Title – Finite Incantatum
Rating - NC-17
Genre – Drama/Romance
Pairing – H/D
Chapter – 12
Warnings – Language, snogging, violence, hand jobs, oral sex.
Summary – What should have happened after Half Blood Prince! It’s the autumn after Dumbledore’s death, the Death Eaters are steadily gaining power, and Harry and his friends are desperate to find the remaining Horcruxes. But then Draco Malfoy arrives at Grimmauld Place, traumatised, starved and drained of all his magical ability. It falls to Harry to show the Slytherin how to adapt to his new way of life, never guessing that Draco has a few things to teach him in return.
Disclaimer – I don’t own the boys, they belong to Ms Rowling. The chapter title loosely translates as ‘Often the prickly thorn produces tender roses’. Done for fun, not profit!
Chapter 12: Saepe Creat Molles Aspera Spina Rosas
Harry raced across the beach, almost slipping over on the wet shingle. He had always secretly wished that Sirius had picked a more attractive area of shoreline for their rendezvous, but at that moment he had never been so pleased to be anywhere in his life.
“Sirius!” he yelled.
His godfather turned towards him with a grin. “Hello, Harry.”
“Sirius… I thought I wasn’t going to dream about you again! I thought…”
“I know. I’m so sorry, Harry; you have to understand that this isn’t an easy thing for me to do. Communicating across the veil isn’t exactly protocol, you know. I’m sorry I left you for so long.”
“Sirius, things are bad.”
“I know. That’s why I’m here. I said I’d always look out for you, didn’t I?” He looked at Harry with compassion. “I’m just sorry that I can’t be there in person. God, I’d love to get them for you.” He laughed. “You know, I always thought that when you die you leave your fighting spirit behind. After all, there isn’t anything left to fight for. Well, for the most part that’s true, but… but I’m just itching to get back there, wands blazing, and get them all. I’d love to come charging in there—”
“And get yourself killed all over again,” Harry finished for him. “Admirable sentiments, Sirius, but not too helpful right now.”
Sirius laughed again. “I know, I know; I can’t help myself.” He glanced up at Harry coyly. “Still, it hasn’t all been bad, has it? You’ve had a few… interesting developments since we last met, haven’t you?”
Harry blanched. “You know about that?”
Sirius grinned at him boyishly. “Omniscience is one of the many advantages of being dead. Oh, come on, there’s no need to be embarrassed. I’m happy for you.”
Harry turned to gaze out over the sea. “I don’t even know what’s happening. I mean, it’s scary, you know? It wasn’t something I’d addressed before, and then Draco Malfoy of all people…”
“I told you he had a role to play in teaching you who you are. It’s nothing to be afraid of, Harry. I know you’re still a little gun-shy after Ginny, but there’s no point in denying yourself.”
Harry nodded thoughtfully. “Well, I have been coming round to that way of thinking over the past couple of days. Life’s too short.”
Sirius grabbed his shoulders and turned him around to face him. “Harry, you’re not going to die. Not just yet, at least.”
Harry frowned. “See, it’s easy for you to say—”
“I mean it! I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true. You and Draco aren’t going to die in that place.”
“Well, how the hell are we going to get out, if you know so much?” Harry asked a little testily.
Sirius looked at him serenely, the strangely silent breeze blowing his long, dark hair across his face. “You wait,” he said.
“There’s nothing you can do. I think you’ve already realised that. You just have to sit tight and wait. Something’s going to come up and, once again, it’ll be because you’ve got Draco with you. I told you that he had an important role to play in this.” He punched Harry playfully on the arm. “You should have a little faith.”
“But… I can’t just wait!” Harry protested.
“You don’t have any choice!” He smiled. “See, you got that impulsive, impatient streak from James. That was why he and I were such good friends, and why we got into so much trouble at school – we were far too alike for our own good. Thankfully, we had Remus there to keep us in check with his consideration and patience and… and gentleness.” He smiled wistfully, gazing out into the blue-grey distance. Harry was beginning to wonder whether his godfather had forgotten he was there, but then Sirius looked at him with sad eyes. “Opposites, remember? You’re always stronger if you have a bit of balance.”
Harry looked up at him. “How do I know this is real? I… I know you told me I should have faith, but how the hell am I supposed to know what to believe? Or who to believe? How can I know that you’re not just a figment of my imagination?”
