Word Count: 4613
Characters/Pairing: (somewhat one-sided) Gilderoy/Severus, Gilderoy/Draco
Warnings: EWE – AU (Snape lives)
Author/Artist's Notes: I was considering sticking to what I know and writing some Remus/Sirius, however, the lure of trying a new character was too much for me to resist. I hope I managed to keep it light enough, chibitoaster. Enjoy ;)
Summary: Gilderoy gets a visitor. Draco does his duty. Severus sleeps through it all (almost).
Wednesday 15th July 1998
On Gilderoy’s forty-fifth birthday he received twenty-seven cards, eight boxes of chocolates and a visitor.
The cards were not unexpected. In fact, for the last five years, as far back as he could remember, he had always received huge numbers of cards. It was not always on his birthday either. Gladys Gudgeon wrote to him every week and, although the photographs that she sent were far from pleasing to the eye, it felt good to be admired.
Avis spelled them to sit along the curtains around his bed. The bright flowers and elegant hippogriffs were company enough for him. He knew no better.
The cards were much fewer this year. He wondered if he had been forgotten, forsaken by those who had remembered him even when he did not remember his own name, or if this decrease was just another of those odd occurrences which had marked the past year.
The last year had been hard. The healers had started warding the doors and the visitors had not been able to get through and the Closed Ward had become so full that Gilderoy had been forced to take down the poster of himself that Gladys had sent to make room for more patients.
Not that Gilderoy was complaining. The cards were beautiful, the words of his fans were flattering and the chocolates were to die for, even if he could not allow himself to eat too many.
Imagine if they gave him a spot.
Why, just a simple pimple might ruin his image forever.
He had paused in the middle of writing a thank you note to Valentina Warwick, pondering the horror that might be him without clear skin or, more terrifying than anything else, less than blindingly-white teeth, when the door crashed open and a handsome young man stalked into the room.
Gilderoy paid him no mind. Handsome young men were few and far between in the closed ward at Saint Mungos, although the Longbottoms had a son who had bloomed quite spectacularly. Gilderoy tended not to look at them. The men and women who did appear in the Closed Ward were never there to visit Gilderoy.
In fact, no one but Avis appeared to even notice he was there.
That was why it was such a surprise when the handsome young man sat in the empty armchair by Gilderoy’s bed.
The shock of it made Gilderoy’s hand slip, smudging his signature into something barely discernable. Normally, this might have ruined his day entirely, but not today.
Today, Gilderoy Lockhart had a visitor.
Gilderoy took a moment to study the young man. He was tall and slender with pale hair and grey eyes. He appeared almost to be carved from marble. Not to say that he was statuesque, only that he was colourless in every way. How Gilderoy wished to introduce him to a colourful wardrobe. What wonders a magenta cloak, an emerald scarf or, most wonderful of all, a peacock-blue robe might do for the man’s complexion.
“Draco Malfoy,” the man said, holding out his hand and looking at Gilderoy with no small amount of disinterest.
Gilderoy smiled and took the hand in his own. He raised it to his lips, holding it tightly when Draco moved to take it back. He brushed his lips against the knuckles. The skin was cool and soft. He smelt of lilacs. Gilderoy’s favourite.
“Gilderoy Lockhart,” Gilderoy said.
Draco pulled his hand back and pushed it into his pocket. He made a great show of wiping his knuckles. There was a crimson stain upon his cheeks. His eyes refused to meet Gilderoy’s and it appeared as if he was muttering to himself.
His eyes swept to the door, a look of deep longing upon his face. He turned back to Gilderoy with a smile which would never be nominated for an award from Witch Weekly.
There was silence. Gilderoy wished he could be a better host. He would love to offer tea and biscuits. He would love to offer wine. He would love, most of all, to regale Draco with tales of his adventures, but he could not recall any.
“What do you like to do?” Draco asked, trying to make polite conversation.
