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SLYTHERIN BOY

Chapter Twenty-Five: Reminisce and Recollect

Severus woke slowly, groggily. His face was smashed uncomfortably against the side of Viktor's head. He repositioned, and stretched slowly, languidly. A yawn escaped his chest as he felt the man next to him move slightly, in the gentle ruffle of wakefulness. The small rectangular windows near the ceiling let the dirty sunlight stream in, leaving squares of light in patterns along the pale skin of his lover.

He felt an unfamiliar smile creep across his face. A tension jumped into his chest and throat. It was such a fleeting moment of bursting pain that he barely had a moment to recognize what it was. A fleeting moment of happiness. Not just happiness, for he had experienced that before, but a happiness so profound that it hurt from its strangeness. He rubbed his chest slightly, before blinking and smiling again. He could get used to that feeling, he decided, even if it only came in short bursts.

His thoughts drifted over the events of the past few weeks. Draco, the thought of the pale boy made anger and pain rise in his chest, along with the lead blanket of guilt. He was angry that Draco had become such a bastard to him. He was hurt that the boy had gone from someone he considered to have great potential, a boy who had once bore his heart and feelings, his pains his fears and his hopes to Severus could change, so drastically. The realization that Severus wasn't, in fact, invincible had changed the way Draco had acted towards him, giving him a strong enough dislike of the boy to kick him in the chest with all his might. Though the fragile-looking boy's death had been accidental, the fact that Severus had lost his control for even just one moment had given him such a feeling of guilt that it felt difficult to breathe.

"Are you okay?" Severus blinked back to attention, looking at Viktor, who had spoken. The man's hair was mussed and tangled from sleep, crumpling around his face. Severus smiled at him. "I'm fine," he said. "Just thinking."

"You looked very not happy," Viktor said.

"I was thinking about unpleasant things," Severus admitted. "A boy who died,"

"Yellow hair?" the foreign man asked. Severus looked surprised.

"Yes, his name was Draco Malfoy."

"Headmaster Dumbledore he told me about," Viktor said. "He say you did it by accident."

"Yes, it was an accident. It was still my fault, though." Severus frowned. Viktor wrapped his arms around the dark-haired man, laying his cheek against Severus's chest.

"It's better now. People have forgiven you. They know you did not mean it. Accidents happen sometime. You would never do killing on purpose."

"Mm," Severus said. He combed his fingers through the tangles in Viktor's hair. They lay together like that for a long while.

They sat together in the staff lounge. Severus felt a buzz of comfort at being allowed back in the familiar room. Even though at the moment it was bustling with teachers, he knew that he wouldn't be teaching again until after his visit with his family.

His family. His heart jumped into his throat, at the same moment his stomach plunged into an unknown abyss located somewhere near the floor. He swallowed, shaking his head of the nervous thoughts of seeing his brothers again.

He tried to enjoy himself. It was difficult for him, his mind was always occupied with the unpleasant things, it seemed. Even when things were looking wonderful for him, just the prospect of seeing his family again could ruin the moment.

The other professors shot them curious looks once in awhile. They weren't speaking to each other at the moment, simply sitting together over coffee, enjoying the atmosphere silently. Severus picked up a copy of the daily prophet. His face went white at seeing Draco Malfoy's face on the cover.

"Jesus Christ," he muttered putting it back down. Viktor looked confused, picking it up. A knowing look dawned on his face as he read the article. Severus scowled. "Every time I start to feel good, something awful has to throw itself right back into my face, it seems." He murmured. Viktor put the paper away and took his hand. Remus Lupin smirked, sitting across from them.

"Well, if it isn't the two lovebirds," he said brightly. "Nice to see you two are getting along well,"

"Go away, Lupin." Severus said.

"Temper, temper, Severus," Remus said, holding his hands up innocently. Severus's heart lurched at the similarity to something Draco had said to him on the train. "Ooh, temper, temper, my dark haired friend," echoed in Severus's ear so that he barely heard the rest of Remus' comment. "I was just trying to make conversation."

Severus didn't respond. Viktor and Remus looked at him. His eyes were clouded, his face distracted. "You okay, Severus?" Remus asked. "You look like you're not all here with us,"

"Mm, what?" Severus snapped to attention. "I thought I told you to go away, Lupin?" he scowled.

"Wow. Whatever, Snape. Don't need to tell me twice," he stood up.

"I already told you twice," Snape snarled, at the back of the tawny-haired Werewolf. The man shook his head and disappeared from the staff lounge.

