Title: The Hierophant
At the right angle, with his head tilted just so and pressed against the window, Severus can almost see the sun. It teases him in peeks and glimpses that render the flank of the Express a brilliant, blinding gold.
Severus shuts his eyes against the light. There’s the thumpida-thump-thump of other students running down the corridor, laughter trailing in their wake. Severus tightens the fingers wrapped around the sensitive flesh of his left wrist. The pain is thick, spreading until it blankets him. Beneath its weight, Severus lets the soft tak-tak-tak of the train lull him half-asleep, the dance of orange and black against his eyelids forming pictures that are half-memory, half-dream.
He cannot keep his attention from straying to the antique sideboard, the gilt framed portraits, even as he returns Lucius’ small talk. They feign sleep now, but Severus knows that each portrait would flick its gaze over his inadequate robes with the same dismissive air as Lucius.
“Do you like my home, Severus?”
The reassuring weight of a potions vial, proof of his merit here, is absent today. Instead, he must make do with the delicate curve of a teacup.
“Yes,” he answers, ignoring the way Lucius’ smirk widens.
“The furniture has been in our family for generations; there are times Narcissa claims she’ll burn the whole lot if she isn’t allowed something to decorate.”
“Indeed. That’s why we have the house in --”
Lucius is interrupted by the sound of the floo. Severus looks up in time to see the figure silhouetted in green, then gold, before the flames die down and the Dark Lord’s features are discernable.
They stand at the same time, but it is Lucius who steps forward.
“My lord, welcome.”
“Lucius. Severus… I am pleased you chose to join us today.”
“It’s an honor.” He hardly realizes he has taken a step until his knee bumps the table, rattling the teacups in their saucers. Distracted, he glances down, and when he looks back the Dark Lord is smiling at him. This is not new. The Dark Lord has gifted his smile to Severus' potions often enough in recent months; Severus doesn’t understand why it still pulls and aches in that part of his chest that has always felt more real than the rest.
He bows his head to hide the flush of embarrassment, but the image of the Dark Lord in robes of burnished gold stays in his mind like the imprint of the sun on eyes that have stared too long.
Severus reclaims his own seat as the Dark Lord and Lucius take theirs. For a few minutes, while they speak, Severus is granted a reprieve. Their words wash over him, smooth and elegant. They are not so quiet as to be unintelligible, but the subject is lost somewhere in the air between their place and his. His gaze is caught by the details; the slant of their bodies towards each other, pale lashes as Lucius glances down, the kiss of fingers over a fabric-covered thigh.
Yes, Severus thinks, this is what the world should be.
There is that smile again, as he meets the Dark Lord’s eyes unreserved.
“You’re a Slytherin, aren’t you, Severus?”
“Yes.” As if it were not rhetorical, because the Dark Lord must be answered.
“Then you must be wondering why I’ve invited you."
It is his turn now. Severus straightens up, calmly, and nods once. “Yes.”
“Last time you brought me one of your excellent concoctions, I mentioned you might go far. Do you remember?” His smile now is the softest curve of lips, a whispered secret between them. “I’ve procured you an apprenticeship.”
It’s several heartbeats before Severus draws breath again. “I… thank you, I --”
“You needn’t thank me. You have a lot of talent; it should be developed fully.”
“Still. Thank you.” For a moment, Severus sees his future spread before him. Then it skews and crumbles like a house of cards, and he can taste bile in his throat. “I appreciate the effort you’ve gone through for me, but I must decline.”
The Dark Lord’s eyes lock on his instantly, narrowed and piercing. His whole face seems sharper, suddenly, all steep angles and planes in the firelight. “Why?”
Severus glances at Lucius, but the eyes that meet his are coolly disinterested. “I can’t afford it.”
The Dark Lord laughs, rich and full, and Severus has the brief desire to run his fingers across that throat, so rarely exposed.
“You misunderstand me,” he says when his laughter has died down. “I found the offer for you, and I will pay for it.”
“I --” Severus starts, because, he will tell himself later, the generosity of the offer overwhelmed his common sense.
“Consider this a gift. Or, if you must, consider it an investment on my part. I have great faith in you. That is, of course, assuming you intend to continue doing me those occasional favors I might ask?”
“Of course, my lord.”
“Am I your lord, Severus?”
Yes, he thinks without hesitation, but the Dark Lord turns to Lucius and speaks even as Severus is parting his lips to answer.
“Show him my gift to you.”
Lucius moves to the edge of his seat, leaning towards him. He holds out his arm, and Severus glances down to see the pale fingers curled in, the soft black sleeve. Then Lucius is undoing the cuff, rolling it back to expose skin that seems too bright after the dark fabric. Except there, where what he first thinks is fabric resolves itself to an image.
“A tattoo?” he asks, leaning forward for a better look.
“More than that,” the Dark Lord breathes, pressing himself against Lucius’ back and reaching around him to draw the tips of his fingers across the inked skull.
