Author's Notes: This is the end, folks. There will be no sequel until after OotP is out, and even then it's not a sure-done thing. As ever, thank you so much to my betas, Mum and Ria, for beta-ing the entire story, and special thanks to Mum for helping me to write this chapter. It was difficult. In a twisted kinda way, I'd also like to thank every ex-boyfriend I've ever had for writing this story! This story is for everyone who's helped me with this series - and I'm listing from memory here: Mum, Ria, Dad, nexis, Dave, Iejasu and the rest of my translators, the good people of the Life Foundation, North Wales, Snaples (Who drew this lovely illustration, which inspired bits of this chapter), Ceri, Rachel, Adrienne, the Bible, writers of everything that's been mentioned in previous disclaimers, and most especially to those who have reviewed any of the chapters. THANK YOU ALL, SO MUCH!!!
"Come here." Lucius pulled Snape down to him and kissed his lips soundly. His fingers weaved into Snape's hair. "I love you."
As they pulled apart, Lucius smiled up at his lover. He reached over to the beside table and felt around for his cigarete packet. Snape frowned down at him. "Do you have to?"
Lucius lifted the cigarette to his lips. "Incendio," he muttered around it, making the tip glow red. Snape sat up right, holding his nose as Lucius blew smoke out of the corner of his mouth. He shifted to the other side of the bed. "Post-coital tradition," Lucius replied. "You wouldn't want to break with trdition, would you?"
Snape glared at the dingy stone walls with extreme distaste. Under normal circumstances he would be delighted never to see these walls again. For perhaps the zillionth time in over twenty-five years, he cursed Lucius Malfoy. The flaky, scaly Dementor's hand unlocked the cell door. "Thank you," the ex-resident of Azkaban said, not even sure if Dementors could hear.
Lucius was sat up on his bunk watching the door. His hair had been haphazardly tamed intp a plait, while whispy bits framed his face in silver. He had grown thinner still since the trial, and the bog-standard prison robes hung off him. His hands were folded in his lap, as though he had been expecting company. "Severus. What a pleasant surprise."
Severus dug into his robes' pocket and pulled out a small packet of cigarettes. He threw them at the blonde unceremoniously, mumbling, "I thought you might like these."
Lucius smiled happily, quickly catching and opening the packet. "I knew I loved you for a reason!"
Snape arched a skeptical eyebrow. "You tried to have me locked up."
Lucius lit the cigarette quickly and drew on it. "Yes, well. Love's funny like that."
"I'm afraid I have some bad news, Severus."
Snape's jaw tightened imperceptably, but his face remained blank. He had a feeling he knew what this bad news would be. "Oh?"
"I received a letter from my father this morning." Lucius took a final drag on his cigarette, before extinguishing it in the ash tray by his bed. "Tell me, are you at all acquainted with Narcissa Renault?"
"I know her by sight. She left school last year, didn't she? Short girl, long blonde hair, pretty, I suppose - in a girly sort of way." Snape's nose wrinkled in distaste.
"That's right. My father has been in contact with her parents for quite some time. Her father, you know, is a rather affluent business man, and her mother has strong connections with the Ministry. Father thinks it would be...advantagious of us to make an alliance with this family."
"For me...to make an alliance with this family."
"To what do I owe this pleasure?" Lucius took another deep drag on his cigarette and simpered. "Divine!"
"It's over, Lucius."
Malfoy smirked, and stubbed out his cigarette. "Really. What's over?"
Snape advanced on the small, smug blonde, hissing, "You know perfectly well 'what's over'."
Lucius stood from the bunk, bringing him nose-to-nose with the Potions Master. He chuckled softly and slid his hand over the taller man's cheek. "Dear, dear Severus. You never change, do you?"
"You never change, do you? Always looking for something new and different to move on to," Snape sneered, dragging his jeans on and buttoning them with ferrocity.
"Severus, this is not my decision. It's not what I want!"
"Won't stop you doing it, though, will it?" He turned to glare at Lucius, stalking towards him across the room. "Won't stop you fawning over her like a bitch in heat, or holding her, or kissing her." His voice rose to a yell as he spat the words in Lucius' face. "It won't stop you fucking her, will it?"
Severus and Lucius now stood nose to nose, fists clenched, teeth bared in jealousy and anger, respectively. "Severus Snape, you will Calm. Down."
"On the contrary, Lucius Malfoy, I tell you I will not."
Lucius sighed heavily, and his face switched quickly from anger to weariness. Mood swings had been an affliction of the Malfoys for generations. He took Severus' face in both of his hands, leaning his forehead against Snape's. "Severus, love," he whispered, "nothing has changed. Nothing will change."
Severus shook his head slowly, solemnly. "It's already changed. You're her's now. You're not mine any more."
