Who: Draco Malfoy, Severus Snape, Dimpy the House Elf
Where: Snape Manor
Summary: An offer is given and a confession is made.
Watch For: Slytherins being ... nice?
Draco found himself standing once again on the front steps of Snape Manor, deliberating whether or not to knock on its large doors. He knew his godfather would find it incredibly odd that he would show up so unexpectedly without a word of notice, but Draco hadn't intended on visiting Severus today either. Truthfully, he didn't even know what brought him here.
He had just finished lunch and was taking a stroll along Diagon Alley on his way back to the office when he spotted the old apothecary that Severus had often brought Draco to back in his pre-Hogwarts days. Perhaps it was the memories of his godfather taking his hand as the both of them waded through thick crowds of busy witches and wizards and the even fonder recollections of hours spent inside the apothecary examining rare potion ingredients that had captivated his fancy as a young boy. Perhaps it was the nagging thought that it had been far too long since the two of them had spent any decent quality time together.
Whatever it was, it only made the pain of losing Severus more real. And while Draco was still adamant that they'd find a cure in time and that Severus would not die, a part of him knew his hope was hanging on a dangerous thread. For a man who didn't believe in risking himself to hope, this was a formidable place to be, and Draco hated his position more than anything.
Presently, he bit his lip and wondered if he would be better off not seeing Severus. He could go back to his work, concentrate on making his money and keeping his employees and Hermione safe, and devise ways to protect himself from the wrath of his vengeful father. He didn't need this…did he? No. I've got to see him. He'll want to see me. He'll be glad to see me, Draco convinced himself after some meditation. So with that thought, he reached out and knocked sharply on the door.
Dimpy was making her usual rounds through the Manor when she sensed the slight shift in the wards around the Manor. Knowing that whoever it was had been invited in before, she didn't bother going to disturb her Master with the question of answering the door or not. She knew he'd been up late last night and had only recently woken up and ventured his way into his study and, unless it was someone that he'd given her explicit instructions to allow in, she would simply tell the visitor that he wasn't to be disturbed.
With that thought in mind, the house-elf opened up the door not two seconds after Draco had finished knocking. Blinking the sun out of her eyes, she peered up at the young man standing there. Of course, it would be someone that her Master would wish to see.
"Mister Draco!" she squeaked, pushing aside her worry for her Master in order to fulfill her duties. "Please come in!"
Stepping aside, she allowed the blond wizard entrance. However, before he could bother speaking, she continued. "Dimpy will let Master Severus know you are here." And with that, she disappeared with a snap of her fingers.
She appeared a moment later at the doorway leading to Severus' private study. Knocking once, she waited for his permission to enter before creaking open the door and simply stating, "Begging Master's pardon, but Mister Draco is here."
Severus glanced up from the parchment he'd been writing on, his quill paused mid-stroke as he looked at Dimpy. Confusion caused a slight frown to form as he tried to remember if he'd made any appointments with his godson that he'd somehow forgotten about. Unable to think of any, he merely nodded once. "Very well. I'll be right there. Continue with what you were doing," he murmured.
Waiting until Dimpy had disappeared, he rose unsteadily to his feet. Bracing his hands on the desk, he waited for the slight dizziness that moving caused him to pass before standing upright. Then, pulling his robes about himself, he made his way out of the study and toward the entrance hall.
He paused once he'd reached, studying Draco for a moment without the blond being aware. What in the name of Merlin could he be doing here? he wondered idly. Part of him, a very small part, hoped this was merely a social call. However, he quickly reminded himself that Draco was a Malfoy.
And Malfoy’s did not pay visits to others without a good reason.
Clearing his throat slightly, he finally spoke. "Good afternoon, Draco. What a pleasant surprise." To his shock, he realized that wasn't a mere formality. He was actually happy to see his godson.
Severus' voice started Draco out of his reverie and he nodded at the older man. "Good day, Godfather. I don't mean to intrude, in case you were resting, but I just happened to be in the neighborhood so I decided to drop by," Draco explained. Then he shifted his feet and drew out a small paper bag from inside his cloak.
"Also, I passed the old apothecary down on Diagon Alley today and managed to fetch these for you. They're frozen Ashwinder eggs. The new stock just came in this morning…since Ashwinder numbers have dwindled since the war, they've become a rare commodity. I assumed you might have ran out and thought it might be useful," he offered, handing Severus the bag.
Studying the older wizard as he regarded the gift with a seeming look of amazement, Draco continued, "I hope my presence is not unwelcome, Severus? If it is, I'll gladly come back some other day."
Severus shook his head, pulling himself out of the slight shock of the bag in his hands. "You are always welcome here, Draco," he replied with a bit more emotion than he was accustomed to showing. As an afterthought, he added, "And thank you for the eggs."
Studying the blond closely, he finally determined that this wasn't some sort of trick and managed a slight smirk. "Come along," he said, turning back toward the hallway. "These need to be taken to the laboratory."
