Title: The Darkness Within
Rating: M, meaning no minors due to eventual SSS (Slash Sexual Situations)
Author: Groffiction
Fandom: Harry Potter Au
Pairings: Severus/OC, Lucius/OC
Summary: A new evil is on the rise, and with it, creature refugees from around the globe. Two orphaned teen Cat-Dragons must find a way to protect themselves with some help from a meddling old wizard. Unfortunately for Severus, one of the cubs is his future mate. Unfortunately for Lucius, the other cub is his future mate. But both are blind to the obvious signs. As the cubs are taught how to control their raging powers, the new evil forces more havoc on the Wizarding world. Can the cubs survive with the aid of their mates and new found friends?
Disclaimer: Don't own anyone you recognize.
Author's notes/warnings: Mentions of previous abuse, rape, torture. Present nightmares, eventual slash pairings once the boys are 18, and future sex. Angst, gore, and violence. Not suitable for minors! Disregards most of HBP & TDH. Sirius is also alive. To those of you who read my Bleach fic, A Huntress in Hueco Mundo, the cat-dragons may seem familiar. That's because the cat-dragons ARE similar to the shifters, just a totally different historical background and they are not from a different world. They are my creation. Please no touchy!

Chapter One: Revelations of a Dark Mind

"Arasmus… why are you hiding?"

"Leave me alone!" Arasmus screamed in agony, his blood full of fire and pain.

"If you come out, we can play again." Came the taunt that haunted his dreams.

"Go away!" The boy cried, hugging himself in terror, dark green eyes glassy with fear.

And then the voice laughed cruelly. "You can run and hide, but sooner or later I'll make you come out. You won't have a choice Arasmus."

Unbelievable agony coursed his veins and he screamed.

Letting out a scream of terror, he bolted straight up in his bed, shivering and scared out of his wits. Kael was at his side in a minute, his best friend and cousin. The blonde pulled him into his strong arms and murmured, "Shhh, Arasmus… everything is ok. He won't ever hurt you again. I am here."

Kael gently brushed a long lock of dark, crimson-black hair away from the pale elvish looking boy's face. Arasmus felt his heart convulse like a bewitched frog, scattering and jumping… loud in his ears. "Kael… I don't want to go back there."

"Shhh… you aren't going to. Dumbledore said he would keep us at Hogwarts until we are able to defend ourselves. Even then we will have sanctuary and asylum." The blonde boy looked at his best friend with worry. Arasmus at times could be unbelievably strong… but at other times he seemed so fragile and breakable. Kael hated seeing him like this.

At the hormonal age of fifteen, both boys were creature orphans who had been contacted by the mysterious Headmaster Wizard called Albus Dumbledore. They were now running away to Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dumbledore had promised them that they would not be harmed there and that they'd be able to learn how to defend themselves against anything to deal with the upcoming war.

Though the Wizarding World was yelling hoorays over the victory of Voldemort just this past January, oblivious to anything else looming around their doorstep, Arasmus and Kael knew all too well that a far greater and terrible war was about to begin. Voldemort only used a few types of magical creatures for his purpose. This new evil however, was bent on dominating ALL magical creatures, light or dark. Voldemort wanted to rule the world. This new one wanted to destroy it completely. Voldemort wanted loyal subjects to aid in his rise to complete supreme power. This new one was so powerful it didn't need loyal subjects.

Oh, yes. This new foe was far larger, eviler, and deadlier than Voldemort ever had been. It made the former bested dark lord look like a white floppy eared bunny.

Dumbledore suspected a new evil, and he was right. Kael and Arasmus both knew that the old wizard hadn't just picked them out randomly from the abused and neglected creature handbook. They were both smart enough to understand that once they were able to defend themselves, they'd be his puppets.

But even a puppet was better than being defenseless.

Being orphaned before they could walk, both Kael and Arasmus had grown up the best of friends together and looked after one another with a fierceness that surprised many. They had stumbled through their harsh lives, trying to find the answers of their heritage and identity. Eventually Arasmus had stumbled on something that was far too great for him to bear at the time.

And during that dark time, the old meddling wizard had come to them, offering to help.

They both knew that Dumbledore would manipulate them to suit his plans, but that was ok for now. Eventually they would be able to defend themselves and leave if they so chose. Right now, they were in a secret hiding place that the old man had used in the past years for secret meetings. It was a safe place for now. It was rather broken down, but its owner was working on remodeling it. Sirius Black was the owner, some person who was a part of this secret organization against Voldemort. Grimauld Place was the name of the dingy apartment or townhome… whatever you preferred to call it.

