|The Black Road II: Snake in the Nest
Author: Guede Mazaka
“ALONE, adj. In bad company.”
* * *
Lucius hadn’t, in any armchair scenario, ever imagined the events of the past few hours and so he’d been utterly unprepared to respond to them. When they dropped into his suite at the Catacombs, he was as surprised as Potter.
“This is what Voldemort picked when he couldn’t have Hogwarts?” After a moment, Potter laughed humorlessly and climbed off of Lucius. He casually rolled Lucius over with his foot, but didn’t bother retrieving Lucius’ wand. “Figures. Also figures you’d dress up your rooms like a bloody palace.”
After the debacle in the church, Lucius was much more wary of being given easy escapes on a platter. He pointed his wand at the door and muttered the summoning charm that should have seen one of the hall’s Gryffindor whores come dazedly into the room.
Potter came back and used Lucius’ cane to knock the wand from Lucius’ hand and send it skittering across the room. Then he flipped the cane so its fangs were digging into the underside of Lucius’ chin. “He’s not here.”
“No, Voldemort’s at his own hall. This is his replacement for the Ministry,” Lucius said. He sat up till if he’d wanted to go any higher, he would have had to stand, but somehow he doubted that Potter would allow that. The fangs hadn’t lost a bit of their pressure, and when he stopped moving, they dug in till he felt a few drops of blood run down his throat. “Business only, if you would.”
“Yeah? I’d like to see what he calls just ‘business.’ Seemed to me like he enjoyed every damn bit of it.” The cane-head pressed forward, then stroked down over the gorge of Lucius’ throat. It rotated so the fangs caught the ripped edge of Lucius’ collar, then pulled it away from his neck and shoulder. “Remus didn’t bite all the way through…that’s good. He doesn’t deserve to feel guilty over you.”
Lucius arched an eyebrow. Then he winced as the snake-head drew blood from one of the bruises ringing the base of his throat. “I understand from Severus that Lupin might take that as a case of like-father, like-son—or perhaps like-godfather, like-godson would be more accurate. Precedent indicates that he’ll forgive you eventually.”
“I’m not expecting him to forgive me,” Potter snapped. He stalked off a few paces, pacing about the room like a caged tiger. Anyone else might have been interested in the sheaves of parchment littering Lucius’ desk, or the assortment of confiscated magical objects carelessly scattered over the shelves next to it, but not Potter. “Who is here, then? Macnair? Snape?”
When Lucius didn’t answer, Potter delivered a savage kick to Lucius desk. The leg snapped and Lucius instinctively flinched, but he rather enjoyed the sight of dozens of scrolls cascading onto Potter’s feet when the desk tipped. Potter whirled back and went another round about the room before coming back to Lucius. He jammed the cane-tip to within a thumbs-width of Lucius’ right eye.
“Who is here?” Potter repeated in that same soft, lethal voice he’d used before in the church.
Something about it chilled Lucius’ nerves, but he forced himself to meet Potter’s now-green, now-red eyes. “You need me to get to the rest. You might not be bound by the strictures of our magic anymore, but you are bound by some rules. You can’t enter churches. You need me to bring you places.”
“Are you suggesting we cut a deal?” Potter lifted his eyebrow. Strangely enough, he appeared to be calming down. Then his face twisted in rage. “Maybe I was just being polite,” he hissed.
He swung the cane before Lucius could duck.
* * *
The blow had taken Lucius on the other side of the head, so when he woke, both sides of his skull were aching badly. His pulse roared in his ears and his stomach was terribly empty except for gnawing hunger.
Someone was touching his shoulder, pulling his shirt back onto it. He couldn’t immediately remember where he was or what he had been doing, and reflexively attempted to shrug off the other person. “Thought Macnair had beaten the sympathy ploys out of all you Mudblood whores.”
“Guess you know better than to try that with me,” said Harry Potter in a sarcastic voice, and then Lucius remembered.