Sirius looked at him compassionately. “What can I do to prove it?”
Harry thought back to what Ron had suggested before Christmas. “Tell me something,” he said. “Tell me something I could never have known otherwise.”
Sirius grinned. “Um… okay. When you get out – and note I said ‘when’, not ‘if’ – ask Remus about Israfil.”
“Well, it’s something you could only ever find out about from me or him. No one else knows. Now, it’s time you were going. I don’t want you to worry about a thing, all right? It’s going to be difficult, but you’ll get through it. You both will. You just have to hang on in there, okay? Don’t be scared of who you are any more. And Harry? Keep that boy safe.”
Harry woke up with his head pillowed on Draco’s chest. He lay there for a moment, listening to the other boy’s gentle breathing, enjoying the way his hand was gently resting on Harry’s hair.
“Good morning,” Draco said a little awkwardly.
Harry propped himself up on his elbows. Draco looked at him with tired eyes, the corners of his mouth a little tight. Harry had to force himself to stop looking at that mouth. “You all right?” he asked.
Draco nodded tensely. “Sure. Are you?”
“Mm-hm. You‘re not too cold? It’s bloody freezing this morning.”
“Not too bad.” Draco pulled himself up into a sitting position, forcing Harry to shift himself. “About… about last night,” Draco said stiffly. “Harry, I want you to be frank with me – did you honestly mean any of it? I mean, do you even… do you regret…”
“I don’t regret a thing,” Harry replied quickly. “I’m glad it happened.”
Draco sighed shakily. “You know, I was lying there for at least an hour, watching you sleep, wondering what would happen when you woke up. My guard was down last night. I… I thought that you might not have really meant it, or you’d just done it because you were scared and you thought you might as well…”
“I’m so sorry,” Harry said wearily. “I really am. I should have just been honest with you from the start. I am so bad at this kind of thing.” He looked up at Draco shyly, still so afraid of being vulnerable, still half expecting Draco to sneer at him. “I’ve known that I was bi for a couple of years. It’s never been an issue before; nobody knows, not even Ron and Hermione. I…” he looked away, a little confounded. “I should have just talked to you. The thing is, I wasn’t entirely sure what to say. I don’t know how long it’s been going on for – it came on so gradually. I think I wanted you before I split up with Ginny, but I didn’t let myself think about it then. I really wasn’t expecting it, you know? The thought of getting involved with someone else scared me. I wanted to tell you, especially after I found out how you felt about me, but I didn’t know how to put it into words. I was a clumsy idiot, and I’m sorry, but… but I don’t want to be afraid any more. Not of this, anyway; if you want me then… well, I’m not going to run away any more.”
Harry chanced a look at Draco, and saw that the corners of the other boy’s mouth were twitching. “I have never known anyone use so many words to say something so simple,” he said.
Harry rolled his eyes. “Oh… you know what I mean.”
“I think so.” The corner of his mouth twitched upwards and he raised an eyebrow at Harry. “It’ll take a while to sink in though, so you may have to tell me again.”
Harry grinned. “Fair enough.” He pushed Draco gently back onto the blankets. “I’ll try not to talk so much this time.”
Kissing Draco was different in the daytime. They were both more hesitant, more shy and awkward with each other, and yet it felt more real somehow. Harry began to believe that yes, he really was lying there in the arms of Draco Malfoy. It was a surreal experience, but very far from unpleasant.
Draco held Harry’s hands between his own, caressing them with slow, circular motions and blowing on them gently. “Merlin, it’s freezing in here. I can’t believe we haven’t died of hypothermia yet. Look, my fingernails have gone blue!”
Harry smiled. “Your nose is pink too.”
Draco groaned and buried his face in the blankets, and Harry wrapped them both up, holding the other boy closely, smiling as he planted rough kisses all over Draco’s face.
Draco buried his face against Harry’s neck, and held him still. “Why aren’t you scared, Harry?” he asked. “I mean, I know that you’re pretty old-hat at this deadly peril malarkey, but surely even you have to admit that this doesn’t look too good.”
“We’re going to get out,” Harry replied quietly. “Before last night I was scared. I’m getting better at dealing with it as I get older, but… yeah, I was pretty terrified. But now I know we’re getting out. We can’t finish up here; we still have stuff to do.”