Shivering slightly, Kael cocked his elvish ears. He sniffed the air, feeling as though someone had just appeared in the broken down apartment. He wrapped her arms more tightly around his friend, who was sobbing dryly, as he usually did when the nightmares got too bad.

Severus Snape tensed slightly as he heard the screams coming from the top floors. He gave Sirius a bit of a dark look. "Torturing someone, I presume?"

Sirius glowered at the snarky man and both stood glaring at one another until Remus Lupin snapped them out of their reverie by saying quietly, "Dumbledore's new recruits."

Snape snapped his head around to look at the werewolf. "Why? Since Potter has done his duty, does Dumbledore feel like giving him a rest?" He sneered sarcastically.

"No, Professor." Harry entered the long dining room where they usually had their meetings. He was followed by Hermione and Ron. As they all sat down, Harry explained, "We are going to need all the help we can get."

Snape regarded the boy-who-lived with a mixture of fury, annoyance, irritation, and… pride. The boy had saved his life in the last battle against Voldemort. How the blasted twit had managed to do so still boggled his mind, even though it was now five months since the battle. He paced a bit when he started hearing dry sobbing and crooning.

"Help we may need, yes. But I don't think a few scared cubs make for ideal helpers." He snarled.

"Cubs….?" Hermione asked, eyebrow raised.

"Why Severus, I had no idea that you could smell those two from all the way down here." Lucius Malfoy walked in, followed by Draco. During the last battle, both Malfoys had been discovered as spies for Dumbledore.

They had been so good in their roles that even Severus had suspected their allegiance. Draco smiled at Ron and sat down next to him. The golden trio had finally gotten over their differences with Draco and now they hung out almost every day. "So that is why you are so grumpy, Uncle Sev. Those two are feline carrier type creatures aren't they?"

Harry snorted back a laugh as Severus openly gaped at his godson. "How in the HELL… no… never mind." He grumbled and started pacing, agitated.

"Will somebody explain what's going on?" Ron asked politely, and Hermione smiled at him.

Ron's temper had mellowed somewhat during the past few months. Harry figured it was due to Hermione. Both were working hard to make their relationship work. Lucius saved the boy any more confusion by saying, "Severus is a particularly rare alpha black tiger dragon."

"DRAGON?" Ron nearly shouted in surprise.

"Shut up, Weasel." Draco uttered with mock disdain.

"But I thought dragons looked… you know… young. No offense Professor." Ron added hastily.

"Believe me, I know exactly what I look like and what you all think I look like. It bothers me not." Severus grumbled irritably.

Suddenly Hermione, partly to dissolve the tension in the room, and partly out of curiosity, asked, "Professor… if you are a feline dragon… does that mean that you are in fact very young looking, but to hide suspicion, you hide your appearance?"

"Great Hermione. Now he'll think we all hate his looks." Ron mumbled.

Draco and Harry snorted in laughter. Snape sneered at Ron and Hermione and said, "If I do in fact hide my true appearance, no one, not you or anyone else save one will see it unless he or she wishes it so."

"His mate." Lupin assumed softly with a small sigh.

"HIS MATE?" Ron nearly bellowed.

"Ronald Weasely if I hear you imitate a gorilla again, I'll silence you for a good two weeks! Those children are trying to get some sleep!" Molly walked into the door, serving some fresh baked bread. "They've had a very trying day."

"More like life. Young unmated male carrier felines don't have it easy, right Severus?" Lupin asked, smiling slightly, though with a bit of sadness. Sirius rubbed his friend's back. "Cheer up, ol' chap." He said softly.

Severus paused a moment in his pacing to finger a glass of fire whiskey. Molly's special recipe. He sighed softly and ran a hand through his mop of black hair. "It's not like they have a choice in the matter."

"Whatever do you mean?" Molly asked, arching an eyebrow.

Hermione pinched her eyebrows with concentration. Finally when she noted that no one, not even Snape was going to divulge the information she said, "Depending on if their families… or packs… are male led… they are bonded at the earliest age possible to a dominant male of high status within the pack. That is, if they are higher in the ranks. If they are at the bottom, then they are sent off as concubines. If they are female led, then the male carriers are tortured at a young age to force them into being fighters. Those who survive the pain live within the pack at full status. Those who barely survive become slaves to the older females. Either way it goes, the carriers become slaves forced to bear children. Am I correct, Professor?"

