Title: Familiarity

Author: tarotgal
Harry Potter

Rating: R

Pairings: Lucius/Severus

Warnings: Slash and underage, coerced, implied sex (L&S say that it's consensual but I really don't believe them) It squicks me, even, so you've been warned!
They're so not mine it's not even funny
Snape is sent to look after a sick Draco, and can't help thinking back to a time when he and Lucius were at Hogwarts together

Notes: This was started on a whim and finished for the Sneezefic Holiday-themed challenge. This story uses the timeline strung together with clues in the books in order to determine what years the boys were in when in school together.

More Notes: Written for the Sneezefic Winter Celebration Challenge using bunny #13: write a story using the words/phrases: snowflakes, shy, music, quilt, "Too cold"

Feedback: Um, sure. But you don't have to.





     The very early hours of Tuesday morning found morning sunlight bouncing off the gentle slopes of newly fallen snow and in through the windows of the great castle of Hogwarts. As it happened to be a school, nearly all occupants were oblivious to the sun, and the untouched snow, as they still were nestled snug in their beds. Unseen, a deer broke from the cover of the forest and bolted across the grounds to the forest on one side of the Quidditch pitch. Only prints were left behind, which were then quickly filled-in by new snowflakes. Following that, a little later, there was a small chickadee who hopped across the snow covering the frozen lake. It paused, pecking around beneath the snow to get to the ice in hopes of finding insects there. The giant squid, having heard the sound, pushed against the surface, breaking up through the ice and waving its tentacle around to get to the bird, which had since flown off. But this, too, went unnoticed by the sleepy inhabitants of the castle.


     Professor Severus Snape, on the other hand, saw it all, as he trudged through the snow between the Owlry and the castle. His robes were soaked right through from the knees down, freezing him quite thoroughly so that his feet were numb even as they dripped along inside the castle afterwards. He headed through the halls, filling them with the musical sounds of angry, grumbled profanities. He shivered as he headed down the stairs towards the dungeons as the sun streaming through did not reach so far.


     "Bastard Lucius Malfoy," he swore, under his breath. "Thinks I'm an incompetent berk. As though the wanker has the right to order me around like I'm his bloody slave. Making me get up at some god-awful hour to go wait on him. I'd like to ring his pompous, self-centered--"


     "Severus?" The voice was quiet, calm, and instead of it sounding as though it were unsure as to who and what Snape was and was saying, it sounded as though it were simply trying to call Snape closer.


     Whatever the reason, it stopped Snape dead in his tracks with a roll of his eyes. The last thing he needed was to be late on top of being reamed out by Lucius Malfoy with one of the man's trademark, ear-splintering howlers. Snape closed his eyes with a sigh. "Yes, Headmaster?"


     A gentle, ring-clad hand fell upon Snape's shoulder. Eyes closed, Snape waited for a second blow of the morning to fall. He expected the normal stern reproach about how he should never use such language in the castle, or about how he critical it was now for Snape to be kind to the second in command of the Death Eaters. Or at least about how he shouldn't be tracking snow and dripping water along the stone passageways before Filtch woke to clean them because unsuspecting passersby could slip and fall. Instead, "Have you been to see Poppy about it, yet?"


     Snape's eyes flew open, looking back at Dumbledore who looked alert and wide-awake despite being dressed in his pajamas. Did the man never actually sleep? "No, Headmaster," he sneered. "I am perfectly capable of brewing a proper Pepper-up potion on the spot. Besides, that git requested just this morning that I brew a fresh batch, not use the mixtures we already have on hand."


     Dumbledore nodded calmly in understanding. The only hint that he disapproved with Snape's language was visible in tightly pursed lips. "Well then... I suppose you had better comply with our former governor's wishes. I leave you to it, then."


     Snape sighed. "Thank you, Headmaster." He turned and carried on down the stairs, then looked back, over his shoulder to see Dumbledore still standing there, watching him. "You can expect to find me absent from breakfast this morning to deal with this." Dumbledore nodded again and Snape wished instead that the wizard would beg him to be reasonable. To say breakfast was important and missing it even for this would be a tragedy. But Dumbledore said nothing at all, and headed back up the stairs to let Snape deal with it.


     Swearing even more heavily now, he went down the long hallway, feeling chilled and weighted down not only with his wet robes, but his armful of items: thick blankets, a teapot, an extra pillow, and a stack of freshly laundered handkerchiefs. He muttered the password "fucking opellium furgis" adding the vulgarity for good measure. The stone door concealed in the bare stretch of wall slid open more quickly than normal, perhaps sensing his anger and not wanting to get on his bad side. As though he actually possessed a good side this morning.


