Games of Trust

Notes: This is probably not set in the same Universe as New Depths, but if you want to imagine it is, that's no skin off my nose. It will probably be one of my darkest fics, because it involves a fully-fledged Lucius Malfoy rather than the slightly diluted schoolboy version which featured in ND. I really wish ff.net would invent a rating between PG-13 and R, because this (and New Depths) is neither of those and belongs somewhere in the middle. I am also aware that ff.net doesn't approve of a lot of my formatting, but I'm sure you can figure it all out.

. . .

Chapter One

The night was dark, but not pitch black. This, Lucius Malfoy thought, was a very un-poetic end to a good day. However there was a gibbous moon which would be full by the end of the week. This made Lucius smile slightly; maybe the day wasn't over yet after all.

Malfoy Manor was an impressive stone structure on the outskirts of a large village in Wiltshire. The nearby Muggle population thought it was a restricted historical building under the protection of the National trust, which was more than fine from Lucius' point of view. They had nothing to do with him, and he had as little as possible to do with them.

Narcissa Malfoy did not live here, at least not at this time of year. She and Lucius had married and produced their single son on some kind of whim. There was a certain strange love there, but both had their own lives and both lived them with little regard for the other, until they happened to find themselves spending a season in the same home. It was late summer and Narcissa had yet to bring the infant Draco home from their coastal retreat. Lucius would probably spend a month or so being reminded why they had adopted this lifestyle, then head for the city. But until his wife's return, he intended to have a bit of fun.

The Butler let him in and the house elf took his coat and hat. The maid advised him to avoid the conservatory until the goblin nest had been dealt with and the cook told him that dinner would be brought up to him in his library in two hours' time. The manor was bustling with life, but none of it reported the arrival of any visitors. Nonetheless Lucius headed upstairs, pausing to extinguish a few torches. He disliked too much light.

The door to his own room was locked. From the inside. Alone, he allowed himself a smile of anticipation, unsheathed his wand and murmured "allohamora!" Slowly, the door swung open and Lucius strolled inside. It was darker in here than anywhere else, and the air smelled like cinnamon and sex. Yes, he thought. He's here. But where. . .?

The bed was empty, but that would have been predictable. Similarly the wardrobe was devoid of life. Was he getting more imaginative? Lucius tried the connected bathroom and under the bed, peering into every nook and cranny until his gaze fell of the door in the corner. It was one never used by him for various reasons, but there was a handprint in the dust by the doorknob. He grasped the knob, pushed the door open, and stepped out into the chill of the night air.

A figure was perched on the rail around the balcony. It had shoulder-length curls and a slim build. Its cloak blew out behind it, fluttering darkly over the estates below, and in its hands was a single rose. Lucius didn't shut the door; he hated the balcony despite its romantic setting. Unfortunately his visitor did not seem to know this.

The figure slid down from the railing, twirling the flower deftly in his fingers. As he approached Lucius he murmured, "Would you give your throat to the wolf of the red rose?"

Lucius regarded his secret lover with an amused smile. "We've talked about this before, Remus."

The figure wasn't deterred, and handed the rose to Lucius.

"Really, this is more than enough." Lucius flung the rose over the railing and turned back inside the room. With an inaudible sigh, Remus Lupin followed him. "You know I don't like this romantic foolishness," Lucius explained, not for the first time.

"I happen to think meeting in secret like this is very romantic indeed," said Lupin, smiling.

"You know fine well that is for practical purposes."

"Well yes, but – "Lupin began, but he was silenced by Lucius leaning in to kiss him firmly.

"Shut up, Lupin," murmured Lucius, against his lover's lips.

"Whatever you say," came the loyal reply.

Lily Potter watched with a mother's polite yet anxious stare as Sirius Black picked up her son and bounced him playfully on his knee. Sirius had done this a thousand times before and the worst mishap to befall anyone due to this simple game was Sirius' frequent coverings in baby sick; however, Lily was an attentive parent and as much as she loved Sirius she certainly didn't trust him or his reflexes. Harry, oblivious to all this, gurgled happily in his Godfather's arms.

"Okay, it's been an hour and a half," complained Peter Pettigrew from his chair by the fire. "Where the hell is Prongs?"

"Tarting himself up as usual," said Sirius, not taking his eyes off the smiling infant. "Is your daddy a vain old fart? Yes he is, isn't he! Say, 'my daddy is a vain old fart' for me –"

"Sirius!" snapped Lily, trying not to smile. "Give him a few years at least before you train him up as one of your crude, immature cronies. Ah," she added as the living-room door opened. "Here he is."

