Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Breakpoint :: 12 :: Desires

12 • Desires

“What is it?”

Lucius said, “My lord, an incident occurred earlier that I believe you should be aware of.” He finished up his explanation by handing over a copy of the letter Granger had sent to her mystery man.

Voldemort read it through and handed it back, then said, “Interesting. It seems that Saiph’s desire to remain entirely in the background will not be possible. Lucius, remind our friend of his knowledge of warding, that which he gained from me. Between the two of you, and possibly with the help of Sirius and Remus, you can that much better protect your manor and grounds. I would not be at all surprised if Saxeten moves on this.

“Which brings us to another point. I am satisfied that Severus’s potion is functioning as desired, so you will begin planning for bringing those key people in the ministry under control. I have personally brewed enough to cover our present needs, so before you go you will take that supply with you. However, there is something you need to be doing at present.”

“My lord?” Lucius said.

“While I believe that Severus could be made to suffer so much more and not yet have paid penance, it is time for his demise, and at your hand. Over there is a cabinet with a selection of things you might wish to use. Investigate, gather up anything you find useful, and we will see to this now.”

“Yes, my lord.” Lucius rose and spent some time sorting through the contents of the indicated cabinet, tucking a number of things into a pocket, then returned to wait.

“Let us go.” Voldemort stood and swept off, Lucius close behind him.

It was quite some time later that Lucius returned to the manor. The crate from his master was dropped in his own suite, tucked behind numerous wards, before he headed for the new Black suite, and even then he showered and changed first. He brought a pensieve with him, secured in his pocket, which contained his memory of his visit with Severus. He was let in by Remus, who eyed him curiously.

“Please inform Sirius that I have something for you two to watch, and that I am going to give permission to my son to also view it. I will be over shortly,” he said quietly.

Remus nodded and moved toward his lover, so Lucius sought out his son, who was seated by a window with a book in his hands. “Draco,” he said softly, then waited for his son’s full attention. “Severus is dead. You are free from that contract.”

Draco sucked in his breath and set his book on the sill almost blindly.

“If you wish to view my memory of this, you may. I warn you, however, it will be extremely unpleasant.” He then turned and made his way over to the two men and said, “My master gave me leave to kill Severus. As you both wished to see his condition, if not his demise. . . .” Lucius handed over the pensieve without another word, then turned away to go sit with Saiph and the twins.

Saiph smiled at him, then glanced past him and narrowed his gaze. “I don’t want to know, do I.”

Lucius shook his head. “I rather think not. Suffice to say, Severus is”—he glanced at the children—“no more.”

“And you’re allowing Draco to witness it?” Saiph did not seem censorious so much as genuinely curious.

“I have given him the option for several reasons. One is that it might help him to see that his oppressor is gone, and he is unquestionably released from that excuse for an apprentice contract. Also, it will not hurt for him to understand that I am not above a descent into vicious cruelty if sufficiently provoked. To be frank, I don’t expect him to be able to stomach the entire memory.”

Saiph gnawed on his lower lip for a few seconds, then said, “I’m not going to say or ask something stupid. Considering how easily I lost control of myself. . . . And that was on the strength of what might have been.” He looked at the twins with a fierce expression.

“The difference being, you are an adult, a father, and would be able to understand. I think Draco is too young yet. But . . . let us talk of other things? My master has asked me to remind you of what you learned from him regarding warding.”

“Oh?” Saiph looked a bit puzzled at that, then thoughtful. “He thinks maybe Saxeten might send people to spy on you, here?”

“That is my interpretation. I suggest the first thing we consider is warding this suite in a manner not dissimilar from the one you used before.”

“Okay,” Saiph said agreeably. “I’ve not really used that knowledge, but I think if you help me I can do it. I suppose we should just assume the worst and plan for it, right?”

He nodded, then smiled as Altair looked up at him imploringly. Lucius reached down to heft the child into his arms and onto his lap. “And why are you pouting?”

“My crayon broke.” Altair held up the pieces with a mournful expression.

