8

Lucius and the Shrink—Chapter 3

Dr. Tate shuffled the papers that he'd spilled from Lucius' folder, quickly bringing himself up to speed on his patient. Squinting at his illegible handwriting, he glanced at Malfoy, already lying on the divan, eyes closed, seemingly asleep. He'd thought this was supposed to be a joint session.

"It looks like we're alone after all, Lucius," he mused.

"Not exactly a revelation," drawled Lucius, not particularly surprised at the 'doctor's' lack of knowledge. If the foolish Muggle managed to pick up on an overt clue now and again, it was surely dumb luck. "And it's Mr. Malfoy."

"Why don't you tell me more about…I'm sorry, I can't quite read my own handwriting." Dr. Tate took off his glasses, blinked rapidly, cleaned the lenses, then put them back on. It made no difference. "Moldie Mart."

"What?" asked Lucius irritably.

"Is that someplace you used to shop? Does it have unpleasant memories for you?"

"I haven't a clue what you're babbling about," said Lucius, ready to sit up and go home if this was what he had to endure. Honestly, how many wizards did this idiot practice his 'doctoring' skills on? Probably none except Lucius; how bloody hard was it to remember the gems that poured forth from his perfectly-formed lips?

Tate studied the word again. "Maybe it says Voldimint. A bank perhaps? A candy?" he continued, grasping at straws while noting Lucius' perturbed reaction.

Malfoy let out a sigh of exasperation. "Could it possibly be…oh, I don't know—Voldemort?"

With a slightly offended air, the therapist mumbled, "That might be it."

"He's dead, as we ascertained in that session with Snape, the session wherein we mentioned that name several dozen times," stated Lucius flatly.

Reading over older notes, Tate came across Voldemort=nickname for father. "Oh, yes, I remember now. You substitute words in for actual names."

"As in 'moron' for you?" asked Lucius, one eyebrow lifted.

"I thought we established that name calling is not helpful to your therapy," admonished the doctor.

Lucius let out a mock gasp of shock. "Is that what this is? I'd begun to wonder if Azkaban was full and they were utilizing this as a new mode of persecution."

Another reference to Ask-a-ban. There was that word again. He really needed to go online and check it out, see what sort of filthy, vile, probably sex-laden site it was. Maybe he'd have Veronica do it…no, she might not be able to handle it as well as he could. There might be bondage, or sadism, or anything. He crossed his legs and cleared his throat. One thing at a time.

Pronouncing carefully, he said, "Tell me more about Voldemort."

While it wasn't precisely talking about himself, it was better than listening to that fool Muggle go on, so Lucius put his hands behind his head to think. At length he said, "Hmm, where to start? In a nutshell he was a megalomaniac who wanted to wipe out all Muggles and establish rule by purebloods."

Tate's pen scribbled frantically. Father a skinhead psychopath, possible serial killer. Looking up in confusion, he said, "What is a Muggle?"

"You. People with no magical ability," said Lucius, looking down his nose at Dr. Tate. How many times did he have to explain that word? Did this prat have no retentive capacity whatsoever? Were all Muggles as stupid as he was? If so, they definitely needed to be eliminated for the good of all mankind—well, wizardkind anyway.

Tate nodded benignly. Ah, yes. Lucius and his friend Snape were magicians, if he recalled correctly. "Go on."

"Of course I agree with Voldemort's philosophy. It was the constant pressure to succeed and heinous torture for failure that I found…objectionable. But being a loyal servant, I wouldn't say anything." And he'd kill me if I did, Lucius thought subversively.

The ballpoint swiped over the paper again. Father tortured son for perceived failures.

A knock on the door so startled Tate that he nearly dropped his pen. "Come in."

Veronica stuck her head inside and cooed cheerily, "Mr. Snape is here at last—"

The door slammed open and Severus strode in, thrusting the woman aside far enough to allow him passage. His normal impassive countenance had been replaced by a glower capable of making children in his classrooms wet themselves. Without a word he glided over to the remaining divan set up beside that of Lucius, his robes streaming majestically behind him, and sat down squarely in the middle of it, glaring at the doctor with an unmitigated expression of hatred.

"Severus, how lovely of you to come," said Tate, smiling.

Snape returned an icy stare. For a mere second his stare faltered when another man entered, flouncing in to stand in the middle of the room and look about as if he owned the place.

"Dr. Tate, I thought you were expecting me. Well, as I see nowhere else to sit, I don't think Severus will mind budging up for me." So saying, Gilderoy Lockhart pranced over and plopped down so close to Snape that he was actually seated partially on his lap.

