Who: Lucius Malfoy, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin
Where: Malfoy Manor and Snape Manor
Summary: Lucius, Severus, a room with no magic, and the aftermath.
Night had long since fallen when Lucius appeared at the edges of the Malfoy Manor anti-Apparation wards. Or rather he didn't appear, covered as he was by the invisibility cloak which would obscure him in the eyes of any Aurors who might be standing guard around his home. It was risky, being here, and he was well aware of the fact. He could only hope that the recent actions of Bellatrix and Rodolphus had made the Ministry of Magic decide that Lucius was not foolish enough to return to the area so soon... which, in fact, he would not be doing if the matter weren't of some urgency.
Glancing around, the blond wizard waited, listening intently; but he heard no sound beyond the breeze blowing through the leaves of the ancient oaks, and he moved forward, cautiously, onto the grounds of Malfoy Manor proper.
Yes, the risk was large, but it was almost larger of a risk for him not to act. The pensieve - his own, personal one - which was hidden in the basement held the locations of every hideout which the Death Eaters had used in the last several years - including the placements of secret entrances, especially the Dark-Mark only accessible ones. If the vessel were to fall into the hands of the Ministry - or worse, the Order - it would only be a matter of time before the Aurors and the Order descended upon the Nott Estate and every other place which might be a possible refuge.
It was true that no one but he knew of the location of the pensieve; however he could not leave it to the luck of some bumbling idiot to accidentally stumble upon it. Especially now that Snape, damn him, had proven to the Ministry that there were secret entrances which only Voldemort's former followers - including Snape himself - could access. He had to be quick and thorough, retrieve the pensieve and get out before being discovered. It would take some luck... but Lucius believed in making his own luck, to an extent.
He saw no one as he moved through the grounds, but he didn't relax his guard as he approached the house itself. There was a moment's hesitation as he saw someone - probably an Auror - pass by one of the lit windows on the first floor, but the shadow continued on without pause, and he started forward once again.
Soon he reached the Dark Mark entrance, and he stepped toward it confidently. It was the nature of the magic at this entrance that it couldn't have any additional wards placed upon it, in order to keep it from being trapped by any traitors or turncoats - a fortunate bit of paranoia on Voldemort's part, as it turned out. Lucius sighed as he appeared in the basement of his home, but he didn't immediately move forward. Now that he was inside, the danger multiplied a great deal; before taking a single step, he had to protect himself.
It was very Dark Magic indeed, to set up a field which no magic could penetrate or exit. But he had thrown this spell before, and knew it was excellent for overcoming Ministry wards. Unfortunately it was quite draining for the caster, leaving him possibly vulnerable once it came down at the end of its duration. That, too, he had taken into consideration.
Removing the invisibility cloak, Lucius checked quickly for the Portkey in his pocket, nodding in assurance that it was there. Then he pulled his wand, and began the complicated chant which wove an invisible sphere around him that no magic could get through.
He paused when he finished, and tested the shell by triggering the Portkey - and to his satisfaction, he remain precisely where he was. The Portkey would now trigger the moment that magic returned, and carry him back to the vicinity of the Nott Estate.
Moving forward once again, Lucius watch carefully for anyone approaching. This was the trickiest part of the whole operation, avoiding being stumbled upon by some idiot who would manage to see him with their eyes, while he remain undetectable by any of the wards. Hopefully the lateness of the hour would protect him from that... and if not, he would just have to deal with it if it happened.
After a few minutes he reached the area where the pensieve was hidden, safe in a rather ordinary, Muggle-style safe behind a false piece of stone in the basement wall. He rather liked the fact that he had thought to use a non-magical method of hiding the pensieve. It meant that the Aurors scanning the basement would not even be able to detect that the hiding place was there.
Lucius removed the false piece of stone, exposing the locking mechanism hidden within. Smiling smugly, he turned the dial, triggering the combination which unlocked the door. A faint "Ah!" of satisfaction escaped his lips as the small portal opened, and he reached inside and picked up the ornate silver bowl hidden within, dark and empty now as the magic within it was temporarily negated by his spell.
Closing the door again, he put the pensieve into one of the large pockets of his robe, and stooped to pick up the stone to cover the hidden safe once again.
