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Alive In Here
"The Boy," Macallan intones, "has taken shelter among the Muggles at Lamb-on-Green."
Potter lives, then. I note it idly.
"Then we know what He will wish us to do," Lestrange says pompously.
The plan is still to be carried out, then. I note that as well.
Of course He is not present at our meeting -- not in body, at least. His aspect has been found to be distracting. His awareness of the proceedings, however, is complete and instantaneous, as some of our number have learned at their peril.
"It will be necessary to replace -- to add one more wizard to the casting circle." Macallan's voice goes shrill for a moment. She has narrowly avoided a possibly fatal error: speaking the name of Lucius Malfoy.
Lucius vanished without a trace several weeks ago, vanished as though he had never existed. His image has been removed from every photograph, his name from every book. This is in fact merciful; for one who displeases Him, disappearance is a kinder fate than most.
Across the table I catch the eye of his son. Draco's pale face betrays no emotion. Nor, I am sure, does my own.
I believe Draco to be a turncoat like myself, but of course one can be certain of nothing. And my ignorance protects both of us.
There is a soft swell of music. I presume it must be winter; He is indulging His sense of humor by entertaining us with carols sung by treble choirs. "Snow had fallen, snow on snow," the boyish voices sing.
It is drawing to a close, this chapter of the war. Our secrets might perhaps keep us alive for as long as it takes.
I have had no word from outside since Halloween, nor do I expect any at this late date; with Dumbledore and Minerva both dead, the other side might well have forgotten that I am not in fact what I appear to be.
Or perhaps I am. I watch my opportunity and commit small sabotages where I can, but in the meantime my hand is on hundreds of murders. My potions have poisoned Muggle and wizard alike. My voice is raised with the other voices in assent.
I saw forgiveness on Minerva's face as I let her die, and hope, too; the Boy lived. I begrudge her neither emotion, but I can share neither.
"My lady." Increasingly He and His closest lieutenants relish the trappings of nobility. It is an affectation I cannot afford to despise. "Prior experience indicates the Boy is defended against magic carried through the water system." One might hope that the trend continues.
"In other words, your prior attempts have failed, Severus."
"My lady, I can kill the boy in a thousand different ways, but this plan is crude and clumsy. To kill forty thousand Muggles in an effort to reach one child -- it reveals our desperation."
Draco neither looks away nor changes expression. He sits across the conference table serene and expressionless, a scrying pool, a screen for other people's stories.
"It reveals," she says coldly, "our power and our vengeance. Any one of those forty thousand Muggles could have saved himself and his neighbors at any time simply by turning the Boy over to us."
"Muggles, like many of the higher animals, have a strong maternal and protective instinct," Lestrange murmurs. "They must be taught to rise above it."
I bow my head.
"Second thoughts, Severus?" Macallan's voice is not accusing, nor does it need to be. "You have killed as many before, I think."
"Yes, my lady," I say. "But not to so little purpose."
She does not ask whether I am capable of the deed. Say what I might about Macallan, her meetings do not digress into exploration of the obvious.
"Tomorrow at midnight, then," she says. "The circle will use a spell to circumscribe you, and you will deliver your ... cure ... into the water system."
I bow my head again. "I will."
"Though winter's blast blow ne'er so high, green grow'th the holly," the voices sing. And we leave the meeting room to pursue our new assignment. To prepare the deaths of forty thousand innocents to whom we are creatures of folktale. And all to spare the life of one Boy.
Draco has his own quarters, as befits an aristocrat; I too am given the rare gift of solitude. Tonight, though -- if indeed it is night -- I seek a different gift.
"Severus." He is sitting behind his desk, quill in hand, and he stands politely when I enter and offers me his own chair. "May I get you anything?"
His head tilts back to maintain eye contact as I approach, and his perfect manners waver. He truly does not guess what I intend until my mouth is on his.
His cheek is smooth under my hand. I believe him to be of age, though one loses track of time; if he is not -- well, my conscience could scarcely be more compromised, nor his innocence more despoiled.
I lick his lips and he opens to me, permitting but not participating, as though his mouth is one more thing he can politely offer to his guest, along with drinks and cigars. He tastes of cognac, an expensive affectation. I go deeper, feeding him my tongue as though he were some obscene sort of carnivore. He takes.
When I pause for breath I am already trembling, warm for the first time in days. My fingertips burn as though frostbitten.
"Severus ..." There is a question in his voice, but whatever it is, he sees the answer on my face. "Severus," he says again. A statement.
"Draco, are you --" I hardly know what I mean to ask. Of sound mind? One of us? Frightened? Warm? Willing?