“I see. And you’ve been doing such a nice job colouring that griffin. Would you like me to fix it for you?” he asked. Altair beamed and nodded, so Lucius took care of it with a quick spell, then set the child back down. He realized after a moment that Saiph was gazing at him with a funny little smile on his face.

“Thanks,” Saiph said a bit huskily.

He smiled back. “You’re welcome.”

A short while later he had Draco plastered against his side. That occasioned an arch of a brow and an arm slipped around his son’s shoulders. “Ah, Draco. Would you like some tea?”

A cup shortly found its way into the blond’s hands, well sweetened and doused with cream. Draco sipped from it gratefully, drinking half before he said, “I’m sorry, but I’m not, that I looked. You’re really scary.”

Lucius chuckled, but a small voice piped up belligerently, “Is not.”

“Huh?”

Adhara looked up with a cute little frown. “Is not,” she repeated.

Draco looked a touch nonplussed. “Of course not,” he said, then nodded as the child went back to her colouring.

Lucius rather thought the interruption was timely, as it forced his son to recognize that free speech was not exactly wise just then. He decided to stir the pot a little, mainly curious to see how Draco would react. “So, has Saiph told you about our encounter earlier in Diagon Alley?”

“Mm. Actually, I thought it was kind of funny.” Draco drained his cup and set it aside. “Saiph happens to be one of the nicest, most patient people I know, so Weasley trying to provoke him is hilarious. And over children’s books?”

“I think,” said Saiph, “that I’ll wait a day or two before I respond, but I did work out something tentative.” He pulled a notepad out of his pocket, opened it and flipped through the pages, then handed it to Lucius.

Miss Granger,

I allow I was amused at your method of attempting to track me down after the encounter in Flourish & Blotts. I also acknowledge that you are correct in stating that it is not your place to apologize for your friend’s behavior. Even so, I appreciate the sentiment, and your actions to defuse the situation at the time.

As for whether or not I am related to Sirius Black, I suppose I must be. However, with all due respect, I will decline to discuss my personal affairs with a complete stranger.

Lord Black

Lucius considered, then nodded. “It is likely that the Tonks woman will be thrown at you in some fashion,” he said as he handed back the notepad.

“Sure, but at least she’s family. Dad says she’s all right, if a bit excitable.”

“Aunt Andromeda’s daughter?” Draco asked.

“Yes,” Lucius confirmed. “I suppose we shall see.”

“Something tells me you don’t much care for Dumbledore,” Draco observed to Saiph.

Saiph stared for a moment, then started laughing, and Lucius wondered if his son could detect the taint of bitterness within.

*

They returned to Diagon Alley on the sixth to deal with Saiph’s order, this time with Draco in tow, even though it should have been his first day of lessons with Remus. Saiph figured it was a treat all around. He and Lucius had been working hard on warding, though it had become easier for him with practice, and Draco was probably pleased at having an extra day, and in a shopping area to boot.

Madam Rastrick had things ready and Saiph suffered through a final fitting; for some reason, it was a lot more important for these than his normal wardrobe. Once she was satisfied the garments (and boots) were packaged up and sent off, so the three of them exited and headed off in search of lunch.

Saiph became aware that they were being observed when he noticed a peculiar reflection in a shop window, one that ducked away suspiciously, and cleared his throat softly.

“I saw,” Lucius murmured.

Saiph drifted to a stop, pursing his lips, then said, “You know, I would really like to eat outside the alley. I’ve a craving for Mexican.”

As he watched the reflection nudged back into his peripheral view, and Lucius said, “We could go to Covent Garden.”

“You two are all right with that?” He really did have a craving, but that did not mean the Malfoy men were like-minded. Saiph could almost taste a fajita. They seemed to be agreeable, so off they went. The walk was chilly but pleasant enough, and they were soon approaching a place Lucius knew of.

It made Saiph wonder just how much experience the man had with the muggle world. In any case, a shadow was . . . shadowing them, and he could only imagine it was Tonks. At least in the muggle world she was constrained from obvious use of magic, not to mention unreserved speech.

They had not quite made it to their destination when an accident occurred, and the lady in question landed flat on her ass in front of them. Tonks blushed profusely, but accepted a helping hand up from Saiph, and went still on getting what was probably her first unobstructed look at him.