He jerked away, but his hands wouldn’t move and Potter had hold of his hair before he could go far enough. Potter yanked him up so the top of his head slammed against something hard; Lucius’ vision, still recovering in the first place, spun wildly and he slumped against a heavy wooden pole. A table leg, he realized after a few moments. He rubbed his hands along it and found that his wrists were bound again, but behind him, and this time the bonds weren’t mere rope.
They coiled and slithered around his wrists when he tested them as if they were living snakes, then snapped tight the moment he ceased struggling so his hands immediately went numb. He blinked rapidly till his vision had completely restored itself and attempted to take stock of the new situation.
While he blurrily did that, Potter crawled around him and secured his wrists to the table-leg. His shirt slipped off his shoulder again and Potter pulled it up with mock-graciousness. “I cleaned you up a little. Didn’t want any of Remus’ spit getting into your cuts,” Potter said, flicking the torn front of Lucius’ shirt.
It and his trousers were the only pieces of clothing he still wore, though he could see his vest and other garments neatly stacked on a nearby chair. His wounds had been treated, but left unbandaged so the slight current of damp air stung them unmercifully. “Why haven’t you killed me?” Lucius bluntly asked.
Instead of answering, Potter frowned and stared at his hand. After a moment, he shook it. That apparently didn’t produce the desired result, so he shook it again. This time, a few long gold hairs drifted off it. He looked from them to Lucius, then wrinkled his nose. “I can’t believe you don’t pull out hair on everything. It snags so easily.”
A thin coil of grey stuff appeared in his hand. He flicked it casually out, so casually…Lucius didn’t realize he’d flinched till Potter laughed.
“I’m tying it back, not using it to strangle you,” Potter said, and then he did just that. “Not so sure that I need you alive, are you?”
“What do you want?” There were wards and spying spells on every inch of the Catacombs, Lucius thought. Voldemort had a healthy distrust for his supporters, and kept close watch on them. But Lucius likewise had a healthy dislike for being under surveillance and had done his damnedest to keep his rooms free of scrutiny without Voldemort noticing. Now he found himself hoping he’d missed something.
Potter lifted and dropped a shoulder. He reached behind himself, and when his hand reappeared, it was holding Lucius’ wand. Lucius’ peripheral vision picked up Potter’s grin, and that was when Lucius belatedly noticed how his eyes had gone straight to the wand. “You want this back, don’t you?”
The wand tipped forward till its tip was barely grazing Lucius’ lower lip. It traced the underside of his mouth twice before Potter flicked it off and to the side. Then he tapped the long bruise stretching along Lucius’ cheekbone. It felt as if he’d inserted a hot poker tip just beneath the bone; Lucius hissed. “I was under the impression that you’d stopped taking prisoners.”
“You’re under a lot of impressions when it comes to me. Most of them wrong, I ‘pect.” Wherever the wand touched, it left behind a warm, not unpleasant tingling. It wasn’t necessarily Harry’s doing, but Lucius wasn’t quite certain that Harry was unaware of the effect. The wand-tip skittered down Lucius’ chest, somewhat off-center because it was following the edge of the collar, then the tear that artificially widened the collar. “Fine. You’re half-right. Having you do…things for me does make my job easier.”
“What exactly is your job again? You dun wizards for someone else’s debts?” Lucius concentrated on his wand, but could raise only the smallest response. Even though it was in Potter’s hand…Potter had drained it, somehow. When he’d pulled out the green stuff, that had been some crystallized form of magic. And he’d fed it to the shadows, as if he’d been baiting wolfhounds—Lucius’ pride snarled at his already-frayed composure.
Lucius’ cane had been lying somewhere on the floor behind Potter, who flipped it up and around and abruptly jerked it diagonally over Lucius’ chest so the teeth caught, ripped, and stopped a hair away from Lucius’ right nipple. Expression devoid of curiosity, he reached out and used a finger to stroke over Lucius’ right pectoral. The flesh there spasmed, and Lucius gradually became aware that he was holding his breath. He irritably inhaled, but his attempt to do so normally turned into an embarrassingly ragged gasp.
