Precious Silver

Elf Flame

Story Summary:
Lucius Malfoy has a secret that he wants Snape to watch over while he is in Azkaban.

Posted:
10/01/2004
Hits:
1,317
Author's Note:
This is totally different from what I’ve done before. I watched the Patriot, and this is one of two fic ideas that came out of it. This one, unlike the other idea, came intact, with even a final line.

Precious Silver

By Elf Flame

Lucius hated Azkaban. Certainly, that was to be expected, but still, there it was. And the Dark Lord was doing nothing to help things. He expected his Death Eaters to help themselves, and if they couldn't, on their own heads be it. Not that he wouldn't punish them for not returning to him in a timely manner. And for the Dark Lord, a timely manner meant about five minutes before you actually managed whatever it was he wanted.

The place was foul, even without Dementors. Dank, dingy, and Lucius wasn't even allowed a bath on his own, or a change of clothes at all. And his hair had had gone lank and stringy. The guards were the worst. Talking about the "fallen star" in their midst. It was an old joke. A very bad old joke.

But the worst was missing him. Certainly, while he'd been free, he'd hardly cared, only visited him when the urges had become too much, but now... God, he wanted him. He wanted him all the time. But that was impossible. And what if someone found him? Wouldn't that be worse? There would be more charges. No, he had to find someone he could trust to take him and keep him safe until Lucius was released.

But who? After all, he could hardly tell Narcissa, not that they really talked, anyway, and there was no way in the hell he was in he would ever admit it to Draco. Most of the Death Eaters were out of the question as well. The idiots were easy enough to manipulate, but there was no knowing when they'd open their careless mouths, and it would not do for the Dark Lord to hear about Lucius's little toy. And as for the intelligent ones...well, they would be far worse. Blackmail. Or worse, they'd want him for themselves. So who could he trust to watch over him for however long it took Lucius to escape or be released, who would still be willing to return him to Lucius when he was free?

And the answer was clear, which meant that Lucius distrusted it completely. Snape. Snape was in his debt for so many things. And he'd never so much as looked at the boy askance. Did the man even have sexual needs? Certainly there had been their time together in their youth. But it had always been Lucius who initiated anything sexual, and quite often Snape had acted quite put out. And then time had moved on, and they had seen each other less and less. And now, Snape was completely unattached, and apparently uninterested--in anyone.

There was just something odd about the man. A hidden quantity that Lucius had always known was there, throughout his schooling, and after he had first become a Death Eater, and even more once he had returned to Hogwarts as a teacher. How, exactly, had he convinced Dumbledore of his innocence? Snape had hidden depths, places that he'd never allowed Lucius to see, and that made Lucius wary. Sometimes he wondered if the man was completely human. But who else could he tell all this to and trust to help him in this matter?

And so he had made his request to the Azkaban warden. It had been weeks. Lucius had not been worried about him. He wouldn't die, after all. The house elves would keep him fed and clean, but every day that he was alone in the manor was another day someone might stumble across him. No, Lucius was not worried about his toy, he was worried about himself. If anyone found him, that was it. No family, no money, no powers, and, if the Ministry found a stray Dementor, probably no soul. He simply couldn't allow it. But he couldn't simply let go, either. It was just something he...needed.

By the time Snape arrived, Lucius had worked himself into quite a state. He found himself stating and restating the problem, trying to get Snape to understand while the guard stood next to him, without telling the guard anything. It was utterly impossible. And worse, still, it amused Snape horribly. He'd never seen such a smirk on the man's face, damn him. Finally, Snape took pity on him and asked the guard if they could have a quick moment alone. The guard wasn't pleased by the request, but he had no good reason to refuse. After all, Snape hadn't been proven a Death Eater quite yet. Not by the Ministry, anyway.

And so Lucius explained, still trying to be vague, hoping that it would be enough, and that the guard was not listening in outside the door. And to his great relief, Snape, after a great deal of suspicious looks and questions, agreed to help out his "old friend." Lucius was as specific as he could be with his instructions, but only enough so that Snape would understand. After all, he didn't want a squad of Aurors pulling him out of the Manor before Snape could spirit him away.

When Snape left, Lucius began to breathe easier--for a time. But when he did not return after the first week, Lucius began to worry again. And when a month had passed, he began to truly panic. Had he, perhaps, misread his "old friend?"

<*^*>

Snape, had, indeed, been amused by Lucius's request. However, being owed a debt by Lucius Malfoy was simply an opportunity he could not ignore. So he found himself at the gate of Malfoy Manor, which he opened with the first of the hints that Lucius had given him. His middle name? Dear god, couldn't the man come up with something more original?

He wove his way through the well-known traps and pitfalls leading up to the manor, and opened the front door

The hallway echoed as Snape made his way to the staircase. This was hardly unusual, as the Manor was so huge that even a party with more than a hundred guests would hardly fill one of the smaller wings, but still, the echoes made the place feel exceptionally empty. He knew that Narcissa and Draco were gone for the month, off to one of the many villas the Malfoys owned to escape some of the notoriety that Lucius's arrest had brought. This also meant that there were no house-elves immediately underfoot, as none of the family members required their services. And though this meant that none of them were around to accost him for entering the Manor unannounced, it also meant that if he stumbled into one of the many traps that lined the halls, he couldn't expect them to come to his rescue.

