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Severus Snape stood awkwardly in the doorway, watching young people mingle, bait, and snipe alongside their elders, all gathered together purportedly to celebrate Draco Malfoy's coming of age. "Potions Master Severus Snape!" announced the herald, causing all heads to swivel his way, expressions ranging from disbelieving to hostile. This was not a crowd where his now-defunct role as the Dark Lord's betrayer was a popular one.
Only for Draco would he brave them once more.
Snape swept into the room, pretending to ignore the stares and homing in on the one face that showed welcome, even joy at his presence. "I said I would be here if we both lived to see the day, did I not?" he said by way of a greeting.
"And here you are," Draco replied, his haughty demeanour softened by the obvious humour in his tone. "Fashionably late and making a scene as usual," he added, rolling his eyes at the susurration of gossiping voices all around them.
Snape raised one dark eyebrow and said, "I'm here to collect on our wager, actually." He wasn't even sure Draco remembered making the rather morbid bet, the same day Snape had agreed to take the boy under his wing for special tutoring in potions and to help keep Draco clear of the Death Eaters' influences. And out of their beds -- Draco's darling Aunt Bellatrix had tried to lure him into hers, and his father had only watched, amused, as he had attempted to extricate himself. Draco had come to Snape soon after, begging for protection.
"Which one," said Draco with a smirk, just loud enough to carry over the murmurs of the crowd, "the one where I become your apprentice or the one where I become your bed slave?"
Snape laughed, surprise at Draco's audacity and even more that he had remembered their second wager, an offhand comment he'd made when they'd both been quite close to being revealed. "Well, we both made it out alive, so I suppose I'm doubly victorious, aren't I?" Snape said, with a deliberate arrogance that Draco would easily see beneath, and the surrounding guests would undoubtedly use as fodder for gossip for years to come. "Shall we begin now?"
Draco took a step toward Snape, taking a glance around the room at all the people who had shown to watch the disgraced son of a Death Eater going through the motions like a trained pony. For what Snape suspected was the first time in his life, he let his true feelings show, disgust for what they represented, disdain for their opinions and at the very end, an affection that made Snape's chest feel tight when Draco's eyes made their way back to his Potions master.
"There's nothing for me here," said Draco, his voice loud in the silence that had fallen during his perusal of the crowd. He placed his hand on Snape's arm, and Snape felt a stab of pride when he felt how ice-cold the fingers were. Draco's hands only got cold when he was very, very nervous.
He'd spent most of his Seventh Year with fingers that were practically frostbitten.
Snape nodded, then stepped closer. It wasn't really necessary to have Draco tucked in the circle of his arms for this, but he wanted to leave their audience with the impression that Draco had just been very, very claimed, regardless of the true state of their relationship. He was honest enough about himself to know that an attractive young man such as Draco wouldn't really consider bedding him, regardless of any affection that might lie between them -- as student and teacher, comrades in arms, and, he hoped, friends.
These things would translate well into their new roles as Master and Apprentice. Snape had finally left Hogwarts and Dumbledore behind now that the Dark Lord was finally defeated and Snape's name cleared as much as it would ever be. He planned to do business brewing complex potions of the sort the average magical apothecary had neither the skill nor available time to concoct, and he would need a competent assistant. Their prior associations would make a good basis for a working and teaching relationship, but not for a romantic one.
With this fact at the forefront of his mind, Snape Apparated them both to the small cottage he'd acquired for their venture. He stepped away immediately, acutely conscious of the colour rising in his cheeks. "Home sweet home," he said, gesturing around the small, neat living room to distract from the scene they'd just left.
"So," said Draco with a mischievous little smile, ignoring the room to focus on Snape, "which would you like me to do first, set up the lab, or," Draco's eyes dropped, then wandered slowly up Snape's body in a way that made him shiver. If he hadn't seen Draco give that selfsame look to a Death Eater they needed to seduce for one of their missions, he might even have believed it when Draco offered, "just go straight to bed?"
Snape straightened up, putting on his best teacher face, and said, "It would be inappropriate for you to attempt to fulfil the obligations of the second wager while you are fulfilling the first. If, at the conclusion of your Apprenticeship, you still wish to consider it," he paused and gave Draco his own version of the once-over, letting his eyes appreciate Draco's lean form before continuing in a darker, smoky voice, the only sign he'd allow himself to give of how much he ached to believe that Draco wanted him, "you're quite welcome to offer again."
That seemed to deflate Draco completely, little by little through Snape's speech. He preened a bit under the focused attention at the end, but Snape's final words took even that away, leaving him every inch the lost little boy. "Shall I start now, then, sir?" he asked, his voice small and almost sad.
Snape stepped forward again and pulled Draco into a gentle hug of the sort most of his students wouldn't have believed him capable. "I think I can let it slide for your birthday," he said, giving Draco a squeeze and dropping a soft kiss to that shining blond head. He'd offered this comfort before, on rare occasions when circumstances both warranted and permitted it, and it had usually been effective. "But tomorrow, you'd better be up and ready to alphabetize."
Draco's answering nod was still a bit miserable, but his shoulders straightened and his arms crept around Snape's waist for an answering squeeze. "Thank you, sir. I know I'll be a good Apprentice." He paused, then snuck up onto his tiptoes to press a soft kiss to Snape's lips before slipping quickly out of the embrace. "I'll be good at the other, too, but now you'll have to wait to find out," Draco added with a wink, eyes twinkling with what Snape could only assume was amusement at his own tattering composure.
"I have patience," said Snape roughly, attempting to gather his wits about him. He cleared his throat and added in an approximation of his normal dry tones, "And a shipment coming by express owl first thing in the morning. Your rooms," he nodded toward one of the doorways leading off of into the darkness, "are through there. Though nothing to rival your ancestral home, I trust that they will suffice."
Draco nodded and walked over to the doorway, posture restored to that of the cocksure young man that Snape had grown to know and care for. "So, no chance of a preview of that bed slave thing?" he asked, then grinned and struck a seductive pose that made Snape's heartbeat pick up and other parts of his body do some very disobedient things.
Snape shook his head, a wry little grin on his face. "I'd never get any work done, if I had such a diversion," he said, hiding the truth of it behind the smile.
"Spoilsport," said Draco with an exaggerated pout, then disappeared down the hallway to go find his rooms.
Snape sagged against the back of the couch, then rubbed his hand over his face. Perhaps, he thought wearily, prick already achingly hard in his pants, perhaps this hadn't been such a good idea after all.
Title: Future Plans
Fandom: Harry Potter
Summary: Snape comes to Draco's coming of age celebration.
Acknowledgements: For Rosesanguina, for the Ouroboros challenge. Thanks to Sapphyre_twins for being my audience and encouragement, and Ruby, Yare & Kel for the emergency last-minute betas.
All of the works contained herein are labours of love, unauthorized by those who hold the rights to such things, and no profit is made from them. No harm is meant, and hopefully no offense given.