“How can you be so sure? Actually, don’t answer that. I don’t care. I don’t care if any of it’s real, I don’t think. Not even your attraction to me. No, don’t say anything. I don’t care about the truth right now; if these are going to be my last moments on this earth, I think I’d rather spend them in an artificial paradise than none at all. And if you say we’re going to get out of here somehow, I’m happy to play along with that.” He shivered. “Ugh, I tell you something, if we do get out I’m going on holiday. Can’t stand this English climate. Southern Italy will be nice this time of year.”
“Can I come too?” Harry asked.
“Of course! We can stay in my parents’ holiday home. I’m sure they won’t mind. It’s really nice there; you’d like it.”
Harry’s hand found its way inside Draco’s jacket, and he traced patterns on the other boy’s skin through the fabric of his shirt. It was fun to joke about things like that, fabricate a life they could have in the outside world. He was happy to live in denial for the time being, ignoring all the reasons why they could never have a functional relationship, imagining that Draco’s parents really would accept him and let him stay in their holiday home, instead of attempting to hex him into oblivion at the first possible opportunity. Draco was right – it was far better to just avoid reality altogether in situations such as these. “Tell me about the places you’ve seen,” Harry whispered.
Draco gently nuzzled against his neck. “Well, I have family in France of course, so we go there a lot. We have a town house in Paris which is beautiful. I think you’d like Paris. I spend a lot of time in Pierre Lachaise Cemetery, pretending to be a bohemian artist. The catacombs are amazing too. I’ve been up the Eiffel Tower, but it’s not that great. Too many Muggle tourists. There’s the most wonderful patisserie in the Rue Baudelaire though – that’s in the wizarding area. And there are some wonderful couturieres, though I don’t suppose you’d be interested in that. We go to Italy a lot as well. We have our own vineyard, and I lie out there in the summer, and it’s so hot that you can smell the scent of the grapes. I love going to Venice for the Mardi Gras festival too. My mum always takes me to the opera, and then we buy ice cream and wander through the backstreets, knowing that no one could hurt us. Um, where else… Oh, I’ve been skiing in Austria a few times. I wouldn’t take you there though, because knowing you you’d be better than me without even trying and I’d spend the whole holiday resenting you. Egypt’s good. I liked visiting all the cursed Pyramids, and my dad took me to see a real live sphinx, though I wasn’t allowed to get too close. That was the holiday that I realised how good I look in flowing white robes. I’ve been to New York once or twice because I’ve got an uncle out there. I like how visceral it is, how everything moves so fast. When I was fifteen, I got cruised by a man wearing skin-tight leather trousers on Fifth Avenue. I didn’t take him up on it, though I was secretly a bit flattered. He looked a bit like you, actually, and it inspired a series of fantasies involving you dressed as a biker which I shan’t divulge just now. Okay, it’s your turn. What places are you going to take me to when we bust out of here? Quick, before I make any more awkward indiscretions.”
Harry smiled, feeling very gauche. “Actually… well, I’ve never been anywhere abroad.”
Draco was silent for a moment. “What, you’ve never had a holiday?”
“Nope. When I was a kid the Dursleys went to Spain a few times, but they always left me with a neighbour. It was okay; I didn’t much fancy going away with them anyway. Since then, holidays have meant going to stay with Ron.”
“Oh, you poor deprived child!” Draco said with genuine horror.
“Oh, sod off.” Harry felt embarrassed by his lack of experience. He knew so very little of the world at large. What he wouldn’t give to see some of the things Draco had seen. He held onto the other boy tightly, as if that could ward off the suspicion that Draco would soon tire of him once he found out how ignorant Harry really was.
“I like this game,” Draco said. “It’s fun to pretend; it makes things a bit easier. You… you don’t really believe we’re getting out, do you?”
“Yes, I do,” Harry replied stoutly. “Don’t ask me why. I… I think if we just wait, something is going to happen.”
Draco sighed. “Well, I suppose I won’t lose anything by letting myself believe you. Merlin, I’m hungry! I’d kill for a slice of Mrs Weasley’s chocolate cake.”
“Mmm, or a Hogwarts roast dinner – remember those?”
“Yeah, with crispy roast potatoes, and chicken that just seemed to melt in your mouth. And apple pie for dessert with lashings of whipped cream.”
“Or treacle tart! See, I’m going to have to go back there when we get out just for another slice of that treacle tart.”