Luckily, Snape had been here many times before, and knew as well exactly where he was heading, even though it had been a few years. Lucius's instructions had been vague for anyone who might have been listening in on them, but to Snape they were as clear as a roadmap. He stopped in the upper hallway and glanced down towards the family wing. No sounds. Of course, had Draco and Narcissa had returned early, there would still be no reason Snape would hear anything from that direction. Only the best soundproofing spells for the Malfoys. Draco could be shagging Pansy Parkenson down there, and Snape wouldn't hear it. He turned to head towards the guest wing.

There had been a room for him down here once. A room that he had used quite regularly, though he had rarely slept in it. But after Lucius's marriage, those visits had tapered off, and finally ceased altogether. At Narcissa's insistence. Draco had been old enough by that time to notice that Snape might mean more to his father, perhaps, than his mother did. And whatever else Narcissa Malfoy was, she was incredibly proper when it came to that sort of thing. She could handle it as long as no one else knew, but there was no way she would allow her only son to discover the truth. So Snape had confined visits to his own rooms at Hogwarts during summer holidays, and day visits for Draco's birthdays. And even those had gone away over time. Now, it was as though they had never happened at all. The only time Snape saw Lucius was when he visited the school to see Draco, or at the lovely gatherings that the Dark Lord held. Unless Lucius wanted something. Snape scowled.

Whatever it was he was hiding in this room that he wanted Snape to watch over for him must not only be valuable, but irreplaceable. Or highly illegal. And knowing Lucius as he did, the latter was far more likely.

Snape entered the guest room that he had always used. Leave it to Lucius to use that room to store whatever it was he was hiding from the world. Obviously, it was his favorite place to hide things. Closing the door behind himself, he walked to the wardrobe, and through the hidden door that Lucius had shown him back in the days when this room had been his. Even before marriage, Lucius had been adamant that no one know of their little...liaisons, so he had shown Snape how to use this passage to cross to Lucius's room with no one the wiser. The passage connected to several rooms, including the master bedroom. And Lucius had said that his secret was behind the third door. Pacing carefully along the passage, Snape began to count the doors he passed. At the third door, he stopped. It was heavily warded, but Lucius had been clever enough to hint at how to get rid of those as well, and with a word and a wave, they were gone.

Snape entered a large room that obviously doubled as a sitting room and a bedroom. The walls were paneled in a dark wood, with a thick, lush cream-coloured carpet across the entire length of the floor. There were two couches upholstered in a silvery-cream traced with evergreen designs and a small wooden table near the large stone fireplace in the near wall. Built-in bookcases bracketed the fireplace. On the far side of the room was a huge bed made from the same dark wood as the wall panels. Thick green velvet curtains hung from the canopy, and a brocade throw made of the same material as the couches lay across the carefully made bed. There were no windows. A simple door near the bed was open, and Snape could see that a light was on in the room to which it led. However, as he stepped forward to look in the second room, someone else stepped out.

For a moment Snape thought he must have been wrong. That Draco and Narcissa had returned early. Or that Draco had, at the very least. He was about to ask the boy what he was doing in the room, how he had gotten in, when he turned and saw Snape. In that moment, everything in Severus Snape's life changed.

This was not Draco Malfoy. Draco Malfoy had never looked so...innocent. More, Draco Malfoy had never smiled at anyone like that. Like his whole world had suddenly lit up, and he knew that Snape was bringing him the best present in the world. No, Draco hadn't ever been that open, even as a child. It had been trained out of him before he could even walk. So who, exactly was this?

The boy moved towards Snape, and the man began to notice other things about him. His feet were entirely bare, and he wore simple black slacks and a white button-up shirt. The quality was good, but where Draco would have dressed up the outfit somehow with color--a cloak, scarf tie or even a pin--there was nothing of any color anywhere on his body, which, instead of detracting from his beauty, seemed to make his bare face, hands and feet glow almost ethereally. And Draco would never have been caught dead in bare feet. If nothing else, he would have on the highest quality slippers. His movements were as graceful as Draco's but there was something different to them, a quality of self-knowledge, perhaps, that Draco did not have. He moved almost as though he were gliding, very different from Draco's panther-like grace.

The boy stopped in front of Snape, and he waited as he was examined; his face, clothing, even hands, as though they were the most fascinating thing he had ever seen. Finally, the boy spoke. "Did Master Lucius send you?" It was Draco's voice, but clearer, sweeter, like a newly-minted bell. However, the words, coming from what appeared to be Draco's face, made Snape wince internally.

"Master Lucius?" Snape asked. This was repulsive. What on Earth was the man thinking, to do this? To clone his own son? And Snape was sure he could imagine why. It was beyond illegal, it was immoral. Snape knew of a handful of spells and potions that could do such a thing, but all of them were the darkest of magic, and Snape himself would never have attempted cloning so much as a rat, let alone a human. The chance of failure was so high, and the outcome of those failures... He looked at the boy once more. However Lucius had done it, he was a masterwork. "What is your name, boy?"

The boy's head titled to the side, and his silver eyes, so familiar, blinked for several minutes before he answered. "Name?"

Snape clamped down on his anger. Lucius would pay for this. Snape would find a way to make it happen. "What does he call you when he comes to visit you?"

"He rarely says much to me, sir. But he occasionally refers to me as 'Pet.'"

Snape clenched his teeth against the bile in his mouth. The man had either not bothered to name the child, or, worse, knew that naming the boy would be dangerous, as it would be to easy to slip up and call Draco by this boy's name. Snape wondered how many times Lucius had referred to Draco as 'Pet.' "How old are you?"

