This story is SLASH, which means it involves TWO MEN having SEX. WITH EACH OTHER. If you don't like this notion, don't read the story. If you read the story anyway, I am not responsible for your offended sensibilities. Feedback is welcome. Flames or dissertations on why homosexuality is wrong are not.

Disclaimer: See that lady over there? Hers, not mine. See all the money? Same deal.
Summary: A caged bird will sing, if only to conserve his spirit.

A/N1: I'm on a bird-analogy spree, it seems. This started off as an answer to one of my own challenges, but it turned out too literary for what I had in mind for that one. I may make that one a sequel to this. I'm sure this plot has been done before, but not with these two characters as far as I know.

A/N2: Thanks Cat for beta-ing, and to Ally and Alexandre•, who kindly checked my very poor translations. I realize all the accents are missing -- better that than the string of gobbledygook Yahoo changes them into. :) Remaining errors are my own bloody fault since I can't resist tweaking.


* * * * *

Je Te Plumerais
by Nimori

He was still alive.

They had shaved his head, and even though it grew back overnight, he was still alive.

He didn't want to think about what that meant.

* * * * *

Time became a ghost, the never-ending lumos which hovered sullenly over his cell eradicating day and night, meals arriving at what he thought were irregular intervals. He knew what Voldemort was doing; the Dark Lord was a Slytherin, and Slytherins liked mind-games the way plants liked sunlight.

Events escalated, in the world beyond. He could feel it, and knew Voldemort *wanted* him to feel it and know himself for helpless.

And the meals appeared and the waste vanished and Harry Potter hadn't seen another face since the death of time, since the dawn of the endless twilight.

* * * * *

He paced. He sang songs. He scratched arithmancy problems on the walls. He remembered the herpetorium, and wondered if there was a sign outside his cell.

*Thamnophis potterica, the northern European garden potter. Endangered. Originally from southern England, Thamnophis potterica is now found mainly in Scotland, but continues to migrate south in the summer. Specimen is estimated at 16-17 years old. Bred in captivity.*

He paced. No one came.

* * * * *

Someone came.

Light, brighter than his dim lumos; light, bobbing as the bringer moved. His door opened, and two masked Death Eaters threw a limp and blood-painted body onto his floor.

They left, taking their light with them and leaving their mangled burden, but now, oh now there was *before* and *after*, and it gave hope that time merely hibernated, that it might wake soon, and bring back day and night and classes and friends and black dogs and freckles and Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans and twinkling eyes behind half-moon spectacles and innovative predictions of his own death and pumpkin juice and dark snapping beetle-eyes that hated him and flobberworms and slipping through dark corridors at night, secure knowing no one could see him, but also knowing that he could be seen if he chose to be... that he could exist for someone.

He could survive the wait, because now there was a *before*, and an *after*. Before his door opened. After his door opened. He'd captured a reference point in the new arrival, and the victory tasted sweet.

He left his guest where the Death Eaters flung him, and resumed his hundred and fifty-first rendition of 'Allouette'. [1]

He hummed the words he didn't know, which were many.

* * * * *

After a while -- and Harry wasn't sure how long because he'd been thinking and thinking sometimes sped up the perception of time and sometimes slowed it down -- Lucius Malfoy sat up.

"Potter. Stop singing." Broken, hoarse voice.

"No. Allouette, hmm-hmm allouette, allouette, je te hmm-hmm-hmm."

"Perhaps I was mistaken," Malfoy said, wincing. Harry was pleased to see his long aristocratic nose looked broken. "There is a Hell after all."

Harry grinned. "Piss off your master?"

"You could say that."

"I just did. Allouette, hmm-hmm allouette--"

"Merlin save me."

* * * * *

"You're going to mess it up!"

Malfoy shot him an irate and unlucid glare, his cheeks flushed and damp, and resumed his laborious efforts to reach the water basin. "Mess... what up... Potter?"

Harry pointed to the intricate design he'd made by trickling sand in concentric circles. Hermione would have said it looked very Zen, and then given him an uncondensed history of Buddhism.

"Fine." Malfoy settled back against the wall, panting and trying not to show it. "Bring me some water then."

Harry glared at him, and glanced between the self-filling water basin and the culmination of hours or days or weeks of patient sand-dribbling, torn. Sighing, he got up and went to the basin, only then realizing he had no cup. Plates and bowls appeared and disappeared with the food, and he was never given utensils. Shrugging, Harry cupped his hands.

