"Rotten night for it, Shacklebolt," said Sulley, drawing up the iron gate. "Scrimgeour's got it in for you, hasn't he? First Muggle duty, now this."
"It's got to be done, I suppose," said Kingsley, pulling his cloak up closer to his throat. The longer he had to wait, the colder the wind blew. "Bloody slow, that thing. Best leave it up, my business won't take me long."
"You'll be back warm and cosy in your flat before you know it," agreed Sulley. "Not like us poor blokes who've got to be out here tonight."
Kingsley just nodded and shivered and ducked under the gate the moment he was able.
Azkaban, Dementors or none, was exactly as he remembered it: cold, damp walls, muted echoes of empty spaces, distant shrieks, vague disturbances. He set a quick pace, forcing Sulley to follow him until they reached the bowels of the fortress.
"He's down at the end there," said Sulley, pointing with hands that a quick nip of firewhiskey might have made a little less shaky. "It's the one with--"
"I'll know it when I see it," said Kingsley, grimacing. He would know him when he saw him, no matter what Azkaban had done to him. His was the sort of figure that one never, ever forgot.
"I'll leave you to it, then," said Sulley. "Don't like to visit the cells much, except when I've got to. Not like some of the other boys." Kingsley just grimaced again, entirely too aware of what such visitation might lead to.
"The better man, you, then," he said, straightening his spine and putting one boot directly in front of the other in a very deliberate line as he made his way down the torch-lit corridor. It smelled of sour, cold sweat, smoke and rat bile, the kind of scent Kingsley normally only found stoppered, at the back of a long-forgotten shelf.
"Malfoy," he said when he came to the end. His voice carried, both to the inside of the cell and back up the corridor behind him. There was a sound, a scrape, but no answer. "Stand up. Come here."
Silence, then a shuffling noise, then Malfoy's fingers, his arms, his feet, his face appeared in the circle of light. "What do you want?"
"What do you think I want?" asked Kingsley, pulling out his wand and opening the cell door with ostentatious ease.
"Nothing I'd willingly give you." Malfoy looked at the opened door, then lifted his chin, refusing to show the indignity of racing for it.
"What about unwillingly?" He kicked the door with a booted foot, opening it wider. "Do you not think I have anything to offer you if you are... amenable?"
Malfoy waited. "I'm listening," he said, but there was a faint tremble to his knees, like he was already waiting to drop to them. It was entirely too delicious to ignore, and Kingsley had a little time.
"You're being taken to the Ministry for questioning," he said, taking a step into the cell, just one step, his boot exposed from under his robes and showing conspicuously in front of him. "Whether that will be an easy journey or a more difficult one is on you."
Lucius glared with pale, sunken eyes, twisted his lips, wrung his hands in front of him. Then dropped to his knees and bowed his head till it almost touched Kingsley's boot, too smoothly for him not to have done it before.
His tongue flicked out to lick his lips, to touch the tip of Kingsley's boot, to take a long swipe from toe to ankle over the leather. He put his hands up behind his back and slathered the boot top with his tongue till it shone even in the dim firelight.
Kingsley grew stiff at the sight, at the well-imagined feel of it. The gesture had too much power over him; if he didn't know better he would have thought that Lucius had known that. But he did not stop him. He did not even stop watching.
"Enough," he said finally, aching and coveting and denying. The seconds ticked onward, and they had a schedule to keep. Lucius stopped, remained in position only a moment, then rose to his feet again. Not a single flicker of shame showed on his face.
Kingsley bound his arms only, and ordered him to follow: out of the cell, back down the corridor, back to the guard station where Sulley had his feet up on a wide and food-laden table.
"That's not procedure," he said, gesturing at Malfoy.
"Hang procedure," said Kingsley. "He's not going anywhere. Let him move under his own power, not mine."
Sulley laughed -- snorted really, an unpleasant sound -- and took a moment before getting to his feet. "I'll let the Ministry know you're on your way," he said, "once that blasted gate's down again."
"By the time the blasted gate is down we'll already be there," said Kingsley, but he waved his hand indifferently all the same. "Do what you must. And try to keep warm, Sulley, there's a fierce one brewing out there."
"Just another night at Azkaban," said Sulley with a long-suffering sigh.
Kingsley crossed the threshold of the fortress with Malfoy in tow, and promptly Disapparated.
The island was barely more than a rocky outcropping, a stone hand with three thick fingers sticking out of the sea. They could still see Azkaban from where they stood on the shore, Kingsley with a kind of grim satisfaction, Lucius with barely masked apprehension.
"This is hardly appropriate," said Lucius finally. It might have been made more haughty only if he'd had use of his arms to pose.
"So very little is," agreed Kingsley. "Do you like the view? I find it particularly engaging."
Lucius clenched his jaw. "Charming," he said dryly. "Will we be getting a closer look again shortly? Is that what this is about?"
"Frisky," said Kingsley dryly. "Have you changed your mind about co-operating with me, then? Pity. I have things you want."
"Offer me freedom," said Lucius. "Then you will have something that I want."