As they made their way toward the staircase leading to the lab, he couldn't help but glance at Draco. He was amazed that the young man had come to visit without first contacting him. He wondered if the unusual behavior had something to do with the bombshell he'd dropped on the blond the last time he'd come by.
Of course, if that were the case, it was highly unlikely that Draco would say as much.
Finally reaching the lab, he made his way past the simmering cauldrons containing potions in various degrees of completion and stepped into the store room. Once he'd placed the eggs in a proper container, and fixed them with a cooling charm, he returned to the main part of the lab.
He knew he should invite his godson to the sitting room. Perhaps even offer him so tea. However, he simply wasn't certain he could make it back up the stairs to get to the room. So instead, he merely nodded toward the desk and several chairs that were set up in the corner of the room.
Easing himself into his seat, he gave his godson a slightly apologetic look. "I apologize for remaining here. However, due to my current … condition, I daresay it would be virtually impossible to venture back up the stairs for a few moments yet." Unable to ignore the part of him that'd been raised to be polite to guests, he did ask, "Would you care for something to drink?"
"No thank you, Severus, I'm quite alright," Draco replied, looking around the dark laboratory with interest before turning with concern towards his godfather. Sliding into an empty chair opposite the fatigued-looking Potions Master, Draco began, "I beg your pardon, Godfather, but if you are this unwell, shouldn't you be resting in your chambers? This laboratory is hardly fitting to accommodate a wizard with a debilitating illness."
Draco spoke, more worried about the older man's health than he was with the man's work. "I understand you need to work on your cure as well, but at least hire an assistant to help you! Or…you could've asked me to help. I meant it when I told you I'd do everything I can to assist you."
Severus was too touched at Draco's apparent concern to be insulted by the insinuation that he wasn't properly caring for himself. However, he merely raised an eyebrow and fixed his godson with a slightly humorous look. "Draco," he replied calmly, "I assure you that I am hardly debilitated to the point that I cannot work on my research. And, as I reminded you before, I do have an assistant. As difficult as it is to believe, Ms. Abbott is really quite adept at potions."
He paused for a second, wondering if he should state the other person who was currently assisting him. He knew that Draco likely didn't think much of Remus. And he also knew that he was partially to blame for the young man's opinion of the werewolf.
But he also knew that he couldn't deny his mate's involvement with the research, either. Finally, he added as casually as possible, "Remus Lupin is also assisting. And, while Merlin knows his knowledge of potions is lacking, he more than makes up for it in enthusiasm."
Draco's eyes widened in evident surprise at his godfather's rather positive description of the unexpected second assistant. "Lupin? The werewolf? Enthusiastic?" he scoffed, furrowing his eyebrows in confusion.
"Well, I never saw that coming. I wasn't aware that you and he were on such friendly terms. I also can't help but why wonder why on Earth you'd let him assist you and not I, when you admit it yourself that his knowledge of potions is all but elementary. You know full well that even without Abbott, I could help you just as well in finding this cure."
He then cast a cursory glance towards the door and frowned. "And where are they, these dutiful helpers of yours? I have seen neither hide nor hair of them since I entered."
Severus tried not to stiffen at the disparaging remarks that his godson was making about Remus. It is partially my fault. And he is not aware that Remus and I are now mates…
Still, that didn't cause him to feel any less angry. It merely caused guilt, as well.
Giving a slight sigh, the Potions Master tried to decide the best way to approach this delicate situation. Finally, he decided to settle with the truth. Or, as much of it as he believed Draco could handle.
"Remus and I have put aside our differences," he began, mentally scoffing at the understatement of that. "And he is not here because last night was the full moon. Ms. Abbott is also absent because of a … situation that occurring concerning her brother."
Pausing for a second, the man studied his godson for a moment. "Now, as for believing I do not wish for your assistance … nothing could be further from the truth. However, I assumed you were quite busy with your recent business venture. I also assumed, following our last discussion, that you were quite content assisting Ms. Granger. If I was mistaken, I apologize. You are welcome to assist here with research and brewing whenever you would like."
While Draco absorbed Severus' words, he couldn't help but unconsciously blush when Hermione's name slipped passed the elder man's lips. He hoped his godfather hadn't noticed and quickly looked away. "You are not mistaken, Severus. Hermione and I work very well together and I have no intentions of stopping my research with her. But…I feel as though I could do more. Here. With you," Draco answered slowly, unsure of how his godfather would take his meaning.
He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. "I won't pretend that work at the office isn't hectic, and I admit it is even more so now that rumors are starting to fly about Lucius and the break outs. But I can very well spare a few hours a week here, helping you brew. It might be best too, since it seems as though Abbott has her hands full," he told Severus.
He knew his godfather would find it very out of character for him to offer his services so willingly, when months before he hadn't bothered even to make a quick flame call. Of course, his resentment of the older wizard at the time had been the cause, but that was not so now. He didn't want to sound like he was desperate to be around Severus, but in truth, he was afraid that their borrowed time with each other would run out before he was ready to let the other wizard go.
