Getting into Hogwarts had been work. The wards recognized him, though, and that was something. Recognized a dead man who'd been on the wrong side of the war, who'd done everything wrong, or right, depending upon the person asked the question, but he was certain that he had no right to be in Hogwarts. That was the only thing of which he was sure.
He had to go there.
It had been drawing him in for days and days, months spiraling into years, and the only thing he could remember for the longest of times were mahogany-stained wooden roses with diamond thorns. They were in his dreams, his nightmares, filling them, overflowing them, moonbeams breaking into sharp rays in his mind whenever they touched upon it. He needed to see it, needed to find it again, and he knew that it had been at Hogwarts, that he needed to go to Hogwarts. Getting inside of familiar stone walls had been easy compared to his next task -- finding what he knew was there for him. He'd last seen it on a windowsill; that was all he could recall.
Years had passed, yes. Long years, and he'd wandered half-mad or perhaps a bit more. There were things in layers in his mind, and until recently, they'd all made no sense. Nothing he could ferret out, in any case, particularly early on. In the beginning, it had been about running, evading, hiding from everyone and everything that might be after him. The only solace he'd had then had been those crystalline-thorned roses, and the moonbeams that made them sparkle in the dark.
Now there was no one to run from, no one who was chasing him. At least he hoped there wasn't, because he'd come to find his crystal thorned roses and whatever had brought him back to a place he remembered fleeing. Clear as yesterday, and the day before, and he hadn't had truly lucent days in so long that he was a little afraid it wasn't true. That it wasn't real, that it was all something he'd come up with in a dream and only convinced himself of its actuality in order to get by from day to day without losing whatever was left of his mind.
This was right, though, grounding even if the stairwells kept moving in ways he didn't quite remember. It had changed since then, since everything had gone to hell, since... Since Albus had died? Yes, that was a clear idea, so he held onto it, and stepped back into a corridor when he heard people passing. He wasn't sure why he thought that hiding was the thing to do; he simply knew that it was his only option if he was to find what he needed, what was necessary to stay sane, to stay complete, because it had to be there. It had to be where he had left it; only he couldn't remember where that was. He wasn't sure what he'd done with it, exactly, only that he'd had rooms once. Space that belonged only to him, and he somehow believed that was the place to begin looking.
He searched for his rooms, winding past people, hiding, stopping, holding still for long periods of time, but moving on, always moving on, moving forward and downwards. He knew when he reached one heavy wooden door that he'd found it. Found the place. Found the diamond thorns and the roses and the lost moonbeams.
Found it all, and he was afraid to open the door.
"Sir?" It was a high-pitched voice, nearly startling him past bearing. His head jerked round, and there was a child there, blond child, looking at him, wearing robes and some sort of school uniform with a green and silver tie. "Sir, are you lost?"
"I..." Yes. He was lost in a place that had been his home, and that was strange. "Yes." Now he just needed the words for what he was lost trying to find.
"You seem sort of old." Funny, that those pursed lips seemed judgmental of him. "You must have been at school before the War. My father says that the castle is confusing to him, too." Cool grey gaze eyed him up and down. "What do you seek?"
"A boy who looks rather like you. Only you're not him." The face wasn't narrow enough and the eyes weren't sharp enough to be what he was looking for with the roses and silver grey eyes.
He seemed to know what he was talking about, though. "Oh. You would be looking for my brother, then. Draconus. He's this way, in the devotional for Headmaster Snape. Albus Severus keeps going in there for some reason." The boy eyed him suspiciously. "Why are you looking for my brother?"
He turned it over for a moment, and the answer seemed to decide itself for him. "I want to wake him."
The laugh was unexpected and no small amount mocking. Yes. This child was a Malfoy; that was certain. "No one can wake Draco. They tried. Mother says they tried everything, and that Wiggenweld won't work." His face set, brows pulling together. "But I'll find a way. I will. So you can't."
"Little Malfoy, I gave him the apple to put him to sleep." And he knew, it was all there in the back of his mind, quick things, yes, and he needed to focus and there would have to be brewing, and modified Wiggenweld, but... But, it was there in his mind, clear as the day.
The child stepped backwards, still frowning. "I'm going to fetch the Headmaster."
"You do that. I'm going to look for him." He felt closer now, because little green and silver ties meant he was in the right part of the castle at last, and so what if the child turning and running off made him flash on something unpleasant, something that was still lost to him. It made no sense, not any more than his decision to turn around and walk swiftly back the way he had come, taking a turn, and then another, and there it was. Third turn to the right, a door, and there were things scattered in its opening, parchment and tiny potions bottles that he knocked over as he swept through and inside to candlelight, and oh.
There he was, not what he remembered, no; not so ridiculously young, untouchable despite what he'd spelled into the potion, into the apple. Now, though, now, he was there, literally dead asleep. The potion had slowed the aging process, made time march less apparently across his face, but white-blond hair spilled across the pillows all the same, and he was older.
He hadn't looked like that, that size? When he had left the boy, who wasn't a boy any more, he'd looked smaller, much smaller, and he had to reach forward and touch his face, brush back the hair. Cold skin, cold as ice. Cold as it had been when he'd been a baby, and every moment had been worrisome in the beginning. His breath had been shallow, hardly there at all, and what breath had been in him had been broken by fearsome wails of hunger when his mother's milk had lacked any sort of nutrition.
Time would pass. It always did, and he knew everything he would have to do to reverse what he had done. Even if he couldn't remember six months ago, ten years ago, he was sure that he recalled everything to make this right.
He lingered, watching his face for a moment, before he turned and started to see what there was in the room by way of supplies, by way of everything he would need, because he had brought none of it, just himself and apparently his mind.
It was so good to have his mind again, finally. Nothing had felt that good in years, twenty of them, and he paused for a moment, closed his eyes, and sighed.
He was going to need Mandrake. He wondered if Pomona would have any in the greenhouses, and suspected that she would have at least one. Hopefully he'd manage to convince her to give it to him.
"Ah. Excuse me. These are Professor Snape's rooms, please step away from the bed and...."
"These are my rooms." He turned, glancing over his shoulder and that was an odd sight.
He'd never expected Neville Longbottom to make it past puberty most days, never mind his last year of school. Never mind headmaster, with the almost requisite silly hat. He was wide-eyed, looking faintly terrified, and surely he was too young to be Headmaster.
Then again, he'd been Headmaster at that age. Perhaps not.
"Professor Snape? But... but, sir, Harry Potter said you were dead. And there are memories, in the Pensieve..." His wand was in his hand, so at least he wasn't a fool. "Sir. I think perhaps you should come with me."
"I came here for a reason. I need... supplies to wake Draco." He stretched a hand out, and flicked his wand down from his sleeve.
It was surprising to see Neville stand there, confident in himself. "I'm sorry, sir, but first you're going to need to come with me. For all I know, you aren't Severus Snape at all, and I think after twenty years, Draco Malfoy can remain sleeping long enough for me to ascertain that you are who you say you are."