James Potter ambled into the room, still straightening a loud tie against an even louder shirt. Lily winced at his choice of evening attire, but said nothing. However, she did comment on his new hair-style.

"James Potter, how much of my hairspray have you wasted?"

James grinned at her. "Just enough, love. What do you think? Reckon I'll pull tonight?"

"Not if you want a home tomorrow morning," Lily countered, giving him her most charming smile. James winked at her, and slumped onto the couch beside Sirius.

"You look like a prat, Prongs," said Sirius, wrinkling his nose at his best friend. "Harry, tell daddy he looks like a prat –"

"Are we set then?" asked Peter, standing up. He seemed overly anxious to leave the house, but James put his feet up on the coffee table.

"Nah, of course we aren't, Moony isn't here yet. We can't go Marauding without out werewolf, can we?"

Sirius glared darkly at James, and handed Harry to him. "Remus isn't coming," he said flatly.

"Not coming? Don't be absurd. Like I just said, we can't go –"

"Marauding without our werewolf. I know. But he isn't coming, Prongs." Sirius stared at James' feet, and Lily followed his gaze. She swatted James' boots off the table, and then gave Sirius a concerned look.

"Where is he then?" she asked.

Sirius seemed reluctant to answer, but James was looking curiously at him now. Sirius and Remus were rarely seen without each other – or at least, this had been the case until a few months ago. Since then Remus had become elusive, making appearances at his friends' houses or gatherings in a whimsical manner, and rarely giving an adequate explanation for his absences. James had been almost certain that his friends had formed some kind of romantic relationship until Remus' sudden withdrawal from the group. Maybe they had broken up, James had told himself, but soon the answer had become very clear. As he stared expectantly at Sirius, he knew exactly why Remus was not there tonight.

"He's visiting his mysterious boyfriend," Sirius spat. James nodded once, but Lily scowled deeply.

"Do you know who this person is yet?" she demanded.

Sirius shook his head. "If I knew it wouldn't bother me so much. As it is, he's got me worried."

James shrugged. "He'll come round eventually," he said reasonably. "If this person is so awful he can't be introduced to us, it can only be a matter of time before Remus gets bored and comes back."

"Are you still living with him?" Lily asked gently.

"Of course. When he comes home. When he's not with this mystery man, he's working overtime."

"I didn't know he was working." Lily made a valiant but misguided effort to change the subject away from Remus' love life. "What's he doing now?"

Sirius shrugged. "I haven't really had the chance to ask him. Something at the Ministry. All I know is, he works for Lucius Malfoy; some paper-pushing job."

"Malfoy?" yelped James, passing Harry quickly to Lily. "Sirius, he's a –"

"No proof, Prongs, remember?"

"He's been seen doing horrific things, Padfoot! And he despises half-breeds - what if he finds out there's a werewolf working for him?"

Sirius managed to look completely unmoved. "Then he'll have to fight Mr Mystery Man for Moony's attention long enough to kill him," he said coldly.

The atmosphere in the room had gone very stale. Lily glanced at her husband and their friends, all of whom seemed lost in thought. Suddenly she stood up and passed Harry to peter, who was still hovering by the fireplace.

"Who wants a cup of tea before you leave?" she asked, forcing a cheerful smile onto her face.

"No, Lils," sighed James. "We'd better go." He stood up and dragged Sirius up with him, took his son from Peter, hugged him, and handed him back to Lily, who finally put him down in his play-pen. Harry waved happily at them as they got ready to leave, and James had to force a grin. He patted the miserable Sirius on the shoulder, kissed Lilly, and led the way outdoors.

It was now as close to genuine pitch black as is physically possible, but Remus Lupin didn't notice. He had excellent night vision, and his senses of smell and hearing made up for any slight problems with his sight. This close to full moon, his already astonishing senses were amplified tenfold, and this had the unexpected advantage of making sexual encounters all the more enjoyable. A relatively unknown fact about werewolves, Remus had told Lucius a while ago, is that not only does the mate-for-life rule bare no weight at all, but a werewolf is far more promiscuous than the average human, with an enhanced sexual appetite around the time of the full moon. Only when they find their soul mate do they settle down into a steady routine, and until then they could be unpredictable and dangerous. Of course, this wasn't one hundred percent true, but Remus knew Lucius and he had a keen sense of exactly what to say to him. Lupin was not stupid, and he knew fine well that Lucius had a similar skill with him. On the other hand, Lupin was far from gullible, although he was trusting, loyal and utterly devoted. It certainly wasn't his fault if Lucius believed whatever he said about werewolves.

