The Son of a Dark Lord - Fanfiction

August 29, 2017 | Author: HinuRei | Category: Warner Bros. Franchises, Fantasy Tropes, Fictional Universes, Fantasy, Magic (Paranormal)
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Harry Potter FanFiction Harry Potter isn't really Harry Potter. Neither is he the Boy-Who-Lived, and is therefore t...


The Son of a Dark Lord By Tiro Chapter One Harry Potter, soon to be sixteen years old, had just put away the glass he had used when he heard the door to the house opened. He looked at the time; over midnight and winced. His parents, mostly James Potter, would yell at him if they found him here. But he froze as he heard another voice: "Maybe some tea as we talk." Albus Dumbledore. The headmaster of Hogwarts. The man of the pure Light. Harry did not like him at all. The teen wasn't too fond of his parents either. They only loved him because he was the Boy-Who-Lived and therefore made them famous. It was him they used when they wanted to get to a party, it was him they always showed for their guests and him they laid the blame on everything that happened in the house. He stood silently and listened; his father or mother would conjure tea as they never went into the kitchen if they could help it. Sometimes he wondered why they had built one. They did not even use it to eat in there, they had a dining room. They just sent for the food through the kitchen, sometimes not knowing if the right things would come. "Albus, you said something about Harry," James' voice drifted into the kitchen and the teen froze again. What was it now about him? Harry Potter was rumoured to be the Boy-Who-Lived, a child who had survived the Killing Curse, Avada Kedavra. He had been at home with his younger brother Mattie when Voldemort, the Dark Lord, had attacked the house. None of the two boys had been injured except for Harry having gotten a scar on his forehead in the shape of a firebolt. They had declared him the Boy-Who-Lived even though no one had been witness to what had happened. Voldemort had managed to escape unharmed and now lay low although his Death Eaters attacked places steadily. He was the one destined to kill said Dark Lord, but lately, Harry had not felt up for the task. He felt sick of being controlled and wanted out of this life, however, so far he couldn't do anything about it. No one was there to help him and he probably wasn't ready to do it on his own. "I fear we have made a mistake," Dumbledore's grave voice said. Harry's eyes widened. A mistake? "A mistake?" Lily asked with a gasp. "Yes. We have all waited for Harry to show any signs of a power unknown to us, but that has not been the case," Dumbledore said. Harry sneered; as if he would show any extraordinary powers for that man. "And now when we have had time to think about the Prophecy, I do not believe he is the Boy-Who-Lived." Harry had to put a hand over his mouth to stop the gasp that tried to get out. He was not

the Boy-Who-Lived? How the hell had Dumbledore made such a mistake? But the next sentence broke his heart, unknown to the three adults: "Is it because the brat isn't ours?" It was James who had spoken. "Most likely," Dumbledore said. "I know now I should never have asked you to take care of him." "He's from a Dark family," James growled out. "Tell me again Lily why we even agreed?" "We thought of giving him a chance," she replied patiently. "But lately… all he's done is reading those horrible books about Black magic." Her tone was off. It often was when it came to him. "He must be controlled harder," Dumbledore said. "Tomorrow, we will tell Mattie that he is the Boy-Who-Lived." "Oh, he will be so happy!" James said, his voice light. "He has been jealous of that brat ever since he was old enough to understand why everyone stared at Harry." "What should we do with Harry?" Lily asked, sounding nervous. "I don't want him in my house," James interrupted harshly. "He's Dark and deserves whatever death we bring onto him." Tears fell from Harry's face as he numbly sank down onto the floor. They… they did not even like him. They wanted to get rid of him. They had only kept him because he was supposed to kill Voldemort. And now when they had discovered their 'mistake', they wanted him dead. "We will restrict his movements," Dumbledore said, the eagerness showing in his voice. "We will of course go public with the fact that Mattie was really the Boy-Who-Lived but we chose to let Harry take over the roll to protect his younger brother. But that announcement must only come after Harry has died." The teen's eyes widened; he did not want to die! He wanted to live! He wanted to travel, see the world, and be free! "Of course," James said. "Make it look like he died of an accident, maybe a poison…" "Or he accidently fell down from his broom and broke his neck," Dumbledore said thoughtfully. "He has always been so reckless on that broom, unlike you James my boy." That was a lie; he had barely been up on a broom. He didn't even like flying. The teen could hardly breathe. He did not want to hear anymore. He wound his arms around his knees which were pressed up against his thin chest and unknowingly began to rock back and forth. They talked about his death like they discussed the weather! How could they? They were supposed to be the Light, the righteousness and the kindhearted. Not these monsters. "Well, I must be going now," Dumbledore said a little while later. "I give you, James, the

honour of telling Mattie tomorrow but do it discreet. He must not tell anyone about it at this time, not even Harry. We can't have the brat knowing what we know." "Of course not," Lily said, apparently trying to sound light. "Besides, Harry is always outside during the summer with a book." Harry kept his breathing soft and shallow as the three rose up, James and Lily probably saying goodbye to their mentor before he left. He didn't hear it due to his frantic heartbeat. He felt cold, chilled to the bone now when it all was starting to process. He wondered if that chill was from fear or pure rage. He couldn't decide. He heard the two Potters (now refusing to think of them as parents) move upstairs, probably to go to sleep. He had to wait until they were asleep; Lily usually took some Muggle sleeping-pill and James slept deep, only after that was it safe to walk upstairs without fearing being discovered. He slowly uncurled as he heard said man's snoring drifting downstairs and walked upstairs. He got into his room and locked the door quietly. His thin frame was shaking as he slipped underneath the blue covers of his bed. He curled up to a ball and wished the world could go to hell. -o"Harry, get up! You can't sleep all day!" The teen woke up abruptly at the rapping on his door. Not sharp as with James, but rather gentle. Lily was always so gentle. "Harry, why did you lock the door?" Lily continued. She sounded confused. Quick; a lie, a lie! "What? Did I lock the door?" Harry said, feigning sleepiness. Disappear, vanish, go away and leave me alone. "Oh… well, get up now. Breakfast is going to be ready soon." He shook his head; sometimes it was too easy to trick her. He rose up nonetheless and moved into the bathroom to freshen up. He emerged into the dining room twenty minutes later, dressed in loose black jeans and a black shirt. James was reading the newspaper, Lily was loading up breakfast for Mattie and Mattie just sat there. Harry, if that now was his real name the teen could no help but muse, could not think of anyone more snobby and spoiled kid than Mattie. Ron Weasley, Mattie's best friend, maybe was not snobby and spoiled but he was arrogant. Merlin, that child was arrogant! Every time Harry heard the Weasley would come over he fled the house to escape the whiny voice the redheaded boy had. Shortly said, Harry did not like Ron Weasley. Neither did he like Hermione Granger. She was a bookworm, like himself, but she

enjoyed to show off. She loved to point out things, and trying to make him look like a fool. So far, he had been the one to push her back into place since he learned faster than her. He took secret pleasure in making her angry or upsetting her. Neville Longbottom was alright, but the boy was awfully clumsy and nervous, and not to mention ridiculed by the trio. They all were in Gryffindor while Harry was in Ravenclaw. Another thing that disappointed the ever arrogant James Potter and his two friends Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. He hated them all. Harry sat down and took a toast. He ate with little interest while Mattie stuffed his face just like Ron did. The teen looked away, trying to not look disgusted. Outside the sun shone steadily and only a few clouds drifted about from what he could see. "Harry, what did you plan to do today?" James asked, not even looking away from the paper. "Maybe take a book outside and read," Harry said. "I haven't finished the one about Animagi." "Oh," the man said and appeared to look at Harry. He was slightly disappointed when the teen looked out of the window. He noticed the clothing and was even more disappointed; why did the teen have to dress like Severus Snape all the bloody time? It was getting on his nerves. He knew the brat was not his but at least he should have been manipulated enough to wear more colour-full clothes. "Why so gloomy today?" James asked, indicating the clothing. "I just threw on some clothes I found," Harry said with a shrug before returning to eating his small breakfast. "These are fine to be outside with; don't want to destroy any robes." James seemed to accept that answer and dove into the newspaper again. "Harry, we thought of going over to the Weasleys later, and sleep over there," Lily said. "Would you like to follow? Fred and George are after all in your age…" He noted on her tone she rather wished him to stay home, even though his birthday was tomorrow. He did not dislike Fred and George; rather, the two of them were the only ones of the Weasleys he liked. He did not know Charlie and Bill very well, but Fred had told him Charlie was like Ron but Bill had cut all ties with his family years ago. Harry wanted to know Bill even more ever since he heard that. But he could not stand the rest of the Weasleys and therefore said: "You wouldn't mind if I stayed home?" "No, I guess I wouldn't," she said. "James, you are coming aren't you?" "Of course. I have some things I have to discuss with Arthur anyway," James said and folded the paper. "But weren't we going to Diagon Alley today?" "Yes," Lily said patiently. "We are going to meet them there, I and Molly planned that."

Harry rose up and the three Potters looked at him. He carried his glass to the kitchen, he was the only one to do it every day, and began walking upstairs. "Son, you don't want anything from Diagon Alley for your birthday?" James called after him. "No," he called back. Since when you come back tomorrow I won't be here. -oHe knew they were going to talk to Mattie before they went, telling him the 'great' news so he hurriedly picked a few books and escaped the house. He walked over to a pond they had and sat down there. He was lost now. How was he going to escape this night? Because escape he would do; he would not sit around and let them kill him! He would flee the country if he had to. He knew enough French and Italian to be able to succeed. He knew about their customs in France, Italy and even in Russia and if he was lucky he maybe could get into Beauxbatons and finish his education there. They would not tell England if he showed them his OWLs, right? He had to look into that because if they did he would just say he had lost the paper. He had of course Outstanding in everything; he expected nothing less of himself. His only interest up to this day was studying. He did not have any friends in Ravenclaw; hell, the only ones he frequently spoke to was his Head of House, the Charms professor Flitwick and Trelawney, the Divination teacher. He did not have much time to speak to the twins, and when he was with them they mostly let him read while they experimented with their pranks. Another disappointment for James Potter; Harry had no interest in that either. Sure, watching the prank unfold was fun but planning it was rather boring. Fred and George admitted that too but their interest was stronger than his. Suddenly he felt lonely. He did not have any friends except for Fred and George and he could not go there; he would be sent back to the Potters immediately. He had no adult he could get help from, no one who could help him. It would be too risky to involve the teachers at Hogwarts, both for himself and for them. He had money at least. Harry made sure James and Lily had never known he had sold various potions ever since he started Hogwarts. Some of the ingredients he stole from the potions master Severus Snape but had always left money in an empty can in the storage room so the man could buy new. Considering the money was always gone and new ingredients were there, Harry was sure Snape did not feel so angry. Some of the potions he sold cheap since making them were cheap but the more advanced potions he took more for to actually earn from the deal. No one knew his face or name; they probably thought it was a potions master, not a kid. Last year he had gone to Gringotts to open a new vault his parents did not know about. The name the vault was written under was Drago. The head-goblin, Rockspeer, had told him since he was not of age someone had to act like his guardian. Desperate, Harry had suggested Rockspeer would be the one. The goblin had been surprised, but the

pleading eyes made him cave in. Harry got secrets letters once a month from Rockspeer, and had not even tried to figure out how the letter ended up underneath his pillow every singly time. Rockspeer had only looked at him, amused, when Harry had asked. He realized an hour had passed and he had not read a single word in the book. Lily came out from the house, walking towards him. He saw James and Mattie move out as well, the younger teen with a satisfied smile on his lips. So now he knew he was the one, and Harry was no one. He was probably on the verge of bursting out his glee into Harry's face. Mattie despised Harry, and Harry despised Mattie. Simple as that. "Harry? We are going to leave now." She watched the teen turn and looked into his eyes. They were so sad. They had always been so sad. Lily felt her heart wrench for a moment but promptly stopped herself. No! If Harry lived, their lie would be destroyed. Plus he was dangerous. James and Dumbledore said he was very dangerous, and then Lily had no choice but to believe them. They knew more about the dark people than she did. "Okay," Harry said and turned back to his book. She stared at his back for a moment; while he was never really the one for hugging and cuddling he had always hugged her at least. Now he did not even seem to really have heard her. She took a step forward, unsure. "You are going to be late," Harry said quietly. "You better go; Mattie seems impatient." "Are you alright, Harry?" she asked. Her heart was softening; no matter what she had said yesterday, she had mostly said it because she knew James and Dumbledore wanted to hear it. She was against killing children but knew it was futile fighting against her husband and Dumbledore combined. "I'm fine," he said. "Just… go. Leave me alone." His voice sounded so heart-broken. Lily glanced over at James and Mattie; the man had apparently begun speaking about his time at school because Mattie was grinning. The way James moved, she had no doubt he was telling about Severus to let Mattie have some new insults to the potions master. She grew angry for a moment and decided to write a letter to the man, telling in case Mattie would call him something once it was time for school again. She turned back and kneeled down before Harry. She tilted his head up and looked at him. His eyes looked tiredly at her. "Are you alright?" she asked again, now worried for real. This was only a child, for Merlin's sake! A child! Although she loved her real son, Harry had become a son for her as well. Apparently not for James but for her Harry was more of a son than Mattie. It pained her heart, but it was true. Mattie was James' child; Harry was hers. "Fine," he repeated. Inwardly, he was confused. Why did she care? Didn't she want him dead like James and Dumbledore wanted?

Lily bit her lip. She had heard them discuss, James and Dumbledore, how to kill him. It was now or never. "Harry, I need to tell you something that you can't tell anyone else," she said hurriedly. "I don't have much time." She glanced over at her husband and son but they were engrossed in James' story. "O-okay," Harry said, brows furrowing as he looked at her. "At midnight tonight glamours placed on you will disappear," she said and his eyes widened. "I love you as my own child, but you are not a Potter. When the glamours have worn off, I want you to leave this house and never, never come back. You hear me?" She had taken his face in both her hands, holding it gently but making sure she would look into his eyes the entire time. Numb, Harry nodded. "Alright," she said, blinking rapidly to will the tears away. "I will leave money in your room, okay? Don't take more than you have to and for Merlin's sake, make a mess. Make it look like someone took you. You have to do that for me!" His own tears began to well up. She wanted him safe. Whatever she had said the night before, she hadn't meant them. "If you care about me, why did you say all those things yesterday then?" he whispered. Her eyes widened, and knew he knew what the two men planned. She hugged him tightly and said: "I'm powerless against them. I obey them when they are there but try to change things behind their back. Take care, and don't contact me. It won't be safe for you. I wish you good luck, and remember I love you." Abruptly, she let go and walked back quickly. He could hear her say: "James dear, I forgot a thing. You two Apparate to Leaky Cauldron; I'll come in a few minutes." James nodded and took Mattie's hand. When he looked to where Harry was, the teen appeared to be completely absorbed in a book. He suppressed a small sneer and Apparated away. -oAs soon as Harry heard Lily Apparate, he ran up to the house with his books. He locked all the doors and ran up to his room, for once not caring if grass ended up on the carpets or the floor. On his bed sat a pouch filled with Galleons. He took it in his hands and squeezed his eyes shut. She had held her word. It must have pained her to let him go so abruptly, knowing that the day after she was most likely never going to see him again. One

thought filled his mind, one thought that comforted him more than he imagined. Lily was on his side. She would never tell anyone what she told him. She would never say, years later, that in reality Harry Potter was alive and well. She would never say that. Harry found himself sitting on the bed, knees shaking, not able to hold him up, the pouch pressed against his chest. He sat there for a long time. -oThe teen looked at the watch. One minute to midnight. One minute to see if Lily spoke the truth about the glamours. His heart was beating loudly in his chest, he wondered if they could be heard from the other side of the room. The whole day had gone to carefully pack what he needed; all of it had fit inside of a small trunk. A few changes of clothes, a few books he could not handle leaving behind and one picture of Lily. James did not even know Harry had it. Everything else he would leave behind. Creating chaos he would do later. The clock struck midnight and his eyes widened. His whole body went rigid and a tickling sensation went through him before changing into pain. He fisted his hands into the sheets and gasped. Every inch of his body hurt, it felt like his blood was burning and he was convinced his heart would burst. He was aware that his body was shaking, shaking in pain and he suppressed a scream. Every bone in his body cracked, and he wondered if this was how it felt to die. As soon as it came, it ended and he lay exhausted on the bed. He managed to move after a few minutes and looked down at himself. He had grown taller but not gained any weight so he probably looked even thinner than before. He stepped up from the bed and grimaced when the pants and shirt he wore was too short. He threw his trunk open and tried the other clothing. None of them fit. He ran into James and Lily's bedroom, ignoring the pain in his body and threw Lily's wardrobe doors open. James was too big for him, he knew that but Lily was while long rather slim. He found a pair of black jeans and put them on. They fit, and he growled in annoyance. He had to wear a woman's clothing. He sighed and picked out a shirt that looked new. It was dark blue and he took it on. It hung a bit on his frame, maybe because she may have some more body fat than him, but for the moment he did not care. He shut the doors and went back into his own room. He repacked his trunk and put it in the hallway. He then turned to his room and looked around. Create a mess. Make it look like he had been taken. This would be fun. Out of impulse, Harry pretended to stumble into the bookshelf, so annoyingly red and golden it made his eyes hurt, and books fell down to the floor. That would be reasonable; someone had been pushed in the fight. He then continued with one swing wiping everything from his desk onto the floor. Ink bottles broke, quills went flying and parchments spread around on the floor. He threw the covers down onto the floor and, remembering, took out a knife from his nightstand; a knife he had secretly bought in Knockturn Alley. Holding it to his chest for a moment, Harry was happy to have remembered it. He ripped large holes into the mattress, making the feathers in it fly up in the air. As a finish, he pushed down the whole wardrobe and with a bit of focus, made it look like a spell had been misfired and

burnt the wall. Looking around the room, the mess was obvious. Something was missing though. He felt like an artist, laying his last hand on the masterpiece, thinking what would make it complete. He turned around in the room, and with a pang knew what was missing; there was a significant amount of chaos and destruction in the room but no bloodshed. With that he raised the knife to his arm and cut through the skin, redness appearing, he hissed at the pain and then let the blood land on the crispy white sheets. A spray of blood painted the white walls. The wound started oozing blood and with that he made it look like he had been carried out while bleeding. He grabbed the trunk and walked downstairs. He briefly grabbed a towel but did not wrap it around the wound. He kicked the back-door open, the same door he had used so many times to get to the pond, and went out. He let the blood drip down into the grass for a little while before wrapping the towel around his arm. He looked back once at the house, and then disappeared into the shadows. Chapter Two Lily was nervous as they Apparated back. Dumbledore was there with them. He wanted to go through with the plans as quickly as possible and was going to plot with James a bit more. Mattie did not know, and could not know what they planned. It might even make a child like him turn away, and Dumbledore would not have it. Lily felt sickened by it all, and took great measurements not to show it. "Mum, I want ice-cream," Mattie whined. "You have to wait until after dinner," she soothed. "But I want it now!" "No Mattie," she said sternly. "After dinner." He pouted but knew better than to argue with her when she said no in that tone. James kissed her cheek and said: "Why deny him, love? It's summer!" "Yeah," Mattie said. He then seemed to realize the date as they began to open the door. He continued, somewhat reluctantly, "Maybe Harry can have some ice-cream as well." Her heart began to pound as she opened the door. Please don't be in the house Harry, she begged. Please, don't be here. She replied nonetheless: "That was very nice of you, Mattie. I'm sure he would love some ice-cream." She was fairly sure ice-cream made Harry gag, but of course no one bothered to lay that detail in mind. "And no gift do we have," James muttered. "Why can't he ever tell us what he wants?" "Oh, I'm sure he'll be happy even if-"

They all noticed as Lily stopped. She stared at the stairs, suddenly still, as if she had been frozen. "What is it?" James said and moved to look. His eyes widened. Blood stained the stairs and led out, or in, from the house. The back-door was open and seemed to have been at least over night. The wind made it sway back and forth slowly, the hinges creaking. James and Dumbledore ran up the stairs, Lily following. Mattie stood frozen and stared at the blood. The door to Harry's room was open and the blood came from within. Lily hoped Harry had done it himself. He had to have done it; she had told him to make it look real, to make it look like he had been taken. She was the first to reach the door, having pushed both of them aside. She looked inside and had to grab the doorframe to not fall backwards. Dumbledore and James looked inside from behind her. The room was a mess. Books, parchments and quills laid scattered on the floor. The covers were on the floor as well and the mattress was cut. Blood stained the sheets, part of the wall and leading out from the room. A scorched mark on one of the walls told them of a misfired spell. Harry isn't here. Harry's gone. He escaped, he made it, he escaped he made it he escaped oh I can't hold it together. Those thoughts went over and over again in her head, making it spin. Despite knowing he had done all this himself, despite knowing she had told him to do it she could not stop it; Lily fainted. -oDrago, formerly known as Harry Potter, looked around the Leaky Cauldron tiredly. He had not found a better name than that and kept himself to it. Not that many had asked his name; only Tom the barkeeper who wondered his age and a worried witch who had seen him stumble. He was tired, not weak! He hated being called weak. He stirred his tea and closed his eyes. It was soon dinnertime; the Potters must be home by know. He had to get away from London as soon as he could but for now he retreated to the room he had rented by Tom, tea in hand. He fell down onto the bed after having finished his tea and fell asleep instantly. -oVoldemort, the Dark Lord of the century, was having the most bizarre dream he could ever remember. He didn't dream much, but mostly his dreams were pretty much uneventful. But this one wasn't. And it was bizarre to him. First of all, it included himself. He never dreamed about himself. Secondly, he was happy. While he admitted being content at times, Voldemort was not a happy person. Thirdly, he was fooling around with his son. A son he had considered dead the last fifteen years. Yes, Voldemort had had a son. A child with frosty blue eyes, raven hair and pale skin. A

child who had not judged him but stretched its arms up at him with a smile. A child who cried when Voldemort was not there, a child the Light took from him. He hated them. Hated them so much. When he finally thought he could have a family, despite it was only his son who would be a family, they had to take that thought from him. He hated it; this feeling of hopelessness. As he saw the blood in the house, he had screamed. The loyal Death Eater woman he had given permission to watch his child was dead, having tried to fight back, to save his child, and his precious child was gone. He had screamed. He had raged. He had wept. He had lain defenceless within the arms of his most loyal Death Eater, Lucius Malfoy, and wept. Lucius' wife had sat beside the two and wept with him. She was the child's godmother. Lucius the godfather. And now their godson was gone. His child was gone. Voldemort wondered what had happened to make him have this dream. His child ran before him, a young man already. He turned around, frosty blue eyes sparkling. A smile stretched out on those lips, and his child called on him, urged him on. His son was impatient, much like Voldemort himself, and wanted him to hurry up. The Dark Lord found himself doing that, and tried to remind himself it was a dream. If so, it was a very pleasant dream a small voice reminded in his head. He chased his son around until they both fell down, exhausted. His child turned to him; Voldemort could not even remember his name. He had to look it up; Narcissa would probably have some papers about it. "Father," he said. Voldemort listened. "You have to find me." "Find you?" Voldemort asked. "You are right here." "You have to find me," the teen repeated and sat up. "Before they kill me." Voldemort blinked; this was more than bizarre. "What do you mean?" he asked, his heart beating fast. "I'm not dead yet," his child said and tilted his head to the side. "Find me." "How am I supposed to find you?" the Dark Lord asked desperately. Yes, desperately. He blamed parent instincts on that. "I am where the other Tom is," the teen said and Voldemort woke up. Chapter Three Lucius took a look around him and wondered what the hell was going on. Several Aurors were running around like chickens chased by a very hungry fox. While the scenery was fun, it wasn't helping with his mood. He grabbed the nearest Auror and said: "What is all this chaos?"

The Auror looked reluctant to tell him what but caved in due to the glare the blonde man gave him: "Head-Auror Potter and Headmaster Dumbledore called us in. Harry Potter is missing." He had to go and Lucius let him. The blonde man stood still for a few moments, then whirled around, storing the information to share with the Dark Lord later that day. -oLucius looked around the quiet hall. He had finally managed to get away from the Ministry. It really was chaos there because Harry Potter had gone missing, and no one would miss the blonde amidst it all, rather they would probably relax more once they didn't discover his calm yet frightening stride down hallways. However, it was not time to think about that. Where was the lord? He set away in search for the man. He found Voldemort in the living room, staring into space and still dressed in his nightclothes. He had seen Voldemort dressed like that before, but not five in the afternoon. "My lord?" he asked, confused. Voldemort directed his empty stare to Lucius and blinked. "Lucius?" he asked, rather confused himself. "When did you get here?" "Just moments ago, my lord. Are you feeling alright?" "Not exactly," Voldemort said and tilted his head to the side. "I had a strange dream." "Just now?" "No, last night." "And hence the reason why you have not dressed?" "I was given a clue," the Dark Lord said. "A clue," Lucius repeated as he seated himself. "First of all, have you eaten anything?" "I tried," the older man said. "And what happened, my lord?" "I threw up." Lucius was feeling some level of worry. Voldemort did not throw up, he did not sit all day dressed in pyjamas and he most certainly did not have strange dreams. "What clue was you given?" Lucius asked; that was the most important thing and then getting something for Voldemort to eat. He would get a house-elf to get some nutrient potions in a bit.

"Where I would find my son." Suddenly the reason why Lucius had come from the beginning did not matter so much now. -oDrago had had a weird dream. He had dreamt about his father. His real father. He had no idea who it was but he wanted his father to find him. And for some reason he knew his father's name was Tom, but when he tried to say his name he realized he had no name. Drago was not his name. Not his real one, only a temporary. Harry Potter most definitely was not his name. So he had simply said: "I am where the other Tom is." It had sounded weird the moment it left his mouth, but Drago could only hope his father would find him anyway. He decided to stay at Leaky Cauldron for a few days more before he had to move on. Luckily, he did not look like he used to. Drago rather liked his new appearance. He had bright blue eyes, sometimes appearing frosty, his hair still raven but smooth and down to his waist (he wondered how it had gotten to that length but did not complain) and his skin had turned pale. His scar had almost faded away, and was hidden underneath a small glamour Drago had managed wandlessly. He was still underage but wandless magic could not be discovered to whom it belonged to. His wand had he left at the Potters, most likely broken; he had never felt comfortable with it. The wand was not his; they just barely got along with each other in the past. He had been into Diagon Alley only once and had shopped some new clothes as he had no wish to walk around in Lily's clothes for much longer. He had changed into what he knew would annoy James Potter; black robes. Drago had often worn completely black robes just to annoy his so called father, and to make Severus Snape raise an eyebrow in amusement. Snape had wanted to track down on Drago because he was James' son but the teen's flawless potion making had made him accept the teen. More so when Drago happily had spilled every embarrassing detail he knew about James. The Slytherin inside of him had acted up, and Severus had grinned for several days afterwards, making all students (and teachers) worried like hell. Ever since that, Severus had allowed him to come to his quarters whenever the teen felt like it. Like with the twins the two did not speak much; the potions master worked on a potion and Drago sometimes made research for a new potion he would make and sell. Other than the black robes, the teen had bought a few books, a larger trunk and then retreated to his rented room. A new wand was not due just yet. He always brought a book with him when he was eating, and Tom was amused with him. At least he was allowed to stay despite being underage. Three days after his escape it felt like the level of noise in the Leaky Cauldron was at its maximum. Drago looked around; all of the witches and wizards appeared to be worried. He walked over to the bar and asked over the noise:

"What's the commotion?" Tom grunted and pointed at the Daily Prophet. Drago picked it up and blinked. Harry Potter Missing! By Rita Skeeter It has come to our attention that our Boy-Who-Lived, the Chosen One, is missing! Yes, my dear readers, this is unfortunately the truth. Harry's father has been trying to keep it hidden but to no avail. Now he tells us the story: "On Harry's birthday, we came back from the Weasleys that I, my wife and Mattie had visited, to an empty house." First of all I had to interrupt him with the question why they left Harry alone at the start. "He had been quiet lately, and wanted to be alone," James Potter answers. "We asked him if he wished to come but he declined. I wish we had pushed harder." Yes, indeed as the sight that met them were not pleasant. Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter's Headmaster says: "It was a gruesome sight. There were signs of struggle, which leads us to believe that young Harry was kidnapped." We tried to talk to Harry's mother, Lily, but was told she was in shock and unable to speak at all. Yesterday she was admitted to St Mungo and currently we have no knowledge of what she suffers from. Harry Potter, if you read this, and if you are unharmed come back to us! Come back to your parents, and until then we wish you all luck to remain unharmed! Further reading about the suspected kidnapping on page six and seven. Harry Potter's life, page eight to eleven. Drago wanted to snort. If he did return, he would be killed. He tossed the Prophet back and said: "That's all? Now, I would like some breakfast." -o"Could it be Tom the barkeeper?" Voldemort looked up Lucius and said: "Who?"

"Tom the barkeeper at Leaky Cauldron," Lucius said patiently. "He rents out rooms; maybe your son stays there temporary." Voldemort looked into the fire. "We just have to go and ask him then," the man finally said. "Huh?" was the intelligent answer Lucius could come up with. -o"I can't believe we're doing this," Lucius hissed. Voldemort trailed behind him. "My lord-" "Tom," the Dark Lord said, somewhat reluctant. "Call me lord in public, especially now when Potter seems to be missing, and you will find yourself a head shorter with my help." "Yes… Tom," Lucius said with a gulp. Although they were close he was not used to say Voldemort's birth name. And the older man did not like this birth name all that much. They entered the crowded inn and had to grab onto each other to not loose one another. The place was packed with people. Lucius finally got to the bar and Tom looked at the two, amused. "Having trouble, Mr Malfoy?" he asked. "A bit," Lucius ground out, holding onto the smooth surface of the wood. Voldemort managed getting next to him, groaning at the crowds. "Merlin, do they have to gather here?" "Apparently," Tom said. "Sad to say but I have to admit Harry being missing gives me great business." Harry had been missing for six days now, and the headlines on the newspapers just got bolder and bolder. "Yes, truly sad they don't appreciate your place more," Lucius said. "Actually, I am looking for someone." "Harry Potter? You are one of many then." "Funny. No, not Mr Potter. I leave that job to the Aurors. No, who I am looking for is described to me in very vague terms, and I am chancing now when I came here." "Oh. Who are you looking for then?" Tom said and put away the glass he was cleaning before leaning forward to hear better. "He is around fifteen or sixteen years old, light blue eyes and black hair, probably long but thin," Lucius said. "That is all I know about him. I have no idea of his name, his interests, how he sounds and how he acts. Can you help me?" Tom stood silent for a moment, staring at Lucius.

"Yes, I think I can," he replied. Voldemort's heart skipped a beat. Lucius placed a calming hand on his arm. "But you better hurry." "Why?" Lucius asked. "A boy you just described checked out and went out of the door into Muggle London not even ten seconds before you came here. He must have left when you arrived from Diagon Alley. He called himself Drago but I doubt it's his real name. Go on." They nearly ran out. They pushed the door open and closed it behind them, wondering how the hell they were supposed to find this Drago within Muggle London. -oA few minutes earlier Drago decided he was too close to the Wizarding World. He would try to reach his father in another dream and describe where he was; now he just wanted out. "Leaving already?" Tom asked as Drago gave him the keys. "Yeah," the teen said and looked around. "I'm not comfortable around many people." "Alright. But you will drop in for lunch now and then?" "Sure." The teen waved and elbowed his way to the door. He opened it and left. He looked around the street, seeing it was deserted of Muggles. He began walking, wondering what to do when a voice in his head advised him to stop. He did so, silently wondering why the hell he obeyed. The door to the Leaky Cauldron opened again, not long after he had left. Drago had the urge to turn around and look. He did so, and his eyes widened. -o"Which way should we go?" Lucius asked as he leaned against the door. No one was in a hurry to get out of there anyway. "I don't know," Voldemort said and pushed himself up. "We can try this wa-" He got quiet. Lucius pushed himself up as well and said: "What's wrong?" The Dark Lord's eyes were wide, and the blonde looked where his lord was looking. And his eyes widened as well. Frosty blue eyes stared at them, or rather at Voldemort. The raven hair spilled down the thin shoulders to end around his waist. The teen was rather tall but seemed all skin and

bone, his cheek bones sticking out a bit and his eyes appeared a bit sunken in. He turned around fully and said uncertainly: "Father…?" -oVoldemort's heart raced. The voice, the face… it was the same as in his dream! It was his son. His son was alive. Alive. And he was standing just a bit away from the Dark Lord. Voldemort walked forward. Drago did not move. He was too shocked. His father, it must be his father! Who else could it be? It was the man from his strange dream! As the Dark Lord's hand touched his cheek, shaking as he did, Drago surprised him by leaning into the touch. He had never felt comfortable touching other people in any way, but with this man… he just wanted to throw his arms around the man's neck. And that was what he did, and without knowing why, he began to cry. -oLucius was shell-shocked as the teen threw his arms around the Dark Lord and began to cry. Voldemort held the teen up, held him tightly, afraid to let go. Lucius got out of it and hurried forward. He picked up the teen's trunk and said: "We should leave." Voldemort nodded, still holding Drago tightly as the teen cried out. "Father," the teen whispered. "I never… I never thought…" His voice broke and he cried harder. Voldemort looked at Lucius who said: "Come on. Just tell him we are Apparating back. We can talk there, but not here for Merlin's sake!" Voldemort nodded and whispered something to the teen. Drago nodded and Lucius saw him hold on. A moment later they Disapparated. Chapter Four Drago did not let go of his father even when they arrived. He looked around with his tearstricken eyes but did not recognize the place. It was a forest nearby, blooming and the wind was cool. He could barely make out a village a bit away. A Muggle village from the looks of it. Voldemort was gently nudging him towards a manor the opposite way of the village though and Drago got his feet moving. He scrubbed at his eyes, wondering why he had cried so easily; him crying was a rare sight, yet at the first meeting with his father he had bawled his eyes out. They arrived to the main entrance of the manor and entered. The hall was luxurious with warm wooden walls, wooden floor and high in roof. Simple, yet elegant. There were no

paintings on the walls, nothing that gave away who his father was. All he had was that his father seemed close to Lucius Malfoy, whose family was closely related to the dark. Lucius turned to the Dark Lord and said: "I'll get some tea for us all." "We'll be in the study," Voldemort said. Lucius nodded and went towards the kitchens. He had the trunk shrunken in his pocket; he would give it to the teen later. Voldemort began walked, Drago still almost glued to his side. He could not get enough of seeing his child, and neither did his son seem to get enough of seeing his father. They seated themselves on a couch in the Dark Lord's study and Drago finally let go. He looked down at his hands, unsure what to say. "How did you know I was your father?" Voldemort asked. "I saw you," Drago said. "In a dream. I told you… I gave you a clue of where I was." "I am where the other Tom is." Drago's eyes widened. "Yeah," he whispered. "I told you that." Voldemort's eyes widened. That was in his dream! He could not feel overly concerned about it; he was just happy his son was back. Of course he wanted to confirm it was his son but it would feel wrong if this child was not his. His hand absently ran through the teen's hair, feeling its silky texture and letting it reflect in the sun. Drago leaned into the touch a bit. Voldemort turned the teen's head so he could look at Drago closely, caressing the thin face and was determined to make sure the teen gained some weight. He had felt horrible thin under those black robes. He resumed stroking the black hair, and Drago's eyes closed in bliss. Lucius entered the study and set down the tray he had gotten from the house-elves downstairs. He knew he or Voldemort could simply have called on one of them but knew his lord and the child needed a few minutes to themselves. He seated himself and looked at the two. Voldemort had by now stopped stroking Drago's hair, but still did not look away from him. "I think we have some questions for your son," Lucius said to Voldemort. "Most likely," the Dark Lord said. "Where have you been all this time?" "Can you tell me my name first?" the teen asked. "Drago is an alias I made up last year when hiding money; it's not a name I'm entirely comfortable with." Voldemort looked at his son, glad he had checked the papers where it stated his child's

name. He should have remembered it but figured grief could make him forget even the most important things. "Salazar," he said. "I named you Salazar Serpens. I always called you Serpens." "After the Salazar Slytherin?" the teen asked. The pieces began to fall into place in his head of who his father was. "Yes," Voldemort said and looked at him. It was as if Serpens (A/N Going to call Harry/Drago that from now on, and I promise, that's the last change of name he has in this story) saw his father for the first time. The tousled black hair, the pale skin and tall but lean frame. But most of all, the red eyes. It was Voldemort. The Dark Lord. His now former enemy. His father was one of the strongest wizards existing. Serpens looked down as if thinking. "I was taken in by a Light family," he began and looked at the two. Their eyes widened. "I don't know how I got there, or why. I'm sure they didn't know who my parents were. I think I came to them when I was one which is why I thought they were my parents. Then, when I was two years old they left me and their newborn baby at home. A friend of theirs was supposed to watch us. This is all told to me, because I can't remember it myself. We were attacked, but survived." He stared intently at Voldemort and the man began to understand. His eyes widened even more, and horror began to swirl amongst all the other emotions. "You…" the Dark Lord whispered. "You are… Harry Potter?" "Don't call me that," Serpens said and looked away. "I hate that name. James Potter never liked me. Anyway… They called me the Boy-Who-Lived having no idea what really went down and suddenly Dumbledore stood there with a Prophecy that said that boy was destined to kill Voldemort." The Dark Lord did not want to believe it. His son was the Boy-Who-Lived? That meant… the thought was too much to even finish. "But," the teen continued and they turned to him again, "I'm not the Boy-Who-Lived. They, or rather Dumbledore, made a mistake. The Potters son, Mattie, is that boy." "How do you know?" Lucius asked, leaning forward. "Because Dumbledore told James and Lily that," Serpens said. "I hid in the kitchen and heard him tell them that. After that… when they realized I wasn't special… well, Lily tried to tone it down, tried to make them change their minds in her own way but… no, she was totally powerless…" "What are you talking about?" Voldemort said.

"I wasn't kidnapped as it says in the papers," Serpens said. "Lily told me to fake it. Told me to make it look like I had been kidnapped by Death Eaters or whatever. She left me money and told me to not contact her ever again. It would be too dangerous for me." "What did they want to do, Dumbledore and Potter? Why was Lily Potter helping you escape?" Voldemort asked, desperate to hear answers. "They wanted to kill me," the teen said softly, looking at his father. "Once they got the fact I wasn't their saviour, they wanted me out. They were going to make it look like an accident before declaring Mattie as the Boy-Who-Lived. And their answer to why I was believed to be the one, they were going to lie and say I had taken it on me to keep my 'brother' safe. Considering I would be dead by then, I couldn't actually say anything against it." The two adults felt a rage. Here before them sat a boy not a grown man yet, a child really, who had heard the ones supposed to take care of him wanted him dead! How dare they? "So you fled," Voldemort said. "Where did you plan to go?" "France or Italy," Serpens said. "I know some French and Italian, and I know I could've gotten into some school there if I pleaded enough." "Beauxbatons are too close with Hogwarts," Lucius said. "You would never have succeeded there." "Then I guess I would have headed for Italy. Or maybe Russia… at least I know I can making a living by making potions." "Potions?" "Yes, I sell potions," Serpens said and looked up. "I use the alias Drago for that as well." Lucius frowned for a moment, thinking hard. Then a light came into his eyes and they turned to the teen, watching him intently. Serpens noticed and looked uncomfortable. Voldemort looked between the two and said: "Lucius, did you know my son's alias?" "I've bought several potions from someone I thought was an excellent potions master," Lucius said. "Severus suggested you. I had no idea you were merely a child." "Only Severus knew who I truly was," he said with a shrug. "I let the clients assume whatever they wanted about me." "We've used your potions in battles," Lucius said. "Your liquefied Crucio for an example…" "I read about it," the teen said and looked at the two. "It was written in Russia and I had to take help from a translator in Knockturn Alley and another potions master before I got a hang of it."

"For being portrayed as the hope of the Light, they didn't really keep track of you," Voldemort pointed out. Serpens made another shrug and said: "It was Fred and George who helped me. When I had to go somewhere, they took turns pretending to be me, it wasn't that hard." "So they knew about your activities?" "Yes," Serpens said. "They're my only friends." "You don't have any other friends?" the Dark Lord asked, wanting to find out as much as he could about his son. "You can't count teachers, can you?" "Yes, I think you can." "Oh… then I guess I have five friends. Fred, George, professor Flitwick, professor Trelawney and professor Snape. And yes, he's loyal to the dark and not the Light. I guess he enjoyed my company too much to kidnap me." Voldemort and Lucius relaxed; they both enjoyed the snarky professor's company and had hoped for the best since he was so closed off. "Professor Trelawney?" Lucius could not help but say. "My son, Draco, says she's rather… well, off." "That's the best about her," Serpens said. "Plus she never called me by name. Did you know she didn't make the Prophecy about Voldemort and the Boy-Who-Lived?" Their stares told him they did not know. "She doesn't know who it was, but that night Severus heard it she was in Greece," he continued. "She really knows the future but never speaks of it. She gives hints sometimes, if it's about someone she likes." "Did she know you were my son?" Voldemort asked. "Probably, considering she said part of my name was from one of the four founders," Serpens said happily. "She doesn't like Dumbledore and once said he has more darkness than anyone can see." -oSybill Trelawney sat in her tower, tracking the cards she had laid out the day before Harry Potter had gone home from his fifth year on Hogwarts. She had not moved them since. She was not sure she ever would; they belonged where they were. Her fingers caressed the surfaces and she looked out the window.

"You are home now, aren't you?" she said quietly, looking out at the stars. "They have lost one child, the Potters, but gained what the man believes is more happiness. He's wrong. But their so called lost son is back with his father again, his real father, finally after so many years separated. Yes… little Salazar Serpens is home now." Her fingers tripped over the cards. No one could hear her except for the castle itself. -oVoldemort could not get enough. He watched his son's chest rise and fall with each breathe the teen took. His hand moved through the rich hair, rubbing the scalp when Serpens stirred. The teen had fallen asleep early, exhausted after his long day. Voldemort had placed the teen in his own bed as the house-elves prepared a room for his son across the hall. The blonde stepped inside, the Dark Lord picking up his light footsteps. "My lord," Lucius said. "Severus has arrived." "Send him in," the Dark Lord said, not taking his eyes from his child. Severus Snape, wary as usual, edged into the room and bowed even as Lucius stepped out. Voldemort looked at him briefly and said: "I heard an interesting story today, Severus. It was about you." Severus swallowed heavily. There were not a lot of stories about the potions master enough to interest the Dark Lord. He dearly hoped the man had not found out he had let Harry Potter into his life without taking the boy to the lord. That was the only mistake he had done so far in his life but it could very well be his last. "What have you heard, my lord?" he asked. "Harry Potter," Voldemort said, tasting the name on his lips. Severus tensed. "He was really different from his so called father, right?" "… Yes." "He's missing now." "Yes, my lord." "Ah, to imagine the truth was there, so close," Voldemort said and brought the covers up over his son. It appeared that Severus was too nervous to even glance over at the boy; his obsidian eyes fastened on the man sitting on the bed and not on the teen lying in bed. "You knew Harry Potter; you invited him into your life. He nestled himself a little place in that dark heart of yours, didn't he?" Severus closed his eyes and then whispered in defeat:

"Yes, my lord." "How good," the man said, and the potions master snapped his eyes open to look at his lord in confusion. "Harry Potter wasn't son to the Potters. He was a nameless child in a cruel world who now has found his way home." Severus dared to glance at the teen sleeping on the bed. "Who is the child?" the potions master whispered. "A no longer nameless child in a cruel world," Voldemort said and stood up. "My son found me." Voldemort's son… was Harry Potter? "How?" Severus whispered. He could scarcely believe it. The child he had grown so fond of was none other than his lord's son and not a kidnapped child at all. Voldemort rose up after one last glance at his slumbering child, led the potions master out of the room and told Severus what he knew. -oOnce Severus had heard everything and returned to his home, Voldemort stepped back to his room. Serpens had curled up a little. He slowly lay down on the bed, turning Serpens to him. He was no child in need for comfort or an adult wanting to cuddle their child. He was a desperate man who would make sure his son did not disappear on him while he slept. Serpens' head was soon tucked underneath his chin and his arms holding the teen tightly. The teen moved a little in the tight embrace, one arm moving to slip over Voldemort's side. The arm was warm. He took in a shuddering breath and vowed a hand into the black hair, feeling Serpens' breath against his collarbone. It took a long time before he dared to relax; even longer before he managed to close his eyes. -oSerpens woke up feeling very warm and content. He sleepily moved his head towards a steady beat that sounded in his ear. Wait a minute; a steady beat? He blinked his eyes open and looked up. His father looked younger when he slept, the teen noted absently. Less stressed. His forehead had smoothed out and his jaw had slackened a bit. His breath was quiet but deep and regular. Serpens yawned and put his head back into place; he had no desire to move at all from his father's embrace. This was what he had missed. His heart was now beating without the agony, and his limbs no longer ached for something he did not know. Now they were pleasantly heavy with sleep and tangled into the covers and his father. He knew he was sixteen already but for tonight he would not mind the closeness. He closed his eyes and fell back asleep. -o-

When he moved into the dining hall alone for breakfast, as his father had woken up before him, the first thing he saw was Severus. He blinked and the potions master looked up from the Daily Prophet. He had a cup of tea and a plate with a half-eaten toast by his side. "Professor Snape," Serpens said quietly. "Serpens," Severus said and inclined his head. He had been told by Voldemort what to call the teen last night. "The lord is out at the moment; he should be back within twenty minutes. Breakfast is waiting for you." Serpens could see it; the table was filled with all sorts of things, toasts and scones, jams and butter, tea and milk and fruit. He blushed when his stomach growled in hunger at the sight, and he felt his mouth water at the delicious smell. "Have you eaten enough?" Severus asked and looked him over. "You look thinner than the last time I saw you." Both him and Serpens were aware of Serpens' small portions when he ate. "I have eaten," Serpens protested as he sat down and took a toast, buttering it. He had eaten sometimes, avoiding going out when the noises had been too much but the potions master didn't have to know that. "But I do think I'm wearing something that's slightly too big." He tugged absently at the shirt he was wearing, the one that had been laid out for him along with trousers, socks and shoes. His heart warmed at the thought that his father had put out clothes for him. He never noticed he drifted away from reality even as he chewed on his toast. Severus chuckled; it did not matter if he was Harry or Serpens, the teen still liked to space out far too much. -oVoldemort arrived within those twenty minutes and saw the two engaged in a chess battle. Lucius was with him and they stood back both to watch Severus as well as Serpens, the two being unexplored people the Dark Lord and the Malfoy had to learn to know. "Check," the teen said with a smug grin. "Merlin's beard, why did I even agree to this?" Severus muttered and glared darkly at the board. "I know I always loose, and yet you manage to convince every time for a game, you brat." "Oh, I know how to convince people," Serpens said. "Especially you; for some reason, you are easy to trick." "What? I'll have you know I've tricked the great Albus Dumbledore for Merlin knows how many years!"

"Yet you fall for my traps each and every time." "I don't want to hear anymore!" The teen only continued to grin and the potions master groaned in misery before making his move. "Oh, professor, that was a classic move if I've ever seen one. You won't win over me." "I know that already, you horrible brat. Now continue. I wish to make a potion today to get Dumbledore off my back." The two at the door stared at them, speechless. They had vague theories of what they two might have discussed, but seeing Severus suffer a defeat at chess was something they had not expected. The man was rather good at that game. "What potion?" Serpens asked, unaware of the audience. "Wolfsbane, for Lupin." Well, it seemed like Severus for once was unaware as well. That was rare luck that the potions master was unaware of someone staring at him. "I have some in my vault at Gringotts," the teen said absently. "You what?" "Severus, have I ever lied to you?" the teen asked. "You should know better." "It's not that I doubt you but… Wolfsbane?" the man said weakly. "What? I always have a number of potions in my vault," Serpens said with a shrug. "Like the liquefied Crucio?" the man asked, one eyebrow raised. "I'll have you know it's a hard potion to make," the teen objected. "It's better having a few in stock." Severus shook his head before making a move and saying: "Check." "Bloody hell," the teen said and tilted his head. "Language," the potions master reminded absently as if he had heard Serpens curse so many times it was just a routine to say it. Voldemort felt a twinge of jealousy that the potions master knew his son so well. "Have you heard about the newest potion in France?" Serpens asked conversationally and looked at the potions master. Voldemort and Lucius were now watching them with interest, their earlier shock haven given way to curiosity. "The improved form of Veritaserum?" Severus asked and the teen nodded. "I don't think

it will hold." "I can't say it's really improved," the teen said as he made a move. "The new one is more complicated to make, and it annoyed me when I tried. If I had to make one for real, I would throw the potions ingredients into the face of whoever wanted it, tell them cast a truth-spell and leave me the hell alone." Severus shook his head at Serpens and said: "You really only work when you want to. How many people have you refused making potions for?" "Please, I don't keep count," the teen said. "Funny thing; James Potter wanted a potion of me once." "What kind of potion?" "To make it stand up." A grin accompanied this statement. "Serpens!" Severus said, shocked and terrible amused at the same time. He hadn't heard that one before. "I laughed my head off," the raven-haired teen admitted. "Then wrote back and told him to never contact me ever again." The potions master shuddered. "Did Lily make him or what?" Severus asked. "No. I suppose he hadn't had a good sex in a while and wanted to impress," Serpens said with a shrug. "Well, I've had worse requests." "Tell me about it," Severus muttered. "Aha! Check mate!" "Damn!" It was now they noticed the two men standing in the doorway. "Father!" Voldemort was not sure if his son had Apparated or run very fast but found himself quickly on the floor with his son trying to hug the life out of him. Lucius could not help but to burst out in laughter. Severus sniggered where he was sitting. The Dark Lord did not feel angry enough to glare at either of them. Chapter Five Serpens straightened his already smooth robes before Voldemort stepped up behind him. The teen felt the hands on his shoulders and relaxed.