Horror and disgust filled the room with chokeable tension. Severus stiffly nodded, keeping his eyes averted in order for no one to notice his slipping control. Those two male carriers were barely children, and yet he could smell them as if they were the most desirable thing on the planet! Get a hold of yourself Severus. You aren't sixteen with raging hormones! He told himself angrily as he found everyone's focus on him. "Most pacts." He affirmed.

"All believe this way, except for a few ancient feline races that deemed it not necessary to torture their male carriers. Carriers in these pacts were considered treasured members, am I right Severus?" Lupin asked.

Severus again gave them all a stiff nod. He turned away and was about to rip out his hair in agitation when Dumbledore arrived.

His presence made some tense and some relax. Either way it went, the old wizard's eyes twinkled merrily as he sat down. "So… what do you think of my new apprentices?"

"Apprentices?" Harry asked, eyebrows reaching his hairline.

Severus crossed his arms and tried to focus on the headmaster, not his raging hormones. Albus smiled. "Well, not really my apprentices. More like yours, Lucius, Lupin's, and Severus's." He smiled when everyone gave him mixed stares of shock and incredulousness. Before anyone could object, Albus explained, "These two aren't the only ones. They are the first to arrive. In my trip abroad, I found several creatures willing enough to help in our cause. Some don't need training at all, others… like the cubs upstairs need all the leadership and guidance as possible."

Severus bit his lip from shouting at the man. He also clenched his hands on his arms as he tried to prevent himself from strangling the old meddling fool. What kind of lunacy was this? He was an unmated dominant male of a rare race, and those two upstairs were unmated male carriers with equal rarity background. What the Hell was this supposed to accomplish?

Lucius was the first to recover, stating firmly, "What exactly are we supposed to teach them?"

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled even more. "Teach them your best and your worst. For example, you Lucius could teach them how to disguise themselves impeccably in order to keep their whereabouts unknown… or even your own personal fighting style that you have passed on to Draco. You, Harry, could teach them how to have courage in the heat of battle and think quickly on your feet. You could also teach them how to turn fear into a weapon. You, Remus, could teach them how to embrace their inner strengths and weaknesses, whatever they are. You could also teach them how to face their enemy and never back down. You Severus… could teach them everything you know." He pointedly left Severus last.

And the man knew it.

Meddling old fool.

Severus bit his lip and found that he was positively shaking with agitation and fury. There was a wealthy dose of fear… fear of his own actions in the whole melting pot as well. Damn Dumbledore and his meddling antics! All he wanted was to be alone for God's sake! He didn't want to chaperone two cubs barely old enough to understand the cruelties of the world. He bloody wanted to be HAPPY! Is that asking too much?

Ron, Hermione, and Draco shared a wary knowing look. They knew that Severus was going to explode. The poor man looked like he was paler than a ghost and he was shaking! Finally, Severus took a few deep breaths and managed to calm himself down a little. What was done was done, and he knew that arguing with the Headmaster was completely and utterly pointless. It would be as rewarding as walking up to a troll and asking them to share their food. He would just have to think of something… anything to keep him from lusting after the two innocents.

Harry was thoughtful, as if he wasn't really opposed to the idea of training the two boys. It couldn't be as hard as DA. Finally he spotted Lupin looking at him and both seemed to come to the same conclusion. "When do we start?" He asked.

Dumbledore grinned. "In a few days. I want those two to attend Hogwarts in the Fall, but throughout the summer, they will stay there and train. If that is alright with you Harry? Lucius, Lupin, and Severus also have the choice of staying at Hogwarts too."

Molly still was reeling from the information Hermione developed, but she agreed with Albus in this instance. She had remembered the all too terribleness of war. Nothing would be able to keep those boys safe unless they could learn to defend themselves. She hated that fact, but it was a blunt fact nonetheless.

At everyone's nod, including Severus' stiff one, Albus continued, "Good. The other creatures I have sent for will arrive at the end of August since they cannot come any sooner. Each one is remarkable and vastly intelligent. They will also attend Hogwarts in the Fall."

Suddenly, Severus stiffened as he heard the door upstairs open with his exceptionally well trained sensitive ears. Dumbledore caught on and was about to comment when a tall blonde boy wearing sleep pants and a big baggy shirt came down the stairs, and in full view of the room. He tensed like a deer in the headlights and bit his lip.

Mustering his courage, he scowled determinedly and stated softly, "I am sorry to intrude, but Arasmus is sick."

"Oh the poor dear!" Molly gasped and instantly bolted for the door. Severus was behind her in the instant… and so followed everyone else, most just out of curiosity as to why Severus bolted like that.

