FIC: "Old Fashioned Love Song" for alisanne Recipient:alisanne Author: ??? Title: Old Fashioned Love Song Rating: PG Pairings: Abraxas/Severus Word Count: 4592 Warnings/Content Information (Highlight to View): * pre-slash *. Summary: Abraxas decides to take an interest in young Mr. Snape. Author's Notes: Many thanks to bethbethbeth for running this exchange. Thanks also to my beta readers, any mistakes are mine.
Disclaimer: The characters of Harry Potter belong to JK Rowling, Warner Bros, Scholastic books, and others. I am only borrowing these items for an exercise in creative writing.
What lies lurk in kisses. ~Heinrich Heine
Abraxas Malfoy woke with a start. He sat listening to his house, trying to discover what was wrong with his surroundings. The magic woven into the very stone and wood of the manor house spoke to him and he got out of bed.
"The only thing wrong with being tied to a home is having it tell you when your house guests are unruly, out of line or in trouble. I am getting too old for these issues. Maybe I should bind Lucius to the house and retire to the Riviera." He tugged on his dressing gown while grumbling. Pocketing his wand, he stepped away from the bed and shivered. The floor was cold against his bare feet. Abraxas muttered an oath before Summoning his house shoes. He raked his fingers through his long hair and left the comfort of his bedroom.
Pausing outside of the only occupied guestroom, Abraxas considered waking his son and letting him deal with their guest. He shook his head and touched the door. The temporary wards on it parted as soon as his hand connected with the warm wood.
If being awakened by a problem in the house was the downside to his ties to the manor, having access to all of the rooms was an upside. He lightly tapped on the door and opened it a crack.
There was no response to his quiet voice. Abraxas fully opened the door and looked at the bed. It was empty. Even the pillows and covers were missing. He raised an eyebrow.
"Curiouser and curiouser." He whispered.
The magic embedded in the walls spoke to him, letting Abraxas know where the problem was. The dressing room door was closed. No light shone under it. Also, no magic radiated from the small room.
He was careful when he opened the door. A moan drew his eyes to the floor where his houseguest was curled in a ball and apparently having a bad dream.
I should have taken the boy as my eromenos when Lucius first told me about him. Abraxas drew his wand. "Lumos."
The faint light revealed Severus had an arm over his head.
"Severus, wake up. It's just a dream." Abraxas lightly brushed a finger along the upraised arm. He quickly moved back as the young man sat up.
"What, what is it?" Severus blinked in the soft light.
"Is there something wrong with the bed?"
"Stand up," Abraxas offered his hand to Severus and helped him to his feet. He pushed the blanket back to the floor. "Leave that for the house elf. Come with me." Severus stumbled and rested his head on Abraxas' shoulder.
"Where are we going," he whispered.
"Some place safe, where bad dreams cannot reach you." Abraxas considered taking the younger wizard up to the nursery and decided not to insult Severus. The boy is technically an adult even if he has one year left at Hogwarts.
They shuffled across the bedroom and out to the corridor. Abraxas easily led his guest to the master suite and into his bedroom. Severus barely made a sound when he was made to lie down on the bed. After tucking him in, Abraxas toed off his house shoes and slipped off his dressing gown.
"Nox," he placed his wand on the bedside table and slid into bed.
The next morning, Abraxas woke up and wondered why there was something pinning him to the bed. He opened his eyes and looked down his body. There was another person half sprawled on him.
"Roll over, son." He pushed at a partially bare shoulder.
"Mmph," the sleeper moved off of him and began to snore.
Abraxas eased off the bed and padded to his bathroom. After emptying his bladder and washing up, he leaned against the door frame to watch Severus sleep.
What a difference from last night. Why was he in the dressing room and what was the fellow dreaming about? Shaking his head, he straightened up. Abraxas got dressed without trying to be quiet. He was amazed when Severus slept through a drawer slamming shut.
"Father, I need to talk with you." Lucius' voice held a note of concern.
Abraxas opened his bedroom door. "Your guest is in here."
"You seduced him? I thought you preferred women."
"I did no such thing." Abraxas raised a hand as if to slap Lucius in the head. He son flinched and ducked. "Ah, you do have some intelligence."
"You are an evil old man, and why is Severus in your bed if you didn't seduce him?"
"I had a bad dream." Severus sat up and rubbed his eyes. "How did you know I needed someone?"
"A small bird told me."
"A house elf reported to you." Severus snorted. He got out of bed and shambled to the open bathroom door. "I'll be out of your way in a moment." He closed the door.
