A/N: Slightly longer than any other chapter I've written. I've been trying to compensate for the fact that I'm so bad at posting, I think. On the class front: Four A's, One B.
Angel of Death
Chapter Three: Parasites
"Start talking "a sensationalist," Just for the record,
Oh he's slightly clever to just a certain extent.
Well keep quiet let us sing like the doves
Then decide if it's done with purpose or lack thereof.
The weather today is slightly sarcastic with a good chance of:
A. Indifference or
B. Disinterest in what the critics say…"
Just for the record,
- Panic! At the Disco, "London Beckoned Songs About Money Written By Machines"
Lucius sat on the edge of his bed wearily, silver and gold sheets crumpled beneath him. "Lucius!" the voice of his wife echoed from the floor below. "Lucius?"
"Coming, Narcissa!" he snapped as loudly as his voice would allow. Which wasn't much at the moment. The blond aristocrat stood with far less grace than was normal for him and sighed. Of all the bloody times to develop a cold…
He had a long day ahead of him. He was due at the Ministry at seven-thirty. Lunch with Fudge was in order as well as the man was largely the reason Lucius had escaped censure from that fiasco in the Department of Mysteries. From there he had a meeting with the Hogwarts Board of Governors to attend- one that just had to be mandatory on one of the worst possible days. And all of this before dinner with his cousin and her new husband.
He growled at his unattractive reflection in the mirror (dark bags under bloodshot eyes is certainly not a good look for anyone), before rifling through his wife's potions. One cinnamon flavored drink later and he looked as healthy as ever.
Of course the Ministry just had to be going through some sort of catastrophe today, he considered darkly as he watched officials arguing, secretaries and assistants scrambling for the doors with sheaves of parchment clutched in their fists, and dark red memos dropping into the hands of anyone willing to read them, all from his place in the un-vacated lift. A flash of red hair darted past him, but not quite fast enough. "Weasley!" he called to the boy as he grabbed the back of his cloak, "What, pray tell, is going on here?"
The boy trembled under his scrutiny, surprised one such as Lucius would waste time on him. The older man had long ago learned that assistants were the perfect source of information. Especially young, eager ones such as Percival Weasley who would do almost anything to gain favorable attention. He shuffled through the papers in his hands until he pulled out a Daily Prophet. Lucius snatched it from him to see a familiar face splashed across the front page. "HOGWARTS PROFESSOR SEVERUS SNAPE INFECTED WITH VAMPIRISM" the headline read with a smaller byline asking "ARE OUR CHILDREN SAFE?"
Of course the idiot would decide to remain at Hogwarts. The blond sneered at the redheaded boy and grabbed one of the floating memos. With a quick skim of the contents, Lucius discovered that his friend's legal status was now under question. Count vs. England clearly stated that all persons "infected with a mind altering disease of permanent effect were to be considered incompetent to stand trial after the commission of a criminal act" and if this act were to be "violent in nature and were to involve deadly force or injurious intention" such persons must be "rendered incapable of harm." Most courts interpreted this last as either life in Azkaban or execution, as Lucius had learnt quite well a couple of years prior when the wizarding world discovered there had been a werewolf teaching their students. He chuckled, which caused the Weasley to jump.
There was no evidence that Severus had harmed anyone, however, and until there was the Potions Master remained a free man. Lucius threw the paper in the general direction of the redhead and continued on his way. He didn't particularly care to read what other tripe the Prophet had been paid to write.
It didn't seem that his meeting with the Department of Finances was going to make the agenda today. He scowled as he made his way to the Department of Records for some research. As the wizard went through neat leather bound files on the shelf that lined the far wall he thought that he did far too much for his friend. It was only moments before he found that there was very little precedence when it came to legal issues regarding vampires. Only seven of the thousands of cases recorded in this room would do him any good. The blond replicated them with a quick charm and left the building.
Lunch with Fudge had consisted of little more than the same old schmoozing and he was certainly glad when it was over. There was nothing duller than chatting with a self-indulgent politician- except chatting with a self-indulgent politician with the intelligence of a small child.
Lucius Malfoy sailed into his next appointment with all the confidence of a king. He smirked at Dumbledore and the old man shifted uncomfortably as the flaxen wizard sat next to him.
