All Harry Potter characters belong to Ms. Rowling.

Ss/lm

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A Snake in Sheep's Clothing

Part II.

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Chapter Seven

An added bonus.

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Lorne and Tiberius were spending what would be the last evening of their bonding time walking through Castille's End. With an array of antiques in the background, the pair walked side by side discussing the history of some of the most interesting pieces free of any tension. Caught up in the moment, Tiberius forgot who he was or how it was that he now found himself the keeper of Castille's End. "…and you say it has never been captured." Even Snapdragon Manor had been captured for two months during the Vampire uprising, six hundred years ago.

"Not once, like I said the castle was inherited from my mother's side of the family and they pretty much stayed neutral in most disputes." Sir Lorne pointed out, his hands behind his back. He was dressed in dark colors, his robes hanging elegantly on his tall frame. The long blonde and silver-streaked hair was loose around his shoulders softening his normally austere demeanor. He wore knee high boots of what Tiberius recognized as dragon hide, a long dagger was tied around his waist. Its silver handle resembled a dragon its wings open in flight. The wizard didn't seem to go anywhere without it and Tiberius finally decided that it was not a dagger the wizard carried inside but his wand.

Looking out of the tall windows, Tiberius mused aloud. "A true feat if you think about it."

Lorne turned to look at Tberius and arched his brow expectantly. "Committing oneself in a war is not as difficult as managing to stay out of it." The carrier explained.

Lorne nodded in understanding. "Nevertheless, it's not my way. I've sworn my allegiance and that of my family's to my cousin Lord Abraxas Malfoy. His failure is mine and his success is mine. Honor, Duty, Triumph."

"Honor, Duty, Blood." Tiberius murmured, remembering the Snapes' own motto.

"The houses that truly take honor and duty to heart are fewer with each generation." Lorne observed stopping before a painting of a battlefield. The ground was littered with wizards in the throes of agony. Tiberius looked at it only briefly before averting his gaze. Why would anybody have such a painting? "Have you ever seen something like this?" The tall blonde asked almost reverently.

"No," the squib answered looking up at the tall wizard as he observed the painting closely.

"I was only fifteen when my father fell in battle." Tiberius looked from his husband to the painting and noticed a tall lanky wizard dueling in the upper left hand corner. The wizard had an uncanny resemblance to Lorne. Was he?

Wanting to follow through with his decision, Lorne gave his secret away. "Yes, that is …was my father." He answered before walking away.

Tiberius turned to his mate when it dawned on him that he hadn't voiced his question. Had the wizard? Could he read minds?

Lorne stood at the entrance of a dark hallway and half turned before walking away. "The answer to both questions is yes."

Tiberius was too shocked to move. Had the wizard been reading him all along? He shook with a myriad of emotions. Hate, despair, futility! When he thought he would explode, he stopped and brought himself under control. Why had the wizard told him? He could have just as easily continued the charade. Why? Afraid of the answer, but needing to know, Tiberius went after Lorne.

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Lorne had debated on whether he should keep Tiberius in the dark when it came to his ability and had opted for disclosing what would only become obvious with time. "You can read minds?" his spouse albeit politely, demanded firmly.

Lorne observed the carrier with unexpressive eyes. "It's not exactly reading minds."

Tiberius' eyes were not as impassive. "You've been reading me?"

Lorne looked at the accusing eyes and felt a slight sense of guilt which he quickly razed over. He would not be made to feel guilty by anyone for something that came as naturally to him as breathing. "As I said it is not reading minds, nevermind." Although he had decided to make Tiberius aware of his skill, the carrier was too vulnerable to be told the full extent of his abilities, one day he would tell him everything but right now was not the time. "Yes."

Tiberius didn't know what to say. He was speechless…would his life be nothing but a mirror of what his husband wanted. Would he never know a moment of privacy? "You've been playing me all along. It's not right."

"I'm highly skilled…my ability's magic is so strong that I can carry it out without the use of my wand or the necessary spoken spell. It's a gift or a curse depending on who you ask. I must admit you are a challenge for me Tiberius." The wizard whispered touching his bonded's face with the back of his hand.

