Disclaimer: Not mine, JKR’s.
Author's Note: Third in the Obsession series.
Warnings: Mention (briefly) of rape, parental abuse, and other nasty things. These boys are a little fucked up.
Murder of Love
Part 4 - Webs We Weave
I’m roused from slumber by a sharp rap on my door, and I pause for a moment, eyes still closed. But the rap comes again and I climb out of bed, shivering a little in the cool night air. Then again, it’s always fairly cold down here in the dungeons. Opening the door, I behold a pair of reddish brown eyes under a fall of walnut hair. Evan Rosier, a particularly ambitious 5th year grins up at me, his too-wide mouth giving him an almost froggish appearance at times.
I ignore the open leer he directs my way, and turn my back on him to pad back into my room. I know he’ll follow. "What is it?" I ask, putting on an air of affected boredom. I’m anything but, though, as it’s unlikely any of the Slytherins would wake me at two in the morning for nothing.
"It’s your boy, Severus," Evan replies as I turn to look at him. He throws himself into a chair, hooking one slender leg over the arm insolently. Evan is not particularly attractive - his features are too sharp for that, and he’s short, besides - but he always acts as though he is. Strangely enough, it seems to work; he has no lack of bed partners, and is well liked among his own year and House.
"What about him?" I arch one eyebrow, picking idly at my pyjama bottoms as I watch him carefully. His face remains politely lustful, however.
"Well, he’s sitting down in the common room…"
"And?" //There had better be more to it than that.//
"And he’s been down there all night. I mean, he went to classes today, and came back, and he’s just been sitting in there." Evan sounds as puzzled as I feel…Severus is a bit of a moper, but he doesn’t usually pout for that long.
"What’s he doing?" I ask, crossing my arms over my bare chest.
"That’s just it, Luce, he’s not doing anything!" Evan’s one of the few people I allow to use a nickname with me. "Just staring into the fire. He won’t answer anyone’s questions. One of the 2nd years got the bright idea of flicking stuff at him, you know, bits of food and such? Anyways, he just pointed his wand over his shoulder and cursed them, didn’t even look away from the fire. Parkinson swears he hasn’t blinked all evening, but you know what a moron Parkinson is."
I consider this carefully. Strange behavior indeed…but it’s not likely I’ll get him to talk to me about it. "Hmm. Thanks, Evan. I’ll look into it." I walk over to the door, holding it pointedly open. Leisurely, he gets to his feet and saunters out, glancing back at me briefly.
"What are friends for, love?" he asks, narrowing those strange eyes at me before grinning and heading down the hall. I like Evan. He’s suitably odd, definitely twisted, but smart enough to hold it together when he needs to. A proper Slytherin.
But now I need someone else, someone a little less put together. Gavin Crabbe should do the trick nicely. I pull on a robe as I head over to the 4th year boys’ dorm. They still all sleep five to a room, but none of them are likely to make any complaints if a Malfoy is knocking them up at this hour.
Gavin opens the door slowly, peering blearily out at me, blinking in the corridor’s torchlight. "Lucius?" he asks, voice heavy with sleep. Behind him I hear the groaning questions of other half-awake children.
"Get out here, Gavin," I command, jerking my head imperiously. He doesn’t question, just slips out and closes the door quietly behind him. He blinks down at me slowly, looking like he’s coming out of some opium dream. His runs his tongue over full pink lips, and his cheeks are flushed prettily.
"I need you to do something for me."
He nods immediately, and rubs the sleep from his eyes. "What do you need?"
"You’ve seen Severus down in the common room?" He looks more alert within seconds, nodding again and pushing twisting sandy locks of hair out of his face.
"Yeah, is he still down there?"
"Yes, he is. I need you to find out what’s wrong. He won’t talk to me." Not really even a lie; I don’t doubt he wouldn’t talk to me had I noticed he was down there and approached him.
"I can try, but he wouldn’t talk to me, either," Gavin offers hesitantly. I smile, smoothing back more of those curling bits of hair. It’s really quite lovely, a sort of sun-kissed brown.
"You can persuade him to, Gavin. He trusts you." I watch his spine straighten, and a small smile tugs at the corners of his lips at my assessment.
"Alright, I’ll try," he agrees. "Maybe I should get a robe on…" He’s only wearing a pair of loose shorts, and the childish softness of his face seems at odds with broad, tall frame and muscular arms and chest. A little boy in a man’s body. Cliché, but true.
"No, you’re fine," I say, lightly touching his shoulder. He’s so warm, from sleep. "Go on." He nods again, this time decisively, and heads up the stairs to the common room. I follow at a discreet distance. It won’t make any difference if he notices me watching, but Severus is not likely to open up if he spots me eavesdropping.
