Missing the Ground

Disclaimer: Harry Potter, its concepts and its characters, etc. etc. all belong to JK Rowling. Duh. Just borrowing.

Summary: Bellatrix Lestrange catches Harry in the park, and the consequences of what she does to him are enormous. Severus Snape finds himself in a position to alleviate them.

Warnings/Notes: R rating. Rape warning. NO SLASH. Bella/Voldemort implied.

This first chapter seems a little disconnected, even to me, but I refuse to be graphic at this point. I doubt I ever will be.

This is unbetad and still in its infancy. I'd greatly appreciate any critical reviews. Help me make it better!

Ever read Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams? The trick to flying, apparently, is to fall and miss the ground.

-Part 1-

"You had him, Bellatrix, and you let him go? You had him beyond the wards, AND YOU RELEASED HIM?" What had started as a hiss ended with a roar as Voldemort grabbed Bellatrix Lestrange by the throat and flung her away from him. She hit the carpeted floor with a muffled thud and rolled quickly to her knees.

"My Lord," she pleaded, "My most precious Lord! We had to flee! He broke through Imperius and screamed for help. We could not stay."

"A boy's screaming sent you running like cowards?" Voldemort demanded, grabbing her chin and tilting her head up roughly. "Unless it was Dumbledore himself coming to aid the boy, there is no excuse. Even then, there is no excuse! My Death Eaters running LIKE COWARDS! THERE IS NO EXCUSE!" His backhanded slap sent her to the floor again, where she lay curled into herself like a child.

"I tr-tried to apparate my little Potter away, my Lord," she sobbed. "I thought I had him. In my hands, still under me! HAD him! Didn't release him. Something pulled my little toy away."

He watched her sniffling petulantly, as if she had indeed lost a precious toy. The two men who'd been with her lay dead beside her, faces frozen in one last plea for mercy. If she weren't so useful- so cruel- he thought, he'd have killed her as well. But Bellatrix entertained him. And Potter, apparently, had entertained her.

"What do you mean, still under you?" the Dark Lord asked, kneeling down beside her. She cringed, trying to make herself smaller, until he ran a bony hand along her thigh. She relaxed, then, uncurling like some black flower, shuddering under his touch.

"Under me," she repeated. "In me. So soft, my little Potter. So delicate. So innocent." She giggled, running her own fingers alongside his. "My baby wee Potter." The gaze she fixed him with then was so steady and intense that he almost thought her sane again. "And now I'll have a baby wee Potter of my own."

His hand stopped its wandering, gripping the flesh of her inner thigh in surprise. She inhaled sharply, but her gaze never left him. A witch always knows, he thought. From the first moment, a witch always knows.

Bellatrix Lestrange was pregnant.

- - - -

Harry Potter was in the shower. The water had run cold ten minutes ago, and he stood shivering as it poured onto his face and ran in icy rivulets down his chest. He had long since stopped trying to scrub himself clean. He knew it wouldn't help.

His eyes felt raw, and the chlorine in the water had begun to make them sting. He wanted so badly to close them, but every time he did, he saw her. Saw Bellatrix.

And he felt her.

What disgusted him more than anything else, more than the helplessness and the rage and the pain he'd felt, was that on some sick level, he'd enjoyed it. His damned teenage body had betrayed him, and he'd enjoyed it. And she'd known.

His body raw and aching, his teeth chattering, Harry finally turned the water off. He wrapped his threadbare towel around his waist and slunk into his room, glad that the Dursleys were out for the day. They never would have let him stay in the shower that long.

Some logical part of his mind told him he ought to write to Dumbledore immediately, that he ought to say Dung Fletcher had abandoned his post again and he'd taken the chance to go walk in the park. He ought to mention that the headmaster's wards against Dark spells left something to be desired, but the anti-apparition wards worked well enough. Well enough.

Harry didn't want Mundungus to get in trouble. He'd been the one to suggest Dung take off, after all. 'The wards are strong, aren't they?' he'd said. And he wasn't going to go anywhere. Honestly.

That Mundungus was still responsible for his actions crossed Harry's mind only briefly as he layered Dudley's old t-shirts over a new one from Tonks and wrapped himself in his thin bedsheets. It was hot outside, but he was freezing, a feeling remarkably like that brought on by Dementors. He suspected he might never get warm.

He'd done it again, he knew. He'd taken off when he shouldn't have, without thinking, and he'd caused himself trouble. Only this time it wasn't Sirius who'd paid, nor any of his friends. This time only Harry had suffered.

He finally understood why Severus Snape thought him an arrogant fool.

Harry curled up on his bed, his back against the wall and his chin resting on his knees. He stared out the window, watching the sun set. He heard the Dursleys return, thought he heard the sound of Alastor Moody's wooden leg clunking along the concrete outside.

He'd never tell anyone, he thought. Never. Even if Bellatrix threw it in his face, if the Dark Lord taunted him in his head, Harry knew he'd never tell anyone what had happened that day. Nobody had gotten hurt but him; there was no reason to make the Order worry. All he needed to do was stay put, and he'd be safe. No need to say the wards were faulty. They still worked well enough at the house itself, or the Death Eaters would have come back by now and whisked him away.

No need for anyone to know.

No need at all.

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