Severus jumped at the bony elbow of Viktor stabbing him in the ribs. "Ouch," he said, rubbing the throbbing area. "What was that for?" Viktor rolled his eyes. The other staff members watched, looking amuse and shooting silent glances to each other before returning to their work.

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He sat in the beat up car, Viktor in the passenger side seat. He took several short, labored breaths as he gathered his courage. The car drive had given him much-needed mental preparation, but now that he was here he felt sick and anxious. He stared through the scratched windshield at the peeling and rusting blue paint on the hood of the car. He wondered vaguely why Albus would have such a piece-of-junk car, before looking over towards the house.

It loomed, dark and intimidating, at the top of a grassy hill. Just as he remembered it. The walk up the paved pathway would last an eternity, until his feet ached as much as his nerves. The lights were on in the house, giving it an obscure homey feeling against the dusk that was approaching. As he stared at the house, he saw a few people open the front door and trickle out onto the porch. They looked like marbles rolling, bouncing and jockeying for position on the wooden porch.

They looked at the car, and Severus looked at his hands on the steering wheel. Viktor reached over, rubbing his shoulder in a display of comfort and support. Severus sighed, before standing and exiting the car. He spent a moment looking at the heap, expecting it to fall apart at any moment, crumpling to a pile and the rubber wheels rolling off into the sunset. He wished he could roll away at that moment.

Instead, he walked towards the footpath, Viktor behind him.

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He approached the porch, his eyes trained to the ground. As he reached for the screen door, he looked up, his black eyes speaking volumes to the men inside. He walked in, as the others repositioned themselves to make room for Severus and Viktor. He looked around. "Maybe some introductions are in order," the man in front of him said. "After all, you haven't seen any of us since you were a child. We spoke earlier and decided we ought to start off with re-introducing ourselves."

"Sounds good," Severus said softly. He felt something abnormal for him, intimidation. It was as if he were eleven years old all over again.

The man smiled brightly. His teeth were white and straight. Severus wondered why he'd been the one born with crooked teeth. Or perhaps that was a result of the abuse he'd received during his growing years? Who knew.

"Claudius," he said. His dark hair was parted and smooth, he looked like a businessman. His blue eyes shined with good nature, and he seemed to be an overall pleasant fellow. He was tall, though none of them were as tall as Severus, and he was slight, built along the same pattern as Severus. Severus nodded to him. "Claud, right? Or am I wrong. I'm just going by what I remember them calling you." Claud nodded. "Yes, I normally go by Claud. Most people prefer the shorter version, it's not as much of a mouthful."

"I see," Severus blinked. Claud was the oldest child in the family. Two identical men nodded to him next, from the porch swing. One had very short, curly black hair, and the other's hair was longer, combed back. They both had dimples in their cheeks and dark brown eyes. Their hands were large and rough, probably from dealing with dragons, if he remembered correctly. "Cyprian and Demetr," Severus said, lifting an eyebrow. They grinned. "You remember us?" Severus nodded. "Well. Twins, after all. Hard to forget that sort of thing, you know." He shrugged, feeling uncomfortable. As though he were on show for them.

Another man stood. He stuck his hand out. Severus shook it, noticing the wedding band on his finger. He had short hair, though it looked untidy, as though he didn't comb it as often as he should. He looked remarkably like Severus, sans hooked nose. His skin tone, his build, his eyes all reminded Viktor of Severus. "Tertius," the voice was different, though. Rough and brusque, like a smoker's voice.

The next one who stood had long, wavy black hair pulled into a tail at the nape of his neck. His eyebrows were thick, and his nose hooked. He had darker skin and gleaming brown eyes. "Dominicus," he said. He gave Severus a cheeky grin. Severus smirked slightly.

"Camillus," Severus said, next, looking at the man who had stood. "Cam," the man corrected. "Can't stand being called by the full thing." He had spiky, dark brown hair, the only one in the group without the black locks. His eyes gleamed black and his mouth was thin and grinning.

"I remember the rest of you," Severus said. "Livius, Vitus, Max, Tonnie…" he trailed off. The men nodded. "No Tully, though," he frowned. "How did it happen?" he wondered aloud. The men had looked depressed upon the mention of their deceased brother.

"Heart attack," Cam said. "He had a heart defect when he was born. You knew, didn't you?"

"Oh," Severus murmured. "No, I didn't know. Mother and Father didn't tell me much about the family,"

"Ah," Claud rubbed the back of his neck, looking uncomfortable. "Well… let's go in. It's getting a bit rainy out here," Severus nodded, and followed the herd of men into the house.

