Disclaimer: Please note that all characters/places/things/ideas upon which I have drawn are the intellectual property of J.K. Rowling. I am not profiting from use of her creations. I reserve all rights to my original contributions to Snape lore.

Summary: Following the battle in the Department of Mysteries, Lucius Malfoy is sent to Azkaban, leaving Severus Snape to ponder the years of love and transgressions they had shared. Romance/angst. SS/LM slash.

Rating: R for subject matter and sexuality

Main Characters: Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy

Spoilers: All

Dark Things

By Daphne Dunham

Lucius Malfoy was in Azkaban.

That Potter boy had done it again: he'd meddled at the Ministry, been able to name Lucius a Death Eater, and as a result, he'd effectively ruined him – had single-handedly destroyed the value of the Malfoy name.

Damn Harry Potter.

The news had astonished Severus Snape, of course. He'd always thought Lucius Malfoy was too strong, too shrewd for Azkaban. The Potions Master could levy such judgment with great authority, of course, being that he'd known Lucius for years. After all, their fathers had been mates during their school days – were business associates of sorts, and as a result, Severus had few childhood memories in which the young aristocrat did not play a role.

Severus remembered their school days together in particular. He remembered that he'd been a decidedly awkward youth, the product of a broken home whose problems only followed him to Hogwarts. Lucius, however, already in his fifth year by the time Severus arrived at school, had been quite different.

Even at age sixteen, the fair-haired heir to one of the most esteemed wizarding families had been a magnificent specimen – young, strong, and already sufficiently perverted. He'd been the image of radiant masculinity – captain of the Slytherin Quidditch team, prefect, and simultaneously beautiful, cruel, and charismatic. He was older than most of the other boys in his year, and consequentially, there were rumors of an ill-fated semester at Beauxbatons. Lucius never confirmed or refuted such hearsay: it added to his mystique, and he preferred it that way.

Only Severus knew the truth – that Cassius Malfoy had delayed his son's education by a year in order to ensure that he'd be the most brilliant and developed among his peers. Severus knew, but he'd kept Lucius' secret. It was because Severus had willing kept this secret that Lucius Malfoy had guarded him from the cruelty of his peers, from the taunting of the likes of James Potter.

For three glorious years, Severus Snape enjoyed the privilege of being under the watchful eye of Lucius Malfoy. And then one day, the benefits of Lucius' protection had come to an abrupt end: he'd completed his schooling, passed most of his N.E.W.T.s, and Severus was quite literally left to the wolves.

"We'll see how brave you are now without Malfoy, Snivellus," James Potter had sneered.

In retrospect, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to Severus that Potter and his lackeys would commence their ritualistic torment of him in the absence of Lucius; nor should it have come as a surprise to them that Severus would respond with the utmost animosity. The hook-nosed boy was far from an innocent, after all, and he utilized his admirable repertoire of hexes most aptly.

But despite Potter's claim, Severus wasn't without Lucius: he'd seen him on holidays and at parties and by coincidence at Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley. It was, in fact, while at such an aforementioned holiday party that the course of Severus Snape's life was forever altered by his fair-haired friend.

Malfoy Mansion had been particularly resplendent that evening: the family's holiday parties were the stuff of legends, after all, and it was apparent that the house elves had outdone themselves this particular year. Despite this, Severus could still recall all too well how his mother's face had been creased with apprehension as they arrived at the manor. Penelope Snape knew too well that her husband was quite prone to bad behavior when he was intoxicated (which was often), and as the Snape family name still managed to command at least a little lingering respect in the wizarding world, she had had been anxious to avoid Marcus' embarrassing propensity for violence and lechery.

"It's just so tedious," Lucius had sighed to Severus that night in the library.