I pause at the doorframe, glancing into the common room to see Gavin approaching Severus, whose back is to the door. I move silently into the room, standing unobtrusively next to a large bookcase. Close enough to hear everything, see everything, but not so close Severus will notice someone behind him. Not that he’d notice anyway, Gavin is standing to the side of him and he never looks up. For that matter, I don’t think the younger boy has noticed I’m here either, didn’t see me following him.
"Severus?" Gavin’s voice is quiet, tentative. No response. He continues carefully. "I’ve…I’ve been worried about you. I wish you’d talk to me." Still nothing. Sighing, Gavin sinks to his knees next to the chair. I can’t see my lover’s face, but he doesn’t turn his head.
"I know you don’t want to talk to me," Gavin continues softly, gazing raptly up into Severus’ face. "So maybe you can just listen for a bit. I’ve missed you." He pauses briefly, and the firelight dances across the soft curve of his cheek. "I know…I know you just don’t have as much time now, and I don’t blame you or anything but. But. But I still miss you." His voice is so sad, so tentative. Pathetic to need someone so much. Pathetic. Like me.
"I was talking to Kelley the other day. He’s this Ravenclaw, we have Herbology together. He says people like me, all Slytherins, are deceitful, nasty gits who shouldn’t be allowed to take classes with other Houses, because we might pollute them." The boy’s pale blue eyes drop to the floor, tracking across the clasped hands in his lap. "I wanted to tell him about you. How you’re the kindest, smartest person I know. How you’re worth ten of him. I didn’t know how to start, though. So I hit him a few times, until he shut up." He heaves another sigh, filled with frustration. "Maybe one day you’ll teach me how to say those things. Probably not. I’m pretty hopeless, huh?"
Severus doesn’t respond, but I see his head turn, and I can imagine the somber expression on his face. Gavin just stares up at him raptly, then leans forward and rests his head in the older boy’s lap. I see one of those graceful hands rise in the air, then settle gently in Gavin’s brown-blonde curls, stroking through their sleep-snarled lengths, teasing them out with slender fingers. The younger boy lets out a slow, happy breath, and I have the impression that this is something they’ve done before, this gentle soothing. Gavin curls himself against Severus’ legs, leaning heavily into him, like a dog.
Severus turns his gaze back to the fire, and I hear his voice clearly, though he speaks at only a murmur. "I didn’t know that about him. About Remus. I thought I did, but I didn’t. He didn’t want to kill me, though, I know that. No matter what Dumbledore says. Black wanted to kill me, but not him." His low voice has a dream-like quality, breathy and contemplative as he continues to stroke the younger boy.
Gavin lets out a contented, "Mmmm."
"I think…I think he just wanted to bite me. I wonder if he remembers?" I can’t for the life of me figure out what he’s talking about. His little toy wanted to bite him? But the Headmaster thought he wanted to kill him? And Black does want to kill him? Well, that makes sense at least, but the rest…?
"I’m not sure what to do, Gavin. I love him…I think he knows. I think." He sounds as though he’s talking to himself, despite his use of the boy’s name…it seems as though Gavin’s calming blankness is of use to him as well. "But this is really…well. I don’t know. I still love him. It doesn’t change much, I think. I need to talk to him. But I won’t be able to. For. For at least two more days…while he’s sick."
He was sick? I suppose that was what had upset Severus…he’s obviously had some sort of conflict with Lupin, but now that the Gryffindor is sick, he can’t talk to him about it. Still, this is rather an extreme reaction. It must have been something big they fought about…maybe Black? Hmm. There’s opportunity here to be taken.
"But we’ll talk. We’ll figure this out. I know we will. I just need to get a note to him…without Black noticing. He’s going to try to get in the way, I know it. I need to talk to him the night after tomorrow, he should be okay by then. But not well enough to be in classes that day, so I can’t arrange something in Potions. Damn." At no point does the frustration in Severus’ words leak through into his voice. He keeps up that calm, dreamy tone.
"I could help." Gavin’s words drift out into the warm air of the common room, and Severus’ hand stops briefly in its slow, repetitive stroking. He starts up again, this time twisting one long ringlet around his finger. Then his hand slips down to the boy’s upper back, smoothing slow circles.
"Well, if he comes to dinner, I could pass him a note. I don’t think Black even knows who I am." Gavin’s tone is hopeful, so terribly eager to please. I watch his cherubic lips wing upwards in a smile as Severus nods.