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They sat in the living room, drinking tea for awhile. The men were talking eagerly, reminiscing and catching up. Severus absorbed the information as best he could. Cyprian was getting married. Tertius had another child on the way. Demetr had expanded their Dragon sanctuary to include 30 of the beasts, and the staffing was at an all time high. Max's family was going to be relocating to Italy, due to his work. There was so much that Severus didn't know about his brothers.

"Max," he said softly. His voice was soft but it still had that commanding edge to it. The other men quieted and looked to him. "Yes?" Max asked.

"I have a home up in Italy. You can have it, if you want it." He said. Max blinked.

"I can have it?" he asked, stunned.

"Well, yes. I hardly ever go there. Two months a year, maybe. There's no reason for me to keep somewhere that I never go." He smirked. "I was going to sell it anyways, I was going to move into a house in Hogsmeade," he said. "But seeing as supposedly I have all this inheritance, I don't think I'm really going to need the money," he shrugged. He was uncomfortable with the staring. There was silence for a moment.

"You know, forget I said anything," he snapped, irritated at his family's behavior.

"Oh, no," Max said, afraid he had offended Severus. "Thank you so much, Severus. I don't even know how to express my gratitude," his eyes were wide. Severus was feeling exceedingly uncomfortable.

"You're welcome," he murmured. He stood up. "I'm going to get some more tea," he frowned, walking into the other room. Viktor sat for a moment, before getting up and following.

The men were quiet as Severus the sound of Severus sighing heavily was heard from the kitchen. "Why am I doing this, Viktor? I should just leave them to sort everything out,"

"I thought you wanted connection with your family?" Viktor's heavy voice murmured.

"Not if it's going to feel so awkward. I'm tired of dancing around every damned subject we talk about. They're being so careful of me," he hissed. "As if saying the wrong thing will have me bursting out in tears like a child. I am not some helpless damsel in distress, you know!"

"I know," Viktor said softly. Severus sighed again.

"This is so stressful. Why does every damnable thing in my life have to happen at the same time? First that damn curse, then Draco, then you, now this. Why? You know, I'm not some fragile doll to be broken, but I can only take so much, Viktor. I want to go back. I want to go home,"

"Well," Viktor said. "I thought you wanted to come to terms," he murmured. "With what had happened in this house."

"I do," Severus murmured. "I do. I guess I'll just have to suck it up. Pretend there's not a pile of ashes where my heart used to be," he growled.

"There's not," Viktor whispered.

There was silence, before Severus came back out, holding a fresh cup of tea. He blinked at the stares of his brothers, before sitting back down again.

"So, Severus," Vitus asked, pushing a few strands of his cheek-length hair behind his ears. "How's Hogwarts going? You teach there, right?"

"Oh, yes," Severus said. "I took a year off, this year. I needed some time." He lied exquisitely. "I was having some medical problems and there was a lot of strain for awhile. I'm better now, though. I'm due to start teaching again next week," he smiled slightly. "About time, I'd say. I could do with something to keep me busy,"

"What do you teach?" Tertius asked. Severus felt pleased that they were speaking about something he could contribute to.

"Oh, potions. I keep applying for that damned Defense Against the Dark Arts position, but I never get it. Albus is willing to put any terrible teacher in there as long as he doesn't have to sacrifice his Potion's professor. There's a large shortage of Potions Masters as far as teaching goes, and it's a very dangerous subject after all. The slightest thing can kill you, and he doesn't want any old halfwit teaching his kids how to make explosives," he smirked.

"Why do you want the Defense position so badly if you're so good at Potions?" Max asked.

"Oh," Severus murmured. "Well. I made some really terrible mistakes in my life," he murmured slowly, carefully. "I don't want the children to make the same sorts of mistakes. I want them to really know what to in any of the situations I found myself in."

"What sorts of situations would those be?" Cam asked.

Severus blinked. "Deatheaters," he stated simply. There was a look of fear on their faces.

"You, er… you had experiences with Deatheaters?" Claud asked. He seemed shaken. "And they didn't kill you?" his eyes were wide. The other men in the room seemed to have the same feelings about it.

"Well," he said. "As a boy I was… confused. I didn't trust anyone, I had no friends. I got no respect from, well, anybody. I got caught up in the Deatheaters, they promised me everything. At that moment in my life… well, I joined them." Severus said. There were gasps from his brothers.