"I know where your son is. And how you might find him."
"Useless to me unless I can act on it," said Lucius, but Kingsley knew him better than that. Knew that information was as valuable to him as social status, and more so when it involved his only son.
"I will consider that."
Kingsley felt his skin crawling, under his scalp and his fingernails and in dark and secret places. He was glad they had left when they did; it wasn't like him to miscalculate, and he should have worn this skin five minutes more. Perhaps the Lacewing Fly hadn't been as fresh as he'd demanded.
He left Lucius on a sharp rock facing the all-too-near Azkaban and bent over into the North Sea wind till the transformation was complete. The robes hung looser over his shoulders, the hood he pulled forward low on his face, and he found he quite liked the feel of it.
"On your knees," he said when he turned back.
"We haven't finished our negotiations," said Lucius, his voice dull about the middle with incisive edges.
"We were not," he said, "negotiating. What happens here is my choice alone."
Lucius narrowed his eyes -- calculating, not angry. "Who are you? Why are we here?"
"It doesn't matter," he snapped. "We are here because I choose for us to be. Would you rather go back? To the slimy walls and creeping rats? To the rotten food, the rutting guards, the endless, sleepless nights?"
"You know Azkaban." Lucius spoke the word 'know' as only a prisoner would.
"I know Azkaban," he agreed.
Lucius stared at him for a moment, then went to his knees on the cold, hard stone, just as the rain started to fall.
"What is it you like to do, to people who stand over you like this? Is it your hands that hold your talent, or your mouth? Or perhaps you like to have them plug that lily-white arse of yours?"
"You'll hardly know, with my hands bound the way they are," Lucius muttered around a tightly clenched jaw.
"What is it worth to you, to know the fate of your son? What is it worth, your own survival?"
Lucius leaned forward, his eyes searching up into the depths of the dark hood, and nuzzled against the thick robes in front of him. His hands remained bound behind him, yet he managed to find the outline of a stiff prick behind the fabric, to press his face in and trace it with his nose right from root to tip. Moments later the prick was free, bobbing against Lucius's cheek.
And Lucius did not show the least bit of surprise that it was clearly not that of Kingsley Shacklebolt.
He started licking again, broad, twisting strokes, around and around and around. Under the intense pressure of that tongue no sane man would bother to think of where it had been not so very long ago.
Only when Lucius finally engulfed his cock, as far back into his mouth as it could slide without being swallowed down, did he do anything about the rain. A quiet utterance, breathless and rough, the barest of movements of his hidden wand, and they were sheltered from the worst of the storm. If nothing else.
"Swallow it," he sneered, pushing in further and grabbing at that straggly blond hair. It did a soul good, to see Lucius Malfoy this way. On his knees, suckling, everything short of begging.
Orgasm was almost a surprise, wrenched forward from his spine with explosive force. He choked and bit down on his lip and fisted the hair even tighter. And watched Lucius's throat work, almost in slow motion when paced against his rapidly pounding heart.
It was cold and awkward when Lucius pulled back, leaving him hanging out in the damp air until he summoned the presence of mind to tuck himself back in again. To study the stiffness of Lucius's spine, the intensity of his glare.
"Lower the hood, Snape," he said fiercely, wiping his mouth on his filthy shoulder. "You should know I know your cock as well as I know your ugly face."
Snape pushed the hood back, letting it fall over his shoulders. "Was it ever a mystery?" he asked. "Is there really anyone else left who would bother with you?"
"My wife, I would think."
"I said anyone else left," said Snape, and let that hang in the chilly night air.
Lucius grew even paler, even more pinched, but he did not lash out. Azkaban had taught him restraint, it seemed, or perhaps only dulled him inside. "So," he said finally. "Have you come to rescue me or take me to my fate."
"That," said Snape, "has yet to be decided."
Snape knew they would be found out very quickly. Not that he, in particular, would be suspected, but it would swiftly become known that Kingsley Shacklebolt had not removed the prisoner under orders from the Ministry, and that Kingsley Shacklebolt was not, in fact, Kingsley Shacklebolt. Which was why they were as near to Azkaban as they could be, in the very last place anyone would look.
There came a point, however, when the wisest thing to do was move on. When the usual bolt-holes would already have been searched, when it was safe to return to his own.
"On your feet," he told Lucius, who was much quicker to comply with that particular order than any of his others.
"Where are you taking me?"
Azkaban had not changed the man as much as those who guarded him thought it had. Snape had heard stories, told with a certain smugness, of how Lucius Malfoy was not the man he'd once been. They saw only the fall of his pride; Snape saw the emergence of his ambition to survive.
"Someplace a little more distant," said Snape shortly, "where I might decide just what I'm to do with you."
"Whose orders did you come for me under?" Lucius pressed, drawing his ragged clothes about him.
"I came under no orders," he said. "I answer to no one, Lucius. No one knows where you are, nor who you are with."