Lucius inhales sharply and tilts his head back against the Dark Lord’s shoulder.
“You see, Severus?” Though the Dark Lord addresses him, his words are spoken against Lucius’ throat, barely touching, as if it is only chance that brings them so close.
Severus glances down to see the Dark Lord’s fingers stroking softly against the mark.
“There are those, like you, who are special to me. I wish to ensure that I can reach them, when I need to.” He presses a kiss to Lucius’ throat, moving his lips higher to nip at his ear.
“Would you like to touch it?”
“Please,” Severus whispers, barely managing the word. He’s almost startled when the Dark Lord’s fingers curl around his, bringing his hand forward to rest against the mark. Magic tingles through them, conducted from the Dark Lord to Lucius.
“Do you like that?”
Severus looks up, prepared to answer, but the Dark Lord isn’t speaking to him.
“Yes,” Lucius gasps, back arching when the Dark Lord presses their fingers down harder.
“Does it hurt?”
He has never seen a look of such focus as the one the Dark Lord directs towards Lucius now. There is pleasure in it, and power and love.
Sliding down, Severus is on his knees beside them before he realizes it.
The Dark Lord looks down, eyes scanning his face before lifting his fingers from Severus’ and bringing them to his cheek. Eyes closing, Severus leans into it. He would swear he can feel magic in this touch, too.
Then there are lips against his and it aches. He opens his mouth, and the Dark Lord takes over, hand against his chin, pulling him forward, forcing his mouth more open as if he intends to consume Severus from the inside out.
His hand is taken from Lucius’, set against cloth, something -- Lucius’ prick -- hard and hot beneath. Severus starts, breaking the kiss and looking over, though there’s little to see but the Dark Lord’s hand over his against the backdrop of robes. The Dark Lord pushes his hand, a rhythmic press and release until Severus is stroking, Lucius groaning and tilting his hips up into it.
Sliding his hand up, over Severus’ arm and shoulder, the Dark Lord begins to undo the buttons of Severus’ robe. Severus doesn’t dare look up now, afraid he’ll be caught forever. He watches Lucius instead, gasping beneath his hand. Severus squeezes, just to hear the man cry out.
Guiding Lucius to lay back, the Dark Lord slips off the couch, moving to settle himself behind Severus. His hands go back to undoing Severus’ buttons, even as he leans forward to nip and kiss his jaw.
“Take it out.” The command comes in a puff of warm breath against his ear, and Severus obeys automatically.
With both hands, it is short work to open Lucius’ trousers, to find the slit that allows him to pull the man’s cock free of its confines. Lucius’ hands find him, fingers tangling in Severus’ hair and pulling his head forward with purpose.
Behind him, the Dark Lord chuckles, a thick, low sound that makes Severus shiver and take the head of Lucius’ cock in his mouth. He maps it with his tongue, the delicate slit moist with precome, the mushroom edge, and the vein that leads him down further.
There’s a tug at his shoulders, and Severus shifts until the Dark Lord can slide his robes free. The air hits his skin only a moment before the warmth of another body is pressed against his back. Arms wrap around him, prompting him to move up onto the couch.
Removing Lucius’ trousers and pants is quickly done. Lucius shifts, raising one leg up to hook over the couch back, dropping the other down so that Severus can settle between his thighs.
Severus suckles the tip of Lucius’ cock one last time before he moves up, settling over the man and leaning down to bring their lips together. Lucius’ kiss is less demanding, almost gentle next to the Dark Lord’s. But his body is more so, pushing up against Severus’ insistently. His hands, too, are persistent. They slip from his hair to roam over Severus’ chest, never settling long. They scratch and knead, venturing up to pinch a nipple and down to pull his hips forward sharply.
The Dark Lord is more focused. He sucks at the juncture of his neck and shoulder, teeth just scraping flesh, while his hands work at Severus’ belt and trousers. Then, too, there is the hard line of his cock, obvious even with the layers between them, grinding slowly against Severus’ arse.
It feels so right, trapped between the two men, that Severus does not even consider it might be made better, until the Dark Lord has managed to work open his trousers and pulls them down, freeing Severus’ cock. The exquisite sensation of his and Lucius’ pricks rubbing together, hot and slicking each other with precome, prompts Severus into action. He pulls back enough to work a hand up between them, to undo the upper buttons on Lucius’ robe and expose his chest. He has the last of them free and the material pushed aside when the Dark Lord pulls away, dragging Severus’ trousers and pants completely off as he stands.
Both Lucius and Severus stop, looking up. Though he looks as if he’s going to speak, the Dark Lord merely laughs softly to himself and begins removing his own clothes. When they do not move, he picks up the untouched butter dish from tea and offers it to them with the soft command: “Prepare each other.”
