|snarryhols (snarryhols) wrote in snarry_holidays,|
@ 2007-11-30 18:05:00
|Entry tags:||au: magic, fic, rated: nc-17|
Quarantined and Begging, for rushlight
Title: Quarantined and Begging
Word Count: 8,812
Warnings: CHAN (Harry is seventeen), AU (ignores DH), powerplay, rough sex, dub-con, talking cherubs.
Disclaimer: The characters/places herein are neither mine nor making money for me.
Summary: 7th Year. Harry becomes seriously ill and is forced to stay home and recuperate. Bored and depressed, he struggles to find ways to occupy his time, until one night he gets an unexpected visit.
A/N: This fic ended up having a mind of its own and if it isn't at all to your liking, I hereby swear to write you another. Happy snolidays, rushlight! :-)
Part I - Prologue
Vernon Dursley blinked.
"Do you hear something, Pet?"
His wife shook her head, gazing at him with those big doey eyes that never failed to melt his heart. He was just about to start the weekly ritual of sex wheedling when he heard another great crash outside the bedroom window, and a sudden flurry of hisses.
"-just blast the damn thing open-"
"-don't give a shit if they-"
"-suppose that's your-"
"-anyone thought about asking if-"
Barely resisting the urge to find the gun he'd hidden in the closet, he planted a quick kiss on Petunia's head and pulled himself up, lumbering down the hallway and stairs, only just remembering to put on his nightgown.
"-want me to shut it for you-"
"-collapsed on the effing train? Who the hell-"
He was in a good enough mood. He'd give them ten seconds to realise they were at the wrong house, move away and never darken his door again. Usually he'd have started frothing by now - the bastards should count themselves lucky.
"-doesn't get here in five seconds I'm going to kill him, you hear? This isn't-"
"-think that's going to help-"
"-supposed to be Aurors but you sound like a bunch of-"
"-isn't going to help anyone-"
"WHAT THE RUDDY HELL ARE YOU LOT DOING OUT HERE?"
The large group of people gathered anxiously outside froze like a pack of deer in headlights, looking almost as if they weren't expecting him to be there, as if it wasn't the middle of the night and as if it wasn't his bloody house. Taking a preliminary look around - seven, or maybe eight - he could immediately tell they were that sort, with their funny-bunny clothes and unnerving penetrating gazes. He supposed it was too much to hope it was someone normal. Normal people, after all, didn't start having ruddy fights with each other outside other people's houses at half eleven at night. He couldn't see Harry amongst them but he supposed it probably wasn't too long before he turned up.
He hoped to God all the neighbours had gone to sleep, or at least having a bit of slap and tickle themselves.
"Mr Dursley," a young woman began with an air of self-importance, and as she stepped forward into the porch light Vernon couldn't help but stare at her hair, which was a violent shade of pink. He might have given her a second glance if there wasn't something so horrendously odd about her nose. It looked almost upside down.
"Vernon," a man added, sounding far too enthusiastic for such a late hour, and as he stepped forward Vernon recognised him as the freaky ginger-headed fellow responsible for the enormous medical bill that had postponed his annual trip to Majorca a few years back.
"PISS OFF!" he roared, not feeling the least bit accommodating. Petunia had, after all, just started looking like she was going to warm to his touches when they started their racket and he was damned if he was going to let these freaks ruin a good night of Pet Pie, especially if their only intention was to faff about for an hour before asking if Harry could stay somewhere else for the summer. As far as Vernon was concerned, Harry could stay somewhere else for the rest of his life.
"Vernon, dear?" floated down from the stairs. Oh, God, now she was up and out of bed. The whole evening was ruined. "Is that you? What's the matter? Is someone here? Is it the police?"
"GO BACK TO BED, PET!" he roared, forgetting to adjust his tone. Brilliant - now he had a week of celibacy to look forward to. "PISS OFF, THE LOT OF YOU, BEFORE I DO SOMETHING I'LL REGRET!"
"Vernon," Petunia breathed, creeping down the stairs to stand by his side in the door. The way she pressed against him gave him a slither of hope, and he hoped it didn't show on his face. "What's Harry done this time?"
Great, start a ruddy conversation with them, that'll help. "They're not here to talk about Harry, Pet."
"Actually," the ginger man - Arnold, Aaron, or whatever it was - said, "we are. What we want to talk to you about is-"
Vernon held up a hand. He already knew what they were here to talk about; he'd been waiting for this day for nearly seventeen years. The day he could pick Harry off like the scab he was and flick him as far away as possible, and you couldn't get much further away than a world that didn't even exist in your average person's day to day life. The only fly in the ointment was that these people would probably be pleased to have Harry, but he supposed everyone had to be charitable every now and again, and better it be something he had no interest in or use for.
"You can have him," he announced triumphantly, looking round at the group expectantly. "No need to bother with papers - he's yours." Their faces didn't light up like he'd thought they would. He supposed it took them a while to register information; they could be awfully slow at times. Or maybe their never-ending admiration for the blasted boy was starting to wear thin.
Whatever it was, he wasn't about to stand around waiting for their decision. "If that's all..." He slammed the door.
There was a long pause.
"Are you sure that's what they wanted to talk about, Vernon? Maybe we should invite them in just in case."
Vernon jutted out his chin obstinately. Marriage was about compromise and equality, yes, but it was also about a woman being able to respect where the man of the house had precedence. House control was his duty. He didn't go rustling about in the kitchen while she was trying to cook, now, did he?