Lucius pulled his wand and cast a charm at the closed door. "Would the little bird be the house wards?"
"The same ones that told me when you were in need of comfort." Abraxas led Lucius into the corridor. "Do you know what he dreams of?"
"He's a Slytherin, ambition and power would be the normal dreams."
"Severus was sleeping on the floor in the dressing room. What would cause him to hide at night?"
"Surely your spy at Hogwarts told you all about him." Lucius smirked at Abraxas.
"Madam Pomfrey was your mother's friend. She reported on your doings, not on the particulars of every member of Slytherin."
"Fine. I'm surprised Mother never told you. I am certain I mentioned his past to her."
"Shall we go to the family mausoleum and ask her?" Sarcasm dripped from Abraxas' voice.
"The Snape family is very poor. His father had the habit of beating Severus whenever things went wrong at their house."
"Had the habit?"
"He may have been taught a lesson about beating women and children the summer after I took my NEWTs." Lucius intently looked at his fingernails.
"Who went with you?"
"Roddy and Auggie. It was our way to prove ourselves to-" Lucius pointed to the inside of his left forearm.
The bedroom door opened. "Excuse me, gentlemen." Severus hugged his thin nightshirt close to his body. He eased past them and slowly walked down the corridor to the room he'd been given use of.
"He needs new clothing." Abraxas commented.
"Severus is too proud to accept charity."
"It will not be charity. That young man will be working here this summer."
"Warming your bed, Father?" Lucius raised an eyebrow.
"You say he's a genius at potions. Have a laboratory set up for him in the dungeon. Take him with you to purchase supplies. I’m sure our cause has use for a few potions."
"As you wish," Lucius bowed before leaving.
Abraxas watched his son descend the stairs. He wanted breakfast but he also felt the need to check on their guest.
Severus opened the door just as Abraxas raised his hand to knock.
He lowered his hand. "We need to talk, the only decision you have is where - in this room, the study, or the morning room."
Both men were silent while walking to the study. Abraxas closed the door after them and warded it. He didn't think his son or the house elves needed to be included in this particular conversation.
"Lucius told me your father was not a good role model."
"That's an understatement." Severus took a seat on the leather-upholstered sofa.
Abraxas took a seat in his chair behind the desk. He hoped a visible barrier would make Severus feel safe during their chat.
"Did you know Madam Pomfrey was sorted into Slytherin?"
"No. Why is that significant?"
"She can be a valuable friend to a student in need. Did you ever let her know about your family situation?"
"I didn't need to. She wrote my mother the first week I was at Hogwarts. The two of them had a meeting. The only reason I know about it is because Mother accused me of telling family secrets to outsiders."
"Poppy could tell you'd been abused from past injuries."
"I know." Severus frowned. "If that is all?"
"No, that is not all. Severus, when you were fagging for Lucius, did you ever think to ask him for assistance?"
"I did ask when I needed help."
"Not for help at school, assistance with getting ahead in the world. Connections are very important in our world. Who you know can help a young wizard get ahead in life."
"What are you offering, and what is in it for you?"
Abraxas smiled. "You are direct. I am offering you a place to live. You may use any of the books I own for your research, you will have use of a potions laboratory in the dungeon of this house, and you will be the one to select the equipment for your work room. In return, I ask you to brew a few potions from time to time with no questions asked."
"Let me consider your offer." Severus stood up.
"After breakfast, Lucius has some errands to run. You and he are to visit whatever stores necessary to set up a good working potions laboratory."
"Even if I refuse to brew for you?"
"I can always find another to do my brewing." Abraxas waved his hand in dismissal. He remained seated at his desk. "Bodkin, bring me my breakfast."
A house elf appeared at his call. It snapped its fingers and a plate filled with Abraxas' favourites appeared on the desk in front of him. He raised one eyebrow.
"Sorry, master, I is forgetting your tea. I will punish myself."
"Tea first, punish yourself afterwards." He waved his hand in dismissal once a teapot and cup were on the desk.
After eating, Abraxas sorted through his past correspondence. The letter he was looking for had arrived in October, or maybe September. He found it and read the missive. A small accent mark over an incorrect letter reminded him this particular letter was in code. Opening up a lower desk drawer, he pulled out what looked like a common ledger. Abraxas counted lines to the accent and turned to the corresponding page in the ledger. He read the letter a second time, and found Poppy's hidden message to be very interesting.