"There is nothing to be nervous about," the man said. "You are my son; you're automatically respected no matter what you do or who you are." "I don't want to embarrass you," Serpens said and looked at him. "You will never embarrass me," Voldemort said and gave him a smile. "Act like yourself, and you will have all of my Death Eaters charmed before the night is over. And those who aren't and are stupid enough to voice it out loud, we get rid off." -oDraco looked around the room, feeling bored. Pansy was tugging his arm and he felt annoyed with her and the whole event in all. He could have been at home, reading a magazine or something like that. But instead he was forced to come with on a party where there were almost only adults and the children who were there were mostly idiots. He silently cursed his father and wanted home. There was nothing entertaining here. He was only fourteen years old but acted like a lot older, much to Lucius' dismay who loved to fuss over him. He finally got his arm away from Pansy and said: "Could you please stop that?" "Don't you know why we're here, Draco?" she asked. "No, I don't." "We're here to see the Dark Lord's son!" The blonde's eyes widened. The Dark Lord did not have a son! He turned to glare at Pansy but then his eyes fell on the Dark Lord in own person and he gaped. Behind Voldemort walked a teen, maybe two years older than Draco, with raven hair and frosty blue eyes. He was dressed in black and blue robes with silver lining, his posture straight and something in his eyes made Draco shiver. He was drawn to this mysterious beauty, and managed to stop the faint blush coming to his pale cheeks. A simple silver necklace glimmered around his neck, outside the robes and as far as Draco could tell, there was nothing more to it. But it fit him. Everyone bowed their heads as Voldemort entered. He stopped and smiled. "My friends," he spoke. "A few days ago, a miracle happened to me. A long lost gift was returned to where it belonged. May I present to you, my child Salazar Serpens!" Serpens held his head high as all of them stared at him. He gave a mocking smile and made a small bow. Voldemort chuckled at his antics. He straightened up and opted to stay silent. Unfortunately, one of the Death Eaters decided not to: "You can't be our lord's son; he doesn't have one!" Voldemort was about to curse the man who had spoken when Serpens held up a hand.

The others drew back from the man who had spoken, showing that they wanted to have nothing to do with him. He stood alone in the middle of the room soon, Draco seeing a slightly insane glint enter Serpens' eyes. The raven-haired teen walked forward to the Death Eater, mockingly slow, and then looked at him for a long time. "You dare saying I am not my father's son?" he asked in a low, dangerous tone. Voldemort watched him with fascination. The blonde teen enjoyed the sound of the smooth voice, undertones of a hiss when angry. Lucius slipped an arm around Draco and for once the teen did not push away, trying to act like an adult. His legs were a bit wobbly, and he was grateful to be pressed to his father's side. The Death Eater remained silent. The room's atmosphere was tense. "Now, now, don't be that way," Serpens said silkily. "If you don't talk, I will make you scream." The man remained stubbornly quiet. The teen sighed, brought forth his wand that Voldemort had bought for him a few days prior in a respected wand-shop in Knockturn Alley and said: "Crucio." The man fell down on the floor, screaming. The raven-haired beauty (according to Draco) seemed not be concerned about it but instead plucked a bottle from his belt underneath his robes. He released the curse and kneeled down. The manor was safe for him to perform magic. He had yearned to do that, deep inside he knew he would enjoy hurting someone physically when he disliked them. Not that he had ever shown any signs of it while being with the Light; that would have made his 'accidental' death show up much faster. He hadn't been that desperate to curse someone into oblivion. "Would you like to try this?" he asked the panting man, shaking the bottle around. "As punishment for speaking against me, and ultimately speaking against your lord." The man shook his head vigorously but Serpens only chuckled and said: "No, no, this is your punishment. Can't have you try to wriggle your way out of it." He forced the man's mouth open, one finger on each side of his jaw to keep the mouth open, and dropped a few drops of the liquid into the man's mouth. Ultimately on his tongue. The man began screaming as the first drop landed, and they all saw smoke coming from the mouth. Voldemort's eyes widened, either in shock or pure amusement. Draco and Pansy stared. "I rather not know anything about the Muggle world, but this one proved useful," Serpens said, amusement shining through in his tone, at the screaming man. "It's Muggle acid, and currently burning right through that rude tongue of yours. Like it?" They all drew back from the teen that only chuckled and rose up. He went over to his father, who smiled quite widely and laid an arm around his shoulders. "Someone take him away," Voldemort ordered, waving his hand absently at the

screaming man and no one really dared to protest. Serpens grinned. -oDraco was quite nervous as he realized he had been placed to sit next to Serpens. He looked at the older teen and then back at his plate. Why was he placed almost next to the Dark Lord and his son while his parents were further down? This was not good for his nerves. He could even smell the older teen, and was glad he was sitting down. It should be forbidden to have such an addictive smell as Serpens had. "Something wrong?" The blonde snapped his head up and looked into frosty blue eyes. "Nothing at all, young lord," Draco hurriedly said and bowed his head, telling his blood to not rush to his cheeks. "No, don't call me that. My name is Salazar Serpens, but please call me Serpens. I'm guessing you're Lucius' son, Draco?" "Yes… I am," the younger teen said. "Thought you looked like him," the older one said with a smile. There was something about Draco that he liked. Something he liked very much. "He's told me a lot about you. You go at Hogwarts, correct? Care to tell me a bit about it?" Forgetting his own nervousness at being placed next to the Dark Lord's son, Draco gave up a grin and proceeded to talk about Hogwarts and his own house, Slytherin. -oAs the dinner was over, Voldemort leaned over to Serpens and said: "You liked young Draco?" "He's an interesting person," Serpens said and looked over at the blonde who was sitting with his friends a bit away. He had barely given Draco a look before, only listening halfhearted to Mattie's conversations with his friends about the evil Malfoy brat. Now he wanted to know every bit of Draco… maybe he had drunk too much wine. He was after all not used to alcohol. "He knows a lot about the other houses." "So your wish…?" "I will continue at Hogwarts," the teen said. "We'll get rid of Dumbledore with me on the inside." "You make it sound like it's no big deal," the Dark Lord said. "Oh, if you pull the right strings we can take both the old man down as well as the BoyWho-Lived."

"That boy was your 'brother' for several years." "And we've always hated each other," the teen said. "I feel nothing towards him, or James. But Lily… she doesn't deserve death. She helped me." "I will spare her life if she does not intend to hurt any of us," Voldemort said. "Deal." Now he only had to figure out how to get her out from St Mungo's, where he knew Lily had been placed. -o"Albus?" Dumbledore looked up at McGonagall and waved her inside. He was trying to find Harry, as it was crucial for the plans. He had yet to reveal to the public that Mattie was the BoyWho-Lived as it would seem suspicious. Damnit, why did the brat have to disappear? "What can I do for you, Minerva?" he asked with a pleasant smile. James gave her a quick smile as well, as he was also there. Mattie was with the Weasleys. Lily was at the hospital, not speaking to anyone, just sitting and crying and clinging onto one of Harry's shirts like it was the child himself. She went crazy if anyone tried to take it away from her so they had stopped trying to pry it away from her arms. "There is a letter from a man requesting to let his son go at Hogwarts." "We have sent out letters for all those concerned," Dumbledore said. "Did we miss someone?" "No, this boy is sixteen years old and is to start his sixth year," the woman said. "It's the boy's name though that makes me nervous." "And what is that?" "He's called Salazar Serpens, Albus." -oVoldemort read the letter with an amused smile, his posture in the armchair relaxed yet demanding respect, one leg draped over the other and the hand free from the letter resting on the arm of the chair. Serpens watched him and finally could not hold his curiosity at bay: "Who is it from?" "It's from Hogwarts. Dumbledore probably had a panic-attack when he heard of your name, but he could not refuse because the only thing that was wrong according to them is your name. He was a bit suspicious about the last name Riddle, but it's been fixed so it looks like your family originally came from Alaska." "Was I supposedly born there?"

"No, but your grandparents on your mother's side were. That's actually true. They immigrated to England with their daughter when she was only two years old. So it's alright." "So I'm going to begin at Hogwarts?" "First of September, although I would like to have you here." Serpens went over to his father and sat down on the free arm of the chair, taking the letter and scanning through it. He smiled a bit at it as well, and then answered: "I want to stay here as well, but I also want to finish this all." "So do I, my child, so do I." Chapter Six "Yes, I have packed everything, yes I'm going to be careful, yes I'm not going to pick a fight without reason and yes, Lucius is here to take me to the station." Voldemort closed his mouth as Serpens answered all of his questions before they were asked and sighed. "Are you a mind reader or what?" he asked. "Nope, I just know your paranoia." It's frightening easy to learn the man, and the paranoia had been the easiest. Serpens was amazed Voldemort was really letting him go. "Train's leaving in thirty minutes." "Thirty minutes is a long time," the Dark Lord protested. "Yes, but I promised to meet up with Draco in ten." "Oh…" Voldemort fidgeted on the spot, wringing his hands. Serpens raised an eyebrow, smiled a bit and knew the Dark Lord would not start this one on his own. So the teen walked up to him and wrapped his arms around his father. The man proceeded to hug Serpens back, tightly the teen noted, and said: "Be careful." "Yes, I already know that." "I mean it. I just found you; I'm not having anything rip you away from me." "I'm not going to let someone rip me away. If they try, I will rip them apart first." "Really now?" Voldemort said with a smile. Serpens smiled sweetly to him and continued:

"I can give you their hearts." "How very kind of you. Don't forget your friend." Serpens smiled, turned around and called out: "Amicus!" Voldemort watched the crow glide through the air, thinking it was a perfect familiar for his beloved son. It landed on Serpens' shoulder, just as it had a few days earlier when the two met for the first time. The animal store was rather dark, and had an old smell to it. Voldemort looked around at the different cages and ruled out cats. He didn't like cats. In fact, he rather despised them. That was McGonagall's fault entirely; bloody woman and her bloody cat disguise. Made him want to puke. Serpens walked right past any cats towards where the birds where. Voldemort, grateful for that, followed his son. The teen looked at the owls but seemed bored with them. "I don't want an owl," he said. "But I would like a bird of some kind." "There are a lot of things to choose from." The shop-keeper eyed them a bit but let them be. They were in one of Knockturn Alley's animal stores and there the shop-keepers pretty much left the customers alone unless they wanted something specific. Voldemort was looking at the owls, wondering if he should get any new ones, when there was a rustle of wings, the sound of an animal taking flight and then Serpens' gasp. He turned around and looked. A crow had settled on the teen's shoulder, flexing the wings a few times before calming down. It nipped the teen gently in the ear and Serpens grinned. "This one," he decided. Voldemort watched as Serpens walked out of the manor, followed by Lucius. He hoped he would see his son soon again. -oDraco sighed as he saw Mattie, Ron and Hermione come walking towards him. He could get onto the train but had told Serpens he would wait outside. He did not want to disappoint the older teen. "Malfoy," Mattie sneered. "Lost your bodyguards?" Crabbe and Goyle were in the compartment already, along with Pansy.

"I don't need bodyguards when it's only little Potter along with his weasel and know-itall," the blonde teen said, bored. As predicted, Ron got red in his face and Hermione got ready to speak when they suddenly heard: "Found you, Draco. I am so glad you got the hair you have." Draco looked over, so did the three Gryffindors. Serpens looked rather intimidating with his long raven hair and cold frosty eyes, now dressed in a robe that shimmering in blue when the light hit the fabric. He almost towered over the three Gryffindors. Draco knew it wasn't that much of a difference in height but he looked like he was towering over them. Had to be a Dark Lord-trait. It just had to be. "Serpens," Draco said, glad to be able to get rid of the Gryffindors soon. "You're late." Serpens could hear the pout and had to smile a bit. "Forgive me," the older teen said, ignoring the Gryffindors. "My father was quite reluctant to let me go." "Daddy's boy!" Mattie sneered out. He did not mention he had been toted over by his father earlier as Lily was still at the hospital. Also he did not care who it was, just as long as the teen knew Draco he was Mattie's enemy. Draco's blood ran cold; the bloody brat just insulted the Dark Lord's son! He had seen what happened the last time. The smell of burnt tongue still lingered when he thought about it. Serpens turned on his head only, looked at Mattie and then tilted his head. His eyes narrowed a bit, like in thought before he turned his head to the blonde. "Who's that midget?" he asked Draco, pointing at Mattie. Draco managed to keep his chuckle inside at the sight of Mattie blowing up: "Midget? I'm not a midget! Wait until my father hears about this!" "Oh, I'm sorry," the older teen said with a sneer. "I meant insect. My dear Draco, is this place always full with such annoying creatures?" The blonde managed to nod, seeing the slight insanity shining in Serpens' eyes again. The only thing that stopped the older teen from killing the Gryffindor was that it was too many people around them. And that just stopped him barely. The blonde had to get the older teen away from those annoying Gryffindors. "Well, the others are waiting," Draco said hurriedly to get Serpens to calm down. "Shall we?" "Yes, I think so," Serpens said and got up into the train.

"You'll regret that!" Mattie shouted, pointing at Serpens in what he apparently thought was threatening. Serpens looked at him, blinking owlishly and then replied: "Shut it, midget, before I tear your tongue out and feed it to my crow. He won't complain." 'Crow?' Draco thought. "You don't have a crow!" Mattie screamed. "Sure I have," the teen said. "It's just the matter of finding him. Ah, there he is! Amicus!" A crow swooned down and landed on Serpens' outstretched arm. The three Gryffindors gaped. Amicus screeched at them and all three jumped back. "So what were you saying, midget?" Serpens asked. Mattie was silent. "Nothing? Good, I thought so. Draco, shall we?" He held out a slim hand to the blonde. Draco, more or less speechless, took it and Serpens escorted him onto the train, leaving the red-faced Gryffindors behind. -oSerpens was completely absorbed in his book, Amicus sleeping on the racks above them when he suddenly heard Pansy's voice: "What are you doing here?" He looked up from the page and saw Luna Lovegood, a girl who was to begin third year and was in Ravenclaw, stood in the doorway to the compartment. They had spoken with each other a few times before, and he had helped her locate several of her things in the past. He wouldn't be the first one to admit she was a bit special. She had a necklace made of corks on her today. She walked inside the compartment without caring about the Slytherins, sat down next to Serpens and said to him: "Hi." "Hello," Serpens said with a nod. "It's nice outside today." "That it is," he agreed. "I would like to talk to you, can we step outside?" He raised an eyebrow but put the book away. The Slytherins knew who he was so they were frozen in their seats. What did a small girl from Ravenclaw want to talk about with the Dark Lord's son, a teen around three years older than herself? Why did she want to speak with a teen that was together with Slytherins anyway? She had never seen him before, right?

He rose up after her and she disappeared through the door. He closed it behind himself and followed the girl. She walked to the very end of the train, so they could stand outside on the small platform. She grabbed the railing, stood quiet for a bit while watching the scenery fly past and then said: "What's your real name, Harry?" "… Salazar Serpens," he said. He did not ask how she knew. She just did. "Just call me Serpens. It's easier." "Good name," Luna said. "How's your daddy?" "He's fine." Merlin, he did not know if he dared to call Voldemort 'daddy'. It sounded so… personal, so childlike. "You shouldn't be scared of calling him daddy," Luna said and looked at him. "I just got it confirmed that you are indeed a mind reader," the older teen said. "I just knew what you were thinking," Luna said. "It's the same thing." "But I don't know what you're thinking right now." "How did you know it was me?" "Because of the book you were reading." "The book?" He had not had it as Harry Potter. "Yeah," the girl said. "It told me it was you." "You're speaking to books now as well?" Serpens asked, eyebrow quirked. She just smiled at him. -oThe Slytherins looked at the dazed blonde girl who was humming to herself in her seat next to Serpens. He was yet again absorbed in his book. After a while she seemed to snap out of her trance and got out a book. Then she paused, as if she realized something and the girl looked up at the older teen. "Serpens, would you like to go and watch the Thestrals someday?" she asked dreamily. "The Thestrals?" the older teen said absently, turning page before glancing over at her

briefly. "Sure. Why them though?" "They're so pretty." He blinked, looked over at her dazed smile, shook his head as if to clear his mind and turned back to the book. "I'm not sure you would call a Thestral pretty but what the heck, why not," he said. "When?" "Not this week," she said and looked at him. "Why not?" "They're always irritated the first week, bites people and all that. After that they are alright." "How do you know they are irri- wait. I don't want to know." She smiled dreamily again and he looked at her. "One may wonder how your father raised you," he said and sank down behind his book again. She tilted her head to the side and proceeded to watch the trunk above the seat in front of her for the rest of the trip, having forgotten about the book she had taken out. She tapped at the cover absently with her nails, humming. No one of the Slytherins dared to make a comment at their bizarre conversation. -oSerpens wondered what house he would be placed in. He was the son of the Dark Lord but had no idea if he would actually end up in Slytherin. He was rather studious so he could very well end up in Ravenclaw again. Was he placed in Gryffindor he might consider suicide though. And Hufflepuff… he would run home to his father if he ended up there. "And now, we have come to our newest student, who is to begin the sixth year here at Hogwarts. May I introduce to you, Salazar Serpens Riddle! Salazar, please." "It's Serpens, headmaster, if you please." He smiled (might have been a bit chilly) at the man who just nodded and sat down. He walked up to the sorting hat and let it fall over his eyes. "Oh, hello again," the hat said. "But this time there are no secrets and I can speak freely and say your true house." 'I guess you could say that,' Serpens said. 'Get on with it.' "Impatient just like your father," the hat chuckled. "Very well, your choice is an easy task." Out loud the Sorting Hat screamed, "Slytherin!" Serpens took off the hat, gave it to McGonagall and walked over to the Slytherin Table,

the clapping feeble. Not that he cared. He seated himself next to Draco and said: "Well, that was anticlimactic." "There are few things here that are exciting," Pansy said carefully. "Well, good I'm here to make this place livelier," Serpens and caught Fred's eyes. The twin was looking at him, observing. The raven-haired teen raised an eyebrow, the one sign the Weasleys always recognized. Fred blinked in shock, and Serpens smiled a bit to confirm. Fred leaned to his brother and whispered something. George glanced over at him and nodded. Fred mouthed 'The kitchens' to him and Serpens gave a faint nod. -oThe two gave him a good look-over as he stepped into the kitchens later. Fred poked his cheek and George poked him in the sides, walking around him. He then settled his hands on Serpens' shoulders. "My good man, it's good to have you back!" they finally said. "It's not like I've been gone," Serpens said with a snort. "Well, that's true," they both realized. Fred poked his cheek again. "Stop that." "But it's so fun," Fred insisted. George poked his other cheek. The teen shook his head. -oHe was a bit happy when he learned all Slytherins in sixth and seventh year had their own room and set of bathroom and happily threw himself on the bed later that night. He burrowed his head into the pillow and wondered how to kill both Dumbledore and Mattie. Dumbledore would only cause trouble and Mattie could be used to kill his father, and there was no way Serpens would allow that to happen. Or well, if he was handled the right way Mattie wouldn't pose any problems even if he was left alive. Serpens absently petted Amicus' head, the crow butting the head against the hand, making him smile a bit at his familiar. He had some vague guess of what would happen this year at Hogwarts, hearing Lucius and Voldemort talking a bit, and thought it might be a good idea to bake in his plans within those plans whatever they may be. "The Tri-wizard Tournament," he murmured. "How fun." -oDraco waited for Serpens the first morning, fidgeting with his school bag. He felt like a love-struck school-girl, and hated it. He was not used to be out of control. Everything in

his world was in control, but suddenly his emotions decided to run amok on him. Bad emotions! "Draco?" He turned and saw Serpens smile at him, dressed in school-robes and a bag over his shoulder. He nodded, not managing to speak. The older teen looked very good even in school-robes. "Are you alright? You look a bit pale," Serpens said. "Not getting sick, are you?" "No, I'm fine," Draco insisted. "Must be the light, that's all." "Perhaps…" While he did not look convinced, Serpens followed the blonde through the halls until they got to the Great Hall. Draco sat down next to Theodore and Blaise, Serpens seating himself on the opposite side. "Serpens, right?" Blaise said. "Welcome to Slytherin." "Thank you," he replied and smiled a bit. "Have you heard about Harry Potter?" "The Boy-Who-Lived? Who hasn't?" the teen said as he stretched for some bacon. Amicus was out and would not return until nightfall, so he had not to worry about bringing any food to the crow. "Some say he's dead by now," Blaise said conversationally. "Not that it wouldn't be bad," Pansy said as she sat down. "Now the dark doesn't have to worry about their lord." "Not so loud," Draco hissed. "I've heard rumours he wasn't the one," Theodore said. "Some speculates it's the younger one." "Mattie Potter? Please! What can he do beside brag, nag and threaten us with his father?" Pansy said with a roll of her eyes. Serpens chuckled at that and she flashed a grin at him. "It's true," she said. "That's all he does." "And all the teachers do is giving us the blame for his mistakes or rash decisions," Blaise muttered. "If I had to choose between him and the older one, I'd choose the older one anytime." "If he hadn't been the Boy-Who-Lived, I would've liked him," Pansy said. "He had that kind of aura, and he was clever."

"Sad," Theodore said. "Had he been any other, he would've been in Slytherin for sure." Serpens managed to keep his grin inside. He was someone else now, and he was in Slytherin. He had no idea they liked him so much. "Schedules." Severus gave them their schedules, pausing to fish out Serpens' and said to the older teen, "Welcome to Hogwarts. You were not at the introduction I held yesterday, Mr Riddle." He had to stay in character in public, and starting with first-name basis that quick was not usual. The fourth years froze; no one dared to miss it. Serpens directed a charming smile to Severus and said: "I'm sure I'll make up for it, professor. I was a bit lost yesterday and had some help finding my way." "Acceptable." And then he was moving again. But Serpens knew he was not angry with the teen; he had seen the glint of amusement in those black eyes. Severus knew he had gone to talk with the Weasleys in the kitchen, and all three knew the way to the Slytherin den. "Don't make professor Snape angry," Pansy said. "He can be rather harsh." "But he's more evil to the Gryffindors than to us," Draco reassured. "He seems alright," Serpens said, smiling. "I better go if I'm supposed to find my way to the classroom." Although he knew the castle better than most. All about pretending. "What's your first class?" Draco asked. "Ancient Runes." "Someone who has it?" the blonde asked. "I don't." "I have it," Theodore said. "Let's see, you go out to the Entrance hall and then…" -oSerpens' last class was Divination, Slytherins mixed with Gryffindors. He had been accepted by the sixth year Slytherins, but most passed him off like nothing. That would change. Pansy, Draco, Crabbe and Goyle knew who he was, but sooner or later other Slytherin children would know. He sat down alone by a table and looked at Trelawney with fond eyes. Her eyes found his and they looked at each other while the room filled in. They spoke without words, without moving, they still knew and then she smiled lightly. Serpens noted cards on her table; were they laying the same way as when he had left for the summer? She had put them out while he watched, then said farewell to him. Said farewell to Harry Potter. Afterwards he was slow on purpose and let everyone leave before he finally rose with his bag.

"Welcome back, Salazar Serpens," she said. "Sibyll." "To next week, have a gift ready my dear." "What kind of gift?" he asked, not surprised at her words. "You'll know," she answered. "And don't be late for dinner today, dear. It will be most enjoyable." -oSerpens grinned at the sight around him in the Great Hall while the teachers ran back and forth trying to solve all this. He saw Fred and George grin at each other and shook his head at them. All the plates and cups had started to tap dance, hence no eating. Serpens had grabbed two chicken legs before the plate with the chicken legs had starting dancing away from him, and snapped two napkins in the air, now sitting with them in his lap as he waited. Draco sat down next to him, having avoided the chaos and said: "Seems like the food doesn't want to come to us." "That's why I took this for you," Serpens said and gave one of the chicken legs to the blonde. "Sorry, I didn't manage to get anything to drink." He found a blushing Draco fascinating and the teen stuttered out his thanks. Ideas began to form what kind of gift he was supposed to get, and his grin frightened those around him. Chapter Seven Serpens looked through yet another magazine, trying to find the perfect gift yet having some problems with it. He was not sure what he felt about the younger teen but he was pretty sure it was not just lust. If that had been the case, he would have thought how to get in Draco's pants by now. He wanted to know Draco. He wanted to spend hours and hours just watching the pale beauty, preferably in private, just the two of them, running his hands through the whiteblonde hair, drinking Draco in. Was it love? He could not find any other explanation for this new behaviour of his. He had never been in love, though many girls had tried to make him fall in love with them. The most terrifying one had been Ginny Weasley, Ron's younger sister. She had in her first year always followed him whenever she could, sending bad poetry until Serpens refused to open them. He had taken a liking to flee to Trelawney, even if that meant running up all those horrid stairs, just as long as he got away from that crazy girl. She wouldn't give up even when he had told her a straight no, and had not been

discouraged by his blunt refusal. That was the first time he had felt like killing someone. He shrugged it off, she no longer knew who he was, and flopped down on his bed. It was already weekend, and during the week to come something was going to happen. He flipped through the magazine, trying to find anything. Something that Draco would enjoy. -oDraco realized he was in love. Deeply so. He liked Serpens in ways he was pretty sure he never would. He liked the Dark Lord's son enough to want the older teen all for himself. Merlin, let him die quickly when Serpens found out. This was so not happening. He groaned as he fell down on the bed and rolled over to his stomach. He had always thought he would be marrying Pansy due to some contract, but he didn't want to be closer to the girl than just friends. She already had sights on others, despite the discussions their parents had had about arranged marriage between the two. Would they despise it, his mother and father, if he told them he was in love with a guy? A scary, mysterious, and so utterly breathtaking guy? Who also happened to be their lord's son. He was so screwed. -oSerpens looked at the ring while Fred and George were reading up on yet another prank. Simple, acceptable for a guy to wear yet spoke of all the intentions Serpens wanted. It was in silver with a single pale gem, surrounded by two runes that stood for love. Nice. Perfect even. He had paid a bit more to get it faster, and it had come the day after much to his surprise. Not that he complained about it. "Your smile is rather scary today, Ser. What's on your mind?" "Nothing much," Serpens replied and sunk lower in the couch, loving the way the light reflected on the ring. He couldn't wait to see it on Draco's finger. "Frightening smile, yes, but it doesn't quite fit with the love-struck expression you're wearing," Fred continued. George nodded in agreement. "It doesn't?" "No," both of them said. "It doesn't." "Well, it's none of your concern," the teen said. "I'm just being happy today." "That's what scares us," both mumbled. -oDraco felt his heart was racing far ahead of him and he had a hard time maintaining his stoic expression, ignoring Potter and his little friends while the note rested in his pocket,

his fingers stroking the parchment. A meeting. Serpens wanted to meet him. The blonde had gotten it by Serpens himself. The teen had not been afraid to show he wanted to tell something to Draco in private. Even smiled at him, that smile that nearly drove Draco insane and then walking away to get in time for his class. Being in love never felt so good. "Draco, are you feeling alright?" He looked over at Pansy who had spoken and saw that she, Goyle, Crabbe and Theodore were looking at him. Theodore even appeared a bit worried about him. Blaise hadn't arrived yet. "I'm fine," he replied. "Why?" "You look… absent." "Oh, I was thinking of other things," he said and waved his hand to them. "Seriously, I'm fine." "Does it have anything to do with Serpens?" Pansy asked. "Where did you get that idea from?" "Because you've looked like this ever since he spoke to you," she said. "Tell me, Dray!" "Don't call me that!" Draco hissed. "Dray, Dray, Dray!" she sang and grinned. -o"… the housing of the Tri-wizard Tournament!" Everyone cheered and clapped their hands, looking up at Dumbledore who was smiling. Next week their guests would arrive at Hogwarts, and five days later after that the champions would be chosen, and in November the first task would take place. Serpens looked over at the students, saw how they whispered excitedly amongst each other and smiled mentally. Tournament meant it would be chaos, and chaos meant he could do whatever he wanted without being discovered. Or at least, almost whatever he wanted. But for now, the only thing he was thinking about was the meeting with Draco. He glanced over at the teen sitting by his side and saw the blonde doing the same thing as him. Their eyes met for a brief moment before Draco turned his eyes away, blushing lightly. Serpens looked around the hall even as he let his hand fall down on the bench, touching Draco's with his fingertips only, slowly stroking over the back of the blonde's hand. He only touched the back of Draco's hand but in reality he wanted to cry crawl into the blonde's skin. He wanted to wrap himself around the younger teen and never let go.

Draco felt warmth spread from Serpens' touch, and slowly, very slowly turned his hand around and caught three of Serpens' fingers, holding them gently in his palm. He looked at the corner of his eye, and Serpens was smiling before beginning to eat. The blonde felt pleased, now knowing the older teen like it. They held hands until dinner was over. -o"Wow, this is your room?" Draco looked around the place as Serpens closed the door, smiling softly. "Yes," he said. "It's not really special." "You got your own room, that's plenty! And a bathroom on top of that!" Draco spun around on the spot, and discovered Amicus. "Hi, Amicus." The crow flexed his wings a bit before settling down. Serpens walked up to him and stretched out a hand, the crow moving over to sit on his arm instead of his perch. The Dark Lord's son cooed to it even as he sat down on the bed, patting the spot next to him and the blonde sat down timidly, reaching out to stroke the feathers. Amicus burrowed up at the attention and they were silent for a few minutes. "Draco, do you like me?" Serpens asked after a while. The ring was in the teen's pocket, and he wanted to take it out, wanted to place it on Draco's finger but he had to be patient. Just for a little while longer he had to be patient. "Um… ehh…" Draco hated his pale complex at this moment; his face must be red of embarrassment. "… Yes." "How much do you like me?" Serpens asked, running a hand through Draco's short hair, resting his fingers lightly against the blonde's neck. A near shudder went through his body at finally being able to touch the pale hair. His feelings had truly changed quickly over the summer. He was almost obsessed. "Very much," the blonde replied quietly. "Merlin, I feel like such a girl!" "Well then, I guess I do the same," Serpens said, "because my heart starts to race… really fast when I see you." He leaned closer, nuzzled Draco's hair, making the blonde shudder in pleasure. "Having you this close… I can't keep my head straight." He moved closer with his whole body, Amicus flying over to his perch again and making ready to take a nap while Serpens gently placed his lips on Draco's skin. The blonde's breath hitched, then he turned his head and their lips met. Serpens didn't know which one of them moaned, he didn't care and he lowered Draco down on the bed. An hour later they lay on the bed, somehow having managed to stay dressed but with their hearts pumping wildly and hands exploring every spot they could find. Serpens licked a trail from Draco's neck up to his lips before nibbling at them, the blonde eagerly responding to it. Draco was lying on his back, Serpens hovering above him but as long

as the older teen did not stop with what he was doing Draco was okay with being pressed into the mattress. Serpens' weight was reassuring, light as it was. Finally the older retreated, and the blonde took a breath. Serpens smiled down at him before gently lying down on his side, next to Draco, and he moved his arm across Draco's abdomen. "You taste sweet, you know that?" the older one said and licked his lips. "Like you're the one to talk," Draco replied and turned to his side so their chests pressed together. "Your lips are addicting." "Is that so?" Draco leaned closer and traced the Dark Lord's son's lips with his tongue before pressing his own lips against them. He could not simply get enough. He had to have more, and more, and more. Just this, forever. He felt smugly pleased when Serpens moaned, low in his throat, and then the older one moved them even closer, drunken on the feel. The older teen nestled a leg between Draco's, and the blonde bucked against it, groaning as it pressed against his crotch. "Merlin," he breathed out as they separated. Serpens smirked at that, licking his lips again and Draco watched on, eyes wide. "You're so beautiful." The older one looked at the blonde as he said that, then smiled a bit and kissed him again. Draco was moved to his back again, Serpens on his side next to the blonde. "You have your ways with words, Draco," Serpens said. "If I'm beautiful, then what are you? More beautiful? Breathtaking? I can't decide. Too beautiful for words perhaps." Serpens moved down so he could lay his head on Draco's chest, stroking the younger teen's sides up and down with his hands, finally daring one to slide up underneath the shirt. Draco moaned at the feeling of Serpens' hand on his burning skin, grabbed onto the older teen's hair without thinking. "Perfect," Serpens decided. "You are perfect." "So are you," Draco whimpered as Serpens moved upwards again, hot breath on the blonde's neck, a burning tongue coming out to lick a trail, tasting him. "I love you." Serpens groaned hearing that, caught Draco's mouth and spoke with his body just how much he loved the blonde back. When they finally calmed down Serpens was exhausted. Draco was fairing a bit better than him and held the older teen tightly. "Draco," Serpens mumbled. "Yes?" "I have something for you." Serpens moved up a little. "I want to give it to you before I fall asleep or something."

"You look like you need it." Draco was a little worried. He wondered where the Dark Lord's son had been before the Dark Lord had found him. If he had been taken cared of. Draco knew Serpens was older, but for some reason the blonde wanted to take care of Serpens. He wanted to take care of the teen even if he wanted to be taken care of. Serpens smiled, as if sensing his thoughts and sat up. "I was taken well care of before," he reassured. "But I won't mind a little extra attention if you want to give me that. But now…" He took out the box out of his pocket and handed it to Draco who sat up. "Is it really for me?" "Yes, it's for you. Go on, open it." Draco settled to a better sitting position and opened the box. He stared at the ring. It was beautiful. Without asking for permission, he took it out and slipped it on. A perfect fit. Serpens practically vibrated on the spot when seeing it, his eyes shining and he took Draco's hands, kissing the knuckles. "Thank Merlin it fit," he breathed. "It looks wonderful on you, I knew it would but I couldn't actually calm down until I saw you with it on…" He kissed Draco hungrily and the blonde kissed back with the same force. Their shoes were nudged off a couple of minutes later, and laughing they helped each other out of their school robes. Still partly clothed they snuck underneath the covers and Draco was wrapped up in Serpens' arms. He didn't mind and kissing the older teen's shoulder, he closed his eyes and fell asleep. -oPansy was the first to discover the ring, and demanded to see it, excitement in her eyes. The blonde relented and stretched his hand over the table so she could examine it. "Who is it from?" she asked. "Is it from Serpens?" Draco nodded and she turned his hand around looking at the ring. "It's beautifully made," she said. "Simple and elegant, I love the gem. I was told you didn't return to your dorm room last night." Draco looked over at Theodore who shrugged and said: "She nagged on me, I couldn't hold it in. It's not like she didn't know." "Are you upset about it?" the blonde asked Pansy. "No, no, don't think that," Pansy said and let him get his hand back. She began cutting her bacon and continued, "It's so sweet!"

"Sweet?" "Yes, you two! Where is he by the way?" "His father called on a two-way mirror," Draco said. "He told me I should go ahead and get something to eat." "I wonder if he will tell his father…" "Well, I haven't even told my parents about it. I don't know if they will accept it." Pansy looked at him and saw he was nervous for real. He absently picked at his scrambled eggs and did not look like he wanted to eat. When he didn't hold his fork he let his right thumb gently caress the ring. It was on his left ring finger, and he didn't care who saw it. They could think whatever they wanted about where it sat. Pansy put her hand over his and he looked up at her as she said: "Since when have your parents said you couldn't be with the one you love? You of all people know that your parents' marriage wasn't an arranged one." Before they could continue Serpens sat down next to the blonde and Draco looked at him, barely noticing the girl's hand retreating. The teen yawned and Amicus flexed his wings. "Yes, yes, you'll get your food," Serpens muttered at the crow and loaded a plate with bacon. "See, food. Now eat it you crazy bird." "How did the talk with your father go?" Draco said. "Splendid. He asked me to please not take your virginity just yet." Draco went beet red and spluttered to his plate while Serpens only smiled his most charming smile. Pansy giggled at that, hiding her face behind her goblet as much as she could and luckily the others had missed that comment. "Did he say that?" Draco demanded. "Yes, why wouldn't he?" The blonde groaned and buried his head into Serpens' shoulder, feeling the teen's slim hand caress the back of his neck. "You're making a scene," Serpens continued with but he did not pull away. "Like you care." "Well, that's true. Come on, sit up properly and eat something." Draco's face had returned to its normal pale complex and he could start eat again, this time a bit better than before Serpens had arrived. The black-haired teen glanced over at the Head Table and saw some of the teachers watching him and Draco, and his eyes

narrowed. If it had been a boy and a girl they would not have looked. Then again, he was a stranger and Draco was the heir to the Malfoys. They were standing out enough as it was. "Serpens? You're not eating." He woke up and looked over at the blonde who was eyeing him. "Sorry," he said. "Spaced out." He took a slice of toast and began to eat noting the headmaster still looked over at them from time to time. Serpens knew there was no way Dumbledore could connect him to Voldemort but that apparently didn't stop the old man to try figure him out. Hah. Like the teen would let him. -oIt was not even a question when night came; Draco simply followed Serpens to the older teen's room, and the teen didn't protest. Amicus sat on Serpens' shoulder as they walked, nipping gently on his ear and got a few treats as they came to the room. Draco watched the crow fly over to his perch and then Serpens' eyes were on him. Draco let himself be dragged to bed and they fell down together. Serpens kicked off his shoes, dragging Draco's off before laying back down and smiling down at the blonde. "You know I probably won't let you sleep in your dorm anymore," he commented. "Then I better have my things here," Draco replied. "Just as long as the headmaster doesn't know." "Like he can stop us," Serpens whispered. He kissed Draco's throat, stroking down the blonde's cloth-covered chest. "If he tries, I'll kill everything he knows. Everything he needs. Everything he is." Draco shivered as the words were breathed into his skin, and had no doubt Serpens would do it if he had to. The teen began to undress them both for bed, and a chuckling Draco helped the best he can. His eyes roamed over Serpens' body as it slowly was revealed to his eyes. The older teen was so thin, and Draco's hand fluttered over the ribs. Serpens buried his head into the blonde's neck and Draco could feel a smile on the teen's lips. The older teen's hips were bony Draco discovered as he stroke over them. He was tall but without the protective robes covering him up Serpens looked oddly small, mostly because of his light weight. Draco didn't want him to look so thin. The blonde hovered uncertainly at the underwear and decided to let them stay. Meanwhile he was almost undressed as well, and once Serpens had thrown the blonde's trousers to the floor he tugged at the covers and slid them both down underneath. Draco was still stroking at his chest, down his abdomen and to his hips. "Am I too thin for you?" Serpens asked, and there was a trace of uncertainty in his voice.

"No," the blonde said, "you're not. It's just, it feels like you're a bit underweight." "I haven't always been the most enthusiastic eater," Serpens admitted and it was true. He had eaten enough for a bird at the Potters and it would take some time to change that. Draco moved down and let his head rest on the older teen's chest. His hand stroke down the chest, feeling the bump of the ribs and he said: "It's almost like you've been starved." "I haven't," Serpens reassured. "I was well-fed. I just couldn't eat much. I didn't want to eat much." "Will you eat more for me?" Draco asked. Serpens nodded and the blonde smiled. He closed his eyes and let his fist rest on the side of Serpens' stomach. -oWaking up was heavenly for the blonde. Serpens was still deeply asleep next to him and Draco moved a little so he could watch his… his, well, lover he supposed. The teen looked even more beautiful when asleep. His breaths were deep and even. They were comforting and lulling Draco back to a content state. One of the older teen's arms was slung over Draco's side, a loose fist curled against his back. The blonde leaned closer and kissed Serpens' forehead. The teen moved a little and frosty blue eyes blinked open. Serpens yawned before he nuzzled Draco's hair, the blonde laughing quietly at the feeling. "Good morning," he said and Serpens mumbled a reply. "Do we have to get up?" he muttered. "We got classes, so yeah," Draco murmured. Serpens protested softly as the teen rose from the bed but gave in and sat up. In the light of the day he looked even thinner. Draco looked at the ring he had been given. He wanted to give something back. This weekend they were allowed to Hogsmeade, he decided he was going to search for something then. He helped Serpens up, the teen was clearly not a morning person and Serpens whined as he was pushed into the bathroom. "Join me," he said. "If I do, we'll never be done in time for breakfast," Draco said. "I'll see you in the Great Hall." Serpens kissed him, pouting slightly but let the teen go. And that was a good thing,

because if the kiss had lasted any longer Draco would have pushed himself into the shower with his lover. Draco arrived in the Great Hall and sat down with Theodore and Blaise, his clothes and hair neat and in order. It was a Friday and for that he was glad. Tomorrow he would go to Hogsmeade, with a little luck he would go there with Serpens and with a little luck he would find a gift to the older teen when said teen wasn't looking. Serpens came in with another sixth year and soon parted with him, walking to Draco and settling down there. He touched the blonde's hand briefly and smiled at them all. "Tomorrow we can go to Hogsmeade, right?" Serpens asked after he had started nibbling on a fruit. "Yeah," Theodore said. "How good. Do you mind walking with me there, Draco?" The blonde looked at the teen. "Not at all," he said with a smile. "Should we leave the love-birds alone tomorrow?" Blaise teased. "Blaise!" Draco said. Serpens laughed heartily. "I don't mind if we're alone or not," Serpens said. "It's not like we'll be alone in the whole Hogsmeade anyway." "How about we four go together?" Blaise asked, and got three nods in return. "Splendid. Have you ever been in Hogsmeade, Serpens?" Oh, he had but it was all about pretending. "Once or twice a long time ago," Serpens said. "I'm afraid I don't remember much of it." "Then we'll be doing some sight-seeing tomorrow. You simply have to get to Honeydukes if you like sweets." "We can have lunch at the Three Broomsticks." "Wonder if the jewellery store is open tomorrow?" While Blaise and Theodore talked Draco was thinking about the jewellery store. Maybe he would find something there. Or at the antique store. Antique store sounded good. He had to go there, and perhaps the jewellery store alone, with Blaise and Theodore keeping Serpens busy. But for now he had to finish breakfast and get to Potions. Potions with the Gryffindors, the horror. He was quite sure Potter, Weasley and Granger had something to say to him. They always had. And it was annoying as hell.

"Draco? You're scowling." He looked at Serpens. He didn't notice said trio were looking at them. Other students snuck glances at them as well, as they had been sitting very close for the last two days and the students of Hogwarts liked gossip. "I was just thinking of Potions." "You don't like it?" "Oh, I like it alright, professor Snape is a good professor but we have it with the Gryffindors," Draco said. Theodore and Blaise grimaced. "Something tells me you don't like Gryffindors," Serpens said with a smile. He remembered now that Draco had Mattie and his annoying friends in his class. Poor blonde… he would cheer Draco up afterwards. "It's a mutual dislike," Theodore reassured. "Haven't you noticed?" "I'm focusing on the professor, not if someone is acting childish," Serpens replied. "But I'll look out." "Best to do that," Blaise said. "Gryffindors has a tendency to hex us, and too many teachers let them get away with it." "And those Gryffindors dare calling professor Snape a git," Draco growled. He didn't like people calling his godfather that. He loved Severus, the man was like his uncle and he would take revenge some day on the man's behalf. "That isn't very nice," Serpens said, and he knew that was true. He had heard enough from Mattie and his two little friends. Hermione was supposed to be a know-it-all and a teacher's favourite but even she was making fun of Severus. James always told Mattie of everything they had done to Severus when the man had been in school, and what insults the young teen should use. In return Serpens had spilled every embarrassing detail he had known about James Potter to Severus. It seemed he should do something more now. Maybe a hex or two was in order for Mattie and his two little puppies. "We better hurry to get to our classes," Serpens said with a smile and they agreed. People had begun filtering out. They walked out of the Great Hall. Serpens didn't notice the Golden Trio walking just a bit behind them. Before he and Draco separated, Draco going to Potions and Serpens to History of Magic, the older teen wound an arm around the blonde and unembarrassed he kissed Draco lightly on the lips. The blonde kissed back, tucked some of his hair back and smiled before they went their ways. Draco hadn't gotten into the Potions classroom when Mattie approached with a sneer. The blonde hoped Severus would overhear whatever Potter said and take points. "So you're that daddy's boy's whore now?" Potter said in glee and Draco felt a twinge of

anger. "I'm not a whore, Potter," he said and turned to Mattie. "What you did was disgusting and wrong," Granger spat. "Two boys together aren't natural. It's sickening. What would your parents say if they knew? They would disown you! Mattie should write them to tell them of their disgusting son." "Disgusting and wrong?" Draco said and stepped up to her. His eyes were cold and bore right into her very soul. "So you see love as disgusting and wrong, Granger? You should keep your stupid comments to yourself and not blurt them out like weasel the idiot." "What did you say?" Weasley screamed and ripped out his wand. He raised it above his head. "I'll teach you, you faggot!" A pale hand gripped the redhead's hand, hard. They heard bones grinding against each other, Weasley yelled and dropped the wand. Draco gulped and they whirled around, Granger and Potter with their wands ready. Serpens' eyes bore into them. Magic was sparkling between his fingers of his free hand. "So my Draco is disgusting?" he said coldly. "He's a faggot, and a whore?" "Yes, he is!" Weasley screamed even as he tried to tug his hand away. "It's against natural laws!" Granger continued. "What is? Loving someone else is against natural laws? Then little girl, it's no wonder no one loves you. That would simply be repulsive." She went red. Weasley went red too, and Mattie screamed: "Stupefy!" Serpens threw it away with a mere look, and then Severus rushed out into the hall. Serpens let go of Weasley's hand and drawled out: "Throwing a curse on someone two years your senior, Potter? I thought you were smarter than that. And insulting my lover just to have fun? Grow up, you insects." He stepped past them even as Severus descended on them with lightning in his dark eyes and robes billowing out. Draco looked at the teen and said: "Your class is about to start!" "Yes, but I had forgotten to give you this," Serpens said and gave him a rolled-up parchment. "During Potions, if they're annoying you, not that I think they will dare after professor Snape is through with them, please look at it. Don't look at it now, but when you need to. Anytime during the day, look at it." He placed a gentle kiss on Draco's forehead, sent a rushed 'bye' to the potions master

before hurrying to class. "Go to the classroom, Mr Malfoy," Severus said and Draco nodded. A few minutes later the trio trotted in, looking both angry and annoyed at the same time. Severus threw the door shut and barked out instructions; his morning hadn't started well with those three harassing his godson and being disrespectful to Serpens as well. Around half-way into the class, when Draco had to let the potion simmer for ten minutes, he opened the parchment. Today may be horrible, but I promise you a dinner for two in my room afterwards. We'll light a candle, share a treat and dream about tomorrow. I think of you, my love. Serpens It made Draco smile ridiculously though the rest of the class. -oSerpens wasn't at lunch the same time as Draco so he looked at the parchment again. "What are you looking at?" Pansy asked as she took some salad. "Something Serpens gave me before Potions." "I heard about those Gryffindors," she said, "we should've walked with you. What a bunch of idiots!" "I'm fine. Serpens gave back on them, and then professor Snape arrived. They're probably regretting it." "I heard what they said about you and Serpens," the girl continued. "That won't be forgiven. We'll make them regret it a thousand times." "Yeah," Theodore agreed, and Blaise nodded. Draco grinned at that. "Is it secret what he wrote?" Pansy asked. "Why are you so interested?" Draco asked. "Because seeing you two is… is so, so romantic!" She sighed in bliss and he stared at her. "It makes my heart all warm and fluffy!" "Is she drunk?" he asked Blaise and Theodore. "Maybe she inhaled something weird during Potions?" Theodore suggested. "I didn't!" she protested. "I just think they are very romantic!"