The boy looked blankly at him again. Those silver eyes open and horribly trusting. "I don't know, sir."

Snape sighed, then closed his eyes to calm himself before looking at the boy once more. "Have you always lived here?"

"Yes, sir. Master Lucius did send you, didn't he? He and his guests are the only people I have ever met. But I've never seen you before." There was a pause, and a glint in the boy's eyes before he spoke again. "May I ask your name, sir? None of the others ever told me theirs, but sometimes I would hear him talking with them, and so I know some of their names." His face clouded at this. "They always sent me into the bathroom when they talked, sir..."

"Lucius brought others here?" God, not only had Lucius used the boy, but he'd...given him to others. Most likely to get their support. Snape wondered if the others even realized that the child they had used in this way was not Lucius's son, but his simulacrum.

The boy nodded silently.

Snape pressed his lips together. No more. He wouldn't allow Lucius to ever do that to this boy again. "'Master' Lucius sent me to retrieve you. You are to come with me, and stay at my home."

The boy's eyes grew wide and his brow creased into a frown at this. "He doesn't want me any more? Have I displeased Master Lucius in some way?"

Snape wanted to snarl with frustration at what Lucius had done to this boy, but he restrained himself. "In no way is he upset at you. He is simply unable to care for you any longer. I would consider it an honour if you would allow me to take care of you from now on."

There was a moment when he saw the tears shining from the boy's eyes, and then the slender arms were around him, and the pale head buried itself in his chest. After a moment, he stepped back, but he did not release his hold. "Thank you, sir. What may I call you?"

Snape thought for a moment. He didn't want the boy to treat him the way he had Lucius, but he could hardly get him to trust him if he did not allow a few liberties... "Call me Severus." He looked down at the boy for a moment. "And we should decide on a name for you as well. Is there something you would like to be called?"

The boy's smile was a very faint echo of Draco's devious smirk. "I don't mind being called Pet."

Snape shivered at this. "No, I think you need a proper name."

The boy pulled away, and Snape could see that he was thinking now. Finally he turned back to face Snape. "Well, there was one who wasn't particularly bad...he called me Silver..."

Snape clenched his teeth. A bolt of anger shot through him at the thought of this faceless man who would use a boy so. "Is that what you would like to be called?"

The boy thought for another moment, then nodded with assurance. "Yes, I would like to be called Silver, please, Severus."

Snape smiled down at the boy. "Then Silver it is. We should pack your things, Silver, so that we can take them to my home."

Another blank look. "Things, sir?"

Snape tried to still his anger. It was not Silver's fault he'd been mistreated. "Yes, Silver," he said in his calmest tone. "Your books, clothes, toiletries, those sorts of things."

"I...I do have a toothbrush, sir." Then he looked down at the clothes he was wearing. "But these are my only clothes. Every so often the house-elves come and give me a new outfit, but they always take the old one away."

"Fine. Do you wish to bring your toothbrush?" Silver shook his head. "Is there anything else you wish to bring?" Another shake. "Very well then. Come with me." With that, Snape put his hand on the Silver's shoulder and guided him from the room.

It was good that he had. As they walked, the Silver's eyes moved to take in everything around him. He had obviously not been lying when he said he'd never been out of his room. Snape managed to keep his temper as he led him out of the secret passage, through his old, unused room, and down the hallway to Lucius's study.

He lit the fire with a quiet "Incendio," then turned to Silver, who was slowly spinning in place. "Silver?" He was distracted by his new surroundings, and Snape had to say his name several times before it registered with him.

He looked at Snape, eyes wide. "I've never seen so many books before. I didn't even know this many books existed."

Snape smiled thinly. "You can read?"

"A little, sir. It takes me quite a while to finish one book, but it passes the time."

"Well, in my house, you will be allowed to do whatever you wish."

Silver's smile was brilliant. "Really? Anything?"

"Within reason, of course." He found himself enveloped in another hug, thin arms wrapped tremblingly around his middle as Silver shook against his chest. "Silver? Are you all right?"

Silver stepped back and wiped his face, but the smile was still there. "Yes, sir. Thank you so much, sir."

Snape took a deep breath to steady himself once more. "Well, I assume that since you've never left your rooms, that you've never traveled by floo before?"

"Floo, sir?"

"Traveling through fire."

"Oh! Master Lucius used to arrive that way sometimes. And some of his more important guests, as well." Snape could just imagine. Though he was certain that the floo was blocked to floo travel from anywhere outside of the Manor to that room.

"Yes...well. This," he indicated a bag that he was holding out, "is floo powder. I want you to throw a handful into the flames, and state, very clearly, 'Snape Manor.' Then step into the flames, and they will take you to my home. Can you do that?" Silver nodded. "Good. I will follow immediately after."

Silver took a handful of the powder, looked up at Snape and smiled. Then, throwing the dust into the flames, he stepped into the fire and was gone. Snape followed moments later. He arrived in his sitting room to find the boy being violently sick on the antique oriental rug that had been handed down to him through five generations. Once the shuddering heaves had stopped, Snape waved to the house-elf that had been hiding in the corner to clean up the mess, swept him into his arms, and left the room.