It was wasting time, and yet. Severus clutched at his wand, but lowered it. "Then let us get it over with."
He'd undoubtedly end up taking Veritaserum, dealing with Aurors, explaining how he could be alive when they'd all thought he was dead. It would be boring, long and drawn out, and he hated the notion of it. He didn't want to waste the time, he didn't want anyone calling Lucius and Narcissa, he didn't want to go at all, and yet.
"I'm sure you already know the way to the Headmaster's office, sir. You gave poor Scorpius something of a turn, I fear."
"He'll recover." Things like that would have stunned Draco, as well. After all, how often did people return from the dead without being a Dark wizard? Perhaps that was why Neville was staring at him while he followed after the young man.
There was something about that twitch of Longbottom's lip. "Yes. Malfoys are infinitely adaptable, that much is true. If you don't mind me asking, Professor Snape... how are you even alive?"
As if he wanted to tell the tale repeatedly, which he'd be forced to do.
"I had antivenin." It had not been the correct dose, or perhaps that there had been too much and yet still not enough, so the side effects had been overwhelming. Of course, no one else had ever had the opportunity to work with a basilisk, to try and counteract the deadliest venom on Earth. No one else had ever possessed the pure brilliance required to make an attempt to neutralize the bite of one of those vicious creatures, the perspicacity and guile to do it under the nose of one of the most perniciously malignant people ever to live.
"There's no such thing." Longbottom would, of course, say that. He seemed quite sure of it for a Gryffindor who'd failed miserably at potions.
"That's a failure of imagination." It surprised him not at all, because Longbottom had always wanted for more imagination. "Those are the limits of magic."
The castle was still the castle, and it was starting to settle in, to speak to him the way it once had, to make a certain amount of sense. He'd always thought that was purely magic, in the blood. "Perhaps that's so, but.... basilisk venom. We've always been taught that's universally fatal."
"Yet here I am." And not quite there. "It wasn't... a flawless effort." Not even close to being that, because he'd been out of his mind for the better part of twenty years, and the less said about his health the better.
They reached the bottom of the shifting staircases and waited, Longbottom quietly thoughtful. It wasn't something that seemed quite right somehow. "Well. We'll see."
He watched Longbottom, because it discouraged Longbottom from watching him too hard, and when the staircase had shifted, they started off again. He'd missed Hogwarts. It had been his home, his haven and his hell for so many years, almost as long as he'd been out of it, though. Lost time. Perhaps it was only the thick magic of the castle that made clarity possible at all.
They climbed together, staircase by staircase, finally coming to the gargoyle that guarded the Headmaster's suite of rooms. "Antirrhinum majus." Well. At least the passwords had moved on from ridiculous sweets, even if Longbottom was using Muggle herbology naming conventions now.
"Common snapdragons." He wondered what Minerva had used after his demise for passwords. Cat breeds, or would that have been too easy? He could imagine someone standing in front of the gargoyle with a breed book in hand.
Longbottom shrugged, no longer awkward. "I'm fond of them. They're a nice sort of plant, not a lot of magic to them, but they're always lovely in their place." His mouth curled upwards. "I always thought the name strangely appropriate for Slytherins. Well. Maybe not always, but I've had a lot of time to learn to deal with them as an adult. It changes things."
"Yes it does." It had with the Gryffindors to a point. Hatred had shifted to simple dislike, disdain, a need to put his House higher merely to try to combat the coming storm. It hadn't worked, not as well as he would have liked. If it had, he wouldn't have needed to dose Draco with an apple to keep him from getting any further involved.
The stairs brought them to the top and let them into the Headmaster's study. The sense of familiarity was overwhelming, shaking him to the core for just a moment.
"Why, hello, Severus. Odd to see you, considering you have been dead for quite some time."
"I wasn't dead. Only... disoriented." He still felt a little so, except standing there felt so right, so very familiar still. It had never been his rooms so much as Albus's, and it felt as if it had stayed that way.
The painting nodded solemnly. "Ahhh. Well. I always did wonder. Mr. Potter seemed so very certain, but there was no body when Minerva went to search. There were so many dead and injured at the time, you know. I believe that there was some consideration that you might have been.... food for the basilisk."
Longbottom made a face. "Not a pleasant idea."
"I very nearly was." He had to focus, keep watching Albus's portrait, except there was an urge to look around and he needed... he needed to get back downstairs. "I've returned to wake Draco."
"Aaaah, Severus." The sadness of that statement washed over him for just a moment. "It's been a very long time. No one has been able to wake him."
Longbottom moved away, and Severus decided to ignore him as he used the Floo.
"I was the only one who could. I had wanted to protect him, in the event... that we lost." Strange, how winning had still felt like loss, had been loss. He was tired, weary and hungry and worn thin now that he'd been diverted from his task.
Albus smiled at him, a funny sort of smile, one that made him shift uncomfortably. "I expected as much. Minerva, of course, agreed. His parents held out hope for some time. Nearly four years. It was terrible to see them so discouraged when they returned him to Hogwarts."
"I see they've had another son." Not that anyone could replace Draco, not for Severus. Lucius would have an Heir, though, and Narcissa needed something, someone, for whom to care.
He assumed black magic hadn't been responsible for the second son, mostly because he hadn't been there to brew the potions nonstop. "He's a very different child than Draco. Of course, the Malfoys are much older, and the world has changed in the last twenty years."
"No whispers of Voldemort this time?" If there had been, he wondered if Lucius would fall for the game a third time. He hoped not, and he doubted it, but it would have been something if so.
"Not the faintest." That wasn't Albus's voice. When he turned, there stood Harry Potter, looking so much like his father that Severus could feel the shudder race down his spine. "I did die, sort of. During the battle. Enough that the part of him he'd unintentionally invested in me died at that moment. Not enough to kill me, though, odd as it sounds. Hullo, Professor Snape. You're supposed to be dead."
He was desperately tired of hearing that.
"I've been told that repeatedly tonight." No longer a boy, but a man, the Man who Endured, Severus supposed they called him. The Prat who Pottered. The Potter who Pratted. Something in there.
"So. If you don't mind, I've brought a couple of different things, Veritaserum, and a sort of... anti-Polyjuice. Not that we won't be waiting around for the next hour or so just to be sure." He wasn't at all smug about it, which was something, in any case. Longbottom, at least, seemed willing to take a back seat to Potter, settling into the chair behind Albus's desk.
He truly disliked the use of Veritaserum, but if it would allow him to do what he'd come there to do... "Of course. If we can move this show along, Potter, I would appreciate it."
The sooner he could get back to brewing the better, and so when Potter offered him a chair, he took it. Just as he took the Veritaserum; just as he took the anti-Polyjuice, which tasted awful and was frankly abominably named.
Just as he waited.
It had been twenty years. No matter how much he disliked the idea of waiting any longer, one more night wouldn't make such a difference now.