And Gilderoy saw this as his chance, his one chance. He had been cooped up in this ward for too long with people who drooled on his best robes and people who opened his curtains to ruin his beauty sleep and people who, most importantly, did not appreciate him at all.
“I’d like to leave,” Gilderoy said, “I doubt that the air here is doing any good for my complexion.”
Draco’s lips quirked oddly and he looked towards the door. He muttered something that sounded like ‘you and me both’.
“I suppose we could leave the ward,” Draco said, watching the door as they swung open to admit the Longbottoms’ son. “Just for a bit. I’ve only got a half-hour left.”
Gilderoy would have wondered over what Draco had to do in a half-hour. Instead, he stood up, sweeping his indigo cloak behind him, and followed Draco out of the doors and into the corridor beyond.
It was freedom, glorious freedom. He could walk and walk, he could look at new people whose eyes widened in reaction to him, he could wave at people and have them wave back.
And then Draco took his elbow and stilled him.
“Time’s up,” Draco said, turning them back towards the ward.
Gilderoy’s heart fell. No amount of fan mail could make up for this. This wonderful time outside of his room with a visitor, his very own visitor, and having the whole world beneath his feet was worth a thousand letters from Gladys Gudgeon.
And Gilderoy was relieved to hear, as Draco left, the man mutter ‘until next week’ under his breath.
Wednesday 22nd July 1998
“Did I know you?” Gilderoy asked, looking at his visitor with what he thought of as his disarming smile.
“You were my teacher,” he said, “for a year. I’m not sure if you really knew me.”
“Ah,” Gilderoy said, “but, of course. You’re like those other four. Coming here to tell me how I changed their lives, taught them everything they knew.”
Draco sighed and looked towards the door. It was a rather odd habit to have. If he wished to leave he could. He was not a prisoner here, not like Gilderoy.
“Was I a good teacher, Draco?” he asked.
Draco cringed slightly and looked back at him. His eyes were narrowed slightly, as if a bright light was shining in his eyes.
“Fair,” he drawled as if he had tired of the conversation some hours ago, although he had been there only a matter of minutes, “but you didn’t exactly have competition.”
Gilderoy frowned slightly. There was silence for a few minutes which seemed to please Draco but brought him little joy. He could hear the stuttering of the patient in the next bed, trying to speak to their visitor.
Oh, how lucky Draco was to be visiting such a conversationalist as he!
“Why are you visiting?” Gilderoy asked innocently. Had the boy been a fan of his books? Gilderoy knew that he had written books. Or perhaps he was a fan of Gilderoy himself, like Gladys and Valentina and Lavender. He did hope so.
“You’ve been in here a long time,” Draco said, as if this was an answer to his question, “and you don’t read the papers.”
Gilderoy supposed he could understand. People who read the papers could be very dull. They were always so caught up in facts. He had tried to explain to Avis that facts were all well and good, but they weren’t the be-all and end-all.
“Would you like to go for a walk?” Draco asked, seemingly fighting to escape his own thoughts. Gilderoy wondered if he too was caught up with memories of newspaper-reading dullards.
Gilderoy stood and shuffled towards the door. Today, he would like to go to the First Floor. He had always been afraid of it. All the people there made it easy to get lost. Now, however, he had a visitor and there was nothing to stand in his way.
Draco trailed behind him quietly. He seemed disinclined to start another conversation. He walked one step behind Gilderoy at all times. Whenever Gilderoy looked over his shoulder, he turned away. Not fast enough, of course, and Gilderoy could tell he was still watching him.
The First Floor was indeed busy. Gilderoy walked past wards full of people turned different colours and people covering themselves in lucky charms and people who looked perfectly normal. Then he came to a room at the end and gazed in the little window.
And his heart stopped.
And then immediately started again at twice the pace.
And his lips opened and before he could even think they muttered ‘Severus’.
“What did you say?” Draco asked in alarm. For the first time since he had arrived at Saint Mungo’s his voice held some emotion and it startled Gilderoy.