“Mm, it was epic. Ooh, and do you remember how they’d serve spicy pumpkin soup in the winter? That’d warm us up right now…”
Harry wasn’t entirely sure when he and Draco had fallen asleep again. Their gastronomic fantasies seemed to blend seamlessly into strange dreams in which Harry looked for Draco in the Hogwarts kitchens, passing Hermione along the way, who was stirring something toxic-looking in a big black cauldron and telling him that he would be late for his meeting with Dumbledore if he didn’t hurry. He finally found Draco by the fire, tears rolling down his cheeks, holding the Sorting Hat in hands which were covered in blood.
The sound of footsteps coming towards their prison door jolted Harry back into consciousness. He and Draco sprang apart guiltily.
“How long were we asleep?” Draco asked, his face very pale.
Harry shrugged, getting unsteadily to his feet. His grogginess, combined with his hunger, was making him feel very light headed.
The door banged open and several cloaked Death Eaters came into the room. They had their hoods down, and Harry recognised their customary gaoler as a beefy, flat-faced man he hadn’t seen before. The other’s were Walden MacNair and a woman with a strong jaw and short, jet black hair. The woman spared Draco a cursory glance, then turned her full attention to Harry, staring at him unblinkingly. “I thought he’d be taller,” she said.
MacNair stepped through the magical barrier effortlessly. “Are you sure this thing is strong enough to keep them in, Goyle?” he asked over his shoulder.
“They’re still here, aren’t they?” the big Death Eater grunted. “Potter doesn’t have his wand, and that one wouldn’t know what to do with one now anyway. It’s perfectly secure.” Looking at him, Harry realised that he should have known he was Greg Goyle’s father. Mr Goyle banged a plate of bread crusts and a jug of water onto the floor.
Draco had remained curled up on the floor, his jaw clenched, refusing to look at the intruders.
“Hard to believe, isn’t it?” MacNair said contemptuously. “That this pathetic little shit has caused so much trouble. Pure luck, that’s all it was. All he was really good at was running away and hiding.”
“You’d know all about that, wouldn’t you?” Harry spat back. “What the hell are you without you’re so-called lord? A glorified exterminator. It makes you feel good, killing things, doesn’t it? What are you trying to compensate for exactly, you sadistic fuck?”
MacNair sneered at him. “Say what you want, Potter. In a couple of days the Dark Lord will return from his negotiations with the giant tribes, and then you and blondie here are going to die messy.”
“You’re pathetic,” Harry said quietly. “All of you. And Voldemort is the most pathetic of all. He’s a stinking coward who’s terrified to die. He’s scared of being human.”
A jet of bright red light shot from MacNair’s wand and hit Harry full in the chest, throwing him backwards. The Cruciatus Curse set his skin on fire, splintered his bones, ripped his nerve endings to shreds. Harry writhed, struggled to get loose, but there was no escape. He couldn’t think any more; he could only scream his lungs raw.
The last thing he was really aware of was the woman laughing nervously, and someone else calling his name desperately. And then everything went white, like a fog descending over him, and Harry knew no more.
When Harry returned to consciousness, his first thought was that he was going to throw up, but he took a couple of deep breaths and the wave of nausea passed. He was grateful – he was weak enough as it was and couldn’t afford to lose what little food his stomach contained. He felt as if he had pulled every muscle in his body, and his skin was prickling unpleasantly. Someone was stroking his hair. It was painful, and Harry made a pathetic little mewling noise.
“Harry?” a shaky voice said.
With a great effort, Harry opened his eyes. It was mercifully dark in the room, but he could still make out Draco’s face above him, eyes wide and terrified.
He managed a weak smile. “Hey, you,” he croaked, his throat still sore from screaming.
Draco made a choking sound, and for the first time Harry realised that he was close to tears. “You bloody bastard!” he said. “I thought you were dead, Harry! I thought they’d killed you, and you’d left me here on my own.”
With a monumental effort, Harry sat up. “It’ll take more than that to finish me off,” he said. “You forget, it’s not my first time. Besides, they’re not going to kill me – they’ll leave that to their precious master.”
“I can’t believe you spoke to them like that,” Draco said quietly.
“I won’t let them see that I’m afraid,” Harry replied. “I won’t let them win. It’s not much of a triumph, I admit, but this is the kind of situation where you have to take whatever you can get.”
