A/N: This was an exercise in brevity for me, akin to ironing my hands. My thanks to my incomparable beta, jadzialove.
The cabin is dreary, as there's no light but the ambient atmospheric haze filtering through the slats on the windows. Not a single candle. When the sun goes down, they sit in darkness. Snape might be used to such squalor, but Draco isn't.
Snape, at least, gets to leave every day. He doesn't tell Draco where he's going, just stands with his hand on the latch, pausing to say tonelessly, "Don't go out while I'm gone."
In the two days that they've been here, Draco's learned that Snape doesn't want to talk to him. He tried, that first day, but Snape just sat, his arms crossed as he stared into the fire, and Draco's words echoed off the walls, returning to him empty and unanswered. The silence is more painful than any scathing replies the man might throw his way. Draco thinks that he'd rather have a royal dressing down than this chilling indifference.
If there's one person whose respect Draco values, it's Snape's. He wonders why that is. He thinks backů. Something that flickered, nameless, in his father's eyes as he spoke of Draco's future Head of House. Not many men could put that look on his father's face.
"Listen and learn from him, Draco," his father told him more than once.
Well, he's learned things from Snape, mainly how to be a Slytherin. Ambition, excellence, superiority. He supposes that Snape meant to teach these things to everyone in his house. As for listening, Draco knows he's failed miserably.
Snape shifts, and his weight in the chair makes the floorboards creak.
"To the well and straight back."
No wand, Draco draws up the water and drinks from the wooden cup. Turning back, he sees Snape watching him from the door.
"I'm not a child."
"Yes, you are." Snape's eyes, sad, follow him across the room.
Draco thinks of what he's left behind. What the Slytherins must think. He's suddenly glad they don't know the truth.
"Everyone knows by now, what you tried to do," Snape tells him from the corner. He's a faceless voice, only his legs illuminated by the dying light in the room.
He feels like he's been punched, and it takes an effort to speak. "What do they know?" Draco asks, and he hates that his voice cracks a bit at the end.
Snape leans forward, and Draco is certain that it's something unpleasant.
"They know what you tried to do and couldn't. Potter was there, Draco, on the tower."
When Snape returns this time, Draco doesn't even need to ask. He stands and trudges to the door where the man is still standing. Draco knows he's waiting for him.
Taking a deep breath, Draco squares his shoulders, then pushes his hair out of his eyes. The two of them linger for a moment, side-by-side on the small porch.
"How angry is he?"
Snape makes a small sound, almost but not quite a laugh.
"He's beyond anger."
The moon is still a crescent, slightly larger than it was three nights ago on the tower. Draco wonders if he's watching his last one.
"Will he kill me?"
"I don't know." Snape places a hand on his shoulder. "It's time."
"I'm sorry." Draco has to dredge the seldom-used word from deep within.
He's shaking as the strong arms take hold of him, and buries his face in Snape's cloak just before the snap of Apparition.