A/n: Sorry for such a long wait! I'm such a lame author. I was on vacation, and getting sick, distracted... but I'm back now and updates will come along much faster from now on. :) We're nearing the halfway point in the story!
Chapter Twenty-Six - Conversations: Night and Day
Jacob woke up early Sunday morning to Moriai kneading his side. "Ow, you little bugger," he said, twisting a bit to grab her. She squirmed, and he turned on his back and set him on her stomach. She purred loudly, fluffing him a bit before jumping down and making herself a spot next to him. He gave her a quick pet before dragging himself up out of bed, looking over to see Draco doing the same. He smiled over at him, getting a sleepy smile back. The two of them got dressed and then made their way downstairs to exercise.
While they had been exercising together for a while now, the more it happened, the more distracting Jacob found it. It was difficult to watch him stretching, the lines of his body and not want to grab him and kiss him at every opportunity. Not looking at him didn't help each other, because he could picture it just fine, too. He knew that Draco was looking at him, too, but the blond was a lot better at hiding than he was. It was hard to not watch the blond, though, and he wondered how he had gone so long without realizing how beautiful he was.
"Mmm, you know, you watch me quite a bit," Draco said as they sat on the floor, cooling down a bit from the exercise.
"I remember you saying you started doing this with me to watch me."
"Yes, I did say that," the blond said, leaning over and pressing his lips lightly against Jacob's. Jacob reached out, pulling Draco closer to him as he deepened the kiss. He thought about pushing him down - - because he had thought about that more than just a couple of times since they had gotten together a couple of weeks ago - only for Draco to do it first. The blond gently pushed at Jacob, easing him to the ground. Jacob pulled the blond down on top of him, finding that he didn't mind this position at all.
He wanted as much of Draco as he could get, but it didn't last nearly as long as he wanted it to before Draco broke the kiss. "We should get going upstairs and take a shower," he said. "Everyone will be up soon, and we are both very much in need of a shower."
Jacob chuckled. "I don't mind that you're all sweaty," he said, moving to kiss Draco again.
Draco chuckled before kissing Jacob. "I don't mind it either, but we still need a shower before breakfast," he said, maneuvering out of his arms and standing up. Jacob gave a sigh before getting up himself. He took Draco's hand before the two of them made their way upstairs.
Before lunch, Jacob decided to head down to see his father. They had intended to have dinner once a week after school started, but that hadn't happened so he was hoping by going down a bit early they could have lunch together to make up for a bit. When he knocked on the door, the door opened, and he entered. His father greeted him as he entered. He was sitting at a desk in the corner, pouring over some papers. "I'm sorry I'm early," he said, "I thought we could have lunch together. I mean, we said we were going to have dinner together once a week, but that hasn't happened, so… If you're busy, I can come back after lunch."
Severus looked up from his papers. "No, I was just about to order lunch," he said. "I didn't want to push you to come over here more since you've adjusted so well."
Jacob smiled at him. "I like coming over here, even though today is partially a work day." That's why he had wanted to come over early. They still wanted to get to know each other more, and as far as he was concerned, the more time spent with his father, the better.
"You're allowed time with your friends."
"I'm allowed time with you, too," he said. Severus let it drop after that. He was learning that his father had a tendency to keep people at arm's length, but they were both making an effort to be a part of each other's lives. Jacob had no idea how things were going to work as the inevitable war came and escalated. Or if - God forbid - one of them didn't survive. He was going to take as much time as he could, because the truth was - you had no idea what was coming next, no one did.
After lunch, they sat down for their customary game of chess. He was yet to beat his father, and the frustrating thing was, it didn't feel as if he was getting any better, though Severus said he was. Since the man wasn't the type to sugarcoat things, Jacob took him at his words. "How are your classes going?" he said. "Your schoolwork?"
Jacob shrugged as he watched one of his pawns getting taken by one of Severus's knights. "Not bad so far," he said. "I'm keeping up. Draco is a huge help, so is Hermione, and no, neither of them are doing my work for me or helping more than they should."
"I wasn't about to ask that," Severus said. "There's nothing wrong with getting help in your classes. Your mother and I used to help each other out quite a bit."
Jacob looked up at him, a slight look of shock crossing his face for a moment. It was the first time that he had mentioned his mother since that day, not long after they had started living together when he had found the picture album. That album had said, without words, that Severus had loved his mother. This was the first time that his father had talked about her since then. "Really? You did?
"Until our falling out, yes," Severus told him. "We made time for each other in our first few years, despite having other friends. We began to drift apart a bit after that." His father kept his eyes down on the chess board. While he knew that it was possible that he was concentrating on the game they were playing, more than likely at that moment, he believed that his father was deliberately keeping his eyes averted from him.
