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Lily's Thorn

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The next couple of weeks passed without incident, and before he knew it, it was the final day of classes. Jacob was ready for a break. It had been nice not having to worry about Occlumency Lessons or the memory sessions. The past couple of Sundays, he and his father were just hanging out and playing chess. It was nice, though he knew things would get back to normal when they got back from Christmas break. At least for a while, he was getting a break from everything. He knew it wouldn't last, but he could enjoy it for the time being. Everyone who was going home was leaving tomorrow, Saturday, on the train, except for him. He and his father would be going home on Monday. 

Severus said he was going to get some work done before going home, and told him that he could use the weekend to get his homework done while he got caught up on some grading. He knew that was not a hint, and made a mental note to do just that. Draco would be leaving, but he had Hermione to help if he needed it, since she was staying behind. He felt kind of bad for her at first since both he and Draco were leaving, but she said Terry was staying so she'd be fine and wouldn't be completely alone.

That night, at dinner, Dumbledore stood up and made an announcement in the middle of dinner. "Attention, students," he said, and the noise in the Great Hall slowly died down. "As you all leave for your Christmas holidays, I say may you have a great time and get everything you desire. For those saying, we are glad to have you with us during the holiday season. Now, I have an announcement to make." There was some mumbling at that remark, as only some of Slytherin House knew what the Headmaster was about to say as he had told his friends. How many other people knew besides them he didn't know, though he was sure a few others besides just the group he and Draco hung out with knew about it.

"Slytherin students, Professor Snape will be leaving for the Christmas holidays." Dumbledore gestured to Severus sitting on the other side of McGonagall on his right side, and the mummers increased. "If you need to speak to him, I suggest you talk to him this weekend before he leaves. If you need to speak to a Head of House while he is gone, Professor Sinistra will be taking over his duties during the remainder of the break until he returns." He gestured to her sitting a couple of seats down from Severus. "Now, please, enjoy your meal." With that, Dumbledore sat down, and the mumbling increased. He could hear some of the others in his house commenting on how strange that was. Heads of Houses never leave, while others pointed out that he had a kid now.

Jacob rolled his eyes. Honestly, he was glad that it would be just the two of them again. He felt like they didn't get enough of that, time with just the two of them. It would be nice, though, of course, they'd be coming back a few days early so his father could prepare for classes. That was fine with him, though. In the meantime, he wondered how much time he and Draco were going to get to spend together. He wondered how often the Malfoys would allow their son to see his new boyfriend. This was new territory for him. He'd never had to worry about making time to see a boyfriend, and he didn't want to make it seem like he wanted to see him too much or anything like that. He and Draco did spend literally all their time together, though, so there was that.

He was thinking about it that night as the two of them were cuddling in bed, kissing, when Draco brought up the holidays himself. "So, I don't know if you are aware, but my parents host a party before Christmas every year for all of the bigwigs at the Ministry," he said. Jacob noticed that he kept his eyes slightly downcast as he spoke and was messing with the fabric of Jacob's shirt. "I was wondering if you wanted to come… as my date, of course." The blond's nervousness seemed to pass, and he was looking straight at him, expectant. "If you don't want to, that's fine. I get that it's probably not your scene, but… I'd like it if you were to come with me."

Draco wasn't wrong. That was not his scene at all. However, with Draco looking at him eagerly awaiting an answer, it was hard to tell him no. "Sure, I'd love to, if your parents don't mind," he said. Part of him hoped they would mind, but he didn't want to disappoint Draco. If it meant a lot to him - and he wouldn't have asked if it didn't - then he would deal.

Draco smiled at him. "Thank you," he said. "You'll have fun, I promise." Somehow, Jacob doubted that, but perhaps having Draco there would make it better. "We won't be the only teens there, and sometimes we sneak off together to get out of the main party. Maybe if we can ditch the other kids, we can go up to my room."

"I like the idea of that," he said, pulling Draco in a for a kiss. "When is it?" 