Severus had just been finishing up in his laboratory when a high-pitched ringing noise signaling the collapse of one of his wards rang through the silence that had enveloped him for the last few hours. Pausing, the man's brow furrowed as he tried to place what, precisely, this particular tone meant.
It wasn't for any wards around the Manor, of that much he was certain. Nor was it of any from inside the Manor. Then realization hit him and he nearly dropped the pile of books he was holding in shock. It was the ward he had placed around Malfoy Manor.
Knowing that it wasn't an Auror, as they had been made quite aware of the location of his wards, Severus tossed the books he was holding back onto his desk. He paid no attention as half of them tumbled to the floor -- he would worry about any page markers he may have lost later. For now, he had one purpose and one purpose alone.
He had to get to Malfoy Manor before whoever had broken in managed to escape.
Taking the stairs that led from the laboratory to the main part of his home two at a time, Severus found himself both grateful and disappointed that Remus was staying late at the DA barracks to assist in the training of the troops. He was grateful because this meant he was able to leave quicker. The fact that he didn't have to explain to his mate where he was going or why made certain of that fact.
However, he was also a bit disappointed if only for the simple fact that having Remus with him would most definitely be a wonderful asset in any sort of battle situation. Not only was the other wizard a lycanthrope and therefore capable of far greater feats of strength and stamina than he was, but the bond that they shared as mates made them quite a force to be reckoned with.
Still, there was nothing that could be done about it, now. Remus wasn't home and, unless Severus spotted Dimpy on his mad dash through the hallway, the werewolf would likely not even be aware of where he had gone until Severus returned and informed him.
As it stood, the Potions Master did not spot his House Elf and, within a matter of a few moments at the most, he reached the edge of the anti-Apparition wards. His wand already pulled, he barely came to a complete stop before Apparating with a loud CRACK! that rumbled across the rolling hills of his family estate.
A heartbeat later and he was standing in front of Malfoy Manor. His knees were a bit weak after travelling such a large distance, but he hadn't splinched himself, which was all that really mattered.
Stumbling only slightly, he quickly regained his footing and began moving with large, flowing and purposeful strides across the Manor's grounds. He debated on simply using the front entrance, then opted against it when he realized that it would only delay him. Fortunately, there were only a few Aurors on duty, the Ministry obviously believing the place no longer a target for the escaped Death Eaters.
They are fools, the entire lot of them, Severus thought darkly of his new allies as he approached the area that was reserved solely for those with the Dark Mark burnt upon their flesh.
Once he was inside the stately home, two thoughts occurred to him instantly. One was the fact that there was something very wrong. The air seemed thicker and he felt as though there were some sort of not-quite-noticeable blanket pressing down upon him. The second thought trailed the other one instantly and he nearly groaned in frustration.
There was an anti-magic spell currently in place.
Slipping his now useless wand back into his robes, the Potions Master crept silently down the winding corridors of the dungeons. He'd spent quite a bit of time in this place, years ago, and had committed most of the area to memory. A memory which, thanks be to Merlin, hadn't begun to fade.
Rounding a corner, Severus suddenly froze as a soft sound reached his ears. It was the sound of stone scraping against stone and, unless his hearing was failing him, it was coming from just on the other side of the wall he was currently pressed against.
Looking around, the dark haired wizard could not see a single object that he could use as a makeshift weapon and he silently cursed himself for his refusal to contact either his mate or the Aurors. His determination to handle the situation himself had turned out to be a not so wise decision, it seemed.
Still, he had not come all this way for nothing. And the only way he was going to find out who had gone to such trouble -- although he already had a good idea -- was if he moved away from the wall and confronted the person. So, drawing in a deep breath and making certain to keep a tight reign on his emotions so as not to disturb Remus through their link, he began to move.
Rounding the corner, he froze, shock, amusement, and hatred bubbling to the surface all at once. After a second, Severus allowed the amusement to win for the time being and, in a silky voice that he'd spent years using on students at Hogwarts, he drawled, "Well, well, well. If it isn't the Master of the Estate. Develop a sudden case of nostalgia, Lucius, or did the time spent in Azkaban simply make you careless?"