Draco rolled his eyes and showed the parchment to her. She fanned her face and awed at the romanticness of it all. She so made that word up, and both Theodore and Blaise itched to have her checked out to make sure she hadn't inhaled something weird. Draco only grinned and took the parchment back, eagerly awaiting the end of the day. -oLast class was Transfiguration. And the trio had apparently decided that McGonagall's class was a better choice to mess with Draco. Potter sent a hex towards him once they were starting with the task of changing a lamp to a bird. The blonde managed to avoid it and glared over at him. Potter snickered and so did the weasel. Mattie mouthed, quite slowly: 'Whore!' After that they collapsed in a fit of giggles and while Granger was trying to follow the professor's instruction, she was snickering too. Draco ignored them, thought of the parchment, of Serpens' promise. It would do no good if he got a detention to serve. Another hex, and he ducked under the desk. It had been Granger this time. Now she scribbled onto a parchment, both boys whispering to her and then she sent it off to Draco, smirking her annoying 'I-know-everything-better-than-you' smirk. Draco opened it. Mattie sends: You Malfoy-whore, are you wriggling your arse on the chair because you miss a cock up in it? Ronald says: Wait until I tell my brothers, they can do any pranks and get away with it and I'll make sure yours will be a nasty one. If you want, you can have a fake-cock driven up your arse in the Great Hall. I can ask them do the same to your faggot lover. And I say that homosexuality is abnormal and sick, that a boy who loves another boy that way is crazy and those two should be terminated to not spread the illness around. If you want us to stop, stop seeing Riddle, or else we'll keep on going. Draco's blood ran cold. He felt tears gathering. This was too much. He loved Serpens so much it hurt, and they humiliated him because of that? They humiliated and hurt him because he loved another human being? A shadow by his desk, and he looked up at professor McGonagall. She began to ask why he wasn't doing anything when she saw the pain, the unshed tears and the parchment in his shaking hands. She had never seen the Malfoy heir looking that way. He had always looked calm and composed whatever happened. This was serious. "May I see that parchment, Mr Malfoy?" she inquired gently. He saw the blood drain from the trio even as she took it from his lifeless hands. The class had stopped, the Gryffindors grinning and thinking he was going to be punished. Pansy seemed to itch to come over and hug him as she saw his posture and his face.

The woman stood still. Her mouth grew to a thin line. Her face became ashen, and then she whirled around to stare at the trio. She only needed one look to see it was no trick from the Slytherin; the note had really been written by Granger. "You!" she bellowed and the whole class flinched. "You three! How dare you? How dare you do this?" She waved the parchment around. "Seventy point from Gryffindor for each of you, and detention with professor Snape! And I will make sure, believe me, I will make sure he knows why you have detention!" They looked ready to faint. She put away the parchment and looked around the class. "Dismissed early!" she yelled, bordering on hysterical and turned back to Draco who hadn't said a word. "All of you, out!" They scrambled out while she held a hand on Draco's shoulder. Pansy, Theodore and Blaise stayed. "You three, go on," she said. "No," Pansy said. "No, ma'am, Draco's our friend and they did something horrible to him." Draco couldn't hold it anymore. He bent his head down and began crying. Pansy ran up to him and wrapped her arms around him. "Oh those horrible, horrible, stupid… I can't even say it!" Pansy yelled. Theodore and Blaise both stepped up to their friend, and Blaise rubbed Draco's back as Theodore stepped up to the other side and squeezed his shoulder. McGonagall stood still. The girl sniffed a little. "Stupid, stupid Gryffindors. They think they can make fun of others." "What's so wrong with me loving someone?" Draco whispered. His voice echoed in the classroom. "I love him, Pansy, I love him so much…" "Sshh, they are the ones being idiots," she murmured. "I don't care what they wrote but they're wrong. Whatever was on that parchment, it's wrong." "I will take it up with professor Snape," the Transfiguration professor said. "What they did was going far over the line, Mr Malfoy. Very far over the line. I'm very disappointed in them." "Fine," Draco whispered. "But I didn't mention how many detentions. They probably just think it will be one," she said thoughtfully. "But I had more in mine ten or so." Draco stared at her. "But I'm a Slytherin," he stammered. "And what they did is unforgivable," McGonagall said as she looked at his tear-stricken

face. "What they wrote is unforgivable. I suggest that you-" She didn't get any further because the door banged open. They turned. Serpens' white face greeted them. Magic was buzzing on his skin, making him shine, then he took three long strides and he had Draco in his arms. The blonde hugged back just as tightly, sniffing into his lover's shoulder and his own shaking. Serpens had to calm down. He was inches away from going and killing them. Somehow he had seen the words. He had read through Draco's eyes. He had felt his lover's devastation and he was ready to go on a rampage. Killing them all. Scratch that about letting Mattie live. He was going to kill the snotty little brat for calling Draco a whore. And that Weasley. And Granger. All three of them would be at his mercy, and he wouldn't have any mercy at all. "Mr Riddle?" He looked up at McGonagall. "I know you're angry," she said. "But let me and professor Snape handle them." "Can I be guaranteed that they will leave Draco alone after this?" Serpens said through clenched teeth. "Just this morning before Potions they called him a whore, and a faggot. Granger made sure she let him know what she thought about our relationship. What the hell am I supposed to do? Just stand by the side and smile as they humiliate my lover?" He was shouting by the end of it, and his eyes were growing darker, they almost looked like Severus' and McGonagall grew nervous seeing that. "Serpens, stop," Draco whispered. "Don't get angry. It won't help." "I will talk to them," the professor said. "And I will have professor Snape with me. And then they will have a meeting with the headmaster, and their parents will have letters sent home. Together they have lost over 200 points for Gryffindor, and they will have detentions for quite some time if I get to decide. They will regret what they did, Mr Riddle, Mr Malfoy. Now Mr Riddle, I think you should take Mr Malfoy with you and take care of him." She was alright. She was a Gryffindor, she had been nervous around him at first but now she was alright. Serpens looked at her for a moment longer, then nodded jerkily and looked around so see where Draco's bag was. "I'll take the bag," Blaise said. "You go with Draco. You were going to have dinner in your room, right? Go there." "Thank you, Blaise," Serpens said. "Just take care of him," Blaise said, and the two other Slytherins nodded. Serpens and Draco vanished down the hall a few moments later, and the three Slytherins left for the Great Hall and some dinner. McGonagall though went to her office, threw some Floo powder in and stepped right through after saying 'Severus Snape's office'.

His class was still going on as she came out; he had a batch of third year, Gryffindors and Slytherins and he turned in surprise seeing her come from his office. "Minerva," he said. "Nearly done?" she asked in a clipped tone. "Yes. Sit by the desk and have a wait." She sat, straight-backed, lips tight and arms crossed. He had never seen her this angry before and wondered what had brought it on. One would naturally think some Slytherin had done something to a Gryffindor, as she was the Gryffindor Head of House and he was Slytherin's, but he had long since learned never to underestimate Minerva McGonagall. She was fair in her punishment, whether it was her own Gryffindors or not. The Gryffindors glanced at their Head of House. They of course thought a Slytherin had done something and glared at the Slytherins just because of habit. Ginny Weasley also glared. Slytherins were evil, and Hermione had this morning pointed out two Slytherins, the Malfoy and the newcomer Riddle, and had told her they were disgusting and abnormal. She had wondered why and Hermione had replied that they were sleeping together, they were boyfriends. She had never seen two gay boys before, and didn't really know the concept of it but if Hermione said it was wrong it probably was. Ron had said he should talk to Fred and George to see if they could do some horrible pranks to the Malfoy to make sure everyone knew what a whore he was. Mattie had laughed nastily and agreed. Ginny didn't really like Mattie. She had liked Harry more, but now he was gone, most likely kidnapped by Voldemort or some horrible Death Eater. And all evil people were in Slytherin so she hated them even more. She wondered why McGonagall was there though. She didn't look to be angry at the Slytherins. She just looked angry. Or well, not angry. Livid. Beyond anger. Ginny had seen her angry when she had caught the girl trying to make a love potion she would feed Harry. Just another minute, and she would have been done, and he would have drunk it and then he would have fallen for her! It still stung her she hadn't succeeded, that her own Head of House of all people had stopped her. Ginny was a good girl and of good breed, so was Harry and he was the Saviour, so of course their children would be perfect. Why hadn't her professor understood that? Her parents had. They had pushed for it, and Ginny had already planned their wedding and the names of their first three children. "Time's up!" Oh, thanks to all distraction she hadn't finished. She glared at professor Snape as if it was his fault and bottled what she had managed. She turned around with her nose high after having turned it in and walked out with a sneer on her face. The last of the students exited and Severus shut the door. He groaned and rubbed his head. "Alright, Minerva, what is it?"

"You had fourth year Gryffindors and Slytherins in Potions this morning, correct?" "Don't remind me of that," he moaned and sat down before laying his head on the desk with a thud. He looked mildly amusing but McGonagall had more important things to do than to be amused. "I removed a hundred points from Gryffindor then, and gave three a warning." "Mr Potter, Mr Weasley and Miss Granger?" "How did you know?" he asked, sneering. "Did they come running sniffling to you and you took the points back and came here to yell at me?" "I removed 210 points from them and came here to discuss ten detentions each for them," she stated and he stared at her. He looked rather funny half-lying on the desk with his eyes wide at her. "What?" he managed. His voice was rather squeaky, and had it been any other day she would have laughed. "They wrote this to Mr Malfoy during my class," she said and took out the parchment. "To say I was upset… is an understatement." He took the parchment and rolled it open. His hands stilled as his eyes scanned the words. She saw the thin hands shake. The sound of teeth grinding together was heard, and his body went absolutely still. "Where is Draco?" he whispered. "I think Mr Malfoy's and Mr Riddle's bond is deeper than one could imagine. Mr Riddle apparently sensed his lover in distress and came running. I must see what class he came from, and tell the professor the reason so he won't get in trouble." "Serpens is with him?" "Yes, I believe they had made plans to have dinner in Mr Riddle's room," she inquired. Severus threw the parchment away. He felt disgusted. "What are you… what are you planning to do?" "I babbled a lot of things, I must think through them for a moment," she said and pinched the bridge of her nose. "As I said, I removed 210 points, seventy from each of them, detention with you, or perhaps Mr Filch, ten times each and never with each other. A meeting with the headmaster to explain their actions, letters will be written to their parents. That is what I have figured out so far." "That sounds alright," Severus said. "I will inform Draco's father. And Serpens'." "Mr Riddle was more upset for his lover's sake. He didn't seem to care the insult may have included him."

"Serpens thinks highly of Draco. He adores the boy," the potions master said. "Ronald Weasley mentioned his brothers and that he would ask them to do some sort of prank on Mr Malfoy. I suppose we must make sure they do not take any rash decisions once they figure out their brother is punished-" "Don't you worry about the Weasley twins," Severus said and looked at her. "Young Mr Weasley has clearly not seen his brothers in Serpens' company." "You mean…?" "They grew fond of Serpens quite quickly. They do homework together in the library, I have met them and I can assure you they would never harm Draco or Serpens." She nodded at that, relieved. She rose up. "I should start on those letters, and inform Albus," she said. "Will tomorrow be a good time for a first detention? Tomorrow at… noon?" He looked at her, and smiled seeing her smirk. "You, Minerva, are a most devious woman," he said. "You handle Mr Potter, I'll inform Mr Filch he will have Mr Weasley and I will handle Miss Granger." Severus could feel the joy radiating. He got to 'torture' Potter on a Hogsmeade weekend. The boy wouldn't be able to go. He nearly jumped in joy. "That sounds perfect." "Alright. Will I see you at dinner?" the woman asked. "I think I should refrain myself, or I would accidently happen to hex some students at the Gryffindor table." She nodded in understanding and vanished from the dungeons. He decided to inform Lucius and Voldemort directly, and moved to his office. -oDraco began crying in earnest when they got to Serpens' room. They curled up on the bed and Serpens cried as well, holding Draco tightly and hushing him. "We haven't done anything wrong!" Draco cried. "I just love you! What's so wrong with that?" "They are the one who are wrong," Serpens said. "They are the ones who are stupid, and wrong, and I love you, Draco, I love you, you must never forget that!"

Draco nodded and Serpens held him. A half-hour later the blonde's tears had slowed to a sniffle and Serpens kissed his forehead. "Are you hungry?" he whispered. The blonde nodded a bit. "I'll get us some food." He rose up, Draco whining before letting go and the raven-haired teen kissed his eyelids. He curled up as he heard Serpens call for a house-elf, and ten minutes went by before the smell of food had his stomach growl. He sat up, wiping his face free from tears and he stared. The table had been conjured, and a sofa. A sofa. Serpens was already sitting on it and looked over the different food. "I'm telling you, house-elves like to exaggerate," he muttered. "Come on, Draco, this seat is just waiting for you!" He patted the spot next to him. Draco shrugged out of his school robes, as he had seen Serpens had done and slunk down next to his lover. He reached out and patted Serpens' stomach. "You have to eat as much as you can," he said sternly, his voice still a bit shaky from all of his crying. "Alright, alright," the teen muttered and they began loading food. "Oh! I almost forgot!" "Forgot what?" Serpens snapped his fingers and a candle was lit. Draco stared at it. Then he laughed meekly and pushed his head into Serpens' shoulder. Amicus was out so they were alone for now. Serpens dimmed the lights a bit and brushed his lips against Draco's. "I told you we would light a candle. Now we'll share a treat, and later we'll make up plans for tomorrow. And we will forget this day happened, and we'll forget those stupid Gryffindors. I'll kill them anyway." The blonde took Serpens' lower lip in his mouth and nibbled on it, Serpens moaning. Their tongues moved slowly in and out of their mouths for a minute before the younger withdrew. Serpens whined at that and the blonde smiled. The older teen got a peck on the jaw and then Draco settled back, beginning to eat. Serpens nuzzled Draco's hair before doing the same. The clock struck eight by the time they moved to the bed. The table and sofa was vanished and Serpens sent a note with the table to the house-elves, thanking them for the delicious meal. With a little luck the poor creatures wouldn't faint in happiness seeing the note. But now he tugged Draco to his side and said: "Satisfied? It feels like I'm about to explode." Draco laughed and pulled at the older teen's shirt until his stomach was revealed. "No, it's not going to explode," he said. He stroke a hand over the skin. "But is your hunger

satisfied?" "Are you kidding? I don't think I can eat until Sunday," he groaned. Draco settled his head onto Serpens' shoulder and they were silent for a bit. His fingers tripped over Serpens' stomach, his eyes following their journey. The older teen didn't seem to mind. "McGonagall was going to speak with uncle Sev," Draco whispered. "Yes," Serpens replied. "Sev will tell our parents." "Yes." "I… I haven't told mum and dad about my relationship with you," Draco murmured. "And they won't complain. I know that. They love you, they will be glad you found someone to love as well." "Really?" "Yes, really. With any luck, they will come here tonight." "You think so?" Draco asked. "If Sev tells them everything," Serpens said, "I'd be surprised if they don't show up." And it was true. An hour later there was a knock on the door. Having digested the food a bit they both had fallen into a content half-asleep state but were quickly roused. Serpens got up and opened the door. Severus moved away, allowing Lucius and Voldemort to enter before him. "How did you get in?" Serpens asked his father. "I thought Dumbledore had warded the castle against you." "The castle adores me," the Dark Lord said with a sniff before he hugged his son. Severus closed the door. Lucius was fussing over his son, kissing his forehead and hugging him. "Severus told us. I wouldn't mind killing them but I guess I'll leave the honour to you," Voldemort said. "I'll kill them myself," Serpens confirmed. "I might take help but in the end I will kill them." "Draco, Severus told me of your relationship with Serpens," Lucius said and the blonde tensed a bit. Serpens looked ready to jump to his lover's defence. "Yes?" the blonde teen said.

"I wanted to know about it sooner! Now, I want to see the ring, Severus mentioned a ring, I want to see it!" Lucius was shown the ring and then he hugged his son again and kissed his forehead and Voldemort rolled his eyes. "Honestly, had you expected anything but being dotted over by your father?" he asked the blonde teen who was in a bit of a shock for all the love he got from his father. "He wanted to barge off the moment he heard and congratulate you. Mind if you keep any engagement party secret; he'll want to plan it himself." "My lord!" Lucius shrieked. "I would… I would never-!" "Yes, yes, you big girl, you would never," Voldemort said and waved his arm. "Just as you don't want to plan your son's wedding and name his first child." Lucius huffed and hugged his son again. But he didn't actually protest. It made Serpens snicker. "I like the ring," Voldemort whispered to his son. "It's very elegant on him." "I know. But if I had known showing off like that would have led to all those horrible things, I would never have-" "Shown your love for him?" the Dark Lord said. "Kept it secret? Idiot! I would have hit you should you have tried keeping it a secret. Keep him by your side, and be proud of it. Draco, you hear me too? Never be ashamed. Snog my son in the hallway if you want to!" Draco went beat red after hearing that from the Dark Lord's mouth, and both Serpens and Severus collapsed in a fit of giggles at the man. The potions master would to his death deny he had in fact giggled and before they had fully the time to register the fact he was up again with his face schooled into a blank expression. That alone made Serpens gasp in laughter even more. The adults made ready to leave by ten o'clock. Lucius had approved of Draco's move into Serpens' room and had inspected the bathroom, deeming it acceptable for his son (although he would've liked a larger bathtub so they both could fit without problems). Serpens had rolled his eyes. Then they were alone again. Draco yawned and Serpens rubbed his shoulders. "Let's go to sleep, ey?" he said. "Then tomorrow we laze around until it's time for breakfast and then we escape to Hogsmeade with Blaise and Theodore." They hadn't been told the trio couldn't go. Severus had hoped it would be a pleasant surprise to learn when they came back from the trip. But for now they stripped from their clothing and crept into bed. They soon found their position with Draco snuggled into Serpens' arms, the blonde's head resting in the crook of Serpens' neck. They didn't need many words to slowly drift off to sleep, their deep breaths the only sounds in the room.

Chapter Eight Blaise and Theodore looked around the Slytherin table worriedly. After yesterday's hell, the two lovers maybe had decided not to leave the room. The two certainly wouldn't blame them. So it was to a bit of a surprise that Draco and Serpens walked into the Great Hall but there was a difference from yesterday. They held hands openly. Neither was dressed in school robes, Serpens in a deep green robe while Draco was dressed in black with silver lining. His hair was slicked back naturally like after a shower and he had just drawn his fingers through his hair. Serpens' was free falling like usual. The raven-haired teen glanced over at the Gryffindor table. Potter caught his look and sneered at him, making obscene gestures. Those stopped as Serpens glared, his blue eyes growing frosty and cold. His eyes promised murder. Mattie froze. The moment was broken and he walked down the Slytherin table, laughing softly at something Draco had said and they seated themselves next to two of Malfoy's year mates. Mattie gulped and wondered if it had been such a good idea what they had done yesterday. Not only had they lost a lot of the points in Gryffindor, which he was sure to hear about from his father, but it seemed like the consequences were long-lived. Plus they had attracted the rage of the newcomer. The daddy's boy. Although Mattie wasn't sure how much of a daddy boy that teen really was. "They walk hand in hand like nothing happened," Hermione spat from his side. "That's so wrong. My parents taught me the right way of love, and their love is twisted. I thought at least the Malfoys would have forced their son to marry a female so they could have an offspring!" "Maybe they don't know," Ron said. "Mattie, you really should write them and inform them of their son's… bent love." Mattie nodded. He was a Potter and a pureblood; he had no reason to lie and it would hurt Draco more while it shouldn't make their punishment any harder. He was just informing Malfoy's parents of their son's hurtful relationship. He would write his dad first about it. He was sure James would approve. -oThe Golden Trio was leaving around the same time as the four Slytherins. Pansy had already left with her female friends, they would do some clothes shopping and she knew Draco didn't like it (not at least when it was a lot of squealing females around him) so she hadn't tried to invite them. They would meet her for lunch. The trio glowered at them and Draco found himself clutching Serpens' hand tighter. "Still walking around on display?" Weasley shouted. "I'm warning you, Weasley," Serpens said, "one more word…"

"And what will you do?" "I'll slit your throat, and feed your body to the Thestrals," Serpens growled. He had to make an appointment with Luna so they could go visit those lovely animals. He liked them. He would love to feed Ron to them. Without slitting the boy's throat first. Thestrals liked their meat fresh. Weasley paled; he had heard of Thestrals and apparently didn't want to go near one much less become the creature's dinner. Serpens smiled at the obvious thought, the redhead could be read even without Legilimens, wound an arm around Draco's waist as they presented their slips to Filch and he sent them off along with Blaise and Theodore. The trio presented their slips but the Slytherins heard: "You can't go, you three." "Why not?" Potter said in outrage. "Our permission slips are alright—" "Yes, they are," Filch said, "but you all three have detentions at noon and can't leave the school grounds." He sounded so happy Serpens couldn't help but be happy with him. Filch hated Potter and his two friends. "Detention on a Saturday?" Granger said. "That's not allowed! Is it professor Snape that gave the detentions? We will go anyway, and then explain the rules to professor Snape-" She thought she knew the rules better than a teacher? Even Blaise and Theodore seemed to itch to turn around and give her a good yelling. "It was professor McGonagall who handled the detentions," Filch interrupted, watching in glee as the three stared at him in shock. "You three will be having it at noon, into the castle with you lot." Serpens' pleased grin was only seen by the three Slytherins and they had rather pleased grins themselves. They walked away hearing Potter swear loudly before being yelled at by Filch. Once Serpens saw they were back inside he picked Draco up and whirled him around. The blonde laughed as he was put down. "No golden trio today!" Draco said happily. "And the detentions handled out by professor McGonagall!" Theodore said. "Wicked! I'll never complain about her again!" "Me neither," Blaise said. Serpens kissed Draco on the cheek and whispered: "No annoyances following us around. Where do you want to go first?" "Honeydukes," the blonde replied. "You have to see it!" "Alright, alright," Serpens laughed as he let himself be dragged along. -o-

Draco managed to sneak away, Blaise and Theodore were going to show Serpens the Shrieking Shack and now the blonde ran towards the antique shop. He had about an hour before they would meet up at the Three Broomsticks and he wanted to have a gift by then. They had been at Honeydukes and bought quite a lot of sweets, Serpens endlessly amused by the shop and then they had gone to get some more quills and ink bottles and parchments at Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop despite still having some left. It was better to have in stock than to be left without. Serpens had inquired about the jewellery shop after lunch and then explained that his father had sent money for some clothes. Blaise had suggested the one Pansy and her friends had gone to as it was expensive clothes but had very good quality. After that they would make their way back to the castle. But for now Draco opened the door to the antique shop and went inside. A bell sounded. There were a few people inside but they didn't take much notice of him. He was probably a brat in their eyes. Or maybe not a brat, but at least a child. He removed his gloves and put them in his pocket, rubbing at his ring. He liked doing that. He liked the feeling of the ring on his finger and wanted to give something back, something that Serpens could wear comfortably and that he liked. Draco stepped over to the jewellery and began looking at it. He hadn't seen Serpens with much jewellery. The teen had worn a necklace the first time they met. But it had been a simple one. Draco wanted something special. An earring. Would Serpens fit in an earring? He wasn't sure the teen would want it so he skipped that. A bracelet? Draco looked at the bracelets, the shop keeper coming to see so it wasn't a noisy brat who tried to steal something. It wouldn't be the first time. Mostly Gryffindors. They did it to see if they could, and it aggravated him. He saw the Slytherin emblem on the cloak and then the pale complexion. It was Lucius Malfoy's son. He smiled and went back to the ladies; the lad would call for him if he needed any help. Draco had seen the shop keeper at the corner of his eye but apparently he passed the man's standards as he moved away. He continued to look at the bracelets, and at the bottom his eyes stopped. The bracelet was not that thick but it wasn't thin either. It was of silver but it was not that that interested him. It was in the shape of a snake that bit the end of its own tail to complete it. It had ruby eyes. Draco loved it. "Sir?" he asked as he straightened up. "Yes, young mister?" the shop keeper said as he came over. "I would like to have a closer look at that bracelet formed as a snake, please."

"Absolutely." The bell chimed again. Draco glanced over. Oh Merlin… the rest of the fourth year male Gryffindors. Did Thomas, Finnigan and Longbottom even know this was an antique shop? Worse, were they aware of what Weasley and Potter had done and were going to continue? He didn't feel like being called 'whore' again. Longbottom spotted him and squeaked in fear. He raised an eyebrow and turned back to the man who had removed the snake bracelet and now held it out for the teen to take. Draco did. It was heavy in his hands, heavy but comforting. The bracelet moved in a small, slithering motion. His eyes widened. "Ah yes," the shop keeper said. "It likes Slytherins, that bracelet. It's charmed that way, very old, from the fifteenth century by an old Slytherin." Draco stroke along the silver skin, eyes glittering. "Set it aside," he said. "I'll continue looking but I want it." "Of course, young Mr Malfoy," the man said. "Please, browse to your heart's content." Draco like the man. Good with words. He smirked and moved onto the necklaces. "What are you doing here, Malfoy?" "I might ask you the same…" he said and turned around to see which one it was, "Thomas." "I asked you first." "Very well. I am browsing. What are you doing here?" "None of your business!" Thomas snarled. "Such temper," Draco said. "I won't ask then." "Mattie and Ron aren't here," Thomas said. "You made sure they got detention!" "They landed themselves in their situation," Draco said. "I didn't do a thing." Before Thomas could continue his snarling the shop keeper came back. "Listen, if you're going to have an argument, take it outside," he said. "I don't want any ruddy brats in my shop." "Fine!" Thomas whined. "I wasn't going to buy any of your shit anyway!" He stomped out, quickly followed by Longbottom and Finnigan. Draco rolled his eyes. The shop keeper glared at their backs and muttering went on his way. Draco found a necklace to himself, a heavy silver chain with a silver sword at the end.

The handle was engraved with small, small runes, he would ask Serpens what they meant later but he had it set aside as well. He didn't care for the price, he knew he could afford it. His hour was closing to an end when he stumbled over a musical box. As he opened it the melody immediately captured him. He enjoyed music and this melody was enchanting. He closed the box and picked it up. It was beautifully made too, rather small and covered with gold and small gems. There were still things he hadn't checked but there would be more Hogsmeade weekends. He went up to the counter as a group of middle-aged women came inside but he didn't take much note of them. They went for the section with broaches and the like immediately. "Finished?" the shop keeper said. "Hardly. However, I'm meeting up with my friends soon so I'll have to leave for today." "So it will be the bracelet, the necklace and… oh, this musical box. It was about time someone appreciated the tune. Now, should I wrap anyone of them?" "Only the bracelet please," Draco said. "I can take the necklace as it is. I only need a bag for the box." "Ah, the bracelet is a gift then?" The shop keeper tapped his wand and the bracelet was placed in a hard box, the cover soft as silk and it shut gently. The musical box flew into a bag and the silk box was placed there as well. Draco put the necklace on even as he nodded. "A most magnificent gift I might add," the man said. "It will be 750 Galleons for it all. Shall it be a withdrawal from the Malfoy vault?" "I'll write it out," Draco said and took out a check. Lucius didn't mind him spending the money, but he liked to know what it was spent on. An elegant swish and Draco's name was on it, along with the money withdrawal and the man was given the check. "Thank you for your business." "I thank you, young Mr Malfoy, and may we meet again!" "Oh, I believe we will." He moved out and took out the silk box. He opened it and there it was. The bracelet. He closed it again with a smile and put it in his pocket. Serpens wouldn't try to open it even if it laid in plain view but Draco wanted it near until he gave it to Serpens. They met shortly before the Three Broomsticks. "Draco, save me from them!" Serpens cried and wrapped his thin arms around the blonde. "What did you do?" he asked the two. "Nothing," Theodore said innocently.

"Those horrible children tried to… they tried to make me go into Gladrags Wizardwear!" "The shop with the collection of unusual socks?" Draco asked the two. "Why not?" Blaise said with a shrug. "I just wanted to have a look." "It looked horrible on the outside!" Serpens argued. "I am not stepping a foot into that shop!" Not to mention he had in the past been forced to go there many times and having to pick out socks to that stupid headmaster. James must have seen his reluctance and dragged him there all the more just because of it. Stupid man. Stupid socks. Stupid shop. He wanted lunch and a kiss from Draco. Otherwise he was going to find someone and take out his anger on them and that wouldn't be too smart at the moment. "We're not going there again, we swear," Theodore said. "He looked ready to tear us apart." This was added to Draco with a significant glance at Serpens who sniffed at the air, still clutching the blonde's arm. They didn't know the older teen was the Dark Lord's son, and how close to the truth they might be. Draco decided getting Serpens into a good mood was the best to do. "Well, you didn't go in there, did you?" he said and suspicious, Serpens nodded. "That's good. Now, I want some lunch and then we'll go to the jewellery shop before getting you some clothes." "But not in there, into that shop with the socks?" he asked. "Not in there," Draco promised. Serpens relaxed. "Oh, how good," he said and in that instant his stomach growled. Draco snickered. "I think that's the cue it's time for lunch," he said. "Oh, my stomach…" Serpens bemoaned his stomach on their way to the Three Broomsticks and Blaise and Theodore snickered at the older teen's antics. He leaned onto Draco and grinned into the blonde's hair. The place was rather full when they came, and they timed their arrival with Pansy's. Her friends would continue shopping but she wanted to have lunch with them and looked around. "How will we ever find a free table?" she asked. "I took the liberty," Serpens began and smiled at them all. He walked up to the bar and the woman behind the counter turned to him. "Ah, you must be madam Rosmerta." "Yes, I am," she said with a smile. "And you are…?"

"I'm Serpens Riddle from Hogwarts." By now the four teens were behind him. "Ah, you're the one who owled ahead for a table! I'll take you to it." She rounded the bar and went off into the room. He smiled, took Draco's arm and escorted the teen. The others scrambled to follow. They got a table next to a window in a slightly calmer area and she produced menus and said she'd be back in a minute to take their orders. Draco turned to look at Serpens. "You owled ahead?" he asked. "I didn't want to elbow my way to a bloody table," Serpens said. "So yes, I owled ahead." "You're amazing, you know that?" the blonde said. "Oh, thank you very much. I did know that but it's always nice to be reminded." Serpens spotted the blonde's new necklace halfway into their meal and inspected it carefully. Meanwhile Draco showed the musical box to his friends and Pansy gushed over it, praising the fine details. "So this is what you ran off to do?" Serpens asked. "Yes," Draco replied with a quick glance. "Was it all you did?" the teen continued. "Are you curious?" the blonde drawled. "I merely wish to know," Serpens replied evenly. "Hmm…" Draco leaned closer. Voldemort had said it was alright to snog Serpens (he hadn't mentioned Hogsmeade, only said the corridors of Hogwarts but Draco thought the village was okay too), but the older teen had barely touched his food and Draco wanted him to eat. "It's a surprise. Eat your lunch." "A surprise?" "Yes, which means you can't know now," the blonde said and took Serpens' fork and placed some chicken on it. "Eat." Serpens opened his mouth and took the offered bite, chewing on it while watching Draco thoughtfully. Pansy giggled at their affectionate display but then the three fourth year Gryffindors stopped next to their table. Draco wondered if he was being stalked or if they just like to be idiots in general. "So the Slytherins are having fun?" Finnigan sneered. "Go away, Finnigan," Pansy sneered right back. "We're eating and I have no wish to loose my appetite because of you."

Serpens narrowed his eyes. He truly had gone around in his own world before, when he was Harry Potter, because he had never seen the Gryffindors as annoying as they were now. He had been safe in Ravenclaw, far from all the Gryffindor/Slytherin hostility but now he was in the middle of it and he was sick to the bone. Now he knew why Severus often bemoaned the fact most of his classes were Gryffindor and Slytherin joined together. The poor man's nerves must have been tested to the very limit and then beyond. Finnigan growled and grabbed her shoulder. "Mr Finnigan," Serpens said and looked at him. "What do you want? Mattie and Ron told me about you and Malfoy. How you two are fucking each other." "I would watch my mouth if I were you," the teen said dangerously. "For your information, I haven't done such an ugly act as 'fucking'. But with the glee on your face when you mention the very word, maybe you know how it feels? Tell me, Seamus, how does it feel to get fucked?" The teen's face got red, rapidly and he spluttered out half-finished words. Serpens chuckled coldly. "I thought so," he said. "Now, if I hear you or your little pathetic friends even mention a word about any of us anymore… I will make sure you wish you never came out of your mummy's womb." The boy actually stayed for a moment. He stared at Serpens, and the older teen began to smile even as his magic expanded from his body, filling Finnigan with murderous intent. He saw it radiate from Serpens and fled with Longbottom and Thomas just behind him. Serpens leaned back and his magic retreated back into his body, tilting his head to the side as he watched the three escape. The people inside hadn't noticed. The four Slytherins turned to him and he took a bite of his food. "Snotty brats," he muttered to his fork. "He looked scared shitless," Draco whispered. "Well, I guess I kind of threatened him," the teen said. "What if he tells the headmaster?" Pansy said. She was poking around at her food. "I'll just tell him I said all that to make him go away and stop harassing us," the teen said with a shrug. "Now, eat. First you complain that I don't eat, and then you yourselves don't eat. Eat!" They hurriedly went back to their meals. -oWhen they came out of the jewellery shop Draco had bought two more necklaces, a

bracelet and a ring. One of the necklaces was to his father, the ring to Severus and the bracelet was to his mother. The last necklace he was going to make Serpens give to the Dark Lord because he knew he wouldn't dare give it to the man himself. Theodore had found a gift for his mother, a pair of silver earrings and Blaise had found a headpiece to his mother. Pansy had rejoined her friends after lunch. Serpens himself had bought a ring for himself and a silver clasp to a robe for his father. He was curious to find out what Draco had bought to him but the teen wouldn't share. The older just had to wait and see when they got back to the castle. Next and last stop was the clothes shop. Mainly it was for Serpens but Blaise and Theodore set out along the rows with casual wizard clothing to see if they found something. Draco led Serpens through the rows, they stopping and looking something over. If good enough, it was added to the pile in Serpens' arms. "Do I have to try them?" he asked. "Of course," the blonde said. "Otherwise we won't know if they'll fit." "There are Shrinking charms for a reason." "And if they are too small?" "There are Enlarging charms too." "You're going to try them, that's it." "Yes, mother," Serpens muttered. With a pang he remembered Lily. His steps faltered for a moment, then he carried on. She had made him try his clothing too. Mattie threw clothes at his father and then walked out, not caring if they were too big or too small; he wanted that article of clothing so they better resize it if it was wrong. Mattie had always had a large amount of clothing. Harry's wardrobe had been sparser. School robes of course, a couple of simple black robes, a dress robe that had been deep green and some Muggle clothing to wear underneath the school robes. Voldemort had made sure he had everything he wanted. And apparently the amount of clothing wasn't enough. Serpens thought it was more than enough but his father apparently disagreed. He kind of liked it though. That the Dark Lord cared that much about him. After a gruelling two hours they were done. Serpens watched the woman shrink his packages and thanked her tiredly, putting them in his pocket. Honestly, he was going to drown in clothes now! Draco snickered at his side as Blaise and Theodore paid for their clothes. They trekked back to Hogwarts, surrounded by other students and there was a chill in the air, September closing into October. Draco rubbed his gloved hands together and Serpens reached out, took one of the hands in his own and held it tightly. Some around them looked surprised and suspiciously at them, some sneered, but some also smiled and went on their own business. As for Draco, he squeezed his lover's hand, thought of the bracelet and smiled.

-oThey ate dinner in the Great Hall and Serpens made sure Draco couldn't see the Golden Trio. They looked exhausted but still tried to glare over at the Slytherin table. Serpens grew sick of it, grew sick of their attitudes, of their everything and took a bit of parchment and scribbled down a message. The blonde looked on as he put the parchment in his hand, shook it twice and when he opened it the piece of paper was gone. "What did you do?" he asked. "Sent a message to some helpers," Serpens replied. He saw Fred frown and open his hand, moving to read the parchment, George scooting closer. They read what he had just written: Your darling brother and his bitching friends are making me hover just over the edge. I am on the verge on a violent killing-spree so I wouldn't mind some calming down. Can't be arrested and leave Draco all worried, now can I? Meet me in the kitchens tomorrow around lunch. Burn this note when you've finished. S They looked up at him and he inclined his head. Fred squeezed the parchment and there was a brief smoke before he brushed away the ashes. Satisfied, Serpens returned to his meal. He ignored the trio's glaring. Mattie was exhausted. Professor Snape had made him clean cauldrons all until dinner with only one short break for lunch. The Potter had considered not going back after lunch but the potions master had informed him before lunch should he not come back he would be given three more detentions. He already had enough of them and so went back. His arms and back were sore from all the scrubbing, and he glared hatefully at Severus who was in a discussion with Flitwick. Ron was just plain mad. He had to polish the trophies and the awards in the old trophy room no one even went to. And he hadn't been allowed to use magic. He had to do it the Muggle way. His arms were about to fall off, and next time he saw that damn cat he was going to kick it hard. Hermione was flushed and angry. First she had to stand and listen to McGonagall give her a stern lecture of the letter she and the boys had written during class, and then she was set out to help Miss Pince to organize in the library after one of Peeves' games. The books were all over the place. Hermione saw several interesting ones but she wasn't allowed even a peek by that hag librarian. Once she had finished, McGonagall had strode in and told her the real punishment; she wasn't allowed to borrow books back to

the Gryffindor tower for two weeks. Hermione grew livid just remembering it. Two weeks! No books for two weeks! She had books alright, but it was the school books that were really interesting, and now she wasn't allowed to take them to the tower? Oh how she despised her teacher right at this point. McGonagall looked over at the Gryffindor table and at the three disgruntled students. She leaned over to Severus and said: "Today was a lovely day wasn't it?" "Splendid," the potions master replied with a dark smile. "How can I ever thank you for coming up with such a wonderful suggestion?" "Oh, I think over the year you'll repay me somehow. I believe we will enjoy ourselves from now on." Severus' smile turned into a feral grin, and the trio looked over at them. Mattie gulped seeing it; of all the things that made Severus Snape scary, was when he looked positively happy. -oDraco happily helped Serpens unshrinking all the packages before there was a knock on the door and Blaise came in with Draco's trunk and all of his things. It was official now; Draco was going to live with Serpens from now on. "We'll miss you a bit," Blaise said as Serpens was in the bathroom. "You'll see enough of me. Serpens said himself he didn't want me to coop up here every evening." "Still, it's going to take a bit to get used to it." "You will get used to it, don't worry." "Alright." Blaise and he chatted for a bit more before the teen left them alone. Draco began to unpack, settling his clothes in the teen's walk-in closet and now he noticed the room had gotten bigger. "Serpens?" "Yes?" The teen came out from the bathroom. "Is it only me or is the room bigger?" "Oh, I asked Hogwarts if I could get a bigger room with my lover moving in and everything and voila. I got a bigger room." "You asked the castle?"

"Yes. The castle likes me, and it likes dad. It's nothing big, it's not like I asked for Dumbledore's head on a plate… hmm, maybe it'll work." "I don't think it will." "Damnit. You could've let me indulge for a moment or two." "And have you all the more heartbroken later? No thank you. Now let's pack up and… is that desk for me?" "Yep! And the bed got a little bigger too." Draco didn't comment, he wasn't sure what to say so instead he unloaded his books on the desk along with parchments, quills and ink bottles. He settled his book bag on the chair. They helped in getting Serpens' new clothes sorted into the closet. Draco had gotten one side of the closet while Serpens took the other so they wouldn't take each other's clothes by mistake. Serpens was taller and a bit thinner than Draco, and neither wanted to accidently take the wrong clothes. Lastly Draco sorted his shoes and finally they could fall back on the bed. The blonde had set the musical box on the nightstand and now opened it, letting the melody wash over them. Serpens hummed in delight. It never occurred to Draco that Serpens might like music as well. There were a lot of things he still didn't know about his lover. "Serpens," he whispered a couple of minutes later, fingering on the box in his pocket. Both had shed their robes, now in shirts and slacks with their shoes thrown to the ground. "Yeah?" the teen mumbled. He sounded sleepy. "Do you want your surprise now?" Serpens rolled over and looked at him. "Can I?" he asked hopefully. Draco pulled out the box and held it out to the teen. Serpens sat up and took it from the smaller hand. He slowly opened the lid and the sight of the silver-snake bracelet met his eyes. He took it out, dropping the box on the bed. The coils moved along with the snake as he stroke it. There was a faint hissing and Serpens' eyes lit up in delight, and a hiss came out of his own mouth. Draco shivered hearing Parseltongue, and he watched as the teen stroke along it again, producing another content hiss from the bracelet. "Oh, this is… you sneaky little brat, this is why you left me at the mercy of those two!" "I wanted to give something to you," Draco said. "Now sit still." He took the bracelet from Serpens and took the right wrist. It was bony and a bit cold.

"You're cold," Draco said in distress. "I'm fine." Draco looked up at him but decided to coax him into a warmer jumper a little later; for now he slid the bracelet over the hand and slipped it into place. Serpens admired it and tugged Draco closer. The blonde moaned as warm lips met his own, and cool hands settled on his face. Serpens' tongue darted out, Draco's mouth parting and their tongues met. Serpens moaned this time, allowing himself to be pushed back, spreading his legs to let Draco rest between them and the blonde hung on. They separated with a gasp, Draco taking a gulp of air before moving down and latching onto Serpens' neck. The older teen groaned. "Oh, you sneaky little… aaah…" The raven-haired teen tilted his head to the side, one hand moving into Draco's hair and holding on. When the blonde bit him, if anything it seemed to arouse him even more. His eyes fluttered close and he was panting softly. Draco withdrew and saw his lover's flushed face and the dark bruise on his neck. Serpens' eyes slid open and he looked at Draco. "You liked that?" the blonde whispered and nipped at his jaw. "Yeeees…" Even if it was Parseltongue Draco seemed to understand it. Serpens himself didn't know why but he had liked the pain Draco inflicted on him. Draco turned his head gently and sucked another bruise, Serpens humming in contentment before the blonde settled back on his stomach. "You like pain," he stated. "Only if you give it," Serpens replied without thinking. He took Draco's hand and tugged it to him, kissing it. "I don't want to hurt you," the blonde said. "Then don't," the older replied. "The melody is making me sleepy." "Want me to close it?" "Not in particular. Unless you want me to stay awake?" "You can sleep," Draco said and moved to lie down next to him. "I can't believe you actually like pain." "Only if it's you," Serpens protested softly. "Hush now," Draco said and put his fingers against the teen's mouth. "I know." Serpens turned, tugging Draco to rest against him and the bracelet slithered a little

before settling down. "Thank you for the bracelet," he whispered. "You're welcome. Next time we go to Hogsmeade, we have to go there. You'll love it." "Mmm…" His lover was indeed falling asleep. Draco kissed Serpens' cheek and pulled a blanket over them. The raven-haired teen was out a few minutes later. -oDraco woke up alone. He sat up with a start, looking around and then saw the note propped up against the musical box. He took it. Hello sleepy, The note I wrote yesterday included the time for a meeting. It was lunch, and as it is nearing lunch I'm going. So go to lunch without me, love, check your homework (not in the room, with Blaise or Theodore or Pansy or someone else, just not alone) and I'll be back before you know it. Don't let any Gryffindors track down on you. Hold your head high, I know you can do that, and think up horrible ways to kill them (tell me later, I'm making a list). Love you Serpens Draco looked at his watch and realized it was close to lunch. He had slept so long? He smiled a bit at the note before dashing up to get freshen up and get changed before going to the Great Hall. -oJames Potter was angry. Lily hadn't recovered from the shock. It wasn't even her own damn brat! It was a dark brat, and she was still in shock! They didn't even allow him, the James Potter, to visit her to try changing her back to normal! They at St Mungo's said she became distressed if he came too often. What the hell? He was her husband! If anything she would cry out for him! But no, she just sat there in her room at that hospital and cried into one of Harry's shirts! So stupid! And now, the letter from McGonagall… Why hadn't Albus interfered? Why had he let her do this? She had informed of his son's inexcusable and ridiculous behaviour, how he and his two friends had lost almost all points that Gryffindor had gained, and how they would serve detentions. Yes, plural. She had written in detail what Mattie, Ron and Hermione had said and done to Draco Malfoy and Merlin forbid, his male lover. James growled at the letter. She, the Head of Gryffindor, had actually defended a Slytherin slimy brat? Two of them! And Lucius

Malfoy's son on top of it all! She should have praised the trio, if anything! Not deduct points and give them detentions, and writing to the parents. He was very disappointed in her. And in Albus for not stopping her. He had to talk with the man to see why. He was sure Snivellus was laughing in his slimy dungeons, cackling evilly and now making sure the three failed his class. James stomped his foot in the ground. His life had taken a turn for the worse. He had thought life would get better once Harry was gone but it had gotten worse! Everything was shot to hell! He was going to write and complain to McGonagall. He was going to write a degrading letter to Snivellus. He was going to write to his son and include as many embarrassing things he could about the potions master, and he had to find some dirt on Lucius Malfoy that Mattie could taunt Draco with. Or better yet, come up with some creative insults his son could use on the slimy Slytherin lovers. Plus the children at Hogwarts shouldn't have to be exposed to the sight of two boys kissing. He had to tell his son to do his best to separate them, to spare the school the sight and chaos they would surely create with their relationship. James jumped up, ready to take action. Maybe Sirius could help him with some of those insults, or some embarrassing memories. He scurried over to the fireplace and firecalled his friend. -oFred and George were already waiting for him when Serpens arrived, and as soon as he closed the door the two jumped up. "You can't believe what has happened!" Fred hissed. "Our stupid brother-" "-had apparently written to your cutie-" "-that we would help him-" "-prank you both!" "Not just prank!" George practically shrieked. "We saw it, what he had said- and- and-" He was bordering on hysterical and then promptly sat down by one of the tables. A house-elf settled a bottle of Butterbear in front of him and the redhead gulped it down. Fred didn't look much better, wringing his hands while standing in front of Serpens. "I know what it said," Serpens stated calmly. "I read it through Draco's eyes." Fred more or less wailed, then regained himself and broke out in a rage: "Well, we would never do that! We won't do that, in fact we just might kill all three of them how dare they write something like that oh I hate that little bushy head who thinks

she owns the place she always tracks down on same-sex couple going on like she's fucking Merlin incarnated and everyone has to listen to her and she tried to make herself seem better than professor Snape can you fucking believe that I just about went through the roof and then that stupid brother and his stupid friends had the nerve to approach us yesterday and ask if we could do it or some other prank that would make you feel so humiliated-" Serpens stepped forward and wrapped Fred in his arms. That made the redhead go silent immediately, and he hugged his friend tightly back. They hadn't hugged often but Serpens knew it calmed Fred down. "It's okay," Serpens said gently. Fred might have released a choked sob. "It's okay, Fred." "I don't know how much longer I can be polite to him," Fred said, muffled, against his shoulder. "I see red every time that asshole dare show his face. And Ginny, oh, she's turning out to be a copy of Hermione. She's done nothing but talk about you and Draco and how you will be punished for being together…" George rose up now and walked up to them. "We overheard Potter talking about sending a letter to Lucius Malfoy," he said and Serpens' sharp eyes found his. George didn't look away. "He was going to inform the man of his son's… well, strange relationship." "His bent relationship," Fred corrected and stepped back. He wiped at his eyes. "And how Lucius should really contact Draco to make him straight again." Serpens seethed. "If I know James Potter right," he said, "he'll be angry once McGonagall's letter comes. He'll think Mattie should've been praised instead of punished. He'll cause a chaos. Well, a chaos in addition to the Tri-Wizard Tournament." "You have something planned," the twins said. "I had thought of some pranks but now," here Serpens rubbed his eyes, "now I'm thinking of making their lives hell." "We'll help." "But we can't get Dumbledore's attention on us," Serpens said and looked at them. "He'll know it's me especially because Draco's my lover and he's been humiliated by those three." "How about pranks that are too humiliating?" Fred said with a grin. "What do you mean?" "Pranking them in ways they're too humiliated to speak to someone about it," George said, following his brother's line of thought.

"So they won't speak to any adults," Serpens said. "And it won't be seen so no one will know," the twins continued. "One or two can be done so that everyone will laugh, but we'll take credit for that." Serpens nodded and they sat down. "Hey, is Draco okay on his own?" the two asked once they had started to write some suggestions down. Serpens looked up from his salad (courtesy of a house-elf) and said: "He ought to be. I left a note, so I think he would've gone to find someone to walk with. He can defend himself; I just don't want anyone to call him those things again." "Hey, we don't want that either," they both said. "And we don't want anyone calling you names." "I've been mostly left out," Serpens said. "It's probably because I'm older and unknown territory. I'm guessing they've been enemies since day one." "If!" they said with simultaneous eye-rolls. "Ronniekins and Potter hated him from the start because he was a Malfoy. The bushy head started hating him too when he proved he was smarter than her." "She hated me too," Serpens said with a shrug. They had placed several charms so their talk was protected even from Dumbledore. Plus the teen was quite sure Hogwarts wouldn't let anyone hear them. "Back when I was, well, you know." He didn't say 'Harry Potter'. He didn't want to identify himself like that anymore. Fred and George nodded. "They talked a lot about you," they pointed out. "Potter really thought you were weird. And he hated you too because you were supposed to be powerful. And Ronniekins was jealous." "Jealous?" "Yeah, you were famous!" Serpens raised an eyebrow. "I could've traded any day with him. Rather be a nobody than having my life plastered onto the front pages of every newspaper I saw. Seriously, my love-life was more important than the death of half a village during a violent raid." It had been speculations who he was dating and of course half of the girls at Hogwarts had contacted newspapers and said they were the one, Harry Potter's loyal girlfriend who he was going to marry and have fourteen kids with. That had been a fairly annoying period of his life. Of course James Potter had tried to pair him up with one of those girls with the help of Sirius. They had both been personally offended when Serpens had said he wasn't interested in getting a girlfriend. "Oh, we remembered that. You refused to eat in the Great Hall." Both got dark looks.