"A week from today, the Friday before Christmas," Draco said. "Your father is invited every year, as a personal guest of my father's, but he never comes," he said. "Maybe for once, he will, because you're going." Somehow, Jacob doubted that and thought it was just wishful thinking on Draco's part. "And then maybe we can exchange gifts. I'd like to see you open what I got for you." A light blush crossed the blond's cheeks, and it left Jacob wondering. What had Draco gotten him ?

~~~~~~~~~~~

Severus looked through his papers on his desk. The plans for the potion were going smoothly. He still had a few more things that he wanted to verify before he started testing the potion. He had no wish to blow himself up because he hadn't double checked everything. Experimental potions were very dangerous, and one wrong move could spell disaster. He had tested potions one too many times. It was one thing when he was perfecting a potion already in existence - he could do that in his sleep - but creating a new one was much more difficult. He was taking potions that already existed and making an entirely new one to suit his needs, one that couldn't be tracked. It was not easy, but he had never let a potion get the better of him before, and certainly wouldn't this time, either.

Pushing the notes aside, he grabbed a stack of essays that he had gotten. He had picked up the first year Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff essays. The first year essays were always such a chore, though at least the Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff class was a tad better than the Gryffindor-Slytherin one. He had only gotten through a few essays when there was a knock on the door. It was rather strange, in his opinion, as he hadn't been expecting anyone. 

Getting up, he walked over to the door and opened it to see Aurora standing there, a package in her hand. "Good evening, Severus," she said.

"Aurora," he said, quickly hiding the surprise from his expression and voice.  He truly was surprised to see her, though. He stepped aside to allow her to come in before shutting the door behind her. They usually went at least a month without seeing each other, and it had only been a couple of weeks if his memory served him correctly. And what was the package for?

"I won't stay long. I'm sure you have work to do," she said. "Since your boy will most likely be coming to stay with you after his boyfriend and other friends in Slytherin House all leave, I wanted to give you your Christmas present before that happened." Christmas present? They usually just exchanged bottles of alcohol, so what did that matter when he received it or not? He also hadn't considered Jacob coming to stay here tomorrow after Draco, and the others left, but she was probably right on that. He couldn't imagine that his son would want to stay in the dorm with Crabbe and Goyle.

Aurora held out to the package. Severus gently opened it to reveal two things. The first was a camera, which he didn't own as he despised pictures. The second was a large picture album, or at least what he assumed to be one. The outside was black except for an emblem. It was a silver S outlined in Slytherin green. He had seen similar albums before like this. It wasn't uncommon for people to create them stylized like the Hogwarts Houses since one's house was often very important to them even after they left school. This one didn't have any snakes on it at all and simply had the Green and Silver S emblem.

"I know you don't own a camera, but I figured you might want one now," she said, "and I thought the album suited the both of you." She gave a shrug of her shoulders, before pushing her long, dark brown hair off them. "You can consider this a birthday present, too, since I didn't see the need to give you one without giving you the other."

Severus stared down at the album. It was such a simple thing, yet he couldn't remember the last time someone had gotten him something like this - when he received anything at all. "I got you something as well," he said, wondering if it was proper after she had given him this. He set the items on his table before making his way into the kitchen and coming back with a bottle of wine. "Here," he said, handing it to her.

Aurora accepted it with a smile. "My favorite," she said. "Thank you. This will certainly not go to waste. I will leave you to it, then. I have work of my own to do. See you when you get back, Severus." She turned to leave, heading back towards the door.

"Thank you," he said, feeling as if that was something you were supposed to say. He was so unused to needing to thank someone for something, and certainly not for a gift. Few people cared enough to give him one most of the time, anyway.

Aurora just turned back and gave him a small smile. "You are welcome," she said, before heading out and closing the door behind her.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Draco got up and exercised with him the next morning, which Jacob was grateful for as it would be the last time for a while that they would be doing this together. He would miss him, he noticed, and that was not a thought that he thought he would have when he started on this journey. He was being continuously reminded of how his life had changed. It wasn't going to get easy for him - Voldemort would make sure of that - but he thought at the end of it all, maybe he would be okay. He had to believe that there was something worth fighting for, or why else was he going to do all this?

Draco had packed the night before, and after exercising, they washed up and went down for breakfast in the Great Hall before making their way back to their dorm. Everyone did some last-minute packing before they all grabbed their stuff and headed down to the common room. Draco wrapped an arm around his waist, pulling them together. The blond lightly pressed their lips together as Jacob wrapped an arm around his boyfriend's shoulders. He had the urge to drag him to bed but knew this wasn't the time. "You should probably be going," he said, breaking the kiss, reluctantly dragging his lips off of Draco's.

