Lucius Malfoy And The Gift Of Mercy
Draco and Harry woke as the dragon landed, just outside the walls of the manor. They clutched each other forgetting momentarily where they were. Ron sighed, and swung himself off the dragon's back. They could dismount in their own time. Ron made for the gate, only to see Hermione struggling forwards, wearing incredibly high boots.
"Hermione? What the hell are you doing "
"Can't talk," she panted. She was holding her broom tightly in one hand. "Have to go have to save him."
She flew off before Ron could make any motion to stop her. He watched her skid away into the dusky sky. Draco popped his head out over one of the Bluewing's shoulders.
"That was Hermione, wasn't it?"
"Mhm," said Ron.
Harry stuck his head out, beside Draco's. "Wonder where she's off to," he said.
"Probably nowhere important." Ron shrugged. "Are you coming down?"
Serverus had slept during the day, fitfully, on a soggy mattress upstairs in the abandoned house. Despite the discomfort, he didn't want to leave the area, just incase the Malfoys made an attempt to rescue their son too soon. But it would surely be too late already. Night had begun to fall, and soon Remus the wolfboy would change into Remus the wolf.
If the Ministry found out that he was connected to this, Serverus was fairly sure he'd be tried for homocide. Leading a wizard to the place where a werewolf was trapped it brought Serverus back to his Death Eater days. Of course, he'd made sure there was no evidence to link him to the crime. He'd used a non-descript owl, for a start.
There were dark lines under his eyes he stared at himself in the cracked glass of a broken mirror in the bathroom. For a moment he wondered what the hell he was thinking; risking everything over such a petty thing as a lie? He shook his head, as if trying to dislodge the dream of his homocidal impulse.
It wouldn't leave. His mind insisted indeed, every bone in his body demanded it of him that he would get his revenge. The Malfoys might have played with many minds before his, but to toy with their own kind with Slytherins, well respected Slytherins it made Serverus' blood boil.
Serverus Snape would get his justice. He'd just have to wait.
The unlikely trio wandered through the grounds of the manor the redhead, the brunette, and the blonde. Change our genders, and we'd be just like Charlie's Angels, Draco thought, with a mental snicker. He'd have mentioned it out loud, but he didn't think either of the two wizards would catch onto the reference. Ron was stubbornly oblivious to everything in the Muggle world, and Harry wasn't a fan of the movies and old television shows Draco liked to watch.
He walked as close as he could to Harry, so their arms brushed. Harry, taking the hint, squeezed Draco's hand. Ron grunted, noticing.
"Can you two bloody quit?" he said.
"Gee. Sociopath much?" said Draco.
To his surprise he saw Ron's face pale, and the man look away. Well, there was a nerve I didn't expect to hit, Draco thought. He pushed himself closer to Harry, feeling rather vindicated in his affection if only because it pissed Ron off. Jealousy was such a curse. I have money, I have looks, I have riches, and I have Potter, Draco gloated to himself. And Ron just has well, looks.
It was Draco's turn to send his gaze elsewhere. He wasn't about to fuck things up with Harry again, especially not so soon after getting him back. Give it a couple of weeks, Draco thought. Time for Harry to get settled. Then, if Ron's still around hell. You only live once. Draco knew there were enough closets in the manor to get in a quick shag without anyone finding out. He'd wandered into too many french maids and pool men over the years not to know that the Malfoy manor had been built on such a massive scale for a reason.
In the Malfoy manor, no one can hear you moan.
At the bottom of the ascending stairs they stopped, and Harry relinquished his hold of Draco's hand to push his dark hair out of his eyes.
"Haircut," said Draco, absently.
"Yeah, I know."
"How does it feel, coming home?" Draco asked.
"Like always. Uncertain." Harry shrugged. "But well "
"Shit happens," Ron supplied.
"Yes. I guess so."
Harry smiled in that blissfully serene way of his; a grin in the face of defeat. Or was it defeat? Draco wasn't sure, not in the same confident way he was usually assured of his victories over Harry. This time, Harry had made a stand and Draco had been the one to crawl.
Draco made a face to Harry's back as the man headed up the stairs. He was about to follow, when Ron reached for him, gripping hold of his arm above the elbow. Draco let out a small, stifled yelp.
