|atdelphi (atdelphi) wrote in hp_beholder,|
@ 2014-04-28 16:27:00
|Entry tags:||aberforth dumbledore, aberforth dumbledore/severus snape, beholder 2014, fic, rated:r, severus snape, slash|
FIC: "A Lonely Road" for the HP Beholder Community
Recipient: The hp_beholder Community
Title: A Lonely Road
Pairings: Severus Snape/Aberforth Dumbledore
Word Count: 4,800
Warnings/Content Information (Highlight to View): *anal intercourse, age disparity, angst, alcohol, violence towards an animal, reference to a canon death (Albus Dumbledore's).*.
Summary: Two men. Dark times. Conversations which fail to communicate; communication through silence.
Author's/Artist's Notes: Many thanks to my beta, E.
Outside, the clouds covered most of the moon. It might have been full or it might have been almost full. Inside the pub the candles kept being blown out by the draughts which the wind pushed through cracks in the plaster and loose-fitting windows. The fire glowed and smoked, but blazed no light. As ever, there was only one man working there. When he had nobody to serve and no barrels to change and no glasses to polish, he relit the candles. His movements were unhurried.
An old couple sat in silence at their usual table. The witch shuffled her tarot cards and laid them out in sevens on the table; the wizard stared into the bowl of his pipe between puffs on it. Their drinks sat ignored on the table between them.
Near the door stood a man in a wet cloak, the hood low over his eyes, a small leather-bound book in his hand. He sipped firewhiskey and read. The smell of the wet wool drifted further into the room every time the door was opened. He relit the candle on the shelf beside him himself rather than wait for the barman to notice.
Sitting at the bar, two toothless men held a muttered conversation which inspired such disgust in them that they spat tobacco onto the floor every few minutes. They slouched low on their loose-jointed stools. One was black, the other white, but other than that they were indistinguishable. The barman kept their glasses filled with thick, dark liquid, and chalked up their tabs accordingly.
The man in the corner was not a regular. He was drinking elderflower gin and grimacing at each sip, yet he had managed half a bottle already. So far he had only spoken to order his drink by its brand name. He was young, but not as young as he had once been when he had first come in here as a schoolboy. His pale face was expressionless, much of it obscured by his lank, black hair; his dark eyes were lowered.
The barman set off on one of his slow tours of his establishment, aiming a limp wand at the candles to relight them wordlessly. He scratched at his chin under the long, grey beard. He reached the young man in the corner, who was startled from his thoughts by the presence of another and made the mistake, hastily rectified, of making eye contact.
"You going to tell me what he's done now?" asked the barman in a whisper.
The young man shook his head, making the lank curtain of his hair swing in the newly refreshed candlelight.
"Thought not." The landlord exhaled as he bent forward to wipe a grimy cloth over the young man's table. "Knew it would be my no good brother."
"I can't say anything." He spoke through gritted teeth.
"Ready for another?"
The old barman opened his mouth to speak. Instead he exhaled heavily into his beard. He picked up an empty glass and returned to the bar to refill it. The young man walked up to the bar to collect it. The toothless old men stopped talking to watch him. Then the black man spat onto the floor and as he crammed fresh tobacco into his mouth his companion turned back to him to mutter low.
"You know how he is," the young man said quietly as he took his drink.
"Better than most do," agreed the barman with a nod. "Looks like you could do with talking." He coughed. His chest rattled up beneath the cough.
"Wish I could. Just got to carry this."
"Don't let him…" the old man started. He wiped at the counter.
"You should –" he took a drink. "You could – I mean I think he could do with—"
"He's to come to me. I'll not go to him. He knows why."
They stood in silence as the young man finished his drink. Then he returned to his corner with another.
When he left at the end of the night the barman said to him, "I hope it helps you sleep."
"So do I," replied the young man.