The Malfoy froze for a moment, having just placed the covering stone over the safe. Then he whirled, recognizing the voice instantly, as well as the sarcastically amused tone. One pale brow shot up, and he pressed his back against the cold stone of the wall, facing the man who had once been his friend, indeed, his lover... and who had become a traitor to everything which they had fought for. Indeed, who was now leading the effort to thwart his current plans.
A humorless smirk curled his lip. "Hello, Severus," he replied, his tone as much a practiced mask as that of the dark-haired man before him. Crossing his arms across his chest, he assumed a casually unconcerned pose. "Nostalgia, yes, perhaps... it is my home, after all. My rightful place, once which, Merlin willing, I will resume quite soon."
Severus' face continued to mimic the same smile that graced that of the blond in front of him. However, his dark eyes glittered dangerously as he drank in the sight of his one-time lover, friend, and mentor. An eyebrow rose toward his hairline as he easily replied, "Really? And to think that I believed the Ministry was specifically set against returning items confiscated in the name of justice. I'll make certain to pass along your request, of course. Although I find it difficult to believe they will be capable of granting it to a corpse."
Looking past Lucius to the area of the wall that the blond had been fiddling with just seconds before, he added casually, "Of course, I'm certain they would have no issue with making sure that Draco retains rightful ownership once you have been dealt with."
His gaze moved casually back to the other wizard and his grin turned a slight more sinister. "He'll likely be quite grateful, considering all he lost due to his ignorant, foolish father."
Lucius kept his smile in place by sheer force of will, although his fingers tightened in the fabric of his robes. "Draco made his choices, for which he will eventually be called to account," he replied smoothly.
The blond hadn't missed the other wizard's interest in the wall behind him, and he carefully kept himself still, refusing to move under the steady regard. There were still a few minutes until the anti-magic shell around him went down, and the Portkey triggered. He merely had to keep the other man from attempting a physical confrontation during that time... and to resist being goaded into initiating one himself.
"Still," he continued, "enough about me, Severus... what about you? I understand you are currently bedding an animal - what a come down from gracing my bed. Tell me, how does it feel, bedding Sirius Black's leftovers? Does he moan the mutt's name occasionally instead of yours?"
Any humor the Potions Master may have been feeling regarding this particular situation evaporated into thin air at the casual insults the blond tossed about concerning Remus. Fortunately, and rather ironically, years of goading by the very same Sirius Black, as well as training from Lucius himself, kept Severus from allowing his emotions to smash through and kept him from accosting the wizard with his bare hands.
Instead, he regarded the man evenly. "Odd how you delude yourself into believing you are such a remarkable lover when, in fact, our previous... encounters hadn't crossed my mind in quite some time," he murmured. Flashing another smirk at Lucius, he added, "Still, it's quite flattering to know that you have taken such an active interest in my personal life. I'm certain Remus and I will end up having quite a few laughs at that bit of information later."
He paused for a moment, listening to the obvious sound of approaching footsteps. Unfortunately, before they could get close enough that the Auror patrolling could stumble upon them, or even hear them, they began to fade once more. Turning his attention back to Lucius, he gave a thin smile.
"Speaking of personal lives, tell me -- have you found someone who has managed to take the place of Narcissa?" he questioned. Then, he shook his head slightly. "Or, perhaps I should rephrase that. Have you managed to find someone who was as willing to turn a blind eye to your inadequacies as your dearly departed wife was so willing to do? And, may I add, it was such a shame to hear about her death. She was truly a magnificent woman. A fool, yes, but magnificent nonetheless."
Lucius grinned ferally. "Oh, have you told your pet dog about having slept with me, then?" he asked, chuckling. "Really, how did he take the news? He should feel honored to have had my leftovers, considering that Black soiled everything he touched. And Narcissa was a good little wife, true. Interesting, isn't it, that your whipped cur told Bellatrix that I had killed her. I wonder what he was covering up? Too bad Bella didn't play with him for a little bit longer... werewolves have remarkable healing, I hear, but I doubt even they could regrow their balls, once removed with a silver knife."
Obviously I have struck a nerve... and so has he, Severus thought, forcing the other man's words to roll off him. While the urge to attack the man was quite powerful, he knew that it wouldn't solve anything. Knowing Lucius, he had a portkey set to activate the moment the anti-magic shield collapsed. Which meant that either he would find himself along for the ride and eventually in the middle of the entire group of escaped Death Eaters, or he would end up thoroughly throttling the man, only to be prevented from killing him in the end.