“Severus,” Gilderoy repeated. He remembered. He knew at once that the name belonged to the man in the room. And he knew at once that the way his heart caught was not new. And he knew- he knew so many wonderful things.
“Maybe we should go back,” Draco said, seemingly torn.
Gilderoy could think of nothing more terrible. His hand reached for the doorknob. He knew what he had to do. He had to go in there and wake Severus and see if he helped him remember. He had to see him up close and touch him.
A wizard in dark robes appeared and Draco grabbed at Gilderoy’s wrist and pulled him roughly away from the door. He dragged him like one might drag a disobedient toddler back towards the lift. Like a disobedient toddler, Gilderoy pulled back, looking over his shoulder towards the little room.
Draco took him back to his room and sat there for a full five minutes, saying nothing and staring at his watch before he stood and stormed away.
Leaving Gilderoy with nothing except imagined afternoons with his Severus.
Wednesday 29th July 1998
“You can visit him,” Draco said, not even bothering to walk over to Gilderoy’s bed.
Gilderoy did not have to ask who Draco was talking about. There had been nothing on his mind all week except for Severus. He imagined kisses and hand-holding and picnics until he was quite sure that each of them were real memories.
He had shunned the letters that arrived. He had ignored the presents that had appeared at his bedside. He had hardly slept or eaten, so consumed he was with thoughts of his Severus.
He was striding out of the room in record time. He paid no attention to Avis, who tried to catch up with him. He stopped only when he reached the escalator and, if it was possible for him to jump down to the First Floor, he had no doubt that he would have.
Draco trailed behind him, almost breaking into a run several times. It was as if his body forced him to stroll. He would sprint only for a few steps until his feet would once again tap a steady rhythm on the linoleum.
On the First Floor, Gilderoy did not need to look to know his way. He had imagined this journey so many times. He followed his feet, knowing the way, until he was able to push open the door.
In his imagination, Severus would look up at this point. His eyes would be warm and glow with love. He would call Gilderoy ‘beautiful’ and they would kiss and Severus would be gentle and tell Gilderoy that he was all he had ever wanted. When Severus smiled at him, Gilderoy knew that his knees would turn to jelly. Severus, however, would not be disappointed in him for being so undignified; because he would say that he knew that Gilderoy was a very special man and that he was blessed.
Instead, Severus lay still on the bed. His arms were straight at his sides. His face was folded by a deep frown. His throat-
Sweet Merlin, his throat!
Gilderoy sat down beside him, sickened. What had they done to his Severus? His sweet, gentle Severus who couldn’t hurt a fly that hadn’t struck his beloved Gilderoy first.
Gilderoy removed the flowing belt from his robes and wrapped it around Severus’ throat as a scarf. It hid the bandages well and Gilderoy thought the crimson and gold pattern suited Severus’ colouring very well.
In the doorway, Draco made a choking sound.
Gilderoy turned to him for a moment. The man, however, seemed to be perfectly alright. Gilderoy turned away, ready to focus on his Severus.
Wednesday 5th August 1998
“Did he love me very much?” Gilderoy asked, looking down at Severus.
After the success of the scarf, which had really made Severus look much better, Gilderoy had returned with his favourite purple hat and a pair of velvet gloves the exact colour of Gilderoy’s eyes.
There was no sign that Severus had woken when Gilderoy was away, but it was only a matter of time. Gilderoy hoped that when he did the gloves would remind him of the time they had spent together. Even if Gilderoy could not remember, he hoped that Severus would.
Draco had not answered the question. He was looking vaguely ill, but his lips were pulled into a grim smile. His dark robes were wrapped around him, as if he was cold, despite the August heat. He looked down at Severus with no small amount of fondness.
“I don’t think he was very good at showing love,” Draco said weakly, “not in the traditional sense, at least.”
