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Clouds hung low overhead, full and grey against a midnight sky. The few stars visible twinkled as a young man with lank, black hair pulled his wool cloak tight about his slender form and walked along the leaf-scattered path to an old manor home. He took his time, kicking rubbish out of his way.
He meandered up the steep hill and was greeted by Frank, the old caretaker, who was on his way to the pub in town.
‘Evenin’, ol’ chap. ‘S cold tonight. You best be wearin’ somethin’ more than that ol’ thin’,’ he wheezed, leaning on a cane that wobbled with the weight it was bearing.
‘Greetings, Frank. Everything all right at the manor?’
‘S’far as I know. Bit damp, though; might want to be careful where you step.’
‘Why would it be wet, Frank?’ Severus arched a fuzzy, black eyebrow at him.
‘You’ll see.’ Frank tipped his hat and hobbled away.
Severus shook his head at the old caretaker and took the rest of the hill at a steady pace. As he approached the ivy-covered manor, he noticed that the cracking, concrete steps were indeed wet. He wondered what had caused it. It hadn’t rained in days, though the sky looked ominous, as if it would storm any moment. Could there have been a leak? A busted pipe? Or perhaps someone had left on a faucet. He turned the rusted knob on the door, and he was admitted to the dark kitchen.
With a whisper, the room lit, showing water streaking the dusty floor. Severus wrinkled his nose and followed the water’s path. Clearly, the caretaker had not been doing his job. He trekked up the stairs, mouldy, green carpet squelching under his boots, to the six bedrooms. He continued walking beside the stream until it stopped in front of the last room along the hallway. He rapped on the door... nothing, just a hollow sort of sound. He glanced down and saw a strange, blue glimmer under the door, and he decided to attempt entrance.
The door, though locked, opened easily enough with a swift kick to the centre of it. Once the door was down, Severus’s mouth dropped open as he stared ahead: the room, flooded with ethereal blue light, was filled nearly to the ceiling with water, and one pair of handcuffs floated along. He backed away and into something solid... a human form.
‘Like my new invention, Severus?’ a voice whispered, hot breath caressing his ear.
‘Tom, why? What’s the point?’
‘To lure those too curious for their own good... like you. You should have walked away when you spoke to Frank.’
His world became hazy and dark as he fell backward.
‘Severus. Severus,’ a hoarse male voice called to him. ‘C’mon, wake up now.’
‘Mmnph. Can’t. T-Tom.’ Something warm came to rest on his abdomen, and short, spiky hair tickled his cheek.
‘Wake up, Sev.’
Severus’s eyes opened a fraction, and he was greeted with a lightning-shaped scar. ‘Weird. Dream. Harry?’ he mumbled.
‘Yes, it was just a dream. Riddle is dead.’ Harry pressed his lips to Severus’s neck and traced idle patterns on his scarred chest. ‘Come, drag your arse out of bed and meet me in the kitchen for coffee. We’ll talk about it there.’
A/N: Thank you to kittylefish, the beta of dreams, for the hard work. This was written for my dear friend, PajamaPants, for her birthday.
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The Patronus skin was created especially for The Petulant Poetess by TarahFae.