Petunia's eyes widened slightly and her pointy pink nails dug into Vernon's arm. "What if they start causing trouble? What will the neighbours think?"
Within barely a second Vernon had wrenched open the door again. "Alright," he snapped to the group, who hadn't moved at all, "you've got twenty seconds." He glared at them in his most menacing manner.
The ginger man glanced furtively around. "Mr Dursley - Vernon, this is of a somewhat delicate nature and we would prefer to conduct this conversation inside, especially considering your-"
"Ten seconds." Vernon folded his arms over his chest again. He knew how to conduct a deal.
The pink haired woman waved a hand irritatedly in front of the ginger man's face. "Your nephew may be dying and you're giving us a time limit?" she snapped angrily.
Vernon blinked. "My - what?"
"Your nephew," said a large black man Vernon did not recognise. He was bald and his bright eyes were particularly disconcerting, feeling to Vernon as if they could drill straight into his soul. He'd heard Harry mentioning something about mind reading the previous summer and he clapped his hands over his head, glaring at the man as threateningly as he could. Maybe he should invest in one of those foil hats he'd seen on the internet. "He is very ill."
"Sick, you hear?" the pink-haired girl snapped ever so helpfully, her hair suddenly looking strangely red in the moonlight.
"I got it, thank you," snapped Vernon, pressing his hands hard upon his head. He skirted his eyes around, trying to decide if he ought to let them in or if this was all part of some elaborate ruse of theirs to get at the china. He didn't want to seem like he was insensitive though, or that Dumbell-man would probably come round and give him another lecture. "I suppose you'll want to come in," he muttered reluctantly, trying to calculate how many chairs he was going to need to bring in from the garage.
"If we could yes," Arthur said gratefully, and half of them were already in the sitting room by the time Vernon had moved out of the way. He growled and tied up his dressing gown tighter, hoping they at least had the decency not to sit on the good furniture. God knew what they'd been rolling around in - probably got just as excited over manure as they did over lightbulbs. He absently wondered if they magicked their animals not to excrete.
He wondered if they magicked themselves not to excrete.
"What?" he snapped, coming to stand in the doorway, hoping they got the message he wasn't interested in any sort of tit-a-tit. They would spit out what was wrong with the blasted boy, he'd suggest psychotherapy for them all, then he could go back to bed and do his best to get Pet back into the mood again. "Harry's sick, you say?"
Arthur's eyes darted around the room as he nodded shakily. Maybe he'd never been somewhere with air freshener before.
"And you've come to tell me. In the middle of the night."
"Well," Arthur said, looking more and more apprehensive by the second, "Not exactly. We've come to ask for your help."
"My help?" Vernon looked around the group - men and women of all ruddy shapes and sizes - and laughed. "What, you want me to drill a hole in the boys head?" He threw his head back and chortled. This was met by a round of face paling and swallowing.
"As you know," the black man said, sounding far too commanding and authoritative for Vernon's liking, "the protective spells upon this house will keep Harry safe until-"
"We got the memo, cheers." Far too much farting around went on with these wizards. "But he's not staying here to vomit all over our peach carpet. And you can tell old Dumbell-dour that, too."
"Albus Dumbledore is dead," rasped a rugged looking man Vernon had seen once before at the station. His eye was dancing maniacally in his socket and Vernon barely resisted a shudder.
"Erm," he said, feeling strangely disappointed. It wasn't as if he'd known the old man, really. "Sorry," he added.
"It wasn't your fault," said Arthur, looking unusually grave. "As Kingsley was saying, because of the protection spells, this is the best place for Harry to be while he recovers-"
"Recovers?" Vernon narrowed his eyes. From what he could tell, they were being a bit evasive about all this. "How long's it going to take?"
"He's sick," Kingsley said loudly, then sighed. "Very, very sick."
"And you want to dump him here? Why can't he go to a hospital?"
"Vernon," Petunia murmured, stroking his arm soothingly.
"He was only in St Mungo's a day before there was an attack," growled the mad-eyed one.
They were making fun of him again, he was sure of it. "St what?"
"It's a Wizard Hospital," offered the pink-haired girl. "We thought he would be safe there but-" She broke off.
Petunia trembled beside him, slipping her arms around Vernon's large biceps. "An attack?" she whispered, looking nervously around.
"No harm will come to you or Harry here," murmured a man who would have looked kindly save for the horrible scars that crisscrossed along his face and neck. He'd seen him before, Harry had mentioned something about him - Remus, was it? "And just because Harry is ill, it shouldn't mean you renege on your promise to look after him. He's still your nephew, after all."
"Yes, well," said Petunia, sniffing in a very undignified manner and turning her beady eyes on Remus. "How sick is he?"
Remus shook his head, his eyes red and watery. He'd probably been doing drugs, or the like. That would explain his tatty clothes and rugged appearance. "It's bad," Remus said, his voice breaking slightly.
Definitely a junkie. Vernon glared at him suspiciously. "Why can't you wave your funny little sticks and wish it all away?"
Remus raised a hand up to the pink girl's mouth before she could snap back. "We wish we could," he said softly. "But I'm afraid," he paused, sharing a dark glance with Kingsley, "that we have no idea what the problem is at the moment. And until we know, the only thing we can do is help Harry as much as we can."
"You what? You don't know? Is it contagious?"
Remus sighed, running a hand through his wispy hair. "We don't know. It's - well, it's certainly possible."
"And you want to bring him here? And you expect me to agree, putting my family at risk?"
Petunia hiccuped. "Vernon..."
