This is the sequel to my fic "Going Straight". It's not absolutely necessary to have read GS as there's a recap near the beginning, but this might make a bit more sense if so. The main points are that it took a long time to win the war, Harry didn't kill Voldemort until he was 24 years old. Lucius spent 8 years in prison after the end of OoTP, during which Severus survived Harry's clumsy attempt to kill him, convinced everyone he was on the right side and ended up becoming head of Magical Law Enforcement. (Set a snake to catch a snake, perhaps?)

Pairings: SS/LM, NW(neé B, previously M)/AW. NT/KS.

This story features SLASH, ie male/male relationships. If you don't like the idea, then please do not read on.

Not explicit, but there will be something which many might consider squicky later on (nothing involving children or animals, promise) - I will warn nearer the time.

Compliant with HBP but not DH!

Prologue.

Summer 1959.

Buddy Holly had only been in his grave for a few months and Eileen felt it was a great shame that the young man was probably already spinning in it. The frightful wailing and twanging which had been emanating from upstairs ever since Toby had won the ancient guitar in a bet involving Saturday's Leeds United match was enough to wake Merlin himself, let alone the more recently deceased.

Fortunately, her husband's absorption with his new hobby meant that he was far more interested in murdering some poor woman named Peggy-Sue than what she was up to in the cellar. The potion had taken weeks to mature, being something of a more heavyweight relative of Polyjuice, but finally the horrible smells, violent bubbling and occasional hissing had produced a slimy greyish gloop which matched the description of what she was trying to brew in the book of darkest potions. The stuff was illegal, of course, but Eileen wasn't too concerned, having flouted so many conventions over the years that being forbidden to do anything was now more of a challenge than an order.

This sinister potion was necessary, and that was that.

She picked up the yellow toenail with tweezers and dropped it into the cauldron, which, quite understandably, spat and fizzed objections at her. It was more usual to add a hair, but Eileen had been concerned that the layers of lacquer which had probably built up over the years as a result of Toby's efforts at sculpting himself an Elvis-quiff may have an adverse effect. This was far too important a matter to take risks with, so Toby's stinky nail clippings it had to be.

Ladling out a gobletful of the dark and dangerous brew, she placed a gentle hand on her curving lower abdomen and frowned.

"Look, I'm sorry about this," she informed the tiny thing inside. "It's for the best."

…….

2007

Lucius Malfoy sat cross-legged in the middle of the sitting-room, surrounded on all sides by pieces of fabric in slightly differing shades of purple.

He was currently working on a complete overhaul of Minerva McGonagall's kitchen, but found his abilities stretched to the limit by the demands of his meticulous client. Purple, he had pointed out on numerous occasions, was simply not a kitchen colour, but the old bag was as determined as she was colourblind, so here he sat, struggling to maintain his reputation for good taste when all about him had so obviously lost theirs.

Until recently, Lucius would never have considered a career in interior design, yet so many aspects of his life over the last decade had been so very unlikely he had stopped having any fixed ideas about anything and started going with the flow. The eight years in Azkaban, for instance, had been rather unexpected. As had the Dark Lord's defeat, the destruction of Malfoy Manor and the ruination of his hopes, dreams and entire life. After such sensational reversals of the World Order as taught to him by his late father, he was perhaps less amazed than one might imagine to discover that, during his stay in prison, things had got even crazier.

His wife had got a job and shacked up with the widowed Arthur Weasley, Shacklebolt had succeeded Scrimgeour to become the first sensible Minister of Magic in about 250 years and Severus Snape had undergone the comeback of the century. Going from being the hunted, detested murder of Albus Dumbledore to legendary hero and Head of Magical Law Enforcement had been a long and challenging journey, even with the bright curse-scar emblazoned across his face to remind everyone that he was the Wizard-Who-Lived. Yet he had succeeded.

Strangest of all was the fact that he and Snape were in love.

He supposed that love was known for being a fickle creature, but surely something which was wrong on so many levels ought not to feel so right. The attachment may have been formed when Snape had rescued him from Azkaban, given him a home and taken care of him in this chaotic new Britain which Lucius scarcely recognised, and it was possible that Lucius' old attraction to power had deepened his attraction to the slippery politician. It may simply have been because his need to be adored was now being met on a daily basis by a man who had turned out to have been madly in love with him since adolescence. More romantic people would just declare that love could always find a way, and that cupid's arrows could not be deflected by social barriers, or indeed gender ones. Somehow, the irritable and ill-bred half-blood traitor Severus Snape had become his world, and even the sound of that oily, assonant name felt like home.