“Malfoy.” The edge of Potter’s voice was hard as steel, but oddly lacking in rage. It rather sounded like a weary professor exasperated by a recalcitrant student. “How long was I dead?”
Curious question. The cane dropped and the wand nosed beneath Lucius’ shirt to tease right at the end of the fresh pair of cuts. Its blunt end flicked a few times against Lucius’ nipple so that bit of flesh stiffened; Lucius focused on regulating his breathing and thoughts. “Why? Haven’t you read your tombstone?”
“I don’t have a tombstone and you know it,” Potter replied in a monotone. He pressed down on the wand and twisted it so pain flared up, then trickled warm drops down Lucius’ chest. He was considerate enough to angle the wand so it held the shirt away from the blood. “Hell. So you people are this twisted. I thought it was just the part about making us hurt…but you’re all wired funny, aren’t you?”
His eyes had dropped to below Lucius’ waistband. The wand-tip rubbed around the nipple, scratching the areola and pushing it towards the center in an encouragement of the stiffening. Lucius briefly damned what had seemed like a good, Dark idea of turning a weakness into a strength. “You were dead for two years.”
That visibly rocked Potter. He stopped toying with the cut and jerked up his head to stare at Lucius. “Two?”
“Surprised it took them so long to resort to you?” Lucius asked. He used Potter’s moment of distraction to twist slightly so the wand slipped off his nipple and onto his less sensitive ribs.
Potter laughed. Laughed and suddenly his hand flashed out, pinning Lucius against the table-leg by the throat. He shoved his head inside Lucius’ shirt and his tongue whirled with the blood drops, shockingly hot. “I thought I’d been in hell for a century, you ass. All because goddamn Voldemort had to be a smart-aleck, and…but it’s only been a couple years. Here.”
“What about Voldemort?” Lucius gasped. Inelegant and obvious, but he was more than a little preoccupied with trying to escape the reach of Potter’s tongue. He twisted and jerked, but the bonds—and Potter’s hand—held him; the tongue felt unnaturally elongated and was like a whip that had been soaked in acid. It flicked around his rasped nipple and burned the raw skin, then drew out painfully ticklish spots among the bruises that nestled between Lucius’ ribs. “Flattering of you, but…I don’t preserve quite that well.”
“Yeah, well, I started to think something was up when I saw you. You’re still fresh as a daisy.” The phrase shouldn’t have fit so well in Potter’s mouth—it was too salacious for the pure-minded Gryffindor figurehead. But his voice curled comfortably around it, made the words sleek as the wriggle of his tongue downwards over Lucius’ belly. He craned his head so Lucius could stare straight down into his very, very green eyes. “How’s Draco, by the way?”
Lucius wasn’t able to keep himself from stiffening in time. He attempted to steady his voice on the off-chance that Potter hadn’t noticed—not likely, considering how Potter was pressed against him. He could feel the tape holding together Potter’s glasses. “My son is fine.”
“Really. You know, I thought of him while I was down there. Fucking little ferret, he’ll probably find that flattering.” Potter nuzzled very gently along Lucius’ waistband; at the same time, he swapped cane for wand and jabbed the wand painfully into the soft flesh of Lucius’ inner thigh. The tip slowly, agonizingly ground towards Lucius’ groin. “I should look him up. Catch up on schooldays, all that.”
Lucius was almost thankful to Potter for smacking the wand up against his prick, then stabbing downward so it slid roughly over his balls, narrowly missing pinning them to the floor. It cut him off before the rest of his ill-advised exclamation could beat free of his mouth.
Working his way back up, Potter mouthed idly at Lucius’ collarbone. It would have been almost lover-like if he hadn’t been prodding between Lucius’ legs with the wand, every jab a very real threat of excruciating impalement. “Were you just going to offer to keep me away from your son? That’s sweet. So you bastards do give a shit about someone besides yourselves.”