Jacob remembered Sirius telling him, Ron, and Hermione last year that Severus had hung out with a group of people who had nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters. Was that why he and Lily had a falling out? That would make sense because he didn't think that his mother would be the type… and his father certainly had been, at the very least. The question was, should he ask him about it? They hadn't talked about stuff like this. Jacob knew that his father was a Death Eater - a spy, but a Death Eater nonetheless - and that made him a Death Eater's son. These were things he knew but didn't like to think about. He wasn't sure he was ready to ask him about the why.
"If there's something you wish to ask, I will endeavour to answer." Jacob looked up to his see his father looking up at him, the pieces on the chessboard forgotten for the moment. "I know there is a lot that you don't know, and while I can't promise I will want to talk about it, you have a right to ask regardless."
Jacob moved his piece, as it was his turn, using the moment to try and gather his thoughts. "It's just… what happened?" he asked. "I mean, between you and Mum. Was it because of…?" His voice drifted off because he wasn't sure how to form his next words without making it sound like an accusation.
"My status as a future Death Eater?" Severus said, finishing his question for him. "Yes, it was." His father moved his own piece before continuing. "She never agreed with the other people that I hung out with, of course, and we had arguments about it. She tolerated it for a while, but then I said something I shouldn't have. That was the end of it, and she never spoke to me after that unless she had to."
At least not until the night they conceived him, obviously, but Jacob was not about to say that. "Can I… ask why? You don't have to answer, I just…" He moved one of his pieces, wondering if he may have stepped too far too soon. After all, they had only been on decent terms for a few months now. Was it too soon to talk about stuff like this?
"Why I chose to become a Death Eater?" Severus asked, once again finishing what Jacob was about to say. He didn't respond immediately, and Jacob was wondering if he was going to at all as he moved another chess piece. "Back then, I was a perfect candidate for the Dark Lord. He offered you anything you wanted, and for me - that was respect and power, as I came from a poor home life. It is no excuse, of course, but it made him an easy target for those who were closer to it, to draw me in. It was easier than it rightfully should have been, but they offered inclusion and acceptance to someone like me, and it didn't hurt that I couldn't stand my abusive, alcoholic Muggle father. Not to mention the lure of power didn't hurt, either. I realized too late what a mistake I had made."
Jacob nodded in response, taking in the words. He knew that his father's past would be a touchy subject because it wasn't something he could identify with. He would never make those decisions, despite the Dursleys and his home life. He couldn't understand, but at least Severus wasn't trying to make excuses or lie to him. He made his move his piece. "Thanks for being honest with me," he said. "I can't say I understand, but I appreciate your honesty. Thank you for answering."
Jacob wasn't sure what else to say to that, but luckily, it seemed to be enough for his father, who simply nodded as they continued their game. "I can't believe Christmas is coming up," Jacob said after a while. "I had completely forgotten until Draco mentioned it last night. What am I supposed to get him? What am I supposed to get you for that matter?"
"You do not have to get me anything."
'Yes, I do, you're my Dad."
"Be that as it may, that does not require you to give me a gift if you do not wish to."
"But I do want to," Jacob said as his father checkmated him - again. "It's our first Christmas together." As a family, he thought to himself. He didn't say that out loud, though. It was weird to think he had a family, and since he had pretty much lost everyone when his mother's glamour had come off, this was more important to him than over. Of course, he still had Hermione, and Sirius and Remus, but it wasn't the same. This was different, and he wanted them to do this Christmas right.
"That it is," Severus said. "In that case, it does not matter what you get me. I'm sure you will think of something, and that it will be more than satisfactory." Jacob smiled at him. "The same goes for Mister Malfoy. You know him quite well, and I'm sure that you will find something for him. I wouldn't worry about it." He knew his father was right, but nonetheless… first Christmas, and he didn't want to screw it up.
Jacob and Severus played another game of chess before getting to work. It was time for another memory this time, after Occlumency last week. They had basically picked up where they left off. This memory was of a Caractacus Burke, a little old man who talked about a necklace that had brought in by a young woman. She had been "pretty far along," and had a locket that she claimed to be Slytherin's. Of course, Voldemort had been Slytherin's heir, so that made perfect sense. The man had doubted it, but the locket had actually been Slytherin's. Merope, of course, hadn't known what it was worth. The man said he paid ten galleons, the best bargain he ever made.
The important thing was that this put her in London near the end of her pregnancy. There was no telling why she wasn't using magic, though Severus said according to Dumbledore, he believed she simply didn't want to anymore. It would seem that she had chosen death instead of life for her son. Jacob didn't feel sorry for him, of course, but he didn't understand how she could have chosen death. His mother had chosen the same, but she had done it to protect him. Voldemort's mother had done no such thing. It seems that she had simply suffered, and then gave up.