"You lost a lot of weight. We got worried about you." "I know." The twins hadn't been the only ones. Professor Flitwick had been so worried he had actually sent packages with food to the teen, often with a house-elf that had popped right onto his bed with the food. Serpens had appreciated the gesture. Severus had been worried too, and snuck him Nutrient potions and a safe haven whenever he wanted away from love-struck girls and annoying people in general. Serpens had even slept in Severus' quarters a few times then. Sibyll had actually come down from her tower, gliding through the corridors until she came upon him. She had patted his hand and gracefully dragged him back to the tower where she had produced a strong tea, biscuits and a deck of cards. She was lethal in Muggle poker. Serpens shook his head and came back to now. He looked at them and said: "But I got it back! Most of it anyway…" "You're still too thin," they argued. "I'm trying," the teen protested. "I'll ask Severus for some Nutrient potions until I can eat more. Now, back to planning." -oDraco was back in the Slytherin common room, doing his homework with Pansy and Theodore. He had gone to lunch with the two plus Blaise, but no one had approached him. There had been glares from the Golden Trio but Draco had ignored them and lunch had gone smoothly. While he missed Serpens a little he knew the teen would come back in a bit. There was no reason to worry. He had finished Charms and moved onto Potions, the last of his homework when Serpens stepped inside. He weaved through the room and sat down next to the blonde, pecking him on the cheek. "Hi," he said. "How are you doing?" "I'm good. I hope you ate lunch." "I did, I swear," Serpens said and it clinked in his pockets. "Oh, I better go and put these away." "What is it?" Draco asked. "Nutrient potions. You know I can't stomach large portions." "So you went and got Nutrient potions… you did that for me?" The blonde looked up at him as he rose. "Yes, for you, silly. You want me in good health, who am I to complain? I'll be back in a minute."

He strode towards his room. "He's really taking your request seriously," Theodore said. "It's good though; I haven't seen that many in his age being that thin." Draco nodded. Then someone tapped him on the shoulder, and he looked up and behind himself. Derrick, seventh year and one of the Beaters in Slytherin's Quidditch team, looked at him, supporting himself on the back of the couch. "Yes?" Draco asked, a bit puzzled. It was a pity the young man couldn't play Quidditch during the last year of his schooling but due to the tournament there would be no Quidditch. "I've seen the glaring from some of the Gryffindors. Someone troubling you?" Derrick was an unreadable character to most outside Slytherin. But in the common room of the snakes it was a different tale. Plus Draco was currently the youngest Quidditch player, and Derrick had a protective streak. He smiled a bit. "I'm handling it." "And your lover?" "He's handling it too. He'll make sure they won't do more than glare." Derrick nodded a bit. "I heard they've been giving you a hard time ever since you two started dating. Don't stop dating him just because of that." "I wouldn't stop dating him even if they threatened to kill me," the blonde said softly. "If it comes to that, we'll kill them first," Derrick said, and Draco got the impression he wasn't joking. "Good to know it's under control. Otherwise I would've practised my aim on their heads." He patted Draco's head and went on his way. A moment later Serpens sat down. "Derrick wanted to talk to you?" he asked. "He had noticed the Gryffindors," Draco said as an explanation. "He was glad to hear we had it under control. We have it, right?" Serpens smiled. "We most definitely do." "Who did you meet?" "I'll introduce you to them a bit later." Draco knew he would so he didn't press further. He looked at his lover and saw it. There was a coil of pleasure and heat in his gut. In full view, because Serpens wore a black shirt with two highest buttons undone, was the hickey Draco had given him. It was dark

red. Draco remembered how he had bit the skin, the shudder that had gone through the body underneath him. How he had taken comfort in that. Serpens started on his Ancient Runes homework. Draco hadn't asked about the necklace and the runes on the miniature sword. Didn't matter. He had time to do it. For now, he read through the assignment on potion and unashamed placed a hand quite high on Serpens' thigh. He squeezed. Serpens' eyes moved to the pale hand. Draco's thumb stroke gently. The older smiled, and let him keep his hand there. Chapter Nine Lucius turned on the letter. Then looked at the writing. It was standard parchment, the kind mostly bought in any shop. The ink was sharp so it was fairly expensive. Black, standard. The writing was somewhat messy. It simply stood: Lucius Malfoy Malfoy Manor He had checked it for hexes or spells. Nothing. A non-descript owl had delivered it and hadn't waited for a reply. Lucius took a penknife and slit the envelope open. Turned it upside down and let the letter fall down on the table. Narcissa was upstairs in the sunroom with a friend. They called it sunroom while in reality it just had high windows facing the right way so they had lots of sun coming in during the summer. No matter. They were having tea and he had offered going through their mail. Unless Narcissa had received something privately. Those he set aside. He poked at the parchment with his wand, sending out a scan. Nothing. It was safe to touch. He did so and opened it. He recognized it as a teen's handwriting but not his son's nor Serpens'. He began to read. Malfoy, (really, such rudeness. Hadn't this one been taught the word 'polite'?) I thought it sufficient for you to know of this news if you hadn't heard of the rumours first. You may find this disturbing. Your son has started an unhealthy relationship with a student two years his senior, and it's a male on top of that. This person is named Serpens Riddle. He may or may not already have taken your son to bed, and done only Merlin knows what to him, a minor. I suggest you put an end to this nonsense, as does my father suggest, and my good friend Miss Hermione Granger. She knows a lot you see, and she knows the importance of heirs for the future. My father suggests that you write an arranged marriage for your son to make him face reality. If you want, my father along with Sirius Black will write a list of well brought-up girls who can set your son straight and bring him away from this illness that has infested him.

That is all. I hope you make your son see his wrong doings. Mattie Potter Lucius stared at the letter for a long time. Was this a joke? Was someone playing a horrible joke on him? Or was this brat for real? Did he really think he could just write this and expect Lucius to tap-dance after his wishes? Did he really think he was right, that he saw the right thing, and that he expected the people to fall after how he viewed the world? Lucius felt his blood boil. It was Monday but as far as he knew, Potter had been home more often due to his… son's 'kidnapping' and his wife's illness. Or whatever it was she had that made her end up in St Mungo's acting half-insane. Anyway, he was quite sure the head of Potter was going to be home so the Malfoy jumped up, discarded the letter, grabbed his cane and cloak and marched out of the house. -oJames was laughing at a joke Sirius had made, Remus sipping some tea next to them when it banged on the door. Potter stopped. "I'm not expecting anyone," he muttered. He didn't have work today so no one would come and see if he was late or something. His colleagues all knew he was free. It banged on the door again, harder. Someone really wanted to come in. "Alright, alright!" he hollered and rose up. "Calm down, I'm coming!" "Probably a salesman itching to sell a vacuum cleaner!" Sirius said and James sniggered. Sirius always said that whenever it banged on the door, ever since the first time when it actually had been a salesman. Lily had spent the next hour explaining to James and Sirius was a vacuum cleaner was. Harry, only four years old at the time, had understood the first time she explained. Potter's sniggers stopped thinking about the boy and he put up a polite smile instead. He went for the door but when he opened and saw who it was his smile quite promptly faded. Lucius Malfoy had his most chilling smile on, hands gripping the cane so tightly they were white-knuckled. A muscle in his jaw clenched and relaxed irregularly, and James thought he looked kind of pissed off (more like enraged in the Malfoy kind of way). It couldn't be at him, right? "Mr Potter?" he said icily and Potter felt his blood drain from his face. Despite his all high talk about him fighting evil wizards he always ended up a mess whenever he had to meet Malfoy senior privately. "May I come in?" Oh dear Merlin, he was so dead. James was surprised he managed to answer that request at all, although he was sure Lucius would come in even if he said no. "O-of c-course," he stuttered and backed away. If he could, he would have run away. He, James Potter, would run away from his own home at the sight of Lucius Malfoy at his door.

Malfoy entered, looking around and the two friends came to the hall. Remus' eyes narrowed seeing the aristocrat as Lucius' eyes swept coolly around the hall. There were several pictures of Mattie, but only one that Lucius recognized as Serpens when he was Harry. He heard the unsheathing of a wand and looked back at the three. Sirius held his wand pointed at Lucius. "Malfoy!" Black growled. He looked ready to kill the blonde. "What are you doing here?" "I received a very interesting letter today, Mr Potter," Lucius said and his gaze settled back on James, who flinched a little. "From your son." "Is that so?" James said, crossing his arms. He felt a bit cold but also a bit angry. Lucius Malfoy had no business coming here and making James act this way! "He spoke of a relationship I ought to put a stop to." "Yes, he wrote to me about it," Potter said and gained confidence now when he knew what it was about. He was still freaked out but at least now he knew what he should say. "Frankly, it's worrying even me. You are one of the strongest families in the Wizarding World, and you need your heirs to keep your family going, and then your son goes and gets himself a male lover?" Here he shook his head sadly. "I mean, he of all people should know about the importance of heirs and I'm sure you must be disgusted by all of this so my son saw it fit to tell you-" "Mr Potter, please shut up." James' mouth snapped shut. He realized again who he was speaking to, who was standing in his fucking house. Lucius Malfoy, one of the scariest wizards he knew about aside from Voldemort. The Dark Lord had always topped his list of scary people but now he thought, with Lucius' icy eyes and murderous expression along with how magic seemed to make his skin shine, that maybe the Malfoy had the top spot of that list today. "I knew of this relationship," Lucius hissed and closed in on him. His eyes were like death staring right at you. James felt himself fumbling for the wall for support. "What I find disgusting is your son, and you, and Black, and that little friend to your son, that Granger girl. You think you can butt into other people's lives, and do whatever you want, say whatever you want, and expect everyone to bow down to your wishes. My son is perfectly aware of heirs, but he is also perfectly aware I and my wife would never, ever force a loveless marriage upon him. If he loves a man, so what, I'll be as happy as any other father that my son is happy. Had he fallen in love with a piece of furniture, so be it, it's not my business to try direct who or what he loves." By now he had James backed into the wall and neither of the two other Marauders could move from their spots. Now Lucius jabbed the head of the cane into the man's chest. "What my son does is none of your business," he hissed. "None of your son's business, or his little friends for that matter. What other people do with their lives you have no right to try to change because of your own feelings. If I get another letter, if my son gets a letter, if my son or his lover suffers anymore because of you, your son, your son's idiotic friends, your own idiotic friends, if anything of that happens, you will find yourself wishing you were tortured by the Dark Lord and not me."

Potter slid down to the floor in a blabbering mess. Malfoy looked down at him. He gazed at the man as if he would look upon a pile of shit. "Am I being clear, Mr Potter?" he said. "Yes, Mr Malfoy, very clear," James stammered and it might had something to do with the magic that was now crackling along of Lucius' body. "Perfect," Lucius said and grabbed his cane hard in one hand. He sent the man another chilling smile even as Remus and Sirius stood frozen and watched. Sirius' arm was down, the wand already having slipped down the floor from his nerveless fingers. "I will see myself out, Mr Potter. Have a nice day." He walked out and Apparated straight to Voldemort's manor. The Dark Lord came out in the hall hearing someone banging the doors open and arched an eyebrow seeing Lucius stalk in, the doors closing behind him. "Lucius?" he asked. "Forgive me, my lord, but I was very close to whip out my wand and kill someone in plain view and in front of two of his friends so I needed somewhere to calm down and I figured here was the best and oh, I just want to slit his damn throat and let his filthy blood coat the floor underneath and-" He stopped and stood there helplessly, white in his face but fury in his eyes. Voldemort took him by the elbow, led him to the study and setting him down in a chair before summoning a Firewhiskey and a glass and filling the glass. He gave it to the blonde who took it and swallowed it all. He held out for another one and the Dark Lord complied. He took it all this time too and got it refilled a third time. This time he took a deep sip and cradled the glass to his chest. The cane clattered onto the ground. "What is it?" Voldemort asked, setting the bottle aside and summoning a chair, sitting down right next to his friend. "I really, really hate Potter and his brat and the brat's friends and Potter's friends…" Lucius muttered, then hiccupped. He was a sorry sight. Then Voldemort took the words in. "What did they do?" "They sent a letter. Or rather, the Potter brat did. He told me all about the disgusting relationship Draco had started with Serpens." Lucius took another gulp of the whiskey, grimacing. "Then went on how I should stop the nonsense, his friend Granger the wise knew about the importance of heirs and that I should force Draco to marry a girl so they would have kids and Potter and his friend Black would help me find a suitable girl to make my son straight again…" He swallowed the rest and wanted more. "Have you eaten anything?" Voldemort asked. It was nearing one in the afternoon.

"Not since breakfast." Lucius always ate breakfast around eight or nine. "Then you're not getting any more," the Dark Lord said gently and the blonde stared at him. "You'll get sick and puke." "Malfoys don't get sick," he whispered. "That Potter brat said Draco's love is an illness that's infesting him. Malfoys don't get sick!" He screamed the last and hurled the glass away. It shattered against the wall. "I want that to be Potter's head." Clearly the letter had messed with Lucius' head. He had always been awfully protective over Draco so it was no surprise he was this angry. Voldemort put his hands under Lucius' armpits and lifted his friend to a standing position. "Lucius, I'm going to have a look at your memory, alright?" "I went to see Potter, and I told him straight out what I felt, yes my lord, I did! He looked scared shitless when I was done, I was about to Avada Kedavra him when I remembered what I was doing and so I left." "Good thinking," the Dark Lord groaned and transformed the chair into a divan. He settled his friend down and sat down next to the half-lying man. "I'm going to look at both the memory of the letter and your visit. I'm going into your head. Alright?" "Alright." "Look at me." Lucius' eyes locked with his lord's and Voldemort delved into the blonde's mind. When he came out he sat quiet by Lucius' hip for a while. Lucius picked at the cuff of his shirt. Voldemort was painfully reminded of when the blonde was younger, his nervous habit of picking at his clothes had been trained away by Abraxas' soothing voice but now it was back because there was no Abraxas there to soothe his son. Abraxas had been dead for some time and Lucius was upset and resorting back to childhood habits. Voldemort placed a hand at Lucius' wandering one. "He won't be doing anything more," he finally said. "James Potter that is. My son is quite determined to take care of the brats. He has help from the Weasley twins." Lucius nodded hearing that. "Draco is in quite good hands," Voldemort said. "I know Serpens will do anything in his power to keep your son from harm." "I know," Lucius said, eyes drifting close. "You drank too much," Voldemort said softly, one hand now moving to cradle his friend's cheek. "I'll contact Narcissa and tell her what happened. I suggest you sleep the alcohol off." "Mmm…"

Lucius dropped off, Voldemort's hand still on his cheek until he could hear the deep breathing that indicated the blonde was asleep. Then Voldemort moved away, conjuring a comforter and placed it over his friend. Lucius had a terrible tendency to overreact when it came to his son but he had a good reason this time. Voldemort had read the letter. That Potter brat's end was coming. The words he had written had made Voldemort full of rage too. The implications that his own son had taken Draco against his will, or had done something forbidden, it all left a nasty taste in his mouth. He was going to speak to Narcissa, and then he would comfort himself by speaking to his son. Then he would wake Lucius for some lunch, and keep his friend company to cheer him up. They both needed it. -oThey both knew of the letter now. Draco blew up like his father and Serpens let him rant off in their room. That was yesterday, and Draco was feeling better. They had classes anyway so they had to ignore personal matters until the day was over. But now Serpens walked down a corridor, and he saw the trio. Draco luckily had most classes without Gryffindor, and ultimately without the trio so they must have a break or something because Serpens had just escorted Draco to Charms. Serpens himself had Ancient Runes but it was a self-study class so he was on his was to the library. Weasley saw him first, and elbowed Potter, pointing at him. Granger looked up from her book. She slammed it close and seemed to get ready. Please. He was just going to the library. He didn't need a lecture on the way. "Riddle," Potter said and put himself in the way of the older teen's path. Serpens could easily walk around him but then he would be followed so he stopped. "Mr Potter," he said. "Might I inquire what you want?" "Hermione…" She came up to them. "Did you know it's forbidden to have sex with someone under the age of sixteen?" she asked with a triumphing smile. "And that's just talking about normal couples. You are sixteen so if you have sex with Malfoy you'll be breaking the law." "How good I'm not breaking any laws then," he replied evenly even as he longed to tear out her tongue. Merlin, what did she do in her free time? She was supposed to be a smart girl and this was what she obsessed over? Making him become a bad person? Pathetic. "What?" She seemed uncertain. She had expected him to grow nervous because she had been expecting he had taken Draco's virginity. He scoffed. "Are you so daft you think the moment two males enter a relationship they jump into bed and start having sex?" he asked and she coloured. Oh dear, she did think that.

"Well, you are having sex with Malfoy aren't you! We'll report you for breaking the law!" Potter shouted. "I am courting Draco if either of you idiots knows what that means," Serpens said and looked at them. "I have no intention of forcing myself on him. And what do you exactly do on your spare time, Miss Granger as you seem well aware of the laws about people having sex with each other." She went red and screamed: "No one should get away with breaking the laws, and a relationship like yours shouldn't be allowed!" "Well, it's a good thing you don't rule over me or over Draco," Serpens said, still calm which threw her off balance. "I suggest you scurry back to your common room, and please, Miss Granger, do find another hobby than nosing around other people's relationships. It might be misunderstood as if you want to know about males having sex." She blew up and ripped out her wand. "You disgusting freak!" she shrieked. "You're an abomination of this earth! Your mind is twisted, you have twisted Draco Malfoy with your poisonous presence and it's our job to get rid of repulsive beings like you! Stupefy!" He stopped it with a hand and threw it away. The portraits shouted but Granger had lost it all. She had been raised well by her parents and they had taught her about wrong and right. When she had entered the Wizarding World she had thought homosexual relationships were just as hidden and shunned as it had been where she lived. On her first visit to Diagon Alley, when she tried out robes, she had seen two men kiss. Madam Malkin had sighed happily, not noticing her shock and her parents' wrinkled faces, and had told them those two wizards had finally gotten married. Homosexuality wasn't shunned in this world. It was welcomed like any other relationship. Hermione had started to work against it once she started Hogwarts, and she had been glad when her friends Mattie and Ron hadn't liked homosexual people either. She had grown mad at Mattie's brother Harry, not only because he thought he was smarter than her but because when she had asked him about homosexual people he had shrugged and replied: "Their love is just the same as everyone else's." She had after that deemed everything he said as wrong even when she logically knew he was right. And now she saw no reason. She just threw spell after spell on this wrongness, she had been brought up well by her parents and they had taught her to shun homosexual people, to ignore them and never become friends with them. Her wand was wrenched from her hand and then McGonagall's voice: "What in the name of Merlin are you doing, Miss Granger?"

"I'm getting rid of the pest!" Hermione screamed and looked at her professor. "They are hindering the production of children with their poison; they keep the population from expanding!" She continued, not aware one of her spells had hit. Serpens cradled his broken arm, sitting on the floor, Severus supporting his thin frame and the potions master's nerves were stomped on by the girl's shrill voice for each passing second. "I'll kill her… I'll slay her and feed her corpse to the Thestrals…" The Parseltongue brought Severus back to focus. He slapped a hand over Serpens' mouth and hissed in the teen's ear: "Do not speak that language here!" Serpens calmed down. Hermione was still screaming. He pulled away Severus' hand and shouted: "Shut up, you fucking stupid annoying girl!" Startled, Hermione's shrieking cut off and she stared confused at Serpens. "What the fuck have I done you?" the teen shouted. "What the fuck did Draco do to give you the right to do whatever you want? Just because you've appointed yourself the saviour of all the fucking straight people of this world doesn't mean you can just go ahead and murder the ones you don't like! And stop shouting about poison and abomination and things like that because let's just face it; you're probably just fucking terrified of us just like your narrow-sighted parents who raised you to become a copy of themselves!" The girl trembled, her eyes were overflowing with tears because all he said was true. Now he groaned and clutched his broken bone. The pain kept him from reaching for his wand and that was a good thing otherwise he would kill her, he would seriously kill her unless he was taken away at this very moment. "I'm taking him to Poppy," Severus said and heaved him up from the floor. "I'll take these to the headmaster," McGonagall said softly. The teen and the teacher walked in silent for a bit. Severus had Serpens' bag. "Does it hurt?" Severus asked. "Not that much," Serpens said. "I'm just… so sick of all three." "What happened?" "I was on my way to the library, Ancient Runes had self-study when they blocked my path. I decided to indulge them otherwise they were going to follow me to the library and

I didn't feel like it. Then Granger started going off about the age you have to be to have sex, and if I was having sex with Draco I was breaking the law. She apparently thought I was because she got confused when I said I didn't break any laws." He took a breath and stopped walking, holding the broken arm. Severus gave him the time he needed. The teen bent a little, breathing through the pain. "I wondered to her if she thought the moment two males started dating that they had sex and with the way she blushed, she thought so. Potter then yelled I probably was having sex with Draco and they would report me for breaking the laws." Serpens straightened up and began walking again. "I explained I was courting Draco and that I have no intention of forcing him into anything he doesn't want to. And I might have taunted her a bit but seriously, with the way she knows everything I did wonder if she thought about sex that much." Severus scoffed but Serpens saw the shadow of a smirk. "Well, she went on about no one should get away with breaking the laws and a relationship like ours shouldn't be allowed. I told her it was a good thing she didn't rule over us and I told them to scurry to their common room. And then I suggested to Granger she might want to get another hobby to avoid the misunderstanding she actually wants to hear about males having sex." Severus stared at him. "And at this point she kind of exploded, called me a disgusting freak, an abomination of the earth and I had a twisted mind and clearly I had twisted Draco with my poisonous presence and it was her, or their, job to get rid of people like me. And then she began throwing spells at me." They arrived at the Infirmary. Poppy came out of her office and rushed over once she saw them. "Sit down here, Mr Riddle," she said and he sat down on the bed. "What happened?" "A spell hit my arm and broke it," he said simply. "Did you have a fight?" she wondered sternly. "On Granger's side it was." "I beg your pardon?" "She was fighting her grand scheme of getting rid of the disgusting freaks and abominations of the earth that poisoned the very air and ground we walked on with our twisted mind. In short, she was getting rid of a fag like me." She looked at him and then turned to Severus in rage. "Miss Granger has been brought to the headmaster's office," the potions master inquired gently.

"It won't matter," Serpens laughed and it was far too terrifying in Severus' ear to end up in anything good. "She's a Gryffindor, she'll get a slap on the hand and they'll send a note home and her parents will read it and cheer her on because they hate fags as much as she does." "How do you know?" Madam Pomfrey said. "I'm friend with the Weasley twins, they told me about one of her rants about her good parents raising her to shun faggots and people who are different from them," Serpens said. "Can you please refrain from saying that word?" "What word? Faggot?" "Yes," she said and cringed. "What else should I say?" he asked. "Faggot," here she cringed again, "is a very ugly word to call people who happen to love a person of the same sex. I prefer saying homosexuals." "Whatever. Can you splint my arm or something? It hurts." "I'm on my way, in a half-hour it'll be as good as new. I must say though, I'm a bit worried about your body fat." Without an ounce of shame in her body, she moved aside his robe and prodded on his stomach. Then on his chest and back, she smelt of herbs and her body was warm and all of a sudden Serpens wanted a hug but he cut back that urge. She moved back, having splinted the arm and now moved her hand over the break. She held the arm straight and steady and healing magic began to work itself in. She looked disapproving up at him. "You're quite gaunt for a teenager your age, Mr Riddle." "He's taking Nutrient Potions," Severus said. "So he is gaining weight." "Are you eating well at home?" Poppy asked quietly. Severus understood why, she never asked those kind of questions loudly but it made him angry all the same. Maybe because he knew Serpens' father. "If I'm eating well?" Serpens asked. "Please, my father must think I'm a hippogriff! It's a wonder I can even walk from the table, but then again, I'm far too dignified to simply roll along the floor." She caught the truth in his eyes and nodded. "But you're not gaining?" "It's of concern of not only my father but professor Snape as well," Serpens said and glared over his shoulder at the potions master. He didn't look sorry at all. He turned back to the woman. "They're constantly nagging at me." The last one definitely sounded like a whine and the healer chuckled at that.

"Don't forget Draco, Mr Riddle," Severus said. Serpens moaned. "He's even worse than father! He really is insistent, Madam Pomfrey! My stomach will explode one day!" She smiled, knowing he was in good hands and she did acknowledge he had filled out a little bit since starting. She was confident by the time the year was over he would be of a more normal weight. She patted his arm and said: "All done." He lifted it and carefully flexed his fingers. The bone was mended. She rose up and produced bandages. "The bone has mended but is still quite frail," she said as she wrapped the bandages around his wrist. "This you will carry for the rest of the day and through the night. You may take it off tomorrow at lunch. This will stabilize it but no hurtful activities." "Yes, Madam Pomfrey," he said meekly, "I'll try not bumping into another self-proclaimed saviour of all straight people in the Wizarding World." She couldn't help the laugh that bubbled out of her throat, and sent him on his way. She held Severus behind and the moment the doors shut the man asked: "What is it?" "What kind of Nutrient Potions is he given?" she asked. "The best I have," the potions master replied. "Draco had him promise to eat better." "I do hope this meaningless one-sided war from those Gryffindors side will stop soon," she said and with a wave straightened the sheets where Serpens had been sitting. "So do I," Severus said. "My wand hand is twitching so badly I can scarcely make a potion these days without spilling it all over myself." She scoffed. "Is that all?" he asked. "Yes, off you go. And no cursing students!" A wry smile, an "I'll do my very best, madam," and then he was gone. -oDraco came back to the common room with Blaise, Theodore and Pansy, Crabbe and Goyle out doing whatever they were doing and stumbled upon Serpens sitting in one of the couches. He appeared to study Divination. Draco began a smile and a greeting but both froze as Serpens shook away his robe on his left arm.

It revealed a bandaged arm, up to his elbow and ending around his palm. Serpens looked up, saw Draco, saw the bandage was revealed and looked back at the blonde. "Hi," the older said. "Had a good day?" "What happened to your arm?" Draco asked. "Not sure. I didn't catch the spell but then it was a large crack and suddenly my arm was doing this sort of forty-five degree leaning angle, oh I mean my hand and about half of my upper arm." Draco sat down next to Serpens and took the arm in his hands. "Is it still…?" "No, Madam Pomfrey healed it. This is just to stabilize." "What happened?" Theodore asked, sitting down in the armchair next to the couch where the two lovers where sitting. He was unknowingly repeating the question Serpens had answered twelve times already. The common room was quite full and the Slytherins politely let them have their conversation in private. "Granger got mad at me," Serpens said. "She thinks I'm deflowering you, Draco." The blonde stared at him. "She what?" "They were going to report me for having sex with a minor," Serpens said with a sigh. "I guess she didn't like it when I made it sound like her hobby was hearing about guys having sex… she just starting throwing hexes at me. Oh, before that she called me a few names, I didn't catch all of them but I think disgusting freak was included. Then something about my poisonous presence twisting Draco or whatever, I didn't really care at that point." Draco was on his way to rise up when Serpens pulled him down. "It doesn't matter anymore," he whispered. "I'll go to sleep and tomorrow I will have forgotten half of what she said and next week I won't be able to recall it at all because she's not worth paying attention to." "He's right," Pansy said and Draco stared at her. "Draco, the best thing to do is to ignore her." "Plus I'm working on a plan that will probably have them stay away from pretty much everyone for a good while," Serpens said and kissed his neck. "You'll get to laugh at her. And Potter and Weasley." He finally nodded and took the healed arm in his hands again. "When's dinner?" he asked absently.

"Half-hour," Pansy replied. "I'm going to start on the Transfiguration essay." "I'll do it too," Theodore said and fished it out. "I have to finish this," Serpens gestured to the sheet in Divination and tugged a little on his left arm. Draco held it. "Draco?" "You write with your right hand." "I know but-" Draco raised the teen's hand, their fingers intertwined and brushed his lips against the knuckles. Then he moved closer, letting the arm rest in his lap. "You don't need it to write," Draco stated. "… Alright." Serpens turned back to the sheet while Draco held the arm. -oLater that night they stripped out of their clothes. "What happens if Dumbledore choose to believe them?" Draco asked suddenly. "What?" "If he thinks you really are having sex with me," the teen said. "What she spoke about is probably in the Muggle world but there are laws here too. I don't know how old you have to be but there is an age-limit. If he chooses to believe her, you can be…" He didn't want to finish. "What, be put into Azkaban? They won't question me, just throw me in there? Believe me, Draco, they will ask. Maybe interrogate with Veritaserum but we both know I'm not having sex with you." "I know that." Draco fiddled with his robe. Serpens stepped over and took it, throwing it into the hamper that the house-elves emptied each day. "He has to take the responsibility as a headmaster," Serpens said. "There is no logic in their reasoning. And if he does believe them, it shows his dislike for Slytherins. As if we are the next Dark Lords just waiting to pop up." "You are the next Dark Lord." It was the first time Draco had said it. He had whispered it, reluctantly, and gazed at the floor. Serpens frowned.

"Draco. I love my father dearly, but I have no intention of becoming him." The blonde looked up. The older teen took the blonde's hands, the bandage soft against Draco's palm. "I'm not even sure what I want to become," he said. "Maybe a potions master. Not a teacher, I wouldn't be able to handle any brats who have no respect for an adult. Think of having Gryffindors and Slytherins in the same room and then trying to teach them. I pity Severus, I really do." Draco laughed. Serpens pulled him to bed and they snuck underneath the covers. Draco took the left hand in both of his. "If he chooses to believe them," Draco said, "I'll allow madam Pomfrey to check if I'm a virgin." "Draco, no." It would be too embarrassing for the Malfoy, and Serpens knew that. "And I'm not having you with Veritaserum in your body. You'll be forced to say the truth. I don't want Dumbledore to have that advantage of you. The test is simple, it's just a scan. Only those concerned will know she ever did it." "Draco, don't think ahead. I want to believe the headmaster is sensible enough to reason out and not blindly believe a couple of gay-hating children." "Gay-hating…" Draco snickered. "What? You come up with a better wording!" The blonde grinned and kissed him on the mouth. "I love you," he breathed. He cradled the left arm to his chest. Serpens kissed him back. "And I love you too." -oNo one approached them and accused Serpens of having sex with a minor. The Golden trio was subdued and seemed to have suffered a mighty yelling by McGonagall. Not by Dumbledore by the way the woman was glaring at the headmaster. Serpens decided he didn't care. The first prank would be done before the foreigners arrived on Friday. Classes ended at lunch then, as they would all stand outside to greet the students from the other schools. The prank would be directed against everyone, so that in the chaos people would miss out the harsher ones on the trio. Fred and George had decided to be extra nasty to Granger after her little stunt on Serpens (he had barely had time to shut the door into Severus' office before the two were over him the day before, they had checked his arm and hung around his neck and the bastard to potions master had done nothing to save

him) but Serpens thought all the pranks were just as harsh in their own meaning. Granger was going to have a spell put on her so that she would see an illusion. And that illusion included all the boys started to kiss each other and all the girls to kiss each other (and perhaps doing other questionable things but that was up to the illusion, really). In reality they wouldn't do that but she would see that for the rest of the day, and the prank would start at lunch. With a little luck she would be damaged for months. Mattie would be compelled to write a letter to his father stating he agreed with the way of Salazar Slytherin and that he really thought he would fit much better in Hufflepuff while he condemned pranks and thought Millicent Bulstrode was the most beautiful girl he had ever laid his eyes on. The grief his father and godfather (Sirius) would give him would be enough. In the last moment the twins had decided to add that Mattie really thought professor Snape was the greatest professor in the entire school, and that he had begun to take private lesson by Trelawney (whose rumours put her in the loony department according to almost all the students). Serpens had laughed himself silly hearing that. Severus had gagged at the prospect of being worshipped by Potter's son. The youngest male Weasley, who hated spiders above all else, would get the feeling that spiders were crawling all over his skin but it wouldn't last for an hour or two. No, it would last for two days. By the end of it who knew what he would do? Maybe he would hide under his bed and refuse to come out. It would only be on Ron the prank would be visible and Fred and George had already prepared to take the blame because they just wanted to have some fun with their brother and they had no idea the prank would hold so long. For the rest of the school, Serpens just had to wait and see. The teens had suggested he would eat fast though and then just sit back and enjoy the show. This show happened on Wednesday. Serpens quickly ate his lunch, and then sat back. The trio had gained back some of their composure and confidence but hadn't done more but snuck glances at him and Draco. He saw Granger openly grimace as he nuzzled Draco's hair and pressed a kiss to the teen's ear. He grinned and tugged at Draco's necklace, moving his hand down to intertwine his with the blonde's. He had noticed Dumbledore watching them and he wasn't so convinced the man wouldn't bring up the laws and that made him both angry and nervous. He knew logically he hadn't done more than kiss and hug Draco (oh, those heavy kisses in the privacy of their room, he wanted one now) but he couldn't help on 'what if's and he hated that. He was the son of the Dark Lord, he shouldn't have doubts! Well… he never said his self-confidence was touching the roof anyway. He just made it look that way. "Serpens, are you sure you don't want some more?" Draco said. "You didn't eat much." "I'm sure. Professor Snape has a new Nutrient Potion I'm taking today; he said it fills up so well I should eat a light lunch." "Oh."

"It's normal dinner though… if I can manage. Maybe in the end I'll have a round stomach and skinny arms and legs." "The horror," Draco drawled. "I'll starve then." "It won't be like that." "Hopefully not. I would hate to look pregnant." The spoon next to his plate twitched. He squeezed Draco's hand in the signal. Draco kicked Theodore's leg and he tapped Blaise's glass. In short, soon their net of friends finished their lunch even though it looked like they were still eating when all the goblets filled with pumpkin juice sent said juice straight up in the air… and down on the students. In the whole hall. Girls shrieked as the sticky liquid landed on their heads and robes. The potatoes exploded. The chicken legs began to tap-dance while from the empty goblets foam began to well out. And well out. Over the table. Down on the laps of the students who quickly got the message and scrambled up and away. Down on the benches and then dripping down on the floor. And then continuing. The spoons, forks and knives dropped to the floor and the plates began to spin, sending the food as projectiles around them. Serpens was holding his sides as he was laughing, Draco clutching onto him with wide eyes. He swung the teen up and around, neatly avoiding a piece of steak hurling towards them. "Oh Merlin," Serpens gasped. "Oh, look, look, I think Granger's seeing it!" Draco glanced over and his lover was right; Granger was staring wildly around her, mouth agape and she looked absolutely horrified and shocked. Her eyes strayed to where Fred and George were. They grinned at each other and moved closer. Her shriek drowned with the rest but Serpens laughed. "Oh, she probably sees the two snogging," he snickered into Draco's ear. The twins had explained the illusion as if two people stood close enough it would look like they were kissing. The closer they stood the more questionable actions they did. Serpens saw Fred snicker and wrap an arm around his brother's waist. Granger's eyes rolled up in her head seeing that, or whatever she was seeing, and she toppled over in a dead faint. The raven-haired teen had to lean onto the younger one to keep himself on his feet. "My stomach hurts from all the laughing." "Hey, Potter's getting up, he's looking very determined. Do you think you can imagine his father's look when he gets the letter?" "Hmm… Potter senior, he hates Slytherins, loves pranks, hates professor Snape, no Slytherin could be pretty in his eyes and according to him and many other people Trelawney should be locked up in the loony department at St Mungo's. He'll probably faint after shrieking like a girl."

Draco snickered. They both got to see when Weasley was hit. He started screaming, howling as he hit his arms, dragging his hands over his body, his freckled face losing all colour and he began a sort of odd dancing to get rid of the imaginary spiders. The students were excused from classes after that. As Serpens and Draco prepared to wash the food and foam away (the foam had reached knee-high before the teachers managed to stop it) the older teen turned to his lover and said: "Well then, what do you think?" "Apart from the grimy feeling of potatoes in my hair?" Draco said with a perfect Malfoy sneer. He snuck an arm around Serpens' waist. "When can it be done again?" Laughing, Serpens pulled Draco into the shower. -oVoldemort was seething underneath. But on the outside he looked very calm. Deadly calm. He glared at Dumbledore who sat there with hands linked and a grandfatherly smile on his face. "And pray tell me, headmaster Dumbledore, what led you to believe three children who had no proof and a known hatred for my son and his lover?" he asked. Very calmly. So calmly Lucius glanced over at him nervously. Only time Voldemort sounded deadly calm was when he was inches away from ripping someone's limbs away from the body. "I am merely worried for young Draco's sake," Dumbledore replied. "I want to rest assured that the relationship is willing from both parts." "And I can assure you it is," Lucius said, leaning forward. "You are making my son and Serpens feel like criminals." Both children sat there, deathly quiet, Draco paler than usual, his hand clutching Serpens'. The older teen stared at the floor. He knew it. He fucking knew it. That fucking Dumbledore, he was going to cut out that man's tongue and feed it to… he didn't know what but something. Then he was going to kill the man, perhaps burning him alive or something of the like, just as long as it was painful and slow. "A simple statement from young Mr Riddle under Veritaserum will solve any questions," Dumbledore asked. "I will of course conduct the questions." "What if I don't want my son under a bloody truth serum?" the Dark Lord asked. "Then I have no choice but to think young Draco is forced into this relationship-" "With all due respect, headmaster," Draco spoke and the man stopped. "It's bad enough you believe three Gryffindors who has shown clear hatred against the two of us, but to subject a student to Veritaserum will bring questions about you in the Ministry."

"Now, now, young Draco, I have to know if this relationship is a willing act-" "It is," the teen said. "What you are interested in is to see if Serpens broke any laws and had sexual intercourse with a minor and if he had you have no problems throwing him into Azkaban for that." Dumbledore's smile faltered. Then it came back in full force. "Oh, I do not wish for Mr Riddle to end up in prison. But that is the exact reason why I want a statement that he has not done such a thing-" "You don't need a statement. I refuse to allow you to subjugate my lover to Veritaserum's power and ask whatever you want to satisfy your desire to have power over everyone and everything alive around you." Dumbledore paled. "I am willing to let Madam Pomfrey to scan me," Draco said. "If I'm a virgin, there are no problems. Right, Minister?" Cornelius Fudge jumped at being addressed but then nodded ferociously. He had been called, but had been quite shocked at Dumbledore's bold actions against two poor students. "Of course, Mr Malfoy," he said, "of course. Naturally I had wished this had never occurred, it must cause you both some enormous stress to be singled out like this." "We're Slytherins," Serpens spoke for the first time. He stared right at Dumbledore. "That gives you the right to do whatever you feel like, doesn't it headmaster? After all, we're just the next generation of dark wizards you're going to kill anyway." "Serpens!" Voldemort hissed, shocked. Serpens was pale of rage. "You're humiliating me, and Draco," he whispered to the shocked headmaster, "and deep inside, you're enjoying it." He growled that last part out, his frosty eyes drilling right through the headmaster's Occlumency shields and the old man reared back. "Call the Healer here," Fudge said hurriedly, sensing something ugly would soon occur if he didn't hurry it up, "and let her perform the scan. If there are no problems, I highly suggest the poor youngsters should be allowed to go and that the harassment they have suffered through will cease immediately." Madam Pomfrey was called and she didn't look pleased with the headmaster. Then she sat Draco aside as she couldn't have anyone else disturbing the scan and smiled apologetically to him before performing it. A faint glow surrounded Draco's entire body. "The readings will appear on a paper," she said. "You and I will read it through before I will say what it says, alright?" Draco nodded as writing began to appear on the parchment she was holding. The scan

was finished within another minute and they went over it. "Do you understand what it says?" she asked, and he nodded again. Dumbledore felt a spark of hope, that it would state Draco Malfoy had indeed been deflowered, he had indeed lost his purity because for some reason, he wanted Salazar Serpens Riddle far, far away from Hogwarts. "It states, quite clearly, headmaster," she stared right at him, "that Draco Malfoy is still a virgin. Now will you cease tormenting these students?" She said that last part louder, eyes boring into his. "Have they not suffered enough? I demand you stop those three Gryffindors as well. For the sake of the well-being of Mr Riddle and Mr Malfoy you do the right thing and punish the three rightly. Otherwise I fear I might have Mr Riddle and Mr Malfoy quite often in my Infirmary and as charming as I find them, I rather meet them in good spirits and good health." Dumbledore had no other choice but to do it. He had lost all chances to get Serpens away. He said: "Very well. They shall be called here and let known the consequences of their actions. Minerva will be present as well as Severus, as he is Mr Malfoy's and Mr Riddle's Head of House. You two are free to go, and free of the classes for today. Your parents may stay with you today." Cornelius Fudge thanked and left at the same time as the men and their children. "I dearly hope this is the last of this foolishness," Fudge said as they came down to the bottom of the stairs. He shook Lucius' hand and continued, "Should another incident happen, contact me directly, Lucius." "Of course, Minister. I will do so." "Take care, all of you." Then he went towards the Entrance doors. "Shall we go to Severus' office?" Lucius asked. "I believe he has a free period." As they walked, the two children ahead, Voldemort and Lucius watched as Draco stretched out his hand and took Serpens'. The older teen squeezed and their fingers intertwined. Voldemort was angry but also upset. He wanted to comfort his son but he had to wait until they got to the privacy of Severus' office. But one thing was for certain. Before Serpens had finished sixth year, Dumbledore would be dead. -oSeverus pulled up privacy charms and wards that prevented anyone from entering and Serpens had been sitting stiffly next to his father while Draco all but burrowed into Lucius' chest. He wasn't crying but he was instead just breathing his father in. Voldemort stroke one hand over his son's back.

"He had no right doing that," Serpens said quietly but everyone heard him. "I know," the Dark Lord said. "He wanted me gone. I could hear it, his thoughts were focused on having me gone," the teen continued. "He probably suspects I'm connected to you." "Well, he wouldn't be wrong," Voldemort admitted. "But what he did was unacceptable. The children I might after some time understand, they do things without thinking but this is a man who has lived for over a hundred years. He is calculated and he knew every move he made. This was planned and that is what sealed his death today." Severus and Lucius looked over at him. Voldemort continued to stroke deep circles on his son's back. "Before the year has finished, before the ending feast, people will mourn that bastard's death," he swore. "I don't know how, but they will." "I was thinking of cutting off his tongue," Serpens said and smiled. "There, in the office. I thought of leaping over that damn desk and just cut it out. He'd deserve the humiliation of drooling and no one understanding what he was saying." Then quite promptly he turned and let his head rest on his father's shoulder, his whole body sagging. Voldemort smiled a bit and rested an arm around his son's shoulders. "I think you need to sleep some," he said. "I don't want to," Serpens said. "Not when I have you here." "It's October and you're missing me terribly already?" "I always miss you terribly so I don't want to waste my time with you by sleeping." There were so many things he had yet to discover about his father, so many things they hadn't talked about. He wanted an eternity to just talk with the man. An eternity and beyond to get to know him. "They'll be here all day," Draco said. "You can sleep for a few hours and when you wake up they'll still be here." Serpens allowed himself to be convinced and they led the way to the lovers' room. Lucius conjured a table and chairs and Draco took out his Wizard's Chess while Serpens lay down on the bed. "It's only October and it feels like I've gone through months of this mess," he said to his father as Voldemort sat down on the side of the bed. "If another month passes and it will continue, I'll take Draco with me and come home." "It won't be the same," Voldemort said. "They'll have no choice but to stop. And you said the prank was done yesterday?" It was Thursday and Serpens' first class had begun by now. Draco had been pulled out

of his own by a house-elf. Dumbledore hadn't even sent a teacher. He had sent a houseelf. Serpens had honestly expected a big Auror with a mean look that would have dragged him to the headmaster's office. When he had whispered that to his father before the Gargoyle had jumped to the side, Voldemort had replied that he had too vivid imagination. "Yes," he said, remembering the Dark Lord had asked a question. "I didn't see Weasley this morning but Granger was there and she was a total wreck. Potter was there too and he just looked weird. His father should have gotten the letter either yesterday night or today." "I'm quite sure we'll know," Voldemort said. "Now close you eyes and sleep this mess away." Serpens moved to his side and closed his eyes. Within a minute he was slumbering. When he woke up it was to see Lucius suffer utter defeat by his father at chess, and Draco reading a book next to them. The teen discovered him first, shut the book and crept into the bed. He wormed his way into Serpens' arms and sighed in contentment. "What time is it?" the older teen whispered. "Lunch. You have perfect timing." "Mmm, mostly." The adults discovered he was awake and called on a house-elf for lunch. Serpens and Draco dragged themselves from the bed to get something to eat. The rest of the day was spent quietly, a few plots for Dumbledore's demise and a few good laughs, and after dinner the two adults left. Serpens and Draco went to bed early, not having the energy to tell their friends of what had happened. They'd do it at breakfast. Serpens stripped and Draco followed suit, both creeping down into the bed and curling into each other. The blonde felt Serpens' warm breath against his forehead and sighed softly before nodding off to sleep. -oPansy was seething along with Blaise and Theodore. The Slytherins in Draco's and Serpens' year had come and asked where they had been the previous day. Once they had been told what had happened they had been less than impressed at the headmaster. Derrick from the Quidditch team came briefly to get informed, and his jaws tightened once he got to know it all. He looked over at Dumbledore but then sought out the Gryffindors. "Which ones is it?" he asked. "The bushy-haired girl and the raven-haired next to her," Draco said. "There should be a redhead too but I do believe he's still under his brothers' prank."

"It'll end around lunch today," Serpens said with a shrug. "I think." "I want to see the new students," Draco said. The two older ones didn't complain in the change of the subject. "Hope they'll be interesting." "Are either of you interested in getting into the tournament?" Derrick asked. "Please," Serpens moaned. "I've had enough troubles for this year already!" "I don't fancy risking my life in a stupid tournament only to win a cup," Draco said sourly. "I like living." "I second that," the older one said and ruffled his lover's hair. "Finish eating and I'll escort you to your class." "You don't have to do that. I got Blaise, Theodore and Pansy probably surrounding me." "You bet!" the girl cried. "Can I put my lover's safety in your hands?" Serpens said as Derrick shook his head, amused, before going back to his own spot. He pulled Draco close, hugging him to his chest. "You see, I'm terribly fond of him." "We'll look after him, now stop being so possessive," Theodore said. "Family trait," Serpens sniffed and released Draco. The blonde knew how possessive Voldemort could become of Serpens. And then he wondered when it would be revealed to the Slytherins who the teen really was. Right now most thought of the teen as nobody special. When in reality he was son to the Dark Lord of the century. -oJames had fainted when receiving his son's letter. He had then woken up and written a response and wanting to know what the hell was going on. Then he wrote one each to Hermione and Ron to see how his son was behaving. Then he decided to visit Lily the following day as he had gotten the letter late on Wednesday. He would visit his wife and then go to the Ministry to get some work done. Said and done, he got his visitor's pass at the reception the next morning and took the elevator to the floor where Lily had her room. He thought her condition ridiculous as instead of being shocked she should have jumped in joy at the prospect of that damn boy being gone. But then again they couldn't reveal Mattie as the real Boy-Who-Lived as it would seem suspicious. At least they couldn't do it now. Perhaps after Christmas. He hoped they would find Harry by then. His corpse would do just fine. He entered the room and Lily was sitting on the bed, legs on either side or her (how did she do that without cracking her knees?) and today she held one of Harry's sweaters

against her chest, crossing her arms over the piece of article. She herself was dressed in soft pants and a shirt. "Hello, Lils," he said and sat down on the edge of the bed. She stared into the wall. "Lils, how are you doing today?" She answered mostly. Now she blinked and looked over at him slowly. "I'm… well," she said. "If you are, why don't you… put down Harry's sweater for a bit?" he asked. "You can have it next to you. The healers say you're not getting better clutching clothes." "Harry's gone," she hissed, "and you dare sound so happy about it." "He wasn't our son," James hissed back. "He wasn't your son but he was mine," she said. "You never saw him as your son but guess what? I did. He was my child. And now he's gone." She turned away. She acted normally most of the time. But then there would be times she began to scream hysterically for Harry, as if the teen would burst in hearing her call. "Lily," James growled. "Harry was a son to a dark family. He was filth. We tried to get the filth out of him but what happened? In school he was sorted into Ravenclaw, he didn't like pranks, he didn't act like he should and he started to spend time with Snivellus!" "Don't call Severus that!" she hissed and magic sparked in the room. The lights began to flicker. James jumped up from the bed and she stood up, still holding the teen's sweater. "I've let you and Sirius get away with things for too long! I've been standing in the shadows for too long! But now that's over! I'll never be your wife again! I'll never stand by your side! Severus was right; I should never have married a scum like you!" The lights exploded, the whole room was shaking and healers came in. "You must leave, Mr Potter!" one shouted and more or less pushed him out. They had realized the moment they came into the room that she was having an outburst because of something they argued over and as soon as James was out of the room she calmed down. She sat down on the bed and began to cry. A healer sat down next to her and rubbed her back. "I would like to speak to someone at the Ministry," Lily said and straightened up. Her voice was clear, her eyes cold. But she was sane. They could feel it on the humming of her magic. She was sincere in her request, and she was serious. "About what?" the healer asked. Lily looked at the woman. There would be no turning back after this. She would be poor, she didn't have that much money saved, and she wouldn't have a home. But she didn't care. Lily steeled herself, looked right into the eyes of the healer and said:

"I want to file for a divorce." -oBeauxbatons and Durmstrang. Most guys had drooled at the sight of a certain girl from the French school, a girl with almost white blonde hair and her skin was practically glowing. Serpens suspected she had some Veela in her. Draco had looked around and wondered why the guys looked like idiots. Then he spotted the girl and understood. Viktor Krum was with the Durmstrang students. Serpens was vaguely aware of whom that was but Draco was far more interested as he was a bit of a Quidditch freak. To the blonde's joy, Viktor sat down next to their group along with a few others from his school. Dumbledore babbled on about the tournament and introduced the Goblet of Fire. Serpens looked at it and wanted to steal it. The flames looked pretty. Then he shook himself out of it, stealing it wouldn't do anything good and the food appeared. There were some new dishes and Serpens tried a bit of everything. "Now, if you don't like it you have to take something you do like," Draco hissed. "You are far too obsessed with my health," Serpens said. "I'm not the one who's skinny." "Why must everyone call me skinny?" the teen said exasperated. "Because that's what you are," the blonde replied. Serpens grumbled but began to eat. Some of it fit his taste, some didn't and so he fell back on some old, regular chicken which he really didn't mind. The younger ones began to speak to the Durmstrang students but Serpens didn't join the conversation. He had decided to start on his chaos the weekend after the selection of the champions. Nothing much, just a bit of torture and leave the student Oblivated in a hallway. He knew he would kill someone in the end of the experiments before he killed the trio and hopefully his father killed Dumbledore. Beyond the torture another prank would be played but he and the twins hadn't decided when. It involved Severus and his brewing skills. Some of the desserts were new as well, but he didn't feel particular fond of anyone. Draco though seemed to like the French desserts. Serpens looked up and saw the guys fawn over the girl with Veela blood. He didn't know her name but he was quite sure he would soon find out. Then Dumbledore reminded them of when the champions would be chosen, and with that done he sent them all off to bed. -oDraco stopped Serpens before he could lie down.