His eyebrow rose once more and an amused smile crossed his face. "Remus was merely repeating what he'd been told by Draco. Seems the boy is convinced you killed his mother," he drawled, giving a slight shrug of his shoulders. "I knew it wasn't true, of course. You never were quite capable of summoning the nerve to destroy someone as viciously as she was reportedly destroyed."
Heaving a slight sigh, as though annoyed with the unpleasant direction the conversation had taken, the Potions Master added, "Still, this is all a rather moot point. Had she managed to survive, I've little doubt she would have left you the moment you became a disgrace to the wizarding world and Malfoy name."
Dark eyes shining, he gave the blond a hard stare. "Just as it is merely a matter of time before your 'loyal' followers do the same. After all, why should they have any faith in you? You were Voldemort's closest confidant and we all know how well that turned out for him. Destroyed by a seventh year Gryffindor, no less."
It felt odd, Severus decided, saying the Dark Lord's name in Lucius' presence. However there was also a sense of freedom that came with it. Not to mention the sheer joy of rubbing it in the other man's aristocratic face that the 'most powerful wizard to ever exist' had been defeated by a mere child.
"Voldemort was a fool," Lucius said, waving a hand dismissively. "A short-sighted half-blood who let his ego overwhelm his common sense. Potter was in his grasp many times, and he let that idiot prophecy guide his actions... and in the end, it destroyed him." Silver eyes glittered in his pale face. "I, unlike he, have no such weakness... as well as having learned from his example of exactly how not to run a take-over of the Wizarding world."
"Narcissa knew her place, and she would never have left me, regardless of what my traitorous son might have thought," he continued, eyes boring into the other man. "I put it down to Draco's youth, and to having believed the whisperings of a traitor. Considering that I am quite aware that no one on my side killed her... how long until the truth comes out about what really did happen? And what will my son believe then?"
Lucius knew exactly what Severus was trying to do... which was exactly the same thing that he was attempting himself. To keep the upper hand. To have the last word. It was an old game, one at which they were both masters... but Severus had let himself grow soft. He had developed a weak spot, one that Lucius had never had, and never would.
The time was closing in, he could almost taste it, and he gave a smile that was almost insufferably smug. "I have learned much in the last several weeks, my old friend. We'll have to compare notes sometime. Like how it felt for you when Bellatrix was carving her message into your precious mate's flesh... or how it will feel when we next have him in our grasp, begging for mercy. I'm quite anxious to find out if when I take him to my bed, if it feels the same as when I used to do it to you."
The final statement was the last straw for Severus. Lucius could insult him all he wanted. He could make vague remarks concerning his jealousy over Sirius Black. He could even act as though Draco's betrayal didn't bother him in the slightest.
He could not, however, threaten to rape his mate and get away with it.
The Potions Master crossed the corridor quickly, the expression on his face positively murderous. Which, of course, was his intent. Reaching out with one hand, he wrapped his long, thin fingers around the blond's throat and slammed him up against the wall. Smirking as Lucius' head made a satisfying crack as it made contact with the unyielding stone, he brought his face within inches of the other wizards.
"Touch Remus and no place you hide will be safe from me. I will find you and, when I do, I will take great pleasure in skinning you alive," he hissed in a dangerous voice. His grip tightened even more and he slammed the man into the wall once again. "Provided, of course, that I do not decide to simply forsake the torture and kill you right here for daring to even suggest it."
The pain in his head and back only slightly muted the sense of victory that washed over Lucius at having finally made the indomitable Severus Snape crack. Yes, indeed, Remus Lupin was his weak point... and, as such, could be ruthlessly exploited.
The blond gave a moments thought to merely wrapping his arms around Severus and pulling him back to the Nott Estate... but, unfortunately, the damned thing would place them too far away for him to summon help from the other Death Eaters, and once outside the anti-magic shell, Severus stood a good chance of being able to make good on his threat. But if Severus didn't release him soon, it would become a moot point...
Lucius knew that his strength, after having cast the anti-magic spell, was no match for the other man's. However, according to Selena, a mated werewolf, and the mate himself, couldn't stand the intimate touch of another. Therefore it was time to do what any good Slytherin would do, and employ every weapon at his disposal.