Gilderoy wanted to tell him that he was wrong. Every day, he remembered things. He was sure they had happened. He was sure that Severus had baked him cakes for every birthday, that he had held his hand when they went shopping, that he had called him by sweet pet names to remind him of just how beautiful he was.
“I don’t remember anything,” Gilderoy muttered. It was not news to anyone. He had been without memories for years now. It was a pity, he thought, because his life had sounded so very exciting. And he was sure that, now he knew he had belonged to Severus, it had been perfect.
Draco looked at him with something akin to pity. It looked rather odd on his face, like a mask that did not quite stick in place. He looked down at Severus and sighed.
“Have you read your books?” Draco asked, letting his robes fall open as he relaxed in the chair. His eyes were fixed on Gilderoy and for a moment it was as if a spotlight was shining on him. No one had paid attention to him like this before.
“No,” Gilderoy said. It was silly not to have, he supposed. It had taken him two years to learn how to write his own name. The thought of reading was daunting to him. The thought of reading his own memoirs, well, it was almost too much to bear.
“Oh,” Draco said weakly, “well maybe you should one day. I really-.”
There was an odd, bleeping sound from Draco’s pocket and he stood up. His eyes were sad when they looked down on Gilderoy.
“Until next week, then,” he said.
Gilderoy pressed a kiss to Severus’ cheek before he rose. He ignored Draco’s choking. He could not understand the man at all.
Wednesday 12th August 1998
“I brought you a gift,” Draco said, nodding to the plain, brown bag on the table beside Severus’ bed as soon as there was a break in the one-sided conversation.
Gilderoy looked at it in confusion. It did not look much like a gift. The gifts his fans sent were covered in brightly coloured paper with ribbons that danced as if caught in an invisible breeze.
Nonetheless, this gift was from his visitor. It was only polite that he unwrap it. He opened the paper bag and took the book from within.
His own face smiled at him from the cover and then winked. The beautiful script read ‘Magical Me’ and then his name, written in his now-familiar script.
“Thank you,” he said absently.
He flicked it open. It fell to a well-thumbed page. He frowned as he read the section before looking up at Draco’s flushed cheeks.
“I’m a good writer?” Gilderoy asked.
“The best,” Draco said, seemingly forgetting his usual polite indifference, “I would have read all your books, even if they hadn’t been on the syllabus.”
Gilderoy beamed as he looked down at the book. He closed it, looking at the empty cover, and set it on Severus’ table once again. He removed a green silk blanket from his bag and laid it across Severus’ bed without saying a word.
“I don’t think he will get cold,” Draco said.
Gilderoy smiled and tucked the blanket round anyway.
“Was I brave?” Gilderoy asked.
Draco blinked and swallowed.
“What did you say?” he asked nervously.
“I was brave, wasn’t I?” he asked.
Draco had taken the question rather seriously. His eyes did not meet his own but instead looked down at the bed.
The alarm in Draco’s pocket went off and they returned to the Closed Ward.
Wednesday 19th August 1998
Gilderoy waited by the door, close to bouncing with excitement. He looked forward to his Wednesdays more with each passing week. He would have a visitor which made the other patients jealous and, more importantly, he would see Severus.
He only wished that Draco was punctual.
Draco’s eyes were rather red when he finally appeared. They were more colourful than his wardrobe still, which saddened Gilderoy. If only Draco would allow him to dress him as Severus did. A forget-me-not robe would make his eyes glow. Gilderoy just knew it.
They set off towards the First Floor in silence.
“I read the book,” Gilderoy said, eager to discuss things with Draco, “the bit about the Wagga Werewolf was-.”
“I’ll bring you that book next week,” Draco muttered tiredly. They got into the elevator and Draco appeared to gaze right past him. Gilderoy had never noticed quite how wonderful it was to have his attention. Now it was gone.
“Tell me about Hogwarts,” Gilderoy started again, trying to get Draco’s attention, “what was my office like?”