Tiberius was mesmerized by the silvery eyes and the soft touch until the words sunk in. "A challenge!" he sputtered in disbelief.

"Yes…your mind …is not at all subtle. It screams to be heard." The wizard continued with a wave of his hand. "I must admit to getting headaches trying to block you out."

Tiberius could only shake his head, "this is not about you!"

Lorne sighed, "No it isn't. It's about us." Had he made a mistake in letting Tiberius know? No, he hadn't. The carrier was not a stupid individual nor did he want him to become one. He wanted Tiberius to know his place, to respect it, to be proud of who he was but he also wanted him to be aware of what was going on so he could better protect him.

Tiberius opened his mouth only to shut it again and run his hand through his dark hair in confusion. Us? Was there an Us? So far he hadn't thought about their bonding as an Us? How could he? He was a carrier and under Wizarding law the property of his bondmate.

"Yes, us. You've told me your deepest secrets, albeit reluctantly, so I'm making you privy to one of mine."

"It's not like I have a choice." The carrier ground out remembering Sir Malfoy's questioning after their bonding night.

Lorne couldn't help the half smile. "No, you don't but I do and I've chosen to share the knowledge with you."

"How very rich of you," Tiberius murmured trying to control his temper. Getting angry would not help matters. He had to get himself under control or he'd lose the battle and the whole war along the way. With a deep breath, he looked up at Lorne but the wizard's eyes had strayed to a magical painting.

Lorne looked away and focused on the streaked sky in one of the paintings. Tomorrow he'd have to attend his cousin's business; he wondered what news he would get.

Tiberius couldn't help but ask, "Why are you always looking away from me?"

"It's easier to block people out when one is not looking at them." The wizard answered looking back, his silvery eyes seemed to look into his soul and Tiberius looked away uncomfortably. "I'm seventy six--twice as old as you. In those 35 plus years I've learned a few things and lived a few more experiences that would give you nightmares. Trust me when I tell you that I had to keep my ability a secret until after you came under my protection."

Tiberius took a deep breath and wrapped his arms around himself. The wizard was an enigma! How was he supposed to trust him? When he felt the warmth in his womb he closed his eyes and clung to it. That warmth seemed to flow through him lending him comfort and understanding and he did not want to be without it.

Lorne reached out and tilted the carrier's chin so he could look at Tiberius. The carrier opened his dark eyes and searched the wizard's face. "What I kept from you I did for your own safety but now things have changed. We're in the middle of a war so to maintain that safety I'm informing you of things that may save your life and help you in guarding our child's."

"I will give my life for our child but I'm just a carrier. You speak of a war and…" Tiberius began quietly, his eyes darting nervously.

"Yes, you're a carrier but a very intelligent one so you must understand the need for secrecy in certain matters. I'm known for my dueling skills but only a handful know of my unique gift. The world I must involve myself in to keep all the Malfoys safe is one of death and deceit. In this world secrecy is …imperative. "

The words sent a shiver up Tiberius's back. "Then why did you choose me? I'm a hindrance to you. I can't help you in any way…I'm inadequate at best."

Lorne shrugged his shoulders in annoyance. Tiberius was so stubborn sometimes. He supposed he could bring him to heel but he didn't want to. Although there was a degree of obedience he expected from the carrier, he did not want destroy his bonded's spirit. "You are and have never been inadequate."

"Then why?" Tiberius pleaded his hands over his Lord's. Had young Lucius been wrong? He had told him that Sir Malfoy liked him? But did that mean the wizard cared for him or could love him one day?

Sir Lorne entwined his fingers through his bonded's slimmer ones and smiled, Lucius? "You keep asking me that question."

"You never answer it." the carrier whispered back miserably.

Sir Malfoy sighed. "My reason for choosing you is complex."

Tiberius debated on whether to press the issue but his carrier instinct, which seemed to be taking over more and more, told him to let it go. Whatever reasons Sir Malfoy may have had for bonding with him would not change the fact that he was now submissive to the wizard. "Suddenly, I'm so afraid…what if something happens to you?"

"Do not worry I've made arrangements for you and the child." A perplexed look from his mate drove the blonde to explain further. "If anything were to happen to me, you will be left in the care of my brother. He will watch over you and the child. You will obey him as you do me. In short you will enter his household."