"Yes," he says, and his warm hands fold around my cold ones, and he takes me to bed.
Contrary to rumor, Death Eater rites are rarely of a sexual nature; the power raised through blood is nearly as strong and much easier to control. As for coition for more personal purposes, this is left to the discretion of the individual. Naturally, a powerful wizard need never go begging for outlets.
I, however, retain a sentimental attachment to consent, even affection, between partners. Consequently, I have been celibate since the war began and for some years before, and I am in danger of disgracing myself.
Draco smells of wool and silver polish, and a hint of magic clings to him, crackles in his hair. It is clear he is indulging me -- he is no more than half hard -- but he does it so graciously that I can't be offended. Kisses and murmurs and the smooth touch of warm fingertips. He is so burning with warmth I feel like a kind of vampire, sucking up life to feed my own death. The necromancer knows what the dead will do for a taste of flesh.
I break off gasping and feel his mouth on my neck, my collarbone, my nipple. Shuddering on the edge of climax, I push him back.
His mouth comes back up to mine and his fingers move to pinch a wet nipple. I thrust up against his strong thigh, over and over, and then he takes me in hand.
Finesse is almost wasted on me at this point, but he is talented. He rolls me to my back and I open for him, but after the briefest feather touch of his fingertips over my opening he returns to my cock, leaning over me, kissing my mouth as I climax.
He smiles at me when I open my eyes, self-satisfied, smug. He's done me a favor, and his mind is already turning over what he might gain in return. I taught him no less.
When I roll on top of him, it takes him by surprise.
I haven't lost the lover's instinct that tells me where the sweet spots are, and I tease the satiny skin of his torso, clean up the mess I made on his belly, as he writhes and sighs. I bring him to full hardness in my mouth, then hold him there and slowly, slowly, work him, with many pauses to explore his body, stopping and soothing him down every time his thighs tense and he begins to thrust.
After three stops, he relaxes with a little cry, going boneless beneath me, and I know he understands: He needn't -- won't be permitted to -- work for his pleasure. He is in my hands.
After that we fall into a different rhythm, timeless, luxurious. My mouth changes shape to enfold him, and I tongue him dreamily, losing track of time. I begin to taste him, and it is like being fed from some strange pre-mammalian source, nourishment welling salty from stone.
When I stroke his opening with a fingertip his gasp sounds surprised and his legs tense for a moment before relaxing again. I push in further, seeking the source of that heat, and his cock pulses on my tongue, and his hands above my head climb his own torso restlessly. "Fuck," he whispers gutturally. I remove the finger and go back in with two, wet this time, and he hisses and flexes his hips experimentally, moving around my fingers, and between one breath and the next I am hard against his leg.
I want to ask if he is ready to end it, but I am unwilling to lose my mouthful. My more purposeful movements, though, communicate my intention, and he moves with me, making high-pitched cries. I settle into a rhythm, drawing him out at last, pulsing my fingers inside him until he tenses and climaxes for me.
When I raise my head at last, his eyes on me are wide, a little wary. My own face undoubtedly betrays my wonder. This is far beyond the simple exchange of favors we began with.
After a moment he flexes deliberately around my fingers, then spreads for me, hand on my wrist to keep my fingers where they are. Offering.
I go as slowly as I am able. He turns his face away, biting his lip, and I wrench it back, hand on his chin, making him share his pain with me as he did his pleasure. In the delicate skin beneath his eyes I see when the burn peaks and when it begins to recede. I rock into him and he gasps, eyes widening.
At his temples, sweat dampens his pale hair to the color of brass. He is flushed and panting and entirely lovely. Against my chest, around my cock, I feel his heart beating. Alive. Alive. Alive.
"Come on," he whispers, and his eyes are avid on my face, his lips slightly parted. My thrusts are speeding up, my control gone at last. "Come," he whispers, and I do.
I release his legs and we collapse, exhausted, without dignity. His face is flushed. He looks like a child. And then he opens his eyes.
"You." He searches my face intently. "Are you --"
I stop his lips with my fingers before he says something even more dangerous. After a moment his hand comes up to cover mine. After another moment he releases me.
The air is chilly even with his fire so near. I recover my clothes from where they lie crushed on the floor. The wrinkles shake out readily. When I turn, I find him dressed again, exquisite as always in pale green and grey, carefully fastening ivory buttons
"Your ink, Draco." He raises his face, confused. "Iron gall, is it not? Not petroleum?"
He nods. And then I see understanding in his eyes. He was always an excellent Potions student.
The spies will kill. The Muggles will die. The Boy will live.
"I'll borrow it, if I may," I tell him. "I have an assignment tomorrow that requires it."
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