“Are you all right?” he asked, mainly because it was expected, but also to hasten things along. Having been approached, there was no sense in shying away from it, and he did have two Malfoy men to back him up.

“You—” She sort of squinted at him and tilted her head to the side. “Yes, thank you. I’m so sorry. I’ve always been a bit clumsy.” Then she glanced at each of his companions and said, “Uncle Lucius, Cousin Draco.”

Saiph was amused when one of Lucius’s brows arched up to a dizzying height and a faint sneer graced his lips. “Tonks. How unexpected.”

She flushed and shifted uncomfortably. “Yeah, well. . . .”

Saiph bit the inside of his cheek to prevent himself from laughing, then said innocently, “Lucius?”

“How rude of me,” Lucius said smoothly. “Lord Black, may I introduce Miss Nymphadora Tonks, daughter of Andromeda Tonks née Black, cadet branch.”

He had to bite back another bubble of laughter at that. “A pleasure, I’m sure. We were just about to have lunch, Miss Tonks. As you’re family, would you care to join us?”

It did not escape his notice that her eyes flicked to his hand before she replied, “Oh, I couldn’t.”

Saiph nodded. “I understand. You’re probably on your way somewhere, and our meeting was simply a coincidence. Please, do not let us delay you any further.”

She flushed again; really, she was quite good at it. “It’s not that,” she said. “I’ve no mu—no money on me, and I wouldn’t think of cadging off someone.”

“Is that all?” he said dismissively. “Really, I’m beginning to feel a touch insulted.” She looked to him as though she was waging an internal war. Had she been keeping an eye out for personal reasons, or because Saxeten had asked her to?

She fidgeted. “If you’re sure it’s all right.”

Saiph nodded and looked to Lucius, who gestured them all along toward the restaurant. They were able to secure a table easily, despite the place being fairly busy. He suspected it either had to do with the sort of aura Lucius put out, or use of some very subtle spells. And very quickly they were settled in with chips and salsa, drinks, and their orders had been given.

“So, a cousin. I received a letter a few days ago from a Miss Granger which mentioned you.”

She laughed weakly. “Yes, I know her. When I heard about her encounter, I confess, I became sorta curious. I hadn’t realized that anyone else in the family was around. Well, aside from those known to me.”

Saiph leaned over the table in a confidential posture and said, “Tell me, is this meeting really a coincidence?”

Her hand jerked, sending a glass flying off the table and soda to splash across the floor. “Shit,” she muttered and grabbed a handful of napkins.

“I’ll take that as a no,” he said and sat up straight, then reached for a chip to snack on. “Lucius, this place seems fabulous. I’m really glad you knew of it.”

“I think you’ll find the food is excellent,” Lucius said as a staff member wandered by with a mop.

After crunching through a handful of chips and waiting for Tonks to regain her composure, Saiph said, “So if this isn’t a coincidence, what is it? I don’t particularly appreciate being spied on, after all. If you’re curious because we’re family, that’s one thing, but if there’s some ulterior motive. . . .”

Tonks bit her lip, tossing a nervous look at the Malfoys.

When she failed to speak quickly enough Saiph chuckled and said, “Well, I suppose now that those clothes are done, I’ll be enjoying the delights of sailing through the air soon in a base imitation of flight?”

Draco snickered. “It’s not that bad, really. And father is a good instructor. I doubt you’ll be thrown, and you’re not the type to panic.”

Saiph shook his head and reached for more chips, wishing either the food would arrive, or Tonks would work up the courage to say something. And then she did, sort of.

“For you to be Lord Black you’d have to be the son of either Sirius or Regulus,” she blurted out. “The next person in line is Draco, and he’s obviously not it.”

Saiph glanced down at his hand. “Obviously. But that doesn’t answer the question, now does it. I may not have been in this country for years, but I am not ignorant of the political climate. As I said, I don’t appreciate being spied on, and I have my suspicions. If this not so coincidental meeting is leading anywhere toward a recruitment speech, you can save your breath.”

She leaned in and hissed, “So, what, you’re a Death Eater?” Tonks shot a look at each Malfoy, then back to Saiph.