"Now who on the Board of Governors went to investigate the incident? Not Yaxley, that would be too convenient. Dumbledore invited…who was it…Bones and another friend of his to visit with him." Abraxas leaned back in his chair and contemplated what this could signify. "The boy accused Gryffindors of attempting to murder him and Dumbledore covered it up. What was so important for the old man to hide?"
He tucked the letter back into a file folder and put the ledger away. Abraxas locked his desk, then left the study. He felt the need to visit with an old family friend, or at least with his wife's best friend.
"Hello Abraxas, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?" Poppy Pomfrey greeted him with a soft smile.
"I cannot stop by without a reason?" Abraxas offered her a bouquet of flowers.
"We are both Slytherin. We do not do anything without a plan and at least three contingency plans." She accepted the flowers and let him enter her home. After closing the door, Poppy carried her present into the kitchen area of her small cottage.
"Lucius is fine, thank you for asking." He watched her arrange the bouquet in a vase and set it on the mantel.
"Your son has been showing his arse again? Or should I say still? He did enter the world arse end first and spent a good part of his time at Hogwarts showing his bum, figuratively speaking."
"Figuratively speaking, of course." Abraxas smirked. "Poppy, what can you tell me about the incident in late September?"
"Just what I wrote to you. Sirius Black attempted to harm Severus Snape. The matter was covered up and as usual the White sheep of the Black family received no punishment. Mr. Snape was injured and had a difficult time sleeping for weeks after the so-called prank gone wrong." Poppy sat on an overstuffed chair and gestured for Abraxas to have a seat.
He sat on the chair facing her. "The young man has bad dreams still. Could this incident be the cause, or would his childhood be the sole reason for him to sleep in a ball on the dressing room floor?"
"The bedrooms at your home are larger than most people's sitting rooms. I never was comfortable sleeping at the Manor." Poppy looked at her skirt and began to fold pleats into it.
"You, madam, are helping to maintain the cover up. Can Lucius' friend tell me what happened?" He frowned at her.
"No, he was made to take a Wizarding vow." Poppy looked up at him.
"Not the Unbreakable Vow?"
"Of course not, Dumbledore is touched in the head, he's not completely insane. I wasn't there; however, I believe there is a binding on that particular memory. Young Mr. Snape can think about it, yet not speak of it. Treating him for bad dreams was very difficult because of that vow." Poppy looked back at her hands. "Are you going to take the boy under your wing?"
"I am considering it. I want to know all that I can before I make any decision."
"You know I cannot give you medical files for the students."
"I am aware of Healer/patient confidentiality."
"His mother can request a full copy of his file."
"How difficult is she to contact?"
"She made a scandal of herself and lives in a Muggle community. I am certain a bit of monetary assistance would go a long way towards earning her loyalty."
"You are a fine woman, Poppy. Are you certain you will not marry my boy?"
"He's my godchild, that would be incestuous. Never mind I couldn't think of him romantically. Every time I see Lucius I think of spit up, dirty nappies and the trouble he used to get into." She grinned at Abraxas.
He chuckled. "You cannot blame me for wanting to find him a solid and intelligent wife."
"There are a few witches closer to him in age who are excellent matches for your son."
"What town does Mrs. Snape live in?"
"It's outside of York, a small mill town called Spinner's End. I believe she is not on the Floo network."
"How does one get in touch with her?" Abraxas frowned.
"The times I've dealt with her, I've sent an owl with a few suggested times and places to meet. She's always chosen Diagon Alley or the Leaky Cauldron for our meetings." Poppy shifted on her chair. "Abraxas, if you do take him under your wing, be prepared for a fight from his maternal relatives. She still has family."
"Which scandal did she create?" He pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Prince family, daughter wed a Muggle. I do not recall why she did such a foolish thing. It certainly wasn't for monetary gain." Poppy shook her head in disgust.
"Mr. Snape is of age, could he request a copy of his medical files?"
"That has possibilities. However, I doubt the Headmaster will agree." She chewed on her lower lip. "He may interfere with your plans."
"I will keep potential interference in mind." Abraxas leaned forward, "Now then, Poppy, what have you heard about Mr. Riddle?"
"Nothing. Not one word. I have been hearing rumours of a Lord Voldemort. Odd name, don't you think?" Poppy quirked an eyebrow at him.
Abraxas leaned back. "Why do you say that?"
"We have no royalty or nobility in the Wizarding world. Claiming a title is rather presumptuous."
"What has he done to upset you?"
"Not one thing. Abraxas, I am suspicious by nature and anyone who has little use for females in their organization is someone I will not easily trust. Are you involved in certain activities?"