Snape carried Silver's shivering body up to the second floor and into a bedroom several doors down from his own. Snape Manor was nowhere near as big as Malfoy Manor, but it was quite roomy, and he had several guest-rooms, though none of them had been used since his mother had passed away while he had still been attending Hogwarts. He settled the boy on the bed, then looked around. The room needed airing, but it would suit. The d├ęcor was understated, the bed the largest piece of furniture in the room. There was a small desk and chair in the far corner, and a dresser on the opposite side of the room near the door. The carpeting was nowhere near as lush as Silver was used to. He'd have to remember to take him out to get some clothing, particularly shoes and socks. It wouldn't do for him to catch a chill running around with nothing on his feet. As it was, his own castoffs would have to do for now. He'd make sure that some of them were given to the house-elves so they could fit them for him.

Finally Silver's shaking subsided, and he opened his eyes. "I am sorry about that, sir."

Snape pushed Silver's sweat-drenched bangs from his face. "No need to apologize. I should have thought before transporting you that way. It is not the most comfortable mode of transportation. You feel better?"

Silver nodded and sat up, looking at his new surroundings. Snape waited. His family had never been as wealthy as the Malfoys, and suddenly everything he looked at seemed tarnished or less worthy in comparison. He was pleased when the boy turned to look at him, eyes shining, and said, "Is this your house? It's wonderful."

"This is my family estate. You will stay here while I am away at my conferences, or when school is in session. This will be your room."

"My...room?" Silver's smile faltered, and Snape could see the worry in his eyes.

"Yes. This is where you will sleep. Perhaps you should take a quick nap. I have a few things to deal with, then I will come back and show you the rest of the house. Would you like that?"

The smile was back. Dear God, Snape thought. He thought I was going to imprison him in this room... "I'd like that, sir."

"And I was thinking that tomorrow you and I could go to get you some clothing. Perhaps you would like to choose your own clothes now?"

Silver's eyes grew round now. "Choose my own clothes?"

Snape nodded. "And shoes as well. And a cloak. It may be summer, but we are in the Northern moors, and even in the height of summer, it can get quite chilly some days."

Silver jumped from the bed and flung his arms around Snape. "Thank you, Severus. You are so kind. I will enjoy being here with you."

Snape was unable to stop the smile that twitched the corners of his mouth. "I am glad. Now, I want you to try to get a bit of sleep. There is a great deal to show you, and it has already been a long morning." He watched as Silver climbed back onto the bed, then pulled the comforter around himself and closed his eyes.

Snape waited until he thought Silver was asleep, then left the room, deciding to leave the door open. He imagined that the boy would feel freer to leave the room if he saw it open. He called one of the elves who were now lingering in the hallway to come up to his bedroom, then turned and entered the room himself. The robes would need a great deal of changing, but the shirts, at least, would fit except in the sleeves. And an extra pair of slacks as well, at least for now. He also pulled out a few pairs of socks, and an older pair of leather shoes, which would be easier to shrink to the correct size, then turned and explained to the house-elf what he wanted done with them. The creature bowed, picked up the pile, and hurried from the room.

Returning to the first floor, he beckoned to another elf, and gave it instructions for cleaning Silver's room, and for the meal that night. Something simple, but unusual. He wanted to treat the boy. After all, he had been locked in a single room all his life. A rather opulent room, but that hardly made up for it being his jail. And Snape doubted that Lucius bothered with giving his little toy "treats."

Then, with the night's meal planned, and Silver safely asleep, Snape moved to his study. He would have to explain things to Dumbledore at some point, but that could wait. Instead, he decided to go through the correspondence that he received throughout the year from his colleagues in the potions world, and always put off until the summer. He was in the midst of responding to one of them when Silver's head appeared in the door.

"Hello, Severus. May I come in?"

Snape smiled at him. "Of course. Let me just finish this letter, then I can show you the house. Did you sleep well?"

Silver nodded, then proceeded to look around the room. Distracted from his letter, Snape watched as the boy moved from the pictures along one wall, to the bookshelf, then over to his worktable, where Snape stored his finished potions. Each move pure curiosity. Shaking his head, Snape turned back to the letter and finished it abstractedly, still completely aware of Silver's movements through the room. He rolled it up, and walking over to his owl, tied it to her leg then released her out the window. He turned back to see Silver watching him.

"Why did you give that letter to a bird, Severus?"

"That was my owl. That's how wizards send letters."

Curiosity appeased, Silver nodded. "Ah."

"So, are you ready to see the rest of the house?"

Another of those beautiful smiles appeared. "Yes, please."

So Snape led Silver through the house. He showed him the living and sitting rooms, "Where you are allowed to do whatever you wish," he told him. He showed him the library, "But don't take too many books at once. They're not going anywhere." The boy blushed at this, but smiled, and Snape found himself comparing Silver to Draco once more. This boy was nothing like the original. Draco was self-controlled, sure of himself, and cocky. Silver was quiet and bashful. It was difficult for Snape to reconcile them. Of course, Draco had the benefit of the Malfoy training, and his further years as one of the leaders of his house. He knew how to hold himself, and how to make others around him believe he was in control. Snape turned on his heel, eager to avoid comparing the two boys, and proceeded on to the next room.

He led Silver to the dining room. "We will eat here every evening when I am home, but other meals will be more relaxed, so just let the house-elves know what you require when you are hungry." He also showed him the kitchen, and pointed out the stairs to the cellar. "I would rather you not go down there, as my lab is set up down there, and my equipment and ingredients are all very sensitive." Silver nodded. He led him back through the front hall and waved at the door to his study. "I do not mind you coming in my study when I am in there, but please knock first, and I would prefer you stay out when I am not here." Again, the boy nodded at this, and the two of them proceeded up the staircase.