The young aristocrat always grew weary of the endless trays of puddings and the guests who grew increasingly obnoxious as the night wore on, and Severus was only half-listening when he spoke. He had, after all, heard the tirade countless times before. Instead, the hook-nosed teenager busied himself by studying Cassius Malfoy's rather extensive taxidermy collection. The carcasses of runespoors and bugbears decorated the library, and there had been a new addition since Severus' last visit: a Gytrash.

"Must you always stare at those morbid things?" Lucius asked with disdain.

"I think they're beautiful," Severus had replied matter-of-factly. "So many people find beauty only in the good and the pure, but it exists in other things as well – in decay and despair and death – in dark things like this."

Perhaps it had been the passion in the young wizard's voice when he spoke on the nature of beauty that moved Lucius. Perhaps it was because there was innate truth in the dark-haired boy's words and a subtle profundity in his conviction. Perhaps it had been because Lucius still remembered how alluringly melancholic Severus had been as a child – harassed and insecure and angry with the world. Regardless of the reasons, Lucius found himself suddenly enthralled by the hook-nosed boy before him, and he leaned closer, tracing a fascinated fingertip down Severus' delicate and pallid cheek.

"I find beauty in dark things as well, you know," he whispered.

It would have been difficult for Severus to miss the blatant undertones in Lucius' comment, for him not to realise that in referencing what Severus referred to as "dark things," he wasn't talking about felled beasts at all – he was talking about him. And being that he possessed the brilliant mind that he did, Severus was also keenly aware that – despite Lucius' suggestion – his untidy hair, beak-ish nose, and sallow skin were significantly less than beautiful. Consequentially, Severus smirked unappreciatively at the comment and turned away.

"I'm ugly," he spat simply, shrugging off Lucius' touch.

As to be expected, Lucius responded to Severus' hostility with distinct displeasure: he was, after all, a Malfoy, and Malfoys were not accustomed to having the validity of their opinions refuted. Abruptly, he seized the boy's chin in his palm and forced him to gaze steadily into his eyes.

"You're beautiful if I say you are, Snape," Lucius informed him tersely, his lips curling into an arrogant grin over his perfect, white teeth as he studied Severus' increasingly perplexed face. "Your eyes," he murmured, "your skin, your lips…"

It was true: the boy had remarkable eyes – deep and dark and fathomless, and the lashes that framed them were long and full and fluttery. Even his skin looked more creamy than ashen by candlelight. And despite Severus' tendency to gnaw on his lower lip, his mouth was lush and pouty, begging to be kissed – or so Lucius thought anyway, as was apparent by the way he promptly pressed his lips to Severus'.

Severus was unprepared for the kiss when it came. He gasped into Lucius' open mouth and tried to retreat as the blonde, young wizard suckled his lips and swept his mouth with his tongue. His resistance proved futile, however, as the more he struggled to deny himself the pleasure of the moment, the more Lucius sought it, and within moments, the latter had slipped a hand to Severus' groin and was exploring the region with the identical avid interest as he was his mouth. The way Lucius touched him – pursued him with attentiveness and tenderness and enthrallment – quite nearly convinced Severus that perhaps the blonde young man did find him beautiful after all. Indeed, the mounting throbbing below Severus' waistline indicated that his body was quite loath to follow suit with his will, and he soon found himself returning Lucius' kisses.

Severus supposed it had been Lucius' suggestion that they make their way to the third floor of the Malfoy Mansion – to Lucius' decadent chambers and the bed that lie therein. He supposed, although he couldn't quite recall. He did, however, still remember how confident Lucius had been, how he'd expertly wielded his body for both their pleasures – the way he was simultaneously within him, above him, possessing him, devouring him.

"You've done this before?" Severus had asked breathlessly as Lucius' lithe fingers made easy work of the buttons on his pants.

Lucius declined to reply, but the glint in his eyes and the grin of his face served as testimony enough that he had. Severus didn't ask when or with whom Lucius had gained his experience; he had the distinct impression he probably wouldn't want to know the answer.