     The Slytherin common room, with its low ceiling and rough stone walls, was as cold as ever. Apparently, being located beneath a lake which was rather unfrozen at the bottom still did not insulate it any to keep it from feeling as though the whole room were outside in the snow. The fire and lanterns hanging from the ceiling had not yet been lit for the day, and Snape found himself in complete darkness as the room had no windows or any other sources of light. "Bullocks!" he swore, unable to get to his wand for his full arms. He banged a shin against one of the armchairs and swore again. Having used up his supply of curse words, he began to repeat some of them. He made his way blindly through the common room, hitting a table and a wall in the process, to the left-hand doorway. At least it was the same as when he'd gone to school at Hogwarts. At least these stairs and this curvy, snake-like passage were ones he could traverse in the dark without problems. He stopped automatically at the fourth door, straining his eyes to read the label. "Shit," he whispered. "It would have to be this room, wouldn't it?"


     He bent his knees and leaned forward, taking his hand away from the stack of blankets for just a moment in order to press down on the door handle. It swung open, admitting him, and he hurried inside quickly. The room's fire burned brightly with gentle, emerald flames, filling the room with warmth and light. Careful to keep the items balanced in his arms, Snape looked around the room. "Oh shit!" he whispered to himself again. "It would have to be that bed, wouldn't it?"


*          *          *


     "Did you get some?" croaked the voice behind the dark green bed curtains.


     "Yes, Sir," Severus replied, giving himself a moment's pause to collect his courage before going forth to the bed.


     The seventh year boy lay, pale and sickly, propped up on a pile of green pillows. He sniffled, his delicate fingers crunching a half-used handkerchief against his palm. The fingers turned it over in his hand and lifted it to his nose and mouth. His hand shook as he took a deep breath in. "ihhh-ihktchh!" He glared at Snape.


     "Er, bless you, Malfoy," Snape whispered. He watched as the boy wiped the handkerchief beneath his nose, glimpsing the light, gray, almost silver outline of a skull. Even the mere sight of it made a burst of power shoot through Snape's body. He wanted one, he wanted that. He wanted to be the one everybody waited on hand-and-foot. Whenever Severus Snape got sick, there were just mean looks and snorts and people telling him to stay in the hospital wing until it was all over. But when Lucius Malfoy got sick... it was some big event, almost something to be respected and admired. It had been an honor for Snape to have been asked to retrieve a cup of tea for Malfoy, though he knew the reason was because there were only three Slytherins who'd stayed at Hogwarts during the winter holidays, and the other was already off on another chore for Lucius.


     "Are you just going to stand there in the shadows being shy or can I have the tea now?" Snape sprang forward, with a start, spilling some of the tea, nearly the whole cup, onto a blanket. He gave a frightened cry and immediately began sopping up the spilled tea with his robes as he muttered heart-felt apologies. Malfoy regarded him as though he were nothing, as though he were less than nothing. "Can't even hand me a cup of tea without making a mistake," huffed Lucius.


     Snape bit his lip, sniveling, closing his eyes tightly. Just like his father had always said, he couldn't do anything right. "I'm so sorry," Severus whimpered, handing the cup over. "I'll... I can get you another one."


     Lucius took the cup from him, swallowing the last bit of the tea and making a face. "No sugar. And it's almost cold. I shouldn't have expected so much from a measly little first year." Malfoy's voice raised in anger, in annoyance.


     "S-sorry," stuttered Severus, cringing, pulling back as though to block himself should Lucius strike a blow. He turned around at once, ready to bolt for the door and get a fresh cup of tea.


     He was several steps away, in fact, when he was called back. "Severus?" He turned, shoving his hands into his pockets to keep them from shaking. "Come back here." That voice... that voice, that tone... familiar. Like his father's. Just like his father's. He flinched. "I'm not going to hurt you," said the voice. "I... ihh-Hikchh! ihhTchhh! Sniff!" He stopped to blow his nose. "I'm too sick to do anything to you." Not believing him, but unable to stop himself, Snape had turned back around and was beside the bed in an instant. It was best to obey, even if it meant he'd be hurt. A cold hand passed through his hair and came to rest softly on his cheek. The hand guided his face down, over, so that it was close to Malfoy's.


     Lucius Malfoy's cold eyes studied him intensely. "You've been hurt before," he said softly. Snape whimpered and turned his own eyes away, falling suddenly on the mark on Malfoy's arm. "There's no need to be afraid any more," Lucius whispered, his own head moving closer, so that his words were hot bursts against Snape's cheek. "Spilling the tea was just an accident, wasn't it?" came the soft whisper. Snape nodded, biting his lip. The older boy understood. The warmth against his face was intoxicating. "Of course it was. There's no need to be afraid any more of such accidents." Snape nodded again and whispered a sort of thank you back, though the words were so soft they could barely escape him.