At the top of the staircase, he gestured towards his own room. "If for any reason, you need me at night, Silver, that is where I sleep." The boy nodded. "The rest of the rooms on this floor are empty. Guest rooms." He led the way to the third floor. There was a hallway here with several doors that ended in an open space. "This floor is mostly used for storage now. I'd rather you didn't come up here alone, as there may be things up here that are...unsafe." Silver nodded again. Snape stopped in the centre of the room. "And that is it, really."

Silver looked curiously around him before turning back to Snape. "You have such a large home. Why is it so empty?"

Snape grimaced before answering. "It is my ancestral home, much as Malfoy Manor is Lucius's. It is meant to be filled with family, I suppose. And since I have no family, it is empty."

"Do you want a family?"

Snape sneered at that. "Hardly. I get enough aggravation from other people's children nine months out of the year. I would probably strangle my own." At the horrified look on Silver's face, Snape felt immediately penitent. It was so easy to forget that he was not speaking to Draco, who would have understood the sneer for what it was, a defense against caring for children who hated him. He stepped forward and placed a hand on Silver's shoulder. "You are an entirely different matter, Silver. I am certain the two of us will get on quite well." He looked up, hopeful at this. Snape put his arm around the boy's shoulders and guided him down to the first floor once more. "Come. I'm sure dinner is nearly ready."

The dinner was perfect. French onion soup, which Silver devoured with wide eyes, followed by juicy prime rib and Yorkshire puddings, jacket potatoes with sour cream and chives, a large salad of wild greens and fresh asparagus spears. Silver was beside himself. Snape couldn't help but enjoy Silver's exclamations over the food. It pleased him to treat the boy, after the years of abuse and neglect at Lucius's hands.

After dinner Silver accompanied Snape back to his study and sat on the couch there, reading a small book with his feet tucked under him, utterly lost in the world of the book. It was disconcerting, just how still the boy could be. And how at home he already seemed to be. Finally, Snape gave up on trying finishing his correspondence that evening with the boy distracting him so. "Silver, did Lucius ever teach you how to play chess?"

Silver's silver eyes looked up at him. "Yes, Severus. He often asked me to play with him."

Snape winced at Silver's choice of words, but rose from his desk and turned to the cabinet behind him. He pulled out his old chess set and placed it on his desk. "Come here, Silver. I would like to see how well he taught you." The two were silent as they played. Snape had assumed that Lucius would only teach the boy the very basics he needed to play, but obviously, whether or not Lucius had intended it, Silver was a natural. By the time Snape finally claimed checkmate, it had been dark for well over an hour.

Silver smiled up at him. "Thank you, Severus. It has been a while since Master Lucius wished to play chess. I quite enjoyed that. Perhaps we could play again tomorrow?"

Snape nodded. "I would like that a great deal, Silver." He stood up. "But it is late, and we should go up to bed now, I believe..."

Silver nodded and followed as Snape left the room. At the top of the stairs, Silver hesitated when Snape turned to him. "I will see you in the morning, Silver. The house-elves will have breakfast ready by seven, but feel free to sleep in if you wish, as I will be in my lab for most of the morning."

"Yes, Severus." He moved forward and stood on tiptoe to reach Snape's cheek, brushing it with a light kiss. "Goodnight."

Snape watched as Silver moved to his own room, then wrapped his arms around himself. He did not want the boy. It had been a while since he had felt quite this way. He had grown used to Draco's teasing advances at school, and avoided them adeptly. But this innocence of Silver's was disarming. There was no pretense, just a simple wish to be close.

But Snape could not allow it. It was dangerous. It was...improper. Immoral. He would not give in to these thoughts. And he refused to confuse the two boys. Draco was Draco. He simply wished to test his boundaries. Silver's response was probably no more than simple gratitude.

Snape took a deep breath, then turned to his own room and locked the door behind himself.

<~v~>

Snape woke to the sound of his door being shut. Even while in school, he had been a light sleeper. He lay motionless, waiting to see if his visitor would give themselves away. There was the shuffle of feet, and then the bed dipped on the side facing the door. "Severus? Are you awake?"

Snape released the breath he had been holding. Silver. How had he gotten in? "Yes, Silver. What is wrong?" Snape reached for his wand, and lit it with a whispered "lumos." The boy blinked for a moment, then crawled further onto the bed, and looked up at him.

"I...I'm lonely. Master Lucius left me alone for so long... I don't want to be alone anymore, Severus."

"You are not alone, Silver. I'm right here." What was this about? Surely Silver couldn't be that lonely. They'd spent nearly the entire day together. But then Silver leaned towards him, and he understood. The boy's eyes were fastened on his lips, and before he could prevent it, there was a mouth covered his own. It was the very lightest of pressures, but it made Snape gasp in surprise, and then there was a tongue on his lips, and sliding into his mouth, and it took a great deal of effort to push him away. "Silver. You...that isn't right."

Silver looked away. "I'm sorry...I just thought...I'll just go." He pulled away, but Severus stopped him.

"Silver, you shouldn't feel obligated..."

"I don't. I...don't you want me?"

Snape drew a deep breath. "Silver...The way Lucius treated you was not right. No boy your age should ever have been treated that way. No one should be. Ever."

"But I didn't mind..."