He laughed and shook his head. “I rather think not. Consider me Switzerland.”

“Switzerland!?” She sat back abruptly as a server wandered over and began unloading a tray, then flipped a napkin over her lap.

“Yes, the chocolate is particularly good, don’t you think?” he asked as he did the same, then began fashioning himself a fajita, his mouth watering in anticipation.

Lucius chuckled softly as did Draco, though Saiph could tell that Draco had no real clue why it was funny. They ate mostly in silence, with Tonks shooting him looks that blended suspicion with confusion. Saiph supposed she was trying to deal with the fact that regardless of which brother was his father, both had been killed by the Dark, which made his claim of neutrality all that much more bizarre.

Saiph sat back in replete satisfaction after a while and sighed. “Absolutely divine. I may need a nap, though.” He signaled and whipped out his credit card, then sent the waiter who appeared off with it. He was back fairly quickly, so Saiph signed the slip and tucked away a copy and his card.

After another satisfied sigh he pushed back his chair and rose, then said, “It was a delight to meet you. I do hope you enjoyed lunch.” He smiled, nodded, and swept off, secure in the knowledge that the Malfoys would be right behind him.

And he heard, as he walked away, a faint, “I still don’t know your name.”

*

Nymphadora Tonks was flummoxed. Yes, that was the perfect way to describe it in her mind. She stood there staring at nothing until a waiter popped up in front of her and cleared his throat meaningfully, at which point she started violently, mumbled an apology, and ducked off toward the exit.

Outside she leaned against a wall and considered; she flat out didn’t know what to make of her cousin. After five minutes of no particular progress she shook her head and took off, intent on visiting with her mother. Once there she settled in at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and began to relate her lunch hour.

“And I don’t know what to think, mum. He’s wearing the ring, so I know he’s legit, but. . . ? He’s got to be the son of Siri or Regulus, but how? When!?”

“If he’s wearing the ring then he must be at least sixteen,” Andromeda pointed out. “And you said he looks older than Draco, and closer to your age, so he could have been born while one of them was still in school. I admit, though, I never heard any scandals, so whatever happened, either Orion and Walburga didn’t know, or it was completely hushed up.”

“He definitely wasn’t at Hogwarts, but I feel kind of silly at the idea of shooting off a letter to Beauxbatons or Durmstrang. Still, I don’t get it. Aunt Bella killed Siri, and Voldemort or one of his people killed Regulus. Why on earth is he claiming neutrality? Why is he so cozy with Uncle Lucius?”

Andromeda shrugged. “From what you’ve described, this Lord Black seems to be fairly confident, mannerly, and politically aware, and he’s most likely been properly schooled in pure-blood ways.” She smiled. “And you don’t know his actual name.”

“No!” she said with a roll of her eyes. “Not once did either Lucius or Draco use it. I think they were enjoying my frustration. You know, I’ll give Hermione that much. She saw an opportunity and jumped on it, even if it didn’t bear any fruit. She might have thought Ron was being an idiot—in fact, I distinctly recall her using that exact term—but she saw a way to make use of it.”

“Which brings us back to Dumbledore,” her mother commented.

“Yeah.” Tonks sighed and sipped from her cup. “He wants me to get in close. He wants me to use the family connection to find out anything I can, and persuade this guy over if I can, away from the Malfoys. He’s assuming right now that Black must be siding with Voldemort, maybe because he just didn’t connect with the right family members.”

Andromeda shrugged again. “Well, I imagine anyone would have become cold and indifferent being married to Cissa for that long,” she said with a faint grin. “It’s a bit worrying, but he might not be lying when he claims neutrality. Besides, Lucius was forced into that marriage. He might have been forced into serving Voldemort, too.”

“Mum! That’s crazy.”

“Is it? Abraxas was a nasty man. He was cold, hard, extremely opinionated, and stubborn. No, I don’t know, I’m just theorizing. All I’m trying to say is that Lucius might not be exactly who you think he is, and he might not be angling to influence Black in any particular direction. Then again, maybe he is. Have you considered talking to Remus?”

“I could, yeah.”

