The Dark Arts
Lucius Malfoy Severus Snape
Character Sketch Wizarding Society
Unspecified Era
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix Half-Blood Prince
Published: 05/20/2006
Updated: 05/20/2006
Words: 1,542
Chapters: 1
Hits: 867

The More Things Change

Fourth Rose

Story Summary:
"To be honest, Lucius, I was admiring the irony of you and me sitting here and celebrating together. Who would have thought we'd ever find ourselves in a position to show our faces in public again?"

Chapter 01


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. - The more things change, the more they stay the same. (French proverb)


If there was one person in the world who Severus Snape was not sure how he felt about, it was Lucius Malfoy.

They'd found themselves in an uneasy alliance during their days in the Dark Lord's service. Although Lucius couldn't have known about Snape's uncertain loyalties, Snape had always had the impression that Lucius saw right through him and still let him be because he might be useful one day. He had come to hate the infamous Malfoy arrogance to the point where he wanted to strangle the pompous inbred git with his own glossy hair, but he still couldn't help grudgingly admiring the man's poise, sitting here among the guests as if he'd never been found guilty of crimes that should have earned him a life sentence in Azkaban, if not the tender mercies of a Dementor.

Lucius raised a pale eyebrow as he took a sip from his wineglass. "Why the sour face, Severus? This is a party, not a funeral."

Snape did his best to match the other's icy calm. "To be honest, Lucius, I was just admiring the irony of you and me sitting here and celebrating together. Who would have thought we'd ever find ourselves in a position to show our faces in public again?"

Lucius' expression turned into a carefully measured grimace of distaste. "Why do you always have to be so crass? There's little use in dwelling on the past when there's a future to build, and I'd say we can both be moderately satisfied with what we have achieved since the end of the war, can we not? I've been able to clarify a few unfortunate... misunderstandings with our esteemed Ministry, and you - well, aren't you enjoying your part in educating a new generation of the wizarding world's finest?"

It was moments like these that made Snape remember his Muggle upbringing, because he didn't so much want to hex the smug bastard than to slap him around the face. Behind the polite words, the message - watch me worm my way back into the inner circle of power while you're stuck at that pathetic excuse for a school to teach Mudblood brats for the rest of your life - couldn't have been clearer.

Still, Severus Snape hadn't survived several falls from grace without learning how not to speak his mind. "Oh, I certainly do," he answered instead, "and I'm looking forward to seeing the youngest member of your family sitting in my classroom just a few years from now. He's going to be a very interesting student, I suppose - four is quite early to show first signs of magic."

Lucius gave him an indulgent smile. "You flatter me, Severus, but actually, it's rather late for a Malfoy. Still, I trust you will help the boy to live up to the expectations that come with his family name, will you not?"

Now it was Snape's turn to smile smugly. "Frankly, Lucius, I think I'd better make sure the boy does not grow up to fulfil the expectations that come with the Malfoy name these days. I managed it once before, remember?"

He got some petty satisfaction from the slight colouring of Lucius' cheeks, but the moment of triumph was over before he could savour it fully. "There's much more to being a Malfoy than you will ever be able to grasp, Severus."

"Is there?" Snape scanned the room until he spotted Draco's white-blond head next to his mother's. There was a strange air of protectiveness about the way he talked to her; Narcissa had grown feeble, almost fragile these days, as if the ordeals of the past had taken away every ounce of strength she'd once possessed. Snape knew better than to be fooled by her appearance, of course. Exhausted as her body might be, there was no weakness in Narcissa Malfoy's mind and soul, and her magic was as powerful as ever. She was smiling at the little dark-haired boy in her lap, who was playing with the tiny wand he'd been given during the ceremony, safe in the knowledge that he would never be limited by the restrictions of his inborn magic that the Muggle-borns had to endure.

"I'm surprised you're not bothered by a black-haired descendant of yours, Lucius. I'd have thought the Malfoys were obliged to keep breeding for translucency."

Lucius shrugged. "There have been plenty of dark-haired Malfoys over time. It's our blood that sets us apart, not the colour of our hair." He took another casual sip from his wine glass. "Not that I expect you to understand."

Snape ignored the jibe. His eyes once more moved towards Lucius' son who had grown to appear so much like his father in his looks and demeanour that it would have been downright disturbing if Snape hadn't got to know the boy so well. The similarities ran no deeper than Draco's skin; underneath the Malfoy appearance, he was a Black to the core, as fierce and impulsive both in hate and in love as his father was distant and detached.

Snape had never been a religious man, but he felt that if there was anything he would have to say for himself if there really was such a thing as a Judgement Day, it would be the fact that he'd been able to save Draco Malfoy from the fate of stumbling along in his father's footsteps and losing his soul in the process. It hadn't been difficult to convince the boy that there was no future for him at the Dark Lord's side, not after what had happened during that ill-fated night of Dumbledore's death, but it had still been a long and dangerous process that had turned the outlawed son of a Death Eater into the well-respected member of the wizarding community he was today.

Snape had never begrudged Draco for having made his way back into everyone's good graces while he himself hadn't. Yes, his own name had been cleared, and Minerva McGonagall had even given him back the DADA position at Hogwarts because there simply wasn't anyone else who dared to take the job, but that was as much redemption as he was ever going to get - to be resentfully tolerated, but certainly no more than that. It seemed strangely right to him; somehow he felt it was everything he deserved.

Draco Malfoy, however, had been awarded the Order of Merlin for his services during the war and was now rising through the ranks at the Ministry at surprising speed. He'd married the Parkinson girl, a choice which Snape considered very sensible - she came from a distinguished old family that had never been closely associated with Voldemort, but still upheld the standards the pure-blood elite had been proud of long before the Dark Lord's time. Their son, whose first signs of magic they were celebrating today, had been born less than a year after Voldemort's fall. They'd named him Regulus; the message could not have been clearer.

"Oh, I think I understand quite well, Lucius. Congratulations, by the way - I heard your son has been promoted again at the Ministry. You must be very proud."

Lucius smiled coldly. "You're too kind. Yes, it's certainly good to see our family is once more getting the recognition we deserve."

There was an edge to Lucius' voice that wasn't lost on Snape. He had heard it before - it was there whenever Draco talked about his father these days, the man he had adored to the point of worship all his life... who had almost brought about his family's downfall by the choices he'd made, and who was now doing his best to rise to his old glory in the wake of Draco's achievements as if those years he'd spent in Azkaban had never happened at all.

Unbidden, the image of Lucius' own father surfaced in Snape's memory - he had only met Abraxas Malfoy once, but he clearly remembered the stern, cold look that had appeared on the man's face whenever he was talking to his only heir. It was no secret that he had disapproved of his son's allegiances - he'd considered Voldemort an upstart and an unwelcome intruder into the tightly knit group of old pure-blood clans that formed the inner circle of Britain's wizarding society back then. Just a few years later, Malfoy senior was dead from an obscure children's disease when he was barely past sixty... thus freeing the way for Lucius, now head of a rich and powerful family, to lead the better part of his generation into the Dark Lord's service.

Snape allowed himself a moment of marvelling at the fact that the wizarding world, which had been cast into chaos and turmoil twice in the run of just a few decades, had somehow shifted back into its previous state with such astounding ease. Already, many of the scars left by two wars were glossed over; the ruins were rebuilt, as were broken alliances and forsaken friendships.

Perhaps history wasn't quite finished with repeating itself yet. Severus Snape would wait patiently to see how things turned out.