Since that memory had been rather short, they agreed to do one more. This one, according to Severus again, belonged to Dumbledore. This time, as opposed to just watching the memory, they both entered it. A young Dumbledore was there, in a plum suit. He went to a grim, square building surrounded by high railings. In the memory, Dumbledore met with a woman who ran the orphanage, meeting about a young Tom Riddle. The woman told Dumbledore that Riddle had been born in the orphanage; she told the tale that a young woman had come up. They took her in, she gave birth an hour later and then died.
The woman continued that the young girl was not a looker, and hoped that the boy would look like his father. Jacob knew that turned out to be true, as he remembered seeing a young Tom Riddle in his second year, in the Chamber of Secrets. Anyway, the woman said the young girl named her child Tom - after her baby's father - and Marvolo after her father and wanted the boy's surname to Be Riddle. She died soon after. No one had ever come looking for him.
As a baby, he had hardly cried. Now, he scared the other children, and there had been nasty incidents with some of the other children. After detailing an event with the boy, in particular, she took Dumbledore to see Tom. Riddle was certain that Dumbledore had been sent by the woman, Mrs. Cole, to have him "looked at," and almost commanded Dumbledore to tell him the truth when he was certain that Dumbledore was lying to him when he told him was a professor. Dumbledore was patient and explained about Hogwarts, and about magic.
Riddle explained that he could make things move without touching them, and other things that Jacob thought were far advanced for someone who wasn't even in school yet. He had known he was different, and he was excited at the prospect. Dumbledore proved to Riddle he could do magic as well, and then caught Riddle in stealing from some other kids. Dumbledore told Riddle that this wasn't tolerated and that such use of his magic wasn't tolerated either, that the Wizarding World had laws.
Riddle rejected help from Dumbledore to buy his school things, and to Jacob's surprise, Dumbledore didn't argue with him. He handed him the school list and explained how to get into Diagon Alley. Riddle wondered about his family, about his father, but of course, Dumbledore had no idea at that point in time. Riddle then confessed that he spoke to snakes, which Dumbledore explained was unusual but not unheard of. After that, Severus took Jacob out of the memory.
"Riddle didn't hesitate to believe he was special," he told his father. "I didn't believe Hagrid when he told me. I wonder - I wonder if Dumbledore knew at all, even suspected."
"No, of course not," Severus said matter-of-factly. "Things might be different if he had, but according to Dumbledore, he was just intrigued by him, and kept a close eye on him."
"And he hated his father's name. I'm sure he found out that his father was Muggle, and that made him hate him even more," Jacob said, to which his father agreed. "And then he recreated himself as Lord Voldemort as if changing his name could obliviate his past."
"He was also quite well developed, and you notice that he didn't accept help," Severus explained, "The Dark Lord as an adult is the same. Many Death Eaters, myself included, claim to be in his trust, but I do not believe he truly confides in anyone. He tells us what he wants us to hear, and nothing more. Dumbledore also felt it important to note that he liked to collect rare artifacts." Jacob nodded, knowing that his all had to be important later at some point. He noticed that the necklace seemed to be important. Right now, though, he didn't see how.
Jacob was mentally exhausted by the time he left his father's office. He was trying to see what Dumbledore was getting at with the memories, but it seemed as if Severus was trying not to overwhelm him - if his father knew where they were going. He had a feeling Dumbledore was keeping this close to the chest for the time being. Jacob saw at least part of the reason - wasn't there some saying about knowing one's enemy? Regardless of who he was now, Voldemort still wanted Harry Potter. He knew at some point he come after him, and if he couldn't find him, he would hurt those he cared about. Dumbledore thought that he needed to know more about him. Jacob understood that, but there was something else here, he was sure of it. He just didn't know what at the moment; he couldn't see it.
Jacob had gone straight down to the Great Hall to meet with Draco and the others for dinner when he had left his father's office after a few more games of chess. The big talk was that Gryffindor had their tryouts this afternoon for Keeper. He was curious as to how things had gone, because not only was Gryffindor competition but in another life, they had been his friends. He was sure that he would have to wait to talk to Hermione later to find out who Ron's replacement was; that is, until Salenia sat down across from him, a smile on her face.
"It's Alana," she said. At the confused looks on everyone's faces, she continued. "The new Gryffindor Keeper, Weasley's replacement, is my girlfriend, Alana Teale - Marcus's sister."
Marcus, sitting next to her, looked over at her. "Really? Did you talk to her?" It was the most interested he'd seen him when he wasn't talking about his boyfriend.
Salenia looked over at him and nodded. "Yes, I wanted to make sure she'd done okay, remember?" Marcus nodded. "She was so excited; she couldn't hold it in.