     Lucius Malfoy's hands raced down Snape's body, stopping over the wet spot by his waist where he'd tried to soak up the spill. The hands moved over slightly to one side, gently cupping his crotch. "Your robes are wet," Lucius whispered. "How about taking them off? Wouldn't want you to catch cold now, would we, my handsome young Severus?"


     Mystified, entranced, and his eyes moving from the mark on Malfoy's arm to the kind, gentle, smooth face, Snape's mouth twitched into a smile. The gentle, perfectly lush lips of Lucius Malfoy pressed against Snape's, and the cold hands slipped beneath his robes, making him shiver and lean in closer for warmth. "No need to be afraid," Lucius whispered, taking the young boy in his arms. "I'll take good care of you now."


     Snape nodded, and closed his eyes. "B-but you're the one who's sick," he replied, his own hand snaking down the front of Lucius' pajamas till they reached the waist band. "Shouldn't I be taking care of you?" He opened one eye, peeking at the boy.


     There was a soft chuckle which turned into a cough, then back to a chuckle. "I knew there was a reason I asked for you to get me the tea, Severus." Severus grinned. This was certainly some way to spend the winter holidays.


*          *          *


     Snape paused beside the bed, then pulled the hangings open to see Draco lying there, awake, a balled-up handkerchief pressed to his nose. His heart jumped into his throat for a moment, and his Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed hard, forcing his heart back into place. Draco, he reminded himself, was not his father. And Snape was no longer a sniveling little first year, desperate for power and compassion. Draco looked up, his eyes fever-glazed. "I've been trying not to sneeze," he explained in a whisper, with a nod to the handkerchief in hand. "I didn't want to wake everybody up."


     A bit taken aback, Snape tried not to let it show. "That's very... nice of you, Mister Malfoy."


     "Wasn't doing it to be nice," Draco said coldly, in a perfect imitation of his father. He shrugged and rolled over onto his side, head sinking back into the green pillow, his white-blonde hair spreading out behind him. "I just didn't want them bothering me. They're always hovering over me when I'm sick when I want them to leave me alone." Draco looked over the things in Snape's arms. "My father wrote to you, didn't he?" Snape nodded, and Draco sighed. "Fine, get it over with."


     Snape set most things down on Draco's already overflowing bedside table. Then he covered the bed with the blankets, one after the other after the other, tucking the final quilt around the boy securely. Draco fidgeted, fighting against the blankets. "Too hot," he complained. Snape removed a few, folding them at the base of the four-poster. The additional pillow was used to prop Draco up in a lounging, rather than sitting, position. "I'm supposed to take your temperature before I can give you any potion," Snape explained, sitting down on the edge of the bed and pulling out his wand. While he was sure the proper course of action would have been just to have sent Draco away to Madam Pomfrey when he'd found the boy sneezing and coughing while he practiced for his N.E.W.T.s in the potions room after class, somehow he felt that the boy would have been more comfortable in his own bed. This did not mean, however, that he'd wanted to wait on him like a nursemaid, either. Especially not when the alternative was dry robes and a nice warm breakfast.


     "I said fine. Just get it over with so I can... so..." Draco leaned over, snatching a handkerchief from the large stack now on the nightstand. He discarded his used one amidst the mess of blankets and held a clean one to his nose, hiding already quivering lips. "ehh... ehhIhshh! ihh-HEHShhhh!" He gave a wet sniffle, apparently not yet ready to lower himself to blowing his nose in front of a professor. It was what he really needed, however, because without one, his nose began tickling again. He had no control over his breaths, swift, short, shallow. "ehhh-IHshhhh! ihhhTshhhh! ehhhtchooo!" He sniffed again, wetter this time. He folder the handkerchief and dabbed a little at his nose.


     "Oh for Merlin's sake," Snape sighed, snatching the handkerchief away from him. He folded it and held it up to the boy's face. "Just blow your nose." Draco hesitated, looking at him, annoyed. "Yes, all right, bless you. Now blow your nose or you'll keep sneezing and I'll keep saying bless you and we'll get absolutely nowhere." Eyes closing, Draco took a deep breath and blew. Snape wiped his nose clean. "Ah, much better, yes?"


     Draco scowled. "Yes, Professor." He pushed Snape's hand away and wiped a hand over his brow with a soft moan.


     "A fever," Snape muttered, pulling out his wand. He touched it lightly to Draco's forehead. "Temperatus!" A shiny bubble poked out from the end of his wand. "A little over thirty-eight," he said, putting the palm of his hand against Draco's forehead to help cool it. The fever was mild, but one wouldn't know it with the way Draco was carrying on. Draco's eyes closed immediately with a deep sigh. "Yes, that feels better, too?" Draco made a noncommittal noise but certainly did not ask for Snape to take his hand away. The temperature bubble faded slowly into the air. "All right. Time for some potion. Now don't turn your nose up at it," he chided. A few moments later, Snape had poured a cup from the teapot and held it to Draco's lips.