Severus shoved him roughly off and moved further down the divan, baring his teeth at Lockhart. "I see your threat of intruding upon our session was not idle."

"Threat?" said Gilderoy, hand over his heart, eyes wide. "Severus, my dear friend, I'd do anything for you."

"When did you and Lockhart become chummy?" asked Lucius, becoming interested for the first time since arriving.

"He is not my friend," Severus muttered through a jaw clenched so tightly the words barely squeaked out. "I was court ordered here, just like you. I have no idea why he's tagging along."

Lockhart swiped a hand rakishly through his hair, smiling so broadly Lucius feared his face might burst. "I took it upon myself to help. Severus and I used to work together, you know." He winked at Lucius, who sat bolt upright.

"Are you propositioning me?" Malfoy exclaimed, hand reaching for the wand that wasn't there.

"Oh, pish-posh," said Gilderoy, pulling a mirror from his pocket to study his eyes, smiling to check out his teeth. He glanced up apologetically. "Not that you aren't extremely good looking. I mean, that hair alone is to die for! And that skin—you must spend a good deal of time with the loofah, am I right? If I were of that persuasion, I'd happily proposition you, but Gilderoy does love the ladies." He winked again, grinned at himself in the mirror, then tucked it back into his pocket.

"Stop acting as if you know what you're like!" growled Severus suddenly. "You don't even know your own name!"

"Gilderoy Lockhart," retorted the other immediately. He smirked, then stuck out his tongue when the therapist wasn't looking.

"And did you recall that on your own, or did someone like Dr. Tate tell you?" demanded Snape.

Lockhart turned to the doctor to whine, "He's picking on me."

"Mr. Snape, we must make this a safe place for all," said Dr. Tate, leaning forward to pat Lockhart reassuringly on the arm. "Gilderoy has worked hard to get to this point, to establish lost memories."

Lucius cleared his throat loudly. "I hate to complain, but why are they even here? This is my hour. If I'm to be compelled to frequent this vile place, the least you could do is keep out the riff-raff."

"I believe it is my hour, and that riff-raff remark had better not be directed at me," Severus corrected him with an I'll-hex-your-arse-off sneer. "You obviously arrived early, and this ponce—person—caused me to be late."

"Then why am I here?" asked Lucius.

"I asked you here for mutual moral support, though if last session is any indication, that was probably a dreadful mistake." Snape crossed his arms and tried to lean back, but as there was no back on the divan, he was forced to sit upright scowling at all and sundry.

"Oh, good, we're all caught up," said Gilderoy, edging closer to Snape, who inched further away. "Let's talk about Hogwarts, when we worked together. Dr. Tate says it's good for me to get the information straight from those who knew me best, and I'm sure we were the very best of mates."

"No, we weren't," said Severus emphatically, ignoring the delighted look on Lucius' face as he watched his friend squirm. "I resisted the idea when Albus said he was going to hire you, I abhorred you from the first, and let's face facts: you were an abysmal example of—everything. You managed to screw up the one spell you were actually proficient at."

"Ah-ha!" exclaimed Gilderoy in triumph. "You admit I was proficient." Beaming, he pulled out his mirror to flirt with himself some more. "Lucius, did you know me?"

Lucius drew his robes more tightly about himself in an effort to distance himself. "It's Mr. Malfoy to you. And no, thank goodness. You're the most incompetent tool I've ever heard of, present company excepted." He glanced Dr. Tate's way, though the Muggle didn't appear to pick up on the insult, which Lucius found somewhat disturbing. "Severus, didn't you tell me he got himself cornered by a bunch of pixies? A second year had to corral them and lock them up."

Gilderoy flushed. "They must have been mean…whatever pixies are."

Pen in hand poised over the paper, Dr. Tate had no idea what to write. It seemed like he ought to be writing something; he was pretty sure Lucius was trying to tell him something, though he wasn't sure what, and those pixies sounded menacing. Why did these witchdoctors or whatever they were have to speak in their code phrases? To be on the safe side he wrote Gilderoy bullied by pixies. He'd work out the logistics later of precisely what they were.

"By the way," continued Gilderoy, lowering the mirror, "What was I proficient at?" He knew what a spell was, he'd seen the doctors and nurses at St. Mungo's use them all the time.

"Nothing," said Severus, turning to fully face his foe. "Lockhart, I say this with the gravest earnestness. You were the worst ever to fill that post, and believe me when I tell you that is saying a lot. Even Quirrell, who wore the dark lord on his head and managed to get himself killed, was better than you."