"What's wrong?" the older asked. It had been a long day with the foreigners arriving and he was looking forward to sleep some. The blonde swallowed. "Dumbledore won't be able to do anything towards us anymore." "That's right, I suppose. If he does, the Ministry will be involved. Why?" "I want to try something." Serpens frowned. "You don't have to do anything you don't want to, Draco," he replied. "I know that. But I want to try something." "Alright…" Draco pushed Serpens down. Serpens pulled himself so he was lying with his head on the pillows, then his eyes widened as the blonde's hand came to rest on his hips, and then gently pulled on the underwear. He grabbed Draco's hands. XX LEMON (kind of) XX "Are you sure?" he asked. "Yes," Draco replied. His hands were released and he pulled Serpens' underwear off, dropping it on the floor. He stroke up the pale thighs, moving to the sensitive insides of them and then over the pelvis to the hips. His skin there was paler than the rest, and softer. "Serpens?" "Yes?" "Have you ever been naked in front of someone?" "You mean intentionally?" "Yes." Serpens smiled a bit and eased his legs on either side of the blonde. "No, I haven't. You are the first one to see me like this." Draco nodded. Then he grinned, and quite boldly he wrapped a hand around his lover's cock. Serpens moaned and his eyes closed. Draco could feel it getting harder and there was a faint dust of red on his lover's cheeks. He steadied himself on one arm next to Serpens' chest, leaning over the lean body and he began to pump gently. Serpens moaned and strokes his hands over Draco's chest,

moving lower and cupping the blonde who moaned right back. "Am I allowed to touch you, Draco?" the older whispered. "Yes, please!" Serpens gently moved the underwear away, Draco kicking it off and there was the wonderful feeling of hands touching his back, sliding down his legs and Serpens had to lift himself a little to do that and then on the insides of his thighs making him tremble and Serpens tugged at his hips, lowering him. Draco dropped his lover's member and braced on the other side, then cried out as their lower halves slid together. Serpens moaned quietly and arched his hips, making Draco cry out again. Then Draco pressed his lips against Serpens', they were chest to chest and the blonde was moving. Serpens cried out this time, feeling heat coiling low in his stomach and making him draw his legs up. He was panting as Draco arched above him, and he pushed his own hips upwards. The blonde threw his head back with a yell and warm stickiness splattered onto Serpens' stomach. Another arch, another push and the older teen came as well. He pulled Draco down for a kiss and rolled them over. He was on his hands and knees above Draco, drunkenly kissing and feeling the blonde's hands settle on his hips. XX END LEMON XX Once they separated Draco looked up at him sleepily. Serpens fumbled for his wand and cleaned them both up. Then he collapsed next to the teen and drew the covers up. "It was my first orgasm," Draco said. "Mine as well if that satisfies you," Serpens chuckled. "Merlin, I didn't know this kind of thing would make you this tired…" Draco merely mumbled and snuggled into Serpens' side. He threw one leg over his lover's hip. Serpens wrapped his arms around the blonde and then came to think about something. He grinned into Draco's hair, and couldn't help saying it out loud: "I wonder if this counts as taking your virginity…" The blonde smacked him over the head and told him to go to sleep. Chapter Ten Draco woke up feeling heavy and then remembered what they had done last night. Strangely enough he didn't get bright red at the memory of seeing his lover naked for the first time. Serpens had been so beautiful. Now he turned his head to watch said teen. He was lying on his side, frosty eyes closed and his breath was heavy and deep. He wouldn't wake up for a while unless Draco didn't wake him.

The blonde wasn't going to. It was Saturday and Serpens had earned to sleep in. Draco wouldn't be going anywhere either; they could call for a house-elf to get something to eat. So he settled back down and moved Serpens' arm around his waist, letting his head rest against the older teen's chest. He closed his eyes and let the lull of his lover's heartbeat soothe him to sleep. -oThey didn't move outside the room until dinner. Then they came into the Great Hall and Theodore and Blaise immediately made place for them. The two sat down and Theodore said: "Where've you guys been?" "Sleeping," Draco replied. "His fault." "You could've woken me up," Serpens replied. "You look so cute when you're asleep." Draco was rewarded with Serpens' faint blush and grinned. Then he got a mischievous glint in his eyes and wrapped their hands together and then placed them on top of the table so everyone could see. Serpens only glanced over at him with a small smile before continuing to eat. Draco really didn't want to let go. He wanted to hold on forever, and he wouldn't care who looked. He wouldn't care about those Gryffindors anymore. Their words had hurt, yes, he wouldn't deny that but he wouldn't let them start it up again. He would shut them up one way or another before they could start on any of their lectures. He looked over at Serpens. He was sure if he didn't do it, the older teen would. This had been a tense experience for them both and Draco wasn't sure how relaxed Serpens was. He knew from stories that the Dark Lord relaxed by torturing someone, and he had to wonder if his son was the same. There was yet again foreign food and Draco happily picked up a bit of everything. Viktor and a few from Durmstrang weren't far away but they were discussing something with each other. Perhaps who were going to put their names into the goblet. No one under seventeen could do it. For Serpens that didn't matter. He wasn't interested in being in a tournament that was known for killing its participants. Ron was in the hall this day. He looked positively sick and jumped every time someone addressed him. He also kept looking at himself, as to make sure there were no spiders. Hermione still didn't look too good, she glanced around suspiciously and she looked tired. Mattie didn't look much better, and Serpens suspected he might have gotten a letter from his father that demanded explanations. He was kind of sad to miss how the teen had reacted. He noted that Thomas and Finnigan was glaring at them too, and wondered what crawled up their asses and died. Oh, ignorant Gryffindors really wore his patience thin. He knew now why Severus yearned to throttle some of them. Apparently the only relatively good on in that year was Parvati Patil. Serpens had helped her sister a few

times, as Padma was in Ravenclaw. Padma was polite and kind, he didn't mind her. And he had seen her smile watching him and Draco so she was in his good books so far. "Serpens?" He hummed and looked back at Draco. He poked the fork at the food and smiled a bit. "I was just thinking." "About what?" the blonde asked. "Oh, nothing special. Just let my mind wander. Is that any good?" He pointed at a roll on Draco's plate and the blonde nodded. Serpens stuck his fork into it and took a bite. "Hey, that was mine!" "Get another one," the raven-haired teen said and chewed on it. "Hmm, this is quite good. I want more." Thomas and Finnigan glaring were annoying. He would have to fix that soon. -oOn Sunday, Luna was humming as she stood in the Entrance hall and the Golden trio looked over at her. Her hair was spilled out and she was wearing a purple robe, the colour quite a contrast to how most dressed in the school. "It's just Loony Lovegood," Ron said. "She's wearing that stupid necklace again," Hermione said and wrinkled her nose. The blonde suddenly turned and stared airily right past them, and she smiled serenely. "Serpens!" she called out and they turned around. Said teen swept past them without sparing them a look, black cloak over his robes and he nodded his greeting to the girl as they began to walk outside. "Where are your shoes?" he suddenly asked as he looked down. She was barefoot. "Oh, they said I needed to be barefoot today. We're only going for a short walk anyway." "… They?" She just smiled and tilted her head, and Serpens felt his sanity would remain more intact if he didn't insist in knowing. So he let it go and she led the way to the Forbidden Forest. "We aren't going to run in with the giant?" Serpens wondered as they stepped over roots and avoided branches. He hadn't been in the forest much before, and didn't know how

much Hagrid wandered around. He just knew the giant wouldn't like seeing him as he was now. Hell, Hagrid hadn't been too fond of him back when he was Harry. "No," Luna said. "It's something eating at his cabbage." "Do I want to know how you know that?" "Not really." "Okay," he said and swung low as a branch nearly whipped him in the face. There was a rustling of wings, and Luna stopped in short of one of the younger Thestrals. The leather-like wings folded as it spotted them, and slowly moved closer. "It's a he," Luna said. "He was born last year." The creature came closer and nosed on her face, recognizing her. Serpens smoothly moved over to the girl's side and ran a hand over the mane of the creature. The Thestral didn't seem to mind. He was bony, looking gaunt but Serpens had always thought the Thestrals had a strange kind of beauty to them. Others came and joined, and a couple of minutes later Serpens was surrounded by them, smiling. They puffed at him, breathed out in his hair, nudged to get petted and he rather liked the attention. Luna gave them raw meat she had collected from the kitchen, and they were all eager to have a piece. It was comforting and relaxing to be the Thestrals. To be outside the school too. Sure, he liked it in there but sometimes the noises grew too loud. He would have loved Hogwarts had it been half the amount of people in there. Then the noises wouldn't rise so high in the Great Hall. Maybe if he would make it so there were lesser people inside of Hogwarts. Yes, hearing Granger scream for her mummy and daddy before she died… "You're thinking about something destructive again." He immediately sobered and scowled over at Luna who only smiled at him. She had to be a mind-reader. She just had to be. He patted the nose of the Thestral in front of him and chuckled as said nose puffed at his chest. "Where's Draco today?" "Doing a project with Blaise and Pansy," Serpens replied. "Don't you get annoyed when people call you loony?" "No," she said. "It makes everyone think I'm loony. It's a great advantage." Her smile turned into a grin and he raised an eyebrow. "Remind me to not get on your bad side," he muttered. "Same goes for you," she replied. Oh. Well, she was probably right.

They were both kind of scary when they wanted to be. Serpens grinned and stroke the ears of the Thestral. That wasn't so bad. He felt like doing something bad. But to who? "Tell me, Luna… has anyone annoyed you recently?" "Oh, lots of people annoy me," she said and looked over at him. "But I really don't like Zacharias." "Which one is that?" "Smith, in Hufflepuff. He's such an unpleasant boy." "Zacharias Smith. What does he look like?" "You're planning something," Luna said as they prepared to leave. "Is that a bad thing?" he asked. She thought for a moment. "No," she replied. "Not really." She took his hand and began to drag him back out from the forest. "Come on, let's see if he's in the Great Hall so I can point him out." -oClasses started anew on Monday and Draco thought Serpens was in a way too good mood. Maybe he did just throw away the unpleasant bits of the past away and completely forgot about them. It wasn't like the blonde thought much about what had happened, but he really wanted to know what had put Serpens in such a good mood. But not right now. He snuggled back against Serpens' chest as he continued to read the chapter in the potions book for the next class. Serpens hummed lightly as he continued with his own work in potions, not bothered at all he practically had the blonde dumped on his lap. "You're in a good mood," Draco stated after a while. They were in their room, on the bed with papers and books spread out around them. "Yeah, I guess," Serpens said. "Want to tell me why?" "You're here." "You've been in a good mood for longer than a few hours," Draco said. "Oh, you mean that? I'm just planning something fun for myself," Serpens said. "Plus you're here. That always puts me in a good mood."

"Hmm, glad I can be of service." Serpens chuckled. -oThe next day the champions were to be announced. Draco was dragged into a discussion who was going to be the Hogwarts champion. And as he was dragged in by his year-mates, Serpens followed without fault. "Who do you think will be the champion?" Pansy asked the older teen and they all turned to look at him. "Hmm…" Serpens replied and looked around the hall. "If I had to take a guess, Cedric Diggory." "From Hufflepuff?" Blaise said in doubt. "Come on." "He's apparently a good dueller," Serpens said. He knew Cedric was a good dueller, and he would probably be able to face the tasks without losing his head. "I think he's a rather good candidate." "You sure you haven't put your name in?" Pansy asked with a grin. "Please, I'm not suicidal or wishing for some stupid glory," he scoffed. "Right now I'm interested in the goblet of fire." "Why?" Draco asked, suspicious. "The flames look nice." Draco groaned at the straight answer. "You're not going to try stealing it, are you?" he hissed. "They'll probably take it away after this," Serpens muttered. "So I won't have a chance to do it. Would've been nice though." "You're not stealing it," the blonde said. "Why not?" "You are not stealing it." "Alright, alright, I just said I liked the flames," Serpens said. "How stingy." "I'd rather not give anyone any reason to have you in shackles and in a cell at the Ministry!" "Like I'm going to be caught," Serpens said and looked over at him. He grinned. "After all, I'm his son."

"Who's son?" Blaise asked. "Oh, I wouldn't want to cause mass panic," Serpens began and was cut off by Draco: "Yes, you would. You would love it, laugh at everyone screaming and shoot off numerous spells before magically vanishing before anyone caught you." "There is no need to be cynical with me, love," the raven-haired said. "You would do that," Draco said. "Just because I would doesn't mean I will do it now," Serpens said and Blaise looked between the two of them, confused. "He doesn't get who I am." "It's because you haven't told him." "One would think a Slytherin would be able to figure it out." "Not when you give clues in such a strange fashion," Draco said before leaning closer to Blaise and Theodore and saying, "He's the son to the Dark Lord." The two stared at Serpens. He glanced over at them. Pansy drank some juice and raised an eyebrow at the two boys, smiling secretly. It was so fun seeing Slytherins speechless. Granted, it didn't happen often so she treasured the times it did happen. "And if any of you start to think 'we must address him more formally!' I'll kill you," Serpens said. "Got it?" "Got it," Theodore managed. "Good. Now, where were we in this discussion anyway?" "Pansy asked if you really hadn't put your name in the goblet," Draco said. "Good you keep track on things," Serpens said. "My thoughts are somewhat scattered today." "What are you thinking about?" the blonde asked. "I'm scheming evil things." Draco groaned. "Why doesn't that answer surprise me?" While Blaise and Theodore were still recovering from the news Serpens chuckled at Draco and nuzzled his hair before his eyes slid over to the Hufflepuff table. Luna was a Ravenclaw yet Zacharias Smith was giving her a hard time? But according to rumours, he gave a lot of people a hard time. He spotted the blonde, skinny boy and his eyes narrowed before turning away. Tomorrow would be an interesting day. A very interesting day…

The dinner went smoothly and it was time to announce the champions. From Beauxbatons was the girl everyone fawned after, Fleur Delacour. Guys nearly fainted as she walked past them and Serpens couldn't really understand why they behaved better. She wasn't even a full Veela for Merlin's sake! Durmstrang was Victor Krum, but then again he suspected as such. Krum was famous and that fame wasn't just because he was a known Quidditch player. He had the skills and the nerves to face the tasks. Then it was time for Hogwarts. Serpens honestly wasn't sure who it would be. He had placed his hopes for Cedric Diggory, mostly because he didn't know many other duellers at Hogwarts. He supposed there were people amongst the Slytherins that could do it but then the Slytherins mostly sought their own interest and not many were interested in getting a stupid cup and a thousand Galleons as prize. He did understand that, and fully agreed. The cup was just a pretty trinket and a thousand Galleons were nothing in his bank vault. "Who will it be?" Draco asked as the fire prepared to hurl out the piece of parchment that would let them know who the Hogwarts champion was. "I still go for Diggory," Serpens said stubbornly. "Want to bet?" Draco asked. "What are the terms?" he replied. "If it is Diggory, I'll be your slave for one evening." "Oh, I like the sound of that. And if it won't?" "Same goes for you; you'll be my slave for one evening." "Deal. But I'm going to win." "You're sounding awfully confident," Draco said. "Of course. Because I'm going to win." "Sometimes I don't understand your logic…" "Good. Don't try. Here it comes." Draco looked over at Serpens and figured the older teen would win. Being Serpens' slave for one evening… for some embarrassing reason, that didn't sound bad at all. The teen looked ridiculously smug as Cedric Diggory rose up and received the applauses with a smile. "Alright, alright," Draco hissed. "You win! Want me to be it tonight?" "Nah, I got plans tonight," Serpens said and pressed his lips to the blonde's temple.

"What kind of plans?" Draco murmured. "Fun plans." "Fun in your way or fun in normal way?" "Fun in my way of course." "Serpens…" "I'll be fine, don't worry. I won't get caught." Draco wasn't sure what to feel. Partly he was terrified someone was going to discover Serpens and have him removed while partly he was excited to see what the teen would do and to who. "Who?" he whispered. "No one with connection to me," Serpens said. "But according to a dreamy little blonde girl, he's such an unpleasant boy." "Dreamy little blo-Luna Lovegood?" "She likes to take walks with the Thestrals, and so we took a walk and she mentioned it. So I'll take care of an unpleasant boy tonight. Don't wait up for me, love." Draco kissed him and pouted. "I'll wait up if I want to," he replied as they rose up and prepared to leave. "How are you going to stop this guy?" "I have friends," Serpens said. "Who?" "I'll introduce you to them soon." Draco still didn't know about the twins. Sure, he knew Serpens had had some help with the prank against the Golden trio of Gryffindor and that the twins were behind Ron's but he didn't fully know. But Serpens would introduce Fred and George to Draco. "Who are they?" Draco asked. "You'll like them," Serpens replied. "It's them, isn't it?" "It's who, I wonder?" "Yes, Forge, who might it be?"

Draco jumped and whirled around as Fred and George slung one arm each around Serpens' shoulders, both grinning at the blonde. "We won't let him get away-" Fred began. "-So don't look so worried, Serpens. He's in our sight-" "-And we got the trap planned already." "Trap, huh? That's clever of you. Won't anyone else be caught in it though?" Serpens wondered. "Nope!" Fred said with a grin. "We made sure-" "-Only the chosen victim could end up in the trap!" "How very smart. I didn't think you'd have the brains for it." The two scowled and stuck their tongues out at him. He only smiled. "Oh, you two, retreat those tongues and say hello to my lover, Draco Malfoy. Draco, this is the ever-annoying Weasley twins I tripped over when school had just begun." "Tripped over," Fred muttered. "Tripped over he says. Bloody sod. Hello, Draco." "Nice to meet you, Draco," George said. "Ah, he's closing in." "We better get going then," Serpens said. He kissed Draco's forehead and smiled at him. "I'll come back later, okay?" "Alright," the blonde said. Before he turned to leave though, he smiled and continued, "Have fun." Serpens' smile turned feral. "Oh, I will." -oZacharias Smith wasn't sure at first what had happened. He felt heavy and sluggish, and it took him minutes to even be able to open his eyes. And when he did, he wished he hadn't. It looked like the dungeons. Yet the smell and the warmth told him it wasn't. There was neither dampness nor chill nearby. It just looked like the dungeons. "He's awake." Zacharias snapped his head towards the voice and saw a person lean against the wall, face hidden by a simple, white mask over the upper face. Eyes behind the mask stared

at him, and a smile played at the teen's lips. It was male, tall, and dressed in black robes with a hood that hid the hair. "Indeed he is." He snapped to the wall opposite and another teen was there, identical with the exception his robes were white, and his mask black. "Then I guess we can begin?" A third voice, a person passed him from having stood behind him and Zacharias gulped. This one wore a blood red robe, black hair spilling down his shoulders and a red mask on his upper face. He grinned at the shackled boy who realized the shackles were inserted in the ceiling and there were shackles binding his ankles to the floor. They held him upright but also numbed his arms. "Who the hell are you?" he shouted. "Now, now, not so loudly," the one with red mask said. "It bounces off in here terribly. You don't want to give me a headache now would you?" "Shut up! Let me go! Let me go! Wait until the headmaster gets to hear-!" "Oh, he will know," the red-masked teen said and strokes his wand against Zacharias' cheek. He leaned closer, grin still there and the eyes glittering pools of ice. "Trust me, he will know." Just not in the way Zacharias Smith hoped. -oDraco woke up after midnight feeling someone sliding into the bed and he turned around sleepily. Serpens kissed him carefully and the blonde mumbled: "You're late…" "I'm sorry," Serpens sniggered, "I wasn't aware I had a curfew." "Now you do," Draco tried to say sternly. "Hug me." "With pleasure." The blonde didn't ask who it was, or what Serpens had done to that person. He figured he would get to know in the morning. He got to know. In a very screamish, sobbing and scary kind of way. The one to discover the victim was a bunch of Ravenclaws on their way to the Great Hall for breakfast. In the doorway to the hall an unconscious fourth year had been lying and had been indentified as Zacharias Smith.

The screaming came in before he was identified, and when he had been turned over to his back as he was found on his stomach. His face was a mess. His nose broken, several deep scratched crossing over his skin and dried blood in his hair. He had a few wounds on the rest of his body but most of the damage was done to his face. And worst part, according to everyone, was that his mouth was sewn shut. Draco listened to all this, of course Pansy knew it all, during breakfast and didn't dare glancing over at Serpens. Everyone was kind of skittish and nervous, and the teachers would patrol the halls and trying to find the culprit. Of course no student was suspect. At least that was what the professors said. The Beauxbatons and the Durmstrang students didn't seem as nervous as the Hogwarts, and Victor Krum had only raised an eyebrow when he heard about the incident. Then he had simply said in his rough English: "Whoever it was he probably deserved it." Ah, that was the kind of reply Serpens liked. He listened to Pansy's tale and refrained from chuckling. Fred and George had offered to dump the body somewhere visible. Fred had been wearing the white mask and black robes while George had worn the opposite. The masks had only been added the day before as there was a possibility that Dumbledore could tear through their Oblivate and find out their faces. Serpens hadn't thought that far, and was glad at least someone of them had had brain enough to think that up. Now the blonde turned to him and Serpens realized Pansy was done. Draco's eyebrow rose in a question. Was it you? "Who did you say it was again?" Serpens asked Pansy instead. "Zacharias Smith," she replied. "Oh, him. Such an unpleasant boy…" Draco's eyes widened and Serpens swooped down, kissed his cheek near the ear and whispered: "It was me." The blonde gave almost an unnoticeable nod and smiled at him. "Yeah, I heard he was a bit unpleasant," Pansy said. "He talked back to anyone and kept thinking he was the best. I wonder how he's doing." "What, you don't know?" Theodore asked. "Shocking." She hit in on the arm and scowled. Draco intertwined his hand with Serpens' and turned to him. "How is he doing?" he whispered.

"He'll probably come back to school unless he's too scared to," Serpens replied. "But he won't remember who did it. It's a bit tricky to let him remember the pain but not the ones who caused it but I think we did a decent job of it." "Be careful, okay?" the blonde said. "I don't want anything to happen to you." "Don't worry," Serpens said. "I won't let anything happen to myself. Or to you. Or to anyone I don't want hurt." "Really? How?" Draco asked but with a smile. "By just being myself of course." "You're far too arrogant for your own good," Draco muttered. "Well, I got you to knock me down, don't I?" "I most certainly will," the blonde said with a grin. Serpens snickered and covered the blonde's mouth. "We're supposed to be in mourning for Smith," he said. "No grinning." "He isn't even dead," Draco huffed but he did stop grinning and turned back to his food. "You sound whiny." "Can't I be whiny?" the blonde muttered. "Kiss me." Serpens shrugged and pecked him on the cheek. He was aware of some looks but didn't care; he had every right to show his affection for his lover. If they had something to say about it, they might as well cut off their own tongue and stuff it down their throats because otherwise he would do it. Or maybe they could just shut up. Didn't really matter; either outcome would be as fun to watch. -oZacharias Smith came back shortly before Halloween, jumpy and scared. Dumbledore and the Aurors had concluded the assailant was an adult wizard coming into the school, and the headmaster put up stronger surveillance outside to make sure no one could get in unauthorized. It was kind of funny how easy it could be avoided running into any of the obstacles, but Serpens wasn't about to share that fact with Dumbledore. School ran smoothly and things calmed down about the foreign students. But one fine Sunday Serpens found himself in the kitchens, a Butterbeer in his hand and a pair of grinning redheads across him. "So…" he said.

"So," Fred and George replied. "Any reason why we're here? Oh, thank you." He accepted a roll from a dish a house-elf had brought him and the small creature almost fainted hearing that. The twins shook their heads and took some rolls as well. "The reason why we're here," Fred began. "—is because we're bored—" "—and we would like to entertain the foreign students—" "—and of course humiliate some others," George finished. "Sounds fun enough. Got any plans for it?" Serpens asked as he licked off some sauce from his fingers. Their grins said enough. -oHalloween dinner passed recently quiet, as the gossip about the attack had quieted down and everything was slowly turning back to normal. Well, not for long. Serpens had planned with the twins for a few days now and they started to have a prank formed. It wouldn't do any blood-spilling, just good-natural chaos and fun. The teachers might not appreciate it as much, as they already look a bit bad to the foreign students when letting Smith's attacker get away. But Serpens didn't really care about that. Neither did Fred and George. It wouldn't matter so much if they were caught; they were on the suspectlist constantly anyway. The prank was due after the first task of the tournament but before Christmas. Early December perhaps. It wouldn't happen in the Great Hall. Instead it was focus on the main corridors used to get to classrooms. They had to work carefully during the nights to get the spells ready and placed out at the right places. Serpens wondered why some people thought pranks were just mindless doing; this certainly took a lot of stealth and sneaking around to be accomplished. "You're spacing out." Serpens blinked and looked over at Draco who raised an eyebrow at him. He smiled brightly and said: "Just thinking." "Spacing out," the blonde corrected and Serpens scowled. "What did you think about?" "Stuff," the older teen absently replied as he glanced around the hall. "What kind of stuff?" "Hmm, you'll see sooner or later." He pressed his nose to Draco's hair, inhaled his

lover's scent and grew almost drowsy in a moment. Draco had the tendency to do that with him without meaning it. Most of the time the blonde wasn't aware he was doing that. The blonde shook his head at Serpens' secrecy but turned back to his conversation with Viktor Krum about some Quidditch game they both had seen. Serpens looked around the hall, poking at his food. It was really good food, he just wasn't in the mood. He dropped the fork and took Draco's hand instead, intertwining their hands and the blonde didn't say anything about it nor did Viktor. The Bulgarian had looked at them the first time it happened but he was probably used to it now. Finally Draco nudged his hand back to the fork and Serpens sighed before starting to eat the almost cold food. The chatter around him was as always, a bit irritating. It appeared like no matter what table you sat at seemed to drown out the noises and with hundreds of students talking it was a lot. Add how it bounced around the walls and a sane person could go crazy. He could finally focus on dessert and probably devoured more than what healthy but it helped drowning out all the talking so he was satisfied with that. And once the tables were cleared Dumbledore rose up and the talking died down. Serpens scratched at the table as the headmaster talked a bit about Halloween, and then the old Samhain and the teen couldn't help but wonder why they called this celebration Halloween. That was what the Muggles called it, right? Shouldn't wizards and witches at least call it All Hallows Eve? Or go with the Samhain? Then again, this was Dumbledore; he loved Muggles and would do anything to keep butting their traditions into the school. After his speech they were dismissed and the whole student mass rose up, almost like one person. Serpens found that funny and grinned a little, confusing Draco but the blonde calmed down as he drew the boy near and kissed his forehead. "What are you so giddy about?" Draco said. "You didn't have any alcoholic to drink while I wasn't looking, right?" "Can't I be giddy about life?" Serpens said. "No," Draco muttered. "That's just scary." "Well, I am giddy about life. Or maybe it's love. Right now, I'm very giddy but that's because I got a cute blonde in my arms." Draco grew bright red and Serpens laughed. Viktor shook his head at them before fighting to get back to the ship where all the Durmstrang students camped out. "Don't say things like that! At least not until I've learned to control my blushing!" "I think that is an impossible feat, Draco dear." "Watch me! I'll learn it so don't you dare say things like that in public!" Draco nearly shrieked. "Ah, but isn't practice the best way to go?" Serpens cooed. "I can practice with you."

"No. Not here!" "Cutie." Draco blushed again and Serpens chuckled. "Mm, your cheeks looks red, darling." "Serpens," Draco squeaked. "Oh, I think I'm going to enjoy myself a lot the following months," Serpens said and grinned. "You're a horrible, horrible, horrible person." They had moved out into the hall and Serpens slipped an arm around Draco's waist, feeling happiness swell as Draco wrapped his own arm around Serpens' waist in return. "But you love me anyway," he countered. He would deny flying on fluffy white clouds of joy when Draco replied: "That I do." Chapter Eleven Draco soon realized he loved waking up together with Serpens. He loved falling asleep with the teen too. He loved waking up in the middle of the night, roll over and Serpens would be there. It was a comforting feeling, and it made him feel safe in a way he had never felt before. This morning was no different. He stroke away some stray strands from Serpens' face and smiled a little as the teen's hand, lying near his face, twitched. Serpens was pretty much a heavy sleeper. Draco drew closer and laid his cheek against Serpens' sleepwarm one. He felt like his heart would burst of pure happiness. It was incredibly sappy but in the privacy of their room he didn't mind showing it. Under him Serpens moved slightly but didn't wake. Draco knew when Serpens was awake. A powerful energy filled the room he was in when the older teen was awake. Now it was humming, resting until Serpens' frosty eyes opened. Draco tucked himself into Serpens' embrace, smiling as Serpens automatically draped an arm around him and who needed covers when you had a warm lover next to you? -oSerpens spent a few afternoons after classes in the kitchens together with the Weasley twins to come up with a prank suitable and them being able to do it without being discovered. Or at least, without him being discovered. Fred and George were used to take the blame, even if they hadn't committed the prank in the first place.

"Nothing harmful I presume," Serpens said as he sipped some tea. The weather had steadily been growing colder but the kitchens were warm and he didn't need the fur-lined robe he had wrapped around himself ever since getting up from the bed that morning. He hadn't cared if any teacher called him out on that; he was freaking cold. "Harmful?" the twins repeated in mock-shock, hands over their hearts. He rolled his eyes. "Are you suggesting we would actually harm someone?" "Don't give me that look," he replied, "I know you would." "Well, that is true," George said with a sideway glance at his brother. "True, true," Fred said with a nod. "However, it won't be harmful this time." "This time he says," Serpens muttered with another roll of his eyes. "Alright, where should we base it?" "Perhaps the corridors," Fred suggested. "I mean, that's where everyone walks at some point of the day." "Something funny," George said. "Everyone is so tense because of that tournament and keeps glaring at each other. The Hufflepuffs are getting cocky because Hogwarts' champion is a Hufflepuff, it's annoying." "Agreed," Serpens said. "That's why I try to avoid people outside of Slytherin. Being in the snake's den is so much fun. I don't miss walking around the halls at all." "Because you got that cute blonde," Fred muttered. "Do I sound sappy if I say he's like the light in my universe?" "Very sappy," the twins said simultaneously. "Well… even I am allowed to be sappy at times," the teen said and looked over at them. "You're getting soft," Fred said. "I believe I've been soft ever since I and Draco became friends." "Does he know? About you, as in the past you in connection with who you are now?" Serpens looked at them, then shook his head. "No," he added. "I was thinking… of informing him during the winter holidays. You know, give him some time to think about it at his own home." "I'm sure he'll accept you," George said. "I'm hoping that. I'm not quite sure what I would do without him right now." "Aaw, our sweet Serpens is love-sick," the twins cooed.

"Don't make that… those faces at me." "Or else?" they challenged. "I'll blow them away." Fred and George both waved their hands in a dismissive gesture. "Come on, the house-elves have enough to clean up without having to sort out brain splatter in their own kitchen," Fred said. "Who says there will be any brain left to splatter?" Serpens asked and caressed his wand, smiling sweetly at the two of them. A house-elf coming with biscuits and pastries cut off their 'friendly' chat and the three teens thanked her, making the female house-elf squeak and stumble back to the other end, clutching at her chest and immediately pointing them out and re-telling their thanks to anyone who wanted to listen. "Give it one more month and they'll worship us," Fred said as he took a bite of his chocolate muffin filled with vanilla cream. "I think they already do," Serpens confessed. "Usually we have to ask for our favourite snacks; now they just make them." "And yours include a cheese sandwich instead of this goodness?" George said, gesturing with his own vanilla cream-filled chocolate muffin. "Well, I find myself getting hungry before dinner," Serpens said. "Draco says it'll spoil my appetite but I find it quite refreshing with a sandwich before dinner." "He's turning into a real teenager," Fred said and George nodded seriously. "And what is a real teenager?" "One with a bottomless stomach," they replied. "Then again, Ron must have entered that stage when he was six." "Oh, please don't remind me," Serpens groaned. Just the memory of the Potters' dinners with Ron present made his stomach turn. "That pig…" "Pig? Our Ronnie is a pig?" "Yes, with a mouth that can't seem to shut up," Serpens said. "I wouldn't have minded it if it wasn't for the fact he never seemed to shut up. Even when eating." "I believe we are familiar with that," Fred said. "We wisely turned our heads away, and sat far away from him at the table." "If only that had helped," Serpens muttered.

It didn't help that all the twins did was to snicker at him. -oDraco was definitely blushing. Serpens smirked at that and the blonde scowled and said: "Alright, alright! Why tonight?" "I want it to occur tonight," he replied simply. "You want what to occur?" Theodore said as he came up to them. "Speak more quietly, people could misunderstand you." "Oh, I wasn't aware we were talking that loud. Anyway, we're with Slytherins; they won't say much." "Sure you weren't aware," the teen continued. "Anyway, what is it?" "Draco lost a bet some time ago," Serpens said. "If he lost, he was going to be my slave for a night." "Slave in what sense?" Theodore asked with a smirk and Draco hit his arm. "Shut up!" the blonde growled. "What do you want me to do, Serpens?" "Massage my feet," Serpens replied without hesitation. "I don't know how to do that," Draco growled hotly. "Then you have an hour to learn," Serpens said and kissed him on the cheek. "Meet me in our room after dinner." "Ugh, I'll never live this down…" Draco bemoaned as he moved away. Serpens looked way too satisfied with himself. -oDraco edged his way into the room later, fearing what he might find. The result was somewhat surprising. Serpens was lying on the bed, out of his robes and shoes and on his stomach. He blinked blearily when Draco stepped further in and yawned. "Hey," he said and rubbed his eyes. "I must have been more tired than I thought." "Maybe you should study less and sleep more," Draco said. "You sit up far longer than me." "I…"

"Don't say anything, because I won't believe it," the blonde said. "Now, master… what do you require?" "Mm, master… I like the sound of that." "I guess you really are your father's son," Draco sighed and pushed at Serpens until he lay down on his back. Serpens only smiled at that. Draco knew that… but didn't know who he had been for the better part of his life. His own lover didn't know who he had been. Part of him wished to tell already. Part of him was terrified of it. Draco's hands on his chest made him wake up again and then the blonde's lips were on his own. Serpens gave a pleased moan and pressed Draco closer, tried to roll them over but the blonde stopped him. "No, master," he whispered against the older teen's lips. "I'm supposed to take care of you. Relax…" "Not fair, Draco," he whined. The blonde smirked and stroke Serpens' chest down to his belly, pushing the shirt up and massaging the pale skin there. Serpens hummed low in his throat and allowed the touch, melted into it. "What can I do for you, master?" "Stop saying master that way," Serpens said. "Why… master?" Serpens groaned as he felt a blush work itself up his neck and onto his face. "Second thought," he managed. "Don't stop." "Thought so. Now, master, what can I do for you?" "I have to make bets with you more often," Serpens said with a grin. "Don't expect me to claim the same consequences again," Draco replied. "Oh, you don't want this reversed? Me being your slave?" "Shut up and tell me what to do. The night won't hold forever…" Serpens smirked. "How about that foot massage?" -oOne night Hogwarts lay dark and quiet. Most of the portraits were asleep, and the ghosts had retreated from the corridors. Serpens kept himself close to the walls, having already muffled the sound of his feet

before venturing out. He was supposed to meet up with Fred and George so they could execute their prank upon the school. It would be a nice break from all the tension about the First Task that was to take place in less than two weeks. He himself thought they all made a great deal about nothing really. England was at a subtle war, Light versus dark and all they could do was getting worked up about a tournament? It was quite hilarious thinking about it. He walked behind a portrait and the Weasley twins looked up from their work. "Right on time," Fred said. "We're finishing up with the bombs." The bombs in question were about the size of a fist, and looked really just like a round black ball. Serpens settled down and said: "And they work?" "Of course they work," George said. "You actually tested them?" "In the Forbidden Forest," both answered simultaneously. "Nobody would think it was us testing prank bombs." "People might actually think it was something dangerous in there and try harder to keep the students inside," Serpens replied. "Do I hear fear, Forge?" Fred asked his brother. "No, merely wisdom misplaced," George replied. Serpens rolled his eyes. "Let's get on with it before I 'accidently' hex one of you." "Take him," the twins said and pointed at each other. "Correction, before I hex both of you." "Alright, alright," they muttered. "Joy-killer." "Rhetorically or literally?" Serpens asked with a grin and they groaned. A few minutes later they were off, all three into different directions. Serpens walked near the Entrance doors and started planting out the prank bombs. They were set to explode at certain times when all three were sure there were people in the halls at those times such as around breakfast, around lunch and around dinner. Each bomb held a few pranks such as sending out fireworks, covering the floor with fog, make it rain and so on. A few only had one prank each in them; one that Serpens planted out were designed to hurl out thousands of frogs onto the corridor. He could already hear the panicked shrieks from the students as the frogs gave them company at lunch tomorrow. Draco woke up when Serpens came back and the blonde blinked blearily as he watched his lover peel off his clothes and yawn.

"Where 'ave you been?" the blonde mumbled. "Out planning havoc." "Just as long I get my breakfast," Draco said and his head fell back on the pillow. "You will get it," Serpens promised as he slid in next to the teen. Draco happily moved into his embrace and the older kissed the pale forehead. "Go back to sleep." "Will tomorrow… be fun?" Draco whispered, eyes already drooping. "Oh, I think it will." -oSerpens absently kicked at one of the balls that lay strewn around the corridor that led to the Great Hall, and Draco stared around himself. "Are the walls bright blue?" he asked. "It appears they are," Serpens commented as he looked around. "What are those?" the blonde demanded and pointed at some statues at the doors to the Great Hall. "That would be a gnome of some sorts." "They don't look like gnomes!" "Muggle decorations from their gardens," Serpens explained. He hadn't seen any on his own even as Harry Potter but Fred and George had shown him. "My dear friends the twins told me about those. Muggles have them around Yule time, more known as Christmas time. Silly little things, don't you think?" "More like horrible," Draco said and clutched his arm as they walked past one of those statues. "Are the Muggles stupid or what? There is no way a gnome looks like that! Those are just… they are just unnatural!" Serpens laughed and popped a bubble that floated next to them, revealing hundreds more in the Great Hall. The teachers walked around, trying to find the cause and Serpens saw the twins being questioned. They were just shrugging, saying they were innocent but the pranks were cool as hell. It was clear no teacher believed them to be innocent but Fred and George kept on their grins and didn't say anything more. The foreign students looked amused, and the teen spotted the Beauxbaton champion, Fleur, holding a bubble gently in her hands and laugh as it popped moments later. The tense air due to the tournament had been cleared out within minutes. It was fun, and made living at the castle more manageable. A win-win situation, and Serpens grinned as he walked with Draco over to the Slytherin table. Lunch and dinner should prove interesting.

-oLunch in particular was fun. As students were walking to the Great Hall twin explosions occurred on either side of the doors leading into the hall. Then girls shrieked as frogs were thrown all over the place, all looking like they were alive and so naturally, they started hopping around at once. Draco laughed at the scene and Serpens swept absently away a frog that had landed on his shoulder. "Should we fry one and try how they taste?" he asked. "Are you mad? I don't want to taste it! How could there be anything to taste; they're tiny! And probably taste bad." "You haven't tried it," Serpens said with a smile, "but alright. We won't fry anyone. We'll just leave the frogs to the girls." "How so?" the blonde asked and the teen drew him nearer to whisper in his ear: "The louder people shout, the more frogs comes to them." Draco grinned at him. "You evil bastard," he said fondly. "Should I take that as a compliment or as an insult?" the teen asked as they walked into the Great Hall. Fred and George had each caught a frog and were petting them, much to the chagrin of nearby Hermione Granger. Especially as they kept the frogs close to her face, making her lean away so much she could technically fall off the bench. "Hmm… compliment I think. I don't want to know what you do if you get insulted." "I would never hurt anyone!" Serpens said and placed his hand on his chest. Draco rolled his eyes at him. "Yeah, yeah, whatever you say. Come on, I want pudding." -oDinner proved interesting. It was clear the teachers had tried to find the source of the pranks and disable them but the three teens had taken careful measurements to make sure all three timing would go off with each their sets of prank bombs. The third ones didn't explode. Instead a fog spread around their feet, travelling fast and up and down the stairs to other floors. Clouds gathered in the roofs and Draco stared as they began to rumble and darken. "You're not going to make it rain in here are you?" he asked horrified. "No rain. But perhaps a little thunder." Some shrieked as said thunder began. Lightning began to spread in the clouds but never actually moving out from them. Serpens wasn't sure if the lightning was illusions as it was Fred and George who had come up with the clouds. He had gotten some help

with his task, the fog, but it was more easily done than to create fake lightning and thunder. He had to remember to compliment them. "Is that all?" Draco asked. "No," Serpens said and kissed the top of his head. "Just relax and enjoy. It's not anything bad, I promise." The snow that started to fall was rather nice Draco had to admit. And it fell for real down on them, and some students were laughing while the teachers sighed in desperation, wondering what more was in store. Practically everyone in the school blamed the Weasley twins and by now they had stopped denying anything. But they hadn't said they were the ones who had done. They had just smiled in unison before walking away. "This was nice," the blonde said. "A bit cold though. And the house-elves would want to know why everyone's clothes are damp later." "Oh, I don't think they'll mind," Serpens replied. "It's just another day at Hogwarts." -oLily looked at the signed papers, then sighed as she leaned back against the chair and swept her eyes over the dining room. It would be her last time in this room. In any room for that matter. The woman got up and stepped into the living room, looking around. Not much had changed since the summer. Taking the stairs to the second floor Lily walked up to what used to be Harry's room. It was painted white and stood empty with just the few boxes of Harry's things. She took out her wand and shrunk them all before having them hover over to her outstretched hands. James hadn't wanted the teen's things so Lily would take them. James himself was at the Ministry, and by the time he got back with Sirius or Remus, or both, she would be long gone with the papers lying on the dining room table. She didn't regret it. It did sting a bit she wasn't allowed to see Mattie, but it hurt much more when she thought she probably would never see Harry again… or whatever his name really was. She hoped he was home. That he had a mother and father who loved him. That he had friends, and someone to love. Before leaving Lily went back to the dining room and took off her ring. She let it fall down onto the papers and walked out. She left Lily Potter behind in that house, and stepped out into the street as Lily Evans. -o"What do you suppose the first task is about?" Serpens looked up at Draco who was on his elbows, reading a book while the older teen was lying down. They were both dressed for the night after the prank-filled day and lying in bed, but the blonde had wanted to read some first. Now though he looked interested

in getting an answer to his question. "Probably something heroically dangerously that will make the champions look like they're brave or something," Serpens replied. "Isn't that what the tournament is about?" "Maybe. Do you reckon it's some creature they have to battle?" "Better make it an interesting one," Serpens said with a yawn. "I'm not watching any champions fighting pixies." "Oh, you are so optimistic," Draco said with a roll of his eyes before closing the book and running a hand over Serpens' naked chest. "You're cold." "Not really." "Your skin is cold." "Well then, we better cover me up. You're cold too." Draco moved down and his head ended up lying on Serpens' shoulder, not that either minded. He felt the teen's arm wrap around his shoulder, fingers curling loosely onto his bicep. Serpens' breaths evened out and Draco laid a hand over his lover's chest, feeling the heart beat steadily underneath. He tilted his head up a bit and watched Serpens fall asleep, smiling a bit how quickly his lover went under. It was kind of cute too. Draco snuggled closer and moved the covers higher up, curling his arm around Serpens' warming skin and closed his eyes. -oAnd so it came the day for the first task. It was chilly but otherwise clear, no snow in sight. Serpens however, didn't like much the thought of sitting outside for what could be for a long time without some proper clothing and warming spells. He was going to see some fighting, not freeze his ass off. So Draco very much liked cuddling up next to him and finally Serpens gave in and invited the blonde in under his cloak. Draco moved his hands over Serpens' stomach and back, sighing contently. "You're so sweet it's almost disgusting," Theodore said to them. "Good, that means we're annoying someone," Serpens replied and sure enough, there were the Gryffindor Golden Trio glaring at them. Draco chuckled at his lover's cheerful wave and nuzzled his cold nose into Serpens' warm skin on his throat. "Hey, that's cold!" "I know," Draco replied. "Keep me warm then." The teens except for Serpens grew weary when a certain blonde Ravenclaw seated herself next to Serpens, opposite of Draco. "Hello, Luna," Serpens said. "Shouldn't you be with your friends?"

"What friends?" she asked curiously. "The Nargles aren't here, Serpens." "… Why did I even ask?" "Well, they were here last week," Luna said absently and smiled airily to him. "Indeed? How do you know?" "Oh, they stole my Potions assignment," the girl said. "Professor Snape was most displeased when I told him… but he did look a bit amused as well." "You should tell them to keep away from your Potions assignments," Serpens said. "He might have accepted it once, but the next time he'll hunt them down himself." "You think he can? They're awfully good at hiding." "He's awfully good at sneaking up on people," the teen retorted. "Aren't you cold? And why aren't you wearing any shoes?" They all looked at the girl. Sure, she was only wearing school-robes and she wriggled her toes in the frosty grass, shoes and socks absent. She shot another smile to the teen and said: "On my way here I met the Thestrals," what road did she take, Serpens wondered, "and they liked my shoes very much." "And of course she gives them away," the teen muttered. He picked up a rock and transfigured it into a pair of shoes. "They'll hold for a few hours, put them on." "Thank you," Luna said and slipped them on. "I wonder what they will face." "I demand it's something dangerous," Serpens said, "otherwise I will be very disappointed and smuggle snakes into the castle." "What kind of snakes?" Luna asked as they saw a man preparing to start the task. "The killing kind," Serpens replied and then a loud voice boomed over the place. Serpens did smirk when the first dragon was put in place and Draco snorted before saying: "I can practically feel your happiness bubbling all around the place. People could die you know." "Yes, I know. That's why I'm so happy." Draco looked at him. "Sadist," the blonde concluded before putting his head down again on Serpens' shoulder. "Who do you bet for?" "I'm not sure. I'm not familiar enough with any of the champions to make an assumption

based on their experience." "You're avoiding the question!" the younger teen exclaimed with a pout. "Alright, alright… maybe Krum. Durmstrang wouldn't shy away from making sure their students knew a bit heavier spells. That could come in handy… or it couldn't." "But you're betting on Krum?" "I'm not betting, I'm suggesting." "You're just scared you'll end up being my slave," Draco said. "Guh, guys, take it somewhere else," Theodore said and Pansy rolled her eyes while Blaise chuckled. As a response, Serpens kissed Draco and made sure to make the blonde moan. -oThe first task had been alright, but could also have been far better according to Serpens. For example, it could have been a lot bloodier and such. Draco had called him sadistic bastard for that, and Luna had dreamily pointed out the eggs had looked pretty and she had wanted to take one so she could become a dragon-rider. Serpens had pointed out that maybe she didn't have to aim for dreams that high, and she had said it was alright, the Nargles agreed with her. At that point, there was no use arguing with her. Serpens knew had he kept it up, he would surely have gained a headache and the girl would have won anyway. She had a tendency to do that when they argued. Mostly because Serpens couldn't keep track on all the animals she chatted about and how they managed to be there, just in that moment and of course only she could see them. Arrogant little sod. She probably made half of them up just to annoy him. Viktor Krum had scored the highest on the first task, much to Draco's annoyance. He hadn't won over Serpens, but at least they hadn't betted on it like the night of the selection of the champions. So now they trudged back to the castle, the Slytherins only as Luna had floated away towards the Forbidden Forest to play with the Thestrals and Serpens wasn't in the mood for that. "Well, that was mildly interesting," Pansy said. "At least we got out of classes." "At least," Serpens agreed. "Let's hope the second task is better than this." "Students fighting dragons wasn't good enough for you?" Draco asked, amused. "Come on, they could've done better!" the teen complained. "Yeah, yeah," the blonde said and took his hand. "Sure they could. Come on now, I'm getting cold and I want something to eat."