"By now I am sure you all have heard about the predicament my potions professor has found himself in. I can only assure you that this was not a decision he had made for himself-" Dumbledore started only to be cut of by Amelia Bones.
"That is of little consequence, Albus. The fact remains that Snape is a danger to his students."
Corbin Thomas nodded in agreement. "There is no assurance-"
"That he will not harm the precious children?" Lucius finished smoothly. "There was no assurance before." Dumbledore simply stared at him. "Sampson vs. Malkin states that 'no witch wizard shall be discriminated against in regards to employment or education based on genetic impairments.' Professor Snape has never once harmed a student in all the time he has taught at Hogwarts. I fail to see why he would do so now."
A flurry of arguments followed this statement. He was content to just watch the other members have their say, but it appeared Dumbledore had heard enough. "Silence," he hissed. "There is no need for this issue to degenerate into petty quarreling." Some of the others looked abashed, but most just appeared angry. "We can discuss this in the next meeting, with Severus here. His testimony may go a long way in changing your opinions."
Lucius sneered. "As his lawyer, I will be advising him not to speak."
The Headmaster stared. "Why? This is for his own good."
"That's the thing, Headmaster. I don't believe that working for you would be in his best interest at all." The aristocrat stood. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have other matters to attend to." He felt their shocked gazes on his back as he walked away.
"Human blood is absolutely necessary for our survival. Many have attempted to sate the Hunger with the blood of beasts, which is more like poison to us. In small doses it feels like a like Cruciatus… In the amount that sustains life it is fatal. Flesh: whether that be from human or animal hosts is fatal as well. Any other sustenance (this includes human food and drink, plants, and even water) will merely sicken you." Ricardus was watching him carefully as he said these things.
"How am I to survive if I am to neither drink the blood of humans or beasts?" Severus asked pointedly.
Ricardus looked quite uncomfortable for a moment. "The amount of blood that is vital to our survival is less than one would assume. A pint or so a night is all. More than that will keep us satiated longer, though most vampires don't drink to kill. Death in this way is usually only reserved for our greatest of enemies."
If Severus had been anything other than a spy in life, he would have looked horrified. "Severus?"
The dark haired vampire growled at his brunette companion. "You saw what my life was like- how I was used and thrown aside- and you went on to do the same yourself!" He turned away from the other. "You planned this, too, didn't you?"
"I initially only meant to frighten you, to send you scurrying back to you master in horror. My advisors had decided upon this course of action when they heard wind of Voldemort's plans and I was inclined to agree." Ricardus's voice was rough as he continued. "The problem with the mind-link that occurs when a vampire takes of another's blood is that we don't always see the things we expect to.
"I only wanted to save you, Severus."
The force of those words threatened to break him. "Then you should have let me die," he replied in an echo of that distant sentiment of the Headmaster's. "Am I to be your servant now, Ricardus?"
"You are free to go, as you please, Severus."
Severus moved away from him and away from the school; he kept going until he reached the Apparition barrier. Once there he stopped. There was nowhere for him to run to now. Not with a half-life that he knew nothing about and only allies that were closely connected to enemies. He sank to his knees on the earth and screamed until his throat was raw. Then he slumped forward, laying there silently in his misery. In life he had always seen tears as a weakness.
He had not known how much he would miss them when he could no longer cry at all.
Severus regained his bearings to see that it was still night. He wondered briefly if the sun would kill him and, if so, whether there was a need for him to seek shelter. He crawled to his feet and glanced at the trees around him. Which bore no answer to his plight.
Had he been slightly more suicidal he would have waited for the sun. He was reluctant to throw away his life so easily, though. He gazed up at the stars, carefully going through the calculations that would tell him how much time he had.
There wasn't enough time to get to the castle before sunrise. Not only that, he was starving. He didn't want to see the Headmaster in this state.
Weighing his options, he ultimately apparated to the one person he felt he could still trust. And thus he found himself at Malfoy Manor.
The owner of said manor was nothing short of shocked to see his friend visit so late. "Severus?"
"Lucius," he groaned as he felt the hunger overtake him. His eyes were trained on his friend's neck. "The bastard lied to me…"
"Severus? Are you okay?" His friend caught him as his knees collapsed. "What is wrong with you?" Lucius asked as Severus buried his head into his neck.