Brewing was second nature to him, had been an extension of his body, part of his muscle memory for so long, and it wasn't something one forgot even with his particular circumstances. After he'd awakened Draco, he needed to work out what he had been doing, where he'd been in the last years. He needed to know, but he owed it to Draco to breathe life into his body first.
"How interesting. I wouldn't have thought that using attar of moondew instead of stewing the flower would change the efficacy quite as much as you seem to think, Snape." If Slughorn had been a slipshod fool twenty years ago, he was a doddering slipshod fool now. "And it must have been difficult, using the Baccara the way you have."
"Effective. Difficulty has nothing to do with acquiring the correct outcome." He wanted Draco to breathe again, wished to see him sit up from his bed and be free from the curse that had been laid on his life from its onset.
He wanted Slughorn to fuck off and die, or at least get away from his bloody cauldron before he hauled off and smacked him across the head with it instead of continuing to work.
"Mind you, I do confess, it's been fascinating to see you at work again. You were an excellent student. Shame that I didn't get to see you through to NEWTS."
"My score was perfect." As if anyone would've doubted, given that he was self-taught, self-supported. If he'd followed the damn texts he would have failed everything. Merlin knew he'd seen plenty of his students fail miserably using the same.
"Well, well, and so it should have been. So I expected." Never mind that he'd never really cared for Severus, never bothered to invite him to any of his little soirees. "You were always more talented than your peers, Snape."
He grimaced, and it might've passed for a smile while he carefully stirred. "If you must prattle on, I would like to remind you that I have a few killing curses under my belt and would not hesitate to cast another if that is what it takes to silence you."
"Oh!" Yes, he'd gotten the idea, because he stepped back, or more like stumbled. Perhaps he should have been more polite; the old man was ridiculously old, after all, and snapping at him that way might have killed him from the shock. He didn't care, just wanted the idiot to back away. "Well. Ah. I'll let you work, then."
"Thank you." Silence to concentrate, because he needed to change the angle of his stir. Soon he'd be finished, and soon he'd wake Draco. The hours of brewing were certainly worth it.
Things hadn't been well between them when Severus had chosen Draught of Living Death as his final option. They hadn't been well since Voldemort had returned, truth be told, because Draco had blamed him for things for which he couldn't possibly be responsible. They'd argued, Draco had refused to speak to him or confide in him despite the fact that his mother had certainly done so. Then again, Narcissa had been in her forties, and Draco had still been teeming with ridiculous teenage hormones, despite everything.
He wondered if he would be able to make it up to Draco for having taken so long. For failing to get back in what would've been the appropriate amount of time. For... for not having set him free during the war, perhaps. Perhaps, but so many things could have gone wrong, and worse than wrong. The idea of the Dark Lord rising over Draco's body was enough to sicken him, had always been, and he'd intended to prevent that.
He'd done it. Severus just wasn't sure Draco would appreciate it.
Twice more at that angle, then widdershins for twelve stirs, and he was done. Finished, and Slughorn was still there, occupying a corner quietly for once.
"It's going to have to sit overnight." He stepped back, considering into what bottle he wanted to ladle it. There were several, and he pulled the cauldron away from the flame, settling it onto a table to cool an hour or so more. That would be all it would take, and no one would find it odd if he went back to his rooms to sleep. At least if they did, they wouldn't say anything about it. He'd slept there three nights, or pretended to sleep. He'd sat beside Draco, and waited.
"Of course, of course." Slughorn was looking at him nervously, edging towards the door. "Well. I'll see you first thing in the morning, then."
"Yes. In the morning." He was sure the man would not make a peep nor bother him with curiosity until then. By that time, Draco would be awake again. No witnesses, no obnoxious interference into affairs that weren't theirs.
In all reality, most of them would find the method required to awaken him not suited to their tastes. Most of them took the stories of Wiggenweld for granted -- a potion shared by smearing it on the lips and tongue, to be gently granted to the victim of the Draught. A pretty fairytale, and yet so many forgot that fairytales in their original form were, at the heart, made of blood and pain and sex.
He knew what it would take to wake Draco, knew it and had missed it, so he sat and watched the potion cool for a while. When it had cooled, he carefully ladled it into a lightly stoppered bottle. Wiggenweld brewed just so, with modifications for strength, and he would have to fuck the apple loose.
Funny how they never seemed to mention that when it came to their pretty princesses encased in glass and quartz and precious gems. It was always a handsome prince with a tender kiss, never a sarcastic ugly bastard screwing someone back to life. Severus had no illusions about his own appearance. His nose was hooked, his black hair had succumbed to streaks of grey, and whatever else he'd done for the last twenty years, he'd certainly aged during them. It didn't change that he cared deeply for Draco, had done it to protect him, to save him from a fate that would've been worse than death, and might've driven Draco to it.
He palmed the bottle, and let himself out of the workroom.
The halls were quiet and still, and only the sound of his footsteps on stone sounded as he made his way to the small shrine that was still gathered about the door to his rooms. He'd left it there, uncertain what to do with it. Now he swept past it, and gently closed the door behind him, sliding the simple bar lock into place before bringing his wand to bear and locking it again, a bit more esoterically this time. That done, he turned and surveyed Draco and the ridiculous, stupidly beautiful rose bed the Room of Requirement had created for him, only the Room of Requirement was gone, burnt down, burnt out, one of those artifacts that he had believed would be in the castle forever.
It was those roses, too, that had eventually brought him back there, looking for Draco, thorns which had focused his mind enough at last. He could see the diamond barbs glistening in his dreams, tipped with blood or sometimes semen. Perhaps they'd taste both tonight, and that thought prompted him forward, hand clenched tight around the bottle of Wiggenweld.
Draco had aged somewhat. Not as much as Potter or Longbottom; the potion had seen to that, and the best potions houses still had researchers trying to bottle something similar for witches who wanted to look younger. They'd always failed, and Severus thought they always would; it was inextricable, inseparable from the things that made it Living Death.
He moved towards Draco, unstopping the bottle. There would certainly be a kiss involved, but it didn't stop there. It couldn't, because there was magic involved, and Severus filled his mouth with the potion, dampened his lips with it, and leaned down to press them to Draco's. They were corpse-cold, although he thought that he felt them warm beneath the touch of his own.
Transference, and a start. He had already mostly stripped off his robes, and they went on the floor so he could join Draco on the bed, sliding up his nightshirt. There were buttons at the top, and he gently thumbed them loose in preparation for pulling it over his head. It only took a few minutes working it gently up and over, and there he was, bare in a way that Severus hadn't seen him in forever. It felt like forever, anyway. For a moment, he simply stood there and looked at him, enjoyed the sight for a few long moments before he leaned in to kiss him again, spreading Draco's legs.