Draco sniffed. “You’re bloody reckless at times, you know that? Why the hell would you provoke them like that, just to make a point? Do you have any idea how terrified I was? After everything that happened to me before?”
Harry reached out to touch him, but Draco brushed him away. “Hey, I’m sorry. I really am. I’m sorry you were scared. But I can’t just let them think they’ve got the better of me. If I have to go down, I’ll go down fighting.”
“Bloody Gryffindor bravado,” Draco said sulkily.
“Hey.” Harry shuffled over to the other boy, gently taking his face in his hands. Draco grudgingly let him brush the unshed tears from his eyelashes.
“We should eat,” he said. “You probably passed out because you were so weak. I want you a bit stronger if they’re coming back tomorrow.”
“All right,” Harry replied. “And then let’s go to bed.”
Harry was starting to wonder whether it was possible to become addicted to someone else’s mouth. He had been itching to kiss Draco again for some time, and now that he was, he didn’t think he would be able to stop. The night before, they had fallen asleep with their lips still touching. He didn’t know what it was Draco did that was different from anyone else, but it drove Harry wild.
He liked how dirty it felt, this undiluted lust, kissing purely for the physical pleasure of it. He wanted to glut himself on Draco. He wanted to be wrapped up in him. He shifted closer still on the makeshift bed, but was mildly surprised when Draco jumped slightly, and moved his hips away. Harry was having none of that; he grabbed the other boy and pulled him close again. Draco’s erection pressed against his hip, and Harry realised the cause of the Slytherin’s abashment. Draco turned his head away, panting for breath, and Harry angled his own hips slightly to show him that there was no cause for embarrassment – he himself was in a very similar condition.
Draco shuddered in the darkness. “”Wow,” he whispered weakly, not able to resist rubbing himself against Harry a little, “you really do fancy me, don’t you?”
Harry nibbled his ear, sucking the lobe into his mouth. “Obviously.” He couldn’t help but be a little surprised by how little shyness he felt; he had always been so awkward about this kind of thing in the past. Perhaps it was because of their desperate circumstances, or perhaps it was because he was dealing with another boy this time, but Harry felt that there was no sense in being coy about it. Draco Malfoy made him damn horny, and Harry didn’t care any more if he knew about it.
Draco wrapped his arms around Harry’s neck, kissing him with fresh abandon. Harry gently pushed him onto his back, slowly letting his hand travel down Draco’s torso. He felt Draco shudder in nervous anticipation as Harry fumbled with the catch on his trousers. He continued to focus on nothing but the sensations he was experiencing, his own desires, knowing that to consider anything else – like the fact that this was literally virgin territory for him – would make him nervous. He pushed his hand inside, and… and then it was happening. He was actually touching an erect penis that wasn’t his own. Draco buried his face in Harry’s neck, panting with desire. Okay, Harry thought, his Gryffindor spirit kicking in, okay, I can do this. It’s easy. After all, he knew from experience what boys liked.
He started to do to Draco all the things that he loved to do to himself in his most private moments. He slowly caressed the shaft, twisting his wrist as he did so, and rhythmically squeezing his fingers. He reached further down to gently massage Draco’s balls. He brought his hand back up, and slowly circled his palm over the sticky head. Draco had started to thrust his hips, trying to quicken the pace of Harry’s strokes, quietly moaning into Harry’s neck.
Harry twined the fingers of his other hand in Draco’s hair, and pulled his head backwards. He found Draco’s mouth, opened in a silent cry of pleasure, and claimed it with his own, gently probing inside with his tongue. Draco threw himself into the kiss, his fingers digging into Harry’s back, panting out little noises of quiet desperation. His erection grew harder still in Harry’s hand, and Harry could feel it begin to twitch. He stroked up and down three more times, and then he felt Draco’s cock pulse once, twice, and then explode into his palm. Draco writhed in ecstasy, his hips thrusting wildly, muffling his moans in Harry’s mouth.
Harry’s own erection throbbed gently in sympathy. He felt like he might go crazy if he didn’t get off soon, but he forced himself to be patient. He held onto Draco, kissed his hot temples, waited for him to come back down to earth.
Draco sighed happily, clearly enjoying the attention. He raised his hand and unsteadily stroked his fingers over Harry’s face. Harry hadn’t thought him capable of an act of such tenderness, and his lust was momentarily altered by a feeling of a different kind.