Remus lay there staring up at the ceiling as he listened to Lucius moving around in the bathroom. The shower turned on then off again after barely a minute, and Lucius appeared in the doorway.

"Shower?" he offered. Remus glanced at him and shook his head. Lucius shrugged and slid back into bed. Remus ran his fingers over his still-wet torso.

"Ever heard of towels?"

"I like water." Lucius shook out his hair then leaned back onto the pillows. He seemed to Remus to be lost somewhere between reptilian and feline; his mannerisms combined the solitary tiger and the lethargic basking snake. His hair hung over his shoulders like a lion's mane, and a lizard-quick tongue flickered over his dry lips as he stared up at Remus. Lazily, he reached out and grasped Remus' chin in his fingers.

"So pretty," he murmured, and returned the werewolf's shy smile with a predatory one. "You're being wasted, you know. I could get you a proper job and-"

"Don't," said Remus quickly. "You said you wouldn't do this any more."

Lucius looked surprised. "I was only saying that –"

"I know what you were only saying, and I know what you were only building up to. We've got the agreement, and it's worked fine so far. Don't spoil it, please."

The agreement had indeed worked up to a point. Lucius had no intention of sticking to it forever though; it basically said that Remus wouldn't betray Lucius to the Ministry of Magic if Lucius kept up his side of the bargain. His side consisted of a promise not to persist in attempting to recruit Remus as a servant of Lord Voldemort. It was a fragile agreement bound only by sexual attraction and a mutual fascination, but the balance had been kept so far by equally mutual bloody mindedness.

"Of course, the alternative offer is always open," Lupin added. "Should you wish to change your ways."

Lucius growled faintly. "You know that's not going to happen," he snapped. Moving to press Remus down on the bed. "You're the only one who actually knows me, did you realise that?" he asked, climbing on top of the werewolf. "I've been completely honest with you. You know what I am, and you know I'm not going to change, but you also know that a Death Eater isn't all I am." He paused to take Remus' nipple in his teeth, waited until he had evoked the desired yelp of mixed pain and pleasure, before he released the skin and grinned. "I'm a fantastic lover, for a start."

"No argument there," gasped Remus, his fingers working themselves into Lucius' hair and pulling him in for a deep kiss. Lucius pressed himself down against the lean body beneath him. Remus dragged his nails down Lucius' back, but the blond was, as always, able to hold his own against the werewolf no matter how close to full moon it might be. He sank his teeth into the nape of Remus' neck and drew back moments before he tasted blood on his lips.

"Shit!" the smaller man yelped. "What are you, a vampire?"

"Don't think so." Lucius had no choice but to dab the blood away with the sheet, but when Remus tried to push him off he pressed him back against the bed. It wasn't long before Remus gave up any form of resistance; it wasn't worth the effort and ultimately life was much easier that way.

"You all right Sirius? Going to drink that?"

Sirius peered up at James from under the curtain of jet black hair around his face. "Huh?" he said.

"That. Drinking. Are you?" James' face creased with concern for his friend. They had been in the pub for three hours and Sirius was still staring glumly at his second drink. James was distinctly unhappy with tonight; it was supposed to be the Marauders' monthly get-together. The four of them had their own lives now, but no one wanted to lose touch, so they made sure they met up at least once a month. The truth was they usually met up a lot more than once a month, but these evenings were purely for pleasure purposes. No one was supposed to be upset or angry or depressed. But tonight was a shamble: Remus hadn't bothered to make an appearance and Sirius was down in the dumps. James and Peter had spent a lot of time playing darts and reminiscing, but the storm cloud that was Sirius' mood hung over them the entire evening. Eventually they both turned to stare at him.

"I'm fine," said Sirius.

"That's the only thing you've said in the past hour and a half," snapped James. "Look," he added in a softer tone. "I know you're pissed off that Remus isn't here, but really, you are allowed to enjoy yourself. Unless there's something you want to talk to us about. . ." he added tactfully.

Sirius stared at him and picked up his glass. He drank deeply from it, then once it was drained, set it back on the table. "I'll need a few more of these first," he said. Once James and Peter and filled the table with full glasses of beer, and Sirius had started working his way through them, James questioned him again.

"So what's the matter?"

Sirius pretended to rearrange his hair, then planted his hands down on the table and made sure all his fingers were evenly spaced out. James glared at him. Peter tried to mimic James. Both were exceedingly intimidating.

