DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of the characters from Harry Potter, JKR owns them along with the book and movie companies. I'm not making any money off of this, matter of fact it's COSTING me money to write it, so don't even bother suing me, you can't get blood out of a turnip.
Please note this is AU…I started it before Half Blood Prince, and since it diesn't fit the JK Rowlings universe, I'm setting it in a totally alternate world.
Severus Snape placed his empty cup on the matching saucer and looked across the Tea Shoppe table at the man who he alternately considered his friend and his enemy. Where Snape was dark haired and eyed, his companion had hair so blond it appeared white and eyes like gently colored blue ice chips. That was not the only difference, physically the two men seemed polar opposites. Another difference was their behavior, where Snape sat calmly, seeming to be removed from all the hub bub of the shop, his companion was jittery and seemed unable to sit still, and his hands shook. A fact that Severus Snape noticed and filed away for future consideration.
Sighing, Severus noted the sun beginning to dip in the sky, saying softly,
"What did you want to discuss with me, Lucius?"
The blond man started and frowned, and Severus noticed that the other man had dark circles under his eyes that looked like bruises. Lucius put his teacup down, shaking so badly he sloshed tea into the saucer as he turned wide, haunted eyes this way and that finally settling on Severus and said ,
"He is totally insane……"
Severus sighed, not even trying to pretend he didn't know who Lucius was referring to,
"I know that, Lucius…I've known for some time."
Lucius looked away briefly, then back and said, his voice a harsh whisper and filled with pain,
"He wants my son, Sev…he wants Draco."
Severus endeavored to keep his face neutral as he said,
"And what does Draco want, Lucius?", having spent many nights listening to Draco's whispered, terror filled nightmares, he was relatively certain he already knew the answer.
Lucius stared into the rapidly cooling teacup and said, softly,
"Draco wants what any boy his age does, Sev…a future, a family…a life. He knows that if he joins the…", Lucius paused, looking futuritively around him before finishing, "..organzation he won't have any of that. He won't be live long. HE wants to send Draco after Dumbledore, Sev…..he's lost what little mind he ever had."
Severus leaned back a moment, shocked and said,
"What are you going to do, Lucius? What do you want me to do? "
Lucius stared unblinkingly into Severus' eyes and said, firmly and succicently, answering the last question first,
"I want you to help me save my son, Severus. By making him your son." Lucius watched the emotions flit across the face of Severus Snape and felt a momentary thrill for rendering his stoic friend that emotional, then he grew serious again as he went on, not giving Severus a chance to reply yet,
"Cissy and I are going to stand up to him, Sev. We're going to refuse his desires. Which means…",he paused, closing his eyes a moment before opening them and looking into Severus' eyes, and taking Severus' hand in both of his own. "Which means, we're going to die. Slowly. Painfully. And permanently. And Cissy and I are fine with that…for the most part. As long as you agree to save Draco.".
Severus couldn't help the flash of pain that filled his dark eyes as he said,
"Is there no other choice, Luc? Perhaps if you speak to Dumbledore…."
Malfoy gave a half smile, a smile lacking it's normal snide overtones and said,
"Already have, Sev. We talked about all of this, and we've reached the conclusion that this result is the best for everyone concerned. "
Severus shook his head, eyes hardening like flint as he said,
"Including Draco? Something tells me he will NOT agree with that sentiment…", and he drew his hand out of Malfoy's and crossed them over his chest, unconsciously creating a barrier to what he knew was coming.
Malfoy released Severus' hands with out a fuss and sat back as well, with a pale imitation of his normal, superior expression as he said,
"I'm sure Draco would not agree, Severus…however, I firmly believe that this is the best decision we can make. Narcissa and I wish for our son the best that there is, everything he can hope to garner in this life, including the freedom to choose light over dark.", pausing, Lucius cocked his head to one side and observed his friend, "The same choices we all had. I would not have my son forced to follow in footsteps I made in error."
Louder than he'd intended, Snape exclaimed,
"Then why ask me to take him, Lucius?"
Frowning, Lucius sat back and glanced around the room, his hand going unconsciously to his silver tipped cane, which hid his wand in case anyone had heard the outburst and came over to investigate. Severus also was looking around carefully as he continued in a much softer voice,
"For Merlin's sake, Lucius… you of all people know what my life is like. Forgetting for the moment the danger", here he raised his eyebrows in enphasis and continued, "I am a confirmed bachelor. I live alone and I have never felt the need to change that. I am not a therapist, or a councelor, nor am I a particularly comforting person. Why would you wish to leave your beloved child with such a…SNARKY person?"