"But…" Severus continued. He didn't like the idea of his brothers being afraid of him. "You have to understand that when the Dark Lord himself is recruiting you, which he was, it is very difficult to say no. You can't refuse when he's standing there, or he'll kill you. What's to stop him? But I very soon after realized that the things I was told about the group were outright false. It was nothing more than a group of bloodthirsty murderers," he was actually slightly enjoying his tale. He hardly ever got to tell it, and never with such rapt attention. It was a good feeling to have people looking at him with fascination like that. "I went to Albus Dumbledore, and practically begged him to throw me in Azkaban. I said the dementors weren't as awful as the Deatheaters, and if it meant escape from the Dark Lord himself, I would do it. Instead of killing me then and there, which in reality he had the legal right to do… he asked me to do something for him. He asked me to spy for him. And I accepted." He shrugged.

His brothers were looking at him with a newfound respect. "You spied on you-know-who? And you're not DEAD?" Cam asked again.

"Well. I'm very skilled at Occlumency. He could never tell if I was lying or not. I spied on him for years and years from his inner circle, and he never suspected. After his first downfall, I was protected by Dumbledore from being imprisoned for bearing the mark, by that evidence. As such, when he returned two years back, I was unable to resume my role as a spy." He said. "While I'm sure being a spy is almost a respectable role, I would far prefer my students to never fall into the Deatheater trap at all. But alas, I am kept as a lowly potions master. If the ministry caught wind of me teaching Defense, I'd be sacked immediately anyways. They don't take kindly to me," he shrugged. "I deserve it, though. I've done nothing to deserve their trust. I trust them less than they do me, though, so I suppose it works both ways,"

"Wow," Max said. "That's really impressive, Severus," Severus smiled just a little. "Not really. If I hadn't been such a fool to start with I never would have gotten myself into that hot water."

"Wait a moment, though," Cy said. "You said that he was recruiting you himself. So that's different. Why did he want you so badly, anyways?" he asked.

"Oh," Severus said. "Well at that point, fresh out of school, I was already a really distinguished Potions Master. Within a few years I was one of the top masters in the world, and he wanted my skill for his army." He frowned.

"You're one of the top potions masters in the world?" Livius asked.

"No, I'm the top now," he said. "There were a few better than me then. But they've since died, so… that leaves me," he shrugged again. "It's really not that big of a deal. It's not like there's much competition."

"Not for you," Livius said. "I'm a Potions Master too, you know?"

Severus blushed. "Oh really? Well, I mean, I didn't mean it like… er…" he said. He hadn't meant to insult anyone.

"Oh, no, I didn't mean that you had offended me, Severus. All I'm saying is that there's competition for me. I guess my skill level is around the average for most Potions masters, so you must be really talented to be the top in the world. To not even see people like me as competition," he grinned. Severus's ears burned red.

"I really didn't mean it that way. If I had known, I mean…" he trailed off. Livius smiled. "Don't worry about it. At least now when I go to conventions I can say 'Well, my brother's top in the world'." He grinned.

"Hah," Severus said. "Oh, did you go to the convention in Bristol last year?" he asked.

"Oh, yes, did you see the booth about the Wolfsbane? I thought that was fascinating!" Livius murmured.

"Oh, Wolfsbane," Severus grinned. "Hey, that's not so interesting really. I created the formula when I was, er, maybe twenty-four? It wasn't perfect at first, still isn't really, but I've continued research on it throughout the years. You shouldn't take that booth to heart, though, it was set up by a man I have little to no respect for, and a lot of his facts were wrong about it, too…"

Claudius smirked. "Well, now they've gone off about Potions," he murmured to his brothers. "We'll be here for hours, I suspect,"

Severus walked through the house with Viktor. "It's weird, you know?" he said. "Being here again. It's just as I remember it, too. I don't know what to think. You would never suspect some of the things that went on here," he frowned.

"I know," Viktor said. "It seems like normal house," he shook his head. "I am sorry about what did happen here," he said to Severus. Severus smiled at him slightly, reaching out to brush his fingers with his hands. They continued to walk through the house.

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A/N: Okay, this one was longer. I finally got the reunion going. I thought I'd find a family member who'd connect with Severus. The other's were fascinated by the Deatheater thing, because though they were a pureblood family, they had stayed away from the Dark Lord. Their only experiences with deatheaters had been through rumors and the news, so they were eager to hear a first-hand account of it.

See, his family wasn't as bad as he thought. At first it was awkward, but after they got the ball rolling things worked out. Next chapter should come soon. I had an idea but now I'm not sure if I want to do that. I think maybe I want to work a little more on the Livius-Severus brother relationship, because I'm starting to really like Livius. g