Lucius Malfoy might have sounded like a character from a Mills and Boon novel, but he looked every bit the dangerous Death Eater – wand drawn, eyes cold, spittle flying from his mouth. Severus slowly opened his arms, hands stretched out, and turned his head to fully face his old friend.
Malfoy’s sharp intake of breath did not influence the steadiness of his wand-arm. “Prove that you‘re really Severus Snape!”
Narcissa had moved out of Severus’ embrace, but choose to stand between the two wizards, not quite in the line of fire.
“When I brought you home after your stag night, you told me about a crush you had in your second year. The girl in question was in her seventh year at Hogwarts, already engaged to her future husband. I do not think you told anybody else about this, did you?”
“Someone might have overheard us.”
“I was trying to get your boots off your feet, the grey nubuk ones you were so fond of that even their astonishing similarity to Muggle cowboy boots didn't disturb you. You rambled on about your lovely fiancée and how much your taste in women had changed from the days of your infatuation with Miss Pre-”
“Enough!” Lucius Malfoy dropped his wand-arm while his wife fought off hysterical giggles.
“Molly Weasley? Really, Lucius—”
“I was twelve!” He turned to face Severus. “Why now? We thought you dead for fourteen years and mourned you for a good part of them!”
“Now, Lucius, I am sure Severus has his reasons, which he will explain to us in due time.”
She looked Severus over from head to toe before she said, “Whatever you have done in the meantime, you look wonderful, old friend.”
It took less tears and more convincing compared to Narcissa before Lucius finally believed him. “Fourteen years, Severus? I could understand a few years, but fourteen?”
Severus spent the day with the Malfoys, talking and explaining until his voice was hoarse.
During dinner, Narcissa more than once sent a brilliant if slightly teary smile into his direction, pressing his hand ever so often.
Later, in the living room of his friends’ suite, Severus shared a brandy with Lucius after Narcissa had retired. Only then did Lucius allude to how urgently he had wished for his friend’s presence, particularly during the time when his relationship with Draco had been strained to the point of nearly breaking off all contact. Now a father himself, the Malfoy heir was more mellow and understanding towards his father and had forgiven him for not defecting earlier.
Too tired for Apparition, Severus slept on the transfigured couch.
Back in his cottage, after he had provided his friends with his address for a dinner invitation, he went about tidying his home. Dinner would be simple. He put the right wine into the fridge, prepared the dough and the tiramisu and then checked his email.
None from Ms Granger. Well. Severus chose not to examine his feelings of disappointment too closely. The reunion with Lucius and Narcissa had left him emotionally overwrought but pleasantly tired. Maybe it was time for a more committed relationship. His conversations with Ms Granger, no, Hermione, had made one thing abundantly clear, however – if he ever would find a long-term companion, she would have to be his intellectual equal.