"What the hell are you doing "
"Shut up, Draco. I just need to ask you a few questions."
Harry had disappeared inside, not noticing that the other two were no longer following him.
"What? What questions?" Draco struggled but not too much.
"Look, it's very important and complicated. But it involves that medallion the one you found at Dragon Rock. Can we go some place more private? Maybe the bushes?"
Ron gestured. Draco gave him a look.
"I'm not falling for that, Ron Weasley."
"When someone wants me to go into some bushes with them, I know very well what they're saying. And the answer is no. Well. At least not now. A couple of weeks, you can find more bushes, and then "
Ron was staring at him blankly.
"Oh. You're serious."
"Yes, Draco. I'm serious."
"Oops. He he."
Ron winced again. "Come on," he muttered. "Let's go get this shit sorted."
Harry paused just outside the ground floor lounge of the manor, and turned around. The doors had closed behind him, and there was no sign of either Draco or Ron. Confused, he was about to turn back, when he noticed something stirring on one of the sumptuous leather couches in the lounge.
Lucius Malfoy. Harry still couldn't get over the creeping foreboding he felt when he was in the man's presence. Lucius had the knack of unnerving Harry just as surely as a Dementor could a sort of sly, wavering intrusion on Harry's private fears. Perhaps it was the residue effect of Lucius' time as Death Eater or perhaps it was something else entirely. Harry had the feeling that Lucius had always been able to intimidate people, even before he spoke: a natural menace.
"My stars," Lucius drawled. "Back already, are we?"
"We might have been longer, but Draco got exhausted," Harry said, coarsely. Something about Lucius just demanded retaliation. "I'm just here to pick up some food to rejuvenate him, and then we're going to get back to fucking like wild bunnies on the porch."
Lucius barely raised an eyebrow. "It's warmer in here," he murmured. "So long as you keep the noise to a minimum, you can do it on the rug." He tapped the floor with a pointed boot. "Just under my feet. I can offer you tips, then."
"We don't need any bloody tips," said Harry, shortly.
"Really? Draco was complaining a few weeks ago about chaffeing "
"Sir! Please!" Harry pressed his hands over his face. "I don't want to hear it."
"Neither do I," said Lucius, coolly. "Nor do I want to see it. Which is why I'd advise you both to go up to your room and do your dirty little deeds in there. It's been rather quiet since you've been gone, and I'd like to keep it that way. Do send Draco in here when you're done. I'd like to ask him a few questions about the supposed kidnapping."
"The what?" Harry blinked. "And why was Hermione here, anyway? She left in such a hell, what is going on?"
"Mistress H?" Now one of those pale eyebrows lofted. "You know her?"
Harry remembered that about Lucius the man rarely answered direct questions, unless he knew exactly what reaction they would provoke. "Yes. She's a friend of mine from school. What happened to her?"
"A lot of very good sex," said Lucius.
And there was that reaction. "Oh gods!" Harry put his hands over his face again.
"That's what she said, too."
"You you " Harry stuttered.
"Malfoy," Lucius supplied, gracefully. He waited patiently for Harry to regain control of himself; and in the meantime, added a few flourishes to his signature with his peacock feather quill.
"Why did she run out?" Harry said, presently.
"She found out about the kidnapping," said Lucius.
"What kidnapping?" Harry yelled.
"I have the note right here, as it happens. Apparently Serverus kidnapped Draco and your Hermione-friend heard about it, and ran to save him. Come and get it." Lucius waved the blackmail note in his hand.
Harry walked over, and took the paper from Lucius. He read over it, slowly, after adjusting his glasses.
"Note how he specifically mentions the full moon," said Lucius, blandly. "He's probably decided to stick some werecreature in a box and believed that Narcissa and I would be stupid enough to go and open it. A sort of ironic flashback to the past such things do appeal to his little mind, I'm afraid."
"Remus didn't come back," said Harry, in a small voice. "We figured that he and Serverus were together drinking, or something "
"The same werewolf, even. How deliciously comic."
"And Hermione has gone there, to rescue Draco?"
"I do believe I mentioned that before."
"And you did nothing- to stop her?" Harry screamed, throwing the paper away.