There was no reaction, not like there used to be; just limp flesh surrounded by a nest of pale hair, soft globes beneath them covered as well. He slipped his fingers into his mouth, coated them with the potion and then delved gently below them for Draco's small opening. No one was going to come in and interrupt, so he could take his time, fuck Draco open slowly, leisurely, except he missed the responsiveness and it didn't feel right. Just enough not to hurt him, then, and so he slipped his drenched fingers inside slowly, potion-slick and warm against flesh that seemed to be waking, just a little. Just a bit, and so Severus kissed him again, stole his tongue inside to spill what was left of the potion in his mouth into Draco's. Enough that he'd be receptive to it, sufficient to ease the way for the apple piece lodged in his throat. He stroked a little longer, then eased his fingers out to smooth the last bit of potion against his dick. Severus took care in turning Draco over onto his stomach, sliding his knees up so he wasn't flat on the bed. It would be easier that way, and he wanted this to be easy. He wanted Draco to wake to a world of pleasure, not to have time to think. It would be better that way, he was sure of it. Certain, but still he had to stroke his own flesh for a while, carefully, to make himself ready. Finally, he was turgid, full, and taking a deep breath, he slid his cock up and down until he lodged it carefully at that slick hole, and pushed inside.
It wasn't immediate; it wouldn't be, of course, and he took Draco's hips in his hands, pulling him up to meet his first slow, steady thrusts. He'd have to move faster, he knew, in order to help the magic of the potion draw out the apple. Very soon now.
He'd have Draco awake again and alive and everything would be. Well, it would be, because it had been years, almost two decades of sleep for Draco and so much different in the world, so much different in Severus, even in the castle. But in the end, moving faster wasn't a problem, because Draco was still appealing, tight, familiar and beautiful, and Severus flexed his fingers on Draco's hips, thrusting harder. Pushing, and he reached up, shoved the palm of his hand hard between Draco's shoulder blades. Once, and again, and again, and when he came alive beneath him, apple chunk coughed out onto the pillow, Severus was almost bowled over and out of him.
"Whu. Wh-wh... what. What. No!" Yelped, loudly, and he'd missed the sound of that voice. Perhaps not the infinite pissiness and denials. "What's.. help!"
"Draco. It's me." There was a snap to his voice, but it got Draco's attention, even while he held himself still, fingers clutching harder at Draco.
"S..." The letter stuttered, lingered, and Draco turned his head to look at him. "Severus. You. I. I don't. What's...?" The inability to finish a complete sentence was worrisome. He hadn't meant for Draco to sleep so long. He didn't know if it had damaged him or not. "There was an apple."
He eased out because it was enough, because he was worried, because he wasn't quite right himself, sliding a hand up Draco's back. "Voldemort wanted to do horrible things to you. I couldn't let that happen."
"There was an apple," Draco said again, trying to turn and nearly falling flat on his face. His arms were trembling, and the confusion, it wasn't good. "You gave me an apple. You... did you poison me?"
"Draught of Living Death," Severus supplied, turning him over slowly, still close, because Draco's body was only just beginning to warm, starting to become flexible enough to move.
Perhaps he shouldn't have been surprised that the first thing Draco did was slap him; not hard, mostly because muscle memory was slow to return. "Bastard! You poisoned me! With an apple!"
"It was for your safety!" He leaned down, using his elbows to pin Draco's arms in place against his sides. "And you're unpoisoned!"
"Unpoisoned!" Ah, yes. He was familiar with that octave; it was quite a common register in the Black family in Severus's experience. "That's not even a proper word!"
Lucius's voice had never hit quite that pitch.
"It is now. You're alive, Draco, and safe, and the war is over." And his parents were twenty years older and they seemed to have spawned another, lesser Malfoy son.
Draco's brows knit tightly, and it was odd to see it; his skin didn't wrinkle, exactly, but there was that petulant line between them, deeper than Severus had ever seen it. "I don't... I don't understand."
"I let you sleep longer than I should have." He would have to fix Draco, fix... himself, fix a number of things, but he could hear someone trying to open the door.
"Professor?" There was knocking then, strident, loud. "Professor! One of the children came, said they'd heard a commotion. What's going on?"
Ha. Speaking of lesser Malfoys, Severus had no doubt which one had gone running to Longbottom.
"What's going on is I've been poisoned, and unpoisoned, and mmmmph!!"
He clapped a hand over Draco's mouth, and lifted eyebrows at him hard, leaning in to whisper, "That is Headmaster Longbottom, Draco. Now help me cover you up, unless you want Neville Longbottom to see you in your naked glory."
Leaning back and getting off of the bed, he grabbed up his own robes from the floor, holding Draco's nightshirt out to him. "Give me a moment."
A moment, and Draco was looking at him, confusion written in every glance, every gesture. "Longbottom? It's... no. No, it's his father, they've got a cure for Cruciatus madness, or... or some relative. That bloody apple, what did you put in the thing to make me so confused!?"
"Nothing that wasn't supposed to be there. Twenty years have passed, Draco." He held out the shirt again. "Just dress."
Something must have told him it was true; Severus's own face, probably, because he reached out with trembling fingers and took it, clutching it to his chest. "I don't believe you." Except that he did. He believed every word of it because he paled even further, and his eyes were wild at the edges.
"Your parents are still alive." And Severus had the Basilisk scars on his neck to prove that at least something had happened other than time, that Draco had slept away past horrors.
Longbottom was still hammering at the door. "Professor? I thought I heard something. Are you all right?"
The nightshirt went on, quick jerked motions, as if nothing could be more horrifying than Longbottom seeing him bare-chested and naked. Knowing Draco, it was entirely possible that had crossed his mind. "Did you say Headmaster?" The time distortion was written all over him. With his vanity, Narcissa's vanity, it was a miracle that he hadn't demanded a mirror immediately in that moment. "Severus...."
He at least finished dressing himself, and pulled away a little. "Yes, unfortunately I did. Hold on." Time to let the little, well, older bastard into the room. He unlocked it smoothly, lifting the bar. Best to get it over with, and possibly the infirmary could do something now. More than making note that Draco was under the influence of a modified Draught of Living Death, anyway.
Longbottom pushed inside, and that started expression was infinitely familiar; a sign that said more than anything that things were not going according to his expectations. "Malfoy!"
Severus expected a sharp response, but all he got was a sick look on Draco's face, and he stepped back, hand going to the bed in order to support him. "Well. Longbottom. You look..." He licked his lips, and paled further. Oh, Severus knew that look. Knew it, and had managed to find a cauldron even before Draco leaned over and puked.
That was not as unfamiliar a task as it should have been for Severus, but he'd been Head of a House for more than a decade. It entailed quite a lot of knowing when people were going to vomit. "I couldn't be bothered to wake him with an audience."
"Sir, that could have been dangerous. Might well have been, from the look of him." Never mind that there was a time dissonance there, and it was catching up with him. Longbottom would puke, too, if he came to the sort of understanding that was striking Draco just now. "We should take him to the infirmary."
Draco gurgled faintly and waved a hand, moving back onto his bed.
I will." Once he seemed no longer likely to protest, once he stopped swaying quite so much. "As you can see, though, everything is under control."
If Draco, pale and sweating, eyeing the chunk of saliva-covered apple on his pillow, was under control. "Malfoy, if you'd like, I can assist you to the infirmary and call your...."
