I would like to extend my most profound gratitude to those of you who reviewed this story before it was taken off for 'exceeding the rating given.' I will think upon you with the utmost generosity of my soul. Thank you.
romeiet, Maizeysugah, Yes, this story was one of many casualties in the war of the high ratings. Thankfully the repost has not been evicted with such ruthless prejudice. I am most glad to find that you like this story. Your kind support is what keeps me inspired. I am in your debt. Thank you.
Ambrosia-Ku-Ran aka Ken Potter, Firstly, thank you for your continued support. I am most pleased and thankful. Secondly, I think you may be right in desiring to allow Harry peer companionship. I shall incorporate such interactions at a later date. As for Tom and Harry, I think Tom has a desire to push people to their limits. Only the strong will survive and all that. What better tool than an amoral being of pleasing proportions?
Trinalla, Oh, I am so happy that this story has met with your approval. I hope to continue to please. As to Harry's mental capacity, Voldemort has not actually done anything to Harry, and Harry's mind is perfectly sound. There is something else going on, but that is a secret for now.
RavensHaelo, lakuniko, I must beg your most patient forgiveness for my lack of originality. I have no excuse adequate to exculpate myself. However, your continued favor, despite my transgressions, has lofted my spirits and filled me with hope for future efforts. All my successes shall be dedicated to you. All my failures I shall tuck away to be forgotten.
Gothic Raven, I must extend the fullest and most earnest gratitude of my heart. Your timely review spurred me on to finish this. The kind words with which you buoyed my flagging spirits, brought about by ff.net's cold extirpation of this story, inspired me to make this chapter the longest of them all. I hope the length shall make up for what the quality lacks and for the long wait. Please allow me the audacity to request further favor. Your review is much appreciated.
The was neither education nor progress; the generations multiplied uselessly, and as each began afresh from the same starting point, centuries rolled on as underdeveloped as the first ages; the species was already old, and man remained eternally a child.
~A Discourse on Inequality, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The damnable boy is determined to drive me to distraction or to an asylum. I think I would enjoy the latter right about now. All attempts to get the child to stay put in his own chair prove impossible. Even the threat of refusing to read does not dissuade him in the least. And so I find myself in a most discomfiting position. The boy refuses to move from his sprawled position across my lap. In fact he seems quite content. A sleepy tranquility inexplicably ages his face, as if a very old man hides just behind the delicate covering of skin.
I can almost taste the delicate flavor of his young flesh. I can clearly picture him naked and writhing under my pernicious ministrations. I would be just like Voldemort. I would be another to defile this ingenuous creature.
A sharp pinch to my thigh breaks my train of thought. The boy glares his reprimand at me from behind large glasses.
"You stopped," he tells me with annoyance. I do not bother with an apology. Instead, I merely resume the fairytale where I left off to pursue my own musings.
The child seems to have the entire book memorized. I cannot skip a single sentence without provoking him to pinch me in rebuke. I believe my thigh is a mottled pattern of bruises. For such a slight thing he has surprising strength.
Yet, perhaps it I who is provoking him. It seems that it is not enough to have him in lab, slender limbs and torso heating my skin with unbearable fire; I must tempt my restraint with his willing punishments.
I take what I can of him. These small pains are mine alone, untouched by either of my masters.
"Sev'us! If you're not going to read…" The boy huffs his exasperation in my face and takes the book from my hands. He decides to forgo the story I have been relating to him in favor of another, duly filled with flower-like princesses and heroic knights.
"Once 'pon a time there was…" His young voice swells inside my head and takes on a far deeper resonance. From somewhere beyond the veil of conscious recollection I can almost imagine my father's strong voice, a bit husky from an over indulgence of tobacco, crafting the words.
"And the knight, who was valiant and true…"
Children live in a world of strict morality shaped by adults. They see black and they see white. The gray is something they cannot grasp. For them life is knights and dragons, heroes and bad guys. So how is it that this child, full of all the innocence and purity that other children only posses when in the womb, live in the shades of gray and be blind to black and white?
"Then the demon king said…"
And how is this even possibly when he lives with the most pragmatic and cruel masters of this era? How can it be possible when his young body is violated by the man he calls, 'Daddy'?
He is the most fantastic experiment of them all.
* * *
I miss Daddy. I always miss him when he's not here. I miss his large hands and his games. My uncles aren't as good. They can't do Daddy things because Daddy doesn't like that. I'm only for him, he says. I'm his lovely.
Of them all, I think I like Uncle Sev'us the best. He's got a nice voice. It's all tingly like warm water and it's like the taste of chocolate, except for the ears. He also has a scent. It reminds me of stone and earth, but with something sharper mixed in. Daddy told me that he makes potions. Maybe he smells like his potions? I've never had any so I don't know.
Uncle Sev'us is also nicer, in a way. He is nice naturally and not because I'm Daddy's. I don't think Uncle Sev'us knows he's nice. I don't think he'd like me to tell him that. But he is! He's also sad. I don't know why. He says he's not, but I don't believe him. Why else would he frown so?