"No! I'm not a bloody nurse!" Vernon bellowed, turning to his wife. "I'm not having it, Petunia," he hissed. "For Christ's sake, the boy's been leeching off our good will for seventeen bloody years!"
"Yeh don't care that he's dying?" snapped a small, rough looking man with droopy eyes and matted hair. He was by far the most rugged looking of the lot, and Vernon could already see the muddy footprints he'd left on the carpet. "That yeh've fuck all weeks left with yer own nephew?"
"You're in MY HOUSE! WATCH YOUR RUDDY LANGUAGE!"
"TWO MINUTES, YEH CUNT, AND MEH LANGUAGE'LL BE THE LEAST OF YER WORRIES!"
"IS THAT A THREAT?"
"YEH THINK, OAF?"
"Let's everybody," boomed Kingsley, standing up to reveal his intimidating height, "just calm down."
Vernon waited five seconds. "I will if he does," he muttered.
The man gave him the finger.
"Look," Arthur said, glaring at the other man and sounding unnecessarily terse, "I'm afraid, Vernon, there's no other place for Harry to be right now. My son Ron and Hermione, along with Dedalus Diggle-"
"-are currently holding Harry in a Port-hole. They'll be here soon and, basically, if you're so thoroughly opposed to this idea, you'll have to go against us."
Fourteen pairs of furious eyes glared at Vernon. He'd obviously underestimated their business skills.
"Fine," Vernon snapped, irked at being defeated. It wasn't exactly fair, seven on two. And it wasn't them who were going to have to deal with the stupid boy all day long; his slinking and moping and complaining and backtalking and refusing to socialise like a normal child. "But I'm not wiping his sodding bottom or anything."
"That will all be taken care of," Arthur replied, breathing a sigh of relief, which Vernon thought was a bit rich considering he was the one heading this blackmail operation they had going.
The pink haired girl gave Arthur an odd look. "There's nothing wrong with him like that, is there?" she asked, looking vaguely ill.
Arthur shook his head. "Not at this stage, Tonks."
Tonks. Why all these people had to have ridiculous names, he'd never know. Harry was always waffling on about Remus and Sirius and ruddy Lockhart and Quirrell - sounded like a bunch of fairies, really.
"Well, what's he going to need?" came Petunia's voice from his side. "A bed? A potty? What?"
Ah, his wife. Generous to a fault.
"A bed, definitely, if you could," Arthur replied, standing up, looking a lot older than he had a few minutes ago.
"Some towels," murmured a dark-haired woman from the corner. "Napkins, bowls..."
"For the - yes," Arthur said, looking strangely uncomfortable. He wiped his hands on his trousers and left a sweaty mark. Vernon looked away distastefully.
"A tampon might work," quipped Tronks, or whatever her name was.
Vernon blanched. "Excuse me?" he bellowed, feeling his face flush.
Arthur cleared his throat. "Harry's been experiencing some blood loss in, er, a few strange places. Just his mouth and ears, at times - nothing, er, untoward." He shot Tonks a dark look. "Towels will be more than adequate until we find something to stop it."
Vernon was just about to start lecturing the idiotic man that he wasn't about to let Harry bleed all over their good towels when the doorbell rang, which was soon followed by loud pounding on the door.
"BLOODY HELL!" Vernon roared, and was just about to make his way to the door when a young man and woman - Vernon recognised them as from all the pictures that had begun to decorate Harry's room - burst into the room, holding what looked like a shimmering blue corpse. Vernon was just about to send them straight back out again and phone the Police when he recognised the messy hair, the bony arms, the bitten down cuticles...
Blimey. It was Harry.
He stood standing there frozen to the spot as the room sprang into action. The whole maudlin bunch leapt up from their chairs, hugging Hermione and clapping Ron on the back, rushing through the door to retrieve an old, excitable man who was muttering something about his top hat, bounding up the stairs, sparks flashing and wands waving and objects flying. Petunia shrunk down to her knees beside him, her hand still tightly gripping his pinky finger, and Vernon opened and closed his mouth uselessly.
He'd never once considered how efficient magic could be before.
"Just - don't break anything, you hear?" said Vernon weakly.
"Don't worry, Vernon," called Arthur from the stairs, hastily tripping and stumbling as he followed Harry's eerily unsupported and floating body towards the boy's bedroom. Sod it, no matter how efficient it was, magic was creepy. "We have everything under control!"
Harry's head knocked on one of the chandeliers and there was a general "Oh!" from the surrounding people.
"You better," he muttered darkly.
Part II - The Room
Right beside his ear and a million miles away at the same time. Harry went to lift up his arm and a searing pain raced through his body. He opened his mouth to cry out and a hot metallic liquid filled his words and began leaking out of his lips. He coughed and spluttered, starting to panic as copious amounts of what couldn't be anything other than blood continued to issue from his mouth and he tried desperately to move, finding only dead limbs and more pain.
"Help," he gurgled, hoping whoever the breathing belonged to could hear him. "Help me!"
"Harry, are you awake?" A long sigh. "Don't try to move. It just makes it worse, remember?"
That voice. He tried to calm himself, to slow down his breathing and concentrate on where he was. "Tonks?" he croaked, trying valiantly to open his eyes, but not managing to open them more than a tiny slither. His mouth filled with blood again and he felt a cool towel dabbing at his chin.
"I'm right here, Harry." Her voice sounded oddly sad and resigned. "Are you feeling better?"
Better than what? "C-can't - breathe."