He couldn't listen to whatever it was that Lucius had convinced the boy to believe. "Silver. A boy your age simply shouldn't know the things Lucius and his 'friends' taught you. And I refuse to treat you as they did. You are a boy, and you should be allowed to be one."

Silver looked away, and for the first time since he had seen him, he was reminded of his similarities to Draco, instead of their differences. He was scowling darkly. "You don't want me, then. At least I knew Lucius wanted me. Even when he was angry. At least he was there. I won't bother you again." The boy pulled away, but Snape pulled him back.

He pulled Silver's face towards him. "Understand me, Silver. I care for you very much. But there are things you don't understand about the world. What Lucius did with you was wrong. I won't allow myself to make his mistake."

Silver was still frowning, but there was a touch of hope in his eyes now. He leaned towards Snape. "And if I want it, how is it wrong, Severus?"

Snape swallowed. "It is wrong because you are so much younger than I. And because you have been trained to believe that it is the only way you can prove your worth. I want you to know that you are worth more than that."

"And how would you do that, Severus?" Silver whispered.

"By helping you discover life outside a bedroom. Are there things you would like to learn? How to make something, perhaps? I would even be willing to teach you about potions, if you'd like..."

Silver's smile was disappointed. "That would be nice. But..."

"Silver. I won't. It is simply not right. I can't." Never mind that he desperately wanted to. The boy was so beautiful. So very much like Draco... But he wasn't Draco, and he would no more have used Draco that way than he would Silver.

Silver's eyes narrowed, but he nodded. He looked down for a moment, then back up. "May I have a kiss, at least? I...I've wanted to kiss you since I first saw you. You're...different from the men Lucius used to bring to visit with me."

Snape snorted. "I'm sure I am." He looked at Silver. He was completely still again. Almost eerily still. Simply waiting for Snape's response to his request. He cupped Silver's cheek in his hand. "I don't think..."

Silver leaned forward. "Please, Severus. I won't ask again. Please. Just once."

Snape closed his eyes. This was a bad idea. A slippery slope. But the boy was so sure... He opened his eyes and looked at Silver once more. He could see the hope in his eyes. He knew that it would only be a matter of time before Silver asked for more. And he knew that eventually, he would give in to temptation. There was only so much he could restrain himself... And surely one kiss wouldn't hurt him. "One kiss. No more. Do you understand, Silver?"

And there was that smile. Just breathe. Silver leaned forward, and Snape met him halfway. Soft lips. The softest he'd ever felt. A puff of breath against his lips, and then a tongue brushing against his bottom lip. He opened his mouth and their tongues brushed together. He could barely contain a moan. He wanted to devour the boy. He pulled away. "Silver..."

Those liquid metal eyes looked up at him, and Silver nodded, but Snape could tell the wheels were turning. Perhaps there was more of Draco in him than he'd given Silver credit for.

Snape put on his best teacher's attitude. "You will need your sleep, Silver. You should get back to bed."

"Of course, Severus." And that destroyed the effect. How could he intimidate someone who he had allowed to call him Severus? Here was a boundary he could pass that even Draco was unable to cross.

"Well, hurry up, boy. I need my sleep as well, you know."

"Sleep well, Severus." Damn, that smile was utterly blinding. Silver slid off the bed and moved quietly towards the door, looking back at Snape before exiting.

This was not good.

<*^*>

But after that, Silver was quite well-behaved. If he had been Draco, Snape would have been worried. As it was, Silver seemed almost to have even forgotten the nighttime visit.

He assigned Silver several books to read, and spent the afternoons showing the boy his herb garden, and how to tend the plants, and how to dry and store them when they were picked. When Silver finished the first of the books, he tried him out on an easy potion, and quickly decided that potion-making was not one of his skills.

So they moved on to other things. Silver had no wand, so they could not attempt magic, but there were other things. He allowed him access to the kitchens for a day and soon discovered that while he was abysmal with potions, he made a passable desert. And he also discovered the Silver's true passion. Painting. He had tried his hand at music and sculpture in a few different forms, but had been less than pleased at his talents in these fields, so Severus had purchased him a set of watercolors and an easel.

The first day, Silver disappeared for hours, only to turn up at dinner, his face smeared with paint, and an enormous grin on his face. So, in the morning, Severus would go down to his lab and work on his latest batch of potions, and Silver would disappear up into the third-floor room that Severus had converted to a studio for him. Then they would meet for a light lunch, often put together by Silver himself, much to the consternation of the house-elves, and after lunch they would retire to Snape's study, where Silver would read the books Snape assigned him, and Snape would work on his correspondence. Sometimes they would have a chess match before bed. Then Silver would stand at the first chime of the clock at ten, nod to Severus, wish him good night, and leave the study. It was comfortable. Easy.

Severus should have known that a boy cloned from Draco Malfoy wouldn't give up so easily.

<~v~>

One night two weeks after Snape had brought Silver to his home, they were having a light supper before bed in Snape's study, as it was too hot to have more than sandwiches. Snape looked up to take another slice when he noticed that Silver was still, simply watching him.

"Is something wrong, Silver?"

Silver started. "Hm? Oh, nothing, Severus. I just like to watch you."

"Why is that?"

"The way you move. It's...hypnotic. I can't help it."

"I see."

"I'm sorry. If it bothers you..."

