Pairing: DM, SS
Summary: Snape doesn’t see Draco until it’s too late.
First Published: 23rd May 2004
Disclaimer: The characters are unfortunately not mine.
“Why?” Snape’s question is harsh and blunt and distrustful.
He had expected that Draco would come to him after Lucius’ imprisonment, but he had certainly not expected Draco to announce to him that he’s changing sides.
Draco flinches but keeps his eyes unwavering on the older wizard. “Because of you, sir.”
Snape raises a brow in question.
Draco’s voice is low and mostly steady. “Because… I respect you, and not *him*.” And Snape knows who Draco is referring to. A quick flash of anger in stormy eyes. “Because he left my father to be *kissed*, because I’ve seen how he treats you…”
Snape narrows his eyes, accessing and judging, looking at the younger Malfoy and seeing the older. Finally, he turns away. “Follow me, Mr Malfoy.”
“Why?” Snape’s question is harsh and more than a little puzzled.
He had expected Draco to give up after a week or two; the spoiled blond was not used to hardship, and he certainly had not expected to blond to respond to his exacting tasks with a quiet determination of his own.
Draco looks up from the heavy tome he was studying, tired eyes bloodshot. “Because of you, sir.”
Draco’s voice is quiet in the hush of the library. “Because I know you meant well for me, because I will need it.”
A faint rustle as Draco drops his gaze and fingers the faded ribbon lying as a bookmark in the book, whispering, “Because you told me to.”
Snape scowls, glaring at the boy for a few moments before turning to stalk away.
“Why?” Snape’s question is harsh and defensive.
He raises a hand to his moist lips unconsciously.
“Just because…” Draco looks at him, gray eyes wide and vulnerable. “…because it’s you.”
Snape trembles, torn by his attraction for the teenager in front of him and his mistrust of Malfoys. He shouldn’t have let the mild flirting by the boy get this far; he had expected it because Malfoys were Malfoys, but he hadn’t expected Draco to actually…
Perhaps… Snape wavers.
But no. Lucius had seemed sincere too.
“I thought,” Draco asks, hurt and confusion in his tone. But Snape cuts him off as he takes a quick step backwards.
“I’ve no need to explain myself to you. Leave!”
Draco looks woodenly at him and then drop his gaze, turning to walk away stiffly.
Snape stares after the hunched shoulders of the blond and ruthlessly squashes the stirrings of regret.
“Why?” Snape’s question is harsh and ragged.
He gathers the broken body in his arms, uncaring of the slick blood that stains his robes. He had not expected the boy to remain on the battlefield after he told the younger wizard to run, and he had certainly not expected the boy to step in front of the curse meant for him.
“Because of you,” Draco whispers, face turning towards the sound of Snape’s voice, but his gray eyes are no longer focused.
“Draco…” Snape fumbles for his wand, trying desperately to remember the strongest healing spells he learned. “Shh. Just …stay with me.”
“It was always… because of you.”
Snape looks down at the younger Malfoy as the beautiful blond lay cooling in his arms and he can only think of what might have been. His jaw is clenched and his lip is bitten through so that he doesn’t scream, mouth filling with blood, but he can only taste the bitter bile of regret.
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