Very little water survived the trip, and Malfoy curled his lip when Harry reached him, though whether at the pitiful offering or the slightly grimy, scratched, and battered state of Harry's hands he couldn't tell. He accepted the water though, lips rough and cracked against Harry's palm.

He made several more trips before Malfoy waved him off, and then Malfoy threw it all up on the sand design, and wrecked Harry's efforts at preserving his sanity through eastern philosophy anyway.

* * * * *

"Allouette, hmm-hmm allouette--"



"Gentile allouette."

"Gentile allouette, allouette, je te..."

"Plumerais." Silence for a moment. "Well?"

"I don't know the rest."

"For the love of Talesien... 'Je te plumerais la tete, je te plumerais la tete, et la tete, et la tete'."

"What does it mean?"

"Lark, gentle lark, lark, I would pluck you. I would pluck your head, I would pluck your head, and your head, and your head."

"That's morbid."

"It's a children's song, Potter. They're all macabre."

Harry was silent for a while, then: "Great, green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, little dirty birdies' feet..." [2]

Malfoy whimpered, and dropped his head to his knees.

* * * * *

Only time, fickle bitch, would tell whether Malfoy's leg was broken or just severely strained, but in the meantime he seemed to enjoy having Harry fetch and carry for him.

Not that there was much *to* fetch and carry. Meals, because Harry had gone without too often; water, for the same reason; and the waste bucket, as he didn't want to live with the smell. The addition of another body to the soapless cell was bad enough, even if Malfoy couldn't smell anything through his mangled nose.

* * * * *

"Je te plumerais le nez, je te plumerais le nez, et le nez, et le nez. Allouette, allouette..."

"Will you be silent?"

* * * * *

Eventually Harry wet the strip of his robes he had been using to clean himself, brought it to Malfoy, and helped him daub the blood off. Looking at the dried and crusted blood, and swollen, blackened eye gave him uneasy dreams. Malfoy swore at him when Harry cleaned the broken nose and tender eye, but at least he only looked like he'd gotten into a barroom scrape, not like he just lost a fight with a werewolf.

* * * * *

"Je te plumerais les yeux, je te plumerais les yeux, et les yeux, et les yeux. Allouette, allouette..."

"Can't you sing something -- anything -- else?"

* * * * *

Malfoy consented to learn checkers, but only because they had no way to turn the pebbles into chess pieces, and neither could remember a backgammon board well enough to trace in the dirt. He moved the stones with one smug and delicate and terribly precise hand, favouring the other while he waited for the swelling in his fingers to go down and the violent purple to fade.

He routinely trounced Harry once he'd got the hang of it.

* * * * *

"Je te plumerais les mains, je te plumerais les mains, et les mains, et les mains. Allouette, allouette..."

"Potter, please. I'm asking nicely. Shut. Up."

* * * * *

They had a few fights after Malfoy's leg improved. Harry, willing enough to take pity on a helpless man, refused to remain a house-elf once Malfoy could walk, while Malfoy thought it amusing to see how much he could get Harry to do for him.

* * * * *

"Je te plumerais les jambes, je te plumerais les jambes, et les jambes, et les jambes. Allouette, allouette..."

"Goddamn it, Potter, shut the fuck up before I drown you in the basin."

* * * * *

Malfoy's rediscovered independence returned Harry to a higher state of boredom, so when a conversation-slash-argument about the benefits of being raised in a pure-blooded household resulted in Malfoy offering to teach him to dance, Harry agreed.

"Ron doesn't dance either," Harry muttered, reluctant and eager and awkward as he allowed Malfoy to position his hands at shoulder and waist. "He's a pure-blood, so I don't see how that's a benefit of ancestry."

"Forgive me, I should have said pure-bloods with class, and a modicum of dignity. Head up, and follow where I lead."

Harry snorted. "Would you really be happier if the world was reduced to pure-blooded wizards of high station and old money, who only wear hand-stitched velvet robes, like Virgil but not Homer, and think caviar is tacky? All twenty-seven of them?"

"Sounds like utopia to me," Malfoy said. "Although caviar is never tacky, and velvet is too hot for summer, so we'd have to allow silk as well."

It took Harry a moment to realize Malfoy had made a joke, and when he did he was so surprised he missed his step, and Malfoy trod on his toes.

"Clumsy brat."

"Hey, you're the one who stepped on me. And since you injured me, I think you can wait on me for a change."