"Who, me?" He quirked an eyebrow. "I am as innocent as the day is long."
"If that day would happen to be the winter solstice."
He put a hand to his chest. "A hit, a powerful thrust. Milady, you wound me."
"Stuff and nonsense. Come outside, I wish to show you something." Poppy stood up and went to the back door of her cottage.
Abraxas followed her into the herb garden. "What cannot be said near your Floo?"
"Dumbledore made a point of telling the staff before we left on holiday that he wishes to know of any offers we receive from You Know Who." She looked around the garden. "I will not report our visit to him. You came to visit a family friend, your son's godmother, whatever excuse you think best. Please do not make requests which will endanger our friendship."
"I promised to never involve you in another scandal and I meant it." Abraxas bowed to her. He gave her a peck on the cheek and squeezed her hand. "Be careful."
"You be careful, from what I've heard, you are closer to trouble than I am."
Abraxas took his leave and Disapparated home. He paced in his study for most of the day, trying to come to a decision about Severus Snape. If he was as intelligent as both Lucius and Poppy had told him, the young man could be a valuable asset to Voldemort's cause.
Lucius and Severus returned to the house in time for supper. Abraxas listened to the two young men discussing pureblood rights while they ate. It seemed their guest was very much in favour of teaching Muggles a lesson. This bit of information was added to the little Abraxas had learned while visiting with Poppy.
"Did the two of you have success in purchasing equipment for a potions laboratory?"
"Yes, sir, we bought all of the necessary tools and ingredients along with ledgers for taking notes on any experiments I do." Severus blushed. "That is, if you will allow me to work for you."
"It will be a privilege to have you brewing for our family." Abraxas raised his wine glass in salute.
"Father, we also went to Gladrags. I took the liberty of ordering new robes for Severus." Lucius ignored the glare Severus gave him. "If you do not wish to deduct their cost from his pay, I will make certain he understands they are an early Solstice present." He gave Severus a pointed look.
Abraxas hid his amusement by taking another drink of wine. He almost wished he could have been with them to witness their discussion about Severus' wardrobe.
"You are correct, we cannot have anyone representing our family looking less than their best. Severus, I will be certain to remove their cost from your pay. Have you written to your mother recently?"
"No sir, she knows where I am." Severus paid attention to his meal.
"It will be part of our agreement that you write to your mother at least once every other week. She should be allowed to rejoice in your good fortune." Abraxas signalled for the next course to be served. He sat back and watched the meat and vegetables disappear and be replaced with a salad.
"As you wish." Severus' voice held a bit of scorn.
"Severus, are you and your mother not on speaking terms?"
"Something like that, yes."
Lucius shook his head at his father. Abraxas slowly blinked and they began to eat. A sweet was served next with a light dessert wine.
Severus moved his chair back. "I have an essay I need to write." He left the pudding untouched and quietly walked out of the room.
"Lucius, is there something wrong with this remove?"
"No father, he does not particularly like sweets. I have a feeling he is going to enjoy a cigarette while he works on his essay for Transfigurations."
"Did all of the instructors send along summer work?"
"Yes, he has a book to read for Defence, the essay for Transfigurations and one for Potions along with charts for Arithmancy and a translation for Ancient Runes." Lucius finished eating his pudding. "Will you share your bed with him for the entire summer?"
"I think it would be better to move your young friend to the room connected to mine. He will be across the hall from you, and closer proximity to me should he be troubled by more bad dreams. What is the difficulty between Severus and his mother?"
"If I recall correctly, her response to him visiting with me for the first part of the holiday was; 'good riddance, stay where you are welcome.' He did not appear to be surprised by her sentiment."
"I see." Abraxas leaned back in his chair.
"Are we done?" Lucius moved his chair back from the table.
"I think it is time for port and cigars. Care to join me?"
"It will be a pleasure, father." Lucius smiled at him.
Abraxas led the way to his study. He got out a box of cigars while Lucius poured them drinks. Soon, both men were comfortably seated and enjoying their evening ritual.
"What did you purchase besides robes and potions supplies?"
"I made sure he has new smalls, socks, shirts, trousers, robes, and two pair of shoes. You should have heard him complaining." Lucius sighed and stretched out his legs. "It was worse than listening to the Black sisters shopping before Narcissa's first year at Hogwarts."
Abraxas thought back to meeting the Black family while shopping for Lucius' school supplies. "Let me see, Andromeda wanted books, Bellatrix didn't want to be there and Narcissa wanted one of everything she liked. How was he worse than that trio?"