Draco gave a moan of disappointment. "You're right. The others are probably waiting for me," he said. Blaise and Theodore had gone downstairs a short while ago. He didn't mind Tracey or Elizabeth, they were okay, but he didn't fancy having Crabbe and Goyle around for the next couple of days without Draco. "Perhaps you can convince your father to let me come over to see you on Tuesday or Wednesday before Christmas?" Jacob felt him rub his lower back lightly as he spoke.

"I'd like that," he admitted. "I'll talk to him and ask him if it's okay." It would be nice to see him one more time before the party, and perhaps, they could see each other at least once after that before he had to go back to school. It was only temporary, and then school would start after the new year, and things would be back to normal. That included getting back to the part of his life that was Harry Potter. That included the Occlumency lessons and memory lessons.

"I will see you soon," Draco said, giving him a lingering kiss on the lips. Jacob pulled his boyfriend closer, pressing their bodies together so that he desperately wished they had more time together. Jacob felt the blond's long, thin fingers slowly move up his back as he slipped his tongue into Draco's mouth. Draco moaned into the kiss before pulling away ever so slightly. "I really do have to go now." He reluctantly moved his arm from Jacob's waist, and he watched as Draco walked out the door. 

It felt weird,  though, being separated from him. I'll see you soon , he thought to himself. With that, he went back to pack up his stuff. He did not plan on staying in the dorm with the Idiot Twins until Monday morning. He'd spend the next two days with his father. That would be loads better than staying here. Let Crabbe and Goyle have the whole dorm to themselves, as far as he was concerned.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Jacob spent the rest of that day and the next when he wasn't with his father doing his homework with Hermione. The first thing that Severus had told him when he had arrived in his rooms Saturday was that he should do his homework now and get it over with it. He had rolled his eyes at him because of course, he had already planned on doing that. It wasn't as if he didn't know his father well enough by now to know he would be expecting him to do that. So, he had gone to the library and found Hermione there with Terry. The two were more than happy to have him join them. He was glad that they seemed comfortable together; he hoped it worked out because Hermione deserved it. 

It was a bit unusual studying without Draco, though. The two of them had studied together since the summer, and it was always either the three of them - Hermione, Draco and himself - or just him and Draco. Terry was fine, a nice enough guy, although a bit quiet at times. It wasn't the same. Neither helped him the way Draco did, but they were both more than willing to offer him help and Hermione gave him a bit more advice than she normally would. The important thing was, though, that between the two of them, he got his homework done to his father's standards so that he was free during his Christmas holidays.

Monday morning came, and Jacob was glad to be going home - if only for a short while. It was nice that he had a home to go to now, and if what his father said before was any indication, he wouldn't be going to the Dursley's this summer. He wondered if Dumbledore would have a problem with that, and then realized that he didn't really give a damn. It was his life; he hated going back there, and if his father wasn't going to push it, then… well, he wouldn't be going back to the Dursley's. That was more than okay with him, of course. If he never saw them again, it would be too soon.

He wanted to Floo Call Draco, but Jacob also wanted to get settled in first. He and his father played chess for a couple of hours before they made lunch. Severus said he was improving, but he was still sore that he was consistently losing . It wasn't that he was a sore loser - at least he hoped not - it was just that it was constant. He was determined to get better and beat his father in chess one day. It didn't matter how long it took; he was going to improve. Maybe he'd ask Draco to help him, but then again, his boyfriend was helping him a lot already.

During lunch, Jacob broached the subject of Draco coming over the next day. "So, Dad…" Severus looked up, though the look on his face clearly said he was waiting for something. "I was wondering if it was alright if Draco came over tomorrow, you know, to visit for a bit?"

"Oh, is that all?" Severus said, rolling his eyes. "I was wondering when you were going to ask. You two are attached at the hip, and I thought it very unlikely that you were only going to see each other once the entire holiday." A light blush crossed Jacob's face, and he looked down at his food as a smirk crossed his father's lips. "Yes, he may come over tomorrow. Draco is more than welcome."

Jacob looked up at his father and gave him a small smile. "Thanks, Dad," he said. He had already asked permission to go to the party this Friday, which of course, Severus had been fine with - though he was not going himself. Apparently, he had been once or twice in the past at Lucius and Narcissa's request, but it was not his scene, and he avoided it if at all possible. Still, the entire holiday was looking rather bright, in his opinion. 

He was home for Christmas; Severus was here, and he was going to see Draco tomorrow. Sure, accompanying his boyfriend to his father's huge Ministry Ball function was not at the top of his to-do list, but he would be okay because Draco was with him. Besides, his boyfriend had said that they might sneak off. He hoped that this would be a good Christmas. He knew it would be.