"In a moment," Severus cut in, a little sharper, because Headmaster or no, he wasn't going to take instruction from Longbottom. He moved closer, spelled the apple-soiled pillow clean. "Lie back before you heave again."
The fact that he listened could be likened unto a miracle, he supposed. Draco hadn't listened to him for months before he'd given him the potion, so it was distinctly surprising that he was doing so now. "I'm not going to be sick." Never mind that he was green around the mouth.
"You might." Severus pressed his fingers against Draco's cheek, lightly. "If you promise not to flail, I'll carry you to the infirmary." It wouldn't be the first time. Somehow it seemed more intimate at the moment. Perhaps it was because he'd been venom-mad for so long, because Draco had been sleeping for decades, because who knew or could articulate why. It didn't matter to him, not when Draco turned his face into that touch, brows knit, and confusion still written in his eyes.
Longbottom cleared his throat. "I'll speak with Madame Brocklehurst. Let her know that you're on your way, then. Perhaps call the Malfoys?"
"I think you should. Narcissa will at least welcome it." He wasn't too enthused about seeing Lucius, if Lucius were even still alive. Still, it was easier to pick up Draco than it was to contemplate that, and to focus on going forward up from the dungeons, Longbottom be damned.
He would worry about Lucius later, if and when he arrived. He was sure that Lucius would have been the one to return Draco to Hogwarts, leave him there to sleep instead of at home where at least he could be sure that the house elves would dust him now and again.
Draco's breath hitched, and his pallor became more pronounced when Severus began walking, but he seemed to be in control of himself, mostly. "I want them." Of course he would. They were his parents, even if Lucius was a selfish bastard. Perhaps he shouldn't blame him quite so much, but he'd been at the damned root of it all, had created the necessity of giving Draco the Draught, and there were twenty missing years for which Severus held him accountable.
For them both.
"They'll come." And he had a brother, but he was going to let them break the news that Draco was now the elder brother to another Malfoy when he'd previously been an only child. Who knew, there might be more than one if they'd found a way that didn't involve Dark magic.
Longbottom passed them on the way to inform the current Healer of their situation, and undoubtedly to call Lucius and Narcissa. No more conversation passed between them. Instead, Severus paced steadily towards the infirmary, careful not to jostle Draco beyond his bearing. By the time they arrived, his eyes were closed, and he seemed still enough to be sleeping again, which was utterly ridiculous.
Then again, perhaps it was a normal sleep now and not a drugged, magical sleep, though Draco had surely slept enough for them all for years. Still, he was careful, and sought the first empty bed he came across to lay him out in. "Draco, stay focused with me."
"I'm focused." He didn't sound as if he was. No, it was vague, seemed more as if he was in a dream. Perhaps he thought he was; perhaps these were the dreams he'd been having all along. "I don't understand. Anything."
"The world has changed." Severus slid fingers against Draco's jaw, watching him. "And I only recently became clear enough to know to come here."
"This is a dream." Draco seemed sure of it. "I don't know what happened, after you gave me the apple. We were arguing. But it must be a dream. You... even if we weren't getting along, you wouldn't leave me for so long."
"I was almost dead for a long time. And there was a war, Draco." Severus shifted, pulling out a chair with a motion of his wand so he could perch close to him. "It... wasn't the plan." So many things hadn't been, and the only reason he was remotely cognizant now was because some mad American potions master had been using vagrants and madmen for experimental concoctions. He supposed he ought to be grateful.
Grey eyes closed again, and he heaved a sigh, head turning on the pillow. Some of the pallor was gone, although he was still too pale, almost seeming frail somehow when he hadn't in his magical sleep. "It's tiring, trying to think of it." To figure out what had happened, and Severus could understand that.
"It will be." Severus closed his eyes for a moment, fingers still lingering The Mediwitch would be there soon, and. And he could rest for a little while; rest and Draco would be better.
Rest, and perhaps things would be fall into place. Not perfect or even right, but... better, although optimism certainly had never given him anything except painful loss to compensate for it.
Draco's hand clutched tightly at his, although he said nothing; simply held on as if Severus were somehow anchoring him to the world when he wasn't entirely sure he was that well moored. He sat there, resting, trying to stay as alert as he could manage, clutching onto Draco's hand as much as his was being clutched. It was a waiting game in the most traditional sense, because he didn't know what the next move would bring. Couldn't be sure what would happen when the Malfoys would arrive, or even if they would.
Perhaps he shouldn't have doubted them. Narcissa would come, and he should have known that, been convinced of it from the start, but things were so strange sometimes. Beyond strange, really, and perhaps he had the same problem as Draco, despite the fact that he'd been awake for the last two decades. Being awake and being functionally sane were very different things in many ways.
Severus remained lost in his thoughts for some time, and so he startled when the door to the infirmary opened, followed by running footsteps. "Where? Where is he?"
He looked up, sat up, half-aware that somewhere, someone was dressing down Slughorn for having let him out of his sight, even though it was all done and safe and finished now. Draco was awake. He squeezed his hand a little, hoping to wake him again.
"Draco? Draco, darling?" Narcissa, coming further into the infirmary, looking for her son, and when Severus caught sight of her, he could only blink.
It seemed as if he'd last seen her much more recently than her face implied; wrinkled, soft at the jaw line, the dark parts of her hair gone white in streaks. It was something of a shock to his system to see her, and he was afraid that it would be even more so to Draco. After all, Narcissa had been of his social class, his friend and not his mother, not someone to whom he was that terribly close.
It was when Lucius strode in close behind her that he felt the actual shock. It was like seeing Abraxus standing there, and his breath caught, stuttered, stopped for a moment. It was somehow even worse when he heard Draco murmur, "Grandfather?"
"Draco." Narcissa's voice broke in the center of his name, and then she was kneeling beside the bed, her hand taking Draco's from his, clinging to him. "Oh, Draco, darling."
It was hard not to stare at Lucius, waiting for him to tilt his head in the way Abraxus had, but he didn't, he simply stared at Severus, stared hard, and perhaps time hadn't been as harsh on him as he'd thought. Lucius looked damnably old, but then his eyes touched on Draco.
Severus didn't quite want to admit to the level of emotion in Lucius's eyes, because he had no right to it. No license to be aware of it, to watch the way it seemed to warm that face. "Draco."
Narcissa's voice wasn't the only one that shook, and Draco was sitting up, one hand rubbing at an eye, confusion written all over him. "I... he.... They said twenty years, but I... oh, God, Severus. You haven't given me a bloody fucking mirror."
"I didn't want to..." Startle him too much more, and it really hadn't been to the fore of Severus's mind because Draco still looked very much like Draco, which was more than he could say for the younger Malfoy. There was something supremely disturbing about Scorpius Malfoy, for so many reasons.
Narcissa reached out, hand cupping his face. "Darling. You're awake. We tried for so long, and nothing could wake you, nothing, no matter how we tried. Potions masters from all over Europe and America, even that madman Luthor, and yet...."
