Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the brainchild of J.K. Rowling and thus belongs to her and whomever she sells the rights to, which is not me in this case. This piece of fanfiction is written with the admiration and respect of Harry Potter's creator. I claim no ownership of her creations. No profit is or will be made from this material.
Summary: Lucius never expected it to end any other way. Lucius/Snape. Deathly Hallows compliant. 20 Sentence challenge.
Rating: T, for minor sexually-suggestive adult themes
Dedication: For Armity. Happy birthday.
"There's no escape now," Severus said while watching Lucius shed his Azkaban stripes for Death Eater robes.
Time was an agony, crushing his bones, filling his chest, running from the nerves in his teeth, past his toes, until there was nowhere else for it to go; finally Lucius screamed and Severus didn't even try to stop it.
"Good evening, Headmaster," Lucius drawled because he didn't know how to talk to the man anymore.
Severus took him face-down on the desk and the only unexpected thing from Lucius' perspective was that the portraits watching didn't make a sound.
"There are rumours again, Severus, that you're trying to protect the students," Bellatrix said for the room to hear, forcing Lucius to a confession Snape didn't listen to, "I wish you'd protect yourself."
Lucius didn't know what side Severus worked for anymore and didn't particularly care one way or another.
"When this is all over-," Severus never let him finish that sentence and he was glad for it; couldn't imagine what would come after it.
There wasn't one redeeming feature on Snape's face but Lucius would rather study it for hours than dare glance in a mirror.
"None of this will last," Snape was prophetic in his pessimism.
Lucius would trade sides if he could, but he can't trust anyone with the attempt; not even Severus.
Snape had drawn his wand on Lucius a dozen times, hurt him in unimaginably dark ways, but this once his words stung with betrayal, "Prove your loyalty to the Dark Lord, Malfoy."
Lucius watched him handle poisons over the flicker of a cauldron fire and wondered if anyone in this bloody war had more victims than Severus Snape.
"Doesn't it turn your stomach," Narcissa asked below her breath, "to think that Severus might be the only one of us with a plan?"
Lucius knew it was bad when Severus started making mistakes.
"If you ever say mudblood in my private rooms again, Lucius, I will curse the tongue out of your pretty, little mouth."
Severus kissed him, almost gently, and Lucius knew that the only explanation was that a lot of people were going to die tomorrow.
"Snape's safe with Voldemort."
He hid and there was no other word for it; Lucius Malfoy hid like the coward Severus Snape never was.
"To think of all the heroes that died today . . . and look at you, not a scratch," Arthur Weasley couldn't summon the proper venom in his grief, but it would've been unnecessary since the truth of it had already occurred to Lucius.
Lucius had Spinner's End razed to the ground, poisoned the earth so that nothing would ever grow there, and tried to imagine that his debt to Severus was paid.