-oThe rest of November passed peacefully with little trouble for anyone. They were still searching for Zacharias Smith's attacker but had so far come up with few leads from what Serpens heard. He and the twins had been safe from the very beginning but now he was certain they would never be discovered. He had yet to make any plans for anyone else, and had decided not to make any moves against the Gryffindor golden trio, Mattie, Ron and Hermione. That would make him a suspect in Dumbledore's eyes and he couldn't have that. Early December and the last Hogsmeade weekend before Christmas came up. Serpens was going to use this weekend to find Christmas gifts to everyone, those he hadn't already ordered through owl-post. He intended to find something for Severus, his father, Lucius and a few of Draco's friends who had become his friends. He had no real friends in his year, if you didn't count the Weasley twins. Of course that couldn't be known so he didn't really count them. He had found gifts for them and Draco. Draco's consisted of four different things, and Serpens had decided to tell the teen on Christmas Eve. It meant the day could either become the best day of the year, or it could completely break him. He really chose great timing. Shaking that off, he walked out into the crispy cold air with Draco, Theodore, Blaise and Pansy, Crabbe and Goyle trailing behind them. The golden trio exited shortly after them and speeded up until they walked alongside the Slytherins out of the gates and towards the village. "You two are still honestly going at it?" Mattie asked. "Malfoy, you really think he likes you? You're like a brat in his eyes." Draco glanced over at him and sighed in annoyance. "That's pathetic, even for you Potter," Pansy said. "What? I'm only telling the truth," Mattie said with a smirk. "And if you don't shut up about your so-called truth, you will greatly upset me," Serpens said. "I might even accidently hex you." "You wouldn't dare! I'll tell Dumbledore!" "I'm quite sure you will," Serpens said. "But unless you stop talking like you do, you'll find that I don't give a flying fuck about that feeble threat of yours." He quickened his pace and the younger Slytherins followed. It was a risky move, but he hadn't done any real threat to the boy, only talking about it. He had made no offensive movement or tried to grip his wand, so he should be alright. "They never give up," Draco sighed.

"Of course they don't," Serpens replied. "They're typical Gryffindors; Gryffindors apparently don't know the word 'stop'. They always charge on, no matter how stupid their quest is, and frankly it's quite amusing watching them struggle on." "Only you would find it amusing," the blonde said as they entered Hogsmeade. "So, who are you buying gifts for today?" "Oh, a few people." "Me?" "No," Serpens said. "I'm not stupid. I've already ordered your gift." "Really now? How thoughtful of you. And here I thought I could catch a glimpse of what you were buying." "Dream on," the teen said. They went their separate ways, only Draco and Serpens remaining together because they had both already bought their gifts for each other, and therefore sent out to hunt for the others. First stop was the bookshop where Serpens hoped he could find something for at least Severus. Voldemort loved books but he was a picky reader; there was no telling what he would like and Serpens wasn't sure he was going to be able to find something for his father in there. Draco set down one of the shelves marked for designs, stating Narcissa absolutely loved design and she would get enough jewellery from Lucius anyway. Serpens hadn't thought of buying Narcissa a gift but was sure Voldemort had already thought of it. He found himself in the potions section, browsing through the volumes there. Thanks to his odd friendship with Severus back when he was Harry Potter the teen knew the man's interests within potion making. It wouldn't make it much easier to find something though but he didn't mind a challenge. -oAt lunch he had found gifts for his friends, Severus and Lucius. Only Lucius' gift had been found in the bookshop and the book had been on warding that the blonde had mentioned in passing he liked to read about. Severus' gift was a journal where he could write down his experiments potions. It was a black leather-bound one that was spelled so that the pages never ran out. Serpens knew just how many notebooks the man had of past experiments and had witnessed his hunt for one specifically. It was hilarious for the teen, and frustrating for Severus who nearly tore his office apart each time. He had good memory but all his notebooks looked the same on the outside so it was hard to remember which one it was. With the new journal he could transfer all the notes to it and never have to worry about which one to look for. He had bought candy for Blaise, Theodore and Pansy, mostly because he knew their favourites and he wasn't sure what they wanted. He didn't know Crabbe and Goyle nearly as well as them so he didn't include them.

Sitting down for something to eat at the Three Broomsticks Serpens wondered what to get his father. Voldemort proved to be a hard man to shop for. Plus he didn't know his father well enough yet. If he didn't find anything today, he might as well ask Lucius and Severus for suggestions. "Still trying to find some idea for your father's gift?" Draco asked. Serpens nodded and absently traced a vein on the blonde's hand. "It's a bit hard," he admitted. "Why?" "Well, I haven't known him for as long as I want to," Serpens said. Draco frowned and the teen looked at him a bit sadly. "What, you think he only kept me hidden for fun? Draco, he thought I was dead." Perhaps not the best place to bring this up but it was a start. The blonde moved closer, the others hadn't arrived yet, and said: "Why would he think that?" "I… I was in the care of a witch he knew and trusted one night, he was busy and didn't want to leave me alone." At least, this was how Voldemort had told him it happened. Serpens didn't think he would lie about it. "Her house was attacked and she was killed. They probably thought I was her child, and took me away." "They?" Draco said through clenched teeth. He was angry at them no matter who they were. "… Later," Serpens said. "This isn't the time or place for a heavy discussion." "Later when?" "During the holidays," Serpens said and kissed him on the forehead. "I have something I need to tell you, and it's better if we're not at the school at all then." Draco looked confused but Serpens only put his head on the teen's shoulder, breathing in deeply and closing his eyes. "Serpens… people will look…" "Then let them," he breathed out. "I love you, and if they can't stand it they can turn away." Draco's arm moved around his waist and he was allowed to stay. He left his thoughts drift, even as he heard Theodore, Blaise and Pansy come to the table and sitting down. "Eh, what's up with Serpens?" Blaise asked. "Don't ask," Draco replied. His hand clutched at Serpens' cloak and he continued to eat.

"Alright," the teen said, shrugging it off. Pansy turned to the blonde and broke the slightly awkward silence: "We were approached by the Gryffindor golden trio. Merlin, have they always been that stupid or have they grown stupider the older they get? Granger is supposed to be some sort of genius but she's starting to be just like that Weasley. Loud and annoying." That prompted a discussion about Gryffindors and Serpens stayed with his head on Draco's shoulder throughout the lunch. About halfway into the discussion though he turned his head to the others so they could see his face. He kept his eyes mostly halflidded and intertwined his fingers with Draco's that until that point had clutched his cloak. The discussion moved over to gifts and things they would give their parents and other friends beside those already sitting there. Serpens followed with the talk from time to time while still thinking what to give Voldemort. The freaking man was so hard to read and Serpens hadn't been given enough time to do it. He sighed and hoped he would find something that afternoon. -oThe weeks before the Christmas holidays went past quickly, and soon Serpens and Draco was packing for going home. Neither of them was interested in the Yule ball that Hogwarts would hold this year due to the tournament. In fact, Serpens wouldn't mind minimal people contact over the holidays. He was never much of a people-person from the beginning. Plus he wasn't sure what was going to happen once he told Draco everything. Perhaps he should make sure the blonde had a place to sleep at Hogwarts if things went wrong… Great. Now he was icy cold inside and his heart was racing. "Are you alright?" He looked up from his bag and Draco walked over to him. "You got a little pale all of a sudden," the blonde said and took his head in his hands. "You feeling okay?" "Yeah, I'm fine," Serpens said. "You sure?" The concern was touching. Serpens couldn't help but wrap Draco in his arms and inhale deeply. Draco made a muffled protest but then relaxed and put his hands on the teen's back. "Yeah," Serpens finally replied. "I'm sure." Only thing was, he wasn't sure.

-oThe train back to London had barely left Hogsmeade before Serpens felt his eyes droop. He hadn't slept at all last night, opting to hold Draco in his arms and stroking the blonde hair. He had been tired and wanted to sleep but his mind hadn't let him. Too many thoughts. Not just about what he was going to tell Draco but everything. This would be his first Christmas with his father. With Voldemort. His first Christmas as the Dark Lord's son. Last Christmas was etched into his mind. Mattie's yells had woken him up, then Lily's gentle knocking on his door. Walking down into the living room to see the boy trying to convince James why he should be allowed to open some of the presents already then. The Christmas tree seemed to barely fit amongst the gifts, there were so many of them. For him. For Mattie. Lily and James had a few, but mostly it was to them. For some reason, that amount of gifts had always disgusted him. The one time they had been to Lily's Muggle sister Petunia and her family he had almost excused himself to go vomit. There were several reasons for this. One, and the most obvious one was that their son was already overweight and didn't stop stuff his face one moment. Didn't his parents know they were slowly killing him? Well, when thinking back on her husband, Vernon, there perhaps ran in the family to start eating and then never stopping. He was amazed they could do it at all; he probably couldn't have handled a twentieth of what Dudley wolfed down. Second was the amount of gifts they had. Or rather, Dudley had. The living room was swimming in packets. Serpens had been amazed they all fit together in the room. Where would all that stuff go? Dudley had been given a bike then too, but the teen doubted the boy had ever got around using it. Third, the house itself. It made ants crawl along his skin and no, he hadn't been able to stop all the shivers. How could they stand that house? To say the least, he had never been a big fan of Christmas with his 'family' or Lily's family. Voldemort had contacted him some weeks previously, asking him if there was something he wanted for Christmas. Serpens had actually been stunned to silence. No one had really asked him what he wanted, they just assumed. Books mostly, but often on subjects he was already familiar with or had no interest in learning. He had learned early on to smile anyways and thank the person. But now he had been asked. And he had no idea what to say. Was there something he wanted? A book? Some potions ingredients? It seemed whatever suggestion he came up Voldemort's eyebrow had risen higher until the man had stopped him and asked exactly how he got what he wanted in the past. Replying he had never got it perhaps had been the wrong idea. The Dark Lord looked sort of dazed for a few moments before saying he was going to teach the Potters a lesson. Serpens had managed to convince him not to do it; the Dark Lord's version of lesson of a Light person usually ended up in bloody death.

His head touched the window and he jerked back, blinking drowsily. "You're falling asleep," Draco chuckled. "Come on, rest for a bit." "Mmm," Serpens managed and let his head fall back to rest against the seat. His eyes closed, too heavy to keep open and then everything went black. -oHe woke up to Draco shaking his shoulder gently. "What?" he slurred out. "We're here," Draco said. "Come on, sleepy-head, we have to get out." "Ooh, I don't want to…" "I'm sure your bed is much more comfortable than these seats," the blonde continued and managed to tug him up. They collected their luggage and joined the other students in the corridor of the train, Serpens rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and looking around. He must have slept like the dead for the whole trip because he couldn't remember anything from it. Getting out on the platform didn't do much to ease the tight confines of student bodies, now intermingled with families. Serpens groaned in despair and dragged Draco towards the wall, finding fewer people were there. He was quite sure if anywhere he would find the Malfoys and his father there. They spotted Lucius first. It was kind of hard to miss him with that blonde hair. He seemed to spot them at the same time and Voldemort turned around. He was under glamours naturally but Serpens recognized the shape of his face, and the way he stood with straight back and rigid shoulders. Never slouching or appearing weak in front of anyone. "Dad!" Draco called out and found himself in his father's embrace a few moments later. Voldemort wrapped an arm around Serpens' shoulders and squeezed tightly. "You look half-asleep," the man commented. "Yeah, I fell asleep on the train," Serpens replied. "You didn't sleep well last night?" "If only I had slept," the teen muttered. "You didn't sleep?" "I was over-thinking," Serpens said. "I think it runs in the family." He glanced at the man.

"I do sleep," Voldemort objected as Lucius and Draco came closer. "Yeah, but you think too much," the teen shot back. "Gives you a wrinkle right in the middle of your forehead." True, it wasn't really there yet but might as well point it out while there was time to adjust. Voldemort still glared at him before they went over to a designated Apparition Point. The Malfoys had been invited for dinner and Serpens would tell his father about his plans before the blondes came. Voldemort would probably appreciate knowing that just in case Draco attacked Serpens or something for lying. The dinner was pleasant enough, but Serpens had little energy afterwards. A full stomach made him sleepier than before, and he hardly protested when Draco helped him to his room. The blonde had relaxed slightly being in the Dark Lord's manor but had still been careful around the Dark Lord himself. All until Lucius had offhandedly commented something about the Minister which had made Voldemort laugh. A natural, human laugh. Draco had jumped and stared in confused awe at the man for a moment. After that, he was a bit more relaxed in the dark wizard's presence. Still, his shoulders didn't stop tensing completely until they were on the second floor, well away from their parents. Serpens flopped down on his bed and groaned. "I didn't think you could be this tired," he moaned. "You've probably just been stressing out on things," Draco said as he pulled off the teen's shoes. "You'll feel better in the morning." He only nodded, pulled the blonde down to kiss his cheek. Draco looked into the halflidded eyes and smiled. "You're kinda adorable when you're tired," he confessed. Serpens yawned and Draco chuckled, kissing the tip of his nose. "Go to sleep," he said fondly. "Mmm, already on my way…" Serpens couldn't help but wish life would forever continue like this, with Draco at his side, both taking care of each other. He frowned, thinking he sounded awfully lovestruck. Then again, he had been ever since falling for the blonde. And then he really was asleep. Chapter Twelve Serpens woke up with a start the next morning and looked around. He was dressed in night clothes and the curtains had been drawn shut to keep the light out. He could still tell it was already morning and he rose up.

Peeking into the dining hall some fifteen minutes later and he was greeted with the sight of Voldemort and Severus sitting and eating breakfast while playing chess. Both looked up as he entered. "Good morning," Voldemort said. "What time is it?" He hadn't thought of checking. "Around eight-thirty," the Dark Lord said. "Draco told me you pretty much passed out straight after he had gotten you to your room." "Yeah," Serpens said and scratched his hair, "I know. I guess I was really tired." Breakfast was served to him as soon as he sat down and Serpens helped himself before saying: "You better step up, father, or Severus will crush you." "Don't remind me," the Dark Lord muttered. "I can plan a raid, execute it perfectly without as much as a hiccup, but these chess games… these bloody chess games…" Severus smirked a bit as he leaned back and waited for the man's next move. -oDraco came over later that day, before lunch and Serpens was waiting for him at the fireplace and as the teen stepped out Serpens was there at his side. The blonde got a kiss on the cheek and the teen's arm wrapped around his waist. "Feeling more awake?" Draco asked. "Yep. Thank you for helping me to bed yesterday, although I hardly remember the journey to said bed." "You were adorable," Draco said with a grin. "I stayed a bit, when you had fallen asleep." "Did I snore?" Serpens asked. "No. You are adorable even when asleep, you know that?" "I wouldn't know, I'm usually asleep when that happens." "Smartass," Draco said and rolled his eyes. They walked to the older teen's room, and Serpens felt the urge to let it all slip out. But he bit his tongue and held the truth in, if just for a bit longer. They lounged on the bed, wrapped up in each other and if either of them dozed off they didn't comment. Serpens knew for a fact he had slept at some point for he woke up with his head pressed into Draco's neck and the blonde stroking his hair.

"You awake?" "Mmm…" he mumbled, nestling further into the warm, pale skin of his lover. "You smell good…" "Are you sleep-talking or are you being incredible sappy right now?" "Maybe a mixture of both?" "Oh, the horror," Draco drawled and rolled his eyes. "Shall I take note of what you say then? It would no doubt make good material for later use." Serpens rolled them over so Draco was under him, and the blonde saw the frosty blue eyes gleam. The dark hair fell like a curtain around their faces and Serpens reached out with his tongue, gently licking Draco's bottom lip. The blonde surged upwards, taking the tongue in his mouth, inviting it to play and Serpens complied more than happily. All thoughts of telling was pushed aside, he just wanted this moment to last. -oIn the end, he couldn't hold it in. He couldn't wait until Christmas Eve. He had to tell Draco about it, about it all. He would tell the blonde, and then he would await the verdict. He could either win or he could loose. Losing though meant losing Draco so Serpens didn't try too hard to think about that when he set up the meeting with the blonde teen through Floo. The teen looked mildly confused but agreed to come. Maybe Serpens shouldn't have called it a meeting. But what else could he call it? Hey Draco, I would like to join me on my room and I'll tell you something that will probably give you a heart attack or a terrible temper tantrum. He couldn't see that working out very well. Come up for a terrible revelation; you might never want to see me again! Oh dear Merlin, why did he have to be born with such a dramatic mind? Thoughts rolled around his head like that until Draco arrived the next day at the appointed time (Merlin, that really sounded like they were going to have a meeting) and met him in his room. The moment Draco stepped inside, he knew something was going on. Serpens was nervous. He was pacing and hadn't noticed the teen stepping inside. "Serpens?" The older teen startled and turned his head to him. "Oh!" he said. "You're here." "Yes," Draco replied. "You told me to come. Now what is it?" He was graced with a scene very rare. Serpens fidgeted on the spot. Draco stared at the

teen who was definitely fidgeting now. He could deny it all he wanted, Draco knew he wasn't hallucinating. "So… what is it?" the teen asked again. Serpens came over and sat down on the bed, and Draco followed. The older of them sat quiet for a minute, took a deep breath and said: "You remember what I said in Hogsmeade, about my dad thinking I was dead?" "Yeah. And 'they' who took you away." "Yes," Serpens said. "Well… they were… the Light." The blonde sat up straighter. "Had they known whose son I was, I probably wouldn't be sitting here though," the teen continued. "But they must have thought I was hers, the woman who was watching me that day. And so… I ended up with a… Light family." Draco stared. Serpens smiled humourlessly. "It's ironic isn't it?" he said. "Me, with a Light family! Can't say I fit in very much though… there was only one reason why the male in the family decided to keep me around." "One reason?" "I was special to their plans, or so they thought. So when they stopped thinking that, they decided to, well, get rid of me. Do you know there's a terrible amount of ways to die and still make it look accidental?" Serpens rose up and walked further away from Draco, staring out the window at the dark outsides, the moon barely giving any light. "Serpens…" "My name before this summer was Harry Potter." -oDraco sat frozen. He stared at his lover's back that was rigid with tension. What…? "What…?" he managed. "I used to be Harry Potter," Serpens repeated. "I turned out to be useless to the Light so they planned to murder me. I ran away, and I found my real father. The rest you know." "You're saying… you're Harry Potter?" "I'm not Harry Potter," Serpens said and turned back to the blonde. "I never fit into that

family. I was never part of that family. I bore their name but I wasn't their son." "But you were in their family, you had their name, you were the freaking Light's beacon of hope!" Draco rose up, face paler than normal, tensed around the mouth. "You were the one who would kill the Dark Lord. Are you still that person? Was it all a lie, you planning on killing him?" "No!" Serpens screamed, turning around and glaring at him. "I would never hurt my own father!" "How do we even know you're his son? You could've lied, because he was desperate to find his son!" "Don't you fucking dare say I'm not his son! And don't you dare think I would hurt him for them! I wouldn't lift a finger to save the Light!" They stood silent, glaring at each other, anger clashing together in the air. "Why did you even tell me?" Draco finally asked. "Why bother?" "Because I didn't want secrets," Serpens replied. "Then you should have started our friendship by telling this!" "Had you even looked at me had I told you the truth from the start?" The blonde stopped, and didn't reply for a long time. Serpens laughed bitterly. "Yeah, that was what I thought. That's why I didn't tell you. I wanted a chance to get to know you, Draco but I was never planning on holding this a secret forever." "Well, now it's out," Draco said and spread his arms out. "And I don't know what to think about you." He walked towards the door, and Serpens couldn't find anything to say. The blonde turned in the doorway and they looked at each other. "I still love you," Serpens finally said. Draco looked down on the ring Serpens had given him. He wasn't sure if he wanted it on or throw it down on the floor. Finally he sighed, tightened his hand into a fist, the ring cutting into his palm and replied: "I'll have to think about that. If I really love you." He closed the door. Serpens took a deep, shuddering breath, picked up the closest object and hurled it against the wall. The glass shattered, but it wasn't enough. He picked up another glass and threw it as well. Draco left the grounds with his father. Serpens could feel their magic fade away. He felt furious but didn't know if it was directed towards himself, or towards Draco, or

something, someone else. His jaws clenched and unclenched, his hands tightening and relaxing. Finally he closed his eyes and just screamed. -oVoldemort left Serpens alone for the rest of the day, but he winced at every object he heard being crushed or shattered in his son's room. Finally, almost at midnight, he ventured inside. The glass crunched underneath his shoes and he saw Serpens sit against the wall. "Do you want me to leave?" the Dark Lord asked. "What's the point?" Serpens replied. "Fuck, what did I think? Did I actually think he wouldn't react like that?" "React like what?" "I told him, dad. I told Draco who I used to be. And I'm scared I just fucked everything up." Voldemort walked over, sweeping the glass aside. He could banish it later. The man slid down to sit next to his son, and Serpens looked like he had been crying. He had been told about Serpens' intention, and yet he still found himself at a loss. "At least he didn't throw the ring at me," the teen said with a teary chuckle. "Oh Merlin, I'm pathetic." "You're not pathetic," Voldemort said. "I remember the fights I had with your mother, before she died." "She died giving birth to me." It was easy, perhaps too easy, to talk about her, Serpens' mother. Perhaps it was because he had never met her, had never known her and he had never known what it was to be without a mother. She hadn't been his real mother but Lily had been there. She was the one he thought of when he heard the word 'mother'. "Yes," the man said. "She did. She had a frail body but Merlin, what a temper." Serpens smiled weakly at that. The Dark Lord continued, "I was sometimes scared out of my wits when she started. In the end we stood at either side of the room, hollering at each other. It usually ended with one of us attacking the other." "I'm kind of glad me and Draco didn't reach that particular point." "I'm glad of that as well. Give him time. He does love you." "He said he had to think about that. If he really loved me." "If he hadn't," the man said and wrapped an arm around Serpens' shoulders, "he

wouldn't have started anything with you from the start." The teen knew that was probably true, but as stated before, he had a dramatic mind and wasn't as reassured by his father's words as he wanted to be. -oSerpens looked around the alley, sighing. He had money, he had time, and he could go wherever he wanted as long as he went back to the Leaky Cauldron in three hours to meet up with his father who had some business to do and didn't want to bore his son to death with them all. So now he was in Diagon Alley and he had to decide where to go. He wanted a distraction from his thoughts about Draco. Books probably would help, so he set off to the bookshop. Then he might slip over to the animal shop and see if he could find any treats to Amicus. He hadn't been in the bookshop for long when he came across her. He recognized that hair anywhere anyway. Serpens came to a stop as he saw her. She was sitting on a low stool and reading from a book, her vibrant red hair put up and her green eyes scanning the page. Lily. Of course he had heard the news. Lily divorcing James, the cruel man not allowing her to see her son again, how she had been thrown out on the street. He knew it all yet it didn't prepare him to actually see her. He must have stood there for too long, because she turned and then they were staring at each other. She looked a little thinner, and her skin was a little pale. Otherwise she looked just the same. Her head tilted, not recognizing the teen standing just a few feet away. Yet there was something oddly familiar about him. And the way he was looking at her told Lily he recognized her. Of course, who didn't these days? Not as Lily Potter but as Lily the evil mother who abandons her child. She wasn't sure what kind of stories James had told but they sure believed him. A few thought she was still alright, like the owner of the bookshop. So it was there she spent most of her days, since she hadn't gotten any jobs and had some savings she could live by on. But if she didn't get a job soon she had to consider getting one in the Muggle world. By now the teen had stepped closer and Lily refocused on him again. He was rather tall, but a little on the skinny side, and dressed in warm black robes. Lily was glad James had at least let her take her things with her, because the weather was getting colder and her fur-robe was warm and comfortable. About the only comfortable thing in her life. His hair was long and the eyes frosty blue. She had seen that colour before… those eyes before… But where? She rose up and tried not to stare too much at him. The memory struck her.

The boy wasn't big, but he was quiet and calm looking up at them. James looked down at the child and said: "One reason why we should take in a dark brat, Lily? He's evil!" "He's just a child, he barely knows how to walk," Lily replied and turned back to the boy. "And you killed his mother." "Well, she put up one hell of a fight," James muttered. "Only because you attacked first! What was she supposed to do, just give up and let you kill her anyway? She was protecting her son!" "And why the hell should we protect him? He comes from the wrong side of this war, Lils, he doesn't belong here! He belongs in the grave!" She hated the nickname Lils. She hated when he spoke about children like that. But she didn't say anything. No, Lily was smarter than that. She would get James to accept raising this child. She stroke the pale cheek, blue eyes staring into her own and in the background she heard James mutter about making changes so at least it looked like theirs. Lily gasped. The teen took a step back but she grabbed his wrist and pulled him close. No one was watching, and she didn't know how else to address him so she just said: "Harry?" -oVoldemort looked around the Leaky Cauldron, drumming his fingers and waiting. He had ordered some crisps a half-hour ago along with some Firewhiskey and now both were gone with still no sight of his son. He was getting a bit worried although he would never admit that out loud. At least not to the wrong people, say, like Dumbledore. He was pretty sure the man wouldn't believe him though. Finally he spotted Serpens but he nearly choked when he saw who followed. The redheaded woman looked uncertainly at him and then at Serpens. "Father," Serpens said. "Serpens. Didn't you buy anything?" "She shrunk it for me since you won't let me use magic outside the manor," Serpens replied. "And she is…?" "Don't play dumb, father, she knows who I am… was… Merlin, complicated. Can we go? And yeah, take her with us?"

Voldemort stared at him. Lily stared at him. The teen looked between them both and said: "What? At least I'm not trying to make you two snog each other!" "Are you aware what you're asking me to do?" Voldemort asked. "Yes, I am. I'm asking you to take her with us," Serpens said. "Please?" "If your father doesn't want to, I shouldn't intrude," Lily said. "It's alright, Serpens." "No, it's not," he said and looked at her. "Either he takes you with us, or we'll walk there." "Alright, alright, fine," the Dark Lord said, if just to not upset his son further. He looked angry enough already. "We'll take her with us." -oThe moment they arrived Voldemort turned to Lily. She squared her shoulders and raised her chin a bit, a gesture he had seen on people when they tried to find their courage when they were nervous. "Do you know who I am?" he asked. "Serpens' father." "Yes, but do you know who that is?" Here she hesitated. She looked over at Serpens. Then she closed her eyes and said: "They said they found Serpens in a woman's house, after they had killed her. They, meaning the Order. We all thought it was her son. We never checked. But he was yours… and she was a follower of your cause… V-Voldemort." The Dark Lord gazed steadily at her. "Don't worry," she said. "Serpens made sure I could never tell anyone from the Light about this." He looked at the boy. "Magical oath," Serpens said. "I read about it. If she's about to tell, willingly or unwillingly, the magic will kill her." "That's rather harsh," Voldemort remarked. "But necessary," the teen said. "You've already been through losing me once. I wasn't about to make you lose me twice." It was oddly touching, and Voldemort swallowed uncomfortably. "Can I show her to one of the guest rooms?" Serpens asked.

"Sure, but why did you insist on Lily coming with us?" "Because she's got barely no money and no one wants to hire her because James fucking Potter has dubbed her the evil mother of the millennia." Lily actually laughed at that, and replied: "Let's hope not the millennia. I really do need a job." "Fucking Potter and that fucking Order and that bloody fucking Dumbledore," Serpens muttered as a reply and Voldemort intervened before his son would start throwing spells around himself: "Second bedroom to the left on the second floor, alright?" "Sure." Serpens grabbed Lily's hand and walked up the stairs, the woman looking around in slight awe and curiosity. Voldemort rubbed his temples. Headache approaching. He needed someone familiar with Lily so she could be entertained because he felt it would be awkward should he and she be alone in a room the next few days. That thought, he rushed to the fire place to contact Severus. -oLily came down alone a while later since Serpens was going to leave his books and other things in his room and change. Before they had gone to the Leaky Cauldron they had swung by Lily's tiny apartment because Serpens had more or less ordered her to pack some things. Mostly clothes, because everything else could be provided. She had been shocked when the teen had revealed the identity of his real father. Voldemort himself! She remembered how many times James and Sirius had joked about the man, why he was childless. No woman would be crazy enough to lay down in bed with him. Serpens had countered that with the fact his mother and Voldemort had been married. Another was that he had done so many dark rituals on himself that he couldn't get it up anymore. As if James was any better, she thought now with a snicker. At least when it came to her. He was probably bored just being with the same woman. James had never been a good husband that way. He got bored, and impatient and went to seek out new adventures… some had ended up happening in other women's beds, but Lily hadn't had the energy to complain. She had given him the cold shoulder though, and he learned a lesson… for a while anyway. Now she came into what she hoped was the living room and her eyes widened at the sight.

Severus was apparently helping Voldemort sort through books, although the potions master looked terribly bored. "You're nervous, my lord," Severus finally stated, and Lily was startled when she heard the deep tone of his voice. Had it been that long since she had heard him speak? "Lily?" She looked up, and the potions master looked at her, eyes slightly wide. He was shocked, and it became apparent Voldemort hadn't told him. "Hi, Severus," she said and walked inside. "Wow, you got a lot of books, Voldemort. Or is it alright if I call you that?" "It's fine," Voldemort said and glanced over at the man. "Close your mouth, Severus, it's incredible unattractive with a slack face." "My lord!" "No need to snap at me. Lily is going to stay here… I don't know how long, I didn't dare ask my son. He looked ready to murder someone, and I wasn't about to throw myself in his path." "Serpens was? Why?" Severus asked, confused. "Love troubles," Voldemort said and the man made a small 'Oh'. "Anyway, Lily will be here for the time being, and I thought she might appreciate talking to someone she knows better than me." "How very kind of you." Voldemort tried to glare. Severus didn't buy it. -oSomehow Serpens managed to go on pretty good the following few days, but soon Voldemort, Lily and Severus started to notice his nerves were pretty much frayed at the edges. The teen stopped sleeping pretty much, and food wasn't keeping him interested long enough to actually eat something. He kept his nose stuck in a book, knee bouncing, practising spells all until Voldemort yelled at him to stop changing the Dark Lord's hairstyle. Pity; it had kept Severus and Lily entertained for better part of an hour. Nagini had rolled her eyes at them all from where she lay on the rug in front of the fire. Amicus was out on the grounds, and only came in at night to get some sleep, occasionally burrow up on Serpens' shoulder and nip his ear affectionately. Two days before Christmas and Voldemort and Serpens were alone in the living room. Severus had allowed Lily to follow him to the potions labs in the manor and more than delighted, she had practically run over him to get there first. So he was to start his mission. He looked down. A cup of tea, and two buttered toasts. If he only could get the tea into his son, he would pretty much be satisfied.

"Serpens." "Hmm?" The teen was currently engrossed in… "Are you aware you're reading about Astronomy?" "Yes, fascinating isn't it?" "Or that was the first best book you could grab when you came in here. You want some tea?" "No," Serpens said. "Or well… it's cold." "Yes, it is. There are some toasts too." "You're trying to make me eat." "Yes. Eating is necessary, and you know that." "I know, it's just it doesn't taste anything and then it's so boring to just shuffle that into my mouth." "Just eat it," Voldemort said. "And put the book down before I vomit due to boredom." That made Serpens smile and he finally lowered the book. "I wanna watch Sev work later," he said as he started to nibble on one of the toasts. "Just as long as you don't start working yourself. I don't trust your hands right now." "Wha—Oh." They were trembling. "Guess I should eat some more toast," he mumbled and stretched out for the other one. -oThe day before Christmas it knocked on the door, and Serpens turned his head. He was in his room for now, not feeling up to be with the others at that particular moment. Maybe later, or something. "It's open," he called, not bothering to check whose magic it was before turning back to his book. The door swung open, then a few steps. A short silence and then: "Did you raid your father's library or what?" The voice made his head snap up and Serpens whirled around. Draco looked at him, and saw the dark circles under the teen's eyes, the pale skin

looking a bit greyish but that could just be because of the bad light but the slight wildness in Serpens' eyes was unmistakable. The blonde concluded Serpens hadn't ate or slept very well since they last saw each other. The older teen slowly rose up, wincing as his joints popped after having sitting hunched over for so long. The books were strewn all over the floor, some open while others haphazardly thrown aside. "No," Serpens finally answered, remembering the blonde's question about the books. "Or… well, maybe some of them are from there." He looked over the blonde and continued, "How are you?" "I'm fine," Draco said. "You?" "As good as expected. I think I'm reading too much though." "I can see that." Serpens didn't want to start yelling. He didn't want to be yelled at either. He was sure he wanted to hug the life out of the blonde and then kiss him senseless but if Draco had decided to end things, he would take it. "I've been thinking," Draco said. "Quite sure I paced the floor until marks appeared on it. Since me and my parents are coming for dinner tomorrow and celebrate Christmas, I thought we should clear the air." He was breaking up. Serpens was sure of it. He would take it stoically, and then he would break to pieces in the comfort of his bed. He might just never come back out from there. "Yeah," he managed. "We probably should. Nothing is worse then tension thick enough to cut through." "Something like that," Draco said. He came a bit closer. Serpens was waiting for the bomb. He would have to help Draco get his stuff back to his dorm room once back at school… "I'm sorry for yelling at you." It wasn't quite what Serpens had expected. "Yeah… well… I'm sorry for acting the way I did." Draco walked right up to him, and a hand caught Serpens'. The blonde teen looked at him and gently kissed his cheek. "I think I would have fallen in love with you even if you had told the truth from the start," Draco said quietly. "I just needed a couple of days to process and calm down… I still like you, a lot. I love you. I want us to work." Serpens' mind was reeling and he stared down at Draco.

"I want us to work," Draco repeated, "so I don't want anymore secrets between us. Okay?" "Got it," the older teen said without hesitating. He was still in shock which was the only reason why he wasn't snogging Draco already. "You certainly don't look attractive with those wide eyes and open mouth," Draco dryly remarked. Serpens snapped back to himself, grabbed the back of Draco's head and smashed their lips together. It was hot, it was wild, it was filled with pain and pleasure and they both moaned, Draco's back hitting a wall and Serpens pressing his body to the blonde's. They both sank down onto the floor and only then did Draco realize Serpens was shaking. He broke free of the kiss, Serpens moving down to his neck and the blonde managed to say: "When the last time you ate properly?" "Who knows?" Serpens murmured. "It didn't taste anything so I didn't eat it." "When did you sleep?" "I'm not sure," the teen continued, kissing Draco's jaw. "I couldn't close my eyes so I've been reading instead." "You were that upset?" Serpens sat back. "I wouldn't call it upset," he protested. Draco raised an eyebrow. "Alright, I wouldn't call it only upset. I was… I guess I was nervous and overreacting about what you were going to say." "What I was going to say?" "I was convinced you were going to dump me," Serpens confessed. "I was just expecting you to throw the ring at me and I just tried to keep my thoughts away from that so I started to read and I bumped in with Lily in Diagon Alley a few days ago and took her back to the manor and talked to her a lot and then I read some more and-" "You're rambling, stop it." Serpens shut up. "You have way too vivid imagination sometimes," Draco said, Serpens' face held in his hands. "Now… I think we should get you something to eat, and then I think you should sleep. Can't have you faint at dinner tomorrow." "I don't faint," Serpens protested. "Then we better get you to bed soon so you won't."

-oLily couldn't stop watching them. She had been told of their relationship by Voldemort and Severus (since she wanted to know what the hell the Dark Lord had meant with 'love troubles' earlier) but hadn't quite gotten it in until the two marched into the room, Draco's arm around Serpens' waist and hollering about life-supporting food to which Serpens had rolled his eyes and told him to stop acting up. Voldemort had forced them down and called for a late dinner for his son and some snacks for Draco and within minutes the two boys were eating. Or well, Draco was eating while feeding Serpens. He kept smacking Serpens' hands away when the teen tried to feed himself and after a while Serpens gave up and indulged his blonde lover. The conversations seemed easier, and she could see the change in Serpens; his mood and temper was much lighter, and his smile was hard to wipe off his face. "If you smile wider than that, I think I might need some protection from the light," Voldemort commented. "Don't burst my happy bubble," Serpens whined. "Well, alright. At least your happy bubble is making you eat." "I was doing just fine before!" "Yeah, if you mean sulking and wallowing in despair," the man said. Lily, Severus and Draco gaped when Voldemort got strawberry jam splattered into his face a moment later. The Dark Lord himself stared at the assailant. "Hmm," Serpens said with a raised eyebrow, lowering the spoon he had grabbed from the bottle with jam that came with Draco's snacks. "I didn't know I had such a good aim." "You're lucky you're my only child and that I do love you," the Dark Lord said, glaring at him while wiping the jam away. "Hmm, he looks to be in a bad mood. Draco, is my father in a bad mood?" "I've decided to never let you go without much-needed sleep and food ever again," Draco replied. "Even though the result is pretty hilarious. You, attacking the Dark Lord with strawberry jam…" "He deserved it!" And yeah, the teen was starting to sound kind of hysterical now. "Be glad I'm not as childish as you," the Dark Lord growled. "What would you have done if you were as childish as me?" "Thrown jam right back at you." "That would've meant food fight. Nice."

"Well, it's not happening," Voldemort said. "So eat up and shut up." Serpens rolled his eyes at the man and turned back to his lover. Draco fed him another piece of steak and said: "You need sleep, badly. You're acting like a child." "I am," the teen stated bluntly. He leaned closer. "And I love it." "No snogging in my presence," Voldemort warned. "I might overreact and fire a spell out of instinct to protect my son." "You're too paranoid," Serpens informed but settled for a kiss on Draco's cheek. Conversation carried on from there on until Lily noticed something and chuckled. Voldemort, Severus and Draco stopped and looked over at the woman. "He falls asleep just like usual," Lily said as a reply and pointed over at the couch where Draco and Serpens were. "He went to sleep whenever he wanted, and I used to think not even a game of Quidditch above his head would wake him." "Or a raid for that matter," Voldemort muttered even as he watched his son fondly, Draco's pale hand buried deeply into the hair. Serpens, with a full belly and his lover with him again, had laid down not two minutes ago with his head on Draco's lap, not bothering with their talking and had then promptly fallen asleep. "I can take a shower, dress, pack my bag for the day and then scream into his ear without him twitching very much," Draco said with a straight face. "When I shout in his ear though he usually shoos at me to leave him alone." "That sounds a bit like him," Lily said. "Of course he isn't that heavy sleeper all the time." "Just mostly," Draco said and stroke away some of the teen's hair. "And with the way I think he's been sleeping the last couple of days, he'll be dead until tomorrow noon." "Just as long as we get him up for lunch," Voldemort said. "Good luck with that, my lord," Draco said. "Oh, I'm sure I can come up with something…" -oSerpens woke up by himself around eleven and blinked blearily at the ceiling. He was in his bed, he was warm and comfy, and there was a soft blanket wrapped around his body underneath the covers and he had no desire whatsoever to get up. The door opened and he looked to see Voldemort walk over. His room was much

cleaner than before, and the books seemed to have been returned to their rightful places. Some were still stacked at the floor since he had no more bookshelves to cram them into. "You awake?" the man asked. "Almost," he mumbled. "Do you know that I really love my bed?" "Sounds you're still up in the clouds a little bit," the Dark Lord said with a slight smile as he sat down. "And I love this blanket." He showed it, just in case. "Ah, that one. Draco insisted on that." "Oh, did he? I love him too." Serpens yawned and turned to his stomach, burrowing down. "Lunch is just in about an hour," Voldemort said, "and you haven't gotten up yet." "Sleepy…" "You need to shower and freshen up." "No, need sleep…" Serpens insisted. "I've arranged so that you will be submerged in cold water in ten minutes if you don't get up." Serpens snapped his head up and stared at his father. "Are you joking?" he asked. "Because James and Sirius pulled a prank like that on me when I was eight and I caused enough damage for them to flush every time I mention that particular accident." "I am not joking. You will be submerged and will probably look like a drowned cat. But, if you get up now, there's a warm shower waiting for you and you'll be down in time to greet your boyfriend who will arrive in a half-hour." Serpens considered his options, and finally climbed out of bed. Voldemort swept out and he wandered off to the bathroom to get his warm, hopefully comfy shower and prepare for lunch. The Malfoys did arrive a half-hour later, and by then Serpens was much more awake and practically starving. Lily had been dressed up as well and nervously greeted on Lucius and Narcissa. Neither of them mentioned James or the Light for which everyone was grateful. They all walked to the dining hall instead, making odd small talk. Lucius motioned to Lily after a few minutes and said to Voldemort: "Does she know…?"

"About me being the big, scary Dark Lord? Oh yes, she's well aware of that." "Big, scary Dark Lord?" Lucius repeated, staring at the man. "Did someone drug you, my lord?" "I do have a sense of humour, Lucius, don't be insulting." "I'm not insulting, merely concerned, my lord." "Whatever. Why did you want to know if she knew?" Everyone had heard them but hadn't paid much attention to their argument; it appeared to Lily that arguments like that happened fairly often. "Because, there is some news." "Oh. Is it bad or good news? Choose your words carefully, Lucius dear, it is Christmas after all." "Yes, it is indeed Christmas but that never stops you from planning a raid and force us out during the holidays," Lucius muttered. "I'm supposed to do things like that, I'm evil!" "You certainly don't act like it right now." "Get to the point, Lucius, before I make your hair curly again." Lucius' pale skin flushed at the cheeks, and Narcissa giggled at the memory. Severus snorted and sipped some wine, dark eyes full of amusement. Lily looked at them all, and Lucius found his voice again: "It's not particularly bad news I guess… apparently Dumbledore has been upsetting Cornelius as of late, and the Order is given less support by the Ministry. And we have begun to detect some Order members within the Auror forces and the rest of the Ministry." "That's rather splendid news, Lucius," Voldemort said with a grin. "I knew it was a good idea to place you in the Ministry." "Although politics never were my strong suit," the blonde said, disgruntled. "Now, now, don't let that little fact deter you," the Dark Lord said and waved his hand. "Enough of that, now it's time for some lunch don't you think?" As on cue, the house-elves filtered into the room and began serving the food and placing trays upon trays with food on the table. More wine came along with more pumpkin juice and other drinks. Lily grew near dizzy seeing it all, but was glad Serpens wasn't eating like a bird anymore.

Conversation altered between anything, from potions Severus was working on to Serpens' pet crow Amicus. It moved on to the Ministry, then suddenly to the wines of France and over to Voldemort insisting the wizard tobacco from Asia was the best while Lucius was firm it was the European that had the highest quality. Lily was interrogated about her living conditions, which were poor, her work, none which she had, her interests, which were many, and what kind of education she had had after Hogwarts. Narcissa had actually gasped when she said she had married James and became a house-wife. "You mean you haven't pursued anything you liked?" the woman asked. "I guess," Lily replied with an embarrassing laugh. "I wanted to study potions, or perhaps even Herbology but James always grew mad whenever I mentioned potions masters. Apparently he thought I was comparing him to Severus, but I can't find someone more opposite of Severus than him!" "Ugh, me being compared to Potter," Severus sneered. "Almost makes me loose my appetite." "No fear, Severus," Voldemort assured, "he's but a mere insect in your presence." "If only he himself would realize that," the potions master growled. Then he thought for a bit. "Then again, he does squirm an awful lot in my presence. And he jumped out of his chair in fright when I started laughing once." "When was that?" Serpens asked. "Not long after you had told me something completely inappropriate about him," the man confessed. "I was having such a good time on his behalf." "Happy to be of service," the teen said with a grin. Lily could hardly believe it, but it finally made sense. How Severus always found the snidest remarks about James, hinting at things that had happened that the man shouldn't know yet somehow did. Serpens had been supplying him all along. Lunch was finished and the dessert (the house-elves idea, not theirs) was to be served in the living room, so they all moved there and only after that would they start handing out the gifts. Lily was drawn into another discussion with Narcissa who found her living condition unacceptable, her non-working life unsatisfactory and the blonde woman had already suggestions on what the red-haired woman should do. The gifts were handed out, Draco looking at the package Serpens had given him and looked at the teen. "If there are any sex-toys in this and my parents see, I will die of humiliation," he informed.