"All right," Sirius sighed. "It's Remus. I can't stand him keeping this big secret from us; I thought he'd gotten over all that secrecy!"

James glanced sideways at Peter, who shrugged. Sirius picked up another glass and began to drink from it noisily.

"I don't think that's all there is to it," said James.

"Give me a chance," snapped Sirius. He slammed down the glass and started on another. Eventually he put it down and stared blearily at James. The alcohol had obviously rushed straight to his head.

"You," said Sirius, waving a finger at James. "You're my bestest friend. Always will be. I love you, man."

James smiled at him. "Love you too, Siri. In a purely platonic way."

"Yes. Exactly. That's how we are, mate." Here, Sirius paused to take another long drink. "Even though," he continued, "you know what I'm like. If you catch my wave."

"I get your drift, yes."

Sirius nodded. "You're a married man, Jim, and I'm never going to have that. Never ever. What with not being especially attracted to those of a female nature and that whole thing. You an' me, we're good mates. The best. But just mates."

James nodded. "I'm sure Lily will be especially glad to hear that."

"Yeah. But, you see, Jim, you see. There might be, within our little group of purely platonic friends, someone I don't see as all that plato-ish. Do you see what I'm getting at?"

James nodded again, but Peter looked thoroughly lost. Sirius stared at him.

"What I'm tryin' to say, albeit with less'an my usual fluency, is that there's someone who means a lot to me. I mean you mean a lot to me, Peter mate, and James does too, what with being my bestest friend and someone I love completely in a nonsexual but adoring and devoted fashion. . ." he stopped there and seemed to go back over everything he'd just said in his head. He opened his mouth again, looked confused, and closed it. He looked imploringly at James for help.

"He's saying he fancies Moony."

Peter's eyes widened in sudden and relieved comprehension. "Oh," he said. "Well everyone knows that."

Sirius gaped at him. James reached out and gently pushed his chin up to close his mouth, but Sirius didn't take his eyes off Peter.

"Who," he growled, "exactly, is everyone?"

Peter squirmed. "Well. . .Me and James. . ."

"Oh, you're in on it too!" Sirius rounded on James, who held his hands up in defence. "Platonic love of your life!" he yelped. "You can't kill me! Even if I do know your deepest darkest secret."

"That's not my –"Sirius began, then decided against finishing that sentence. "I mean, you KNEW I've been in love with Remus all this time? And you never said anything?"

James nodded. "Sorry, Padfoot. . .We just didn't want to interfere or anything. Actually I thought you two were getting jiggy behind our backs, but apparently that's not right. . .is it?"

"No," snapped Sirius sourly. "I'd be a happier man if it was true. But apparently he prefers Mr E to me."

"Mr. . .?" said James, then "Oh. Well, maybe he just doesn't know you like him."

"He's the only one then."

"Ouch."

"Quite."

James stared long and hard at his friend. He had never seen Sirius looking so miserable. Depressed wasn't a normal mood for Sirius, who was usually the one bouncing on other people and telling them to cheer up. At the moment, he looked thoroughly dejected; his eyes were red-rimmed and his bottom lip was wobbling dangerously. Peter patted Sirius nervously on the shoulder, while James decided to get some more drinks in. When he returned with another round, Sirius seemed to have recovered a little and was flicking peanuts at the backside of a barmaid, who was bent over a table to clean it. None of them hit their target, which was highly unusual for Sirius. James picked up a peanut, tossed it up and down a couple of times, then flicked it. The barmaid yelped and straightened up, turning to glare at them. James put on his innocent face and jerked his thumb accusingly at Sirius, who murmured something like "Sorry miss," then went back to his drink. The barmaid flicked her hair and moved on to the next table.

"You could have had her," said James matter-of-factly.

"I didn't want her, you plank."

"You've never said no to a brief fling with a girl before. You've really got it bad, haven't you?"

Sirius snorted. "Jim, I have not "got it bad". I'm in love. Moony is everything to me, and he's completely forgotten I exist!" The last few words came out as a strangled wail. James reached out and gripped his friend's arm soothingly.

"Shh," he whispered. "Don't get hysterical. We should never have let you drink in this state. Peter, let's get him home. . ."

Together they manhandled Sirius out of the pub and along the road, until they came to the flat Sirius shared with Remus. They helped him inside and up the stairs, and into his bedroom. Sirius deposited himself onto the bed and promptly fell asleep, but James was gazing in astonished awe at the walls and surfaces, all of which were covered in moving, smiling, waving photos, all of the same brown-haired, blue-eyed wizard.