He did not have time to analyse it though. Draco pushed him over onto his back and kissed him with a somewhat childish enthusiasm. The next moment, he had dived under the covers. Harry’s eyes flew open with surprise, and he felt himself grow very hot about the face as the other boy unzipped his jeans. Ginny had certainly never done that. He had to fight the urge to giggle nervously. Merlin, did he ever want this, and yet… it was kind of scary. Besides everything else, it occurred to Harry that it was a little risky to have his sometime nemesis’s teeth in such close proximity to his genitals.
In an instant, however, Draco was putting that talented mouth of his to an entirely new and innovative use. Harry forgot all about being nervous or embarrassed; his eyes rolled back in his head, and he covered his mouth with the crook of his arm to stop himself from making too much noise. He felt faint with pleasure as Draco’s tongue circled his erection, sucking gently, one hand gently stimulating the base of Harry’s cock. This was… this was the best thing Harry had ever felt in his life. Draco was clearly some kind of genius to have thought of it. He shuddered. This was an entirely different sensation to any he had felt before; it was a slow, teasing build-up of pleasure, so intense it was almost unbearable yet at the same time not quite enough.
An increasing rush of heat to his groin told Harry that he was nearing orgasm. “Draco!” he whispered urgently, realising that the blond might not be too happy if Harry just came in his mouth without warning. “Draco, I’m gonna—”
Too late. It felt as if Harry’s body was melting and expanding at the same time. It felt so good it was almost painful. He arched his back helplessly grabbing at handfuls of the blanket, riding on waves of pleasure that diminished just before they became unbearable, before surging up again. Finally they ebbed away, and Harry collapsed back onto the bed with a small moan, replete and exhausted.
Draco crawled up Harry’s body and resurfaced breathlessly, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth. Harry could make out the sheen of his hair in the watery moonlight. Draco collapsed bonelessly on top of him with a weary sigh, and Harry wrapped his arms around him.
“Draco,” he said thickly, “that was incredible.”
“Really?” the other boy asked sleepily. “I was pretty nervous – never done that before. Was worried I’d be crap.”
“Incredible,” Harry repeated.
Draco made a small noise of satisfaction. “You were pretty incredible too,” he said through a yawn. “Best… best wank I’ve ever had.”
Harry was enjoying the conversation and wanted to continue, but sleep was overwhelming him. They were weakened, and their exertions had exhausted them. He wished that he could fight it off, enjoy this brief time of peace and satisfaction that he had been granted, but he wasn’t strong enough. He allowed his tired eyes to close, and everything faded away.
Harry was pleased to note that there was no awkwardness the next morning. He and Draco had arisen in silence, rearranging their clothes, smiling at each other like two people who shared a secret. Perhaps it was because he was just becoming accustomed to it, but Harry didn’t think that it was so cold in the cellar.
“It’s weird,” Draco said, finally breaking the silence. “I know that something horrible is going to happen today. I know we might even die. Still, I can’t quite manage to be afraid right now. I wonder why that is.”
“Well, you’re tired,” Harry replied softly. “Being scared takes up a lot of energy, and you’ve figured out that you might as well save that energy for when something bad is actually happening.”
Draco smiled. “Well, I’m glad to have such a pragmatic subconscious. You’re probably right. Also, I’ve got you now.”
“You do realise I’ve been here from the beginning?”
Draco aimed a soft punch at his arm. “Oh, sod off. I mean I’ve got you now. You know what I mean. I don’t want this to be the end for us, but… but if it is, I’m glad we’re ending it like this. I mean, I never thought that this would happen, you and me. It’s… a nice way to finish up.”
“We’re getting out of here,” Harry said, making himself trust Sirius against his better judgement. “I told you, we just have to hold tight.”
Draco smiled. “Whatever you say, darling.”
The morning slipped through their fingers. In spite of Harry’s new-found trust in the veracity of his Sirius dreams, he couldn’t help but wonder how on earth his godfather supposed that they would get out. It seemed a hopeless situation. Voldemort was bound to return at any moment and, while Harry might have been able to elude him in the past, he knew that, being holed up in a tiny prison without a wand or any means of defence, he didn’t have a hope in hell. The dream was all he had to hang on to, and there was still so much doubt connected to it. Sirius had always been right in the past as far as he could tell, but that could have just been coincidence. Harry wished that he had been able to ask Lupin about this Israfil thing before he had been kidnapped – at least then he would know one way or the other. Faith was all he had to go on at the moment.