Instead of pushing Severus away, Lucius abruptly stepped forward and closer to the Potions Master. One hand came up to capture Severus' chin, and then Lucius leaned towards him and kissed him hard and fast on the lips.
Immediately, bile rose in the back of Severus' throat at the intimate touch. Releasing the blond, he moved backward as quickly as he could, gagging slightly at the taste of the other man on his lips. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he just barely resisted the urge to spit on the ground... or in Lucius' face.
Instead, practically shaking with anger, Severus took the only other option left to him. Dark eyes glittering and pale skin flushed with anger, the Potions Master pulled back his arm and, with all the hatred and disgust he felt, punched the high and mighty Lucius Malfoy directly in the nose.
Pain shot up his arm at the contact, but he ignored it in lieu of watching as the blond's head smashed against the stone wall and blood immediately began to flow from his, with any luck, now broken nose.
"Do not touch me again," he hissed. "And stay the hell away from Remus." He was beyond caring that he'd lost the battle of wills, focusing entirely on his feelings for his mate and his hatred for the man in front of him. After all, his pride would recover.
If Lucius made good on his threats, however, Remus would not.
A white hot flare of agony burst through his head, and Lucius hissed in reaction, one hand flying up to his nose. Hot blood flowed over his hand, and rage flowed through him... but his goal had been accomplished. Severus stood a few feet away, meaning that Lucius could escape cleanly.
Drawing himself up straight, the blond fixed the other wizard with an icy glare, before his lips curved upwards in a smile. "Give your mate my love," he drawled, the effect slightly marred by the nasal tone of his voice. But he didn't care. "Once he's had me, Severus, he'll never want to touch you again..."
Abruptly he felt magic return, at the same instant that the pull of the Portkey jerked him from behind his navel. Appearing abruptly back at the Nott Estate, Lucius staggered slightly, but he grinned in victory. All things considered, it hadn't gone too badly. He had gotten the pensieve... and he had had the unbelievable satisfaction of having had the last word on Severus Snape.
The dark haired wizard stood in the basement of Malfoy Manor for a few minutes after Lucius disappeared. He was still trembling with rage, his mind pulling up all sorts of ways he was going to make Lucius suffer before slowly and methodically killing the blond bastard. Finally, once he'd finished with his sixth idea -- a rather painful mixture of various hexes mixed with potions designed to keep the mind from shutting down due to pain, a dagger, and large amounts of salt for the wounds -- he felt he had enough control to attempt to leave the Manor and return home.
Making his way silently out of the house, he had just reached the edge of the gardens when his stomach finally decided it'd had enough churning. Dropping to his knees, he vomited behind the shrubbery, tears blurring his vision even as he tried to force away the image of Lucius' sneering face as he took advantage of a bound and screaming Remus.
It was a few more moments still before he was able to rise shakily to his feet. Pulling out his wand, he paused for a moment as he stared at it.
He believes I have become weak, the wizard thought, his hand still shaking ever so slightly. Perhaps I have...
Then, he thought of his mate, and the feeling of completion that only Remus could make him feel. Slowly, a smile began to drift across his pale face and, closing his eyes, he Apparated back to his home with one final thought crossing his mind, although the rage still warred within him.
If becoming Remus' mate has made me weak, it was most definitely a sacrifice worth making.
A second later he appeared at the edge of Snape Manor with a deafening CRACK! that still didn't come anywhere close to reaching the level of his anger. Granted, he felt all right with the knowledge that, in exchange for his invulnerability in verbal sparring, he had a mate who loved him and made him whole. However, that didn't change the fact that, not only had Lucius managed to get away, he'd also managed to get whatever it was he'd gone to the Manor in the first place for, as well as the last word.
Storming across the grounds, Severus practically snarled in frustration. The only good things to come from the entire ordeal had been the fact that he now knew with certainty that Lucius was aware he was mated to Remus, and the fact that he'd managed to break the blond's nose and draw blood -- something that not many people could ever claim to have accomplished.
But, it still wasn't enough.
Whatever it was that Lucius had managed to get from Malfoy Manor had to be important. Otherwise, his former lover would have never risked the dangers of going back there. And especially not with the added risk of putting up a anti-magic shield.