"Brother? Enter his household!" The wizard was exaggerating.

"No exaggerations Tiberius. I do not like such melodramatics. Do you remember my absence before our bonding?" the tall blonde asked releasing his hold.

"Yes." Something told him he was not going to like this.

"My absence proved fruitful. I found out that Lord Abraxas injuries the day Lord Snape died were not a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time but an assassination attempt. Had my cousin died then, Lucius would have been the head of the household."

"But children can't assume the head of a house until they turn seventeen! Besides wouldn't Lord Malfoy have made a will naming someone in charge until his son came of age?" Sir Malfoy's stony silence answered the question.

"Merlin I can't believe it." There had been no will!

"That detail has been taken care of now." Lorne smirked knowingly. "But think of who steps in when there's no one named."

The dark brows furrowed in thought. "If there's no will, or anyone qualified… the Ministry." A fate worse than death. Making sure the ministry stayed out of the Snape's business was one of the reasons Lady Gytha had condemned herself to a magical painting. "Is that why you were Knighted? He wanted you to have more stand. So, if he died you could step in until Lucius came of age?" he whispered.

"Most assuredly. We passed of the Knighting as a reward for my service but the truth is that if anyone tries to move against us, they will not only have to kill my cousin but me in the process. With the security I've arrange that will not happen. "

"But you would've guarded him just the same. He didn't need to Knight you, he made you a target!" Tiberius whispered worriedly. The fact that his mate could read him and had been doing so seemed very unimportant now. He felt a pressure inside and shook his head again, Sir Malfoy couldn't die. They were bonded; he was pregnant with their child! "You can't die." He whispered feeling cold and alone.

Lorne had not expected Tiberius' sincere vulnerability and moved towards the younger man, "I don't intend to." He promised wrapping his arms around him.

Tiberius closed his eyes and rested his head on his mate's chest.

The wizard arched an eyebrow at the wizard's sentimentality. "I married you because I love you." The words rolled off Sir Malfoy's tongue and he waited for Tiberius's reaction curiously. Would the carrier settle for what he wanted to hear or would he demand the truth yet again?

Tiberius groaned almost painfully, "liar."

Sir Malfoy nodded appreciatively, "very well then. If you must know?"

Tiberius nodded suddenly tired. "I must, in this world of deceit I'd like truth between us."

Sir Malfoy sensed his bonded's weariness and with a whispered phrase apparated them to their bedroom. After guiding Tiberius to the bed, Lorne lay next to the weary carrier and kissed him softly."I married you because you are submissive but with a stubborn streak that excites me." He confessed as he undid the buttons on his mate's coat. "I married you because you are handsome and intelligent," he added hoarsely as his hands slipped under the loose clothing to stroke the carrier's pale body. "...and lastly, because despite being almost non-magical, I consider you worthy of my fourteen hundred year old name."

Tiberius nodded in satisfaction and moved to undo the bottons in his Lord's coat. Lucius had been wrong or he had misunderstood the youth's comment. Sir Lorne Draconius Malfoy Castille did not care for him like he may have wanted, but he was a powerful wizard, and he would keep him and their children safe. They would want for nothing and it was this truth that would make his life bearable and it was what he would cling to. If love ever came their way, it would just be an added bonus.

Sir Lorne heard the words as clearly as if Tiberius had voiced them and kissed him possessively. Love in his world was just that-- an added bonus.

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End Chapter 7.

I must admit that I had a very hard time writing this chapter. I wrote it and rewrote it but I just couldn't get a handle on my past efforts. I guess I wanted to make Lorne more appealing to my readers so I was writing him kinder. I, however, soon realized that Lorne isn't what one could call kind so I quickly trashed everything. Now don't get me wrong he's not a bad guy but he is far from being a nice person, at least not in the sense most of us perceive "nice". He's a product of his society and is proud of it. He doesn't apologize because he doesn't feel he needs to apologize for anything. You're going to see a lot of that in this story. So, before anyone protests, remember that the main characters in this tale are Purebloods and Slytherins and for me to write them any differently would be not be believable.

Until the next chapter.

Ms. Gringotts