The blond pushed him away but kept a firm hold on the vampire's arms. "Why haven't you fed? You woke last night!"
"What? No- then I must have…" Severus's confusion would have been amusing but for the tiny little fact that laughing at a hungry vampire might be fatal.
"How much do you need? Should I find you a muggle to feed off?"
"No! I'm not a monster, Lucius."
Lucius sighed. "Will this hurt, Severus?"
Black eyes widened in surprise. "Yes."
The blond wizard rolled his eyes, then pulled Snape close. "You are forever indebted to me," he growled. The other didn't respond, knowing full well what the Malfoy was offering, only pressed his fangs into Malfoy's neck.
He didn't lie; the bite did hurt. Flashes of memory entered his mind, some even containing the vampire before him. After a moment Severus pulled away and the memories stopped. He felt dazed.
His friend looked scared, as if he thought he may have taken too much blood. "I'm fine," he growled. But that scared, vulnerable expression remained on the dark haired wizard's face along with a growing amount of horror.
"Lucius…" he said softly, "I'm sorry-"
"Stop being so dramatic!" Lucius sneered. "Sarif must have prepared the guest room for you by now and I know for a fact that Narcissa will be quite irritated if I retire after she has already fallen asleep. She's such a light sleeper."
The vampire stared at him as if he'd just pronounced his undying love for muggles. "Are you feeling alright?"
Sigh. "I'll be feeling wonderful once you shut your mouth and allow me my sleep! We'll have plenty of time to talk tomorrow." He hated being so harsh with his friend when he was acting… weak. No, that wasn't right. Broken felt more like the correct word.
So even when Severus nodded he didn't move. "What happened?" He sat down on a plush sofa and motioned the other to sit as well.
Snape didn't talk for a moment. He'd always been fond of his secrets, even as a child. Then, finally he said what was on his mind. "Dumbledore didn't take the news well… He tried to forcibly remove me from Hogwarts, just until I revealed my intentions to not return."
"Did you really expect any different?"
"No." That look was still there. "Ricardus planned this all out. He needn't have killed me, even to relay his warning to Voldemort." Black eyes met with grey. "I didn't want to die."
"Then don't question your continuance on life now!" The anger he felt at the Potions Master's semi-admission of a desire to die was unexpected. Deep breaths now: one, two… "So you feel you can't trust this vampire now. Then don't. You must go back to him, though, learn what you need to survive.
"And use what you learn to avenge your death."
Lucius woke the next morning to find two vials on his nightstand. Blood Replenishing and a Headache remedy. The latter he discovered the reasoning behind when he caught sight of his angry wife.
"Just what were you thinking?" Started a conversation he would have preferred never to have. Apparently Narcissa felt that it wasn't such a good idea for him to represent Snape in court. "Our names have been dragged through the mud enough already! And now, now! You just have to be seen standing up for a vampire!"
Lucius growled. "Severus is my friend."
She laughed. "Perfect time to find a little bit of Gryffindor loyalty, right? What about thinking of your wife for once?"
His anger started to deflate. This wasn't about Severus at all. "I'm sorry. I should have asked."
The witch was struck speechless. The wizard had never before apologized to her. He grabbed her hand. "Once all of this is over... We'll go away together, just a little while. You've always wanted to see the Americas haven't you?" Her eyes misted over a bit and he gave her a quick peck on the lips before she could start to cry. "You're still my number one, Love," he whispered against her lips.
She never looked so beautiful as when she was smiling.
A/N: Yeah. Romance is not my forte, so I try to keep it as minimal as possible. Me plus relationships equals heartbreak. So… Unless you want a series of random breakups...
So, even if this was longer than usual, I didn't address the things I wanted to here. Everything got changed up with this chapter, but I think I have a much clearer idea now where this is going than I had before.
For next chapter: expect to see Lucius ask Severus for a strange favor (and to finally tell him that he decided to become his lawyer). And the Voldy-Sevy meeting should be there too. Oh, and maybe Ricardus will show up…
Maybe I shouldn't tell you what's up next if I don't follow through. Lol.