“What do you want?” Lucius repeated. To his ears, he sounded both more forceful and more desperate than the first time he’d asked. The next time Potter scraped the wand along the back of his balls, he twisted up and managed to get his legs out from under himself. He yanked up one knee, then made to draw up the other, but before he could, Potter shoved in and latched onto Lucius’ neck.
The teeth over Lucius’ jugular were, like the tongue, abnormally long. They also felt as sharp as the werewolf’s teeth had been. Potter drew them lightly down the artery, then chewed his way back up in the manner of a cat stripping flesh from bone. It at least felt as if he were stripping the top layers of skin; Lucius gritted his teeth, but openly made attempts to get away from Potter’s mouth and hands. It didn’t appear that degree of responsiveness made a difference to Potter, so playing stick-of-wood no longer would do any good.
When Potter finally released Lucius’ throat, he immediately moved to bite along Lucius’ jaw and up behind Lucius’ ear. The corner of his glasses frame periodically dug into Lucius’ earlobe. He spoke no words, but the front of Lucius’ trousers was suddenly loose and his hand was working the wand down it, using that to roll Lucius’ frustratingly receptive prick against Lucius’ thigh. “Do you know what a Horcrux is?” he breathed, in much the same way a courtesan would invite her current customer to bed. “I’m one—was one, anyway.”
Lucius did not, but the moment he got free of this, he’d start searching and he wouldn’t stop till he found out. His breathing was short and uneven in spite of all his attempts at control, and his legs were shaking. He winced as the wand scraped over the head of his prick, then arched involuntarily because the Dark Mark on his arm was burning and so was Potter’s breath on his skin, and the two kinds of heat were completely incompatible.
Potter swore, crude and like a Muggle. His other hand had still been curved around Lucius’ throat, but now he dropped it to Lucius’ arm. Beneath it, the Mark gave one last excruciating flare before suddenly falling silent. Oddly enough, so did Potter—he momentarily stilled, his head cocking as if he was listening to something. Then he continued casually raping favorable responses from Lucius’ body.
“Damn thing got me sent to hell for…wasn’t bloody fair. I wasn’t the goddamn idiot that made the pact with him, so why should I get dragged down into it?” One moment Potter was pouting like a spoilt teenager that had no greater worries than what cravate to wear to the next social outing, and the next he was working his hand and mouth in concert like a practiced whore. He tickled the base of Lucius’ prick with the wand-tip. “Never mind, it’s a war. It’s supposed to be unfair.”
Voldemort was going to notice the absence, Lucius dimly thought. He’d notice and unless Potter was more careless than he’d actually been so far, Lucius would have no way of proving the truth as an excuse. Perhaps Potter would get so caught up in his play and Voldemort would be so disturbed so that Voldemort would come and catch the little bastard at it.
“One nice thing about hell—everyone looks like the vicious son of a bitch they are there,” Potter hissed. He abruptly dropped down and took Lucius’ prick in his mouth in one smooth swallow.
Lucius banged his head against the table-leg, part of which bulged outward so he hit the deepening bruise stretched across the back of his neck. Potter roughly shoved the wand along the curve of Lucius’ perineum so that it seemed he was about to rip apart Lucius’ insides with it. Dizzy, hurting and terrified, Lucius came so hard he briefly thought Potter had actually slammed him into a wall or the floor again.
When his senses regained enough power to make reason of the world again, he saw that Potter had rocked backwards to sprawl on his arse, one knee up and one down. Apparently Potter swallowed, Lucius inanely thought.
“You’re blocking any Legilimens attempts,” Potter mumbled, swiping at his lip. He shook his hands as if flipping off water, then rolled up onto his feet. The last time Lucius had seen him, he’d still retained a touch of adolescent awkwardness when off his broom, but now that eerie grace permeated all of Potter’s movements.
Attempting to see the abstract beauty in terrible things was no longer quite the great concept that it’d formerly seemed, and Lucius found himself flinching from his own thoughts. “Snape mentioned that he’d been ordered to give you lessons.”
Potter smiled crookedly as he pulled his clothing straight. “That didn’t turn out so well. I haven’t been trying, by the way. You know that, and besides, those barriers look like they’re old. Do it against Voldemort? Think he doesn’t know?”
There was no messy ejaculate, but the sweat on Lucius’ body was rapidly cooling and turning into a sticky, revolting coating. It was helping to trap his clothing in disheveled folds and tangles up around him; he twisted clumsily so his shirt-tails fell and partially covered his groin.
“He does. He thinks it’s funny.” Still smiling, Potter leaned forward and swiped his finger over Lucius’ sore cheekbone. He snickered a little when Lucius jerked back so quickly that once again, the hit to the back of Lucius’ neck almost put him out.
“I didn’t realize you were so practiced at pleasuring people orally,” Lucius snapped. “Was that lesson before or after you died?”
His vision finally cleared just in time for him to see the cane coming at his face. He flinched back—but it stopped, side barely grazing his cheek. Potter’s face was a study in wild rage slowly being dragged under control. He worked his jaw, then pressed his lips into a thin bloodless line. The cane abruptly rotated and a ripping pain went down the side of Lucius’ jaw.
Harry hiked the cane through his hand till he could wipe the blood off the snake-head’s fangs. He flicked that off to the side, and out of the corner of his eye, Lucius could see shadows slithering from the corners to catch the drops. Certainly none of them hit the pale carpet.
Then Potter leaned forward, waited for Lucius to stop flinching, and carefully swiped more of the blood from Lucius’ jaw. He fed that to the shadows, too. “Maybe I just need you to keep them happy,” he said in a neutral tone.
“And even after a century in hell, you’ve still got too many morals to grab some stranger off the streets?” Lucius said. His voice was raspy and refused to go above a whisper.
One side of Potter’s mouth twisted. “Maybe I saw you first. I don’t know you all that well, after all. Though I guess I know you a little better now. I don’t really know how this goes—do we get to be on a first-name basis now, or is that after you’re so far gone you’ve decided you actually like this?”
The blood was welling up again, hot and thick. Lucius tried to jerk away again when Potter came back for a second collecting, but Potter simply grabbed his jaw and held him in place. Then Potter ducked down and sucked quickly along the cuts; when he leaned back, the blood no longer dripped and the slashes throbbed as if they were half-healed. They probably were. The Mark also throbbed, and Lucius had a suspicion that Potter was weaving some kind of binding spell. At the very least, it was some way of setting his own mark so he or his…lord would remember to deal with Lucius.
Lucius twisted his hands in his bonds till the numbed flesh cried out for mercy. Despite that, he still had to fight a growing lassitude, which was the worst reaction he could possibly be having. Dulled resignation was for the losing side, damn it. “What do you want from me?”
Harry picked up Lucius’ wand and folded his hand over the tip, then corkscrewed it against his palm. He paused in the middle of his cleaning to push up his glasses, which was such an incongruous gesture that Lucius had the damnedest time not breaking out into hysterical laughter. They were still a little foggy, and Potter put down the wand to rub the lenses with his shirt-tail.
There was a sound, and when it increased in volume, Lucius realized that one, it was coming from the hallway, and two, it was composed of hurried footsteps. He’d been missed.
“A declaration of war,” Potter said. He put his glasses back on and picked up both Lucius’ wand and cane, then stood. “Don’t worry about the details—I really just need you to sit there with your mouth shut. Scream and you’ll be begging me to castrate you.”
He faced the door, and Lucius suddenly realized exactly why Potter had been relatively nonchalant for the past few minutes. Whoever was approaching probably did not know what was keeping Lucius, and so they’d come charging in and Potter would be able to take them down like a cat and a wounded bird. And they’d be high-ranking; Voldemort wouldn’t send a lackey after a missing Minister of his.
Lucius pulled at his bonds again, but that only started them squirming and tightening around his wrists. Potter flicked a glance over and he had to stop, but he kept an anxious eye on the door. The footsteps were nearly to it and now he could hear the accompanying voices, one hectoring and loud and the other low and deep but easily identifiable—Severus.
“Professor,” Potter muttered. His voice was too low for Lucius to make out his tone, but his mouth twisted in a telling way. He impatiently tapped Lucius’ cane against his shoe-tip.
There was no possible way Lucius was getting free in time, and no way for him to warn them without Potter noticing. So he’d have to warn them anyway, and hope on Severus’ reflexes. The man had kept both sides guessing long enough as to his true loyalty; he shouldn’t have lost much of his flexibility in the past two years.
The doorknob turned. Lucius bit his lip.
“—with that little Weasley girl,” Avery’s voice said. “Lazy sot. Malfoy, didn’t you—”
Potter’s wand-hand was a blur.
“Duck!” Lucius shouted.
“What the—” Half of Avery’s head appeared, then jerked back as Potter’s Stupefy hit him. A second later, he toppled forward into the room, setting the door to banging against the wall as he did. The door bounced off and slowly swung back to tap at Avery’s stupid, thick skull.
Potter was gone, but a hard, invisible grip had closed Lucius’ throat to speech. Lucius frantically looked about, but saw not a thing out of place—not even a shadow. The bastard couldn’t have Apparated…at least not the way wizards did. When Voldemort had set up his new Ministry in the Catacombs, he’d made sure that Apparation was only possible at the front entrance; the persistence of resisters necessitated a one-way flow of traffic into the building.
Several long seconds passed into a minute, then two. Nothing stirred except Lucius, who was still pulling at his wrists as he tried to look around the whole room.
Severus wasn’t foolish enough to call out. Instead he eased himself through the doorway and over Avery’s prone form, wand out and sweeping from side-to-side in front of him. He saw Lucius at once and immediately his eyebrows flew to his hairline, but he kept his gaze moving till he’d taken in the room. Then he turned to Lucius. “What happened? Where—”
Harry wisped into solidity right behind Severus. Before Lucius could do anything save widen his eyes, Potter had brought the cane down hard on the back of Severus’ neck, much as he had to have done to Lucius. Severus instantly dropped, wand rolling out of his hand.
“You wouldn’t believe how long I’ve wanted to do that,” Potter commented. He didn’t sound all that pleased in spite of his words. The grip on Lucius’ throat relaxed. “By the way, you are going to get it for that yell. Later.”
He calmly collected the two men’s wands and set them on Lucius’ desk along with Lucius’ wand. Then he stuck Lucius’ cane beneath his arm and dragged first Avery, then Severus out of the doorway. Potter kicked the door shut, cast some kind of glowing purple net over the door that vanished into the wood, and then hauled Avery onto Lucius’ bed. He used the cane to prod Avery into a spread-eagle on his back; ropes materialized and stretched Avery’s wrists and ankles towards the poles.
Then Potter turned towards Severus and got him by the wrists, using that hold to drag him over to Lucius. He favored Lucius with another twisted smile as he tied Severus in a sitting position to the other table-leg, then nodded at Avery. “Don’t worry, I’m not fucking that. But your bed is going to get dirty.”
Lucius swallowed a thick sourness and felt more well into his mouth. “What are you doing with them?”
“Sort of the same thing I might end up doing to Draco,” Potter said with a casualness that chilled Lucius’ bones. He brought the cane around and used it to prop up Severus’ chin as he peeled back Severus’ right eyelid and peered into the man’s eye. “Of course, that depends.”
“Depends on what?” Lucius asked. Too fast, he thought. Too fast and too desperate-sounding.
Potter didn’t answer. Instead he rocked closer to Severus and moved his hand to cup Severus’ cheek as the other man began to stir. “Hello, sir.”
Severus came completely awake and stiffened so much he shook the table. “Harry,” he croaked.
“Well, we’re definitely not on a first-name only basis,” Harry snapped. He slapped Severus’ head to the side by way of letting go of him and stood up, then went to the bed and climbed up to straddle Avery. “Try to pay attention, sir. This is a crucial demonstration I’m about to give you.”