"Oh dear. I never thought about that. Well the death of innocents. Martyrdom, really. It's a rather divine concept, don't you think?"
Harry stared at Lucius and hated him. He hated Lucius more than he'd ever hated anyone before in his entire life worse than Dudley, worse than his horrible aunt and uncle, worse than even Voldemort. He ached from the hate of it. It was like a poison; it curdled his brain.
"I despise you," said Harry.
"Ow. That hurt," said Lucius, dead-pan.
"I really mean it."
"So do I. I think there's a spring loose in the couch somewhere." Lucius rose himself on his hands, and gazed crossly at the leather. "We should really get the furniture re-up "
Harry slapped him.
"You fucking bastard! She could die! You you fucking awful man."
Lucius' head had snapped to the left as Harry hit him. A red colour was now rising in his cheek a burning ruby which rose to prominence above the palour.
He looked steadily at Harry, with his very grey eyes.
"That was so " he began, slowly.
"Gay. I know." Harry wrung his sore hand.
"No. I was going to say brave. No one's ever slapped me before. Not even Narcissa. Except of course, during "
"Don't want to hear it."
"You'd better go save her now," said Lucius. "If that's what you're planning to do."
"Yes. It is."
"Take my broom. It's in the closet in the hallway. It's a lot faster than yours. Hopefully, you'll make it in time."
"Say thank you, Lucius," said Lucius.
"Thank you, Lucius," said Harry, automatically; then checked himself. And added, "Fuck you."
"Quite. Goodbye, Potter."
Harry ran off. Lucius returned to his letter. He was growing more and more confident of the fact that he could raise armies, destroy dynasties, and orchestrate an apocalypse, all from the comfort of his own living room.
Remus woke. His head ached the lingering effects of Serverus' spell. Immediately he reached a hand to his pocket and checked for his wand. It wasn't there. He groaned, and opened his eyes.
About him the darkness was complete, impenetrable. Even with his highly sensitive eyesight, Remus could barely make out a thing. The walls were rounded, though Remus ran his hands along their slightly corrugated surfaces. The place smelt dank, putrid, and the air was thick and congealed. Remus wondered if there were any airholes; and how long he'd been in there.
Damn Serverus. Remus knew he should have seen it coming. Serverus was never that nice to anyone Remus doubted he was even so ingratiating to the likes of the Malfoys.
He wondered what Serverus had planned. Was he going to kill Remus, here? Let Remus asphyxiate in this tube? Or would he keep Remus as a slave a wolfboy to do his bidding. Or..
Remus felt an ache in his legs.
Or.. let Remus out on some poor unsuspecting person, in his werewolf form.
Let Remus kill Lucius, and leave the misaligned and unloved wolf boy the blame.
"You bastard!" Remus yelled, beginning to bang his fists against the ceiling and floor of the barrel. Spines of pain rolled up back, through his shoulders; he started to pant, deeply. "You bastard!"
Harry shot through the night air. The moon hung before him, an ominous eye on the event horizon. Lucius' broom was top of the line though Harry had never seen the man use it, in all the seven years he'd been living with the Malfoys. It responded to Harry's slightest touch with speed and willing. What was Hermione riding, these days? A Firebolt outdated, outmoded.
Harry prayed feverishly he could catch her before she entered the junkyard.
The moon was full. Serverus went to the window, and leant his elbows on the sill. In the distance, breifly silhouetted against the moon's phosphorescence, he saw a figure her long brown hair trailing behind her as she rode down toward the junkyard.
Narcissa, Serverus thought. So Lucius had decided to send his wife down to take care of business. Well Narcissa was in no way blameless for anything that happened; it had been Narcissa who'd convinced Serverus to go off on the wild chase after Harry.
She was as guilty as he was. Serverus hardened his resolve. Losing Narcissa would destroy Lucius' mind, just as surely as a werewolf's claws would destroy his body. In the end, a mad Lucius was a better option than a dead one. The torement of it that was something Serverus could really enjoy. Watching Lucius suffer would be worth losing Narcissa not that Narcissa was worth much, anything.
Peerless, pitiless amazon with her long blonde hair..