"Thank you, Gavin. Yes, yes that should work." He falls silent as he continues petting the younger boy, who lets his eyes drift closed and practically purrs. I’ve heard enough. This has opened up whole worlds of possibilities that need some thinking, some planning. The one thing I do know is that when Severus goes to meet Lupin, it won’t be for a reconciliation. I’ll make sure of that.
It’s easy enough to procure a so-called love potion, little more than a glorified aphrodisiac. The ones that mess with your emotions are considered Dark magic, but a simple little lust enhancer, those are used by old men as well as young, and therefore must be acceptable. I have to laugh at the thought. One can do more damage with a well-placed love potion than with ten Cruciatus curses. Getting it where it needs to be, however, that’s going to be trickier.
I examine the note Gavin has been sent to deliver to Lupin carefully. Of course he came right to me as soon as Severus gave it to him. He seemed a bit guilty about it, however, and I had to spend some time soothing his aching conscience. "Gavin, you know that Gryffindor is going to drop him eventually. They’re just too different. Better that he sees the truth now. Besides," I added slyly, "He’ll have more time for his own House, now." That clinched it. The boy handed the note over eagerly.
Severus has set the meeting time for two hours after dinner, in an unused classroom on the third floor. Perfect. It’s really so easy…all I have to do is alter the note a bit. "Subjectio," I whisper to the parchment, tapping it lightly with my wand. The words swirl dizzyingly on the page, to be replaced with the new time, an hour earlier. Ensuring Lupin showing up when I want him to. Grinning to myself, I refold the note and hand it back to Gavin.
We head down to dinner separately to avoid suspicion. As I enter the Great Hall, I watch Gavin slipping between the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor tables. Is Lupin there? I see him, looking pale and wan, picking at his food. He keeps glancing over at the Slytherin table, where Severus gazes back at him steadily. Lupin fixes his eyes on the table in front of him, looking terribly unhappy. Must have been a big fight, whatever it was about. //Get used to feeling like shit, Lupin. No one takes what’s mine,// I think viciously.
Gavin drops the note unobtrusively to Lupin’s side, then moves back to our table. Black, the idiot, doesn’t even notice, too busy conversing animatedly with Potter. Lupin unfolds it as I seat myself, glancing up again at Severus. A small smile slips onto his face, pulling at his tired eyes. My lover nods back, allowing himself an answering smile. The last they’ll exchange, I imagine. Lupin turns back to his plate, actually trying to eat now.
I lean over to Ravi, who’s talking in a bored tone with his sister about Arithmancy. "Ravi," I hiss to him, and he glances up at me with those incredible dark eyes, some interest dawning in his face. Ravi LeStrange is one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever met. Which is exactly what I need now.
"Hmm?" he answers, arching one perfect brow.
"I need you to do something," I say, leaning to the right, towards him. He obediently moves in closer, and I murmur to him my plan. He gets this perfectly delicious wicked grin on his face, and nods.
"Okay, but you owe me for this, Lucius," he warns, and I nod placidly. I pull the vial of "love potion" from my robes.
"Insum venenum," I murmur, spilling the potion into my hand. The spell forms it into a self-contained little ball, without the glass. I hand this gingerly to Ravi, who palms it neatly. Grinning at me, he threads his way through the tables, easily slipping past other students moving around to talk with friends and classmates.
He reaches the Gryffindor table, and very deliberately, as he moves past, reaches out and pinches Potter. Or pinches Potter’s ass, to be more exact. The loud "Hey!" is audible even all the way over here. The Quidditch star turns, frowning, to confront a smug Ravi. "What’d you do that for?"
I see Black rising now, glowering. I guess what they say is true, he is more beautiful when angry. Must be madly jealous of the lovely Slytherin daring to touch his Potter. I sit back, watching the whole show with a great deal of amusement. Ravi is saying something flippant, I can just tell from the expression on his face, and Black has grabbed him by the front of his robes, pushing him up against the table. And, yes… I would’ve missed it if I didn’t know what to look for…Ravi’s slipped the ball of potion into the pumpkin juice, quick and sly.
Oh, and now McGonagall’s entered the fray, standing at the staff table, her voice ringing out through the hall. "Mr. Black! Put that boy down at once!" Snarling, Black reluctantly releases his captive, who brushes off his robes and trots back to our table, grinning triumphantly as McGonagall continues, "Ten points from Gryffindor."
"Mission accomplished," Ravi smirks as he sits back down. "Almost worth doing it for free."