~~~~~~~~~~~

As soon as they finished cleaning up from lunch, Jacob rushed down to the Floo Room to call Draco. He grabbed some Floo Powder, stuck his head in and called, "Malfoy Manor." He could see Malfoy Manor materializing, though he had only been there a couple of times, he remembered it - grand, and a little over the top, in his opinion. A nervous House Elf suddenly appeared in front of him, asking him what he could do for him. "Can I speak to Draco? Please?" The House Elf nodded, muttering that, of course, he could before scampering off.

Jacob felt kind of ridiculous, just sitting there with his head in the Malfoy's fireplace in their entryway as he waited. He knew that Malfoy Manor was big, though, and it would take Draco time to get down. It was all worth it a few moments later when the blonde appeared, kneeling before him in front of the fireplace. "Jacob! It's good to see you," he said, smiling at him. "Are you home? Does it feel good to be back?"

Jacob smiled at him. "It's good to see you, too." It was good to see him, though it had only been a few days. Was that normal? He had no idea. "Yes, I am, and it does feel good to be back. I talked to my Dad, and he says it's fine for you to come over tomorrow if you want. I finished my homework with Hermione and Terry this weekend, so we don't have to worry about that tomorrow."

Draco nodded. "Good, because I did a bit of mine on the train with Theodore and the rest yesterday, so we're both done," he said. "So, you spent some with Hermione and Terry? How did that go? I've never really seen them interact before. When they did, it was only briefly, and they're always pretty professional around each other when we meet up for Prefect meetings. It just makes me a bit curious as to how well they get along, that's all. It's not like us, we had most of our classes together, and we're in the same house."

Jacob shrugged his shoulders. "They seemed very comfortable around each other," he said. "I'm glad it's working out for her." At least he and Draco were in the same house now , though he knew that Draco wouldn't speak freely in his parent's house where they could be listening in. The blond was not that stupid. "Well, I will see you tomorrow."

Draco smiled at him. "Yes, you will. I will see you after lunch." Jacob felt his heart skip a beat as he pulled his head out of the fire, ending the call. He was going to be seeing  Draco tomorrow. They had no homework to do, and just… be together. It was perfect. Nothing could ruin this as far as he was concerned. He couldn't wait to see him.

~~~~~~~~~~

That night, Jacob didn't take his Dreamless Sleep potion. He had been taking it fairly regularly since his last nightmare, and he didn't want to become dependant. He knew his father said that he would tell him, but… he had skipped taking it some nights before, so it wasn't a big deal. He hadn't been dreaming about anything, or at least nothing that he remembered when all of a sudden, a bad feeling washed over him in his sleep. He started tossing and turning as he became more and more uncomfortable. The feeling lasted, though Jacob didn't wake up until all of a sudden, a flash appeared in his mind.

He awoke with a start.

Jacob felt sticky and sweaty, and he couldn't shake the feeling that came over while he had been sleeping. It still remained. At first, the vision didn't come to him - just the bad feeling, the feeling that something was wrong, terribly wrong. I'm sure it's nothing , he thought to himself as he curled up and tried to go back to sleep. As soon as he closed his eyes, though, the vision flashed in his mind.

Arthur Weasley was lying on the ground in an unfamiliar room, bloody, torn, and trying to fight off something that was attacking him - something large. 

Jacob opened his eyes immediately. Before he could think anything else, he was out of the bed. He tossed open his door and ran down the hall, throwing open the door to his father's room with a bang. He quickly went to his father's bedside as the man opened his eyes, grabbing his wrist firmly. "Dad, it's me," Jacob said, his voice shaking a bit as he couldn't shake that horrible bad feeling.

"Jacob? What is it?" His father released the grip in his wrist as he slowly sat up in bed.

"I had a vision - I think, at least - while I was sleeping," he said. "It was quick, though, just a flash. It seemed like… it was Arthur Weasley, like he was being attacked by something… large. He was bloody and torn up." He shook his head, closing his eyes to try and block out the memory of the vision but failing. If anything, closing his eyes only made the vision come back even harder than before. "And I have a really bad feeling. Something's wrong, I just know. I did my Occlumency training, too, I swear."

"I believe you," Severus said, gently moving him aside as he got out of bed. Jacob watched as his father rushed to the closet, disappearing inside. 

"What do you think it was?" he called. His heart was still racing. He wrapped his arms around himself, almost as if he could try and squeeze the feeling out of him. So something was wrong. "Mr. Weasley is being attacked then, or could be?" He hoped nothing had happened to him. Although he didn't know him as Jacob Snape, he still cared for the man and didn't want anything bad to happen to him. 

"A vision is fairly accurate," Severus said. "Your Occlumency training is most likely working, or I doubt it would have been as brief. There is no way to know for sure, though." Severus came out, having changed out of his nightclothes and into regular clothes. "He was on duty tonight, so yes, it is possible that the Dark Lord found out about it. As I am at Hogwarts, I am not privy to as much of his coming and goings as I would like, though I am aware that he was after what he is guarding. No, I cannot talk about it." Jacob closed his mouth, knowing that there was no argument, and he was not in the mood tonight, anyway. 

"I cannot do this over Floo, so I have to go and alert Dumbledore," Severus continued. "I will be back as soon as I can. Stay here, and do not leave the house for any reason. We will talk when I get back." Severus walked over, putting a hand on his shoulder before turning and walking over to the door. 

Jacob desperately wished that his father hadn't left because he wanted to talk to him. So it was a vision? But of what? Had Voldemort sent something to attack him? It wasn't human, he knew that, but it almost felt like… it almost felt like it was him. That wasn't possible, though, because he had been here the entire time. Yet, he couldn't shake the feeling or the vision of Arthur Weasley's bloody body on the ground.

Taking a deep breath, Jacob left his father's room and headed downstairs. He would get no sleep tonight.