Tonks took a deep breath, probably to spite him. He could only just faintly see her, a halo of white shining in from the window behind her. "Do you know who you are?" she asked wearily.
Clearing his throat a little, allowing more blood to dribble out of his mouth, Harry eased open an eye and nodded. "'Arry Pot-" He didn't manage to finish as a fresh wave of blood filled his mouth but Tonks nodded, seeming pleased enough.
"Do you know where you are, Harry?"
Harry tried looking around, the bright light burning as his eyes adjusted. He could vaguely see a sickly peach colour, with cherubs dotted about the ceiling. He could see shelves lined with pristine books and a large busted-up television set sitting in the corner. "Prive'drive," he gurgled, feeling a little confused and vaguely disappointed he wasn't at least in the infirmary.
"Good." Harry felt like he was sitting his O.W.L.s again. He could imagine Tonks with a big long quill scratching away, and he almost laughed until he thought better of it. "Do you know why you're here?"
Harry tried to smile. "You a shrink or something?"
Tonks smiled. "It's Order procedure, Harry. We have to make sure you're still functioning as you should be. Anything different about you and we have to let the cursebreakers know immediately." She looked at him expectantly.
It was coming back to him, slowly. "I'm sick," he managed, spitting a large glob of crimson mucus onto the quilt tucked around his neck. "Dying," he added quickly, noting the slight lull.
"No," Tonks said firmly, reaching out a gloved hand to stroke Harry's arm. "Not dying. We're going to get you through this kiddo, okay?"
Harry nodded. "C-can you shto-" He gagged and spat. "S-stop the blood?"
Tonks shook her head sadly. "I'm sorry, Harry. At this stage nothing we do is helping. We're hoping it'll go away soon."
"B-better," he managed weakly, and out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of his arms, lying uselessly on either side of him. They were blue. He gasped and choked, feeling his blood start to pound. "B-blue."
"That's just the protective spell, Harry," Tonks said, soothingly. "That has nothing to do with your sickness."
Harry was just about to ask why the spell couldn't have just made his skin look normal when there came a frantic knock on the door to his room. He tried to quell the anxious feeling that was circling around inside his gut and orientate himself. He still felt woozy, and slightly confused, and like he was going to throw up any minute from all the blood in his mouth.
"That'll probably be Ron and Hermione," said Tonks, giving his arm a pat. "Shall I let them in?"
Harry nodded, shaking himself slightly, and the door swung open to reveal his two best friends. He was just about to risk opening his mouth to murmur hello and smile when Hermione leapt through the door and squealed,
"We found it!"
Tonks jumped up from the bed and Harry bounced nauseatingly up and down. "Found what?"
"We've found the curse! We know what's wrong with Harry! Isn't that brilliant? Isn't that amazing?! I've always insisted upon the importance of thorough research and careful study and now it's all paid off and Harry isn't going to die and -"
"Calm down, Hermione, can't you see Harry's tired?" Ron murmured, laying a hand on the small of Hermione's back. Hermione flushed bright crimson but continued beaming at Harry along with Ron. Harry did his best to look pleased, but he felt more like he'd rather crawl into a hole and never come out. His head was starting to throb with pain and breathing was becoming more difficult.
"I'll go and talk to the Order," Tonks said, beaming. "That's brilliant news." She Disapparated with a crack that reverberated noisily inside Harry's skull.
"Everything will be okay," Hermione said, happily, seemingly unaware of his plight. "Everything is going to be fine. It's just - after all the terrible things we've considered, it's such a weight off, isn't it, Ronald?"
Ron laughed. "Yeah, it is." He blinked. "You feeling all right, mate?"
Harry nodded, trying not to speak. The whole room was starting to spin around his head.
"And such a simple cure!" Hermione continued, sounding far away. "You wouldn't believe the horrible things some people have to go through to get rid of their curses sometimes - things that, basically, are impossible which insure that the curses are never lifted so they are, for all intense and purposes, relatively incurable, but to just have to take a potion which can be made so easily-"
Ron looked sideways at Harry and muttered something but Harry missed it entirely. He tried to grin anyway and Ron flinched, ever so slightly, before grinning back.
"-and to just have to be quarantined, I mean, it's something the Order were considering doing anyway, what with how important you are to the war effort and to the morale and-"
Quarantined. Harry tried to push himself up, but his arms were like dead weights and he felt like the whole room was a rollercoaster. He spat a mouthful of blood on the ground, telling himself he'd heard wrong. "Q-quaran-?"
"Oh, it's nothing, really," Hermione said breathlessly. "You'll just stay in here. It's not like you'll still have your symptoms. Everything will go away - the bleeding, the nausea, the vomiting, the pustules, the hallucinations, the blueness, everything." She beamed. "Just nine months of relaxing and drinking a relatively inoffensive potion every day and you'll be back to normal, Harry. Isn't that wonderful?"
"N-ugh," Harry spat again, "N-NINE MONTHS?"
Ron shoved his hands into his pockets, looking awkwardly between the two. "I know it's not the best situation in the world," he said quietly, "but there aren't any other options and it's not all bad. It's about as good as we could have hoped for."
Quarantined. For nine months. As good as they could have hoped for? What about his promise to Dumbledore? The Horcruxes? The War? Snape, for Merlin's sake?
What was he supposed to do, just lie around in bed as the whole world crumbled around him?
"N-NNN," Harry gurgled desperately. He wasn't going to let this happen. "NNNGH!"