"Not really. It just surprises me. Usually when people watch me for any period of time, it's because the do not particularly trust me, not because they are fascinated by me. I suppose it is...pleasant." He smiled at Silver, who quickly returned the smile, then looked down at his book. Snape was fascinated when he realized Silver was blushing. What on earth did the boy have to be embarrassed about? "Silver?"

He looked up again, and now Snape could see the pink staining Silver's cheeks. "Yes, Severus?"

"What is wrong?"

"Nothing. I'm fine. Really."

Snape sighed. He was obviously not going to get a reason from him tonight. "Well, remember, if you ever need to talk..."

"Of course, Severus," Silver nodded.

The two of them returned to their quiet study until the clock struck ten. "Well, bedtime," Snape said as he stood up, stretching out the kinks from sitting for so long. Silver marked his place and stood up as well. But unlike their usual pattern of him wishing Snape a good evening and disappearing from the room, Silver moved towards him.

"Is there something you need, Silver?"

Silver's eyes had gone dark, and his voice came in a whisper. "Yes. I...I don't want to be alone tonight, Severus. May I..." he swallowed, but continued, "sleep in your room tonight?"

Damn. Not this. Not now, surely. But he'd brushed him off before. Surely he could do it again. After all he was the adult in this situation. He was the one in control. "That is not a good idea, Silver..."

Silver took another step towards him. "Please. I promise I...I won't do anything inappropriate. I...I've been having these dreams..."

"Well, I can give you a dreamless sleep potion if you're having difficulty sleeping."

But this seemed to cause Silver even more anxiety. "No, I...I don't mind the dreams. But when I wake..." Another step closer. "Please. I just want someone to hold me."

Snape pulled back. His eyes narrowed. "Are these nightmares you are having, Silver, or something else?"

Silver's eyes closed, and a sigh escaped from his lips. When he opened his eyes once more, they had gone molten. "Something else."

"Silver..."

"I don't understand! Why? Why do you push me away? I felt it. You want me. I know it! I dream about you every night. Just you. I've never dreamed about anyone before. Not even Lucius. If I want you, and you want me, why is it wrong?" Silver had stepped forward with each question, and now stood directly in front of Snape.

He wanted to take Silver's shoulders and shake him. Worse, he wanted to take the boy in his arms and carry him up to his room. He wanted to make him scream in pleasure. That beautiful long neck stretched out for him to lick and nibble at...those pale limbs wrapped around him as he...

He pulled away from the boy and moved across the room to the door. "I can tell you nothing more than that it is wrong, Silver. Believe me when I say that. I will not use you the way he did. Go to bed. Good night." He turned and left the room.

But this time, Silver wouldn't take no for an answer. Snape was halfway across the hall to the stairs when he caught up with him and caught his sleeve. "And if I came to you tonight? And undressed for you? And slid into your bed? Would you still say no?"

He pulled his arm from Silver's grasp. "Yes," he said through clenched teeth. "A thousand times if I had to. I will not do this, Silver," he snarled.

"Why? Because you think it would make you like him? Or because you think you do not deserve it?" Silver continued to advance on him until he found himself pressed against the banister.

"You don't know what you're talking about, boy." But another, remembered pale face sneering at him that "he would do" reminded him all too clearly of just how unworthy he was. Of Lucius, of his very off-limits son, and of this simulacrum that Lucius had created.

"I think I do. You don't know, but I listen to you. Every word you say. You don't think you are worthy. You think that all you deserve is derision. That you don't deserve this." And the boy pulled his face down, and kissed him softly and gently on the lips, then pulled away. "That you don't deserve...me. Why?"

It was time to take control. Snape scowled down at the boy. "Go to your room, Silver. This conversation is over."

"No. I don't think so. Not until you answer me."

"That will not happen. I will not let this happen, Silver. I cannot."

"And if I continue to insist? There is no one else I want. I never wanted Master Lucius like this, Severus."

"Get away. Now. If I have to tell you again, Silver, you will not like it."

"What, will you hit me? Use that wand of yours? How could it possibly be worse than the things he did to me when I misbehaved?"

Snape turned his face from the boy and pushed him out of the way. He was trying desperately to control his temper. He would not lash out at Silver. This was what Lucius raised him to expect. In his anger, he wanted Lucius under his hands. Wanted to tear at his flesh, to strangle the man for the loss of Silver's innocence. "I will not touch you. Go to bed." With that, he swept up the stairs, locking the door behind himself.

But he'd forgotten that Silver had managed to get in once before when the door had been locked. It was less than ten minutes later when the door opened, and he stood in the door. Snape spun on him. "Get out. I don't want you here."

"And if I want to be here? You invited me yourself, Severus. If I 'needed anything...' I need you. I want you. I want to know what it's like to choose my lover."

These words stilled Snape, but he couldn't allow them to sway him. "How can you choose when I'm the only one here?"

"I don't want to sleep with the house-elves. Or Mister Dumbledore. I've met them. Just you."

Snape snorted. "Hardly a large selection to choose from, boy."

"I have been with enough men to know what I want. And what I want is you, Severus Snape. But if you do not want me...Just tell me so, and I will leave. I will ask Mister Dumbledore to find me another place to live. Somewhere where I won't bother you anymore."

Snape hissed. "You don't know anything! And you have no legal status. Dumbledore would be unable to help you. You are to remain here until we are able to find you a place in society. Anywhere else would be unsafe at this time."

"I see. So, I'm just stuck here with you wanting me, but refusing to admit it? And if I refuse to allow that?"