"So. Is there anything I can do to aid you today, or does your new mate Lupin have it all covered?" Draco asked in a teasing tone in an attempt to lighten the mood, clapping his hands together.
Severus froze at Draco's last statement, anything else he'd planned on saying dying on his lips. He means friend! his mind screamed, trying to pull him from his stupor. He could not possibly know … although he needs to be told.
Releasing a shaky breath, he finally spoke. "Draco, about Remus…"
He trailed off, not certain what to say. How could he tell his godson, who had just begun speaking to him again, that he was now mated to a werewolf? And one he had spent years despising, with that?
After another brief pause, he stated, "There is something you should know. Normally, I would not mention such a thing to you. However, should this cure not be found and I die…"
Again, he trailed off. Then, he forced the words past his lips. "Remus and I are more than friends, Draco. In fact, when I die, he will also. Which is something that, while it may not affect you directly, will affect the Order and possibly tip the scales to Lucius' favor in the upcoming war."
There. It was said. Now all he had to do was see what his godson's reaction was.
Draco was thoroughly puzzled. Why would Lupin's life be tied to his godfather's? "I don't understand. Is Lupin ill as well? I don't see why your - when you - erm - well, why your future circumstances would affect Lupin in such a way?"
Draco questioned, wondering what it was that Severus was hiding. For surely, the man looked uneasy and troubled at the mere mention of the werewolf, and while Draco couldn't comprehend it just yet, he knew somehow that Severus had just told him something important. The problem was that for the moment, he couldn't quite figure out the significance.
Severus gave a silent sigh. "Draco," he commented calmly. "Think back to your third year. When I was fortunate enough to teach your Defense Against the Dark Arts class while Remus was … indisposed. You learned of werewolves. One of the topics was a werewolf's mate."
Giving a now-audible sigh, he stated. "Remus and I are mated. When one of us dies, the other does as well. We … we are bound together, for eternity."
Draco's face paled considerably to a deathly shade of white and he stared fixatedly ahead of him. It was impossible…there was no way…no, Severus had to be joking. He couldn't be serious…mated to a werewolf? No, impossible! They hate each other, and Severus most certainly doesn't even swing that way!
But his godfather was never one to kid around, especially not about matters such as this, and the seriousness that adorned his face at present all but proved it.
He was educated enough to know what it meant when werewolves mated. He remembered reading about their complicated ritual back in his school days, but those details were shoved aside to make room for the real clincher. What his godfather was insinuating was that he and Lupin had actually…consummated their relationship.
This realization made his heart stop and he found himself suddenly yearning to breathe.
"You - and he - mated?" Draco managed to croak out in disbelief. "C - can't be!" Numb with shock, he wanted nothing more than to fall into the embrace of denial.
Severus watched with growing concern as the color drained from his godson's face, then as he began to virtually hyperventilate. The Potion Master felt the slightest bit of sympathy for Draco. However, he also began to feel a bit annoyed.
For Merlin's sake, it isn't as though I told him I was involved with Lucius!
Forcing aside that mental image, the dark haired wizard kept his voice calm and even. "I assure you, it is the truth. Remus and I are mates. And, while I would rather you not have found out in such a fashion, the simple fact is that you should now include that information when making your decision if you truly wish to help here in the laboratory. Ms. Abbott is well aware of Remus' and I involvement, and we do not intend to act as though it does not exist."
Raising his eyebrow, he idly wondered if he'd somehow managed to mentally break the young wizard. Surely he is capable of accepting this. And, if he is not, then… Severus refused to think about that. He cared for his godson greatly. But he was mated to Remus. And he was not ashamed of that fact and wasn't about to act as though he were.
Severus was dying, taking Lupin with him, and Draco wouldn't be able to live with himself if he tried to deny his surrogate father his last opportunity for happiness.
"I - you seem to love dropping bombshells on me, don't you, Severus?" Draco managed to say at last, albeit awkwardly. He allowed a slight chuckle to escape his throat and folded his hands tightly together.
"To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what to say. This is…very new to me. And, well, frankly, Lupin - er -- Remus and I have never really clicked. But, since it is obvious now that he is tied to you in ways that I could never comprehend, for your sake I will set aside my concerns. If - if you are satisfied with Remus and if he pleases you very much, then I - I can only be happy for you."
Severus gave a slight sigh of relief, giving his godson a small smile. “I appreciate it, Draco,” he said softly. Looking around the lab, he allowed both of them a moment to collect themselves. Then, he turned back to his godson.
“As I have already spoken with Ms. Granger concerning the progress made on the notes, I suppose there is not much more to discuss,” he stated. After a moment, he added, “However, if you would like to assist me with some research, I would certainly appreciate it.”
Smirking slightly, he continued in a slightly teasing tone, “Someone has to get some work done today and, seeing as Ms. Abbott and Remus are perfectly willing to sleep the day away, I suppose that task falls to me.”