Lucius had insisted on gazing at Severus as he took him: he stared into his eyes, his blonde locks dripping over his face, a fountain of gold flowing over his ivory visage. He watched with fascination the shifting expressions on the face of the boy beneath him – the grimace of pain that melted into an ecstatic glaze. And Lucius smiled as he beheld the hook-nosed teenager panting and squirming and desperately rocking his hips in time to the rhythm of his strokes and thrusts.

When Severus came, it was with bursting lungs and a foreign, feral groan. Having been raised beneath the furious fists of Marcus Snape, he never knew that masculine hands were capable of eliciting anything but pain and misery. Lucius, however, had shown him otherwise, and afterwards, they fell asleep, their pulses racing and their sweaty, sticky limbs entangled.

Lucius' eyes were lazy in the morning, like a dull fog rolling in over the countryside. He'd seemed startled at first when he woke to find the dark-haired youth still beside him, but he smiled when he saw the furious flush steal across Severus' cheeks, and he protested his leaving when he made to do so. Indeed, Severus was young and knew nothing of the decorum of such trysts; Lucius could scarcely be angry with him for his naïvete. Instead, he ran a hand across Severus' stomach, barely grazing the flesh with his fingertips, and was quite pleased when he slipped his hand lower and found tangible evidence that the boy had not regretted the events of the previous evening.

"My father won't approve, you know," Lucius murmured as he sought to relieve the hook-nosed boy's apparent ache.

"Mine won't care," Severus managed to whisper before a moan caught in his throat.

Lucius was right, of course. There were great, gruesome glares from Cassius Malfoy later that morning when they stumbled to brunch. Lucius had looked smug, dared his father's eye with smirks of his own as though challenging the patriarch to vocalise his dissent. Severus, however, avoided the older Malfoy's disapproving stare and ate his toast with exceptional silence.

"Don't mind my father," Lucius had told Severus under his breath. "He's embarrassed of me – embarrassed of what I am, embarrassed that I prefer you when he thinks I should be with someone like Narcissa."

He rolled his eyes then in the direction of Narcissa Black, who was sitting at the opposite end of the table, sipping her tea with her characteristically sour expression and beholding her poached egg with disdain.

"Dreadful cow," he murmured under his breath.

As predicted, Marcus Snape said nothing about his son's carousing. In fact, Severus had reason to believe that his father had participated in his fair share of carnal activities himself the previous night: traces of a shade of lipstick very unlike his mother's but remarkably similar to that of Madeleine Goyle's lingered on the pallid skin of his neck. Penelope Snape had, apparently, failed in her determination to keep her husband from humiliating them, and her eyes welled with tears of hurt and shame. Severus hated seeing his mother so wounded, and he hated his father for the way he neglected her – neglected both of them.

There was, however, no neglect on the part of Lucius Malfoy. Instead, there were owls with tokens and letters containing proclamations of affections; there were holidays and Hogsmeade weekends spent in one another's arms. Indeed, Lucius Malfoy proved a most conscientious lover as well as a welcome distraction from the ritualistic torment of James Potter and his minions.

Not long after, Lucius and Severus had taken their Dark Marks together. Lucius had begged him, determined that it would please his father. Partly for loathing of Potter but mostly for love of Lucius, Severus had acquiesced. He still remembered that night; he remembered how Lucius had stood with him, how they'd knelt together before the Dark Lord and pledged themselves to his service. He recalled how Voldemort's serpentine eyes had narrowed into wickedly amused slits, and his lips had curved into a venomous grin as he beheld Severus for the first time.

"Such talent… such hatred," the Dark Lord had sneered in grim approval of the hook-nosed youth before him. "Reminds me of… myself, actually."

He had pressed the tip of his wand against Severus' pale, left forearm then and uttered the incantation that sealed the young wizard's fate: Morsmordre. Instantly, the tip of Voldemort's wand grew white hot and emitted a grotesquely green light. Severus' flesh began to burn where the wand touched him, and he bit down on his lip to help block the pain, but he refused to cry out: Slytherins weren't accustomed to revealing weakness, after all. When Severus withdrew, he saw that his sallow skin was embossed with a hideous icon, the trademark of the Dark Lord: a snake tangled in the orifices of a skull.