"Harry," Hermione snapped, her voice sounding suddenly shrill, "if you don't do this, you'll die."
I'll be as good as dead anyway. Harry spat a gob of mucusy blood right at her feet.
The first few weeks weren't so bad. Once he took the potion, all of his symptoms went away, and it was just like every other summer holiday of his life. Trapped in his little room, with nothing to do and no one to talk to, only this time he had a flatscreen television with cable, an endless array of books and magazines and games and writing material. The fridge was never empty and he could eat whatever he wanted, and there was the added bonus of the Dursleys not being able to come anywhere near him.
In fact, everything was almost perfect until the mind numbing boredom kicked in.
"Three months, two weeks, four days, five hours, thirty-nine minutes and twenty-seven seconds," he chanted aloud to himself as he lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling.
Twenty-eight seconds. He could almost hear them as they ticked by.
He could almost imagine the little dancing cherubs above him laughing at him. He supposed that was just the potion making him "woozy", as Remus had put it.
Just make sure you don't go bonkers, Harry.
"Yeah, thanks Ron."
"I just want someone to talk to."
"The problem with being alone is," Harry said loudly, "you can say whatever you want." His voice echoed a little around the room and the cherubs continued laughing and dancing, ignoring him completely. He tried not to be annoyed at their rudeness. "You can do whatever you want. And eventually you can't remember why it is you couldn't say those things before. Why you couldn't do those things before. You know?"
"And then you start to think about your life. Which isn't exactly bad," Harry deadpanned. The cherubs laughed. "But it's when you start thinking about it too hard, that's the problem. When you start examining all the details of your life so hard that it doesn't feel like it's your life anymore, you know? It feels like it belongs to that other idiot who should have been there to save his fellow student, his Godfather, his Headmaster-" Harry broke off to cough.
"And when you start thinking about whether the world actually needs you. Whether they actually want and love you for the person you are, or if just the idea is enough and your existence never really meant anything to them anyway."
"And wondering if you can still trust yourself, having been so stupid and so useless with everything. If, even despite all your anger and wanting to be a part of one of the most important events in history, they'd all just be better off without you, anyway."
"And wondering why there isn't any bloody normal porn on at this time of the day."
"Thinking," he said slowly, "you don't even care anyway. Because you don't mind it."
"And you start to wonder what kind of a person sits around wanking over gay porn when they should be planning their revenge upon their most hated enemies. When the whole world is at stake and the freedom of people everywhere is at stake and you're supposed to be ruddy doing something about it, Harry!
"What do you expect me to do? I'm locked up in here for the next six bloody months!
"You could be doing something useful!
"They didn't have to shut me up in here with no contact with the outside world!
"It's a quarantine!
"They could have organised it better!
"You've got it pretty fucking good in here!
"STOP ARGUING WITH YOURSELF!"
"Every day is the same," he said at last. He glanced over at the table beside his bed. "Every bottle is the same. Long at the top, curved at the bottom, dark tint to the glass, stoppered with a cork." Inside the liquid would bubble and froth and occasionally spark, and every day they tasted like absolutely, completely and utterly nothing.
Every now and again he considered not taking it, just to see what would happen to him, just to see if anyone from the Order would come rushing in - but he never did. He was as reliable as the potions themselves.
"Day after day after weary fucking day of solitude. Only ever having your own thoughts, only ever knowing your own opinion."
"Completely cut off from the whole Wizarding World."
"Selfish bastards," he muttered, flicking on the television, which immediately flickered to long, slow close-ups of things Harry had only ever before heard whispers of. He sat up slightly, slowly slipping his hand down to rub at his twitching cock. "Nothing quite like a wank in the middle of the afternoon," he said, moaning as another man entered the scene.
A few hours later Harry was sprawled on his back in the middle of the floor again, staring up at the shoddily drawn cherubs that adorned the ceiling of the room, feeling strangely dizzy.
"A letter would be nice," he said aloud.
He could almost hear the cherubs' laughter.
Harry settled back onto his pillows, licking his hand and sliding it beneath his waistband.
First, they would slowly open the hatch on the window. It was always slowly at first, no matter how urgent Harry wanted it to be later. It would ease open; he stared at the immobile latch longingly as he imagined it. The window would judder forward. Ever so slightly at first, just to test, then more forcefully, snapping branches and twigs carelessly out of the way.
A hand would appear, clenching onto the bottom of the windowsill. Sometimes, it was stocky and freckled. Others, it was thin and smooth and tanned. Mostly it was just your average hand - more or less like Harry's, with calluses and bitten nails and a potion-stain or two. It would always grip tightly, seeming to know that with one sweaty slip the person it was attached to would plummet to an untimely demise in the daisies.
The person - whoever it was - would slowly pull themself up, and Harry would catch only a small glimpse of their face before they swung their leg over the sill and pulled themselves inside. Harry would sit back in his bed, gasping and blinking and looking self-righteously less-than-innocent. He'd always bite his lip a little, too.
The person would smile or smirk or glare, depending on Harry's mood, then cross the room in a mostly predatory manner. Harry would narrow his eyes but part his legs accommodatingly anyway and whoever it was would smirk triumphantly and settle down between them, planting themselves upon Harry's straining erection. "Oh, Harry," they would murmur sometimes. "You like that?" was often enough, and every now and again it was, "Potter, you slut."