"This is a marriage of convenience, love. You know that. For heaven's sakes, I don't even know the girl. Doubtless she has a lover of her own. No one will ever truly take me away from you. I'm yours." Lucius brushed his lips across Snape's. "Nothing will change."
"Everything has changed, Lucius. I'm not standing for your nonsense any longer."
Lucius gave a sharp bark of laughter. "My nonsense? You lied to me. You betrayed me. You should be on your knees, begging for my forgiveness."
Snape pushed Lucius away, his eyes glittering with anger. "Our whole relationship might as well have been a lie. Always hiding, always pretending - and why? Because Merlin forbid that anyone know that Lucius Malfoy, son and heir of the Great Tiberius is secretly screwing that nasty, solemn little nothing of a Potions Master. Oh no, we couldn't let anyone think that you were queer, could we? And most especially not with me! Gods, Lucius, I joined the Death Eaters for you. I stayed away from a position at the Minisry for you. I have made sacrifices for this pathetic piece of nonsense we called a relationship that you don't even know about. I have virtually turned my life upside down, and I have done it all for you." His voice grew quiet again, as he turned to the silent, solemn blonde. "And still it wasn't enough. I wasn't enough."
The cell grew quiet, each man stood staring at the other. Lucius eventually took a cautious step towards Snape. "Severus, please. Be reasonable. I won't be in here forever. I have loyal friends in high places that will see to that. With Narcissa dead, we could be together again. Find a quiet place where no one would look for us, and be happy." Lucius took one of Snape's hands in his, twining their fingers together. He smiled tearfully at the older man. "You know I'd forgive you anything. I lov-"
"Don't!" Snape interrupted, snatching his hand back. "Don't you dare say those words to me. It was a lie. It was a lie every time you said it, and it's a lie now." Severus looked down and laughed harshly. "'I love you now and always'. What kind of idiot am I?"
"I love you." Lucius took his lover's hands in his. "Now and always - no matter what."
Lucius just smiled and lent forward to kiss the question from Severus' lips. "Of course. I'm nothing without you."
"You're nothing without me! What, do you think someone else will have you? That someone else would put up with your constant sniping and pathetic excuse for an attitude? Your obsession for potions and concoctions? Or do you plan on spending the next thirty years as alone as when I found you?"
Snape sneered. "You have no right to comment on that - the only company you'll be enjoying is that of the Dementors and a bunch of looneys." Snape sighed and stared resolutely at the ground. "But as it happens...there has been some interest shown."
Lucius raised an elegent eyebrow. "I see." He scowled. "So, the first sniff of an alternative and off you trot."
Severus snorted. "That's rish coming from the man whose name might as well be listed in the Thesaurus next to infidelity. Besides, that has nothing to do with any of this. He isn't the reason this is over. It's over because my eyes are finally open." He took Lucius' chin into his hand. "You were always half-hearted, Luc. I was all for you. I'd rather spend the rest of my life alone than dedicate it to someone who isn't all for me."
Lucius tucked a lock of hair behind Snape's ear. "This is only the beginning."
"It's over." Snape turned away from Lucius, as a twin tear slid down each of their cheeks. "Good bye, Lucius." He nodded sharply, and the door was opened. He left in a haze of billowing black robes.
As Lucius was left alone, his grief melted into a slow, malicious smile. "See you soon. My love."
Severus knew Harry would be waiting outside for him. He had insisted. Snape reached up and brushed away the tear track that stained his cheek. He forced a smile onto his lips that became less false when he saw Harry leaning casually against the wall, biting his nails. "That's a dreadful habbit, you know."
Harry looked up and grinned. He started towards Snape. "Hi there. Everything alright?"
Snape nodded. "It has been dealt with."
Harry gave a small smile and reached up to cup Severus' face in his hand. He leant up and kissed the older man's lips softly. Harry grinned. "I've taken the rest of the day off. Fancy a quickie in the pub?"
Snape wrapped his arms around Harry's waist, pulling him closer. He leant down to whisper into Harry's ear. "Are you sure that's legal?"
Harry brushed, pulling away slightly. "Um, I meant a drink, actually. Although...whatever's fine!"
Snape chuckled. "While I have to wonder at the fact that an employee of the Department of Mysteries - one of the most respected at the Ministry - can take so much time off at the drop of a hat, the prospect of a glass of Old Ogden's Firewhiskey is extremely appealing."
Harry blinked. "Is that a yes?"
Severus smiled and kissed his young lover. "Yes."
AN: That's it, folks. Please, this is emotional for me (Pathetic, aren't I?). So please, cheer me up and tell me that you enjoyed it. All reviews are met with a delighted smile. Please, make a struggling fanfic writer's day! Remember, no sequel without insentive!