Later that night, the two young men lay in one another's embrace, admiring the marks that bound them to their new master, the dark thing that bound them to one another.

"I love you, Severus," Lucius murmured as he ran his lips against the tender, tainted skin of his hook-nosed lover's left forearm.

Save his mother, no one had ever told Severus Snape he was loved, and to have gained the affection of the golden-haired wizard he had so long admired seemed incomprehensible to him. Consequentially, tears leaked from Severus' eyes, and he whimpered an identical declaration of affection as Lucius transferred his kisses from his arm to his damp, pallid cheeks.

There would be raids on Muggle villages to follow. And tortures and murders. And each time Severus lifted his wand to cast a curse or raised his fist to inflict pain, Lucius was beside him. Little else mattered beside this fact. Indeed, in the presence of his deadly, charismatic lover, Severus could almost forget the horror of the actions – the horror of the mark – the horror of the dark things he was willingly a part of.

Severus was never certain whether or not his mother knew that he had taken the Dark Mark in the name of his love for Lucius Malfoy. Nonetheless, he was aware that it must have disappointed her that the Snape line would inevitably end with her only son – that she wouldn't have grandchildren to dote on in her advanced years, but if it did disappoint her, she never let on.

"I want you to be happy, love," Penelope Snape told him with a smile as she smoothed his dark hair back from his sallow face affectionately. "Just be careful with a Malfoy."

Severus knew not on what authority his mother's warning was issued, but it was not long after that he learned she had been correct in her skeptical assessment of the Malfoy line. Indeed, one stifling summer afternoon, Cassius Malfoy had demanded an audience with his only son.

"Lucius, it's time you cease your flirtations with that Snape boy and fulfill your obligations to the family," the elder Malfoy had curtly informed the younger.

"It's more than flirtations, father," Lucius had replied flatly.

As Severus was to learn that very evening, the cessation of these flirtations was to take the form of Narcissa Black. The moment he was shown to Lucius' suite in Malfoy Mansion, Severus knew something was profoundly and irrevocably wrong. Such was evident in the way Lucius staggered drunkenly about his chambers and in the tears that flowed readily from his steely eyes.

"I have to produce an heir, Severus," he slurred. Because apparently Severus had seemed confused, Lucius promptly saw fit to clarify. "I am to be married by the end of the month."

It was as though Severus had been struck by Cruciatus or told that his mother had died. The throbbing that immediately ensued in his temples and the constriction that instantly seized his lungs was like nothing he'd felt before.

"The end of the month?!" Severus gasped. "To whom?"

"Narcissa Black," the blonde young man whispered. "Her father is anxious to avoid a repeat of Andromeda's mistakes, and my father is anxious for a grandson of good breeding."

"And if you don't…?" Severus choked.

"If I don't… I'll lose everything – the money, the name, the power… I'll be disowned," Lucius murmured hoarsely.

Severus cried. He felt the hot tears trickle down his pallid face as he stared into the grey eyes of the young man with whom he'd shared so much – a mark, a bed, and countless crimes. Lucius had tried to soothe him with tender kisses, but in the end, there was no comfort, no consolation that his fair-haired lover could offer to alleviate the pain of his betrothal.

That night, their tears mixed with their kisses, mixed with the fevered groping and hastily discarded robes. It was the last time Severus Snape would ever make love to Lucius Malfoy, the last time he would gaze upon the naked splendor of trim, golden body of the fair-haired Adonis before him, the last time he would run his tongue lasciviously down the cleft of that smooth, chiseled chest. And afterwards, Severus stumbled from Malfoy Mansion, eyes blurred with pain and fury.