Harry would protest weakly - "You can't be in here, this is a quarantine!" - but he'd usually just be soothed, or laughed at, or more often just silenced. The person would lean down and kiss him, and their hot tongues would swirl together as they moaned in need and thoughtless abandon. Sometimes their clothes would melt off like honey and suddenly it would be sticky fingers and sweaty skin and breathless gasping until he and Harry came together. Other times it was a scuffle as they vied for dominance, thrusting cocks and flexing muscles and "Fuck yeah, Harry, give me more!"
Lately, however, it was starting to become the same thing, time and time again. The person would swoop in as usual, murmuring, "You dirty little slut, so hard for me already, aren't you?" in a deep voice that send shivers down Harry's spine. Harry would turn his head to moan encouragingly when he would catch sight of the man - you know who it is, Harry - and his heart would stop. He would protest, shaking his head and begging. Whoever it was - Snape, Harry, it's Snape - would push him down roughly on the bed and snarl, "Begging for my cock, aren't you?" Harry wouldn't be able to speak, so consumed with fear and arousal that he could do nothing but gasp as the man roughly flipped him over and pushed his face down into the coverlet. There would be no soft pleas or sticky kisses or slow build-ups of tension - suddenly Harry's trousers would be around his ankles and he'd be penetrated, the man roughly silencing his cries with a wrench on his hair. Tears would form in his eyes as the man began to thrust, and even though Harry would be overcome with fear and hate and self-loathing, he wouldn't be able to stop himself from greedily pushing back on each thrust, moaning and writhing and begging incomprehensibly. The man would pound into him relentlessly, hissing the most deliciously filthy things into Harry's ear, until finally his rock-hard grip on Harry's hips would become almost unbearable as he emptied himself into Harry, gasping and clenching and hissing with pleasure.
Harry would be roughly thrown aside as the man did himself up and quickly left the way he came without a single glance backwards. There would be bruises, yes, and the musky, sweaty smell of sex - and the lingering promise of next time.
"God," Harry croaked aloud, as he came desperately into his trousers, "I need to get out of here."
"It doesn't make me a freak," Harry whispered miserably, staring at the cherubs on the ceiling.
"Fantasies aren't reality."
"I'm just - frustrated. Projecting."
The silence of the room was mocking him.
"This is the only excitement I have. I'm bored."
I'm bored. I'm bored. I'm bored.
"It's - it's something to do with my subconscious mind that I don't understand."
"Even if it is Snape, it doesn't mean anything."
"It's not like I actually want him to break into my room and fuck me."
"God, I don't know how much more of this I can take..."
The cherubs laughed down at him, their mocking expressions still perfectly painted on. "You still have five months left to go, Harry."
When Harry first awoke, he had the distinct impression that it was the sound of the doorknob squeaking that had woken him up. He blinked wearily, trying to dispel this thought. It wasn't possible, of course - the room was completely impenetrable to the outside world. He sighed deeply and turned over, trying to bury himself deeper into his blankets and fall back to sleep before the counting started again.
Harry sat up with a start. There it was again - but it couldn't have been. The wards were so tightly wound around his room even Voldemort himself couldn't have gotten in if he'd wanted to. The Order had spent days and days working him in there while he'd sat around, their voices and spells getting fainter and fainter until he was finally cut off from them completely.
"Maybe I've started to hallucinate," Harry said loudly, hoping it would be enough, and his brain would back down.
"It's a dream," he said forcefully. "I'm dreaming. And whoever this is, they're probably going to just walk in and fuck me senseless like all the other dreams."
His heart pounded in his throat as the door creaked open. No beam of light poured through as it opened wider and wider - just darkness eating darkness. He tried blinking repeatedly, tried shaking his head, but the door stayed open.
"Who's there?" Harry hissed, wondering for the first time in months why the Order hadn't provided him with a wand. If this really was someone dangerous, or even just Dudley managing to stumble idiotically through the wards, he needed some way of protecting himself and getting the person out of the room. Why hadn't they thought of that?
The door slammed shut.
Harry felt like he was going to be sick. There was someone in the room with him. He could smell them. The thick, pungent aroma of newness - of must, dust, dirt, fresh air, grease and something faintly rotten.
This person - whoever it was - had broken the wards. The Quarantine was broken. I'm going to die.
He could hear them breathing. The harsh in, out of air. He felt a cold shiver run down his spine. His heart was in his mouth.
"Get out," he tried to shout but it came out as nothing more than a hoarse whisper.
"Not until I know, Mr Potter, what's in that potion you keep downing."
"I don't know why you're looking at me like that," Harry said, folding his arms behind his head. "It was just a dream."
Cherub One threw its head back and laughed, twirling its golden hair around a chubby finger, and pointed over towards the bedside table, which was, for the first time since Harry had been in the room, completely bare.
"That doesn't mean anything. Maybe the Order wanted the bottle back."
Cherub Two danced behind his friend, equally as giddy, and pointed towards the books that were strewn all over the floor. It did look like someone had thrown them and there'd been a fight, yes, but that didn't mean anything.
"I could have done that in my sleep. In fact, I probably did. I was probably sleep-walking and you're just trying to confuse me."
Cherub Three, the cheekiest of the lot, smirked at him with knowing eyes as he giggled behind his hand. Harry resisted the urge to stick his tongue out, deciding that as soon as he got the chance, he was going to blast the damn things into oblivion.
"They don't mean anything," Harry snapped, delicately running a hand down his side where fresh bruises were just starting to appear, almost perfectly in the shape of a large hand. "It was a dream that I dreamt while dreaming, and there's nothing any of you lot can say to change my mind."
Seven months, two weeks, four days, twelve hours and thirty-four seconds.