He wanted to hang on to this time, hang on to his life while he had it, and it was frustrating that it seemed to be slipping by like this. Draco was right though – it was difficult to be afraid when he was so tired. And it was difficult to be afraid when he kept thinking about the night before when he had received his first ever blow job, and—
“What are you grinning about?” Draco asked with a smile that suggested he knew exactly what Harry was grinning about.
“Last night,” He replied.
Draco rolled his eyes, clearly amused. “I can’t believe we’re trapped in a basement, moments from certain death, frozen and half-starved, and you can’t get your mind out of your pants.”
“Well, you’re thinking about it too, aren’t you?” Harry said matter-of-factly.
Draco didn’t bother to deny it. “I hope we get another night,” he said.
“We will. Everything’s going to be okay, you know. We’ll get out. You promised to take me to your house in Italy, remember? I’m not going to let you worm your way out of that one by getting killed.”
Draco made a show of looking awkward. “Ah, see, I only really told you that to get you into bed. I didn’t actually expect you to hold me to it.”
Harry laughed and shoved the other boy gently. “You cad. I’ll never trust anything you say again.”
Draco sighed and rested his head on Harry’s shoulder. “I’m so glad you’re here. I’m glad I’ve got to know you, and I’m glad I managed to… to at least partially grow up before it was too late. I wish I could see my parents again.”
Harry put an arm around his shoulders. “You will,” he whispered. “Everything’s going to be all right. I won’t let anything bad happen to you.” It was a fateful thing to say really, considering what was to happen later that evening.
To Harry’s disgust, it was Bellatrix Lestrange who brought the boys their meagre dinner. She smiled at them vindictively as she placed the food and water before them with mock servility. Despite his hunger, Harry almost resolved not to eat it. He instinctively moved himself in front of Draco.
When he was a little boy, he had always believed that evil and ugliness went together. The hags and giants in fairy tales testified that malicious intent seeped into physicality, became blatantly apparent at first terrified glance. Certainly Voldemort’s infamous career seemed to support this theory – he had become more and more fearsome as he had sunk into depravity. However, with his increasing maturity, Harry had come to rethink this theory. After all, Tom Riddle had been notorious for his beauty, beauty which hid a loveless heart and a mind full of hate. Bellatrix Lestrange was another case in point. Not even Harry’s intense loathing of her could conceal the fact that she was a beautiful woman, even after her stint in Azkaban. It would be so east to be taken in by her sensual red mouth, her rich, dark hair, her large, deep eyes. It was deeply unsettling to see such cruelty hidden beneath such beauty, seeing madness and fanaticism in those glittering eyes. It made Bellatrix all the more frightening. She was like a panther, a cobra waiting to strike, and he wanted to protect Draco from her.
“I’d make the most of this if I were you,” she said in her rich, sonorous voice. “This will be your last meal, with any luck. My Master writes to say that he will return tomorrow. He is looking forward to seeing you, Mr Potter; I think he was a little surprised by how easy it was. He didn’t think you would just offer yourself up so easily. He’s grateful to us for keeping you nice and safe for him. He’s glad about that as well,” she said, gesturing disdainfully towards Draco. “I expect you’ve been letting him in on all sorts of useful little secrets, haven’t you?”
“I’m not going to tell you anything,” Draco said with more courage than Harry had thought him capable of. “You’ve betrayed our family; I’d die sooner than help you and that son-of-a-bitch you call a master.”
Rage flashed across Bellatrix’s face, but then she smiled unpleasantly. “Oh, you will die, my dear nephew, don’t worry about that. You’re as low as a Muggle now – it would almost be cruel to let you live. Still, I guarantee that you’re going to talk first, in spite of the pseudo-courage you seem to have picked up from Potter. See, I know it’s all an act. I know you’re just a pampered little boy who would do anything for an easy life. You were never strong enough to see the way forward – that’s why you failed the Dark Lord. Oh, you’ll start squealing like a pig once the torture begins. You have no idea of all the delightful ways we have of making you hurt. You’ll betray the fools who sought to protect your worthless life, and then you’ll die.”
“Leave him alone!” Harry snarled at her. “He doesn’t know anything. You might as well just let him go.”