Lucius was not a man particularly capable of hiding his emotions, not without time and preparation or a big blank mask, and he had clearly not considered this eventuality. He looked shocked, then terrified, then calculating. It was so utterly predictable, Snape almost laughed.
"Then do what you mean to do," Lucius said, lifting his chin. He thought he already knew what the answer was, what Snape's motivations were. The man always did underestimate him.
"I always do," said Snape, taking hold of Lucius's arm and Disapparating once more.
The room they appeared in was spare at best -- a cupboard, a pantry, a bed -- and had no visible doors, though Snape knew where one was located. Without his wand, Lucius would be incapable of finding it. Without his wand, Lucius was capable of very little.
"What is this place?"
"And why should I tell you that?"
Lucius knew this game by now, sidling up to him and nipping at his throat. He had known the game long before Snape had started playing it, and certainly before they'd started playing it with one another.
"What is this place?"
"It's just a place," said Snape, turning, pushing the rags off Lucius's body in one motion. It took so little effort he wondered how they'd stayed on at all. His own were little more difficult, not with charmed buttons, with self-releasing ties. His cleaning charm was discreet, but the look on Lucius's face showed it had not gone unnoticed. His subsequent release of Lucius's bonds was met with much less outrage.
"The bed is not present by accident," said Snape, gesturing bluntly with one hand.
"Does it feel good?" Lucius asked him, obeying nonetheless. "To be able to demand payment where you once had to offer it?" He was too thin, with too many sharp edges and too many scars, but he was still the same.
He followed Lucius onto the bed, and did not worry about time. At Azkaban, they had mere moments; on Palm Island little more. There would be no one coming for them here.
"Tell me how long it's been," said Lucius, whispering against Snape's ear like it was an endearment. "Tell me what's happened to the world."
"The war is won," said Snape, trapping Lucius against the bed.
"By me," said Snape. "Anyone who was left standing won this war, Lucius. Or no one did."
"Who has control, Severus?" he hissed. "Has the Dark Lord taken his rightful place or did that blasted Order thwart him?"
"Do you even know which of those you would prefer?" Snape asked, and pressed a leg hard between Lucius's. "The only thing you need to worry about right now is whether you want this from behind or from the front."
Lucius looked at him levelly. "From the back," he said, "so I don't have to look at your ugly face."
Snape almost wished he'd brought them someplace with a mirror, so Lucius could see how truly long it had been. "A fine way to flatter your keeper," he said.
"And what do I get," asked Lucius, "once I've given you what you want?"
"What you really want," said Snape, and flipped him.
He traced a finger down the knobs of Lucius's spine, the skin feeling thin and dry. It was a lot like Snape had always imagined it would feel like to someone touching his own flesh. Lucius's legs moved restlessly, bending, spreading, burrowing into the bed which must have felt to him like utter decadence. Snape resisted the temptation to dip into his head, already knowing all too well what he would find there.
Lucius said nothing, hardly even made a sound, even as Snape pressed a hand between his legs, pressed the tips of his fingers up into him without anything to ease their way. Snape was not a young man, but his prick was already more than half hard again, nudging up against his belly. Desire was such a funny thing.
He spread Lucius's legs further apart with his knees and he was not a cruel man, he did have unguent of a sort, wet and sticky and slow. There was no call for tenderness but he slid his hands over Lucius's thighs as he entered him, felt them tremble, no, shake. The man's arse was as pinched as his mouth, tight and daunting, but incredible just the same once one got inside.
Snape resisted the urge to mark him, at least overtly, though he was sure he was leaving finger-bruises on Lucius's hips as he clenched his hands around them, began to drive into him. Lucius undulated against the bedcovers, against Snape, tiny rolling waves of need.
His skin flushed across his back, across his arms, blotchy red against his natural pale. His breathing grew quicker, though not so quick as Snape's, and he pushed himself up and back, up and back.
Lucius finally made a sound, a kind of choking-rasping-pleading sound, and Snape knew he'd come all over the linens. "Bastard," murmured Snape, and pushed, and pushed, and pushed again, his knees and thighs and back aching, until finally he came, just barely inside and leaking all down Lucius's arse.
He waited only until he'd caught his breath before pushing himself away, standing up next to the bed and cleaning himself of any traces of what he'd just done. Reaching into the pocket of his nearby robes, he pulled out a pocketwatch and, turning round again and stretching his arm out in front of him, he dangled the object from his fingertips.
"Here is your son."
Lucius drew himself up to his knees and stared blankly, his eyes following the face of the watch as it swung back and forth. "What--?" he said, then blinked and pressed his lips tight together. "Where will it take me?" he asked finally.
"To your son."
"Give me a moment to dress, to prepare--"
"Take it or don't," said Snape, "but do not delay to make this choice or it will be taken from you." He dangled the watch and waited while Lucius looked in dismay at his bare body, at the four solid walls of the room, at Snape.
Finally he met Snape's eyes and nodded, reaching out for the watch. His fingers closed around the face and, activating the Portkey, he vanished.
As Snape slowly redressed and put the room in order, he did wonder why people trusted him so very much.