Lucius broke in. "We're glad to see you awake, Draco."
"You were glad to turn him over to Voldemort, as well," Severus cut in, and he couldn't quite help it. It needed to be said, and even if it didn't need to be said just then.
"Shut up." Ah, yes. Draco had been angry with him, for quite some time before the potion, the apple. "Just. Just shut up and get me a mirror, for Merlin's sake."
Turning, his mother looked up at his father, and there was no hiding the tinge of fear on her face. "Oh, Draco, perhaps...."
Severus stood up, stiff, unsteady, twisting to look for the nearest, closest flat surface that had a shine to shove at Draco's face. Best to get it over with and done, let him have his dramatic flail of vain horror, as it was inevitable.
It wasn't a true mirror; just a flat metallic surface that was shiny enough for a reflection, not entirely accurate. It was probably for the best, because Draco seemed appalled enough when he saw it, looking at himself in a way that would perhaps be amusing if Severus wasn't afraid it would send him entirely around the bend. "Fuck."
"Vanity, thy name is Malfoy," Severus drawled, still holding the mirror for him. "You look quite fine, Draco."
"I look old!" Ah, there was the hysteria. "Father looks like Grandfather, bloody fuck, Severus, what have you done to me!?"
Perhaps he ought to slap some sense into him, but Narcissa was leaning over him, hand touching his face. "Darling. Darling, you look fine, you're handsome and young, please...."
"I put you to sleep so your daft father couldn't whore you out to the Dark Lord!" And why, why weren't they shocked he was still alive? That was an interesting thought to turn over, to consider... later. Perhaps it was only that they were having trouble processing the fact that Draco was awake and alive as well.
"Shut up!" Yes, hysteria, and so he reached out, slapped Draco sharply because he needed it. "Ow!"
Lucius hissed, found Severus's wrist and clutched it tightly. "Don't."
Severus twisted, not quite breaking free. "Or what?"
"Or nothing. Just... don't." Don't, and somehow he didn't seem half as threatening as he had been twenty years ago. The year spent under Voldemort's thumb had changed him, though Severus hadn't expected him to retain any of that enforced humiliation. "He's in shock. Narcissa...." Yes. Perhaps she was, as well, cradling her grown son close, petting him, fingers gently combing through long platinum blond strands.
Best to let them stay that way for a while, so Severus took a back step from the bed, still pulling away from Lucius. "He's just been woken."
"And you?" Sharp eyes followed him, disturbingly like his son's. Both of them. "Most people believed you long dead, likely lunch for Nagini." Most people, which implied that others didn't; likely Lucius, although that could be an attempt to make him seem more intelligent and aware than he truly was, perhaps.
Less hollowed out, Severus supposed. "I've had problems focusing. I'm quite alive, as you can see."
For some reason, that seemed to relax him. "We searched for a body. Potter insisted you'd died, basilisk venom. No body, however. If anyone could have come up with a solution, an antidote...." Lucius shrugged. "But I also knew you were the only one who would be able to wake Draco, since you'd been the one who'd given him the potion. Whatever the case, we had to hope. Narcissa...." He looked away, watching his wife, his eldest son. Draco's eyes were closed, but he wasn't sleeping. Not really. "There had to be some sort of hope."
Now there was just waiting for Draco to get past the shuddering hysteria and towards... Towards whatever was waiting for him. "Yes, well. He's awake now. I don't know what comes next."
From the look of things, neither did Lucius. "I... he's awake. That's all she ever thought about, all we ever hoped for. I'm not sure what comes next, either." If anything. It wasn't as if he could just finish his schooling, or as if he'd find somewhere in the Wizarding world to live and work, become a normal sort of wizard.
And Severus... wasn't hirable, wasn't the sort of Wizard anyone would want around the school, not now, not after the war, so they were both out of place, out of time. The horror of it was suddenly very real, and he imagined it to be much like the moment when Draco saw himself in the sheet of metal earlier.
"We'll think of something." It was as close as Lucius came to promises.
It was probably as close as Severus was willing to trust him with promises.
And then they lived happily ever after.
Or something of that sort, Severus supposed, as he picked up the kettle off of the stove, and contemplated what tea leaves to add to the strainer.
Somewhere along the way, he supposed that things had worked out. It might be a kindness calling it that. It was more that they were out of place and out of time, and they were there together. It made falling in together easier, made Draco back off of the fury and anger he'd been giving Severus for months before Severus had been forced to give him the Draught.
He still didn't regret his actions. Didn't regret sparing Draco from other things which he would have held against Severus for all eternity, didn't regret that Draco was still alive to be angry. Draco had his amusements, at least. There were books, and he didn't mind potions work when Severus was busy with it. Of course, he'd removed most of the mirrors in the house, anything with a particularly shiny surface. It saved some of the sheer twitchiness Draco developed if he saw himself too much.
"How's tea coming?"
"The kettle just went off." He still enjoyed making tea slowly, partially to irk Draco. There was an excellent spiced Rooibos that tasted vaguely of oranges, which he relished.
The narrowed gaze that earned him was quite delightful. The lack of teenage hormones was also excellent, as it got him a slow, steady glare instead of histrionics. "Then I'll fetch the biscuits."
"You might even be able to bake the biscuits before tea is done," Severus drawled, settling the chosen tea into the strainer before he dropped it into the pot.
Ah, yes. That was a lovely dirty look, interrupted by a knock on the door. That changed things, then. Of course, it was undoubtedly time for Lucius to send them new potions supplies; Draco didn't like going to Diagon Alley any more than Severus did. There were always pointed fingers, whispered words, and it made them both incredibly twitchy.
Of course, young Scorpius delivering supplies in the poorly hidden hope that Draco might accept that he had a brother wasn't working out as well as Lucius might like. Severus was still amused that he kept trying, but the tension would linger in Draco for hours. "I'll get it. You can finish up the tea." Best to thwart or at least corral Scorpius. If it was particularly bad, he wouldn't get laid for a week, and it was preferable to avoid that if at all possible.
After all. Severus rather liked getting laid.
He moved to the kitchen door, and opened it, frowning when he saw the boy standing behind Scorpius. There was no doubting his identity; he recognized the eyes immediately, and it made him sad and uncomfortable. "Hello, sir. Father sent us to bring the supplies you requested."
"Yes, yes. Come in." Severus held the door, and stepped back, wand in hand while he waited for them to come in. "How is your father?"
It didn't truly matter which of them answered. "Well. Mother is also, and mentioned that she might like to come for tea next week." Of course Narcissa would. She still doted upon Draco, and the subtle use of glamours made the visits easier. "This is my friend Albus. He was visiting when Father asked me to come."
"Albus. You're Potter's boy, aren't you?" Severus almost suspected the Potters had come up with a tidy spell to pass down the general face of the male of the family throughout the ages. The eyes had changed, but the faces not a whit.
"Yes, sir." Yes, and he was peering about nosily as if looking for something or someone. Severus thought vaguely that he recalled something from first going to Hogwarts, still not right, still a little mad. Whatever magic there was there had helped things along, and the memory was just there, close. What had Scorpius told him at the time?