Lucius smiled a very small smile and said,
"Because I know the real you…the you that sat by my son's crib when he nearly died before he turned 5 months old. The you that brewed potion after potion after potion with out sleep or quiet when he fell off his broom into a vipers den at 4 years old and could't take the normal curatives. Snarky? Yes. And snide, obnoxious, perfectionist, aggrevating and irritating. And possibly one of the most deserving people I have ever met. "
Severus was taken aback by the relevation of Lucius and said nothing, shocked in to silence. A point that Lucius took great pleasure in as he continued,
"At least once in my life I have the joy of making you speechless.", more seriously he said, "Look, Sev…this really should be Narcissa telling you this, but since she is not here and I am, I'll tell you what she would…You have a heart, despite your repeated attempts at destroying it, and you have one of the largest ability for affection as well as the largest desire for it that I have ever seen. And there is NO ONE that Cissy and I would be happier, or more comfortable leaving our son in the care of."
Lucius held Severus' eyes for long moment until Severus looked away and sighed, saying,
"Fine. If you wish to place your son in such a household as I am certain I possess, then I will not argue. When are you planning on doing this?"
Lucius took his victory for what it was and said,
"Believe it or not, I still have a few friends at the Ministry.", he ignored Snape's faux shocked face and went on, "and they are willing to create a false trail. They'll make a huge hullabaloo about taking Draco out of our home, and placing him in yours. Since you're already his Godfather, that won't appear negative. And it will give you a built in bye with, HIM, since the Ministry will be keeping a close check on you for at least the foreseeable future. You can honestly say that if Draco were to disappear too quickly it would place you in a very bad light and make both the Ministry and Dumbledore trust you less…something that he doesn't want right now. It may buy you a few months, or even a few years, until Draco leave Hogwarts."
Severus nodded, he didn't like it, but it made sense. He asked,
"And what of you and Cissy?"
Lucius smiled again, this time a tight smile that carried little humor,
"We will of course fight the very thought of our son being removed from our LOVING care… and when the Ministry first offers a respectable Wizardling families, such as the Weasley's, we'll threaten to use all our sizable assets to interfere…then when they decide on you, we'll agree, since at least you're the right sort to have TEMPORARY care of our son.", here Lucius lost any sort of smile as he said,
"Then Cissy and I will go to the Dark Lord and explain what happened, how we were unable to prevent this…but at least Draco is being cared for by a sympathetic individual, even if it isn't safe for you to hand him over just yet…but Draco will most certainly be able to keep an eye on Potter for him…..and then he will torture and kill us in a petulant tantrum over not getting his own way. " At the end, Lucius looked more calm, and rather accepting, as Severus frowned and said,
"I don't like it, Luc. I don't want to lose you and Cissy", even to his own ears that sounded like a petulant child whining for a sweet. He rubbed his hand over his face and Lucius reached over and placed a brotherly hand on his arm as he said,
"I know, Sev…but Cissy and I need to save Draco…and this is the only way. Trust that we've thought about this at length and this is well and truly the only way to protect our son from our choices."
Severus nodded and said,
"When do you plan to do this, Lucius?"
"It's already begun, Sev. With school over for the summer, the Ministry has already raided the manor and taken Draco out. He's being put up in a Inn on Diagon Alley until the hearing. All of this should be finished by next week….and Sunday we'll apparate to the meeting, if he doesn't call us before, and finish what we started.".
Severus nodded slowly and met Lucius eyes as he said,
"There is truly no other way, Luc? This is the only way that anyone can come up with ? Putting it off won't uncover any additional ideas? "
Lucius drew a small package from his pocket and said,
"No, Sev…we've run out of time…Draco has been ordered to appear at the next meeting for his mark. We had to do this now. Here…this is something for you, and for you to give to Draco.", Lucius handed over a box containing two small gold keys to Severus. Severus nodded, acknowledging that and said, bitterness in his voice even as his eyes remained carefully neutral,
"I hate this. I hate losing friends, family, lov…everything. I want it done."
Lucius gathered his cloak and prepared to stand, shrugging his velvet covered shoulders he said fatalistically,
"I know, Severus. Believe me, I know. Maybe Potter will manage to pull it off…."
Glaring up at his friend, Severus said,
"Bollucks. Potter can't manage to see what is readily apparent right in his face, let alone focus enough to pull off what he's destined to do."
Lucius did give him a real smile at that as he turned to go and said,
"Welcome to Parenthood, Severus…just when you believe you have children figured out, they change the rule book on you when you're not looking. You think they aren't paying a lick of attention and they end up memorizing the conversation." Lucius paused, and made an abortive move toward Severus, then stopped and shrugged before turning to make his way out of the tea shoppe, paying for the tea as he left. He stepped out into the warm summer day and walked down the street, haughty expression firmly on his face, seemingly unconcerned with anything. Severus Snape watched him go, knowing this might be the last time he ever talked with his old friend, and thought, not for the first, nor the last time, that if he ever met the person who had given Albus the prophesy, he's throttle him or her himself.