* * * * *

"Je te plumerais les pieds, je te plumerais les pieds, et les pieds, et les pieds. Allouette, allouette..."

"Allouette, gentile allouette."

"Allouette, je te plumerais. One more time! Allouette..."

* * * * *

They had taken to sitting together whenever they were still; familiarity and apathy wore down any determination to stoically endure the slight chill. Harry had always thought Malfoy physically imposing, but he never quite realized how strong the man was, how broad his chest, how solid his arms, until they lay wrapped around each other.

Malfoy slept, soft tickle of breath brushing Harry's ear, Harry's small, slight frame fitting nicely against his larger form. He wondered if Malfoy knew his arms crept around his cell-mate whenever they slept thus, and decided Malfoy probably did know. Not much escaped Malfoy's sharp eyes.

Still, it felt pleasant to be touched so, to be held like he was loved. He wondered what it would be like to really be loved, and thought his current position came close enough.

After all, it was hard to miss something he had never had.

* * * * *

"Je te plumerais les bras, je te plumerais les bras, et les bras, et les bras. Allouette, allouette..."

"Give it up, Potter. I know how to shut you up now."

"Please do."

* * * * *

The tentativeness of their first kiss set the tone for what followed, as though Malfoy was never sure if Harry would suddenly slap him away and curse him for the Slytherin Death Eater he was. Malfoy had, in fact, been strangely humble when he first pressed his warm, soft lips to Harry's, and though Harry responded with relieved eagerness, they never lost that hesitant quality. Harry didn't think they ever would. They were both too suspicious, waiting for the other to pull back and rage at the presumption, waiting to remember their enmity.

Even when he lay on their hard floor, Malfoy rutting hard and fast between his legs, sweat slicking them and gluing dirt to their skin, he could not quite let go. He screamed and moaned and begged and bit, clutching the long, matted, dirty hair, pulling as though he could rein his pseudo-lover in -- as though one could direct a Malfoy -- but he never forgot that it *was* a Malfoy fucking him, never forgot he belonged with black dogs and freckles and bushy brown hair, that time hadn't always slept.

But while he existed in this vacuum he would gladly spend hours or days or weeks on his knees, licking and sucking a thick cock that their faded lumos tinted dark crimson. He would never tire of feeling it driving into him; he would never be bored again, so long as Malfoy was willing to take him... fast or slow, hard or gentle... it was all good.

Most of all he loved Malfoy's hot mouth, anywhere on him. His neck, his nipples, his prick... trailing down his back or thighs, his inner arms... whispering across the hated scar. It whispered *to* him as well, telling him how beautiful his eyes were, how soft his skin, how strong his spirit.

It said other things sometimes, things like, 'Don't let me go,' and 'I'd be lost without you,' and 'I don't want to need you.'

Yes, Harry loved Malfoy's mouth best of all.

* * * * *

"Je te plumerais la bouche, je te plumerais la bouche, et la bouche, et la bouche. Allouette, allouette..."

"Oh, Merlin, yes, right there..."

* * * * *

He didn't think it very appropriate to scream out 'Malfoy' as he came, so he trained himself to think 'Lucius' whenever their lips met, until that was the name he called in passion. Malfoy seemed to like this, and stopped calling him Potter even in the moments they weren't having sex -- which became rare.

It seemed that if they were not fucking, they were licking, sucking, kissing each other, or, when exhaustion forbade it, simply lying in each other's arms. It was by far the most interesting thing to do in their cell, far better than checkers or rehashing old arguments and politics they would never agree on.

* * * * *

Once, Malfoy rose from delivering an enthusiastic blow job, and instead of tossing Harry's legs over his shoulders and fucking him senseless, straddled him and sank onto his straining prick.

Harry could only gasp in sympathy at Malfoy's pained groan, for he dearly remembered the few times Malfoy took him without stretching him first, and they easily rivaled Malfoy taking his virginity for sheer, exciting, beautiful agony.

Then Malfoy started to ride him, and he forgot about being taken, and discovered the pleasure of taking. And it was all good.

* * * * *

One day he woke up and thought he was blind.

He wasn't; their lumos had gone out.

Night fell.

* * * * *

In the brief, heavy, liberating, intimate darkness their cage crumbled, and for the first and only time they made love, and when Lucius poured his hot seed into his body, Harry received it like a ritual sacrifice to long-dead god of innocent pleasure.

* * * * *


Half-moon glasses and kind, heart-broken eyes.