Shoving open the front door, he entered the foyer with a furious scowl on his face. Slamming the door closed, he stood in the foyer for a moment, attempting to regain some control over himself. When that proved to not be at all useful, he did the only other thing that came to mind.
He went in search of his mate.
Well, actually, he just began yelling for him.
"Remus!" he practically roared, enjoying the fact that he could at least voice some of his fury, even if it was simply by saying a name. Pushing away from the door he'd been leaning against, he began moving down the hallway, once more calling for the werewolf.
It never even occurred to him that Remus may still be at the barracks. Part of him just knew that his mate was home, even if he didn't have enough control over his own emotions to be capable of focusing on their bond.
Hearing his name called, not to mention the flood of tumultuous emotions in their bond, Remus came running from the bedroom, where he had been pacing back and forth as he awaited his mate's arrival. He had, in fact, arrived several minutes before, but had retreated upstairs immediately as he had attempted to send calming emotions and support to Severus through the link. He knew it hadn't been working, and his own agitation had grown in proportion to the intensity of Severus' fury. Fury which had only seemed to grow as the Potions Master got closer and closer to home.
The werewolf had no idea what had caused the incredible depth of anger in his mate, and it was only the knowledge in their bond that the fury wasn't directed at him that kept Remus from snarling in response. As it was, the wolf was close to the surface... but he bit it down as he flew down the stairs. Seeing Severus at the bottom, walking away, he immediately ran to him, enveloping his mate in a fierce embrace.
Pouring all his love and support and every bit of calmness he could summon - which admittedly wasn't a great deal - out to the other man, Remus murmured almost incoherently. "I'm here, I'm here, Severus... Oh sweet Merlin... I'm here."
Severus practically collapsed against his mate, his fear at the thoughts of what Lucius had threatened to do overriding his anger and frustration at the moment. Wrapping his arms around him, he closed his eyes and inhaled the scent that was purely Remus.
"I will not allow him to harm you. As Merlin as my witness, if he even considers it I will kill him with my bare hands," he muttered, allowing the closeness of the werewolf put him a bit more at ease.
He wasn't even aware that he was crying until the tears began to drip down his cheeks.
Remus felt as though his heart were being ripped from his chest, as Severus - his strong, unbreakable mate - began to actually weep in his arms. The words the other wizard spoke barely registered, as Remus bit down the wolf's urge to howl in sympathy with the fear and pain Severus was feeling. Holding the dark-haired man with all his considerable strength, Remus raised on hand and stroked Severus' back soothingly, giving him time to let everything out, offering all his unquestioning love and support.
He continued to murmur soothingly, while his thoughts raced around in circles. It was when he drew a deep, shuddering breath that he picked up a scent - a familiar, hated scent - and had to bite down the sudden urge to growl with anger all his own. He wasn't at all certain how it had happened, or why... but somehow, Lucius Malfoy had touched his mate, had managed to do something to him which had caused Severus this unbelievable turmoil.
Right now, Severus was what mattered. But as soon as the Potions Master had recovered, nothing was going to keep Remus from killing the bastard for what he had done to his mate.
Fortunately, years of learning to control his emotions had taught the Potions Master how to compose himself quickly. And, after a few moments of constant contact with his mate, as well as the assurances that Remus was sending them through their bond, he managed to stop the tears and put a cap on his fear.
Taking a step back, he absently wiped at his damp face before finally giving a sigh. "I suppose you can smell him on me, then?" he questioned in a tone that was devoid of emotion.
"Yes," Remus acknowledged, reaching out to brush his fingers over Severus' cheek. "What did he do, Severus? I swear, I'll kill him if he's hurt you!"
Amber eyes flashed, but Remus' control was returning as Severus' did, and he drew a shuddering breath. "Why don't we take this upstairs? If you feel like talking about it, I would like to know what happened... and what we are going to do about it."
Severus barely nodded his head. Turning, he made his way slowly and silently up the stairs. Once in the Master Suite, he dropped down on the side of the bed, his head going to rest in his hands as he tried to calm himself down enough to speak. Finally, after a few moments, he raised his head and looked at his mate.
