The Hanged Man
Draco let himself into the tiny house. He set his sacks on the counter and started unpacking the groceries and potions supplies he'd recently procured for his mentor. He hoped his old professor felt like talking today because Draco had some very specific questions to ask.
"I was wondering when I would see you again, Mr. Malfoy."
Draco grinned but did not turn around. "You'd see me more often if you'd leave your room when I come by. Funny how that works."
"How is your mother?"
"I should probably visit," Draco replied.
"The little girl you care for? Is she still stubbornly crushing on Flint?"
Draco smiled as he heard Snape sit in one of the chairs by the fireplace. When he felt like being social, Draco would tell him of his current life. Snape knew all about Pevensie, and even chuckled every so often at her antics. He often told Draco that Pevensie was payback for his youth.
"Pansy's returned," Draco said. "I suspect she did not find what she was looking for."
"Well, Miss Parkinson was looking in the wrong place. She usually does."
Draco put the kettle on to boil for tea. "That's not a very nice thing to say, sir."
A derisive snort sounded from the sitting room. "You would prefer I go against my nature and start sugarcoating our conversations, Mr. Malfoy?"
"Well, in any case, it is a bit late for that, wouldn't you agree?"
Draco nodded, though Snape could not see him. "I would."
It was silent while Draco finished putting things away. The kettle whistled and he removed it from the heat. He poured himself and Snape a cup each and carried them into the siting room. Snape's appearance bothered him. He was thin and even more pale. His eyes had bags under them. Draco knew he could not say anything. He'd already tried to have this conversation and had not seen Snape for months after that.
"You have the look of a man with something on his rather sharp mind, Malfoy."
Draco smiled. "Still no fooling you, sir."
It was silent.
"Well, do spit it out then."
Draco took a deep breath. "I told you about Willow and her... abilities. She's having problems controlling it. She suspects it might be related to her taking the magical energy from the slayer scythe and would like to give some of her power back to the weapon."
Snape sipped his tea. Draco knew that look. His old head of house was deep in thought. He had asked a lot of questions about Willow the first time Draco had brought her name up. In fact, Draco was surprised Snape's first question had been after Pevensie and not Willow. When he felt like talking, Snape usually wanted to know the state of her darkness. Draco wasn't about to mention that the both of them could making a good running in a 'hermits who hate sunlight' competition.
"Rather clever, this friend of yours."
"I think so," Draco replied.
"It's going to take more than that to help her control the vast amount of power she has within her. That darkness is going to eat at her. She's touched it, and once you touch darkness, Mr. Malfoy, it always wants you back within its thrall."
Draco did not respond to that. The two of them spoke of darkness often.
"I do happen to have a text that can help. It would behoove her to continue her studies with Irulan Purecraft. The woman is a very talented witch. The ladies you have told me are in this coven of hers, they can help as well. I have to ask you, Mr. Malfoy, if things went badly, would you have the strength to stop it?"
Draco looked down. He didn't know the answer to that. If Willow went dark again, he honestly did not know if he could stop her. She was one of his dearest friends now. Draco hoped it never came down to him having to decide.
"You're looking maudlin now, Malfoy. Do stop. It's taxing."
"I can point you to some passages in a text. She will need help with this, Draco. She's powerful, yes, but so are the magics she'll be attempting to wield. With things of this nature there is always a chance of it going terribly wrong."
"You know I'm going to help her."
"I know," Snape replied. "She's special."
Draco frowned. Special? The conversation seemed to have taken a strange turn.
"So do tell me about Zabini. How is he now that his mother has been thankfully removed from the manor?"
Draco grinned and went into a long explanation about Blaise and Hannah. Snape was glaring and muttering about Hufflepuffs, but Draco knew he was pleased. He did like hearing of his old students. If he did not, Draco would never be allowed to ramble as he did.
It was too bad he never went out anymore or he could see the people Draco spoke of for himself instead of only hearing their stories.