"Lucius?" Harry whispered, and felt a soft, clean robe cover the body he no longer felt the need to clothe.

Dumbledore looked away, to the door. "Wait."

Harry sat up to find Malfoy in the grip of two wizards in official-looking blue robes, all on their way out.

Dumbledore glanced back at Harry. "I think we'll travel together after all."

The two wizards did not look pleased, but waited while Dumbledore helped Harry to his feet. Malfoy's eyes stayed closed, but Harry heard his soft whisper.

"Gentile allouette..."

* * * * *

The examination room at St Mungo's smelled like Snape's classroom, or at least what Harry thought Snape's classroom smelled like; he couldn't really remember. The red- and gold-crowned trees beyond the window pane startled him, for he thought Voldemort captured him in March. He had turned seventeen in the twilight then -- his most unremarked birthday ever, uncelebrated even by him.

They put Malfoy in the next cubicle, though the nurses seemed to think Harry should be afraid of him, and tried to move him. Dumbledore had a seventh sense about such things however, and appeared promptly to overrule such attempts.

Harry lay back, clean and full and warm for the first time in eight months, listening to Malfoy's voice ramble on, a familiar timbre. He seemed to be asking after Draco, and Harry suddenly recalled the other Malfoy he hated. Strange to think he could have forgotten him.

"Never fear, Lucius. Draco did indeed escape, and he made it back to Hogwarts around mid-May. It was, in fact, he who informed us our Mr Potter was a polyjuiced imposter."


Dumbledore seemed to take pity on him, and answered the unasked question. "Narcissa has already received the dementor's kiss." Harry could positively *hear* the twinkle in Dumbledore's voice. "I expect you will find it easy to attribute certain illegal actions to her."

Malfoy did not reply, but Harry knew that chagrined silence well. He smiled to himself.

* * * * *

"Je te plumerais la tete, je te plumerais la tete, et la tete, et la tete. Allouette, allouette..."

The soft baritone carried just as far as his bed, and no farther, and Harry lay staring at the stripped tree branches, stark against the night sky, squarely framed by the window.

It was far too dark, and he wished someone with a wand would cast a dim lumos.

"Allouette, gentile allouette..."

"Shut up and go to sleep, Lucius," he whispered.

* * * * *

The aurors took Malfoy away before the medi-witch would allow Harry visitors, and Harry was glad, for he didn't think he could bear Sirius and Ron and Hermione with Malfoy listening. He could hardly stand it by himself, and sometimes at night he would get up, shuffle to his door, ease it open to peer outside.

The sign always said "Potter, Harry, Rm. 203', but he thought it might as well have said "Transfer from Riddle Zoo. Rare specimen!'

* * * * *

The hair they shaved off had gone into polyjuice potion as he feared, but the imposter had been Peter Pettigrew, which turned out rather well, as Sirius was now free. Hermione, down from Edinburough and the wizarding university there, said he had never given up searching for Harry, and had even sunk so low as to work with Snape. Ron, about to go on his first field operation as an auror, could not stay long, and Hermione had to return to classes, and while Harry was relieved to see them go, he also cursed them for abandoning him to the whims of an overprotective, emotionally unbalanced godfather.

* * * * *

By Christmas he had escaped Sirius' clutches, and settled into Gryffindor tower with his new roommates -- Harvey Morrow, Gavin O'Shea, Perseus Wilderson, Mick Sterling, and Colin Creevey -- willing, if not ready, to make up the four months he'd missed.

Draco Malfoy was also repeating the year as, between his mother setting his father up as a traitor to their master, being offered as a sacrifice when he defended Lucius a little too vehemently, missing a month of classes, and spending the rest of the term agonizing over his father's fate, Draco had done rather poorly on his NEWTs.

They avoided each other, mostly. Draco took the spotlight more and more often as his father's trial overran the newspapers, but eventually faded back when the elder Malfoy, by way of half-truths, managed to hang his entire family's involvement with Voldemort on his dead wife's head.

Which was no less than Harry expected.

* * * * *

Life was quiet.

Even Potions passed uneventfully, as Harry happily allowed Snape to gloat over his part in Voldemort's downfall outweighing the famous Harry Potter's. After a while Snape grew sulky at Harry's lack of interest in continuing their conflict, and stopped. Beetle-black eyes watched him constantly, but no longer radiated malice.

Life was quiet, and time woke from her long sleep, slow and groggy, and never quite the same.

It always seemed too bright, or too dark.