Uncle Lucius smiles a lot, but his eyes don't. They stay hard like rocks, shiny and silver. There's no softness in him. Sometimes I think he is all hollow and dark. He is nice to me, but he isn't. He is hungry all the time, but not for food. I think he would eat the world if he could.
Auntie Bella is scary! She always smells like metal and smoke and her eyes are full of fire. I don't like it when she takes care of me. She laughs too much and too loudly. Her hugs are too tight and her smiles are too wide. And she always talks about Daddy in this voice that is hungry in a way different from Uncle Lucius. She wants to eat Daddy, I think.
There are others, Uncle Walden, Uncle Rod' (he is married to Auntie Bella), and Uncle An'in. But Daddy doesn't bring them home as often. I don't like them that much, but they're all much better than Uncle Peter. He's scary in a way that Auntie Bella isn't. He wants to eat me. But Daddy made him go away forever. So that's good.
* * *
I am not the boy's father; his father was killed by Voldemort's hand. Yet I have the most peculiar protective instinct. I know this response is simply chemical, and that is the rational part of me. However, I not only want to shelter him, I want to ravish him. I would devour him and keep him caged in my ribs.
These feelings are disturbing to say the least.
"I don't want to take a bath," he announces loudly. A sigh scrapes past my lips. The child is being inordinately obstinate again.
"Your…father has ordered that you bathe everyday," I remind him—or more like snarl.
"But it's not any fun without him." I freeze, my breath stops in my lungs. 'Without him'? As in, the child and my master bathing together? I really shouldn't be surprised—and I'm not. It is the imagery that assails my mind that lays me low: pale limbs dripping water, rivulets of it streaming down a young back. It is far too decadent, too lascivious to contemplate.
I am a monster. I am no better than Wormtail. At least he has madness for an alibi.
"I'm not going, and you can't make me." Slender arms cross with outrageous defiance. Too-green eyes flash behind ridiculous glasses.
Many a man has drowned inside his own turmoil and internecine desires. That is a rather fitting metaphor, actually.
The all too real problem is that, contrary to the child's petulant declaration, I can force him. I am the adult and my word is law, to be obeyed inevitably if not instantly. He is so small, so childlike that it would be no great task to force his complicity through physical means. How easily I could overpower the boy…
"You have no choice." The words leave my lips before my mind can censor them. Who am I to force the blades of truth into his thin chest? Choice is the illusion given by those in power to placate the ones under them. I know this as intimately as anyone can. When a master tells a subservient individual that he has a choice, it must be translated into the individual not having any, only the capriciousness of the master.
Looking at his upturned face, too-green eyes sparking puerile defiance, I am the one in power this time. I am the one who can withhold his desires from coming to fruition. I can deny him his own will to action. This knowledge is a rush of intoxicating chemicals in my brain. The absolute control I have over him, this amoral creature of inexplicable simplicity, at this moment is nothing like the power I hold over my students—pathetic excuses for such a title they are.
I inspire fear and hatred in their shallow little hearts, but that is for the greater purpose. I disabuse them of the notion that they are immortal; such thoughts lead to as many accidents and fatalities as plain, old fashioned incompetence. I will not allow such pretensions in my classroom, but that is as far as my power extends. Once they step out the door, muttering at the unfairness of my cutting remarks, they are out of my jurisdiction. I may take house points and doll out detentions, but these mean nothing in the larger picture. They shall forget in due time.
The power I have over the child is far different. I am the sole adult right now. I am the protector, the guardian and the overseer. I have never before been charged with safekeeping him for more than a few hours at a time; this is due to the restrictions placed upon me by my current occupation. His entire well being is dependent upon me. And this dependence is not transient. It shall remain until I am removed from duty by Voldemort's return.
For right now he is mine.
However, I, too, am in the power of another. I hold the child's life in my sullied hands and mine is clutched in the hands of two masters, both cruel in their own way. He is mine only insofar as the constraints of my guardianship allow.
"I don't want to." The child has the audacity to stick out his pointed pink tongue at me upon repeating his statement. No one has done that to me since I was a child myself.
The little brat!
* * *
Uncle Sev'us suddenly goes all stiff and quiet. His face is smooth and blank, but I can see thoughts moving in his eyes. Then he suddenly catches me around the middle and tosses me over his shoulder. The air whooshes from my lungs. I cry out in pain.
"W-What are you doing?" I cry wiggling about. A strong arm locks about my kicking legs. This is scary but kind of fun. Nobody's every carried me this way before. Daddy carries me in his arms…he's pretty much the only person who has carried me, now that I think about it. Daddy doesn't like other people touching me without permission. Goodnight kisses are okay, and sometimes hello kisses as well.
Touching is special. Touching is something only Daddies are supposed to do. But what about uncles? Uncle Peter wasn't supposed to, but he did. He was bad, but he's gone now. Uncle Sev'us is carrying me, but that's not the same as Uncle Peter.
He wants me to take a bath because Daddy said I had to. I hate baths. All that water is frightening. I'm afraid I'll breathe it in. I did that once. It hurt so bad! But Daddy came and saved me. He pulled the water out and made everything better. Ever since then I've hated taking baths. They're no fun without Daddy there to make sure I don't breathe in the water.