Arasmus shivered and moaned softly as he felt as if his skin was melting off of his bones. Yet he was so cold on the inside. It was as if one of those monsters had sucked the warmth out of his blood. He was curled up in a fetal position on the queen bed he shared with Kael. After his panic attack, following his nightmare, Arasmus had started sweating profusely and felt very hot to the touch. After a few moments of snuggling with his friend, he couldn't breathe normally.

He felt so sick. He hadn't felt this bad since the day after… no… he couldn't think of it. He couldn't. He shook even more, the tremors violent and full of agony. He was beginning to understand that he'd never be rid of him.

Severus was the first in the room, quicker and more agile than Mrs. Weasely. He spotted the boy and gasped softly. Carefully, as not to startle him, he went to the boy's side and gently brushed some long matted hair away from his face. Mrs. Weasely came in, motherly taking the other side of the boy. She reached to touch his hand but stopped when Kael appeared at the door, saying, "Don't touch him without him knowing it's you. Otherwise you'll feel what he is feeling. He can't shield it unless he knows it's someone he can trust."

Draco came up and was about to enter when he was blocked by the blonde teen. About to tell Kael to move, he was distracted by his father and the rest of the Order coming up the stairs behind him.

Arasmus could sense the people in the room now. He could sense his best friend… and the red haired mothering woman. He could also sense something incredibly dark… but not evil. Attracted by it, he opened his vivid green eyes and looked at first Mrs. Weasely… and then to the dark stranger at his other side. Sniffing the air, he smelled the man's incredible scent.

Oh, Heavens! He smelled like ecstasy… the stuff he'd only read about in books. He forgot about his pain for a second as he caught the man's eyes watching him. Oh, those incredible eyes. Black with a touch of dark blue in them. Suddenly his pain was back in full force as the man turned away, breaking eye contact.

He let out a strangled cry and buried his head in his pillow. Mrs. Weasely didn't know what to do. In one hand, she wanted to comfort the poor kid. On the other hand she felt helpless, knowing that she couldn't.

Finally, Lucius shoved his way 'delicately' past everyone to get into the room. He spotted the boy, quivering in pain. He then spotted Severus, trying hard to not look at him. He suddenly understood. The Veela inside him knew what was going on and what needed to be done. He hissed at Severus, "Severus! He needs you right now more than ever, don't you see?"

Severus knew that. But he was afraid. Truly afraid for the first time in his life. Even Lily hadn't scared him so much. Not even Voldemort. He suddenly gulped down his fear, knowing it wouldn't get him anywhere. The cub needed him. And he was going to help him DAMNIT!

He turned back to the boy and murmured softly to Kael and Molly, "Get some rags with cool water. Also, get a few glasses. I might have a few potions that might help."

Molly instantly bolted, grateful to have something to do. She prattled on, ordering everyone to do something… except for Snape and Lucius of course. Even Kael had something to do. That was just being there for his friend. He knelt down next to the bed and gently ran his hand over his friend's wrist. Kael flinched slightly at the dulled pain, but didn't mind. He was used to this. Ever since… that horrible day… it had been like this.

Severus gently touched the boy's face in a gentle stroke. Closing his eyes, he opened his mind and let all the pain and suffering leach into him. The boy's pain was astounding and terrible. It was almost as bad as the Cruciatus Curse, only more prolonged. Not aware that everyone had returned, he gently whispered, "For twenty years… I've kept silent and my true self hidden like you asked me to. But now… I ask to rescind the vow I made, Lily… if only to protect this child."

Suddenly Severus started glowing. The light aura surrounding him was ice blue and incredibly powerful. Kael gaped and felt a bit of fear. But, then he saw how peaceful his friend's face had become, so he stayed where he was. Years started melting off of Severus' skin. He grew a bit taller, almost to 7'2". His hair lengthened to midway down his back, tinted slightly emerald green. His ears elongated slightly to reveal an elvish look. His eyes tilted a bit too, and their color turned into a more cat-lik, dark midnight onyx blue color. His body was now much more defined and rather attractive. Even the characteristic nose wasn't so bad. It was a bit thinner and less pronounced. His lips became a bit fuller and a slight bit of fang peeked between them as he chanted softly.

Snape still looked like Snape… only with added attractiveness and youth. He looked no older than twenty eight. His face and body was not wrinkled at all, save a few slight lines at his brow. Severus closed his eyes and opened them, gently turning the boy over onto his back.

