|words and things (recursive) wrote in bandinnabox,|
@ 2007-08-25 19:54:00
Fourth fragment for Femme
Much longer, still not beta-ed, still without a title. I can't tell if longer means I've finally found some sort of flow or if it just means I'm losing control of the plot.
Part 4/7 (very unevenly sized, sorry)
Warnings: Spoilers for DH, angst
Pairings: perhaps some very much implied and one-sided and ambivalent Draco/Snape
Rating: R-ish for implied torture and war
#1 here, #2 here, #3 here
She turned and she turned – all limp grubby fingers, swollen lips and vacant eyes – and the assembled party whispered around His Lordship while Draco did what he could to hide. He fumed at the injustice of it all. It was his own personal mantra and the only one that almost always worked.
The first time he had refused to answer Professor Snape’s summons he had been sick with fear. He couldn’t have explained why, then. Everything had seemed simpler and he would have wanted something simple like I don’t want him to interfere or He wants to take credit for my success to be true. But it had always also been trying to prove something to the Professor as much as to anyone. To prove that he didn’t need any vows to protect him – although he had always wanted to ask why. Why make a vow of that kind? Because he thought Draco needed the protection? Because he thought Draco was worth protecting? Because it put the whole Malfoy family in his debt?
It wasn’t the last, of course. From the moment his father had been sent to Azkaban – from the moment he knew – Draco had felt as well as known the fall in his family’s fortunes. He’d felt his mother’s grief, her fear, her certainty that Draco could do nothing to help. He had heard her crying.
And so he had worked hard, as hard as he could, harder even than he knew he could because working hard had never seemed that necessary, at Aunt Bellatrix’s harsh Occlumency lessons. He’d done it to save his family as well as himself, whatever anyone else thought; and he’d done it to prove to Snape that he didn’t need his protection or his assistance.
It might even have worked. Sometimes, when the Dark Lord was not so near at hand, Draco dwelt on how near his plan had come to working. It had been a good plan, even Dumbledore…. And he had never needed Snape’s confidence, never taken his assistance, and even, more than once, forced back Snape’s Legilimency even if, in the end, it seemed, the Headmaster had still been too powerful.
“You realise that, had anybody else failed to come to my office when I had told them repeatedly to be there, Draco…”
Draco. When Severus Snape called him Draco it was always a temptation and a challenge. A temptation because Draco had had spent so much time angling for the Professor’s attention before he realized that it was never won for anything he did at all but only as part of the political game (Snape against his father for the Dark Lord’s honours; Snape against Dumbledore for the upper hand at Hogwarts; Snape against everyone for the most complete information about everything). And a challenge too because he had just as soon realized that Snape knew how much he wanted that attention.
There had even been moments when he he’d suspected Snape of working against him, of trying to ensure that he failed. But there was the Vow – the damned Vow – and so Draco was left with the impossible option of trying to prove that he could do what everyone knew he couldn’t. Including himself, of course.
But he had learned from Snape still. Small routines and gestures he gradually came to see as Occlumency at work. That Crabbe and Goyle were not assistants to be relied upon. Not to confide in anyone.
“You are speaking like a child. I quite understand that your father's capture and imprisonment has upset you, but…”
It had almost worked. It had. They’d all thought he would die in the attempt on Dumbledore’s life, and if he hadn’t succeeded he had certainly survived. Occlumency. Imperius. The cabinet. Things Potter had probably never done in his life. Not even the Mud...
Dumbledore again. Best not to think of Granger at all.
He had almost done it without Snape’s help. But in the end, it had almost been worse than complete failure.
“You should have trusted me.”
Draco couldn’t say he hadn’t needed help. In that moment, on the floor of an unknown room mere minutes from his complete and public failure, he couldn’t say it.
“You should have…”
Only then had Snape’s tone registered – then when it broke into an unrecognisable kind of silence, and Draco had looked up. Snape leant heavily on the little mantelpiece above a cold fireplace.
“You won,” Draco said. He didn’t know why but it seemed like an apology and a confession. “He knew about me.”
Snape looked over his shoulder, his eyes oddly heavy even though it didn’t make the expression less inscrutable.
“He knew about me,” Draco said again, “and he never even suspected you for a minute. Not even when I said you were working for us.”
“No,” Snape said, and looked away again.
“But you didn’t know everything,” Draco said, though it sounded petty and pathetic even to him in the light of everything else.
“No,” Snape said again, and Draco could hear something like bitterness in that. “No, you were a little cleverer than I thought.”
It had stung. It had cut. It had hurt to think even his failure was more than Snape had expected of him.
“I should have done it,” Draco had said, though it didn’t need to be said and he knew he’d be saying it in so many more painful ways soon enough. He may as well get it over with.
“I imagine so,” Snape said, his eyes still on the empty hearth. “One thing or the other.”
It had taken a moment for Draco to realize what he meant. “I was never tempted,” he said, though his voice was pitched all wrong, he knew, and from somewhere deep inside the panic was returning and he was never going to be able to hold the Occlumency. “I never would,” he insisted. “The Malfoys…”
Snape turned on him with a sneer. “Don’t talk about the bloody Malfoys to me.” He was crossing the room then, throwing open a low cupboard. “Cowards at heart and pathetic liars the lot of you.”
“The vow,” Draco said weakly, though willing himself to shut up right now.
Snape tossed a grey blanket on the bare mattress. “Expedient,” he said, and before Draco could even repress a desire to ask how it would ever have been expedient, Snape was at the door.
“Sleep. You’ll need it when His Lordship summons you,” he said, already half out of the room.
And Draco hadn’t wanted him to go. More than anything in that moment he hadn’t wanted to be left alone, to be shut here, where ever here was, with nothing but fears and fantasies.
Perhaps Snape had been probing his thoughts after all because he threw one last contemptuous look at Draco from the doorway.
Draco hated him then. Hated him as he’d never hated Dumbledore. Hated him for making Draco want him to stay, no matter what him staying would mean.
Snape had left without another word, and Draco hadn’t seen him for weeks afterwards no matter how many times he’d imagined him coming back.
And then, as if summoned – and of course he had been, but not by Draco – Snape was there, with Yaxley trailing in after him. He strode into the drawing room of Malfoy Manor as if he owned it and Draco’s concentration on hating him shattered.
He looked up.