Uncle Sev'us is completely silent. I can only hear his measured breaths. I don't like it when he's silent. I wasn't lying when I said that I liked his voice. It's like water you can breathe, all warm and liquid. It covers me and I feel all warm.
Up the stairs we go. I'm bobbing up and down on his sharp shoulder. I know he's taking me to the bathroom. He's going to make me take a bath! I don't want to! No fair! Just because he's bigger than me doesn't mean he can make me.
"I don't want to take one!" I tell Uncle Sev'us again. Can't he tell I don't want to? How many times do I have to tell him? Auntie Bella tells me she'll break my arms if I don't obey, and so does Uncle Rod' (he just copies Auntie Bella). I think she would too. Her eyes tell me it's true, and Uncle Rod' would do it because she would. He usually does what she says. Daddy says he's 'whipped.' I don't know what that means, but it sounds sad. Uncle Peter used to give me baths…I didn't like them. He always wanted to wash me himself.
My other uncles have never taken care of me for longer than a couple of hours. So no baths with them!
Baths with Daddy are the best of all! He sometimes plays his games with me, but they're so much more different in water. He washes me himself even though I'm a big boy and can do it myself. He says it's his privilege as my Daddy. Daddies do that sort of thing he says.
Uncle Sev'us takes long strides down the hallway. Every footfall bounces me against his shoulder. It hurts! I'm going to be all bruised! I tell him to put me down, but he doesn't seem to hear me. Or at least he doesn't answer. This makes me mad. I don't like being ignored.
He shoulders my bedroom door open and then he heads straight for the bathroom! That door opens, too. With a wave of his wand (Daddy won't let me have one; he's says they're only for adults) the big tub fills with colored water. Daddy made it so the water was rainbow colored, but the color wouldn't stain. I think it would be fun to be all rainbow colored. Daddy doesn't seem to agree.
Uncle Sev'us doesn't wait! He tosses me in! Clothes and all. The warm water closes over my head. On no. Please no. I open my mouth and water rushes in.
* * *
I stare at the churning, colored water for a second before realizing that the child has no instincts of self-preservation!
Of all the…One would think someone would have taught him how to swim.
I reach into the frothing water and haul the boy out by whatever part I have managed to grasp. Dripping chromatic waters, the boy turns frightened green eyes to me. The ridiculous glasses have fallen off and no doubt lurk somewhere on the bottom of the slick porcelain. He coughs and clings to my arm.
"Daddy?" His young voice is high and panicked. Myopically he squints at me.
"No." Now I understand his dislike for baths. Drowning is a most unpleasant experience.
"Uncle Sev'us?" Small fingers dig into my flesh. I heave a sigh and summon the wayward spectacles. They burst from the water and shower me with warm droplets (orange and blue, how lovely). With more gentleness than is in my character, I place them on his face. He blinks quizzically and then smiles hesitantly.
"Thank you." I grunt in reply and tell him to take his clothes off. My gods, the images that commands inspires are not to be thought, especially by me towards this child, the son of my hated adversary.
Silk pajamas, ruined beyond salvation by any means, magical or otherwise, peel away from sun-denied skin. He is unselfconscious, and no doubt would forgo the effort of dressing if Voldemort hadn't quite sternly ordered him to hide his slender form. The noise the cloth makes as it leaves his skin has a distinctly moist quality. Silk is the only fabric that can truly capture the essence of human flesh, whether rent or caressed.
"You won't let me fall again, will you?" I look over as he drops the pajama top over the side. His too-green eyes are earnest and just a touch apprehensive. The shirt lands on the ground with a wet smack. He bends down and begins to remove his pants. He is all moonstone skin and inky hair. He seems untouched, pure, and yet he cannot be so. A monster has desecrated his temple of flesh and bone. He is a broken idol clinging to divinity no longer deserved.
Or perhaps that is me.
"I won't let you fall," I reply softly. Oh, but I have let him fall. He falls every time my lord touches him. I allow this perversion just as much as I incite my own. Who holds more guilt, the man who commits the crime or the man who allows it to continue unchallenged?
"Good." The pants land near the top. Colored water creeps stealthily across the floor. "Tell me a story."
"Daddy tells me stories when I get all clean." He proceeds to soap up a washcloth with practiced dexterity. Slowly, meticulously he drags the soaped terry cloth over his arms. Pale suds, somehow immune to the coloring of the water, leave patterns of lace across his skin. I watch, mesmerized, as the cloth is drawn over his small shoulder and across he arched neck. Then it travels down, tracing across delicately prominent collarbones and rubbing blushing nipples to peaks.
Inexplicably I find myself towering over him beside the tub. I must have traversed the few steps unconsciously, drawn to his pale skin and the slick slide of soap and cloth. He watches me with mild curiosity and expectation.
It is wrong to be envious of an inanimate object, but what I wouldn't give to be that washcloth.
"Once upon a time…" I begin softly as the clean light glistens on the damp planes of the child's body.
Once upon a time always ends with happily ever after.
Life itself is the will to power.
~Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche