's Truth or Dare game
Active Death Eater warnings: torture and murder
Lucius had been turning as he had slit the man's throat, scribing a silver arc of steel at the end. The blood had thrown a delineated wash across the front of his coat and now it was dripping down in combed streams of red on dark grey, almost as if it had been arranged to do so with deliberate care. He had cast the Morsmordre above the house while Severus had been arranging the body. The village was quiet but not deserted. Perhaps the man had thought that might serve to protect him, but carrying names in a chain of information only ensured that more of the bearers would die. Lucius’ lip curled. Stupidity. And there was Severus, his cuffs and dark clothes smeared rust. Lucius held the silver portkey – a real key this time – out to the other man, avoiding the stained fingers.
Severus’ hair was wet at the back of his neck, dampening his collar as he waited for Lucius. When they had arrived at the manor Lucius had asked him to wash at once. Though his home was kept immaculate he never liked anything to mar it, even for the short time until the house elves could correct it. When Severus emerged his clothes had been lying cleaned and folded or neatly hung and he had donned them once again, closely buttoned head to toe, no trace of ended life.
Severus moved around restlessly, waiting for Lucius. Inactive, his mind replayed portions of the afternoon, almost super-imposed on the Malfoy sitting room. He remembered the man’s eyes, each time the Cruciatis had been lifted, looking up more and more wildly into his as Severus had cradled his head, forcing his jaw tight to prevent the screams, even when his teeth had shattered at Severus’ hands. It was a technique – letting them consciously or subconsciously realise the Death Eaters had no fear or weakness, no need to even set protective spells. At first the man had asked him aloud, then only his eyes had pled for mercy. Severus knew what it was, had felt the curse himself simply in pure pain at whim without the option of unburdening himself to end it. He knew and felt it arcing through the man as he held him. And then, eventually, spitting blood and broken porcelain, he had told them what they had asked. And the man’s endurance had been strong, as he held on to hope of life somehow, irrationally yet instinctively, through that agony, for nothing but Lucius’ knife. When they arrived he had offered them tea, and they had accepted it, drinking out of his matching teacups, which were now smashed on his hearth.
Lucius came from the bath, smelling of subtle cool lilac, dressed in embroidered white silk loungewear and robes that bent and flowed around him when he moved, rather than folding. His hair was dry and curled, tied back with a ribbon. “A drink before you go? Whiskey?”
For himself he opened and poured a chill white wine from a newly developed grape from California. Symphony. Its overtones were dry and slightly floral. When he turned back Severus’ whiskey was gone. Still, after all this time. “I had meant to toast success.”
Severus had idly taken a photo of Draco from the white-painted mantel, formal but laughing, displaying a new ring that caught the light of some past day in the sun. He looked at the boy, spoiled yet proud of such a small thing. He brushed his fingertips over it thinking of Draco’s grandfather; thinking of Draco years from now holding a knife dripping red as Lucius’ today; thinking of Lucius himself being as matter-of-fact then with the boy as he was today. Long elegant fingers plucked the little portrait from his hand and replaced it on the mantel.