     Draco pulled his face away in disgust. "No. Too cold."


     "Would you rather it were so hot it scalded you? It's not too cold, it's just right. Now drink." Malfoy drank. And as he drank, Snape could hear the sounds of others waking, getting up. Crabbe and Goyle looked in on Malfoy, who waved them away with a flick of his hand and a cold, icy stare. They did not return after their showers and, instead, went straight down to breakfast.


     With a satisfied last gulp, Draco handed the empty cup back to Snape, smoke rising in silver ringlets from his ears. "Could that have tasted any worse?" he grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest. His lips quivered again and his small nostrils flared. He drew a deep breath and his head snapped forward. "ihhh-HEHShhhh! ehhh-ihhShhuhh! ihhShhhh! Heh... heh-ihhh-HIHShhhhh!"


     "Yes, Mister Malfoy. It could have tasted much worse," Snape replied, lifting a clean handkerchief to Draco's nose. "Blow," he sighed.


     Draco obeyed, then reached up and took the handkerchief back. "You've done what you needed to do, Professor?" Snape nodded, watching the last bits of smoke puffing out from his ears. "You'll... be leaving me alone, then?" Snape narrowed his eyes. "I mean... thank you for helping me, Professor. Even if my father did order you to."


     Snape closed his eyes, the familiar mattress sagging beneath him as Draco readjusted the pillows and blankets and lay back down in bed. "Your father doesn't order me to do anything, Mister Malfoy. Not now, not ever." He swallowed hard. "But you're welcome." He rose and turned, tucking the quilt up beneath Draco's chin. "You'll start feeling better soon. Just give the potion a chance to start working." He tucked the relatively clean handkerchief into Draco's hand. "And for Merlin's sake, blow your nose if you need to, lad."


     Draco nodded and sniffled, motioning with a few nods to see Snape out. Snape was more than glad to go, his stomach rumbling. But he paused on the way out, hearing Draco draw another sharp breath. "ehh-HEEShhhh! ehhShhhh! ehhhshuhhh! ehhshh! Ehh-IHHShhhh!" Snape froze, waiting, listening in the silence. He threw a glance over his shoulder, finally hearing Draco blow his nose. Then he heard a soft whimper of discomfort. Familiar to his ears as well but not reminding him at all of Draco's father.


     With a sigh, he turned back, sitting on the edge of the bed again. Snape reached down and gave the boy's head a pat. "I suppose I can stay a little longer. Just to make sure you get to sleep."


     Draco's face shone with annoyance. But he scooted over in bed to allow Snape room to sit comfortably. And he didn't complain when Snape took over the role of rubbing his nose with the handkerchief any time he had to sniffle. He didn't mind the cool palm on his forehead, either. "But your robes are wet," mumbled Draco, closing his eyes as a wave of dizziness overtook him. He reached a hand out and clutching his professor's thigh like a safety blanket.


     Snape gently moved the hand off, giving it a pat as well, then pulled the blankets up over it. "The snow's coming down pretty hard outside. You should tell your father to let his owls stay until letters are read so that replies can be sent properly."


     With a chuckle, "There's no telling my father anything." He spoke from a distance, without much expression. A yawn rode on the comment's tail.


     "Yes," whispered Snape, tucking the blankets tighter around Draco and leaning a bit back against the headboard as he waited with the boy. "I'd imagine that's still so." He stroked Draco's head, the slick blonde hair falling lightly back on the pillow as it broke free from his fingers, only to be combed through again by them. Draco looked for a moment as though he wanted to protest, then gave a soft sigh to indicate that it felt good.


     Snape had seen Draco years ago after he'd been hurt by a hippogriff. He'd complained and moaned through every second of his stay in hospital, and complained continuously for weeks later. It had been amusing to watch at the time, especially as he knew Draco's injury was superficial. But a really sick Draco, this Draco, was different. He complained just as much, yes. But he didn't seem to care about getting attention, this time, or as his father always did. He simply seemed to care about feeling better. And Snape's touch, apparently, made him feel better.


     "ehh-IHHShhhh! ehhChhhh!" And when Draco sneezed again, his nose ran so much and breath was so heavy that he insisted on blowing his nose thoroughly. Snape had to smile. There was one Malfoy who listened to him. "Not because I really need you here, of course. But, Professor, could you, cough, stay until classes?" Draco whispered. His eyes shut to guard against disappointment should Snape refuse.


     "I'll stay," Snape agreed. He held out an arm and Draco scooted closer, snuggling up to him, with his head and arm on Snape's thigh, just above the wet part of Snape's robes. Snape put his arm against Draco's back, rubbing soothingly. Draco didn't mutter any sort of thanks, but Snape got the message anyway. And even though the boy fell asleep rather quickly, Snape stayed as promised until he had to leave for class.