"Any of whom?"
Harry nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of the voice so close to his ear. He leapt up from the ground and felt his heart stop at the sight of the man standing in his bedroom.
Severus Snape. Exactly as he'd seen him the night before.
Why the fuck don't I have my fucking wand?
"Get the fuck out of my room!" Harry's heart was starting to pound faster and faster. He'd spent the entire day trying to convince himself that Snape's appearance in his room the previous night was merely the combined result of intense boredom, lucid dreaming and too much wanking. It was just a vivid dream, he'd told himself. It didn't matter that he could perfect envisage Snape's flashing eyes, that he had the bruise where Snape had grabbed him and shook him, that the books were still scattered from when he'd thrown them in a fit of rage at Snape's leaving, knowing the Quarantine to be broken, that he could still hear Snape's demands as if he were speaking them still. "Give me the bottle, Potter. I need to see it."
And here the man was again, in the flesh - in his room, past the wards, his pungent and foreign smell quickly consuming the room and standing not three meters away from Harry. He was exactly as he had been when Harry had last seen him; lank hair, crooked nose, yellow teeth, swirling black robes and all. He was holding his wand casually by his side and Harry felt vaguely irritated that he didn't feel any threat was possible upon entering Harry's room.
After all the thoughts Harry had had of Snape - the fantasies of happening upon him in the street and ripping his throat out which started the day after Dumbledore's death; the flickering moments when Harry had his hand wrapped tightly around his cock and his imaginary intruder suddenly had flashing black eyes and a biting tongue; the most recent concerns that Snape represented the fragmenting of Harry's sane mind - Snape seemed both larger than life and oddly small standing amidst the disarray of the Dursley's spare room. A beam of light fell in from the window to rest on the back of Snape's head and he looked positively eerie amidst the pink and peach.
Harry swallowed. If only he had his wand. At least it was only a matter of time before the Quarantine Interruption alerts were sounded and the Order came to his rescue. He tried not to think about why the Order hadn't come the previous night.
Snape cleared his throat. "The empty bottle was insufficient, Potter-"
"The Order will be here soon and you better hope to fucking God they don't kill you," Harry snapped, his voice breaking slightly and coming out slightly hysterical.
Snape's dark eyes felt like they were piercing through his skin. "No one is coming, Potter."
Harry balked. "They are." His voice didn't come out sounding nearly as firm as he'd hoped. "There's an alarm."
"Is there?" Snape raised an elegant hand in question. "I don't recall there being one last night."
Of course there was an alarm. Snape was just trying to scare him. "Well, no, but-"
"Then it would be in your best interests to listen to me and do as I say."
Harry snarled. "You expect me to listen to you, Albus Dumbledore's murderer?"
"This is not the time for histrionics." Snape's eyes flashed darkly. "Give me a sample of the potion you have been taking or I will have to force you."
I will have to force you. A shiver went down Harry's spine. "How do you know I've been taking a potion, anyway?" he asked slowly. He should have asked that question the previous night. Damn his incompetence.
Snape's jaw clenched. "I'm warning you now, Potter, not to play games with me."
Where the hell was the Order when you needed them? "I'm not going to help you," said Harry, desperately trying to control his tone lest Snape tire of him and decide to deliver him straight to Voldemort. "Ever," he added, unable to resist.
Snape's lips twitched. "This is our Saviour, is it? My, my, I can understand the Order's apprehension. At least the Dark Side has a competent leader-"
Harry took a step toward Snape, balling his fists. "I never wanted to be a leader?"
"Is that what you were planning to say when it came down to it all?"
A growl rose up deep from within Harry's throat. "When it bloody comes down to it all, at least I'll be able to die an honorable fucking person! What about you, Snape? You think you'll be able to justify your actions? You think you'll be able to explain why you did the things you did? How can you stand there and defend a monster without batting a fucking eyelid?! Voldemort is a MURDERER!" Harry bellowed.
Snape appeared unfazed. "As are the majority of your precious Order."
"At least they're working towards the greater good!"
"An entirely subjective goal," Snape countered.
"What, so you want to kill me, then?" Harry could hear his voice getting louder and harsher as the last seven months of lethargic fury built up in his veins. "Just like he does? Kill me, then! Kill me! Murder me! Murder me like you murdered my mother, my father, like you murdered Sirius! Murder me, Snape, like you MURDERED ALBUS DUMBLDORE!"
"CALM YOURSELF, POTTER, AND THINK!" Snape roared, coming at Harry so quickly Harry barely had time to think before he was being pushed up against the wall with Snape's arms at his neck. "If my initial goal was to kill you, haven't I had ample chance by now? If my goal were to find out information regarding your current situation, wouldn't I have done so and left? If I intended to kidnap you and present you to the Dark Lord, wouldn't I have done so upon entering? Have you ever known me to be someone who took great delight in bandying words with hormone-addled adolescents?" he spat, slowly trapping the air at Harry's throat.
"How do you expect me to trust you?" Harry rasped.
"I'm on your bloody side, Potter!"
"If that were true," Harry gasped, trying not to gag, "why come to me? Why not go to the Order?!"
Snape stared at Harry, the vein in his temple throbbing madly. "Every single member of the Order has instructions to kill me on sight."
If they weren't so unevenly armed Harry would have spat in his face. "I wonder why," he wheezed.