Lucius found that hilarious (he might be a tad drunk) and Narcissa actually leered at her son. Draco bemoaned his choice of parents and Serpens patted his head, promising that there would no sex-toys in the box. The others opened their gifts and while Serpens was busy with his own, Draco opened the box. The first thing was a robe, and he took it out. It shimmered silver within the blackness, and the fabric was soft and silky, and Draco had no doubt he would love the feeling of it on his skin. The next thing was a pair of matching gloves, and he smiled at that. He had told Serpens of parties and balls he had been on prior to their meeting, and how he always wore gloves (just like Lucius had taught him) and that he had been searching for a new pair. These would be perfect. Simple and black, just how he liked them. Lucius sometimes went with white ones, but Draco had always gone with black. Then there was a two-way mirror that made Draco's eyes shine. It was a magnificent object. He was rather sure Serpens had the other one but he would ask later just to be sure. At the bottom there was one final thing, and Draco was sure his cheeks were tinged pink due to his blush. It was so much Serpens had gotten him. The robe didn't look cheap. Nor did the gloves. And two-way mirrors weren't available for normal wizards and witches. And this… this was no item sold randomly at a shop. It was a silver box standing on four elegantly curved small legs, and the box wasn't boring and straight but gently curving. No doubt was it custom made. There was an inscription on the lid. Amor vincit omnia. "Serpens?" The teen turned to Draco and saw the blonde holding the box in awe. "Yes?" Was it too much? "What does it mean? I recognize amor, but the others? What does it mean?" Serpens crawled over and kissed his temple, sitting down so to press into Draco's side. "Amor vincit omnia," Serpens whispered into his ear, making him shiver. "Love conquers everything." Only Voldemort's yell of 'No snogging in the living room for Merlin's sake' five minutes later broke their kiss. Chapter Thirteen Draco had been allowed to stay overnight but after gifts handouts, some more food to eat, and a lot of talking Lucius and Narcissa had get home. They would be having

brunch with the Minister and didn't want to risk being late in their own home. So they said goodbye to Lily (charming lady as they called her, both kissing her hand, yes even Narcissa and she could be a tad drunk right now), Severus (who ripped his hand away before either of them could kiss it, and as a reply the blondes kissed his cheeks), Serpens (who they thankfully only hugged), their son (smothered by kisses and hugs) and finally Voldemort (who they didn't dare do anything to). Severus was actually supposed to return to Hogwarts but it didn't take much to convince him to stay the night, and Draco dragged Serpens up the stairs while the adults talked. "Draco, what are you doing?" Serpens asked. "Your father freaks out when we jump each other," Draco said. "And as I don't want to give him a heart attack, I'm taking you to your room where I can jump you as many times as I like without accidently killing the Dark Lord by him having a heart attack, or have him instinctively killing me." "You clever boy," Serpens laughed and was pulled into his room. Before the door was fully closed they were on each other, tension snapping and both tumbling onto the bed. Serpens took control and Draco melted underneath him, moaning into the older teen's mouth. Serpens' fingers were quick to remove the blonde's robes, and Draco tried to take off Serpens' but the lips descending onto his throat stopped him. Finally their upper bodies were naked and Serpens held the warm body to his own, resuming the kissing and groaned when Draco's nails dug into his back. It was painful but it still felt good. When they finally calmed down Serpens had red streaks down his back and Draco ran his fingers along them slowly, the older teen wincing slightly every now and then. "You should have stopped me from doing this," Draco said. "I didn't really notice." "Sadist," the blonde muttered and burrowed into Serpens' arms. "You love me anyway." Draco smiled against the older teen's collarbone, knowing he was right. But the blonde didn't say it out loud, instead he just kissed the smooth skin, and pulling the covers higher, both wriggling around until they got into a comfortable position. Serpens held the younger teen tightly, the blonde head resting underneath his chin and he felt Draco fall asleep against him. He relaxed into the bed, stroking Draco's back and closing his eyes while smiling. This was heaven. -oSerpens didn't know Lily's history with Severus; just that they used to be friends. Then

he had called her a Mudblood and Lily had turned to James and the Gryffindors. Bit of a sad fate, but hey, what could one do? He just didn't expect anything more coming from that, but clearly, he was wrong. "Am I too old to date?" Serpens stopped dead in his tracks sorting through his books and turned his head slowly. Lily patted her cheeks, staring herself in the mirror installed in Serpens' room and then filled them with air while pouting with her lips. In short, she looked ridiculous. "Date?" he finally said. "One is never too old to date. What, you found someone?" She blushed and her cheeks inflated in the rush of breath she released. "No one," she muttered. "Oh, come on, isn't there a handsome, dark person you just want to sink your teeth in?" If anything, she got redder, and Lily put her head in her hands, shaking her head and saying: "Nothing! Forget I said anything!" But the teen wasn't giving up. "No one? Then why did you ask?" "I'm a woman; we care about how we look!" "Really now?" "Yes, really so stop looking at me!" "You have your head buried in your hands," Serpens pointed out, "you can't see where I'm looking." "I can feel you staring at me, stop it!" Serpens got an idea, and grinned. "I see," the teen said. "You see what?" Lily asked, head whipping up and eyes staring at him. "I see," he repeated. "So, how long have you wanting to be snogging Sev?" Lily went bright red, and for a moment Serpens believed smoke could come curling out of her ears. Instead she moaned and hid her face again before saying: "Please don't say snog. I just… I did have a crush on him during school…"

"Before you two fell apart," Serpens said. "Yeah," she said. "I don't think he'd be alright with being with me, I mean we get along but we're just friends and-" "His Patronus is a doe," Serpens interrupted. "Just like yours." Lily's head whipped up again and she stared at him. Serpens wasn't joking, she saw that. "Don't be silly, Lily, and keep telling yourself you two are only getting back to be just friends. He still likes you. He really, really likes you." He almost chuckled seeing her bright face and hands clasping together when she said: "Really? He does? Oh my." "Don't tell me you liked him still when you married James," Serpens said. "Well, you never forget your first love," Lily said. "But I did really like James for a while. That of course was before we got into this married life and he expected me to be obedient and shut up and never have an opinion that differed from his own." "Sounds like he was a lousy husband." "On and off," she confessed. "I guess I got comfortable with that life. And then you came. We had tried getting a child of our own, but hadn't been successful. I didn't care what family you came from, they said you had no one and so… I wanted to give you parents. And you were too damn adorable for your own good." "It's kind of embarrassing hearing that," Serpens muttered. "Oh, just wait until I show the photos of baby you to Draco," Lily said. Serpens stared at her, and she laughed evilly. "What, you think I wouldn't do it?" she challenged. "I will! After I've shown them to your father, of course." "But I looked like a copy of James Potter." Lily smiled softly. "Not at first. We didn't do that until you were six. Don't you remember you were never allowed to look at pictures of yourself younger than that?" Now when he thought about it, that was true. He hadn't asked many times, but when he had James had just waved it off. "How come I don't remember having a different face?" "James insisted we would hide it from the start," Lily said. "He suggested a spell that

would permanently change you but I refused. Instead I kept you away from mirrors until I found a suitable glamour, and I kept you away from other people. Barely anyone saw you. Barely anyone had seen me, so they all just believed it when James introduced you as Harry, our son. They believed you had been our son all along." Serpens felt a twinge of anger at that. Lily saw that and reached out to take his hand. "If I had known," she said, "I probably would have given you back to your father. No parent should loose their child." "He wasn't on your side," Serpens said. "You were Light." "I wasn't Light. I wasn't dark. I didn't want to belong to either side, but the moment I became Lily Potter I was an icon of Light," Lily said. "James' family was all Light people. They were known for fighting against the dark for centuries. And then I came. Lily Evans, a Muggleborn with no business in the war. Instead, I was hauled as a supreme Light witch. Now I guess I'm just a bitch." Serpens shook his head. "That's with the Light," he said. "Not here. Not with us. Imagine Potter's face if you would come strolling down the street with Narcissa. Or perhaps meeting Lucius at the Ministry." She laughed. "Or even worse," Serpens said and leaned closer. "Meeting up with Severus at Hogwarts." She blushed again. "Merlin, Serpens, I'm a bit too old for romance!" she hissed. "Nah, I think you'd do fine. Besides, Sev needs someone in his life. He's been alone for a long time," Serpens sad. "Playing matchmaker now, are you?" "Ain't playing if it is for real. Go snog with him already." Lily buried her face in her hands yet again and Serpens laughed. -oSeverus looked up as the door to the lab opened. He smiled at Lily who walked up to him and said: "I'm just about finished with this." "What is it?" she asked, looking into the cauldron. "Some healing potions," Severus replied. "The lord was starting to get low on them." "Impressive. Not only do you do your own research, you also make potions for Voldemort and for the school."

"I've learned over the years," the man said. "Isn't it hard sometimes?" "Nothing is ever really easy, Lily," he said. "Do you wish you help? I have to make some potions for the Infirmary, and the lord has already given me permission to use the lab for that." Lily's heart was thudding in her chest, but she nodded. Should she? Or not? What if it ruined everything? What if everything turned perfect? Severus looked up when Lily hadn't moved. He peered closer at her and said: "Are you feeling alright?" She took a breath. Now or never. Take a chance, hope for the best, and she could always run back to Serpens' room if it all went to hell. And no, she didn't feel like a mother; she was right now a blushing, first-crush school girl. All that was missing was the friends to gossip with. The potions master wasn't prepared when she came forward but his mind went blank when soft lips touched his. Lily's hair smelt flowers, her lips warm against his own and for one moment he thought he was dreaming. Any minute he would be roughly waken by Voldemort who would no doubt scold him for inhaling dangerous potions fumes. But that 'any minute'-moment never arrived and he found himself closing his eyes, pressing back a bit. It felt a bit awkward, as if they were kids again, and then Lily moved back. She was blushing like mad and bit her lip when he only stared at her. He was glad they hadn't begun on any potions and figured it would take some time before they would start. "That was awful, wasn't it?" Lily said, breaking his thoughts and returning him to the present. "I haven't kissed anyone in a while, so—" Severus' lips covered hers again and she gripped his robes just as he gripped her waist. They both realized it wasn't a dream. The kissing got bolder and bolder and the last dizzy thought that went through Lily's mind was: Maybe I am a good kisser. -oSeverus glared at the smug Serpens and Lily giggled. "Come on, Severus," she said, "he knew even before I made my daring, foolish move." "Daring, yes. Foolish, no. I quite liked it," Severus grumpily admitted, glancing over at her and their intertwined fingers.

"So…" Serpens said and Severus went back to glaring at him. "When you get a kid can I be the godfather?" It was so much fun to make two people blush at the same time, he thought while grinning broadly at them. He would have so much fun with them. -oDraco stared at him. Serpens looked way too happy with himself. "Really?" the blonde finally managed. "Uncle Sev and Lily?" "Yep," Serpens said. "I bet they snogged." "Don't say that about them!" "Why not?" "It's embarrassing!" "As saying your parents still snog?" Serpens asked curiously. "Don't say it!" "Lucius and Narcissa snogging?" "Aaugh, shut up!" Draco begged. "I can't really imagine them doing that," Serpens said thoughtfully and Draco banged his head into a pillow on the teen's bed. "Your parents are way too… well, I don't know. Too them I guess." "Please, cease speaking about that," Draco said. "Or else?" The blonde lunged forward, knocked them both down onto the bed and Draco bit Serpens' lip. The teen yelped a bit and rolled them over, hovering over Draco and dragging himself away. He felt blood pool through the cut and he smirked. Draco stared up at him. "Oh Merlin," he breathed, "I didn't mean to bite you that hard, Serpens, I'm sor-" Serpens smashed their lips together and Draco moaned as the coppery taste entered his mouth. They kissed messily and when they separated Draco's lips were faintly red from Serpens' blood. "You like this," Draco accused. "I love it," Serpens purred and moved down so their noses were almost touching. Blood

dripped down onto Draco's lips and he caught them with his tongue. "You like this too." "I'm getting into it," Draco objected. "Stop dripping blood on me." Serpens licked his lips and chuckled seeing where the blonde was staring. He nuzzled his nose with Draco's before kissing him again. The cut on his lips stung but Serpens didn't stop. It contributed to it all, and he didn't care if Draco thought it weird. Considering that Draco was gripping his robes hard, moving with him, Serpens figured the blonde wasn't that much against it. -oSerpens noticed quickly that Draco bit him more often. Mostly when they kissed, a set of sharp teeth came chomping down (not that Serpens minded) and the accompanying pain made the older teen all focused on the blonde. "You, young man," he said, mock-stern, after one of their sessions, "are a biter. A vicious one." "Shut up," Draco said. "You love it." "I never said I didn't. I just said you were a biter." Serpens ran the tongue over the latest cut on his lip and the sting made him wince. His mouth tasted of the blonde teen and blood, mixed together into a taste he craved more of. "Why do you like it?" Draco asked. "I don't know," Serpens admitted. He got up on his elbow and stroke Draco's cheek. "But I don't mind. Do you?" Draco moved so he could lie against the older teen, head resting near the teen's heart, and his fingers dug into Serpens' back. "Not really," he replied. And it kind of scared him. -oSchool was soon starting but Lily was to remain in Voldemort's manor. She already had her belongings in one of the rooms and when summer came, if she and Severus were still working, she was going to move in at Spinner's End with him. "I really hope you've done some cleaning up at that place," Lily said as she played slightly with Severus' robes. She had stopped blushing tomato red every time someone looked at the two together, and now did that unconsciously. "I have not lived in the dungeons of Hogwarts all these years," Severus muttered. "And yes, I've cleaned it up. The lord almost took me away from that house."

"You did, father?" Serpens asked. "Why?" "Because it was a hazardous location, and he wouldn't bloody remember meal times," Voldemort said and looked away. "It wasn't a hazardous location," the potions master protested. "Yes, which is why I found you all the time passed out from potion ingredients fumes." Severus flushed. But Voldemort wasn't done. "Or passed out because he forgot to eat for a whole day… or two." "Alright, alright!" "How did you sort it all out?" Serpens asked, sitting back in one of the couches. Lily and Severus were on another one and Voldemort was seated in an armchair. "He came with a house-elf," Severus admitted. "She bloody cleaned the whole place up in a day. I thought she would calm down after that, but she's got no end to that energy of hers. Sometimes, I think she's trying to drive me mad." "It's always good for you to have someone to cheer the place up," Voldemort said with a grin. "You just couldn't handle her," Severus muttered. "I require peace and quiet. She did not give me peace and quiet." "Since when did Dark Lords need peace and quiet?" Severus muttered. "I heard that," said Dark Lord replied. "We do want to hear something else than screams from prisoners all day long." "I thought you loved that sound," Serpens said. "I have nothing against it, but once in a while I'd like to just sit down in the silence." "As if there's any silence in this house," the teen muttered. "If the house-elves aren't working then there's this and that sound coming from the house itself, or it's some portrait talking, or Death Eaters walking… where the hell do you find the silence?" "I tell everyone to shut up." They weren't sure if he was kidding or not, but then again, when a Dark Lord told you to shut up, you did. Well, everyone except for Serpens. He did it the other way around. -o-

Voldemort didn't like saying goodbye to his son, even if it was only for a few months, and they would have daily contact through their two-way mirrors. He just didn't like it. He didn't like not having the teen around. He didn't like having the teen near so many Light people. He just didn't like not having Serpens two feet away from him. Sure, he hadn't known his son for long, but Serpens had grown onto him, and he couldn't take it if his son really died, or even got hurt. "You're paranoid," Serpens informed. "I can see it all over your face. This panicked look you're trying to hide, it's not working very well." "Shut up," Voldemort replied. "You know I don't shut up when you tell me to," the teen said. "I'll be fine. Dumbledore hates me, sure, but he's left me alone for a long time now. I lay low, and he won't do anything. He may want to win, but he's not going to risk his position or reputation just to make life hard for me. That's what he got you for." "You're saying he'll make my life hard?" "Well, technically I mean he tries his very best, but doesn't succeed very well because you're a sadistic bastard who doesn't fall for his tricks." "Bastard am I now?" Voldemort said. "Maybe. At least you didn't deny sadistic." "What do you mean, at least?" Serpens only grinned and Voldemort scoffed. Severus was taking Serpens to the train station before Apparating to Hogsmeade, and on the train Serpens would meet up with Draco and the others. The Dark Lord hugged the teen briefly and said: "Lay low, okay?" "Don't worry. I won't do anything much." "What are you planning?" "Well, one never know. I took revenge for Luna. I might take revenge for someone else." "Just don't get caught." "Don't worry," Serpens said as he looked his father in the eyes. "Dumbledore won't know what hit him." -o-

Draco made room for Serpens in one of the compartments, Pansy, Theodore and Blaise already in there. Crabbe and Goyle had gone somewhere else, although Draco didn't know if they knew anyone else, or if they even knew where they had been going. Serpens had snorted at that. They remained uninterrupted most of the time and bought some sweets from the witch that came by around half-way to Hogwarts. Serpens spent most of his time playing with Draco's hair, not slicked back like usual but free from restraints and fair game to Serpens' fingers. He didn't really care what they were talking about, just as long as he could sit next to Draco, the teen knowing who he used to be and still love him. He didn't need much else. That sounded sappy, yes, but he couldn't deny it. He loved Draco. He loved the younger teen so much it ached from time to time. At first, it had felt like almost an obsession. It was surprising how fast love to etch itself to you and never wanting to let go. Serpens however gladly fell into its trap, as long as Draco stayed with him. "Where are your thoughts?" Draco said after a while. "Far away," Serpens replied. "Your hair is soft." "So is yours." "Not as soft as yours." "Don't kid yourself, and stop staring at me." "Does it creep you out?" "You look like you're going to eat me," Draco dead-panned. Serpens smiled and leaned closer to whisper in his ear: "Who knows? I just might." Draco blushed and Pansy laughed at that, causing the blonde to get redder and hide his face in his hands. "You're ruining my reputation!" he whined. "Oh, I'm sure it's fine," Serpens said, hugging the teen to his chest. He looked at the three of them. "Right?" "Please, I've seen you two too many times to actually gape like Pansy does," Theodore snorted. "You do need to be more discreet," Blaise said. "Especially you, Serpens, you seem to have this urge to kiss Draco as much as you can in public." "He's mine," Serpens said, "so why should I care?"

"Lay low," the blonde hissed, "do you remember your father saying anything like that?" "Oh… right. Alright, I guess I'll limit it then," Serpens muttered. He hugged Draco tighter. "Even though I don't want to." "You're bloody possessive," Draco muttered. "It runs in the family genes, I can't help it." -oThe welcome feast was a minor one, and Dumbledore greeted most of the students back home. Draco and the others listened to what had happened when they were gone, and Serpens overheard Krum taking Hermione Granger to the ball held due to the tournament. He nearly spit his food out and stared at the teen. What the hell did he see in that wanna-know-it-all brat? She was an annoying insect. Apparently the fact Krum had asked Hermione had caused some sort of hostility between the Golden Trio; Ron and Hermione were not speaking to each other. Mattie was trying to make them talk to each other but it was clear to Serpens he wasn't having any luck. Actually, it was quite fun to see him try. The Weasley twins caught Serpens before he could walk to the Slytherin common room, and he told Draco to go ahead. "We've been listening to their nagging all break," Fred said, "and need some real company." "Isn't this all very suspicious, you talking to me?" Serpens asked. "Well, we'll just make sure people don't see us then." "I think they already have." Fred and George just grinned before dragging him off. Soon they found themselves in the kitchens and were fed biscuits and tea even though they had already said they had just eaten. "Little Ronnie is pissed," George said, "and saw it fit to tell us all the time." "Why?" "Krum asked Granger to the ball," Fred said and took a chocolate-coated biscuit from the tray in front of them. "Ron thought she wouldn't get any offers, since she looks the way she does." "That's all he's been talking about?" "Yeah, pretty much. He's started talking about you again, though," George said. "You know, all sorts of stuff. Potter too. But at least it's just talking."

"I'm alright with that," Serpens said. "Rumours aren't really something I'll get upset about… unless they involve Draco. Then I might get a tad angry." "More like homicidally furious," Fred added. "Just look what you did to Smith just because he was mean to Luna." "And dozens of others. He had it coming." "Who else has it coming?" "Lots of people," Serpens said, "but I'll think I'll wait until graduation." "Liar," the twins said in union, and Serpens grinned. Chapter Fourteen The start of classes went without any hitches, and Serpens soon fell into a routine. He may not particularly like it, but it was alright under all circumstances, and he even managed to keep his hands to himself outside of the Slytherin territory (well, most of the time). The Golden Trio left the two alone, mostly because Ron and Hermione still weren't on speaking terms and they had others to talk bad about. Mattie in particular had a lot of things to say about Lily to whoever cared to listen. Serpens couldn't help but getting angry at the things he sprouted out. That she was a horrible mother. That she never cared about his needs, never cared about her family. Harry's disappearance was an excuse to get away. That she had played sick and unresponsive. A fresh batch of insults directed towards Lily Evans arrived through the mouths of Slytherin one morning and Serpens clenched his fists. Lily was the best mother he knew of. Narcissa was a good one as well, they might get to compete but he had always thought of Lily as a wonderful mother. Perhaps a bit scared to speak her own mind, but who knew what Dumbledore would have done had she done so. Potter wouldn't have hit her, he wasn't that bad of a man but he definitely didn't like anyone thinking differently than him. "Serpens, what's wrong?" Draco whispered. He relaxed and took a breath. "I could kill him for spreading those rumours," he muttered. "Kill who?" "That bloody Potter," Serpens said, low enough so only the blonde heard him. "You mean about Lily?" Draco replied. "Don't listen to it. It's got James Potter all over it." "That's why I want to kill him," Serpens said. "Wonders who he conquers now. Some

willing poor woman who only understands when it's too late what it's like to be married to him." "Was he really that bad of a father and husband?" Serpens looked over the hall. "He didn't like me being different," he said quietly. "Didn't like me being in Ravenclaw. Didn't like me dressing in black. He didn't even like the fact I studied too much. But then again, he always knew I was from a dark family so he could have hated me for that alone." "He's prejudiced." "I think he was born that way," Serpens said with a smile. "Enough about him. I don't want to think about all the shit he throws out." "Good, because you shouldn't be in such a foul mood," Draco said and stroke his arm. Serpens intertwined their fingers when their hands met, and he leaned a little closer. "No kissing in the Great Hall. Remember the rule." "I hate the rule," Serpens muttered. The rule of 'Not-touching-Draco'. It was a horrible rule. "Yes, you can hate it all you want but you're not going to break it just because of that." "I just might do it." Draco smiled at his growl and said: "Be patient, Serpens. It's only during the days." "Yeah. The days are too long though." "Going to complain about those too now?" Draco asked. "It makes me feel better," Serpens retorted. "You've been spoiled," the blonde said and returned to his breakfast. "Yeah," Serpens breathed into his ear, and Draco shivered. "Completely. Plus I always get what I want." With that he pressed a quick kiss to Draco's temple before retreating and picking up his toast. -oThe term continued without much trouble throughout January and the beginning of February. Serpens though planned to do something for Draco on Valentine's, even though the day could be considered a Muggle invention. He'd take any chances to dot on the blonde more than usual.

Plus it always made Draco blush, which he loved to make the blonde do. "You're planning something," Fred said during one of their almost-daily meetings. This time they had found their way into the Room of Requirement, a room Serpens had found earlier that year with his father's help. It was also the room they had used when torturing Zacharias Smith. It was quite nice to have a room that changed according to what you wanted, and Serpens loved it. "Of course I'm planning something," Serpens replied to the redhead. "I'm always planning something. Why's George asleep?" Said teen was lying on the couch in the room and was fast asleep with a blanket hastily thrown over him. "He was up late setting out some pranks," Fred said. "Valentine's soon here. He wanted to make it special." "He has an evil soul." "Yeah, I think he stole a chunk of your." Serpens laughed at that. "Seriously though, are you planning something for your blonde?" "Yeah. I don't know what yet, wasn't planning on something huge, just… well, something," the teen said. "He blushes when I do things like that, so I tend to do it as much as I can." "You're evil," Fred said. "I know that. Now give me suggestions." -oDumbledore had apparently decided to liven up the castle on Valentine's day, and of course went all in for Muggle celebration. Serpens thought he was going to vomit. "Pink hearts," Draco hissed. "There are pink hearts everywhere!" "Now, now, shush with you," Serpens said. "You're sounding hysterical." "But… pink!" "I know," the older one said. "Dear Merlin, I know…" Pansy looked faintly nauseous when they arrived at the Slytherin table for breakfast, and Theodore and Blaise kept staring at the table. "This is disgusting," she said as they sat down. "Utterly disgusting. He's gone completely mad!" "I think he has been for quite some time," Serpens muttered. He waved away a pink

heart hovering way too close for his comfort. Dumbledore even had the nerve to place them hanging around in the air. Perhaps they were spying for him. Serpens wouldn't put it past the old man. "Pink hearts," Pansy muttered. "This is too much…" "Well, be glad it's only once a year," Serpens said. "Imagine all year round." "Please do not make me vomit up my breakfast," Draco begged. "I swear, by the day is over I will have murdered these pink hearts." "Hold yourself until dinner," Serpens said. "I have a surprise for you." Draco turned to look at him but the older teen only smiled before saying: "Meet me in our room before dinner." -oThe day passed without too many pink hearts threatening to overtake them, but by the time dinner rolled around Draco was more than ready to escape them. He was glad to get into the Slytherin common room where not a single heart could be found. He had been given some chocolate from braving girls, and a few requests to sit with him at dinner. He wondered if it had escaped them that most of the time he sat with the company of Serpens, and the older teen's ridiculous want for attention from the blonde. Draco walked over to their room and opened the door, prepared to fall onto the bed. Only thing there was a table in the way. Serpens sitting in one of the chairs, and a dinner waiting for them. The blonde teen stared at the table, then at Serpens. "You're blushing," Serpens said with a smile. "I knew I could still get you to blush." "Shut up," Draco mumbled but dropped his bag and removed his school robes before sitting down opposite of Serpens. "This is your surprise?" "Amongst other things," Serpens said. "Admit it, you're glad you don't have to eat dinner amongst an army of pink, floating hearts." "I might just worship you for taking me away from those. But what about the others, won't they worry?" "Oh, they know." "How did you-?" Draco stopped. "Did they know?" "No, not until after lunch. I told them not to worry about you. And when I tell something, they listen."

"Careful," Draco said as he picked up his fork. "That ego is rearing its head again." Serpens grinned. "I shall try to keep a lid on it tonight," he said. "Who made this?" the teen asked. "The house-elves, of course. They love me." "Ego, Serpens, your ego." "Well, technically they love me, Fred and George. They know all our snacks in and out." Draco raised an eyebrow. "Don't tell me you three are meeting in the kitchens." "Not all the time," Serpens said. "Then again, when we don't meet up there it doesn't matter. A house-elf will pop up just at the right time with a basket with our snacks." Draco only shook his head and Serpens picked up his goblet. "A toast?" he said. "For whom?" Draco said and picked up his own. "I don't know. For us perhaps? It's Valentine, we should celebrate it." "Alright then. A toast for us." Later, when the house-elves had come and cleaned up Draco flopped down on top of Serpens who had lain down on the bed. The teen yelped and then said: "Draco, my stomach!" "Oh, it can handle me," Draco said. "Or did you eat too much?" "Yes," Serpens ground out. "How come eating in here always make me so tired?" "Because it's quieter, and nicer, and comfier," the blonde said and kicked off his shoes. He sat up and helped Serpens get off his own. "Mm, you're right." Serpens pulled him down so they were lying at their sides. He strokes the blonde's cheek and smiled before tugging him closer. Draco relaxed into the kiss, let the older embrace him and hugged him back tighter. They separated but Serpens moved downwards instead, kissing the blonde's jaw before moving to the throat. "Serpens," Draco whined. "I'm stuffed, and that tickles." Serpens chuckled, hot puffs of air on pale skin making Draco squirm and then he moved lower. The blonde moaned and didn't protest when the older began unbutton his shirt.

"You alright with this?" Serpens asked after a minute or two. "Yes," Draco said, "so please continue." The older teen laughed. "As you wish." It might not be any gifts, or chocolate, not even flowers. But Draco would remember this Valentine anyway. Why? Because it was one of the days he was reminded how freaking much he was in love with one Serpens Riddle. -oThe day for the second task of the Triwizard Tournament came at last, and Serpens walked together with Draco and his friends to the lake, where it would take place. The weather was frigid, and Serpens had a bad feeling about the whole thing. "What's made him so upset?" Pansy whispered to Draco as she saw Serpens' sullen face. "He thinks it's a conspiracy," Draco muttered. "What?" she said. "A conspiracy to kill him out of boredom," the blonde said. "He's convinced we'll just sit there and stare at the lake for however long it will take for the champions to finish up the task." "I'll prove you right," Serpens added, startling them both. "Oh, I can't wait to get my hands around Dumbledore and wring his bloody neck off." "Now, now, calm down," Draco said. "No need to create chaos because you're upset." Serpens huffed but quieted down. He wished Amicus was there. However, the crow was out hunting and Serpens wasn't about to disturb Amicus on hunts. He never did. The crow needed to be out flying and he had spent the last few days coped up in the dorm room. They got seated and then there was only to wait for the champions to arrive and the task to begin. Serpens crossed his legs and covered them with his robe to ward off the cold. Draco looked around and said: "So, you really think we're just going to sit here staring at the lake?" "I'm convinced." "Want to bet?" "You'll lose… slave." Serpens grinned at him.

"Maybe I'll bet during the final task," Draco admitted. "Or something I know I'm right about. I don't like it when you grin like that." "Why?" "Because you're always right when you do that. Are you some sort of seer or what?" "Not at all. They're just being predictable." Draco snorted but didn't say anything more. The teachers began to arrive, and Severus climbed up the stairs to join them. "Professor?" Serpens said. "Shouldn't you sit with the other teachers?" "And hear them preach on and on about Diggory?" he scoffed and crossed his arms over his chest. "If I hear another word about how great he is I will kindly vomit on them." "Someone's grumpy," Serpens said. "Missing someone?" Severus glared at him. "Not a word," he hissed. "I didn't say anything, I just asked—" "Well, I don't need to answer that." "I know. I just like to rile you up." "Well, you certainly succeed you brat," Severus said but his tone was fond. Ludo Bagman's voice boomed over them and they all came to attention. Once he said what the task was, Draco groaned in misery even as Serpens turned to the blonde, grinning like a Cheshire cat. "Alright, alright!" Draco said. "You were right!" "Yes, I know, but right now I hate to be right. That means we'll just sit here," Serpens said with a frown. "Professor, what should we do to entertain ourselves?" "Don't look at me, I'm not supposed to entertain myself. I'm supposed to sit here and just watch," Severus said. "But you know you want to entertain yourself." "That's an entirely different matter," the potions master said. "Fine," Serpens said. "Be boring then." The task began and the champions dove into the cold lake. Then there was only to wait. Serpens sighed at this and took Draco's hand.

"Is it a subtle move to make my skin grow cold?" Draco asked. "Not at all," Serpens replied. "I just wanted to hold your hand." "So you're going to sit holding my hand for an hour?" "Yeah, more or less. You mind?" Draco snuggled up to his side and smiled. "I guess not," he replied. Fleur came up after twenty minutes without the person she was supposed to come up with. After speaking to her Ludo Bagman informed the audience that she had been attacked by Grindylogs and had been forced to abandon her travel. "Nasty fellows," Severus said and squinted to take a look at the girl. "She's got cuts all over her." "Pity we couldn't see it," Serpens said. Severus looked over at him. "Nasty fellow," he then said to Draco and nodded at Serpens who only glared in response while Draco laughed. Krum ended up winning, with Cedric following just a shy minute later. The date for the third task was said, in June, and then it was all over. Disappointingly short and not very interesting. Serpens felt almost cheated as they walked away. "Let's hope the third task is more interesting," Draco said as he took Serpens' hand. They were on their way to the Slytherin common room along with Draco's friends. "I wouldn't be so sure," Serpens grumbled. "Sure, it's all great and dandy for the champions but for us onlookers it's nothing but a bore." "I don't think facing dragons and merpeople is great and dandy," Draco deadpanned. "Oh, hush, you know what I mean." Draco shook his head and tugged Serpens closer. "Doesn't really matter," he said quietly. "I'm sure you will provide other entertainment." That made Serpens grin. "Now when you say it… I think I will. I just need to find someone to do it with." -oAnd just a short two weeks later, he was pretty sure who he was going to pick. Seamus Finnigan. Serpens hadn't paid much attention to the teen earlier, because the Golden Trio had always been worse than the others.

But just a day or two after the second task he saw the boy glancing at him and Draco far too often. And not in a kind way. More in a malicious, disgusted way. At first, Serpens was prepared to let it slide. As long as it was only looks he wouldn't get his hands dirty. Then Draco came into their room with a tightly drawn mouth and fury in his eyes. Serpens had asked what happened, and the blonde had stoically refused to tell him at first. Only when he gently inquired, stroking the teen' shoulders had Draco broken. The fury got lost, replaced by sadness but no tears. He refused to cry over it, and instead informed Serpens that he had just been called fag by Seamus Finnigan. No one had been around to hear it, which probably just suited Finnigan just fine. He had called Draco that, and then walked away. Serpens was angry of course. But still, Draco told him to leave it alone. It could be just this one time. Finnigan got it out of his system, and would leave them the hell alone after that. Nope. Dead wrong. The very next day it was Serpens' turn to be called that. Finnigan sure looked confident to stand and call a teen two years his senior a faggot. Under the surface, Serpens' blood had boiled. On the outside, he had raised an eyebrow. And Seamus Finnigan ended up number one on his list to kill. He didn't exactly jump down from that list when he started spreading rumours either. Serpens wasn't sure where Seamus got them from, but he got to hear it from Draco the first time. Serpens startled when Draco slammed his books down next to Serpens' books. It echoed in the library, and the Weasley twins blinked owlishly at the blonde. The library was one of the few places where they met up beside the Room of Requirement and the kitchens. "Draco?" Serpens asked. "Do you know?" "Know what?" "Finnigan is telling everyone who cares to listen that you are a spy for the dark," Draco said. "Have you done something suspiciously in front of him?" Serpens' eyes widened. "Not that I can recall," he said. "Me, a spy?" "Well, it's not like it's a lie," Draco hissed as he sat down. "Serpens, I'm serious. People don't believe him, he's done it before, but sooner or later the rumours will reach Dumbledore, if it already hasn't."

"I haven't done anything!" Serpens said. "Well, nothing more than any other Slytherin…" "We have to silence him," the blonde said, and even Fred and George stared at him hearing the cold tone. "If we don't, Dumbledore will seize the opportunity to interrogate you, Serpens." "We could always do the same thing we did to Smith," Fred said. "Capture him and make sure he never is himself again." "It'd be suspicious, if he vanishes while he's spreading the rumours," Draco whispered. "Then Dumbledore would really try to get to Serpens." "Then how about shut him up and then take him?" Serpens said. "My dear Fred, George… you live in the same tower as him." "Yeah," they said. "We can cast something over him to make him stop. Then we take him, once people believe it's just one of his hoaxes." "You haven't heard any rumours about the evil me?" Serpens asked. "We don't like rumours," the twins said. "They're not funny enough." "Then what do you two during your free time?" Serpens said. "Planning chaos," they replied, as if that was a natural thing to do. And for them, it was. The teen sighed. "Alright. Then plan some chaos and quiet him. Once it's safe, we'll take him." -oSerpens kept a watch on the teen now when he was aware of the rumours. Whatever Fred and George had done was taking great affect; Seamus soon stopped talking about Serpens, and instead continued with his days as if he had never said anything. Serpens listened around the castle if any of the rumours lingered, but was relieved to find it soon died out. People were more interested in the foreign students and the Triwizard tournament. That meant they could soon make sure Seamus Finnigan never spread a rumour again. Serpens was looking forward to it. Perhaps a bit too much than he should, but he also found himself not caring whether he put permanent damage to the boy or not. All he wanted from Seamus Finnigan was silent. How he got it, well, Serpens didn't care that much about it. There was always the killing spell if Finnigan proved difficult. Seamus Finnigan mysteriously vanished on a normal Saturday, but no one paid too much attention to that. Serpens smiled at the twins over at the Gryffindor table, and they grinned madly at him. That meant the plan was successful, and he should probably seek them up after lunch.

"Any plans for tonight?" he asked Draco as he sat down at the Slytherin table. "Nothing in particular. Why?" the blonde replied. "I'm afraid I'm going to be busy," Serpens said. "Oh, really? How long?" "I might miss dinner," the teen said. "Or take a break and finish after dinner." "What are you going to do?" Draco asked. "Spoilers, spoilers, Draco dear. Don't make me say anything beforehand." "This can't be good," Draco said. "Oh, it's good," Serpens reassured him. "Good for us. For the Light? Maybe not as nice." Draco sighed but gave in and took his hand. "Just be careful," he said. "Always," the teen replied and squeezed Draco's hand a little. -oSeamus Finnigan groaned as he woke up. His head was aching, his body was sore, his muscles strained. And as he opened his eyes, his heart speed up and his mind went overdrive. The room wasn't special. It was large, yes, high in roof and wide space but nothing remarkable about it. It was the chains around his wrists and ankles, and the three masked people sitting not far from him. "I think he's coming around," one of them said. "Who are you?" he whispered. "Where am I? What the fuck am I doing here?" His voice grew higher and higher, nearing hysterics by the time he was finished. "Dear me," the one with red mask said, "I think the little boy is scared." The other two, one in black mask, the other in white, laughed at that and bounced up. They moved stealthily up to him and yanked him up from the sitting position. The chains protested and he yelled in pain. "Why am I here?" he asked. "For fun," the one in red mask said and rose up. "Just for our own fun, Seamus Finnigan.

No other reason." "You sick fuck!" His right arm was twisted backwards and Seamus howled as pain shot up right to his shoulder before dully throbbing in his entire body. He could see their grins, the masks only covered their upper faces, and Seamus tried to get away. The chains were too strong, their grips too tight. The one with red mask leaned down a bit and stroke his cheek. "Stop your struggling," he said sweetly. "It won't do you any good anyway." "When the Light finds out-" "It will already be too late," he interrupted, and smiled. It was a sick, twisted smile and Seamus gulped. "You may live… you may not. Only time will tell. Or when my interest in you fades. Perhaps you will still breathe then. Perhaps you won't. Shall we start?" Seamus screamed. -oDraco read the news in the Daily Prophet on Monday, and turned to Serpens. "Have you seen this?" he asked. Serpens chewed on some toast as he took the newspaper from him and read the headline: Hogwarts student found badly injured outside of London Everyone knew who it was. Seamus' absence had spread on Sunday and it couldn't be anyone but him. The Gryffindors for once was subdued, picking at their food, some of them crying. "Is that so," he mused. "Outside of London? I clearly don't give the twins enough credit." "What do you mean?" Draco whispered. "They were the ones to move him," Serpens replied quietly, and the blonde's eyes widened. "So it was you!" he hissed. "Serpens, the injuries…" "Non-fatal," Serpens said. "But I doubt he'll ever be the same." Draco read over the article again and swallowed. Broken bones, torn muscles, crushed nose and jaw, cuts and deep bruises, and one of the strongest Oblivates the mind healers at St Mungos had seen.

"That was too risky," he said into Serpens' neck, whispers of breath hot on the older teen's skin. "Don't do that again. I can't bear the thought of losing you." "He deserved it," Serpens said simply. "Please, Serpens. For me? Just… keep yourself in check for me," Draco pleaded. "People will look at us. He spoke ill of me, and he spread rumours of you. They will watch us, they will watch you." Serpens took Draco's hand. "They can never catch me," he said. "But if it really upsets you, I'll try to hold back." Draco nodded. Serpens was quiet for a bit, and then said: "So I can't pretend to feed someone to the Thestrals?" Draco snorted. "No, you can't." Serpens had the nerve to look disgruntled. Chapter Fifteen Seamus Finnigan's absence continued to be mourned throughout the week, and people from the Ministry came over to the school over that time. Even Lucius came, and Draco looked at his father in shock. "Father!" he exclaimed. "What are you doing here?" "The Minister thought I should come over and show my support for the poor students," Lucius said. "So sad that the school has suffered two attacks on the dear students." He glanced over at Serpens who tried to look innocent. "How are you doing, Draco?" "I'm fine," the blonde said. "You don't feel sad for the students at all, father. You just want to annoy Dumbledore." "True, true," the man muttered. "And I'm doing a good job of it as well. He grimaces at the mere sight of me." "That's because you never bring good news to his sanity," Serpens said. "Ah, yes, true," the blonde man said. "I have a message for you, Serpens, from your father." "Oh?" "Yes. Let me see now. 'Stop torturing students, you'll have enough time of that at home' I believe his exact words were, and yes, I've put up a spell around us so no one can hear what we're saying." Serpens shut his mouth for a moment, pouted and then said:

"It's easy for him to say. He can torture people whenever he wants to." "Oh, what a difference from whom you used to be," Lucius said with a sigh and clapped him on the shoulder. "Yeah well, I guess insanity runs in the family," the teen said with a shrug. Both Malfoys stared at him, and Serpens only grinned brightly. -oIt seemed like the incident with Finnigan had put the Golden Trio back together, as they sat together at meals and had taken up to the silent glaring at Serpens. He found it amusing. They combined all their sorrow into anger and took it out silently on the one they had since the beginning of school. He did remember not to smile broadly at them, or attract their attention. It wasn't worth having suspicion thrown over him, and so Serpens bided his time. They would all get his full attention later, when it was time for them to die. Yes, that was slightly (well, strictly speaking a rather lot) morbid, but he had changed a lot since the summer. Giving into secret desires, such as murderous thoughts, and things he never dared to do in the Potter house. It was like he was finally allowed to think fully, to never fear that he would have to hide it away. Voldemort was far crazier than him, and much more murderous (planning murder always cheered the Dark Lord up) and so Serpens wasn't too worried about his own sanity. So he continued like usual, studying, staying low, meeting up with the Weasley twins every now and then and of course spending time with Draco. The two lovers had almost forgotten about Serpens' inclination to pain when it happened. Serpens had been kissing Draco, both their shirts open but not off. Draco on his back, cocooned safely by the bed and his lover, Serpens' hair framing their faces as their mouths moved gently against each other. In time, the kisses became messier, more fervent, and Draco bit through Serpens' lip quite hard. The older teen's back curved with the intense pleasure-pain and the blonde gasped when he felt blood trickle into his mouth. They separated, Serpens' lips dark crimson with blood still dropping steadily. "Shit," Draco breathed. "Oh Merlin, did I hurt you? Does it hurt?" "Yes," Serpens hissed, moving down again. "It hurts so good." "Course it does to you," Draco muttered before grabbing Serpens' face and calming him with soft kisses to the cheeks, nibbles along the jaw line, fingers stroking the behind of the ears. Serpens smiled down at him, licking his bloodied lips before letting some drops fall down on Draco. The blonde gave in, licked up the blood and stared right into his

lover's eyes. "Not fair," Serpens whispered. "Could say the same to you," Draco whispered. "Doesn't it hurt even the tiniest bit?" "I said it already. It hurts in a good way." "Oh my god, you're insane." Serpens grinned. "Yeah, maybe. But you still love me." "Shut up, of course I do." Draco bit down again a few minutes later, and Serpens huffed as he tried to control his pleasure. "You're doing that on purpose," he gasped. "Course I am," the blonde purred, to which Serpens answered by biting down on his shoulder. Draco's eyes fluttered close and he continued, "We're both insane." "Yes, we are," Serpens said, licking the shell of the blonde's ear, making Draco moan. "Does it bother you?" "Not at all so come back with that mouth and kiss me again." Afterwards Draco lay awake even as Serpens slipped away into sleep. The blonde looked at the slightly swollen lip of his lover, traced the shallow wound with a thumb before shivering. He had put it there. He had bitten down and put the wound there. It really shouldn't excite him as much as it did. -oFred and George stared at Serpens the next day until he turned and raised an eyebrow at them. "Blimey mate," Fred said. "Your lip. Did someone chew on it?" Serpens touched the tender part of his lower lip. He could have asked Severus, or even Madam Pomfrey for a healing potion but had decided to let it heal on its own. "Yes," he replied. The twins stared some more at him. "And it was lovely," he continued, which finally made them look away. "Oh dear, I sounded a bit too happy about that didn't I?" "Yeah," George said. "You sounded like you're in a freaking bliss."

"I am in a bliss." "We so don't want to know anymore," the twins groaned while Serpens smiled at them. The twins busied themselves with tea while they let their friend sit and look happy. -oPeople from the Ministry arrived again in April, before Easter, and Dumbledore started looking haggard after meetings with them. Soon whispers spread throughout the school of the Minister's demands to make the school safer. Some wanted to end the Tournament. Some wanted it to continue, to not show weakness. Some wished for Dumbledore to resign. Others wanted him to stay. The headmaster was for the first time seriously put under pressure. Cornelius Fudge of course had the support of Lucius Malfoy, because even though he was quite an idiot he had his uses. Distracting Albus Dumbledore was one of the greatest, and most amusing ones for the dark side. Serpens was having a hard time to not openly show his pleasure at Dumbledore's discomfort but with some help from Draco (aka, the blonde kicking him whilst sitting at the table) he settled down for a neutral look. After all, he also had to be concerned about the security of Hogwarts after the student attacks. After some tense days Dumbledore managed to shake the Ministry off his back temporarily after strengthening the wards around the school to keep outsiders away. Serpens thought it rather funny, considering the culprit had always been inside the school. However, he did ask the twins if it would make things harder for them should they need to get out of the school unnoticed, but Fred and George told him about the different escape routes, the secret pathways out of the school. It pleased Serpens to know that even with all Dumbledore's precautions, he was still getting screwed up. Too bad he already had white hair, otherwise it would surely turn white again. Knowing all this made Serpens ache to put another student in a bed at St Mungo's, but he was laying low and had to plan if he was going to do something like that. Lucius came to the school yet another time just a shy week after the Ministry personnel was chased away by Dumbledore, and Serpens and Draco were at the shore of the lake as the man came out around lunch-time. It was a Saturday so they didn't have to worry about classes. All the homework had been done, at least on Draco's part, and Serpens only had a Potions essay to complete before Monday. "Dad," the blonde said. "Again?" "Yes. The Minister was most concerned about the poor students," Lucius said. "I have a few Aurors with me who will test the new wards." "I imagine Dumbledore isn't particularly happy about it," Serpens said.

"Oh, he's most furious at me and Cornelius." Lucius waved his wand around, creating a bubble of privacy around them. "And your father, Serpens, wonders if you are going to attempt anymore kidnaps of students." "I'm not sure yet," Serpens said and stroke away a few of Draco's hair from his forehead. "I can't do away with the Golden Trio without being put under surveillance, but no one has really bothered me except for those. Anyone bothering you that you haven't told me about, Draco?" "No," the blonde said. "Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil have a tendency to get on my nerves, but that's how they are in general." "Oh, please, don't remind me," Serpens groaned. "Gossiping witches are the worst of them all when it comes to chattering and giggling." Lucius' lips twitched into a small smile at that. -oVoldemort knew the greatest chance of success attacking Hogwarts would be on the day of the third task of the Tournament. The task itself would serve as a great distraction as the Death Eaters and dark supporters got inside of the wards, and then they could attack. Ministry personnel would be there too, so they could wreck some havoc on that front as well. However, with Cornelius depending on Lucius Malfoy the Dark Lord practically had control over the Ministry already. He was planning for the attack, but also how to make sure the children of the dark wasn't hurt in the progress. They were mixed throughout all of the houses, even Gryffindor and it wasn't like he wanted to get rid of the children that would grow up to become the future. But some of those children would have their parents killed by him and the dark, and would mostly become a threat to him later. So troublesome. He leaned back in his armchair and looked over the various papers. Maybe he'd call it a night. A knock sounded. Nagini's head perked up and Voldemort called out. Lily's head peeked in and said: "You're done?" "Might as well give up. I'm too tired to think," he said and rose up with a groan. Lily swung the door fully open and stretched. "Want a cup of tea before going to bed?" she said. "I don't think I can sleep for another few hours." "Can't, or won't?" he asked as they walked away from his study, Nagini slithering behind them. Lily tugged at a necklace Severus had given her, and bit her lip.

"Mattie was still my son," she said after a while. "It… hurts, sometimes. I think you know how that feels." Voldemort nodded. Having your child brutally ripped away from you, he definitely understood how that felt. He and Serpens reuniting were nothing short of a miracle. "Did you sleep at all, when he first came here?" Lily asked. "Actually, I did manage," the Dark Lord said. "I won't tell him of the dreams I had though. Dreams of waking up and he was never there. It was all fake, an illusion." "I never asked how he was when he came here," she said and they sat down in the living room. Voldemort called for tea and then sank back into the cushions. "I connected to him immediately," he said. "Serpens did as well, quite quickly. There were never any questions or doubts on our lips. We just… started to be. Good thing he got along with Lucius, and that Severus got to know who he was." "That's good. That neither of you hesitated. I think I managed to bond with him pretty quickly," Lily remarked. "James was harder. He didn't like the fact Serpens was a child of a dark wizard." "If they only had known which one," Voldemort chuckled. "Then they probably wouldn't have let him live." "I wouldn't have let them kill him," she said. "He was too bloody adorable for that." The Dark Lord looked over at her, and quite suddenly realized he was sitting opposite of the woman who raised his son. "I never asked much about his past," Voldemort said. "But now that you are here, and seeming as our tea just arrived… perhaps you could tell me a bit? About his childhood?" Lily took her cup of tea, and smiled. "I'd be honoured to," she said. -oPeople had started to talk about the third task. Everywhere Serpens went there seemed to be some sort of discussion of what it would be. Well, except in his room. Draco talked about it outside of the room, and he had started counting up different scenarios for how it would be. Fighting trolls, fighting each other, a test of courage, a test of wills. Serpens was convinced it would surely test the champions to the limit but would be deathly boring to those who watched. He was almost willing to bet it, but only almost because his father might have let it slip there could be a potential attack on the school that very same evening. People would be too busy about the task to even think about him. The Dark Lord should be offended, but hey, if it won him Hogwarts he sure as hell wasn't going to start complaining.

"So we'll be bored?" Draco concluded when Serpens laid out his theory. "Utterly," he said. "You really sure?" "Yep. Unless some outward-influence makes the place livelier." There, solved it. So even if Voldemort interrupted the third task, Serpens would still technically be right. "You know something," Draco accused. "I have no idea what you're talking about," the older teen said. "Don't you have homework?" "Nope, finished it all," the blonde said. They were seated in the Slytherin common room, Serpens relaxed back in a couch with Draco next to him, and they had been a few minutes ago joined by Theodore, Blaise and Pansy. Serpens had tried to look where Crabbe and Goyle were but evidently they weren't there. Probably out trying to taunt someone stupider than themselves. Then again, that would be pretty hard working finding one. Just as long as they weren't nearby Serpens wasn't going to complain. They pretty much annoyed him just being there. "And you?" Draco said. "Don't you have something to do?" "Technically I have a Potions essay to do." "And why aren't you doing it?" "Because I'm not," he said. "I'll start with it later." "Are you two going to bet about who's going to win?" Pansy asked. "I heard those Weasley twins in Gryffindor are already charging people for bets." Serpens' mouth twitched into a smile. Those two, ever the clever pair of twins trying to make money. "I'm not sure who will win," he said. "Krum and Diggory lies pretty close to each other in scores but who knows, Delacour might spring a surprise on us all." "She doesn't seem like the type," Draco said. "I mean, she didn't manage the creatures in the lake." "Well, maybe she's more of a land-person," Serpens replied. The discussion faded into other topics, Serpens content to lean back at the couch and gently stroking the soft hair at Draco's neck. Amicus was out on the grounds for the night, so Serpens had to remember keeping a window open so he could get back inside

in case the two teenagers had fallen asleep. And perhaps make sure it didn't get too cold in the room. He didn't get much work done, and in the end went back to his room before Draco as he was playing chess against Theodore. Serpens redressed for the night despite the early hour, and then dragged out his potions book to read over the assignment and see what he should start with. When Draco got to the room it was nearly midnight, and Serpens was asleep. Amicus was perched up next to the bed so Draco carefully closed the window. One candle was still lit, and Serpens was surrounded with parchments and a few books. The blonde began packing them away, trying not to wake his sleeping lover. Serpens did wake up though, and glanced up at him. Draco looked back. "I had a dream," Serpens said. "Alright. What about?" "Dumbledore… his head… was on a plate… with, well, things still sticking out." "You mean like blood vessels and sorts?" the blonde asked, raising an eyebrow. "Yeah, like that," Serpens said. "It was very messy." "Can't imagine why," Draco muttered and finished changing. "Was there something else?" "No, just his head. He was kind of grimacing, it was disgusting…" Serpens moved to let Draco slid in between the warmed sheets. "So the gory details weren't too bad, but his expression was disgusting?" "I don't know," the older mumbled. "You think it was a dream that'll come true?" Draco snuggled up next to him, yawned and replied: "Well, one can always hope…" -oIt was Remus who spotted her first, but not long passed before James and Sirius laid their eyes on her. Sirius' narrowed while James glared in disgust. Lily. She was walking around Diagon Alley like she had all the rights to be there, like she hadn't abandoned James and their son and Sirius' hands tightened into fists. "How dare she?" he growled. James was already stalking up to her and grabbed her arm. Lily turned around in surprise, and then stared at James.