I nod, my attention back on the Gryffindor table. Since there was little choice but to dose the whole pitcher, I imagine the whole gang of Gryffindor gits will be quite…preoccupied tonight. I watch gleefully as both Black and Lupin drink some of the tainted juice, as well as Potter and that slimy, fat little 4th year that always tags along with them. But my work is still not done.
The second note I’ve prepared weighs heavily in my pocket. This is going to be difficult, requiring something more than simple sleight of hand. I need to get the note on Black somehow, without him noticing, and have it fall out some point when he’s alone. It was easy enough to obtain the handwriting sample of Lupin’s to forge a note from; Severus has a stack of notes from him. The sentimental fool keeps absolutely anything Lupin writes on…I found notes about homework assignments for Chrissakes!
As the Gryffindor four prepare to leave, I pull out the note. Tapping it once with my wand, I whisper, "Ostendo cum solitas". It’s a tricky little spell that I actually had to look up and practice a bit yesterday. It will ensure that the note only makes itself known when Black is alone. It’s the biggest flaw in my whole plan; Black might not get a moment alone tonight, at least not in time to read the note and act accordingly.
I stand, allowing a few Hufflepuffs to move between myself and my target. Then, with a deep breath, I push between them leaving a few cries of indignation behind me. Pretending to be in a hurry, I do the same to Black and Potter, pushing impatiently on Black’s black with the note in my hand, conveniently sliding it up below the hood, neatly hidden. A barely audible, "Adhaero", a warning growl from Black, and I’m done. For this phase, anyway.
The only thing left is to conceal myself in the empty classroom, cast one more spell, and then sit back and watch. I’ve been able to cast various obscuration spells since I was eight, so there should be little difficulty in staying hidden. A bit more in getting the right elements in place, but I’ll manage. If Black shows up. He’s got to show. He simply has to.
I sit in the darkened classroom on the third floor, almost bursting with impatience. It isn’t like me, to be this worried, to be this weak, but so much depends on this! I hate Severus for making me feel like this, so pathetically needy, and I think for a moment what it would be like to let all this go. Just walk away, go back to my room, take up with someone like Evan, someone my father would approve of. But I can’t. I can’t turn my back on this, on him. Love. It’s a horribly insidious emotion, and not for the first time do I curse its power.
The concealing and silence charms I’ve cast will last hours. There’s nothing for me to do, waiting here, and I resist the urge to pace. Surely it’s past time one of them should have shown? I glance fitfully out the window, but see nothing. When Lupin finally opens the door, I nearly scream in relief. Not that it could be heard past my charm, but still…
"Severus?" His sweet voice holds both hope and worry. How fucking touching. I slip across the floor as he lights up his wand with a softly spoken, "Lumos." Seeing no one here, he frowns, and mumbles to himself, "I must be early." I notice, in the cool light of his wand, that his cheeks are flushed. He’s not breathing particularly heavy…must be the potion kicking in. I smirk in satisfaction.
One last charm, and the job’s done. I slip behind him, lightly touch the tip of my wand to the back of his head, not enough for him to notice. "Confundo," I say loudly, focusing hard on an image in my head, that of Black and Severus. Standing so close together, the similarities between them exaggerated, both with longish black hair, dark eyes, slender. The Confundus curse is malleable to the will of the caster. A very powerful Dark spell, and the final component of my plan.
Lupin turns suddenly, sniffing at the air, a confused expression on his face…I slide away from him, wondering if I’ve been sweating or something. He continues to glance around the room, eyes narrowed, but he’s no longer looking towards me. And with the curse on him now…I can’t wait until Black shows up. This is going to be absolutely perfect.
When the door opens again I hold my breath, in tandem with Lupin. I release it in a hiss of relief as I see it is Black, and not Severus, come early. He, too, is flushed, and the look in his indigo eyes is sheer desperation. "Remus," he whispers hoarsely, and I watch the confusion flicker across Lupin’s eyes. He’s not sure who Black is to him now, lover or friend…but Black answers the question for him, crossing the room in a few long strides.
Black sweeps the younger boy into his arms, and hungrily devours him, lips pressing demandingly against Lupin’s. Lupin stiffens for a moment, then melts as all his questions are answered. I watch with clinical detachment, but a sudden thought makes everything real again. //This is how Lupin is with Severus. This is what Severus has been doing these past months.// The thought settles like a stone in the pit of my stomach, and a sudden rage and jealousy blossoms there, acid and churning.
//No more. He’s not yours anymore,// I think savagely, and slip past the entwined couple to open the door a crack. They won’t notice, they’re far to wrapped up in each other, but anyone coming down the hall…Severus. Severus will see. And then he’ll be mine again.
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