"Oh, really?" Draco asked. "Is she any good?"
Salenia shrugged. "I've never played against her. I know she said she wanted to try out. She did, but she was beaten out by Ron, so she tried out again. I've never seen her play, but she had to have been the best person to try out, although, from what she said, the turnout wasn't that great. She said there were only a couple other people."
Draco waved his hand in a nonchalant manner. "I suppose it doesn't matter," he said. "She can't be as good as Bletchley, so we've still got this season in the bag." Jacob had to agree; so did the rest of their friends sitting around them. The talk continued before everyone went back down to the common room. He and Draco studied for a bit before going to the DA meeting. As usual, the Slytherins all left separately, using different excuses so as not to attract attention from some of the other members of their house.
By the time they got back to their common room, Jacob was exhausted. His mind was still reeling from the memories earlier. He and Draco always put up silencing charms, so he told him a bit of what he was doing. He didn't want to involve him too much, though. He hadn't even told Hermione that much about it. They ended up kissing, long, slow kisses that drove Jacob crazy.
It had to end, though, and the blond slipped out his bed and went into his own. Jacob did his Occlumency training, before drifting off to sleep. He decided to leave up the silencing charms, which he had been taking off. He silently cursed himself for being so lazy and removing it. He had been taking his Dreamless Sleep potion most nights, but when he didn't, he forgot to leave the charms on. He remembered his father's words that the potion was addictive, and thus tried to go easy on it. With a sigh, Jacob drifted off to sleep.
Before he knew it, Saturday was here, and the second Hogsmeade weekend of the school year. He and Hermione had lessons with his father in the morning, and after lunch, Jacob and the rest of the Slytherins headed down to Hogsmeade. Everyone split up, with most of the Slytherin girls in Pansy's group, plus Blaise going shopping together. Crabbe and Goyle headed to Honeydukes. Theodore was spending the day with his girlfriend, Astoria. Salenia and Marcus both had plans, as well - Salenia with Alana, and Marcus with Walton. Jacob and Draco had their own plans. Draco took him to a nice restaurant, a bit farther down from where he usually went.
The restaurant was nice, and Draco insisted on paying, despite Jacob telling him he didn't have to. The blond's only response was that he liked to spend money on people he cared about. It was nice to be one of those people, of course, but it was still unnecessary as far as he was concerned. After that, they walked around, holding hands. It was nice just to be together without school to worry about, and to feel Draco's hand on his own. After he mentioned needing another quill, Draco spent more money on him by going into Scrivenshaft's and buying him an expensive, emerald green eagle feather quill.
"You know," Jacob said as they walked out, turning to Draco and wrapping his arms around his waist, "I don't need you to buy these things for me. Really, I'm not that broke." He still didn't have access to his money, and he missed it, but it wasn't as if he couldn't deal. Besides, if he needed money, Severus was always more than willing to give him what he needed.
"I don't do it because I think you're broke," Draco said, wrapping his arms around Jacob's waist. "I do it because I like doing nice stuff for my boyfriend. Is that a crime?"
Jacob had to admit that his heart skipped a beat as Draco called him his boyfriend. "I suppose not," he said, leaning in and giving the blond a soft, lingering kiss. "So, I'm your boyfriend, am I?"
Draco rolled his eyes, though he felt the blond tense up a bit. "Of course," he said. "We're exclusive, aren't we? You're not planning on seeing anyone else for any reason, are you?" Jacob smiled at him, shaking his head to indicate that no he was not planning on doing either of those things. "Good." He felt Draco's body relax just a bit. "I really need to go and look for a present for you, though."
Jacob felt his heart skip a beat again, but for an entirely different reason. "Yeah, Hermione is waiting for me, I'm sure," he said. They shared a quick kiss again before the two of them separated. Draco waved at Pansy, Daphne, and Blaise who were standing off nearby. He looked over to see Hermione and Terry separating a bit, and she waved at him before walking over.
"Hey, so how was your date with Draco?" Hermione asked.
"Good," he said, a light blush crossing his cheeks. "He took me to a nice restaurant, and then bought me a quill." He showed it to her. "He paid for everything."
"He likes doing stuff for you," Hermione said. "That's not a bad thing. You did the same thing, too. If it makes you uncomfortable for him to buy expensive things for you, then tell him. It never bothered me." It had bothered Ron, though, and she didn't need to say that. He would not be like Ron. If his rich boyfriend wanted to buy him nice things because it made him feel good, then that was going to be okay with him.
He and Hermione walked down the street for a bit, passing Ron and Lavender on the side of the street - when had that happened? - before she suggested going into Tomes and Scrolls to look for gifts. The question still remained - what in the hell was he going to get Draco and Severus?