Severus reaches forward first, glancing down as he does so and catching the brief flash of distaste over Lucius features. It is not for him, or the act, Severus discerns, because Lucius’ eyes are locked on the butter dish, and he takes only so much as a delicate sweep of his fingers gains, but he does not hesitate to bring his hand back, working between Severus’ cheeks and circling his pucker.
The sensation is wholly new, a tingling sweetness that seems to radiate out to every nerve in his body. Severus moans, pushing back until the finger breaches him. Then he thrusts forward, nearly forgetting his own task until he goes to grab Lucius’ thigh. Forcing himself to stop, he takes a breath and works his hand down between them, beneath Lucius.
He finds that focusing on that one spot, on circling and teasing, and stretching, until Lucius is rutting against him, is enough to keep him from going over the edge from Lucius’ continued attentions.
Glancing over reveals the Dark Lord, stripped and stroking his own cock, watching them. Severus means to look away again but finds he cannot. Stepping forward, the Dark Lord slicks his fingers with butter, bringing it to his own cock. He settles behind Severus, pushing him back down again when Severus automatically begins to turn.
“Enter him, Severus. Slowly.”
Lucius’ eyes flutter shut at the demand, though he angles his hips up to allow Severus access.
When he is lined up, the Dark Lord leans down, lips against his ear.
“Watch his face.”
Breaching him is divine torture. Hot and tight, yes, but Severus is more enthralled by Lucius‘ reaction. He watches carefully to catch each change in expression, each involuntary shift that he causes as he slides in. Each nuance makes him want to thrust home, to pound into Lucius. But he holds back, feeling his muscles beginning to tremble in anticipation.
Fully sheathed, he waits. It is only then that the Dark Lord leans against him, allowing him the pleasure of flesh on flesh, the feel of his naked prick. He presses forward, pushing into Severus in measured steps. Severus does not push back, for fear that moving within Lucius now will snap his control. But the tension must escape, and it does so in gasps and whimpers with every inch the Dark Lord takes.
A pause, when they are at last completely joined, like a ball on an edge, precariously balanced before plummeting forward.
The Dark Lord pulls back and thrusts, forcing Severus sharply into Lucius. As if, in waiting, they had lost something, there is no build-up now; the Dark Lord’s thrusts are fast and deep, giving Severus little choice but to exist between the two, a catalyst for their coupling. Lucius' eyes are bright with pleasure, looking beyond Severus' shoulder to the Dark Lord. Severus closes his own eyes, surrenders to the sensation that he is merely an extension of each of them, unnamed and immutable. He lets the physical take over, blanketing his thoughts until there is nothing except slick, hot, tight, full, and what is here.
Severus feels the Dark Lord stiffen, and his own prick tightens in response. A thrust, two, and the Dark Lord comes with a wordless shout, filling Severus with seed. Severus comes a second later, his whole body going tight and centering down to each pleasure-pain throb of his cock. Severus collapses, slipping from between them to rest at Lucius' side. He shuts his eyes even as the Dark Lord reaches out to stroke Lucius to completion. His own hand drifts closer, until their fingers tangle together, pumping Lucius’ prick until he comes with a low groan, coating their fingers.
Severus awakes to find he is alone on the couch, a blanket over him. A tendril of fear winds through him at the thought that he has been left. It takes some time for him to register voices, speaking softly, in the room. Turning over, he opens his eyes. In the chair across from him is the Dark Lord, cleaned and dressed. Standing, dressing robe wrapped tight around himself, is Lucius.
“Severus, come here.” Though the Dark Lord’s words are sharp, his gaze is not.
Keeping the blanket over himself, Severus does not bother to stand, merely slides to the floor and walks on his knees to the Dark Lord’s chair.
“You didn’t answer my question before. Answer it now. Am I your lord?”
“Understand, though, that a true master does not always fulfill his disciples’ wishes. You cannot serve me if you serve yourself first.”
“I serve you.” It’s so easy now, to give himself over when every part of him is certain that here, at last, is his place.
Hand sliding down to caress this cheek, the Dark Lord smiles. He takes Severus’ hand, turning it palm up in his own. He slides the sleeve of Severus’ robe back, fingers brushing against skin, before drawing his wand.
The tip feels hot against his skin, as if the magic is gathering there in preparation, though he knows there is no power before the spell.
It unfurls quick as lightning, blossoming in inky tendrils that he can feel spiraling deeper, hooking onto nerves and cells and him. Severus tries to keep his eyes open, to watch the snake slither free from the skull, but in the end must give in, burying his head against the Dark Lord’s knees and screaming out the pain.
Severus opens his eyes to the sound of the train whistle fading. He leans back against the seat, stretching his neck to get the crick out and taking a slow breath. One more year, just one, and then he will be free to take his new, rightful place. Tilting his head against the window, he looks out. It’s grown overcast, the sky darkening to a muddy gray while he slept. The sun is not down yet, though; it taunts him, lingering ever present on the horizon, just beyond his reach.