Title: Would you ask me?
Author: Dancing Moon [email protected]
Archive: Sooner or later, FF.net. Anyone else wants, just ask
Rating: PG
Warnings: Borderline slash, melancholy
Pairing: AD/SS
Soundtrack: David Bowie
Notes: Honest comments welcomed! Also, if there's someone willing to beta this thing for me, gimme a shout please ^_^

Would you ask me?

He's writing as I enter. Efficiently, his quill moving smoothly over the parchment, not a drop of ink is spilled. So different from own handwriting, which is jagged and uneven. Much like myself.

"Ah, Severus," twinkling smile, but I have long learned to find the steel beneath. "What can I do for you?"

Save me

My face impassive, I show him the letter from Lucius. It is filled with dire threats, only thinly disguised as a parents concern.
Though the son nearly worships me, the father is not as easily fooled by my many masks. I know well that Lord Malfoy is eagerly awaiting the moment I slip up - and I will, this none of us doubt. It's not difficult to spot his hatred once one knows what to look for; his longing to finally find proof about my betrayal, his wish to remove all rivals from "our" Lord's favor, blazes in his eyes.

We discuss the letter shortly and move on to other matters, one graver than the other, but I already know the outcome. I will return, become the subservient puppet once more. Although, there are times I doubt that any of my spying is an act... the only difference is, after all, whom I bow to.
No, that is not true. Manipulative and powerful they might be, but where it counts, my two lords are different like night and day.
One forces me to my knees with mind-numbing pain. The other drags me to my feet with heart-wrenching gentleness.

My face must have betrayed me, because he is looking worried now. I curse silently, yet I feel some of the tension in my shoulders dissipate at the promise of Albus comforting words.
How can he do this? One nutty old man, who still manages to spread sunshine and warmth even in the darkest of hearts.

"Can I offer you some tea, my child?"

You offer me salvation

Of course I decline, I always do. And, as usual, he ignores it and pours me a cup, chattering away about nothing. I believe the tiniest of smiles is forming on my face. Blasted man, when will he learn to leave me alone?


Am I fit to accept anything from you?

He is no young man, our headmaster, but his heart is still a child's heart, his smile is still true. In the dark of the night, when I am too exhausted to stir a cauldron and too unnerved to rest, I prowl the halls of Hogwarts, only the memory of his smile keeping me on my feet. Because as long as there is such simple joy in this world, even with all terrors he must have seen, there is still hope for something better. The hope is weak, and I fear that the children we try to guard will loose their innocence far too soon, but it is not wholly extinguished yet. Dimmed, certainly, but still here... twinkling like fading embers, distant stars, ancient eyes.

Would it that his light was strong enough to penetrate my own darkness, but unfortunately, that is no option, even if I were prepared to attempt it. As things are, I must rather struggle to make certain my darkness does not touch him, and even so, my reports cut him deep. Too deep, for my peace of mind, but I can not protect this joyful old man from the depravity outside of the castle; not without putting us all in terrible danger.

"Excuse me, Headmaster," I finally force myself to say, "but I have taken up enough of your time. I bid you goodnight." I rise while speaking, my dark eyes trained on his blue. Students, silly and ignorant creatures, enter these chambers and marvel at the collection of odd artifacts. They never understand that the greatest wonder in here is the man sitting at the other side of the cluttered desk. Then... neither did I, back in those careless days.

"Please stay, Severus," he asks me, serious but now demanding. Have we forgotten something important?
"Unless you have an experiment going tonight?"

I shake my head. No, this is not a night for magic, but rather one for old troubles and hurts. As he continues, I hear that he is pleased with my answer.
It almost frightens me, because I so seldom manage to please him, and every time I do, I end up disappointing him even worse, given enough time.

"Come, child," he beckons, "I think a brisk walk will do these old bones well."

I'd follow you until the ends of the world

As we reach the moving stairs, I offer him my arm. It is mere courtesy, maybe tinged with a weak wish to touch his purity for a moment, but I care not to dwell on that too long. He accepts gracefully, not because he is old, but because he understands.
How odd. This man, old in body and young in heart, understands me, younger in years but born ancient. He has not always understood, nor have I him, truth to be told.
But if the choice stands between a child already marked for darkness, and three innocent fools playing in the light, it isn't really a choice, is it?
Besides, I returned. They, I know with certainty, would not have.

For you, I came back

His hand, feather-light and wrinkled, continues to rest on my arm as we walk through the empty halls.
None of us make much noise, only those garishly colored robes rustle occasionally. I enjoy this stillness, because it is the silence of dreaming life rather than the void of death which is what usually surrounds me.
The stairs hurry to move into the most appropriate spots as we come near them, recognizing their master and wishing to please him. He chuckles and points; two of them have collided, the steps moving in all directions before the knot is resolved, and the two staircases settle beside each other.

"They only do that for you," I murmur.

"So I've noticed," he laughs, pulling me along until we stand on one of the stairs leading up the north tower. "Never during daytime, though. I wonder why?"

I smirk. Of course he would never see that, trusting old fool that he is.
"I would assume that the castle feels somewhat possessive of you. It would not do to show all the students that, no matter what they do in these halls, they will be merely guests while you... This is your home."

Ah, how sadly he shakes his head now. I curse silently as I realize that I have managed to remind him of yet another standing argument between us.
"Hogwarts is your home as much as mine, Severus."

My home is where you wait

My lips stay closed, though I feel my hands clench involuntarily. Say nothing, maybe he will let it rest tonight. How can I explain to him that, even though the dungeons have seen their fair share of blood and pain, they are not willing to accept my kind of darkness? I bear black, but it is a different color from any ever encountered at Hogwarts. My robes are not the kind for hunted children to hide behind; no respite is found in my shadow. This darkness inside of me is a devouring void, having sucked away many a soul.

You are my soul

"Severus..." Almost tenderly, his wrinkled hand smoothes away my lank hair. I wince, because his light burns when it comes too close. I think he notices, because he sighs dejectedly, and again rests his hand on my arm.
I ought to be relieved that he is not touching my corruption. Truly, I should. Instead, I feel only churning emptiness. I will not defile him, not even in my thoughts. I will not!

His voice, so soft, wraps around me, giving comfort. "Child, my troubled child, when while you allow yourself to rest?"

In hell

We stand there, together in the night. All is silent, and as I watch, he slowly allows his inner warmth to be revealed. I, dark moth marked by death, can only stand mesmerized as Albus Dumbledore unravels the fine cloak he has cast over his powers.
How he shines, my mind whispers, surely this power must be greater than anything Voldemort has?
How warm he seems, my traitorous body gasps, could he not unfreeze us?
How pure he is, my heart marvels, how perfect and great and so very very pure...

If you'd have me, I'd be yours

I sag against him, without words, because I can not bear to speak my pain. Not tonight, not any night. And, ever so gently, he catches me. Tender. Holds me close, as I drift away.
I know, that thought he was ready to catch any falling child, only one of those who struggled free of his grip ever returned.

I am yours

Calming hands on a pale brow.
"Rest, my dearest boy. Trust in me tonight, and sleep, Severus."

You are mine, and I will always hold you when you fall

The end

Well? Pwetty pweasy with sugar on top, give an ickle bit of feedback?

/Dancing Moon