At first, Penelope Snape didn't say anything to her son when he burst through the door of the Snape cottage that night, but when she saw the look in Severus' eyes – that awful misery characteristic of nothing else save a broken heart, she had quickly deduced the source of his anguish. She held her son as he wept bitter tears into her shoulder, and she empathized – Penelope Snape was, after all, only too familiar with Severus' torment: though he did not know it, she'd been in love with a Malfoy once too, and Cassius had cast her aside in much the same way.

That night may have marked the conclusion of Lucius and Severus as lovers, but this wasn't because Lucius had abandoned him for the sake of Narcissa Black – quite the contrary, actually. Indeed, the blonde wizard's efforts to seduce had increased tenfold since his betrothal. It was as though Lucius, having now been expressly forbidden the pleasures of the dark-haired young man, was even more determined to indulge in him.

Severus, however, resisted the older wizard's advances. It had required an extreme amount of self-discipline, and Severus had nearly succumbed on more than one occasion. There had been the periodic stolen kiss, granted, and Severus' skin still tingled with the familiar thrill when his lover's hands sought him, but the truth of the matter was that whether they liked it or not, Lucius Malfoy would soon be a married man, and Severus was determined to see him faithful. After all, the painful memories of how Marcus Snape had flaunted his infidelities haunted Severus, and despite the fact that he had no special affection for Narcissa, he could not bring himself to torment her in the way his father had tormented his mother.

Narcissa knew, of course, of the prohibited affections between Severus and her new husband. It had, after all, been difficult for her to ignore that Lucius' slate-colored eyes had gazed lustfully at the dark-haired best man at their wedding, rather than her. It had been difficult for her to ignore the way Lucius had apathetically regurgitated the vows that bound them to one another for the rest of their lives. It had been difficult for her ignore the way her sexual encounters with Lucius were always ephemeral and perfunctory, that when he spilled himself within her, the name to escape his lips sounded significantly more Latin in origin than her own.

She knew, but she didn't really care. This was, after all, a marriage of convenience, and she loved Lucius no more than he loved her.

Because of this apathy, the newly named Narcissa Black Malfoy scarcely noticed when her new husband had tried to lure Severus away during the reception that followed their hand-fasting ceremony. Once again, Lucius was drunk, and he'd stumbled at least twice as he guided Severus into a darkened corridor by the servants' quarters. He didn't say anything at first, only entwined his hand through Severus' dark hair and leaned closer to bring his lips to meet those of the younger wizard before him.

"I'll never love Narcissa, you know," Lucius murmured into his mouth. "Just you." The older wizard's breath was hot and stank of Firewhisky, and the way he pressed himself against Severus made it immediately evident what his intentions were.

"Is this what you brought me here for?" Severus snarled, pushing him away with disgust. "A quick fuck while your wife waits for you?"

"Severusssssss," Lucius breathed, slurring the last syllable of the dark-haired wizard's name as he trailed his lips down Severus' neck. "Please…"

"This is all I'll ever be to you now, isn't it?" was the hissed response. "Your lapdog – your whore – the one you run to when you're drunk and can't stand the idea of Narcissa?"

The older wizard had tried to protest, of course, but it was no use: the revelation of his newly precarious position in Lucius' life had been the turning point for Severus. It had, in fact, been precisely this epiphany that caused him to do it – that caused him to defect from the service of Lord Voldemort, that is. Severus had, after all, only taken the Dark Mark at Lucius' request – to gain his love. That love, however, had abandoned him, and indeed, without Lucius at his side to distract him, the senselessness and brutality of the killings and curses of which he had been a part suddenly horrified him.