* * * * *

The post came, one morning shortly before exams, and a strange owl dropped a gold box tied with a green ribbon in front of Harry. He had to catch it midair, or it would have landed in his eggs.

He untied the ribbon, aware of furtive gazes from other tables, and Ginny and Colin's less subtle curiosity. He lifted the lid, pulled out a folded note, and found beneath it hundreds of tiny, delicate feathers, dusted in gold, with the points weighted with small bronze spheres.

"Who would send you an extollo pluma set?" Colin peered over Harry's shoulder.

"Ooh, they're lark feathers," Ginny said. "They're for good luck and sunny days." [3]

"What are they?" he asked, lifting one to the light, and turning it to watch it glitter.

"Decorations," Colin said, losing interest. "You cast a wingardium leviosa on 'em, and toss 'em in the air. They'll stay up for hours, like the candles." He waved at the ceiling, nose already back in his Charms textbook.

The note, when he unfolded it, said: *Tu m'as plume*. [4]

* * * * *

Hermione thought his new flat very Zen, and gave him a book on the history of Buddhism. Harry politely did not mention he had already read it, and accepted her compliments on the peacefulness of the sparse furnishings and themes of stone and sand.

Ron thought he was nutters, and told him so.

* * * * *

One summer night he closed all the lights and cast a dim lumos, sending his peaceful living room into twilight, and the reassuring light glinted off hundreds of golden feathers, sparkling on their polished bronze bases. They drifted on the air currents, set courses, sailed to new worlds.

"How I love this light."

He did not acknowledge the man standing in his doorway, uninvited and unannounced, and chose not to question the violation of his wards. The long silver-blonde hair shone now, free of the dirt plain water had never been able to wash away, brushed smooth, and trimmed to just past his shoulders. He'd had his nose fixed, but it wasn't quite the same.

"I love how it tames your eyes, " Malfoy continued, "how it deepens them and calms the restlessness."

Harry reached out and captured one of the feathers, brought it to his lips. How he loved Malfoy's mouth, especially when--

"Don't let me go. I'm so lost."

-- it formed sweet words that made him feel loved and needed. And now it spoke them without the catalyst of passion, without the pretense of escape, and pressed a chaste kiss to his nape. The uncertainty was gone. Harry leaned back into the strong body, so much larger than him. "Je te plumerais la tete, et les yeux, et le nez, et tes levres qui me baisent, oh, and your hands that touch me..." [5]

Lucius moaned, and his hands and lips obeyed, sliding across Harry's stomach, floating up his neck to kiss his earlobe. "Marry me."

He loved when that mouth said such things, sincere or not. "Yes."

He freed the captured feather to embrace his gentle, fragile lark, and it spun away, joyful and terrified in its unexpected release.


[1] ALLOUETTE Traditional

Allouette, gentile allouette,
Allouette, je te plumerais
(Lark, gentle lark,
Lark, I would pluck you.)
Je te plumerais la tete,
(I would pluck your head,)
Je te plumerais la tete,
Et la tete, et la tete,
(And your head, and your head),
Allouette, allouette, oh-oh,
Allouette, gentile allouette,
Allouette, je te plumerais.
Je te plumerais le nez (your nose), etc.
Les yeux (your eyes), la bouche (mouth),
Les bras (arms), les mains (hands),
Les jambes (legs), les pieds (feet)

Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts,
Mutilated monkey meat,
Little dirty birdies' feet,
Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts,
And I forgot my spoon!
Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts,
Mutilated monkey meat,
Itsy bitsy birdie feet,
French fried eye-balls,
Rolling down a muddy street,
And I forgot my spoon.
...But I got my straw!
Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts,
Mutilated monkey meat,
Saturated birdy feet,
All wrapped up in
All purpose porpoise pus.
And me without a spoon!
Gee whiz! (but I've got a straw)
Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts
Mutilated monkey meat
Chopped up dirty birdy feet.
A one pound jar of all purpose porpoise pus
Swimming in pink lemonade.
Scab sandwich, spit on top
Monkey vomit, camel snot
Eagle eye and cookie goo
Made a sandwich just for you.

[3] In celtic lore, the lark's song, heard on St. Brigid's day, promised luck and sunny days for whosoever heard it.

[4] Tu m'as plume.
You have plucked me.

[5] Je te plumerais la tete, et les yeux, et le nez, et tes levres qui me baisent...
I would pluck your head, and your eyes, and your nose, and your lips that kiss me...