"Earlier this evening the wards I placed around Malfoy Manor were disrupted," he began, his voice sounding dead to his own ears. He kept his hands clenched in his lap, his fingers digging into the fabric of his robes as he continued. "Realizing that it was not the Aurors, and that they were more than likely not aware that someone had broken in, I went to investigate. It turns out it was Lucius. Apparently, he had gone in search of something that I believe he had hidden behind a false portion of the wall in the basement. He had also placed an anti-magic charm in the area, preventing any and all magic for working until the charm had ran its course."
The Potions Master paused, a humorless smile curling his lip. When he spoke again, his voice was bitter. "Yet again, my pride refused to allow me to seek assistance from the Aurors present, which meant that I quickly found myself face to face with Lucius, my wand completely useless and unable to leave lest he attempt to leave."
Remus crouched down in front of his mate, listening intensely. When Severus paused, he reached out a hand, placing it on the other wizard's knee, keeping contact so that the comfort he was sending to him would be even stronger. "You did what you had to do, Severus," he said quietly, squeezing gently the leg beneath his hand. "You are used to acting in a crisis, and, for the most part, acting alone. Don't consider yourself too proud to have acted on your instincts. I am merely glad you were not injured by him... although I caught the scent of blood on you, it isn't your blood, obviously. Thank Merlin!"
Having addressed that issue, he considered what Severus had said about Malfoy and his actions. "It would have to be something terribly important to him, for Lucius to risk going back there at a time like this. You knew him very well at one point... any suspicions about what it might have been?"
Severus couldn't help but smirk slightly at the mention of the blood. "No, fortunately the blood is not mine. It is his." Before he could delve any further into that particular part of the tale, his mate asked a question that caused the dark haired wizard to take pause.
Yes, he thought bitterly, I knew him extremely well at one point in time.
He knew that he still needed to tell Remus about his past relationship with Lucius. And, while he wasn't afraid that his mate was going to overreact or anything of the sort, he still couldn't seem to find the words to tell him.
Perhaps that will change tonight. But first, to answer his question.
Putting some serious thought into it, Severus finally shook his head. "It really could be a number of things. Anything from plans and outlines to a personal item that will somehow assist him with his current intentions," he muttered.
Sighing, he looked at his mate. "There is more, of course. Lucius knows for a fact that we are mates and made it quite clear that he has every intention of using that, of using you, to get to me," he stated. The anger returned again, although not nearly as strong as before, and he gripped his robe tightly as his hand balled into a fist.
The werewolf sensed the turmoil in their bond, and he moved his hand to cover Severus' clenched fist, his thumb caressing soothingly over the taut skin and knuckles. "That's unfortunate, that he found out... but really, it was only a matter of time," Remus said quietly. "We've not exactly made a secret of it, after all, and I really wouldn't want to."
Pausing, the sandy-haired wizard sighed slightly. "He might well try to use me to get to you, so we'll just have to do everything we can to keep that from happening. Knowing Lucius' arrogance, he probably figures that having a mate is a weakness... well, he can continue to think that for all I care, because we know differently. I will not be a liability to you, Severus, I promise. Because, to me, your life is more important than my own."
Remus leaned forward to press his lips against Severus' fist, the scent of Lucius' blood still there on the skin. "Good on you, for decking the bastard. Is it to much to hope that it will leave a permanent mark?"
Severus sighed. "Unfortunately, he will likely be able to fix the broken nose with little to no difficulty," he replied, then added moodily, "Although I do hope that I left finger marks on his skin where I tried to strangle him, and perhaps a slight concussion from my attempt to bash his head against the stone wall..."
Shaking his head slightly, he focused on finishing retelling his encounter with the blond aristocrat. "You are correct, of course. He views being mates as a form of weakness. And it is quite obvious that he has put a bit of thought into how to best exploit it."
His stomach gave a sharp lurch as the images Lucius' words had brought to his mind returned. Closing his eyes, he inhaled slowly and deeply. "Remus, there is something else... something that, while is no longer of any importance, I feel you should know. Especially since I am certain Lucius has every intention of attempting to use it against both of us if he is ever given the opportunity."
The apprehension his mate was feeling came through clearly, driving out the satisfaction Remus felt as Severus described the physical damage he had inflicted on their enemy. The slight smile that had curved his lips as he pictured a broken, bloody Lucius faded, and he inclined his head, eyes and attention focused fully on his mate.