Serverus started. The figure descending now onto the floor of the junkyard, settling directly infront of the tank, clearly had darker hair.
"Oh.. fuck," said Serverus.
He had no trouble justifying the deaths of evil wizards and witches like Lucius and Narcissa. But innocents? He couldn't have that on his conscience.
She was too far away from him for him to be able to cast a spell, or even shout a warning. Serverus grabbed his wand, and ran down the stairs.
Hermione's thoughts were filled with images of Draco. Draco hurt, Draco chained, Draco weeping as his malicious jailor tortured him, and all for the sins of his father. Hermione had been taunted enough for her "Mud-blood" heritage for her to know the incredible and completely unfair burden of parentage.
She'd never hated Draco. She'd never hated him, even though he hated her, because in some strange way he managed to make Harry happy for all Harry's whining. She knew Harry well enough to know that if he truly wasn't gaining something from the relationship, he'd leave. And if any harm ever came to Draco it would be Harry who'd really suffer, not Draco's uncaring and heartless parents.
She skidded onto the earth infront of the tank, and stared at it. It was moving slightly, rocking on its edge she imagined that Draco must be trying to roll it over. The sound of scrabbling reached her, a clawing against the interior walls. Hermione sighed, and patted the tin.
"It's okay, Draco. I'll get you out of there, somehow."
The tank only shuddered harder in response.
She walked around the base of the tank. A large door was inset in its side, made of metal and locked, obviously. But a Muggle-made lock was no match for the powers of a trained witch.
Hermione raised her wand, and pointed it at the door.
Serverus stumbled through the piled up junk, clutching the black sheath of his robe about his waist.
She heard him, in a sort of half-aware way and saw him come barrelling down the path towards her in her peripheral vision the blackmailer, no doubt, angry that his plans were being thwarted.
She was too deep in concentration, though, to offer him more than a passing glance. She held her wand steady, and spoke the word of the spell.
In the split second before the werewolf flew through the open door, a mass of nails and wirey fur, Serverus skidded to a halt, a slew of muck splattering the tail of his robes. He was fifty feet away he saw clearly the great bulk of the beast as Remus crashed out of the tank, bearing down on the girl; Remus' tawny eyes wild in the fervour of bloodlust. Serverus choked; his throat siezed up in fear and his brain was clogged with it to, erasing all memories of protective spells.
Hermione screamed. The noise cut through Serverus' blank mind, a piercing note which roused him from his petrified stupor. One of the werewolf's paws rose, aiming a killing blow for the woman's stomach it sliced through the air as if in slo-mo, and before it could meet its mark, Serverus raised his wand.
"Avera Leviatus "
The woman's body jolted, spasmodicly, as the talons ripped across her body a gout of blood and another scream, weaker than before and then she was airborne, dripping and bloody, speeding through the air toward the roof of the dilapidated house. As she sailed over Serverus' head he felt the splatter of dark liquid against his face, blinding. He wiped his face unconsciously, smearing the blood over his pale features.
The werewolf let out a howl as his prey vanished from right beneath its claws, and bunched itself up to spring after her. His jump came short he barely touched the spikes of her heels before falling gracelessly back to the earth. Remus clattered into a mound of broken metal, snarling as the rusty spikes embedded themselves into his hide. A growl, and he tore himself free.
He turned, his massive canine head keening to the unsteady breathing of the woman's rescuer. The nostrils twitched intaking Serverus' human scent. Serverus panted. Remus stared at him, gross, bestial, and the werewolf's eyes fixed themselves to Serverus' darker ones, capturing the man's reflection in each golden orb.
climbing through the underground tunnel beneath the Whomping Willow, angry and annoyed at Sirius, at Remus, desperate to prove himself, to prove to them- he wasn't afraid to play their games, to show he could beat any bloody Marauder, and could win Narcissa's affections from that sly and wheedling third year lover she'd taken for herself
The werewolf growled.
the whirlwind of fur he'd glimpsed at the end of the tunnel, the glint of carnivore teeth and those yellow, mad eyes, like those of a rabid animal, and the hunger of it, the hunger Serverus could feel, the heat of it, the moist of that underearth cavern and those yellow eyes boring into him, and the feral brain behind them which could not be reasoned with, and the knowledge of his own imminent death creeping into his head, and that knowledge, it was yellow too
The werewolf bunched down on its haunches, preparing itself for another leap.
in those moments before he'd felt James' hand, he'd been frozen, just like he was now, struck numb and dumb in the face of such groundless evil, unable even to muster his voice to scream, to speak the words of a spell, any spell; he was spellbound and lost and he couldn't even breathe and it was happening again, old ghosts and new lives and it was happening again
The werewolf leapt.