"He wanted to stay in the book sellers, came close to purchasing one of everything at the apothecary and the cauldron shops. When we entered Gladrags, he launched into a protest that would have done Bellatrix proud." Lucius chuckled. "I highly doubt Bellatrix will like that comparison."
"You have seen her recently?" Abraxas appeared to be disinterested.
"Yes, she was visiting with Roddy the last time I went to see him. Apparently she is determined to join the Dark Lord's cause. She insists she will be a valuable asset." Lucius finished his drink.
"She does have a talent when it comes to Muggle baiting and torture."
"She also has a special fondness for the Dark Arts. I think she was jealous of Severus when he first arrived at Hogwarts." Lucius placed his cigar in a crystal ashtray.
"How so?" Abraxas sipped his port.
"He knew more curses than she did."
"Bellatrix never has liked being second to anyone. I wonder if the Dark Lord is aware of her intent and her special talents." Abraxas finished his drink.
"Father, please let him know about her. I think she could be of value to him."
"I will consider doing so." Abraxas stood up. "I am going for a stroll in the gardens. If I do not see you before you depart to be with your friends, have a good evening."
"Thank you, sir." Lucius remained seated.
The gardens were perfectly manicured and not a weed dared to show itself. Abraxas smiled in pleasure. His life was as well-ordered as the grounds surrounding his home. Currently, he was content. Adding a new member to the household should not present difficulties. Especially since the young man was estranged from his family.
He is of age. However, I prefer my companions to be more mature. I will have to make it clear to Severus I have no desire for intimate relations with him while he is still a student. He needs to focus on excelling in his studies. Sharing my bed with someone was nice. It's been far too long since I've been with another male. Perhaps I am in need of an education.
Abraxas eventually returned to the house. He checked a few of the rooms on the ground floor before going upstairs and knocking on one of the guestroom doors.
Severus opened it and stepped back. "Is there something wrong?"
"Nothing is wrong, young man. I wished to visit with you. How often is your sleep interrupted by bad dreams?" Abraxas didn't enter the room.
"Not very often." Severus fidgeted. "If that is all, I have reading to do."
"I wish to move you to a different suite of rooms. This one is too far away should you need assistance in the night."
"I am not a child," Severus bristled.
"I know you aren't," Abraxas soothed. "I just want you to be closer to both myself and Lucius. Come with me and see the suite before you refuse." He held out his hand in invitation.
Severus' frown deepened, but he stepped into the corridor.
Good, he's a suspicious one. That's a relief. One cannot be too trusting around Voldemort. Dare I introduce this one to him? Dare I not? He'll know we have company over the summer. Abraxas opened the door to his wife's room.
The furniture was still covered and the room needed a good airing out before it was inhabited. He walked over to the window and opened the curtains, allowing fading daylight to illuminate the room.
"What is through that door?" Severus gestured at a door.
"The dressing room is there. The door opposite leads to a bathroom which is connected to my quarters."
"This was your wife's room."
"Yes." Abraxas felt a pang in his chest but didn't allow emotion to show.
"Why have me stay here?" Severus was clearly puzzled.
"You would be next door to me, and across the corridor from Lucius. As I've said, I want you closer to us."
"How long have you been a widower?" Severus went to the window and looked out at the lawn.
"Twenty years." His voice was soft.
"Do you wish for me to take the place of a woman in your life?" He glanced over at Abraxas.
"There will be no intimacy between us while you are still a student. Once you complete your studies, we can discuss a more familiar relationship if that is your desire."
Abraxas waited for an explosive level of disgust to come from the young man. He was surprised but pleased when all Severus did was nod his head.
"I accept the use of these rooms under those conditions."
"Let's seal the agreement." Abraxas moved closer and held out his hand.
Severus grasped his hand and leaned up to brush a kiss on his cheek. "I'm glad Lucius told you about my preferences. I also appreciate your being willing to court me."
Abraxas put his arms around Severus and gently held him. "We will take all the time you need."
He silently vowed to put his foot up Lucius' bum as soon as possible for not letting him know their guest was homosexual. Instead of worrying about Severus punching him, he could have been thinking of ways to seduce the young man.
Lucius, you are going to pay for this. Abraxas kissed Severus.
"Thank you," Severus whispered, before easing out of Abraxas' embrace. "I'll move my things tomorrow."
"The house elf will take care of moving your things. You have lessons to work on and a potions laboratory to set up." Abraxas smiled down at Severus. "I look forward to getting to know you better."