The younger Malfoy waved a hand. "Ignore him. He has a strange obsession."
"With?" He had to ask, had to draw it out, even as he shut the door behind them. Scorpius at least was family, such as it was. Potter's brat was something else altogether, particularly with the way he was looking around Severus.
Scorpius rolled his eyes and shook his head, glancing at Draco by the stove. "In any case. This is what Father sent." He held out a bag.
Easier to take it and nod, and smile at the boy. "Thank you." After all, putting up with that small discomfort of Scorpius and Albus staring was easier than Diagon Alley, or even the newly revitalized Knockturn.
Draco obviously knew that he'd allowed them in, but he didn't turn or make any sort of conversation. Instead, he kept his back to them and continued with setting out biscuits and slicing a nut roll for tea, feeling more comfortable without talking to them. It was a very intense denial, Draco's unwillingness to face that time had marched on without him, but there was an admirable tenacity to it as well.
"Draco, if your mother were to visit again soon..."
"That would be fine." He said it smoothly, almost as if he meant it. Perhaps he did; for some reason, he'd more or less forgiven Narcissa, if not Lucius. Then again, he had worshipped Lucius as a child. Perhaps that made all the difference in the world.
Scorpius spoke up then. "Father misses you." Dear heavens. How had the child not ended up in Gryffindor, if he thought that would make a difference? Then again, perhaps Severus should view it more as Slytherin manipulation. "He would like to visit as well."
"That's a shame," Severus murmured, voice a little tenser, strident, though he doubted Scorpius would pay attention to it.
Draco's back was rigid, straight. "I'll take tea into the parlor."
"Um." So. Potter's brat could speak. "I'll help if you want?" The way he was watching Draco move made Severus glare at him.
"No." Simple as that, and Draco took a moment to find a tray from one of the cabinets before loading plates of biscuits and the teapot.
Severus waited until he had turned to leave before he did anything more than watch Draco. "I'm afraid he's not feeling sociable today."
The younger Malfoy was watching the door through which Draco had passed, watching the Potter boy, watching them all, he supposed. "Yes. Perhaps one day I won't offend him quite so much merely because I exist."
Potter glanced over at him, conciliatory. "'s probably not it, Scorp. He's probably just. You know. Thinking about something important or...."
"Bothered that you replaced him with far less by way of baggage attached to your creation," Severus supplied, just to get the knife in for Potter, he supposed.
Slim shoulders shrugged in a manner far too much like Draco for comfort. It was odd, vaguely discomforting. "None of which is my fault. Father says he was always stubborn in that way, as if his opinion alone could make reality change to suit him." Yes, and Lucius likely never said that was a trait likely borne in the blood, either.
"Your brother had a very different lot in life than you did. You can't just discard that and call it stubbornness. No one has tasked you with killing the Headmaster of Hogwarts." For a start, and that was one of many things that laid the difference. "Thankfully." Never mind that it was Longbottom, and he'd likely invite poisoners in for tea and then be startled to find himself dead.
Scorpius looked at him, expression curiously blank. "If there are other things you'd like when next Father sends packages, you have only to owl. There should be one from Mother for him. Come, Albus. We're going."
Going, and if the blankness bothered Severus or raised suspicion in him, he wasn't going to bother. It wasn't their fight, wasn't their insanity to deal with anymore. "Thank you." Today, it simply wasn't worth dealing with them; Scorpius on his own was more welcome than Scorpius and friend, particularly since Potter kept eyeing the door into the rest of the house.
It was frankly disturbing.
"You're welcome, sir." And there they went, likely to blunder into trouble before catching whatever Portkey back to Malfoy Manor Lucius had no doubt arranged. A good way for them both to spend their day, and Severus waited until they'd walked away from the front step to close the door. Hopefully they wouldn't be doubling back and trying to break in.
Shaking his head, he locked the door, and left the kitchen in favor of the parlor. He could hear Draco pacing before he saw him, but it was no surprise. Visits from Scorpius tended to do that to him. "Are they gone?" There was something strangely fragile about him at times. It would seem that today was one of those days.
"They've left." He stepped into the parlor, closed the door behind him as if that was an extra layer of security for Draco. "Your brother is very odd."
"My brother." Draco used the word as if it meant something dirty. Perhaps it did. "Is a bizarre gremlin of some sort, and I would rather you didn't call him that." His back was still stiff, strain filling the line of his shoulders. "Perhaps instead you could refer to him as something more accurate. Vile usurper, for example. Have your tea."
"Thank you." It was easier to sidle in towards Draco, reaching hands to rub his shoulders, rather than taking up the tea right away. "I'm still reluctant to trust your father."
That hurt Draco, too, perhaps more than anything. At least Narcissa had the good sense to make him believe he was her favorite child, if not her only son anymore. "If I was led by natural inclination, I expect trusting anyone would be out the window." He did relax, though, at least a little.
Slowly, and it wasn't entirely or even partially out of altruism that Severus was giving Draco's shoulders a slow massage. "I'm glad you trust at least a few people."
"Have I any other option?" Ah, but that wasn't something he meant because he turned and tucked his head neatly against Severus's shoulder. It was entirely appreciable. "Your tea will be cold. I know you particularly like this afternoon's."
"We can reheat it." Some things he just needed to feel, and Draco kept him grounded, focused. Neither of them was quite right, but they managed together, so long as they avoided the things likely to set them into a spiral.
Draco never ate apples anymore. "Then let's leave it here."
"I think we can." He pulled Draco closer just for a moment to enjoy his warmth, because even when he was chilled, he was still warm enough to show he was alive. Nothing at all like the corpse Severus sometimes saw in his dreams, the one that crumbled to dust beneath his searching fingers.
They moved apart, and Draco took his hand, almost but not quite leading the way from the parlor to the bedroom near the back of the cottage which they had more or less designated as theirs. Undoubtedly Lucius knew of it, Narcissa suspected, but for the most part they did not discuss their sleeping arrangement with others. There were three bedrooms, and only one of them had a bed in it.
That was enough.
They passed through the doorway hand in hand, and Severus kissed him once they were inside as if crossing that threshold granted him permission. It might have, one of a hundred rituals they possessed, like Draco conscientiously ridding the garden of anything resembling a snake, like Severus covering mirrors and allowing reflective surfaces to gather dust so that Draco wasn't startled when he saw himself there.
This was something easy between them, perhaps absurdly so. Still, Severus always made the first move, and Draco always responded, as if that was simply the way things were. The way they should be, and he wasn't surprised when Draco's fingers found his buttons, teasing them open less delicately than normal.
It felt good, that ease, that lack of precise forethought when he started to unbutton Draco's dress shirt, when he considered the agony of the rows of buttons on Draco's absurd pants. "You know." The words were breathed across his mouth. "It isn't that I'm ungrateful. Only...."
"Only?" He was going to draw it out, whether Draco wanted to give it entirely or not.
