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They take the Prophet, but only because Severus allows Draco to read it first, and exorcise all the articles that will make him frown and mutter to himself. Draco says it's perfectly fine that he frowns and mutters to himself, so long as he is actually happy when doing so. The paper is a jigsaw puzzle of incompleteness and Severus sometimes worries that he will not be able to protect the two of them, that he will miss some word or some picture that means the difference between safety and disaster. Then Draco says, "I know how to read, Severus," and he remembers that he's not the only watching his back. He frowns and mutters at Draco, who leans back in his chair, contentedly crumbling the missing pieces of newspaper.


Draco is used to being spoiled, and Severus never imagines that he will be able to give him anything that he actually wants for, or that surpasses the things he has been given in the past, but that doesn't mean he stops trying. There are the books that Severus buys for him and reads to him, and the dress robes with patterns drawn up solely for Draco, and the pendant that matches the one Severus wears around his own neck. At night the silver of it lays heavy and warm against his skin, an amulet with the power only of his own imagination. Draco opens each gift on each occasion with an eagerness, greets them with a greedy grin and an, "Oh, you did well." It is never until later, when Severus finds him putting the gifts away, swathing them in protective charms and security wards that he understands that maybe has has managed to give Draco something he's never had.


There is a room in the tower of the Manor, a small look-out in one of the crenallated peaks, windows on every side. The windows are spelled so that nobody can see into them. On rainy days, Severus will pull Draco up the stares with the weight of his desire, will press Draco nude against the glass and will take him while the two of them stand framed, nothing between them and the rain, the sheer fall that each drop continues upon, but an ancient window casing.


When Draco brews, he does so with Severus in mind. More often than not, his brewing takes on a devoted tint. He has created a shampoo from which Severus refuses to deviate, and a pain reliever that actually manages to quell some of the aches from long-dead curses. He can also brew caramel, which is not a potion, but which Severus loves. Draco loves it best when still warm, poured into the tiny cave of his belly-button. Severus' tongue, pursuing the treat, is always warm and sure and thorough.


Draco loves the sound of Severus' voice, thinks that maybe it was the first thing he ever fell in real, true love with, but there are times when his silence is every bit as beautiful. Severus can make the world still with his own calm. And he can make Draco safe with a simple touch to the small of Draco's back, a simple gesture for Draco to "stay," stay with him in his silence. Draco never argues, never asks for things Severus does not want to give at that moment. Severus never fails to say things when they need to be said. Draco merely has to make sure he's there to hear them.

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile