The Crimson of Valentine's


Warning: Contains male/male relationship, blood and a whole cavern of angst.
Disclaimer: Don't own them. I just like to make them suffer.
Dedications: This fic is for dearest S-star because she 'made' me write it. Written for her TIME challenge.

This is not your fluffy Valentine's Day fic, you have been forewarned.


Valentine's Day indeed. Ha-bloody-hah.

Love is in the air; lets mold it into one big heart and spread the warmth around.

Right – very funny.

•~•

The world lurched as I got out of bed, winking it's faux demise at me. Everything feels sharp around the edges and fuzzy at the same time. I nearly retch, but stifle it till there's only acidic bile left in my throat. I wince as I step into the shower; the water is cold, icy cold. I stagger out, haphazardly pulling on clothes until I realized the boxers I picked up from the foot of my bed were not even mine after I wore it. Plus, they had already been used. I grit my teeth in annoyance, rubbing my scar out of habit. It had burned last night, reminding me of what I was meant to do, reminding me of the war that is bearing down on our heels. My death is imminent, another statistic - just one candle snuffed out for the greater good. If there ever was one.

When I get down, the common room is decorated with garish roses. Can you believe it? Roses. When all they remind me is of how I'd look like if Voldemort had his way, my blood trickling scarlet over his breakfast.

Ron is already awake (the shock) and with Hermione. (Surprise, surprise). It would take all my genius to surmise what they had been up to last night. Faces glowing, and that almost imperceptible touch of his shoulder against hers is hardly telling. After all, it is Valentine's Day. The sunlight glares insistently at me and I grimace, missing the cloaked anonymity of nighttime.

I hear Ron mumbling something about how I look 'really' cheerful. Fine. I look at him, plastify a smile and attach it to my face, imagining the feel of cold needle threading into skin as if I one could really sew happiness.

He raises his eyebrow and mentions that I look creepy.

Whatever. My mood is terribly sour, and I never did come down to blow sunshine into the asses of people who cannot make up their minds. Turning, I leave the room.

After all, I might catch a disease from those flowers. These days, you really can never be sure.

•~•

Something persistent with red hair is at my elbow during lunch. Three guesses whom, and the last two do not count. Makes you wonder why some simply cannot accept blatant hints even when they are thrown straight into their faces. Their optimism and self-indulgence makes me cringe. The Slytherins walk, no, waltz in, fashionably late as usual, with Malfoy in the lead. That arrogant bastard is full of his usual charisma, trademark smirk splayed across his face. It must have been all the red that has been plaguing me the entire day, because when I look at Malfoy's face, it occurs to me how pale he is, and how pretty he might look if there was just a tinge of blood to contrast all that cold whiteness.

Enthralled, I stare, and Hermione says something about my food getting cold, but I ignore her, giving her the 'woe is the hero who must kill the Dark Lord' mood. She pats my hand, murmurs something about being there for me and I nearly snap my fork. It is getting so easy nowadays, as the initial guilt of pushing away my friends has faded off, a dull ache that throbs ever less frequently. After all, I dug inside the tendrils of my own heart and realized how obscurely different I am from them.

The Gryffindors – they are the anti-fake, honest to a fault. And me? I am the one with the faux heroism, the forged smiles and the false loyalty. If the price is right, I may even sell my soul. Besides, it can't be worth all that much when my fate had been decided the moment Voldemort turned his wand against me.

Malfoy catches my gaze and he serenely puts down his utensils. Placidly he returns my stare, and I have the urge to break something. There is a smug look sketched upon his face, but it is his eyes that captivate me. The pools of silver, with spokes of golden-fired wisdom standing erect in the back of his eyes, dazzle me. I do not lose myself in his eyes – for I cannot. Those orbs are so clear that they reflect me instead. Faintly I see myself – the Gryffindor-Slytherin that would not fit into either house. The epitome of hypocrisy, the god of tinsel-thread woven lies, walking the tightrope of vicarious hopes and un-lived promises. And I hate him so bad for it. He hardly would care, for his hate for me is doled out in equal proportion. He simply smiles apathetically at me and because I am Harry Potter, I do not break the gaze.

Seamus prods me, asking me if I intend to touch my food. I ignore him, (without guilt). Hermione starts to ask if I am feeling alright but I smother her concern with a stitched-up grin of mine. I feel the corners of my mouth stretching and crooking lazily upward. Somehow, I cannot help but wonder if this is what it feels like to be a clown, a parody of the hilarity of emotions.

Ginny whines that I look a little scary.

What is with them and their "oh-you-look-so-eerie" speeches today?

•~•

Malfoy and I must have been scrutinizing each other for a very long time. People are starting to file out of the Great Hall and the food on the table is slowly dissipating. It did not matter then, it did not matter now. The world and its occupants are worthless, shadows of forgotten meaning. In Malfoy's eyes, the world does not fade away; it simply never existed before. My mouth is parched, the scorched throat of a drowning man whose lungs screech for air but is smothered with water.

Slowly and discretely I raise my wand and levitate a crimson rose out of its vase. I let the rose glide and drop onto his empty platter. He smiles, a secret curve gracing his features for the barest of moments, and then, like a wound closing upon itself, it was gone. The light from the candles flicker across his face, slicing it again and again.

Without breaking out eye contact, he picks up the rose with his right hand and presses it against his left. He does it so hard that the thorns pierce through his flesh and I can tell because red droplets start to appear. Never once did he flinch, and not once did his gaze falter as his life's liquid started to seep through that pale, pale (oh so fuckable) skin.

My eyes never leave those silver irises but my calm is shattered. I am distinctly distracted by how the rose looked like it was bleeding onto his wrist. Strangely, I am hypnotized by how the blood oozes out from the wounds in shiny oval droplets until they grow too heavy and trickle down, outlining his starkly green veins.

Somehow, he is more beautiful than anytime before; that beauty that comes only with the experience of pain.

•~•

The seconds flit away in front of my eyes and still he does not drop the rose. I can see how his alabaster skin is not flawless anymore – marred not by a crass Dark Mark but the red lines that crisscross like rivulets of hate; a mockery of the meaning of Valentine's Day. It is so characteristic of him, to scoff at the second most powerful emotion that precedes hate.

It rips me up inside, for Circe's sake – my own mother died out of it, but I cannot take my eyes off him – and I will not.

The scarred beauty in front of me burns an intensifying image into my eyes, multiplying himself into every memory cell in my mind so that all I know is that in his eyes, his crystalline eyes, I am transparent and flawed. Like his bleeding wrist, I am so grotesquely imperfect. The hero facade shatters, and I am reduced to the same boy waiting to be banished by the Dursleys into a tiny hole where I'm insignificant. Reduced to that boy that wants a home so much he would give up his own freedom and choices to be buffeted by the wars of madmen.

This blinding urge overtakes me, and I want so much to taste the copper of his liquid, to swallow his perfection. I desperately want to make his flawlessness my permanent craving, my obsession. The fractured shield that I can hide behind, the mask that I can put on, the drug that I am addicted to.

•~•

And it drips.

His blood flows like the torrid electricity between us.

I have to look at him. So compelling are his eyes that to turn away now seems fatal.

Suddenly, Ron awakens me from my fevered trance. (Trust him to have such wonderful etiquette.) Ron and Hermione practically drag me out of the Great Hall, but my eyes never leave Malfoy's. They are fixated on him, my sordid inability to look away from a train wreck that can only end in gore.

As we reach the oak doors, I try to shove them away. But Ginny is there as well, and between the three of them, they pull me past the pillars outlined with roses and draw me away from my fixation. My legs feel leaden as I'm tugged away and an empty dread claws at chest.

Fuck Gryffindors.

•~•

I stun them with a wandless spell that curls from my guts and unleashes itself from the pores of my skin, (in turn stunning everyone else that was there). I rushed back into the Great Hall. Only to find that it was coldly empty. My eyes wildly roll around, searching for the toxic mirror. And I find it, encased adroitly in a corner. Malfoy is kneeling down like a wounded angel of love praying to the unfeeling gods.

Oh, the irony of the situation.

He has charmed the rose, enhanced the thorns and the deep red rose so it is clasped firmly in between his wrist; intertwining thorns holding everything delicately in place. The dimming light dances upon his crown and strikes my bones, making me shiver. With anticipation, fear - and what was this, lust?

Nothing; there is nothing that can describe how exquisite he looks at that moment. The rose crushed between his slender palms as the thorns burrow deeper into his flesh.

I have to remind myself to breathe.

Revelation hits me at a hundred miles an hour, and I know what I must do. Rushing to him, I snatch away the rose and push him into a corner. Malfoy gapes at me, momentarily stunned. His flesh tears apart at my force and I envision his heartbeat vulnerably exposed for me to halt. I feel the rushed pulse strong and uneven against my fingertips, even as his wrists slides away, slippery with blood. I almost feel like reaching in and crushing his heart with my bare hands.

But that is not what I do. Instead I swipe away the blood, and force him to his feet. His wrist still bound by thorns, I slam them above his head, relishing in the resounding crunch of bone against unforgiving stone. I want to break him, scrabble at that pretty face, own the smirk that haunts my dreams. My wand clatters forlornly to the floor, as my grip tightens around his wrist (which I hope I've broken). I shape my free hand into an angry fist, full of unspoken rage and infinite maybes and starless dreams. Malfoy doesn't even flinch, but parts his lips so slightly, his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallows. I feel that twisted desire curl in the deep of my belly, his look so wanton it makes me hiss in desire.

In the fraction before my fist connects into his jaw, Malfoy licks his lips and my treacherous fingers grab at his jaw. And I kiss him, so harshly that it hurts, even for me. He bits down hard onto my lips, letting out a tremulous gasp, but he does not push away. He kisses like a desperate boy clutching at the strands of life even as they mock and evade him. I feel my twisted anger and hate, burning against his lips and he captures my tongue between his teeth and sucks. I shudder, feverish and desperate. My hip bucks against his, and my fingers dig into his jaw and the open wounds in his wrists. The thorns pierce the flesh beneath my nails, warm, wet and almost pushing me beyond the edge. I see white hot stars behind my eyelids and for a second I feel like I've transcended the cloying walls of Hogwarts and reached space. Between us, for a transpired moment, we understand each other like twin stars, and we savour the metallic tinge of blood.

Then he tears away, and tells me that the most precious things in life are priceless.

I told him I would pay.

•~•

Do you know what it is like when a million kinds of pain and pleasures collide with each other? Have you experienced the fatally intricate clash of the two? Do you know how it feels like when it is all you can feel, and all you want to feel?

Malfoy never promised to be gentle when he enters me. He does it from behind, my hands flat against the rough dungeon walls and my cock grazed and leaking against his headboard. It is rough and intrusive and as penetrative as his gaze. His breath is hot and ragged against my ears, his hand clench at my chest leaving deep crescent shapes that I will not spell away. His teeth scrape at my neck, and I can feel him drawing blood. One hand claws it's way down my chest, leaving a trail that feels like it's been grazed by Hell. Wildly, he thrusts as I push back, needing to feel him consuming me. He hurts me to remember what could have been, and what is now lost. I let him, because he is that concealed demon inside of me, the monster wishing to surface.

With ragged moans we come, our skin raw and red, bruises and scratches and blood slicked with sweat. He stares at me, catching my breath in that half lidded gaze. Lust and desire and hate captured in that one heated look. I choke as my heart nearly fails me and I slam him down in the bed, savouring the sight of his head flung back, lips swollen and parted in that untamed passion and want. This, this is beauty that makes my body throb, my limbs ache and my eyes tear.

He harshly whispers two words, and it is my undoing. Violently, I tense as I bury myself so deep within him that for one instant, we became a single entity, riding on the scarlet wings of agony. I hold him so tight I leave purple bruises along his arms and his thighs. My hope for a forever.

•~•

When I leave his private chambers at 11.59pm, 14th February, I have already fallen drunkenly in love with the colour of ruby.

The blood dripping from my back, the blood caking along my arms, and the blood staining my inner thighs feels like perfection. The intoxication is powerful; the heady feeling of love and hate so blurred and intense I feel my heart at the surface of my skin, blazing the cold air in my wake.

This is the red that everyone forgets during Valentine's Day. But I remember. Malfoy and I, we remember.

Happy bloody Valentine's.

•~•


A/N: Important Edit

Art to my fics, including the three drawn for this fic (one by Mia for the challenge prize, the other two by Sherant) can now be found on the website via a link in my bio.

Thank you for all the reviews; even if I do not respond to them individually, I appreciate all the lovely words.

Much love goes out to:
TouchstoneoftheCharter for your kind words, lilypurewhite for your warm encouragement, Sailor Grape for your lovely review, who cares? for dropping a much awaited word, unmei3 for your compliments, Silent Soul for letting me know what you liked best, MalfoySlave for your awesome support, Lythtis for the wonderful and detailed review, hypersensitive for your never-ending encouragment and Silent Stalker for the great review.

Thank yous also go out to LostGryffindor, firehoney, bakachan17, Sinilu Silverspell, sham-rocked, Nemati, Lucy, Fantasy101, Relle, Queen-Seta/Remmy-The-Insane, bucki hulk/xyz, silverelvenfox, till-iburnout, Gurlinlove, Sweet Sorrow1, Kowareta-katana, Malfoyeress, Anne, silentwolf , angelkitty77, Al, JesPaiTha Liber Creperum-Liber Diabolus and CarminaBurana1.

Love,
~Shadafakup
Perfection is Beauty in Bondage