"James," she said. "Would you let me go?" "What the hell are you doing here?" the man growled. "I'm out shopping," she snapped. "You know, like everyone else does. Now let me go!" He only tightened his grip, grinding her bones together and got close to her face. "You dare showing your face in front of me," he hissed. "You got some nerve, you bitch!" "The bitch now am I?" Lily said, the green eyes turning cold and then she laughed him right in the face. "Then how about you be pitiful little wanker who threw your wife out the moment she voiced her own opinions?" He moved as to slap her, he had never done that before but there was always a first one, when people parted hurriedly. James looked up to see why. Narcissa Malfoy glided down the street, dressed in white that made her blonde hair appeared paler than it already was. Her eyes sparkled with ice though, and they were locked onto James and Lily. "Mind you own business!" James snapped at her. "Oh, Mr Potter, I am," Narcissa said. She then put her hand on James', the one holding Lily's arm, and with surprising strength she pulled it away and twisted it so James yelped at the pain. She smiled in malice at him, eyes narrowing in cold calculation. "Lily, are you quite finished here?" "Why?" Lily asked. "You got that look on your face, Cissy." They gasped hearing Lily use a nickname on the cool aristocratic dark lady, but Narcissa seemed far from upset. Instead she laid a pale hand on Lily's arm and smiled. "I've decided to fit a robe for you." To their surprise, the redheaded woman groaned. "Not another one!" she said. "Please!" "Now, now, you can't get away." "Yes, if I run fast enough!" Before she could do the running though Lucius Malfoy seemed to have appeared out of nowhere and now placed a hand on Lily's shoulder. She bemoaned her fate and said: "Why are you helping her, Lucius?" "Because otherwise she would fit me another robe," Lucius said. "She has a talent about making small changes that result in me standing with that bloody robe on for hours."

"You mean subtle torture?" Lily asked, looking over at Narcissa who by then had let go of James and was busy dusting her dress off, as if touching him had dirtied her down. "Precisely, my dear," the blonde man said, glancing over at the three slack-jawed friends. "Cissy is so much better at torture than I'll ever be." "Don't say such flattering things, darling, you're making me blush," Narcissa said sweetly, looping her arm with Lily and staring at her husband until he did the same on Lily's other side, effectively trapping her. "Now, Lily, come along." Lily sighed but then nodded and vanished down the street between the two Malfoys. It took James several minutes to get his mouth working, and the three former Marauders vanished to tell Dumbledore of this strange development. -oSeverus was scowling one day and had three first-years cry twenty minutes into the first lesson of the day, and it would only get worse. Even Slytherins treaded carefully around him, and after dinner Serpens snuck down to Severus' personal quarters to find out what was wrong. The man was pacing, and looked up when Serpens entered. "Close the door," he inquired softly. "You're not going to yell at me?" Serpens asked. "No," Severus sighed and rubbed his forehead. "It's just… Potter and the others saw Lily with Lucius and Narcissa. They've alerted Dumbledore and are classing her as potential danger. She can't go out anymore." All of a sudden there was an icy lump sitting in Serpens' stomach, hearing that. Then the ice melted and became burning hot rage. He took a breath though, several ones in fact, and said: "Does father know?" "Of course he does, he was the first one I told. I was going to tell you but… oh, I've been in such a mood the whole day." "Yeah. We noticed," the teen said. "I think even that half-giant's pet, still in the hut, noticed. Thinking about it, I'm sure the squid in the lake could feel the vibes." "Don't be overdramatic," Severus snapped, but he didn't look too angry about it. "And Dumbledore hasn't connected your foul mood with the whole 'Lily-must-be-evil'business?" "No, I pretended the lord had demanded several potions and punished me severely when I didn't get finished in time."

"Oh. So you mean you've been walking around simulating Crucio all day long?" "It's harder than it looks," Severus confessed and they now both managed to sit down in front of the hearth. "But he didn't seem to be too bothered. He was more disturbed about the rumours." "Course he was," Serpens muttered. "Merlin, he doesn't even see you sometimes, does he?" "Makes my job easier," Severus said. "I don't have to look at him except on meals. That's good. And of course the meetings with the staff." "You guys have meetings?" The potions master called for tea and said: "Naturally. I don't exactly idly chatter with them otherwise." "You don't chatter at all, most of the time." "Exactly," Severus said. Serpens took some tea and curled up on the couch. "Lily okay?" he said after a while. "Yes, she's quite alright. A bit upset, naturally, but she gets to spend time with Narcissa. I don't know when I'll get away again; I need to check what Dumbledore thinks of my habits." Serpens picked at the couch's fabric and stared into the fire for a while. "It's going to end soon," he said. "Just wait for the third task, and it'll soon be over." "I know," Severus said. "Can't say I'm not looking forward to it." Serpens raised his teacup in agreement. Chapter Sixteen The winter had been washed away and spring emerged. Trees grew green and lush and the air grew warm. Serpens wanted it all over with so he could go home for the summer. School wasn't really interesting anymore, with all the hysterics about the tasks and having to hide from Dumbledore. Sure, the man wasn't suspecting him now but had before, which meant Serpens was always watched closer than other students. Naturally, that pissed him off. He could sometimes feel the old man's gaze on him and it was driving him flipping insane. So far he had managed to stay low and look innocent

but he was looking forward to the day Dumbledore would die, and he hoped it to be during the third task. Voldemort was definitely planning an attack for that evening. Everyone too busy about the third task to notice their entrance. Serpens was actually looking forward to that more than the third task. If all went well, he would be revealed as the Dark Lord's son. He wasn't sure whether to tell the Light who he used to be or not, but planned either way to somehow torment James Potter about that fact. "You're day-dreaming again." Serpens blinked as reality returned, and he looked over at Draco who raised an eyebrow. "Your eyes were far away and your mouth started to twitch as if you wanted to smile," the blonde teen clarified. "Get a grip." "Sorry," he said. "Just… thought happy thoughts." "Your happy thoughts include bloodshed and possible missing limbs so don't space out too much," Draco said. Serpens wrinkled his nose in disgust. "But if I stay here too much, all the Gryffindorthings will leak out on me and make me feel terrible." "Still, don't space out whilst in the Great Hall," Draco said and took his hand. "Okay? Now, have some breakfast. You're going to be late to class, and I'm not having you go there on an empty stomach." "Because it's not good for my health?" "Nor the health of anyone around you," the blonde said. "You give a whole new meaning to 'grumpy' when you're hungry." Serpens didn't dignify that with a reply, to which Draco only grinned. -oVoldemort didn't really keep it a secret from Lily that he was going to attack, but he wasn't sure how she was feeling about it. So far she had taken everything very well, but still, she had lived her whole life as a Light witch, supporting their goals. Would she try to warn someone? "You look troubled." He looked up from the parchment and Lily stepped in. "Just thinking," he said. "Is that a letter for Severus?" She glanced down at the envelope in her hands and nodded. "I know we can speak every day but I like to write letters. It makes him embarrassed but it's a bit romantic."

"You do it to tease him or because it's romantic?" Voldemort asked for clarification. "Oh, a bit of both," Lily laughed as she sat down. "I couldn't really do that kind of thing with James. He thought it was ridiculous. It was just easier not doing it, if just to make him shut up." "Well, he'll get what he deserves," the Dark Lord said. "During the attack on Hogwarts?" she said. "Are you going to attack the kids too?" "No," he said. "Well, unless they attack me first. Then I'll defend, and tell everyone else to do the same." "I suppose that's fair," Lily said. "Is there someone you want safe?" She thought for a bit, then shook her head. "Don't get me wrong," she said, "I had friends who I still care about. But if they're smart, they'll support you. And some of them are honestly too Light, they can't be convinced otherwise. It'll just break my heart trying to get through to them, so… I've been letting them go, mentally, these last few months. There are a few I still write to, but what side they choose, is entirely up to them. I can't make them change, and I'm not going to." "Right," Voldemort said. "Sounds reasonable enough." "What, you don't believe in reason?" she asked with a smile. The Dark Lord raised an eyebrow. "Does it look like me or my son has any reason at all? Everyone keeps calling me mad." "That's because you let them. And perhaps the fact you act a wee bit irrational at times." Voldemort snorted at that. "At times," he muttered. "How about always? Being reasonable is boring and predictable." Lily laughed at him. -oSerpens liked the late evenings, when you were supposed to be asleep but sometimes he couldn't help himself. Just having Draco so close made his heart pound uncomfortably, and he really, really couldn't fall asleep. Draco smiled softly at his lover as Serpens brushed his lips over his cheek. The older teen moved to loom over the blonde, kissing him deeply and Draco groaned before his hands flew up to hold Serpens' biceps. They wore underwear but otherwise they both had lots of skin to caress and worship. Serpens wasted no time in that. Draco gasped as the teen bit down on his throat, sucking hard.

"You'll leave a bruise!" he managed. "S-Serpens… oh Merlin…" Serpens licked a stripe up to the blonde's mouth and kissed him again. Nuzzling the pale hair, Serpens' hands stroke down Draco's chest. The blonde did the same on him, moving to press his palms against the back. Fingers trailed the spine, moving down to briefly grip the hips before rubbing Serpens' chest, thumbs gently caressing the nipples. "Sensitive," Serpens murmured, kissing his temple. "Duly noted," Draco grinned. Amicus moved a little as they crawled under the blankets and covers, faint moans coming from Draco. In their little cocoon everything was perfect and Draco pressed closer to his lover, never wanting it to end. -oThe warm spring air penetrated the room, rustling the curtains and swirling around the two bodies lying intertwined on the bed. Serpens woke up with a sharp inhalation of breath and opened bleary eyes. Draco's breath tickled his throat, and there was still a half-hour before they had to get up. The older teen relaxed back into the bed, sighing softly. In a few weeks the final task would take place. Exams were just around the corner, and then… perhaps Dumbledore's death. No. Most definitely Dumbledore's death. Had to be his death. Serpens wouldn't take it that he would survive. It was time for that old man to die. It was funny that he had never really liked him, not even as a kid. Albus Dumbledore had had the appearance of a friendly grandfather, but Serpens had always found something to dislike about the headmaster. He had been too cheerful, eyes twinkling but not in happiness. Cunningness, sometimes coldly. Serpens had never really looked him in the eyes because when he did, sometimes there would be a pressure against his mind. He knew now Dumbledore had performed Occlumency, stealing his way into someone else's mind, invading their privacy. Serpens could kill him for that alone, because that wasn't the way a Legilimens was supposed to treat this gift. Draco shifted, bringing him back to the room, to the now and Serpens looked down at him. Amicus flapped his wings from his perch but the teen only placed a finger against his lip. The crow fell silent, cocking his head to the side before starting to groom himself. "Serpens…?" The blonde's sleepy murmur did all sorts of things in Serpens. Turning his legs to jelly, making him glad he was already lying down. Made his stomach turn all gooey and then made flip-flops and Serpens nuzzled his nose into the soft hair of his lover.

"Morning, love," he said quietly. "Do we have to get up?" Draco mumbled. "In a little while," Serpens said. "Not just yet." The blonde sighed contently at that and moved closer, moving his head to rest of Serpens' chest. "Mm, your skin's all warm and nice," he slurred. "And you, my dear Mr Malfoy, are talking in your sleep." "Not asleep…" "Well then, you've sniffed too much on Severus' potions fumes and gotten a little high." "He tells me not to inhale," Draco protested, "so I don't. I'm a good godson." "I know that," Serpens said and pulled the blonde closer. "You just sounded so sappy." "Somethin' wrong with 'at?" "Except for the fact you're a Malfoy and they don't do sappy? Nothing much." "Sappiness allowed in the bedroom… father said so." "Well then, if Lucius said so then it's most definitely applies." -oDumbledore was a bit concerned. Voldemort hadn't done anything major for some time, and he feared what the man might plan. He had never really been able to understand what the Dark Lord was thinking, even back in the school days, despite the fact they both could be quite manipulative. And now when there were no signs whatsoever the headmaster's job at figuring the Dark Lord out was even harder. He also had to direct a lot of attention to the third task. So many things to prepare and keep track of. He barely had time to meet up with the Order between the task and the Ministry and running the school. But he was certain something major was going to happen, and that Voldemort was trying to plan a surprise attack. He just didn't know where, or when. However, he would do his best to find out. -oSerpens enlisted the help of the twins in the middle of exams. He had been contacted by Voldemort for this very task, and when he told Fred and George they only seemed too

happy to help. Distraction. Dumbledore was suspicious, would be alert of any attacks. Probably he was already preparing for a possible attack during the third task. That was why the twins were needed. They were to create a diversion, a fake attack on the school itself, luring people there as the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters made their way into the school grounds through the Forbidden Forest. And not just that. Serpens was planning on sneaking down to the Chamber of Secrets. The Basilisk there had been asleep long enough. It was time to feed her. He had to of course instruct her who she could kill or not, but Voldemort had assured him the Basilisk would listen. Serpens was trying to think up other ways to distract the Light from his father's army on the evening of the third task but at the same time trying to keep as many students as possible away from harm. He wouldn't involve Draco, not by any chance whatsoever. Severus would do his own distractions, so it left very few people. The teen knew he would probably end up helping the Weasley twins launching several distractions. For now he sat in the library, preparing for Transfiguration. He stopped for a moment and looked around before placing a hand on the wall. "You won't mind, girl, will you?" he whispered. "I mean, the chaos and all that. We're just doing it for a better future." Serpens strokes the old walls of Hogwarts, not aware how the castle's ancient magic was slowly humming in tune to his words. Draco walked in a few minutes later, quickly locating him amongst books and notes. The blonde teen had Pansy and Blaise with him. "Theodore's coming too," Draco said as he pecked Serpens' cheek before sitting down. "So get rid of your books." "Hey, I'm preparing," Serpens protested. "Well, so are we." "Get your own table then." "We like to steal yours," Pansy said and grinned. "Thieves," the older one muttered but began dragging the books closer to him and gathering up the notes. "I'm screwed." "No, you're not," Draco replied. "You're good at school." "Yeah, still… professor McGonagall's an expert at making you feel you're screwed by just looking at you," Serpens said. "I swear it, one look!" "Don't you think we don't know that?" Pansy said.

"It's awful isn't it?" he said. "No matter how much you know, the moment she zeroes in on you… it feels like I'm five or something and a complete idiot." "What, you often got looks like hers when you were a kid?" Pansy said, tilting her head to the side while putting some of her books onto the table. "Haven't all of us gotten that?" Serpens said with an amused smile. In truth, while her glares were scary he didn't mind her much. She had treated them all fair, especially after all the troubles with the Golden Trio. He watched as they settled in for the long haul, books and papers spread around them, and then glanced down at his own work. Better check it over to make sure he got it all, because for all the familiarity he might have with professor McGonagall it wasn't going to stop her from being stern. -oTo say that Lily was nervous was probably an understatement. She hadn't been outside the wards for some time now, but as long as she stayed by Lucius and Narcissa she should be alright. And it was the Ministry. They just couldn't grab onto her, not without pulling Lucius with them and no one seemed to want get close to him. He had an icy look on his face whenever someone glanced over at the redheaded woman for too long. She wasn't quite sure what she was there for, but didn't complain. Voldemort wanted her to feel as normal as possible, and being locked up on the grounds to Riddle Manor wasn't the best way to go. Sure, she had space to move around on but there was the ever-reminding fact that she couldn't leave. "We'll just get the papers and then get out of here," Lucius said. "Good riddance, I have to come all the way here for a few papers…" "They were afraid the paperwork would end up in the wrong hands my dear," Narcissa said as she glided alongside Lily. "We wouldn't want that now, would we?" The papers were in fact lists of who would attend the third task. Very important for Voldemort to see to be able to make proper plans. "Well, that's all great and dandy," Lily said, "but why did I have to come along?" "Fresh air," Narcissa said. "This is just a detour." "Really?" "Yes," the blonde woman said. "After this we're going to Paris." Lily choked on her breath. "Paris!" she squeaked. "What, why?"

"I felt like it," Narcissa said. "Lucius will only swing by the house to deliver the papers before we go. And in Paris you don't have to worry about any stupid Light people. They love us there." "More like they love to look at my wife," Lucius muttered. "Don't be shy, Lucius," Narcissa said with a smile. "They quite like to admire your arse as well." The onlookers must have thought Lily crazy, the way she broke out in giggles all the way to the office where Voldemort's papers awaited. -oThe time for the task grew near, soon only days away. Serpens broke away from the common room around midnight one night and used the shadows to meet up with the Weasley twins. Fred and George waited at the steps to the Entrance doors, outside, and they huddled together in a shadowed spot. "So…" the twins said. "Any brilliant ideas?" "How about we put up the ones we already decided on?" Serpens said. "One here at the entrance." "To make it look like someone is trying to blow up the doors?" George said and grinned. "One set of bombs coming up. Are we really going to damage the castle?" "Only as far as she wants it to be damaged," Serpens replied. "You're saying the castle's alive?" Fred said. "No, I know she's alive," the teen said. "Father told me the founders made sure the castle had a consciousness. Not very active, mind you but still, she's in there." "That's just weird but alright," Fred said. "Shall we get going? It'll take better part of the night doing all of them." "Yeah," Serpens said. "And let's not get caught. I haven't planned out what we'll do then." The twins had the nerve to laugh about it. -oDraco woke up when Serpens crawled into the bed around six in the morning. He twisted around and said sleepily: "You're lucky it's Sunday today."

"Shush you," Serpens murmured. "I've been slaving away all night to make the third task evening all nice and exciting." "More like terrifying and blood-shedding," Draco said as he was pulled closer to his lover. "Depend who you're asking." Draco chuckled and stroke Serpens' hair. "Shall I look forward to it?" the blonde asked. "Depends," Serpens replied. "Do you like a good show of chaos?" "Always." Serpens' turn to chuckle, and then he wrapped his arms around Draco's waist before falling asleep. -oAmicus was the one to wake them up a few hours later, and Serpens turned in bed while Draco got up. The blonde looked down at his lover and decided to let him sleep a little longer. Exams were pretty much over and Serpens only had a few left before the third task. He had earned a little rest, and with a little luck he wouldn't freak about sleeping so long. "Be quiet," the blonde said to the crow. "Don't wake him up." The crow calmed down and settled for picking at the food Draco gave him. The blonde got ready for the day and to have some lunch before pressing a kiss to Serpens' temple before moving out of the room. Serpens emerged a few hours later, when Draco had retreated to the common room and was playing chess with Blaise. "I saved some lunch for you," Draco said. "Wonderful, I'm starving," the older teen replied as he sat down. "Who's winning?" "Too early to tell," Blaise said. "And don't help him." "Wouldn't dream of it," Serpens said and took the bundle Draco offered. "I don't need his help to win over you," the blonde insisted. Serpens ate as he watched them play, and wondered what additional traps he and the twins should lay out. Probably some more at the Great Hall, to make it look like it was attacked, and having the people coming there attacked. A few in the Forbidden Forest most likely, and they should probably try to sneak in one

or two at the stands where the majority would sit at the third task. Not enough to kill someone, but at least enough to cause some panic. Serpens would then try to get to his father's side, and probably have someone watch over Draco and his friends. He could have done it himself, but he was the son of the Dark Lord and it needed to be known. He wanted it to be known. He wanted the truth out, the whole truth about Dumbledore and James Potter and the whole incident that had been his life. "Serpens?" He came back to the common room and focused on Draco. "You went off in your own thoughts," the blonde said. "Don't spill anything." "Oh…" Serpens adjusted the grip on his food. "Thanks." "What were you thinking about?" "Nothing in particular," he said. "Just glad school's almost over." "So you can do pervert things with Draco this summer?" Blaise asked. "Oi!" Draco protested while Serpens grinned. -oThe day for the attack grew near, and Voldemort started to prepare for it. Setting up hospital beds and contacting medi-witches and wizards that would stand ready on the day of the attack. If someone was wounded enough it required hospital and a healer, they would use a Portkey that took them straight back to Voldemort's manor and the sickroom. Bellatrix was beside herself with joy at this new task. Attacking people always gave that woman the giggles, and Rodolphus promised to stay close to his wife so she didn't do too much damage. She had a tendency to get overexcited. Lucius was in charge to make sure the kids didn't get hurt. Those who didn't attack of course. Those who did were in the game, and had to play according to the rules no matter what age. The blonde Malfoy would make sure they didn't get attacked unnecessarily or trampled if they tried to run from the battle. Serpens reported about the fake attacks he and the Weasley twins had set up, and Voldemort couldn't be more pleased. People would scatter, become confused, allow the dark to win easier. It was all going according to plan. The whole him was buzzing with energy, at the thought soon Dumbledore would be ended and the world got to know the twisted insides of the old man's mind. They would get to know the truth about Serpens, his life before he came to Voldemort, how Dumbledore and Potter had started to plan his death.

Lily would be joining them. He had tried to tell her not to do it but she insisted. She was part of their world, and in some aspects Serpens was still her son. She would be at his side to protect him, and she would be at Severus' side. She would not let him face the battle alone now when they were together. Voldemort spun around in his chair, Nagini pressed against his chest and tongue flicking out at his throat now and then. It was late, he probably should get to bed but his energy was crackling along his skin, setting his head on fire. He couldn't sleep. He was too drunk with the feeling of power and anticipation. Soon it would all be over, this long struggle. A new world would open up at their feet, a future still unknown but to their favour. He was looking forward to it. -oSerpens hadn't spent much time with Luna, only passing along notes now and then, so he was surprised when she sat down next to him in the library. Draco was off with some in his class, and Serpens had decided to spend some quality-time in the library with a good book. It was quiet and cool in there, and he enjoyed every second of it. Now though he looked over at her, and saw her staring right into him. "Luna," he said. "Serpens," she said. "I want to help you." "With what?" "With your task," she said. "I know Fred and George Weasley will help you too, but I want to help." "How in the bloody hell do you know these things?" he asked. "I just know. Can I help?" "I can't guarantee your safety." "I didn't ask you to," she replied. "This world needs a fresh start. Your father is that fresh start. He and you." "Me?" Serpens said. "You're his son. We are the future. You will help shape our world," Luna said, so completely serious he didn't have it in him to even start doubting her words. "I know about Lily too. Professor Snape looks happier." "Which freaks everyone out, naturally," he said and she smiled. "Naturally," she replied. "Well?" He thought for a little while, pausing in his book. He stared into the wall for a few minutes

before saying: "Alright. You can help. I'll send Amicus with the time." "Perfect," she said and stood up. But before she left, Luna turned around. Her earrings swung around but Serpens couldn't make it out what it was. "It looks nice." "What looks nice?" Serpens asked, confused. "The manor," Luna said. "Just because it's your families homes, doesn't always mean you'll always live in them." "I don't understand." "The manor you and Draco will live in," she said. "It looks nice. And you two look happy." He was too stunned to say anything, and Luna smiled a little before leaving. -oThe day for the third task dawned, and Serpens woke up feeling butterflies in his stomach. It was only five in the morning, around two more hours before he had to get up and get ready but he couldn't fall asleep. Draco was half-lying on top of him, his blonde head lying on the older teen's chest. Serpens could feel his lover's deep breaths as the teen continued to calmly sleep. Serpens' fingers moved over Draco's back, over the smooth skin and he closed his eyes while mapping out the body of his lover. He remembered Luna's words. They would look happy. That meant they would both live. She had said things like that before, but he hadn't paid much attention until now. Maybe he should in the future. She seemed so certain. It was so easy to be reassured by her. "Amicus," he whispered, and the crow looked over. "Come." The bird landed gently on the bed and Serpens scribbled out a message: After dinner, come down to the dungeons. I will find you. – S He bound it to Amicus' leg and said to the crow: "Take that to Luna Lovegood in the Ravenclaw tower. Wait until she's awake and see if she wants to send something back." Amicus nodded before Serpens let him out of the room. He put the wand back next to him and hugged Draco's sleep-warm body, pulling a little until he could bury his nose in the pale strands of hair. Draco moved a little, one hand clutching Serpens' arm but he didn't wake up. "Well, a day before potential death," he murmured to himself. "Got to say, not a bad way to spend it."

Draco only continued sleeping. -oEveryone was excited, and barely anyone could focus in class. The Weasley twins kept grinning and Serpens was worried they would accidently set of one of the traps early. They looked way too happy just for a tournament. Later he found out they were doing bets and blamed their happiness on that. Draco glanced over at him during lunch and said: "So… the plan is?" "Secret," Serpens said. "Here, have some chicken." "Serpens, no, don't just say that," the blonde replied and leaned closer. "I want to know if you'll be safe." "I will be," Serpens said. "Don't worry. The truth will come out tonight." "What if some of them escape?" "Then they'll be the ones hunted," he said. "The Light will feel how most of us felt. Hunted, and alone." The afternoon slipped away quickly. Most of the students would begin to move to the location of the third task right after dinner, but Serpens leaned down to Draco and said: "Go without me." "Where are you going?" Draco whispered. "Putting the plan into motion," he said. "We need to check everything through. You'll get a warning when the dark comes. First there will be explosions here, at the castle. When that happens, people will most likely split up. When that happens, father will come." "You're looking for chaos," the blonde said. "Yes. Lucius will make sure the kids fleeing won't get hurt," Serpens said. "Those who fight back though, they're fair game." "Is anyone listening in?" Draco asked and looked around. "Nope. Privacy bubble; handy thing isn't it?" he said with a bright grin. "Go with your friends, but stick close." "Of course," he said. "You make sure you get out alive." "Naturally. I just have to rub it in the Light's face they've had the Dark Lord's son in the school for the entire year," Serpens said. "Wouldn't miss it for the world."

-oLuna was waiting in the shadowy corners and Serpens took her hand before leading on further, sneaking into a hidden passage that would take them to the Weasley twins outside. "This was a smart way," she said. "Never thought about finding other ways to move around." "Well, I rather enjoyed doing it. You should focus on that next year." "Are there more?" "So much more," Serpens said. "I haven't found all of them, I'm sure of it. This castle is so old, there has to be secrets no one will ever discover." "Like the Chamber of Secrets?" Luna asked. "That one… I actually know where it is," Serpens said. He had been down there a few days previously, and woken up the Basilisk. He would later lead her to the battle at the Quidditch pitch, where the third task was held. First he would give her the signal to come up, and Amicus was ready to fly down there. Serpens had made sure the crow had a way down to the snake. "You know? Is there a Basilisk there then?" "Oh yes, there is. And she's absolutely gorgeous," Serpens said as they came out on the side of the school. Fred and George were already waiting for them. "I need to get away a little earlier to get the Basilisk," Serpens told them. "And once the traps are being set out, I want you three to stick together." "Consider it done," George said and saluted him. "Should we get going?" Fred went to check those in the Forbidden Forest, and George, Serpens and Luna waited until most of the students had moved to the pitch before they snuck into the school. They checked every single trap, moved swiftly through the corridors and George planted a last one inside the Great Hall. "How will they work?" Serpens asked. "All at once, or in some sort of order?" "We're making it look like people are moving further into the school," George said. "The explosion in the Great Hall should be enough to have most adults scatter and move towards Hogwarts." "And the ones in the Forbidden Forest?" "They will go off last, when the dark is already attacking."

A few straggler students came rushing down the hall and the three vanished from sight. Serpens pressed himself into the shadows and watched them vanish down the hall to the entrance doors, and then down to the pitch. "When is the task starting?" he asked quietly as they checked the last few traps. "I reckon it's already running," George said. "Alright," he said. "Let's go to Fred. I'll send the message to the Basilisk, she'll meet us there." "Message?" George said. Serpens stretched out his arm and Amicus swooped down from where he had been hiding. "Go to the Chamber of Secrets," he instructed the crow. "Alert her just like I told you." The crow screeched, and lifted a moment later, vanishing down the hall. "Let's go." -oFred was waiting by a few trees and they could hear the sounds of students and adults around the pitch. "It's been going on for fifteen minutes I think," Fred said. "The first trap is scheduled to blow up in two minutes." "Perfect," Serpens said. "And here she's coming. Don't worry, she got her eyes closed." The three could already see the large shape slither over to them. The Basilisk's head rose, towered over them before the tongue came out to flick at the air. She lowered her head again, this time in front of Serpens and he strokes her scales before hissing out: "Soon it's time. You will not open your eyes, but smell yourself to the fighting Light. Devour them if you so wish, but be careful." She hissed an affirmative, her whole body shivering in the excitement of a blind hunt. "Wow," Fred breathed out. "That language is wicked." "Don't you mean terrifying?" Serpens asked. "Nope, wicked," the teen insisted. "Any minute now." "Get ready for panic," Serpens said. "You won't be safe." Luna got out her wand, as did the twins. The Basilisk tasted the air again, lifting her

great head and coiling her body, ready to strike. The first explosion was louder than Serpens thought, and they heard shouts from the pitch. Another explosion rang out, on the grounds near the castle, and people began to scream they were under attack. "Are they that easily fooled?" Fred whispered. "Idiots." "Your parents are probably amongst them," Serpens said. "We never claimed they were smart," the twins chorused. More explosions started, and Serpens looked at the castle. It looked like some damage had been done, and he sent a silent apology and a promise to build her up even better before turning to the three. "The dark will come at any minute. Where will you go?" "With you," Luna said and the twins nodded. "We'll be right behind you." "Right," he said, and people began coming running when he spotted movements in the forest. Moments later, one broke through and the laughter told him Bellatrix was the first. "Right," he said again. "Knew it'd be her." The woman sent of an Avada Kedavra, and all hell broke loose. -oDraco had begun to move when the first explosion sounded, and his friends followed. The third task so far hadn't been much interesting. Just sitting and staring at overgrown hedges hadn't been very amusing, and he had missed Serpens' warmth at his side. Screams began soon enough when he saw shadows separate from the trees, become running people until he saw the gleaming white masks. And then Voldemort himself, and Draco let a thin smirk pass his lips before he focused on getting out of the way. He wasn't trained in duels, not enough to throw himself into a battle without support from more experienced fighters. He just had to train harder later. They kept their wands out, but only for safety. Draco spotted a Death Eater running along the fleeing kids, sometimes whirling around and shooting shields on those about to get hit. His father then. The blonde wanted to keep close, make sure Lucius would be fine but he trusted the man to not get hurt. He hadn't served Voldemort for so many years by being stupid. So Draco kept running. He knew he would probably run out again, towards the fight, closer to Serpens just to make a statement. Where Serpens was, he was as well, and no one could bloody change that. -oAlbus Dumbledore was furious. The explosion had caught him off guard, and when

others rang out from Hogwarts, the people seeing how it lit up the grounds, chaos broke out. People began to run. They began to scream. And then the dark came. From the forest, a solid troop of people rushing towards them, wands ready, spells already firing. They were ambushing, and someone inside the school had helped them. Albus threw caution for wind, glad most of his Order was there, and started an enraged counterattack. When the Basilisk came, people panicked. The great serpent caught people, bit them or threw them in the air with one swipe with the tail. Albus attacked Voldemort, who easily blocked and grinned from under his hood. "Lovely night, Albus," the man said. "Hello Tom," the headmaster replied. "How did you get inside the wards?" "I had a lady and her friend helping me out," Voldemort said. "Hogwarts does what she wants, when she really needs to. Isn't that right?" The castle, magical or not, would not help such an evil man. Albus snarled and threw another spell at the Dark Lord who blocked it yet again. "Are you growing weak, headmaster?" he asked mockingly. "Your spells don't have the same sting in them. Or is it because you try to appear all Light and godlike in front of your precious students?" Some of said students were attacking as well, and Albus saw how a few had already fallen. "What about you?" he said. "You're murdering children!" "Merely defending," Voldemort said. "Those who are clever enough to just flee we won't attack. They will be protected." "Liar! You are just a cold-blooded killer!" Albus hollered, enough so that the Minister could hear. He needed as many as possible to hear more evil things about Voldemort. "Me? I never said I wasn't!" Voldemort laughed and threw a shield up against his spells. "But what about you? You gave the order to have Harry Potter murdered! That's why he ran!" Albus' blood ran cold. How did the man know that…? James looked like a caught deer, and the headmaster swore silently at him. No one knew, only him and James knew about that plan! No one else was allowed to know, not even Sirius or Remus. Who both were there, and Sirius was staring at Dumbledore. He had always been fond

of that boy, despite how he might have acted. "What?" the Black said. "You didn't know?" the Dark Lord said. "Accidently of course, couldn't kill him outright. Make him fall off a broom. Something like that, right? You and Potter discussed it, because he wasn't the one meant to kill me. There you are, having fed and clothed him for years, breeding him for the single purpose of killing me and the moment you find out he's not the one, you plan to get rid of him." Sirius looked between Voldemort and Albus and James, and even Remus looked unsure what to believe. "James…" Sirius whispered. "Is that true?" "No!" Potter managed. "Of course not! Harry was my son, you bastard!" "He wasn't your son," Voldemort said. "You never liked him because you killed a dark witch to get to him. You honestly believed him to be her son." James looked horrified and shocked. "No," he stammered. "Yes," a new voice came, light but hard at the same time. They gaped. Lily tore away her hood and came to a stop next to Voldemort, wand trained at Dumbledore. "I told him everything," she said. "Everything I knew, and things I shouldn't know. You, Albus, and you James, you two thought it was safe to talk around me. I wouldn't be stupid enough to talk. I was just a dumb bitch who stayed at home and cleaned the house, cooked the food… you never thought I could do anything." "You traitor!" James screamed. "Shut up!" Lily retorted. "For once in your miserable, pathetic life, shut up! You think I wouldn't help Harry? You think I wouldn't save him! I gave him money, I told him to run, to make it look like someone took him! I lied right up your faces, and I loved it!" Albus screamed and threw an Avada Kedavra at her. Before Voldemort could move, get her out of the way, a shadow passed and caught her. Severus whirled into existence, one arm safely around Lily. "Severus!" Albus screeched. "Sorry, but can you not do that again?" Severus said. "Next time I'll slice you up." "You whore, you fucking cheating bitch!" James lost all control while Sirius remained pale, and Remus looked at them all, not knowing who to attack and who to defend.

"They tried to kill Harry, Sirius," Lily said. "Just because he wasn't their tool. He was discarded, like his life didn't matter. So I helped him run. And he found his family. His real family. His true father." "What are you talking about?" Albus said. There were too many listening, too many beginning to doubt him. Sure, he was still planning on killing Harry on sight but did the stupid bitch have to screech it out? "Hello headmaster." Serpens came up to them, smiling, and Voldemort motioned him closer. The teen darted over to the man who inspected a cut on his face. "Who did that?" Voldemort asked. "You can't kill him, father, because they already did," Serpens said and jabbed his thumb over his shoulder. They gasped hearing the title Serpens gave that they barely noticed Luna and the Weasley twins. Voldemort nodded approvingly at them and turned to Albus. "Albus," he said silkily. "I visited your school long ago." He took off his hood, revealing his face and continued, "And you've had my son for almost an entire year. For so long he was lost to me. Taken by the Light who killed the faithful witch who watched him that night. She fought hard for him, but was killed. And then that Potter man gave my son the awful name Harry." Serpens looked them dead in the eyes, and grinned just as crazily as the Dark Lord. Albus saw red, was shocked and struck down with fear at the same time. Then he reacted without thinking. The movement was fast for such an old man. Voldemort brought his wand up but the shield wasn't up in time. Serpens' eyes widened as his body was struck, impaled, and he stumbled backwards. With a sword sticking out of his back. -oDraco turned around. He knew something was wrong. He could feel it, like he was just struck in the gut. The gasp that left him had him do a complete turn on his feet but he was grabbed before he could run back to the pitch. "What are you doing?" Pansy cried out. "I have to go back!" he said. "I have to get back there!" "Are you crazy?" Blaise asked. "You can't!"

"I have to, and I will!" Before they could try to stop him again, Theodore wrestled them off him. "If he has to go, he has to!" Theodore said. "I'll go with you, Draco, I got more training in fighting." Draco didn't know what to say, just gaped for a moment, then nodded before starting to run. He could feel Theodore following him and begged his legs to hold him up until he was there. Screams sounded around them. They ducked and shielded, Theodore sometimes shortly duelling someone and then Draco saw Voldemort and Lily and Severus. Lily was screaming, Severus deathly pale and Voldemort… He looked dead, yet in such a rage. He was furiously attacking Albus, driving the man back, and then Draco could see why. Serpens was trying to keep himself up, but the sword sticking out of him was bloody and there was coming out of from the chest, from his mouth, and Draco screamed his lover's name. -oSirius was in a daze, staring at Serpens, staring around him, spells flying past. He saw his whole life pass by, and felt a deep, surging shame. He had abandoned his family for his funny friend James, who already at age eleven really was a prick. Almost killed a fellow classmate, Severus, around the same time. Tricked teachers. Taunting them. Hurting Severus. Hurting others, just because it was 'fun'. Being a prick. An arsehole. To everyone. To Lily, despite it being James who was the real bastard in the marriage. Remembered Harry, Serpens, how much he liked the kid and how scared he was about it. Because if he liked the kid then James would hate him and then he wouldn't have a friend left because his family hated him and soAnd so Sirius just continued to be a prick. Well… Not anymore. So when James aimed his wand at Draco, the poor boy who didn't see anything beyond his hurting lover, Sirius surged into action. In front of the dark's shocked eyes, he grabbed James' arm, made the spell go wide, and proceeded to kick him away. James kept the wand, turned enraged eyes to Sirius and bellowed: "How dare you?" "I can't believe I waited that fucking long for that!" Sirius replied and whipped out his

wand. A cutting curse tore through his abdomen. Blood splattered onto the ground, skin caving into the pressure his intestines gave and Sirius held an arm across his stomach to prevent them from escaping. Some new Auror, frightened and shivering, lowered his wand. Sirius stumbled back, the blood now rushing out of his mouth, and then his mouth twisted into a grin despite the pain and fear of death. "Fuck this shit!" he screamed, feeling his insides twist. "I'm sick of being someone I'm not!" He aimed the wand at the Auror, who now stood frozen, and yelled: "Avada Kedavra!" Then he fell even as the green light tore out of the wand, rushing towards his attacker, and faintly Sirius heard someone scream his name and it sounded awfully alike his brother… Lily gasped as Sirius collapsed, blood covering the ground around him. The Auror was hit, fell down dead on the ground and James was up. Both Lily and Severus got their wands up, and the fight was on. Meanwhile, Draco reached Serpens. He got a hold of the older teen and Serpens coughed. "Bloody hell," he wheezed. "That hurts." "Good hurt, or bad hurt?" Draco said. "I don't know yet," Serpens ground out. "Mixed. Good… but bad. I'd love it if it had been you." "That's just wrong," Draco muttered. "A sword, honestly? Merlin, no, that's so old." "What's better then?" Serpens said as Draco began to inspect the wounds. "Dagger," Draco whispered, kissing his temple. "Imagine the sharp tip just scraping your skin. A little nick here and there. Not enough to make you bleed heavily. Building it up… this is just sloppy work." Serpens laughed breathlessly, and kissed him on the mouth. "I'm not going to die," the older teen said. "It missed the vital spots. One of dad's healers I'll be as good as new." "Can you stand?" the blonde asked, Theodore on Serpens' other side, wand out and ready. "Hell, I can fight," Serpens said. "I will fight. This pain will only egg me on." "You're sick," Draco babbled. "You're sick in the head and I love you." "Alright," Theodore cut in, "let's get a move on it. You two can engage in sex-games

later. Honestly, in the middle of a battle!" That had Serpens cackle up, and the sound was heard over to Albus and Voldemort. Voldemort whipped his head around hearing his son, and both watched him rise up. "Sword?" Serpens yelled at Albus. "That's the best you can come up with? It doesn't even hurt!" "Serpens?" Voldemort called out. "I'm fine, dad," the teen said. "This is nothing." It certainly didn't look like nothing, was what Voldemort wanted to say but he returned focus to Albus who still seemed in shock. "All went wrong," the Dark Lord said, "when Harry Potter vanished, didn't it? He was found by me, returned to his family and legacy, and your doom began." "Shut up," Albus hissed. "Who will believe you?" "It's not me they'll believe," Voldemort said. "It's Serpens who will speak. He will tell them all the horrible things you said. How you planned his death like one would plan a party. They will believe Lily as she tells them every sick detail about your little spawn James Potter. They will believe a lot of people, and you will be known as the manipulative bastard that you are." "Die for Merlin's sake, just die!" Albus bellowed. He didn't have time for a spell. Serpens was there, blood spraying out from his back and chest, and the sword previously stuck in his body now embedded itself into Albus'. "How does that feel?" Serpens said, swaying a bit. "Hurts? Welcome to my world. I heard you. Every single word you said. I was the best bet, but when I weren't good enough, wasn't the right one, you threw me away. Mattie will know that. How he was to become your tool for the battle against Voldemort. You would never let him shine, you would take his spot. He was just there to be the blade that killed your enemy." Albus gargled, blood coming out. Serpens twisted the sword, moved back and watched the man fall to his knees. "That's your place," he said and spat on the ground before Albus. "In the dirt. Degraded. A piece of shit." Voldemort stepped up, held Serpens up as the teen began to weaken, and he raised his wand. Albus began putting his hands up and the Dark Lord said: "No mercy today, Albus. Not after all you have done to this world. Your death… will be for the greater good." With that sickly green began to swirl from the bony white wand. Serpens watched, Draco and Theodore watched, and Voldemort allowed himself a content smile even as he said:

"Avada Kedavra." -oSirius woke up, which he didn't think he would. That cutting curse had hurt like a bitch. He blinked a few times, feeling lethargic. "You got a few potions in you," he heard someone say. "Sleep it off." "Regulus?" he mumbled. He hadn't seen nor heard from his brother in years, due to James getting angry whenever Regulus was mentioned but it was so easy to recognize his voice. "I'm here," he heard his brother reply. "Your friend Remus is here as well. We won't leave." "We're right here," Remus' voice came. "Don't worry. We'll make up for our mistakes." "And…?" Sirius wetted his lips. "And the boy…? Serpens… how is he?" They were quiet long enough for him to panic. Then, Remus' hand on his shoulder. "He's just fine. He wants to thank you for saving Draco's life." "Couldn't…" Sirius' head was spinning. "Merlin, I've been such a prick and I just couldn't…" His eyes opened, saw clear. Remus looked tired. Regulus worried. Sirius rolled his head so he could look at them both and his head protested. Pain exploded behind his eyelids. "We know," Regulus said. "Go back to sleep. Everything is alright now." Sirius began to drop off, and the last thing he remembered was the feeling of Remus' hand around his own. Just a few feet away from Sirius' bed Severus was bandaging a deep cut on Lucius' arm. The battle had been won approximately two hours ago, and Hogwarts was now under the dark's control. The Ministry was basically in the palm of their hand as well. Changes would be made. A new world would rise. "Careful," Lucius snapped, not noticing Remus glancing over. "Don't be such a child," Severus retorted and tightened the bandage. "Ow!" the blonde whined. "You're torturing me!" "Would you rather have your wife do this?" the potions master asked, and nodded when Lucius paled at the suggestion. "Thought not. Bear with me for a few more minutes. Idiot."

"What did you call me?" "Idiot," Severus repeated. "Throwing yourself in front of a cutting curse, one would believe you were a Gryffindor, not a Slytherin." "Don't be insulting," Lucius said. "I'm not insulting." "Yes, you are." Their argument made Remus half-smile. It sounded like him and Sirius. For so many years he had thought of the dark as cold, unfeeling. Lucius Malfoy, the king of cold indifference, was breaking all the rules by acting like a whiny brat. "Done," Severus said at last. "Go check your son." "I don't want to disturb him," Lucius said. "Serpens' asleep and Draco doesn't want to leave him." "Just go and check on him," the man said. "Get out of the sickroom." "Also known as our lord's ballroom," Lucius supplied. Severus shooed him away and turned on his heel to stalk up to Bellatrix, who absolutely refused to let anyone set her broken leg. -oSerpens woke up briefly when he felt someone's hand on his forehead. Voldemort smiled at him as the dazed blue eyes sharpened. "If you're wondering about the weight on your shoulder," the Dark Lord said, "it's just Draco. He fell asleep." "Mmm… okay." "How are you feeling?" "Fine," Serpens mumbled. "Chest hurts a little…" "Severus helped healing the wound. He suggests no heavy movements for at least a week," Voldemort said and sat down. They were in Serpens' room. "Sirius is alive too. Just woke up." "That's… good." Merlin, he could barely keep his eyes open. Serpens blinked a few times and yawned. "He… I don't know. He was good, and he was bad. Like he tried to… just fit in." "Yes, something like that. But now he's free."

"What happened?" the teen asked, tugging Draco closer. The blonde snuffled and took a handful of Serpens' shirt. "Afterwards?" Voldemort dimmed the lights a bit before stroking the hair from his son's forehead. "You're getting a fever." "Just tell me," Serpens said. "Please. Then I'll go back to sleep. Just… please, tell me." The Dark Lord sighed. "Alright," he said. "The school fell under us. We won. Captured the Order, promised their release if they cooperated. Some did, some didn't. We'll decide what to do with them once we got control of the Ministry." "James…?" "Was amongst those not giving up," Voldemort said. "The Weasleys too, those who were there. With the exception of your twins. I had to congratulate them about the fake attacks, very well executed." "Course. They live for the thrill," Serpens huffed. "They're here, in the manor. With Luna Lovegood. Her father is out of the country but will be picking her up as soon as he finishes up his business." "The kids… then? Of the school?" "Most of them were sent home to their families," Voldemort said. "Others tried to attack us and were captured. The Golden Trio of Gryffindor seemed extra eager to do some damage." "And…?" "Well, they're probably regretting it now in their cell," the Dark Lord said. "But we can't kill them. Not if we want to change the world." "I know…" Serpens mumbled. "Just a nice… fantasy." "Yeah, one you should dream about. Go on, go to sleep." "Not sleepy…" "Liar," the man said, watching Serpens' eyes flutter close. "Rest now. All will be fine." -oThree days later Serpens watched the sun go down when Draco came out on the balcony with a tray.

"Snacks, courtesy of your father," the blonde said. "Where's Luna?" Serpens pointed upwards and Draco looked up just in time to see Luna's foot disappear onto the roof. "What is she doing?" he asked, confused. "Claims she saw a Nargle and went after it," Serpens said. Draco stared at him. "Seriously, don't ask anymore. Just let her do it." Draco shrugged and sat down next to him. The manor was quieting down, most of the injured at home or relaxing. The whole England Wizarding community had changed. The Ministry had yesterday fallen into the dark's hands, and Serpens knew his father would spend most of the summer building up a new world for them to live in. "The future looks bright," he whispered gently to the blonde. "Yeah… it does." There were people milling outside. Draco peered down. Could see his father and mother, the two walking slowly along a stone-path. His mother in a pale dress, his father without a robe. Their heads close together, their arms intertwined. He smiled, and moved on. Severus and Lily. Severus picking out herbs, Lily helping him identifying them and sneaking pecks to his cheek all the time. She looked, and acted much like a teenage girl with her first crush. Then Draco turned his eyes to Serpens. The older teen was still a little weak, and now he seemed to be close to sleep. So many things had happened under the course of just a year. Draco was still shocked about it all. But he didn't regret any of it. Didn't think anything should have been changed. He gently undid a few buttons on Serpens' shirt and strokes the still raw scar the teen had on his chest. The blonde moved forward, kissing it and Serpens stirred. "Draco…?" "I love you," the blonde said. He rubbed the scar tissue, nipping Serpens' jaw. "I love you, you crazy git." "Crazy runs in the family, Draco. Better get used to it," Serpens whispered. "For as long as I'm concerned, you'll be around for a very long time." Draco smiled drowsily, kissing him. "Yeah," he whispered against his lover's lips. "That sounds utterly perfect." And it would be.


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