"And how, exactly, would you prevent that, boy?" Snape raised an eyebrow. He had the upper hand now, he was sure of it. This was the point when Draco had always backed down. Snape was sure the same would be true of Silver. There was hardly anything the boy could do to push matters further, and there truly was nowhere he could go. Not yet, anyway. Dumbledore had agreed with that assessment.

But Snape was wrong. Silver was not Draco. And he knew what he wanted. He stepped into the room and closed the door behind himself, then without looking back at Snape, he began to undress. Snape was able to do little beyond stare. He swallowed, and watched as the pale flesh under the boy's clothes was uncovered. And he knew it would be soft. Silken. The way Lucius's had been. He desperately wanted to turn away, but was able to do little more than lean against the nearest support.

Completely unclothed, Silver did not look over at Snape, but instead moved to the bed, and stretched across it, sighing. Snape's eyes fluttered shut. God, he couldn't do this...

"Severus," Silver purred.

Snape managed to turn away, and moved as swiftly as he could to the door, but Silver was there before he could open it.

"No. Look at me. You want to. You want me. I can feel it. You feel so good...please, Severus. You won't hurt me."

Those yards of silken white flesh so close...Snape backed up a step. "Please, Silver, this isn't right."

"For who? It's hurting you more to resist this than it would to simply give in. And it won't hurt me. I want this, Severus. Please. Make love to me?"

And that was it. He couldn't hold back any more. He pulled the boy to him, no longer caring if this were Silver, Draco, or even Lucius. He felt more than heard the sigh when he crushed his mouth to the boy's. Silver's mouth was as soft as he recalled. Warm and sweet, like he had just been sucking on a lolly.

He gathered Silver into his arms and carried him quickly to the bed, laying him gently on the bed before pulling away to undress. Silver watched avidly as Snape undressed. His eyes grew darker as more flesh was revealed, and Snape could see he was barely restraining himself. The last piece of clothing fell away, and Snape joined him on the bed, covering him with his body.

Snape kissed him again until Silver was panting into his mouth, then worked his way along his chin to his ear, laving it, and loving the shudder of the body under him as he did so. He moved down to the neck alternately nibbling and sucking, and Silver turned his face to offer more access to the tender, silken skin. Snape moved down Silver's body, listening intently to his sighs and moans as he licked and nipped his way down. It had been far too long, and now there was a banquet before him, and damned if he would deny himself any longer.

"Beautiful boy. Do you know how delicious you are? I'm certain you know how lovely you are. Why on earth do you want me?" he whispered into Silver's skin.

"Because, Severus. Unlike the others, you thought only of me." Snape looked up and caught the Silver's serious gaze. Suddenly he was with no one but Silver. "You worried only for my happiness and safety. You never threatened me, never forced me into anything. No one has ever treated me so."

Snape pulled away from the path he had been forging across Silver's body and slid up to lie next to him, pulling him into his arms. "Silver, if you are doing this because you feel you are required..." It hurt him to say, but he had to give him the chance. He wanted Silver, but he would not take him unless they were both absolutely certain.

"Never. You fascinate me, Severus. I want you because you are kind to me, but I also want you because I want to wake up next to you and kiss you awake in the morning. I want you because when you smile, I feel as though I am about to explode with happiness for making you happy. I want you because you are beautiful."

Snape snorted. "You are deluded. I am far from beautiful."

Silver turned in his arms. "You are beautiful, Severus. Your eyes are entrancing, your hair silken, and the way you move..."

"You are a sweet boy who has learned to look for the best in those around you, and those around you were far from the best..."

"You are nothing like them! Do you think I am unable to tell the difference?"

"Yes. You have never met anyone else to compare me to. You said so yourself."

"I read, Severus. And you took me shopping. I have met people."

"People on the streets hardly count, Silver."

"I have eyes. I can tell what I like. None of them had your presence, Severus. None of them fascinated me the way you do. From the moment I met you, I knew. I was meant to be here. To be with you. To be in your bed. To love you."

This was so different from anything Snape could have expected from the other two Malfoys, that all similarity was lost. He pulled Silver into a kiss. He wasn't going to argue with the boy any more. They were here, and he would pay penance when the time came, but for now, he would simply enjoy the pleasure that was offered. How could he refuse?

<*^*>

When Snape finally returned to visit Lucius a month and a half later, Lucius was frantic. "Did you find him? Is he safe?"

"Calm yourself, Lucius. He is fine. In fact, he is doing quite well. I would say that by the time your tired old carcass is released, the boy will be so far beyond you that you will never be able to harm him again." The smile that Snape offered was cold, and Lucius couldn't help but shiver.

"What do you mean, 'old friend?'" he snarled, barely able to contain himself.

"I mean that, now that he is in my protection, I will make sure you never touch him again. Because if you do, Lucius, be assured that it will be the last thing you ever do. I know exactly why you did this, Lucius. And don't think it doesn't sicken me. The only thing that keeps me from denouncing you right here is what would happen to him if I did. So, just remember, Lucius. You brought this on yourself." With that, Snape nodded at his former friend and lover, then spun and left the room.

No. It couldn't be. He couldn't be taken from Lucius, could he? He was loyal to Lucius. Lucius had always treated him well. But hadn't there been a glow to Snape's skin? Had he actually taken advantage of the situation? Damn the man. How could he? When Lucius had trusted him with such a precious secret?

Lucius hated the man. Damn Severus Snape to Hell.

Fin. For now.