Lucius' father in homosexual relationship with squirrel? Was that even possible?

"The freaking werewolf was better than you!"

Severus resorting to comparisons to imaginary animals. He and Lucius frequently exhibit this tendency.

Taking the opportunity of Snape drawing a breath, Tate interjected, "And you both were…?" Despite his desire to say magicians, for which he'd been lambasted before by both Lucius and Severus, he waited for Snape's reply.

"Teachers—in his case using the term very loosely," answered Severus, rolling his eyes at Gilderoy, who bounced up and down excitedly.

"That's good, that's normal!" Tate squealed, scribbling down Severus was a teacher!

"Of the Dark Arts," Severus went on in a monotone, ignoring Tate's horrified expression.

"So…you're Satanists?" he uttered in a hushed tone.

Snape shrugged, unconcerned. "I'm not, though I'm really not familiar with Lockhart's religious affiliations. Frankly, I'd be surprised if any deity would have him."

"Satan would welcome me with open arms," Lockhart huffed.

Lucius and Severus glanced at each other and snickered, sending the therapist into a state of semi-shock. To date he'd never seen Snape crack a smile, let alone laugh. Severus and Gilderoy in coven together.

"If you're just going to be unkind, I'm leaving," said Gilderoy, standing up and staring down at Snape. "I'll walk right out that door." He took a single step in the direction of the door. "I mean it, Severus, I'll go and you'll be sorry for ruining our brilliant friendship."

Severus sighed. "How many times must I repeat it, Lockhart? We are not friends. We are scarcely acquaintances. Despite the fact that Dumbledore forced you on me and the entire school, I went out of my way to avoid being in the same room with you whenever humanly possible. The only time I enjoyed your company was when I kicked the shit out of you in dueling!"

Severus and Gilderoy engaged in illegal street fighting. He never thought he'd write those words, certainly not about the Goth Satanist and the pretty boy.

"You enjoyed my company!" Lockhart echoed, his anger melting. "I forgive you." He flopped onto the divan, patting Snape on the leg with one hand.

Severus smacked at him and moved so close to the edge he had to brace himself with his feet to keep from falling off. "Aren't you due back at the hospital for some therapy or other?"

"That's so considerate of you to think of me," murmured Lockhart. To Lucius and the doctor he said, "See, that's why we're so close."

"I thought it was because you're pressing against him like a drunken sailor on a whore," said Lucius dryly. "No offense, Severus."

"Why should I take offense at being compared to a whore?" replied Snape, eyes shooting daggers at Lucius. "I suppose you know whereof you speak, having been at Voldemort's beck and call during your house arrest."

"I knew it!" shouted Tate, then grinned stupidly and ducked his head to write Lucius sexually abused by father. "Go on."

Lucius drew himself up primly. "You know as well as I do that Voldemort never expected that of me. Yes, he beat me and treated me like a house elf, and broke my wand—but at least he wanted my wand!"

Snape snorted. "He really wanted mine, the Elder Wand, but couldn't get ahold of it till he broke into Dumbledore's tomb.

"I thought you were older, Lucius," said Dr. Tate.

Malfoy and Snape sent him scathing looks. Tate's gaze bounced back and forth between the two, then finally wrote Lucius and Severus vied for sexual attention of father—who apparently was a grave robber. It just got more and more complicated with these two!

"Well, at least I didn't get the Potter family killed—which incidentally is when your personality went straight to hell," said Lucius, crossing his arms and pouting.

Severus responsible for death of pot maker's clan. No wonder the pot maker had it in for the two of them!

Severus actually looked offended, a grand feat considering he prided himself on being impassive. "You want to wiggle that knife a little deeper, Lucius? I can still draw breath."

Lucius hesitated. Yes, he'd spoken the truth, but sometimes one had to smooth things over for the sake of the relationship. "I'm sorry, that was uncalled for. You've always had a lousy personality."

Snape rolled his eyes. Pitiful. And yet, all things considered, it must have taken a lot for Malfoy to get that close to an apology. When all was said and done, he was Severus' best friend. "I can't blame you, I suppose. This place takes its toll on us." He gestured around at the office. "How about we leave, go get some lunch?"

"I believe I will." Lucius got up, skirting around the doctor lest he try to shake hands again.

Without another word or backward glance, the two of them went out, slamming the door behind them. Dr. Tate stared after them, then turned to Lockhart. "Well, looks like it's you and me, Gilderoy. How about we try hypnosis to get at the root of your Satanist leanings?"