Lucius' rehabilitation into polite society was not yet complete. A mere two years after his release from jail, the time was not quite right for him to appear as the official consort of such a senior Ministry official, though everyone knew what was happening behind closed doors. At Narcissa and Weasley's wedding the previous year, one or two people had kindly suggested that he and Severus ought to marry, now that the recent changes to the law allowed same sex civil partnerships. Back then, the ex-convict had been relieved when his lover had quietly declared that there was no need to rush. Though their devotion to each other had grown strong and consistent, Lucius still occasionally felt as bewildered by their domestic life as he did by everything else.

A whooshing noise from the fireplace announced the return of the wizard in question and Lucius looked up with a delighted grin, still rather soppily pleased to see him after spending a whole day apart.

"Hello, darling," he said.

"Bloody stupid idiots, what on earth are they doing, as if this will make any difference to anything, don't they have anything better to do, I mean for Merlin's sake…" Snape chuntered his way across the room, dutifully bending to bestow a kiss on Lucius' forehead as he stomped past without breaking his concentration. He flung open the bedroom door to change and continued. "…taxpayers' money, they ought to be thinking about the National Healing Service rather than this nonsense…"

Knowing it was futile to try and engage his lover before he had ranted away the cares of the day, Lucius clicked his fingers to make sure that Peggy knew her master was home and dinner could be started, then turned back to his swatches.

Half an hour later, the two men sat before a plate of some dreary muggle dish, which Severus seemed to prefer to proper food, and intelligent conversation could begin.

"How was your day, dear?" asked Lucius, reaching for the cheap red sauce which two years of cohabiting with a lower-class half-blood had taught him to eat with everything.

"Blasted imbeciles!" opined Snape, between chews. "So. How's Minerva?"

"A lost cause," moaned Lucius. "Retirement bores her, so she's being obnoxious to any poor innocent unable to flee fast enough."

"If she's such a control freak, I don't know why she engaged you," he commented.

"Her nieces bullied her into it," he sneered. "They thought I could liven up that dreary old hovel of hers. They read in Witch Weekly that it's incredibly fashionable to have a genuine Malfoy interior."

"I can believe it. I do so enjoy a genuine Malfoy in my own interior," smirked Snape, with a leer.

"Well, I should hope so," he ran a sock foot playfully up Snape's calf. "Now, what have your esteemed colleagues done to outrage you today?"

"They have decided to go ahead with that utter buffoon Dawlish's plan to add another dimension of security to the Ministry buildings, as though it isn't already nearing the point of ridicule!" he speared a sausage with some force. "Nobody else seems to mind that we waste approximately 2 working hours a day either going through security checks, checking the efficiency of security checks, or holding meetings to check whether the security checks are being properly checked by the checkers. I thought I held office in order to combat crime and the use of dark magic, not to be in direct competition with Gringott's security detail."

"So what is Dawlish suggesting?"

"In an effort to reduce the use of polyjuice or other aids to impersonation, he wants all personnel to submit a DNA sample, which can be checked on entry and exit, or when moving between departments," he scowled at his plate. "Which means that each time I pop up to Kingsley's office, or down to discuss something with Arthur, I will have to pass through yet another bloody checkpoint!"

"They must be concerned about something," Lucius reasoned. The sooner all the arguments were exhausted, the sooner they could have an early night. After spending all afternoon in the gloom of a Hebridean stone cottage on a storm-tossed, windswept cliff, being harangued by a grumpy old woman who still hadn't got over the whole Death Eater thing, what Lucius really needed was some hot lovin'.

"As head of the MLE, I can categorically state that there is no known threat to the security of the Ministry or the public outside the ordinary at the present time," he recited acidly. Then sighed. "Though I suppose I have to publicly condone this pointless development, as a deterrent at the very least." He laid down knife and fork, and with them, Lucius noted, his irritability.

His shoulders relaxed as he leaned back in his chair, his brow smoothed and his eyes took on the more tender look they assumed when properly focussing on the man he had loved so much for so long. Lucius rose from his seat and pulled Severus over to the sofa, arranging them both to his satisfaction and settling down for a little light kissing.

"Stop that," murmured Severus, as he always did when Malfoy dropped little pecks of adoration on his large, hooked nose.

"No," Lucius batted away the protesting hands and nipped at the end, as he always did. "I love it."

Snape made a low-pitched grumble, which may or may not have been 'dunderhead.'

xxx

Author's note: So, perhaps not the greatest of beginnings, but you have to start somewhere. For once I have the plot all mapped out in advance and many of the chapters already written (shock horror!), so I can say with confidence that it is definitely going somewhere. Hopefully.
I'd love to know what you thought. Lots of love, Nightie x