Serverus turned on his heels and began to run, with Remus crashing through the junkyard, the hot breath of the werewolf thick against the back of his neck.
The Slytherin was lucky he'd chosen to set the court of justice in the junkyard. Remus' large body was clumsy as he crashed through the heaps of scattered metal. Car windows and panes of glass crumpled beneath his weighty paws, the shards cutting into his hide he was bleeding too, in pain. If the man were not so close, the werewolf would have withdrawn to lick his wounds; but the lust to destroy was too great, the prey too near. He bounded after the tails of Serverus' robe, and clawed for the ebb of dark material Serverus felt the collar of his robe catch about his throat, the awful tearing sound as the fabric was torn asunder, flayed to ribbons by the werewolf's talons.
Serverus clambered over the remains of three cars fused together by some perverse welder. He was running away from the house in order to return he would have to double back somehow, before he came to the high fence which bounded the junkyard. He leapt off the bonnet of the cars and then felt a sudden stab of pain in his ankle. He'd landed heavily on it, twisted it somehow he stumbled, losing the rhythm of his pace. He staggered on, as best he could, his shoulder catching a glancing blow against a sheet of corrugated metal.
His breath was uneven, ragged. There was an ache in his side from the running. He leant against for a second against the sheet, steadying himself; he dared to cast a look over his shoulder.
The werewolf stood on the mound of the fusioned cars, and howled at the moon. Outlined against the dim sky, it was a horrible sight; something torn from one of Serverus' boyhood nightmares, and all Serverus' will to run vanished, all his hopes of escape.
I am sixteen years old and I am going to die.
He laid his head against the metal and closed his eyes.
Harry saw the junkyard up ahead, and cut a swift path to its centre. He saw the tank there, lying on its side, but the door was open there was blood on the ground, and no sign of either Remus or Hermione. Remus must have dragged her off somewhere she couldn't be dead, not yet. She would not- be dead. He rose again into the sky, looping over the junkyard, searching for any sign of movement.
The howl of the werewolf rent the air, chilling Harry to the bone. He swerved towards it, his wand outstretched in his right hand. He saw it, then saw Remus, standing on a heap of cars with his head tilted towards the moon. And infront of the werewolf, cowering against a steel plate, was someone a man, with his hands over his face.
"Faster," Harry whispered to the broom. "Faster please."
The werewolf's call came to a halt, though the echoes of the sound still vibrated through the air. Remus shifted back onto his haunches, preparing himself for one last leap. Harry saw the muscles coil in the beast's legs, the forefeet clench on the metal surface. Then it raised itself, and sprung
Harry screamed it, with all the force he could muster, and the tip of his wand burst into light.
For a moment, Harry thought he'd failed that the spell hadn't worked, and that it was all over for the man. The werewolf continued through the air, speeding towards Serverus with its claws extended.
And then Remus seemed to catch himself in mid-air, and fold up; his paws scrabbled for purchase on nothing at all. With a whimper he collapsed onto the earth at Serverus' feet, his head lolling onto his shoulder, his talons inches away from Serverus' boots..
Serverus opened his eyes, and looked up. Harry Potter was gliding down onto the roof of the cars, and the werewolf lay, unconscious, infront of him.
"Snape " Harry was panting in his excitement. "Are you alright? Snape?"
"Snape. It's okay. He'll be out for a while now are you okay?"
Serverus stared at Harry, utterly disgusted.
"Harry Potter," said Serverus. "You saved my life."
"Er. Yeah. I guess I did," said Harry. "But "
Serverus turned, and solemnly began to beat his head against the metal plate.
"Um Snape?" Harry asked, quietly. "Can you not do that? Er "
"You saved my life," Serverus screamed into the night. "You fucking sadistic bastard!"
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