Draco strolled ahead of him down the corridor towards the room. Gilderoy bounded after him, feeling as if he was defying gravity. There was so much he wanted to ask and now he had his chance.
Draco pushed to door open and took his seat to the right of Severus. Gilderoy took his own to the left.
“Were you my favourite student?” Gilderoy asked.
That, finally, seemed to get Draco’s attention. The boy looked up with a sneer that would have been almost attractive if it were not directed towards Gilderoy.
“Of course not,” he spat, “you loved perfect Potter just like everyone else.”
“Potter?” he asked. It seemed to be the wrong thing to ask, as Draco’s eyes narrowed until they were barely visible.
“What about my lessons?” Gilderoy asked quickly.
Draco smirked slightly, his hatred of ‘Potter’ obviously forgotten.
“Brilliant,” he said, “this one time you brought in some Cornish pixies. They hung Longbottom from the candelabra.”
“Gracious!” Gilderoy muttered, wide-eyed.
“It was wonderful,” Draco said, “the best lesson of all my years at Hogwarts.”
Draco winked and Gilderoy thought for a moment, if his heart did not belong to Severus, he might find Draco Malfoy very attractive indeed.
Wednesday 26th August 1998
“I can’t go back to Hogwarts,” Draco suddenly said, ruining Gilderoy’s concentration entirely.
He jumped. The quill fell from his well-manicured hands and left a black ink-blot on Severus’ sheets. He dabbed at it ineffectually, regretting that he did not have a wand like Avis.
“Why would you?” he asked Draco, deciding that the stain would have to say there, “you’re eighteen.”
Draco’s lips twitched and he looked down at his hands.
“Do you really have no idea what happened?” he asked.
Gilderoy blinked and smoothed the sheets. He looked at Severus, at the edge of the bandages which stuck out from under the patterned scarf. Something must have happened. Something that had stopped people from visiting and led to Severus being in this bed.
But without that something Gilderoy would not have found Severus again.
And he might never have had a visitor.
“No,” he said finally, “is it important?”
And Draco smiled the same, uncharming smile as always. Gilderoy smiled back, his most dazzling smile, the one that made even Avis’ breath catch.
It did not disappoint.
Wednesday 2nd September 1998
There was stirring in the bed. The long fingers twitched at Severus’ side. His brows furrowed even further. His inky lashes fluttered, revealing the dark eyes beneath.
Gilderoy smiled widely, leaning over him. He wanted to welcome him back to the land of the living. He was unsure of the words he should use. Did he even need words? His smile, Gladys had told him, was worth a thousand words.
So Gilderoy kept smiling.
Severus sat up, his hand touching his throat. He pulled at the scarf and then stared at it in disgust. He ripped at the gloves on his hands and threw them onto the bed. He pulled at the scarf again as it became caught in his bandages.
Gilderoy reached forward to help him and the black eyes fixed on him.
They stared at each other for a moment. Black eyes staring into forget-me-not blue. Gilderoy wondered how he had ever imagined that those eyes could be warm, how he had ever imagined laughter on that face, how he had ever imagined falling in love with such a man.
Severus bared his teeth, yellow and crooked and sickeningly unpleasant and Gilderoy backed away.
“You!” Severus growled.
“Severus,” Gilderoy breathed. There must be a mistake. Perhaps Severus had lost his memory too. Perhaps any moment it would return and he would look at Gilderoy with love and tell him how lovely he was. Perhaps.
“Get out!” Severus shouted hoarsely.
And Gilderoy did. Draco followed behind him, but halted in the doorway.
“Draco!” Severus’ voice called, without the anger he had expressed towards Gilderoy.
Draco stilled, looking over his shoulder. He looked torn for a second, his right foot in mid-air as he decided where to step.
He was Gilderoy’s only visitor. He was Gilderoy’s visitor. He was Gilderoy’s.