“Now, don’t think I’m trying to tell you what to do, dear, but at least consider things. Is it really all that important for Lord Black to be on Dumbledore’s side? On anyone’s side? Personally, I’m more interested in where he’s been hiding. It just seems strange to me that Dumbledore would raise a fuss over one person, simply because he’s a Black.”

Tonks furrowed her brow and nodded absently. It was strange.

*

Saiph did take a nap, which Lucius found amusing. He took that time to bring Sirius and Remus up to speed, then went off to begin planning for the subversion of key ministry workers, and he was particularly interested in managing to place reins on at least one who worked in the Department of Mysteries. Lucius knew how much his lord wished to gain access to the Hall of Prophecy, and he rather figured that Saiph would appreciate knowing if there really was one connected to him, or several.

That took up the remainder of his afternoon, and he was glad to leave off in order to get ready for dinner, then join the others. And seeing Remus again reminded him of his earlier need for information, so he engaged the man in a discussion of mediwizardry to ascertain the limits of his skill.

Eventually he nodded and said, “Then I would prefer that any lessons of that sort be set aside for Tuesdays and Thursdays. Granted, I am frequently in residence anyway, but this way I have a solid framework to plan my schedule around.”

“Sure,” Remus said easily. “And I might even try to persuade Saiph to help out on occasion, though not with healing, obviously.”

“Me?” Saiph seemed shocked for some reason. “What could I do?”

“That depends, I suppose. If Draco is learning the standard sorts of things, maybe not much. But it might be useful for him to learn about dueling against more than one opponent, or as part of a team. I’m sure you have a different style than my own, or Siri’s, or Lucius’s, you see?”

Saiph nodded and went back to making sure the twins were getting enough to eat, so Lucius looked at his son and said, “And what plans do you have for this evening?”

“I’ve got a letter I want to write, but after that I think I’m going to enjoy my last weeknight of freedom.”

“Excepting time around the full moon, when I doubt I’ll be up to teaching you anyway,” commented Remus.

“Well, those too,” Draco said equitably.

That suited Lucius just fine, as with any luck his son’s letter was to that girl, and might take him some time anyway to compose, which meant he could attempt to steal Saiph away for the evening. And so he did, after the twins were put to bed, with an invitation to take a walk outside, complete with warming charms. Saiph had pinked at that, but nodded and gone to collect his coat, and they were shortly strolling around the grounds.

“So, Lucius, what exactly does courting involve?”

He smiled and said, “That depends. I could shower you with gifts—”

“Except that you’ve already given me one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received,” Saiph interrupted pertly.

“Yes,” he said. “I could bring you rare flowers.”

“That would be new and different,” Saiph said.

“I could also take you many places.”

“Today was very nice, despite having to share it. I was really happy that you didn’t mind the idea of Mexican, and in a muggle place. I also liked that you let me handle things, though I would have asked for help if I’d needed it.”

Lucius reached over to take Saiph’s gloved hand in his own. “Not so much let. I was confident you’d be all right, and yes, I know you would have asked for help if necessary. That usually only happens when you’re unsure or indecisive, or just ignorant. I think you did a fine job, actually.”

Saiph grinned. “It was kind of fun. But yeah, I suppose that’s true. I mean, I like to think I can take care of myself just fine, but there are times when I don’t have a clue what to do.” He paused, turning slightly, then said, “I appreciate that what you give is support.”

He licked his lips and nodded, saying, “You’re welcome,” then began walking again when Saiph did. “If I did anything else, well. . . .” Lucius wasn’t quite sure how to phrase his thoughts on that.

Apparently, Saiph had an idea how, verbosely. “It’s like, before, when people kept making my decisions for me. I never had much choice, you know? Not in the really important things. Sure, I could chose whether or not to blow off my studies, and what to wear each day, but that’s just small stuff any person has to deal with at that age. Actually, it’s one of the reasons I love dad.”

“I’m sorry?” he said, wondering how that related.

“Back in my third year, near the end, we were all there in the Shrieking Shack. Me, Ron, Hermione, Sirius, Remus, Snape, and . . . Peter. Forget about Snape, because I knocked him senseless. What I mean about dad, though, is that when I asked him and Moony not to kill Peter, they listened. Yeah, it was my parents dead, their friends, and supposedly all due to Peter, but I thought it’d be better for Peter to be taken in, you know?