The veins in Snape's temple bulged even bigger, and Harry was worried for a moment it might burst. It was nothing compared to the intensity shooting out of Snape's eyes, however. "My place in the Dark Lord's inner circle is invaluable," Snape hissed. "My starring role in Albus's death meant I now have access to everything - plans, maps, ideas, theories, attacks-"
"All of which you're feeding to Order, of course-"
"Naturally," Snape cut in furiously. "You know, I don't know why I'm bothering to explain myself to you-"
"Because you're trying to convince me you're not the lying, scheming, snivelling, murderous traitor EVERYONE KNOWS YOU ARE!"
At that moment something in Snape appeared to snap. He grabbed Harry by the neck in a death grip and wrenched him down to his knees, the look in his eyes almost maniacal as he pulled out a small blue vial from his pocket.
"I tried to do this the easy way, Potter, but once again you manage to ruin everything so exquisitely," Snape snarled, pushing Harry's head back roughly.
"Get the fuck away from me!" Harry looked around desperately. "HELP!"
"No one is coming to save you now, Potter..."
Oh God, I'm going to die, he's going to kill me.
"NO! I WON'T LET-" But suddenly he was unable to speak as Snape shoved the tiny vial into his mouth and emptied out the contents. Harry tried as hard as he could to resist, spitting and blocking off his throat, but it was no use - the frothing liquid had already sunk into his tongue. He looked up furiously at Snape who had the strangest look on his face.
"Now, Potter," he murmured. "How does that feel?"
"I-" Harry was just about to tell Snape where he could stick his bloody potion vile when his lips slackened beneath his words and his arms fell limply to his sides.
He poisoned me.
Harry could felt his heartbeat slowing down. Thump thump
Thump thump. There wasn't anything he could do but glare helplessly as his legs crumpled and he fell down onto his back.
"Feeling ... pliable?" Snape murmured with a smirk and with a start Harry realised he was kneeling down beside him, leaning over Harry's prostrate body with almost palpable glee.
Get away from me. Don't touch me - don't touch - don't - touch me, oh God, touch me...
The edges of Harry's world were starting to blur, a whirl of miraculous overcoming him as Snape descended down upon him. Everything was starting to darken when Snape's hand slipped beneath Harry's waistband into his trousers to grab his straining erection.
"So hard for me already, Potter, who would have known..."
"You always knew he was a bad man, Harry," Cherub One seemed to say.
"I shouldn't have liked what he did so much," Harry whispered.
"Oh, come now," Cherub Three said, cheekily. "We all like a bit of slap and tickle every now and again..."
Harry wondered if the reeling feeling he was still experiencing was due to the potion Snape had forced down his throat.
Suddenly there came a pounding at the door.
"Oh God, he's back," Harry hissed, staggering upright. "He's back!"
Harry was just about to ball his hands into fists when he realised that the voice was distinctly feminine.
"HARRY, ARE YOU THERE?"
"Hermione?" he murmured.
"THE WAR IS OVER, HARRY!"
"YOU'RE FREE, HARRY! YOU'RE FREE!"
"WE'RE ALL BLOODY FREE!"
Part Three - Epilogue
Harry took a deep breath of the fresh morning air, stepping out onto the dewy pavement with as much confidence as he could muster. Three years since the war ended and he still couldn't help looking behind his shoulder. Three years since he'd been stuck in that Godforsaken room for nearly eight months and he still felt nervous about leaving the house. Three years since he'd been told everything he'd ever been told was all a theory and he still felt the bitter lick of disappointment every time he saw a newspaper heading.
"A prophecy is a prediction, not a statement of fact, Harry."
Harry shook his head softly, recalling Hermione's serious face. How many hours had they agonised over the idea that Harry was destined to be the one to kill Voldemort, once and for all? How many sleepless nights had he spent tossing and turning, thoughts of doubt consuming his mind? How many times had he been tutored and saved and revered, all with the firm belief that it would aid him in saving the whole world? He couldn't believe the way she forgot all that in the cool morning of reason. Everyone had believed the prophecy; not just Harry.
"You were in bed? Good ruddy job, mate."
He supposed Ron had been trying to be funny, but his comment had hit Harry like a smack in the face. As if he hadn't reiterated, time and time again, how much he wished he'd been able to help. How much he'd longed to be a part of everything, how much he hated having experienced nothing of such a historical period of time. How much he detested, once again, being on the outside, being different from everyone. It wasn't his bloody fault he'd been locked up when Voldemort's corpse was discovered. It wasn't his bloody fault he didn't have anything to do with the Dark Lord's miraculous demise, save for being linked up in some incomprehensible plan of Snape's, which combined a never ending series of spells and potions and linking devices. It wasn't his fault Snape had "stolen his glory", as the newspapers blared out every day.
"I'm glad to see you made it out whole; I know what a burden a cage can be."
Harry had tried to smile weakly but Remus's glib comment had sat funny in his gut. A cage - that was exactly what it was. Being locked in that stupid cage with no way of getting out and no way of anyone else coming in to help him.
"You know," Harry muttered, shoving his hands in his pockets as he walked, "you could have at least told me that stupid vial of potion was going to give me a vision."
"I was having enough trouble trying to get you to take the damn thing."
"You didn't exactly broach the subject in the most diplomatic of ways."
Harry frowned. "I thought you were - well, you know. I thought it was still you. I was terrified."
Out of the corner of his eye Harry saw Snape smiling a crooked smile. "Terrified?"
"You're a real bastard, you know that?"
"I won't deny it."
Harry sighed, long and hard. He shook his head. "Still. I suppose everything worked itself out in the end."
"Better late than never," Snape replied.