No ownie! No ownie!

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Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. -Oscar Wilde

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For some reason, I never could sleep at night.

It's not like it started a week ago, or months, or even a couple of years ago. Hell, it irritated my parents when Regulus was little- having two screaming children up in the middle of the night and no amount of magic to make them shut up. It probably started before then, and the portrait of my mother downstairs certainly doesn't help my sleep now.

At least at Hogwarts the four of us could roam around at night. We did it nearly every night, not just when we had to lead Remus to the Shrieking Shack. A bit of fun on our part, and I could sleep in classes (particularly during Binns' lectures).

But now, with the Order, the topics we speak of only seem to aggravate my sleeplessness. I can't visit James- not with Harry. He'd enjoy it, no doubt, but even I have my limitations.

I'd say there's other things that keep me up at night, my only company a stupid old house-elf and a bottle of Muggle whiskey. But I won't admit who it is, not to anyone- not even James. That would be akin to suicide!

I rub my eyes and kick my heels up onto the table. Everyone's just left, back off to their lovely homes and lovely families and all that lovely shit after our morbid conversations on the recent attack by Death Eaters on Muggles. And I'm left waiting.

Not for long.

I hear him stumbling around like a drunk- and it's a funny mental image, imagining him trying to find his way down that corridor in the total dark, a mask covering his face. Until, of course-

"Half breeds, dirty filth, sins of the flesh, get out-"

Groaning, I shake my head and stand up, making my way down. "Would you shut up for once in your life, you stupid hag?" I grab the tall man by the arm and yank him into the kitchen. "Jesus, what happened to you?"

We've come back in the light, and even with the silver mask on, I can tell he isn't well off. His legs are shaking so badly I'm amazed he's still standing, that he wasn't crawling about on all fours. I force him to sit down and he moans, hands clenching the table for dear life.

His blonde hair is matted down, fine robes ripped and torn. I bite back a comment about him being attacked by rabid wolves- he probably wouldn't laugh, just glower and act like a little kid. "Need something to drink, Lucius?"

He nods weakly, running a hand through his tangled mess of hair. "Good God, Black, why did I go?" He sounds ready to vomit.

I snort, pouring him a bit of the Muggle whiskey. Give him a little shock. "Because you're a big fucking git with an ugly tattoo on your arm."

"Funny." I can imagine his scowl behind the silver-wrought concealment. "I should have stayed home.."

"But then you never would have come here!" I grin, passing him the glass. He stares at it, gray eyes confused and a little suspicious. "Aw, go on Luce, it's not poison or anything. It's whiskey." He sniffs it, then hesitantly removes the mask and takes a sip.

He doesn't speak for a couple of moments, still digesting the strong drink in front of him. "Cruciatus Curse." he says finally, and I nod. I knew that before he opened his mouth, but might as well humor him.

"Ah."

"Bellatrix was a little too eager, it seems, to punish me in place of the Dark Lord."

My eyebrows knit together. "What in the hell did you do?"

Lucius shakes his head and laughs lamely. "It was a small mistake in the grand scheme of things, really, I got the time wrong on an attack we were to make, but of course by then there was warning that the Death Eaters were coming and most were able to get away..."

I should be disgusted. I should scold him and call him a bastard for what he does in his free time, tell him to get a real life, that he's exactly the type I am fighting against. But I don't. Instead, I touch his hand gently as he replaces the mask over his face. He thinks it will keep me from noticing the broken nose, the bruises along his jawline, but of course I saw it- and know better than to say anything.

"Are you feeling all right? Need anything else?" He shrugs. His hand is cold under mine. I rub it gently, comfortingly.

"Somewhere to sleep, I suppose." Lucius mumbles. He's embarrassed- it's in the tone of his voice, the way he slumps forward, losing the grace and poise so common of a Malfoy. I grin wickedly at him.

"Not a problem, Luce!" I cry heroically. I imagine a small smile behind his mask- not a smirk, but a true, honest to fucking God smile.

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He always arrives at night, after a meeting with the Order- or, after a Death Eater meeting, whichever sounds best. He rarely takes off the mask, even when we're in my bedroom, my brother's old bedroom...wherever we fall. Never removes it.

The thing is, I almost like it more this way. Granted, I can't exactly kiss him or see the expressions on his face. But if I took off that mask, I know what would happen. He wouldn't nearly be so submissive and demure. No, he would morph back into the very same jackassed Pureblood I hated in our school days- haughty, rude, and offensive.

No, even though the mask is a strange thing to look at, to talk to, I like him better when he hides behind it. It makes things easier, and I'm sure he feels the same way- otherwise, why would he leave it on?

Lucius sighs and rests his head against my shoulder. I touch the silver cheek gently, wondering if the real one beneath is just as cold as his hand, if it is bruised or pale as his collarbone.

"I won't take it off," he murmurs unnecessarily.

"I know." I take both of his hands in my own and kiss that pale collarbone. "Maybe you should."

He snorts. "You and I both know that will never happen, Black."

"Shut up, will you?" I smile. "I can dream all I want."

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It's near morning, and both of us are still awake. He's staring at the ceiling, pale skin practically glowing; the sun hasn't quite come up yet.

"I should go back to Narcissa." he is uneasy, nervous. I hate it when he gets like this, in the pre-dawn hours where we simply lay near each other.

"Why'sat?" I yawn, stretching next to him and lazily draping an arm over his shoulder. "Stay for breakfast, Luce, no one will say anything."

I imagine him scowling. "What about that infernal house-elf, Kreacher? He'll go tell Narcissa, and-"

"Tell me the truth, Lucius." I interrupt. "How do you feel?"

He sits up. "About what?"

"This!" I wave my hand irritably at our surroundings, over myself. He is so still it's like he passed out, and for the hundredth time tonight I am tempted to rip off the mask.

"I can't say I love you." he stares at his fingernails rather than me. "Things are too different, Black. I'm a Death Eater, an aristocrat. I adhere to the rules, I am a Pureblood and damn proud. You are of the Order, nowhere near bloody rich, and you hate your family."

He's right.

"We've only ever met at night, and it's not like we can walk around London together, can we?" he shakes his head. "Not even Muggle London, because inevitably someone would notice. And we'd both be-"

"-Dead." I finish.

Turning to him, I see his eyes are pained. I hate seeing him upset, even if he is a Malfoy, even if, when he goes home, he will morph back into that damn prat. "Take off your mask." I beg. "For me."

He sits up, head bowed. "Sirius." This is the first time he has used my name. "Don't do this to me." His blonde hair shields the mask from me, as if he is ashamed.

Hands trembling, I raise my wand and touch its tip to the bridge of the silver-wrought nose. It disappears, and in its place is a face. His face. Bruised, bloodied, marred by my cousin's cruelty, but his face nevertheless. He glares at me, gray eyes gone cold- not just with disgust, but with betrayal.

I kiss him, hesitantly at first, then more surely. He doesn't respond, doesn't react like he does to me every other night. But I don't mind. When I pull away he's shaking, scrambling for his want to make the mask come back. I hear him mutter a curse and "Black", and I can't help but smirk.

"If I could have any companion every night that I lay awake," I declare loudly, "it would be you, Lucius Malfoy."

He stumbles out of the bed, stumbles the same way that he did down the hallway. I laugh and grab his arm, bringing him back to me- if only for a few more hours, even with that mask hiding that beautiful face.