“Then dad would be free and I could have gone to live with him. And he listened, as did Remus. It was a huge decision, and both of them were so ready and willing to kill, but they listened. I think that’s when I really started to care for dad, even before he offered me a home. Of course, it all went pear shaped at that point, but whatever.

“The rest of it. . . . I was supposed to act so mature and be adult about things at the same time I was being told to shush, not bother the adults, and to go play like any other kid. And now, after five years of being on my own and depending only on myself, I can really appreciate the value of good counsel, and advice that is advice and not a thinly disguised order.

“And I know, we’ve sort of talked about this before. I know some of what you do is to help your lord when it comes to me, but you do a lot more than that, purely for my benefit, and it makes me think you really do like me as a person, and that you’re not seeing me as . . . him. I like that I can ask you about stuff and you won’t blow me off with some stupid excuse.

“You’ll be honest with me, even if that’s just to say you’re not able to speak about whatever it is. And I never get the sense that you’re trying to screw with my head. I mean, yeah, you’re probably loads smarter than me, but I don’t feel intimidated by that. And I never feel like you’re just waiting for the right moment to swoop in and take over. Even Voldemort offered me advice and choices and alternatives. He didn’t just tell me this is how it’ll be and you’d best like it or pretend to.”

Lucius deftly steered Saiph into one of the pocket gardens, one which contained a pool and fountain that was serviceable year round, temperature notwithstanding.

“Oh!” was the startled reaction. “This is gorgeous.” Saiph aimed a huge smile at him and tugged him over toward the water, then let go and removed his gloves.

Steam rose up from the surface of the pool, making the area misty and almost mysterious in nature. And as well it should, for Lucius had a number of house-elves who saw to the grounds.

“It’s like your eyes in a way,” Saiph said vaguely.

“How so?”

Saiph looked at him squarely, though he fidgeted slightly. “Pale, icy grey, but still not cold. At least, not when you’re not angry.”

He couldn’t resist saying, “Or when I look at you.”

Saiph laughed at that and shook his head. “Maybe now, but I think I wasn’t your favorite person a few years back.”

“That was then.”

“Yeah.” Saiph tilted his head and said, “Lucius, will you kiss me again? I don’t only admire you for your mind and personality, after all.”

He chuckled and removed his own gloves, tucking them into a pocket. “Perhaps I was fibbing when I said I had no plans to seduce you,” he said as he reached up to lay the fingers of one hand against the nape of Saiph’s neck.

Saiph shivered and took a half step forward. “Seduce me, Lucius, or make me fall in love with you? There’s a difference.”

“Mm. Well, I have asked to court you. You tell me what I wish for,” he said, idly fingering Saiph’s hair.

Saiph closed his eyes for a moment, and when he opened them again they were brilliant green. “Selfish me hopes for both.”

“And my heart as well?”

“Yes. Are you going to kiss me?” Saiph persisted. “I really want you to.”

So Lucius did, using his free arm to wrap around the lithe body before him and pull Saiph close against him. Arms slipped beneath his coat and wrapped around his torso, and Saiph parted his lips in offering, darting his tongue out a second later to tease him with. Lucius teased right back, then surged forward when Saiph’s tongue retreated in mock shyness. He felt as though he could almost taste the power the young man’s very being contained, and it was as intoxicating as everything else that made up the person known as Saiph.

It wasn’t until several minutes later that he pulled back, his cock very insistently obnoxious about its interest, as the urge to push Saiph down and devour him, claim him, started to look more attractive than it ought considering their circumstances. Saiph’s eyes, once opened, were unfocused, his pupils dilated with lust.

“I think I’m finally starting to see what all the fuss is about,” Saiph said a bit absently.


Associated Snapshot: Vitriol

Be advised that this snapshot contains my brand of torture (Control Issues fans know exactly what I’m talking about), so if you’re squeamish, please just pretend it’s not there, and simply know that Sevvie-poo bites the dust, okay?