She laughed contemptuously. “Even you can’t be that much of an idiot, Mr Potter. As if we would show mercy to a little worm of a traitor like that! Don’t tell me you actually care about him? Can’t you see what he is? Can’t you—”
“Get out!” Harry yelled at her. “Why are you wasting your time? What’s the point in killing him – can’t you see there’s no point?” He instinctively reached out for Draco’s hand.
She looked at him incredulously. “You do care about him. You… Well well, who would have thought it? The great heir of Gryffindor seduced by, well, that. It would be funny if it wasn’t so repulsive. What would people say if they knew that the great Harry Potter was a pervert?”
“Shut up!” Harry yelled. “Shut up, you murderous, deluded bitch! You’re the perverted one – getting off on torturing people! Do you really think Voldemort cares about you? He doesn’t care about anyone, only how useful they could be. You’re fucking insane!”
He would have said more, but he never got the chance. In a split second, Bellatrix’s wand was pointed at his chest, and he was frozen to the spot, unable to move or talk. Harry knew that she was notorious for her fast wand hand, as poor Sirius had discovered that night in the Ministry. At least he knew that she wasn’t going to kill him. She was leaving that for her master, and she would never disobey him, however much she was itching to.
“That was stupid,” she whispered, her beautiful, deadly face mere inches from his own. “Stupidity cannot go unpunished, Mr Potter.”
“Don’t hurt him,” Draco said, struggling to conceal his terror.
“I could,” she replied, giving him a cursory glance. “It would be so deliciously easy, you know. But no, I don’t think that would mean anything to him. I think he’s used to pain; he might even enjoy it. No, he’s a hero.” She said the word with a contemptuous curl of her lip. “He’s a little hero, and all he wants is to save people. No, he doesn’t care what happens to him. I can think of something that would hurt him a lot more. Come here, Draco.”
Harry could see the other boy out of the corner of his eye. He suddenly realised what Bellatrix was up to, and he felt sick.
Without waiting for him to respond, she grabbed Draco by the collar of his jacket and threw him onto the floor. Leaving Harry frozen, Bellatrix turned her wand on the other boy. The worst thing was seeing Draco’s dawning comprehension. No, the worst thing was hearing him scream. Hearing him scream and scream, knowing full well what he was feeling, watching him being tortured and not being able to do a thing to stop it. Harry could feel the tears running down his face. He wanted to save him from this; he wanted to take the pain for Draco, this boy who was so far from perfect, but who had been trying so hard, who had made Harry feel so good, whom Harry had to save no matter what.
It seemed to go on forever, this agony. Finally, mercifully, Bellatrix lowered her wand. “That’s enough for tonight, I think,” she said. “Have to leave something left for The Dark Lord.” She laughed at Harry mockingly, and released him with a flick of her wand. He fell to the floor beside Draco, and when he looked up, she had gone.
He crawled over to the other boy, gently turning him onto his back. Draco had lost consciousness. Harry gently wiped away the trickle of blood that was coming from his nose. He knew he had to be very careful – it was painful to be touched after experiencing the Cruciatus Curse, and Draco’s nerve endings would still be raw.
“Draco?” he said softly. “Draco, it’s all right. She’s gone. Come back to me.”
Draco’s eyelashes fluttered. “It’s over,” he whispered hoarsely.
“Yes,” Harry replied. “Yes, don’t worry. She’s gone now.”
“No,” Draco said, looking up at Harry with pained, bloodshot eyes. “No, I mean it’s over for us. There’s no point denying it now; we’re going to die here. He’s coming for us tomorrow, and we’re going to die. There’s no sense in pretending any more.”
“Don’t say that. We’ll be all right, I told you we’d be all right. We’ll get out of here somehow and—”
“Harry, don’t!” Draco sat up painfully. “Just… stop it! It’s painful to… let’s just face facts, okay?”
“No,” Harry said stubbornly. “I’m not facing anything. I won’t.” He pulled Draco into an embrace, trying to block out all the fear and pain in the comfort of being close to someone. “We’re going to get out of here, I promise. I… I’ll make a pact with you. When we get out, when we’re safe back home, we’ll lose our virginities together.”
Draco huffed a sad little laugh. “You’re only saying that because you think we’re going to die.”
“No,” Harry said firmly, pulling back to look into the other boy’s eyes. “No, I’m saying that because I know we’re going to get out. You know I’m not going to let myself die before I’ve had sex. And… well, if last night is anything to go by, I want it to be with you.”