He licked his lips, licked Severus's when he did it, a dart of his tongue tip. "Only if they think sending my fucking replacement with supplies will in any way incline me towards kindly acceptance of the little bastard, Father is sorely mistaken."
He wanted to say to Draco that they thought he was dead, and that they were entitled to have either children, but. But. He knew what Lucius had been willing to do to Draco. "Your father could find other ways, but I suspect all of them would disturb our peace."
He was entirely too fond of that petulant pout of lips. "True." True, and hands beginning to unfasten those buttons a little further down certainly got him thinking about other things. "Oh."
"I won't let them do anything that bothers you." It was the only thing he could do, serve as a buffer for Draco in their odd arrangement. Severus had always been better at facing unpleasant facts than he had, and so that was the way things worked.
"I know." He did, and he was delving his hand deeper into Severus's own clothing with slow deliberate caresses.
"I could always spell these off." He shifted, pushed Draco's shirt off with idle hands and started to contemplate the buttons. Albus Severus had an unhealthy interest in Draco, full stop. The vague memory of Scorpius saying something about it was there, and he decided that he'd owl Lucius, tell him not to send the boy again. Ever.
Draco's mouth curved upwards and he stepped back, head tilting. "I think that would be truly excellent."
A wave and a murmur, and they were both bare skin, with clothes laying neatly behind them on a dresser top. Severus kept hold of his wand, and slid an arm around Draco's waist to pull him in towards the bed.
He sprawled back in the sheet, smiling up as he settled atop him. One leg wrapped around Severus's, pulling him closer, ankle hooking behind his knee. "You make me forget that so much time is gone."
"I hope I make you remember a great deal more than that," Severus offered, smiling as he leaned down into Draco to kiss him. It was a start, mouth on mouth, his hands stroking down lean sides. Draco was open and warm, rocking against him slowly, all of the banked fire in him slowly coming to life.
Draco hummed, tongue lapping into Severus's mouth lazily, his eyes half-closed. "Yes. Yes." Whether it was yes to what he remembered or yes to what Severus was doing didn't matter. It was yes, an enthusiastic yes, and that was all Severus needed to press against Draco more firmly, starting to rub against him. He followed Draco's lead, pressing when Draco seemed to want him to press, backing off when he didn't.
Sometimes he'd find that one of them became frantic, and it was there, just at the edge. Verging on happening, on making them both a little mad with desire, and it was no surprise when he got a sound, demanding and sharp, Draco's fingers curling, clenching against his shoulders. "Fuck me." Fuck him, yes, into forgetfulness or the obscure future, strange and beautiful and unknown.
Into enjoyment, into the kind of sensation that sparked the frantic motion when Severus finally pushed into Draco. "My pleasure." It was that, and things were different now. They were both less angry, and perhaps a great deal madder in ways that made everyone else uncomfortable. Now wasn't the time to think of it, though, not with his hands on Draco's flesh, tweaking a nipple and gaining himself a sound that was infinitely familiar yet always new. Welcome, and his mouth followed, freeing him to reach for the jar on the bedside table. It only took a second, and he put it carefully nearby, the spell to keep it from tilting long since having been well cast.
Sometimes he worked in spells and sometimes he preferred carefully made lotions, substances he could apply to Draco to heighten sensation, stretch him out better than even the most precise spells. Severus still had his hand dexterity if not his relative youth.
"Just... yes. Yes, yes, ye...." Draco was pushing up to him, rocking, moving beneath his mouth and his touch, the fingers that wrapped around his cock and stroked. "Yes. Severus, please, yes." Yes, because Draco didn't have to think when they were fucking, having sex, making love, and that last was so stupidly sweet even to think that he nearly rolled his eyes.
It still happened, occasionally.
He stretched his fingers, twisted them carefully, playing at the edge of Draco's hole because he could, because he wanted to drive Draco to falling apart. Wanted to make him beg and plead and sob, wanted to make him stop thinking entirely, which was undoubtedly what he wanted as well.
"Yes." Yes, because Severus wanted him to say it, wanted him to affirm that he needed to be touched that way, that it was nothing like what would have passed if the curse he'd lived under for seventeen years of his life had come to fruition. Severus still had no regrets for having done it. Draco was sane and alive, and twitchy was always better than dead. He could move freely, beg because he wanted something more than to live for another day. He leaned in to kiss Draco, pulling out his fingers. "Fuck me." Again, and he was a demanding brat, always had been, would be no matter how many years he gained. He canted his hips, knees spread wide in invitation. "Fuck me now."
"How can I resist an invitation like that?" If Draco spread them any wider, he'd see his asshole winking with anticipation. Severus shifted, stretched Draco's knees wider apart, lifting his hips.
"You can't." He didn't stutter, just smirked, pleased with himself, pleased with Severus. Everything outside of the two of them wasn't bothering him now, and that was for the best. "So fuck me."
"A moment..." He just needed to get Draco moved right, and Draco wasn't helping, squirming his hips when Severus was trying to spread his cheeks to push into him. Bastard.
Ah, but when he finally went still, tilted his head back slightly to watch, there. There, that was the moment, and he drew in a deep breath in the same moment that Severus managed to enter him, letting it out in a low, steady groan. "Ooooh."
"You always feel so good." It was less statement than praise, because there was something to be said for preserving one's ability to move like that. To hold still at the right moment and then rock his ass up to meet Severus with each steady push, an inch at a time.
"Yes." Yes, he felt good, yes, Severus felt good, yes, he liked it. Loved it, and that was excellent. That was just right, exactly the way he wanted things to be. "Yeees."
He eased his hips forward, and once he was in, just enjoyed the heat and the tightness and Draco's utterly frustrated squirming. Sometimes, that was the best part. Relatively speaking, of course. The way he moved, and tried to get Severus out and then back in, and yet Severus's hands on his hips didn't let go, never let him get anywhere, truth be told.
The way he yelled, fists clenched in the sheets, made Severus smile, lean down and catch his mouth. It was bitten carmine, pretty against his pale skin, and the position let him move, let him get a little of what he wanted, dick sliding between their bellies.
And then Severus started to move, controlling the pace smoothly with his hands still tight on Draco's hips. It gained him a curse, virulent and soft, and a struggle that was delicious enough to make him lean down and bite Draco's shoulder in response. That got him a hard buck, and he loosened his hands finally, giving Draco that little extra leeway he craved.
"Teasing bastard." Yes, but he liked it, and the way he pushed up hard said as much, legs wrapping around the backs of Severus's thighs. He was grinning, and that was perfect. Exactly what he wanted, needed, to see. "I...ungh."
"What was that?" He waited until Draco drew in breath to answer, and repeated the same hard thrust that had made him grunt before. This. Having this. It was worth twenty years of madness, twenty years of sleep, surely. Worth it to be safe and have this moment.
"Fuck. Again. Again."
He leaned in to whisper in Draco's ear. "My pleasure."
And if they never stopped, if he never woke up, everything was to the good.