy's face contracts in an expression of amusement and raised eyebrows. 'Do you want to go outside to look at it?'

'Have you been hit by a momentary bout of insanity, Lucius? Why would I want to go outside in the middle of the winter to look at a celestial body I have seen hundreds of times? I think the war made you even more elitist than before. It is only artists and lovers who go to do such soppy and ridiculous things. And Astronomers.'

'And werewolves. You haven't forgotten the werewolves, have you?'

Severus doesn't answer. He snarls. No, he hasn't forgotten about any werewolves, how could he? Lucius knows that, and his life-long friend should know better than to tease him with it. He is the only one except for the people involved, who knows. So Severus snarls and looks decidedly sour.

'Severus...' Lucius pronounces his name tenderly, this is as close to an apology he will ever get. 'Perhaps we really should go outside? A little air would do us both good.' Lucius' eyes stray, the small room is definitely not what he is used to, but he doesn't want to go back to the Manor, with its empty rooms and cold corridors. The war has been kind and not kind to Lucius, he gained his freedom as he wasn't able to fight on either side - he wisely stayed in Azkaban for the duration of the war. But he lost as well as gain: his son to Ginny Weasley - of all women in the world, but at least she is a Pureblood and pregnant - and his wife to a stray Unforgivable, those facts leaving the Manor as a mausoleum, a large dead building with empty rooms and echoing sounds of nothingness all over the place.

Lucius is bored. That is why he visits Severus in his respectable but rather poor home. Not only once or twice, no, it has become a ritual of sorts. Lucius tries to tell himself he is there because his old friend relieves him of his boredom. At least that is what he tries to convince himself to believe as he returns over and over, first once a week, then twice, then he stays for the night, sleeping in a narrow bed in an even smaller chamber. It is as the rest of the house clean and poor, just as Severus himself. Then there is the morning where he tries to use the Muggle stove. Not a success, and Severus teaches him how to use it. Lucius Malfoy is now able to serve a proper breakfast for his friend, as a small token of appreciation for the understanding he meets, sometimes - a very rare sometimes - clearly written in Severus' eyes. The man knows about loneliness, Lucius is sure, it seems like Severus has been alone all his life, a very few friends, no attachments, not that Lucius knows of, at least.

Lucius is bored. This is why he hasn't been at home for a week now, or rather this is why he hasn't been at the Manor for a week, because this small, ugly house feels so much more like home with its old, worn out rooms, the tired doors and the feeling that it is just one size larger than Lucius' robe, and less comfortable to wear. But Lucius is bored. This is why he has to admit to himself that he is in love with this house and the claustrophobic way it slides over his body when he enters it. He doesn't want to go home and the narrow, dirty street upon which the house is seated is a new world to him. Not that he likes it, of course, it is the Muggle world, and it is sooty and smelly and almost offending in the way it clings to life. But Lucius is bored and he likes to go outside, to look at the muddy river that passes by, to look at the sky: a clean empty space above all the cluttered streets, to look at the little animals which live here: rats and stray cats and sparrows and foxes and mice. There are smells so vastly different from the clean Wiltshire air; greasy smoke and cars and garbage and the carcass of a dead pigeon and the smells from the Indian family next door. Curry and tandoori, Severus has told him.

So Lucius is bored and Severus can't sleep - except Lucius is not bored when Severus is there and Severus sleeps perfectly well when Lucius Malfoy is sitting in the chair next to him, drinking his brandy, denying the fact that he - a rich Pureblood - should not be here, but in his luscious manor, commanding the House-elves and doing whatever one does when one owns a manor.

'Outside.' Lucius is insistent. 'Come on, Severus. We can have a snowball fight!'

'I'll go with you if you promise not to do such childish things.' Severus sighs deeply, Lucius has been acting a bit strangely lately. But Severus likes that Lucius is with him, likes the banter and teasing and the light-hearted company, and especially he likes it when they sit together, silently enjoying each others' presence. Severus does not want Lucius to leave, and it will be too late anyhow and time for bed if they go outside for a while, even if cold.

- o -

It is cold outside and their breath hangs like icy curtains in the air, little ghostly clouds that dissolve and disappear in the darkness. Severus shudders, it really is cold, and his robe is not as warm as it could have been. The snow makes crispy sounds under their feet and the world has this strange scent of frozen freshness, of recently fallen snow.

The world is blue. The moon hangs like an open mouth over the black silhouettes of the sleeping houses, only a bright eye of a lamp or a candle blinks out there occasionally. The world is just as beautiful as Lucius, and the dark blue of the winter's sky is reflecting in his winter-pale skin. The trees along the street are reaching for the pale moon with naked fingers; frozen like the rest of the world. They walk along the river, the water solidified and the usual rotten stench covered by ice. The ugliness of the day has disappeared, it is a landscape of hidden beauty.

Lucius looks for a moment at the wizard walking next to him and thinks that Severus Snape fits very well here, an ugly man at first glance, then there are those little moments where the beauty hidden underneath the surface shows clearly. It is a realisation Lucius has not had before, but this sudden glance makes him think, makes him realise that he is in... He cannot end the line of thought. It is too new for him, too much of a revolution in his way of thinking, in his way of feeling. As they walk in silence along the deserted streets, a rebellion is going on in his mind.

They cross a small square, out here, free of the buildings, the moonlight is clear and the sky is lit with stars, little pinpoints in the dark matter. Lucius stops and turns to look at Severus. 'Are you cold?' he asks, looking at the shivering wizard in his thin robes. He gathers his courage, because even a Malfoy needs courage once in a while, at least when a Malfoy can lose everything in one little action. 'Come here,' he says and drags Severus into his arms.

Severus is strangely pliant and melts softly into Lucius' embrace. There is no snarkiness or unpleasant comments now, just a dark head, suddenly resting on Lucius' shoulder and an arm that sneaks quietly around Lucius' waist.

Lucius is sure that it is possible to hear his heart beat loudly, frantically, in his chest as he pulls Severus closer, letting his kisses slide over the black hair. There are no sounds but the content sigh Severus lets out, a deep sigh of longing and need.

Severus slowly raises his head, not really daring to, he does not want Lucius to let go, he wants to stay here forever, frozen in time, not even realising why or what he feels - except that he is suddenly feeling happy, as if a longing that he has fought all his life is suddenly gone, fulfilled.

He looks up, looking at Lucius' beautiful face, his eyes set on the moon; dreamy-eyed for a moment, a soft, loving Lucius; a man he barely knows exists, but knows he has seen signs of for the last year, after the war. Lucius' pretty mouth is just so close and Severus can do nothing but to kiss it: it is warm and wet and lures him inside with a soft stroke of a tongue.

Above them the moon still shines, a clear white disc, making the world an enchanted place where lovers and artists go to kiss under its silver spell.