Gilderoy was not sure when he made the decision to do what he did. He was just suddenly aware of his lips pressing into Draco’s and his hands pulling at his pale hair and his eyes falling closed as he stepped closer.
Gilderoy did not remember a kiss before this, but his body did. He teased Draco’s full lips, he stroked the back of his neck with gentle caresses, his pressed forward until the door slammed shut behind Draco’s back.
He pulled away and looked at the young man. Draco smiled, looking delirious. There was an odd ringing sound in Gilderoy’s ears. He didn’t even realise what it was until Draco reached into his pocket and smiled weakly.
“Until next time.”
Wednesday 9th September 1998
“It’s my last day,” Draco said, sitting in the armchair beside Gilderoy’s bed, as he had ten weeks before.
Gilderoy looked up.
Draco looked beautiful. The forget-me-not blue of his robes made his eyes look of a similar shade. He had run his fingers through his hair. Where it had been slicked back it now sat out in artful curls. He smiled.
“Your last day?” Gilderoy repeated in confusion.
“I only had to do ten visits,” Draco said, “and then I was free. I brought you-,” he reached into the pocket of his robes and brought out a box. He set it on the table lightly and then settled back in his chair.
“In Weekend With a Werewolf,” Draco drawled, seemingly back to his old self, “you said your ideal gift would be harmony between all magic and non-magic peoples. I just- Potter had already got you that. I had hoped that this-.”
Gilderoy lifted the lid. A peacock-feather quill sat in the box. It was beautiful. It held all the colours that Gilderoy liked best. It was elegant and attractive, just like Gilderoy himself.
“It’s been six years since you last released a book,” Draco said, “I thought you could-.”
Gilderoy smiled and picked up the quill. He twirled it between his fingers. It felt right.
“Last week-,” Draco said, “I hope you won’t allow what happened to colour your opinion of me.”
Gilderoy frowned, placing the quill back into the box. The week before, for all its heartache, had been brilliant visit. It had filled Gilderoy with all manner of new imaginings. These were not memories, he knew, but that made them all the sweeter. Imagining what might come.
“It was a more than adequate kiss, Draco,” Gilderoy said, “and I say that as the five times winner of Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Smile Award.”
Draco smiled his own smile. Gilderoy mentally thanked Gladys for mentioning that fact so many times in her letters. It paid to remind Draco of what a brilliant catch he was. There was no reason to let Draco to continue to regret the kiss. Why, who else would regret kissing Gilderoy Lockhart?
Draco kissed him again, softer this time. There was no anger, no jealousy, nothing but themselves relationship to express in it.
He pulled away and smiled, standing up. He nodded once and turned away.
“Thank you for visiting,” Gilderoy called after him as the door to the Closed Ward swung shut.
Wednesday 16th September 1998
Gilderoy sat alone on his bed. It was a Wednesday afternoon and he was more miserable than a Wednesday afternoon really had any right to make him. He looked down at the ink-stained pages before him and heaved a sigh.
He was sure the book would be fantastic, of course. It might not appeal to his regular audience, but he supposed his loyal fans would recognise the talent shining through in each word.
He had hoped to show it to Draco. It was only on Tuesday that the truth of that matter had truly sunk in. There would be no way of him to show it to Draco. Draco had been released of his duty.
Was Gilderoy so terrible to be considered a punishment?
He shook his head, ridding himself of the ridiculous thought.
Of course he wasn’t. Why, Gladys had written only this week to tell him of her joy at the news that he was writing again. He had already been contacted by a publisher eager to print whatever his quill managed to produce.
Looking down at said quill, Gilderoy sighed. He inked it again and put it to the paper.
The bunch of flowers sent it off course, leaving a trail of ink over the last finished paragraph.
Gilderoy stared down at the flowers. He lifted them and smiled into the bouquet.
“Lilacs,” Draco drawled, “your favourite.”
He lifted the parchment from the visitors chair as he folded himself into it. Smirking, he dutifully ignored Gilderoy’s smile as he began to read.