Shivering slightly, Arasmus opened his eyes to look at the beautiful man above him, gently touching his face. He felt a momentary regret at not being able to shield the man from his pain… but he seemed to absorb it just fine. Somehow… he felt like he knew the strange, but beautiful man. It was as if something deep within his soul recognized him… this dark feline angel. He gasped as his long slender fingers traced down his throat to his chest. As soon as his fingers touched above the middle of the boy's heart, he closed his eyes and let out one last incantation.

Arasmus let out a mewl of pain mixed with relief as the pain flared suddenly and then was completely gone from his body. Lupin as well as everyone else watched the whole show with shock and realization. Finally Lupin smiled. At least someone found someone… at last. After twenty years of torture, you'd think that Severus deserved someone to care for him and for him to care for.

Sirius gaped like a fish, in awe of what was happening. Since when had Severus been a goddamn angel? Or elf? And… since when had he cared about anyone but himself and Lily?

Harry and Hermione were actually thinking the same thing: Wow… I didn't know Severus looked so attractive.

Ron was thinking: So the bloody git had hid his true form from everyone. It figures.

Dumbledore just watched with knowing amusement, as if he'd known this day would come. Lucius smiled… a true genuine smile. His longtime friend had finally let his hair down. So to speak. And it was about time too. Draco had to reel in his newly acquired Veela tendencies… him having come into inheritance soon after the end of the war. He shouldn't feel lust for his godfather! This was his idol! Not his paramour!

Finally, Severus opened blinked and let the power within him fade back to deep within himself. He looked down at the boy, finding that he was staring up at him with awe, mixed with relief. Oh how he wanted to act on his instincts and claim the child for his own, but he reigned himself in, knowing full well that it was his feline nature kicking in. He didn't want the boy to fear him… ever. But… sooner or later the cat would be out of the bag, and he'd fear Severus… just like everyone else did.

It bloody sucked being him sometimes.

Lupin was the first to leave, knowing that the two needed time with one another. Siri, still shell shocked that Severus was in fact someone HE was attracted to, dumbly followed his friend. Soon, only Severus, Kael, and Arasmus were in the room. Severus knew he should leave, but for some reason he couldn't.

"Thank you." The boy said tiredly and closed his eyes. One single silver tear fell from the corner of one eye and Severus gently wiped it away. What was wrong with him? Why did he feel so calm now? Why wasn't he wanting to lust after the boy like he had only seconds ago? Why was this happening to him of all people? He didn't deserve the boy's thanks.

Not one bit.

Kael watched, not wanting to intrude. He just gently rubbed his friend's fingers. Who was this man? He was feline, he knew, but he'd never seen a feline dominant male so gentle and caring. Nor as attractive. And why was he helping them out? Was Arasmus his mate? If so… why did the cat not mark him?

Severus gently ran his fingers over a long sleeved covered arm and checked the cub's pulse. Good. He was falling into a dreamless, exhausted sleep. That would be the best medicine. He quickly withdrew and told Kael to mop the boy's brow with a cool drenched cloth for a bit… or if he started thrashing in his sleep. The other boy dumbly nodded, not knowing quite what to say.

Severus then left the room without preamble. He shivered as he came down the stairs, noting that everyone was back in their seats in the meeting room, all save one. He passed the room and went to the kitchen. Lupin caught him in the hall with a gentle whisper, "If anyone deserves a mate, it's you Severus."

Severus bowed his head and looked at the floor for a moment. Finally, regaining his composure he said bitterly, "You have no idea, do you?"

"Of what? That you risked your life for the past twenty years fighting Voldemort? That you are still punishing yourself for Lily's death? That you still can't believe that anyone would want you?" Lupin asked gently, which made his questions less harsh.

Still, it made Severus edgy. He hissed out, "I deserve NO one." And with that, he made way to march right back to the meeting room, when Lupin gently stopped him with a warm comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Back in school, I doubted you. Once it was revealed to me that you were far from what I thought you to be, I realized that from the beginning… even way back then… you deserved someone to care for you, Severus." Lupin continued in a whisper.

"Spare me, wolf." He whispered, but without any heat. Severus was about to fall apart, and he would die before he let anyone see that. He shrugged the man's hand off and went back to the meeting room.

Lupin sighed sadly and said softly to the retreating person, knowing that his feline senses would permit him to hear him say it, "You care Severus. You care so much that you loathe yourself. I hope that cub will be able to make you see yourself in a different light. You've been down in the self hating mode far too long."

*Hope you guys like this. It's an older fic, but I revamped it up and added a few things.*