"And what is that, Severus?" he asked quietly, again squeezing the Potions Master's hand comfortingly. "Whatever it is, you know you can tell me."
The former Death Eater drew in a steadying breath. This was it. He was going to tell Remus of his past. And, Merlin willing, Remus was going to react far better than Severus had reacted when the situation had been reversed.
"Years ago, Lucius and I were ... involved," he stated bluntly, before continuing on with his reason for even bringing it up. "Considering how long ago it was, and the fact that I am most certainly not the same person now that I was then, there are times I have even forgotten it happened. However, Lucius was all too willing to remind me several times tonight of our... sordid past, and I know with one hundred percent certainty, as I have already stated, he will attempt to use it to his advantage."
His mouth felt dry, his tongue thick and hardly moveable as he forced the words to continue. "He even went so far as to threaten to take you to his bed, claiming you would not want me again once that were to happen." His eyes flashed as the memory returned and he only managed to not lose control due to the contact with his mate.
"I wanted to killed him. I would have killed him had it not been for that bloody spell running out and his portkey activating," he growled angrily. Staring at a spot on the floor, he added quietly, "It has been quite some time since I lost control as I did this evening. I..."
He chuckled humorously. "I punched him, for Merlin's sake. I acted like a common Muggle, putting aside my entire heritage in lieu of attempting to choke the life from him as though we were in a common bar room brawl."
Sighing, his shoulders slumped slightly. "I hate Lucius Malfoy with every fiber of my being. But never before, not even during my time at Hogwarts, did I lose control in such a way. And I would do it again without hesitation."
Remus froze, blinking as his mate admitted to having once been on intimate terms with Lucius Malfoy. He was surprised more than anything else, although the wolf within gave a snarl of displeasure at the thought of his mate having been involved with anyone. That was something, however, that Remus was able to put aside rather easily. The past was the past, and dwelling on any relationships which were years behind them would cause nothing but pain... as they had both been taught rather thoroughly in the not too distant past.
Sighing, he raised a brow at Severus. "Involved... Well, that is something I never would have expected. Mostly because I never had any idea that Lucius had interest in men as well as women. He always seemed so..." Remus paused, and shrugged. "Not to mention that there was Narcissa, and now Selena."
Reaching up, he touched his mate's face lightly. "You can feel enough in our bond to know I'm not exactly jumping for joy at the thought of him touching you, but it doesn't matter anymore. You told me, and so the information has lost any power to hurt either of us." The werewolf's lips curled up in a bit of a smile, one meant to be reassuring. "If anyone at all ever deserved to get the pure living shit smacked out of him - and by you, no less - it's Lucius Malfoy. And if he could make some inane, stupid boast that he could ever get me into his bed - willingly or not - and could thus make me not want you... well, then that just proves that he is a stupid prat who doesn't know nearly as much about me, or you, or what being mates means as he thinks he does."
Remus moved easily to his feet, then sat down on the bed next to Severus. One hand came up to cup his mate's jaw gently, and he looked very seriously into the ebony eyes of the man he loved. "If once having been with you, Lucius could bear to give you up, then that is further proof that he is the biggest fool in the world." With that, Remus leaned forward and kissed Severus gently on the lips, affirming to his mate that he was completely secure in their relationship... and that nothing Lucius Malfoy said or did would ever change that.
Although Severus had known, just known, that Remus wasn't going to allow the mistakes of his past come between them, to hear it from the werewolf's own lips made any apprehension he had felt begin to disappate. And, by the time the other wizard kissed him, it had disappeared entirely.
Returning the kiss, Severus moved his hands to his mate's shoulders. Holding on to him almost desperately, he poured everything he had into the kiss, before finally pulling his head back and peering into the man's amber eyes.
"Thank you," he murmured almost inaudibly. "I..." his voice trailed off and he shook his head, unable to say anything else beyond the lump in his throat. "Just... thank you."
"You're welcome," Remus responded softly, smiling gently at his mate. "And don't worry, Severus - no matter what happens, no matter what he does, Lucius could never tear us apart."
Pushing the Potions Master backwards on the bed, Remus kissed him hard... and then set about proving that it didn't matter who Severus' previous lovers may have been, because he, Remus, was going to be the last.