Pairings: Drapery, Snarry, Draco/OFC
Warnings (highlight to view): For potions trickery resulting in dub-con and implied, non-major character death.
Word Count: 1300
Summary: Severus is saved from Nagini's bite by an ugly hag who yearns to be "witch-beautiful," and together, neither of them ends up alone.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling, and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to: Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by the posting of this fic.
Author's Notes: This "ficlet" was written in response to one of the spring prompts I took by poll a while back (Draco/Severus/Harry + need), but it is nothing like the ficlet that I initially imagined writing. Because the bunny for it just wouldn't leave me alone until it had been written, I eventually gave in and now present you with something short and weird. Thank you, Shog, for beta'ing.
Amongst hags, Wyldyth is accounted ugly: her nose is straight and small; she's not stooped; she has all her own, straight teeth; her skin is clearer than it should be; her hair is thick and refuses to fall out properly—and worst of all, her voice is smooth. It's been a trial, eking out an existence within her clan; her sisters torment her, and she often goes hungry because she just can't bring herself to eat two-legged meat. When the Pained One staggers into her secret part of the Forest, bleeding and weak, well, she tries, but preying is no strong suit of hers, either, so she does the unspeakable: she saves him.
In return and while delirious with fever, he gives her a recipe for wart removal.
This is the beginning of her fairytale ending.
"There's always been a mystagogue in these woods. Well, there always was before my eldest sister choked on his bones. I buried her in the garden and follow his recipes for the protection of this place," Wyldyth tells Snape, over weed gruel.
"Spells," he corrects her in a hoarse voice that is almost hag-worthy. "So they believe he's still in residence?"
"Yes, and they keep away."
"Your sister didn't."
"My sister was made foolish by hunger and too many wine berries. No hag in her right mind would interfere with a mystagogue."
"Where would you go if you left?"
"You don't care, so I won't say," Wyldyth tells him. "Do you accept my offer?"
Severus doesn't take long to give his assent; the cottage is private, boasts an old-fashioned laboratory, and is in a well-provisioned part of the Forbidden Forest. He will do well here once he has recovered enough to recharge the wards—hag magic isn't particularly strong, but he senses that the weakened foundational wards once were—and making this near-hag "witch beautiful" is a small price to pay for his privacy and protection.
"Show me his books," he tells her, by way of agreement.
The unfortunate wizard who dwelt here before him, he finds, was apparently something of a pervert. This doesn't bother Severus; a bit of sex magic never hurt anyone who didn't deserve the pain.
Wyldyth is disquieted to learn the particulars of the recipe for cottage-warding, but she has no reason to doubt her wizard. Her warts are gone; she can walk amongst wizards now without fear of children pelting her with rocks. Her clothing is finer, thanks to his magic, and she feels more witch-like upon every outing.
"I'll send your letters," she tells him.
When the blond wizard comes near, his scent is fearful—and intriguing. And he's beautiful. Wyldyth can't stop staring at him as he approaches the cottage. He doesn't see her hiding in the trees.
Neither does the dark-haired one, but nothing about him is of interest to Wyldyth: the scent of confusion makes her feel guilty because it reminds her of her first kill.
Filing down her teeth, she attempts not to think about that.
Severus eyes Potter and Draco warily. They stare at him almost without guile. It's a wonder either of them survived, but he needs them and doesn't speak this thought aloud. It's a simple matter, persuading them to help him without explaining quite how they will. Guilt and hero-worship are tools that he knows how to use.
"Eleven on the night of the next full moon—don't be late."
They promise him that they won't be.
"I know that recipe," accuses Wyldyth.
Snape pretends not to have heard her.
"It's not right, what you're going to do."
"I will not be lectured by a hag."
His words sting. "I'm not a hag!"
"You don't want to be a hag, but hag, you are—and if you interfere with my plans, Wilhelmina, I'll illustrate just why your sisters have the sense to fear the mystagogue in these woods!"
Wyldyth leans in closer to Snape and his cauldron; he sneers at her but doesn't flinch. It's the warts; now that they're gone . . . and they have been discussing his "gratitude"; could this mean . . . ?
"Do go away, girl. I'm busy."
"'Wilhelmina', that's a witch-name?" Wyldyth asks, liking the sound of it.
It's the sort of name one might proudly give to a blond wizard.
Snape sighs. "Which of them is it?"
"The pretty one!"
Snape sighs more heavily. "No. Potter is mine."
"Which is he?"
"The 'pretty' one."
"That's no answer! Who knows what a wizard thinks is pretty?"
"The dark-haired boy."
Snape snorts. "You meant the other?"
Wyldyth smiles. "I can have him? The pretty one?"
"Just don't eat him."
Snape understands very well that she doesn't take two-legged meat. Offended, Wyldyth stalks off.
By the time she's vented her spleen upon some unfortunate tree, her nails are perfectly filed and she's begun to think of herself as "Willa."
Severus' cock feels as thick as a tree branch as it slides against Potter's into Draco; their timing is slickly synchronised to Draco's pleas. His pleasure is so keen that he almost forgets Wyldyth.
He knows she's watching; he can feel her as strongly as he can the clench of Draco's muscles, as he can the clasp of Potter's hand upon his shoulder as he bends over Draco to reach for his old Potions master. Severus looks up over Draco's shoulder to find Potter's lust-glazed, focussed eyes staring directly into his own. And that's when he knows that Potter knows: Potter's known all along what he intended to do and has "helped" him all the same, the kinky, broken brat.
It's too much mystery to take, the why of Potter's compliance; Severus comes with a guttural cry.
"—my mother's cousin's child," Severus says mildly, in reply to Draco. "My mother’s cousin was distantly related by marriage to the Blacks three generations back."
Draco's interest in Severus' "relative" couldn't be more pronounced, he thinks, watching the "tea" work on the boy. It's not truly a love potion, not really; its purpose is to awaken men to . . . possibilities.
And Severus is certain that the documentation for which he's arranged to prove his connection to the once-hag, now witch-beautiful, will speak of even greater possibility to Lucius and Narcissa.
It's vindictive, but even well-shagged and in possession of the warding stone for which he wished, Severus' sharpness hasn't been dulled.
"A fairytale ending?" Potter asks, once Draco has left and Willa has retired for the night.
"Something like that."
"Whatever you gave him to make him forget, it didn't—"
"Work on you, no, I see that."
"You planned for it not to, you mean."
Severus stills. "You wanted to fuck him."
Severus glares. "I'm not."
"Didn't say anything."
"You did. With your eyes."
Potter laughs. "Keep talking about my eyes, and we might have to shag again. Hell," he whispers, suddenly fidgeting over his cup, "I'd like to, even if you don't say anything. I didn't come here for compliments or Draco. I came for you."
Potter has always been an idiot. Severus decides that there's no changing him. Rising without a word, he returns to the ritual pallet he so recently shared with the engines of his spell.
And Harry follows.
Narcissa Malfoy tells Willa, the night before she marries her son, that she will be free to remain beautiful as long as she continues to make Draco happy. Taking into account how little reason she's given Narcissa to be suspicious of her origins, Willa smiles sweetly and swears an Unbreakable Vow to do just that. She's not familiar with this magic, but she does know her family; not long after she becomes Mrs Wilhelmina Malfoy, she arranges the introductions between them and her mother-in-law.
Ironically enough, they're the saving of her.
Hags, after all, do like their two-legged meat.