Consequentially, the next time the familiar throbbing in his left forearm ensued – the delicate pain that summoned him to do dark things unknown – Severus complied grudgingly, and afterwards, he'd sought the help of Albus Dumbledore. He hadn't known what, exactly, to say as he gazed into the starry eyes behind the half-moon spectacles of the wizard who had once been his professor. But without words, the Hogwarts headmaster had understood all that Severus meant to convey – his confusion, his disillusionment, his grief. Dumbledore didn't lecture; he didn't make threats. Instead, his eyes glittered with sadness – pity, even. Indeed, the silvery-haired headmaster had always been quite sympathetic to the plight of the marginalized: his willingness to admit werewolves to Hogwarts was testimony enough of this fact.

"You were always a clever student, Severus – a misunderstood but clever student," he said softly, "not to mention one with much potential – potential which has been exploited."

Either because he was a very great fool or a very compassionate man, Dumbledore had offered Severus Snape an alternative, a way to atone for all the dark things he had done in the name of loving Malfoy: he asked him to spy for the anti-Voldemort movement. And Severus, in the first selfless moment of his life, accepted.

To this day, Severus still scoffed at the thought of the trust the headmaster had so blindly bestowed upon him, a disenchanted Death Eater who represented everything Dumbledore fought so adamantly against. But despite the fact that Severus Snape did not always agree with the headmaster – especially in terms of his politics – he had to admit he respected the man and was appreciative for the second chance at life he had granted him.

Shortly thereafter, Lucius summoned Severus to Malfoy Mansion once again. Hesitantly, the younger wizard conceded, the memory of the last time he had dared to enter the confines of the estate – Lucius' wedding night – lingering bitterly. He had sat, stone-faced and sullen as Lucius told him the news: Narcissa was pregnant. It had hardly come as a shock, of course. After all, the sole purpose of Lucius' marriage was to produce an heir. Nonetheless, Severus had been surprised when the young aristocrat continued to speak, when he asked Severus to be the godfather to the child in Narcissa's womb.

"Godfather?" Severus had choked in disbelief.

Lucius merely nodded. "It's the least I can do, Severus," he replied.

There was an uncharacteristic melancholy in Lucius' voice – a hint of remorse, perhaps, for how his marriage to Narcissa had estranged them from one another. Indeed, Severus was disinclined to protest the validity of the older wizard's statement: naming Severus godfather to the Malfoy heir was the least Lucius could do, and although such an act could not erase the heartache they had suffered, it was an attempt at reparation. For that, Severus was grateful.

"My son is your son," Lucius had insisted. "Love him as you would your own."

Severus did precisely that, of course, and even as Lucius named his former lover godfather to his son, he never knew of the hook-nosed young man's betrayal to the Dark Mark that bound them – to that icon that represented the love and destruction they had once shared. Severus often wondered how Lucius would feel if he knew that he had entrusted the solitary Malfoy heir to the care of a turncoat, a traitor. It plagued Severus, although he, an admittedly accomplished Occlumens, was loath to indicate such.

Time had proven that Draco Malfoy was decidedly not his father. Despite the overwhelming physical similarities, the boy was far more cruel and deceitful than Lucius had ever been at his age. Nonetheless, Severus Snape could not look at his godson without being reminded of Lucius and all the things – those dark and beautiful moments – that transpired between them. Indeed, Azkaban sentence or not, Severus would not easily forget the fair-haired wizard he had once loved: Draco wouldn't let him.

"You're going to pay," Draco had hissed at the Potter boy when he, too, had learned of Lucius' imprisonment. "I'm going to make you pay for what you've done to my father…"

Severus' lips had curled into a tight, cold sneer when he heard his godson's venomous pledge, and he tacitly made a vow of his own: he, too, would make Harry Potter suffer for his role in condemning Lucius Malfoy. He'd make the spectacled boy suffer in Potions class and the Occlumency lessons that Dumbledore had insisted they resume; he'd make him suffer with points from Gryffindor and unnerving glares. Severus Snape would have to punish Potter in more covert ways than Draco had the luxury of indulging in, of course, but he would.

For Lucius.


A/N: "You're going to pay" etc. is a direct quote from OotP, Chapter 38.