Disclaimer: As normal, Icy doesn't (and quite regrettably) own Harry Potter. I do, however, own my rather crazy life. If anyone would like to switch identities, let me know a.s.a.p. I need a break.

Taiho Kuroshi

Trial and Error

Edit: Reuploaded on 9/18. I'm not entirely certain if everyone recieved the alert. Seeing as how last time nearly 80 people responded and this time, barely over thirty, I was just curious. Is something wrong with this chapter or is the story no longer interesting? Please let me know...if it isn't capturing your attention anymore then I'll be taking it down so I can concentrate on other fics. Arigato.

"WHAT IS GOING ON IN THERE?" bellowed a large, oversized man, his nostrils flaring and his footsteps pounding down the hall, portraits shaking on the walls in his wake.

Behind him came his wife, her blonde hair cascading loose around her shoulders, her blue eyes wide with fear at the sound of her nephew's screams. And the third member of the family was no where to be seen…that being so because he was cowering beneath the bed like a frightened puppy.

With one, beefy hand, Uncle Vernon shoved open the bedroom door and marched over to the narrow twin bed resting beneath the window, where its occupant lay sobbing, his hands pressing against his scar and legs kicking and thrashing wildly in his sheets as he tried to escape from his cocoon.

A scar, the shape of a lightning bolt, stood starkly out, a dark red on the boy's pale skin, although his cheeks were unnaturally flushed and sweat was dripping down his face.

"STOP THAT!" Vernon yelled, grabbing Harry by his shirt and yanking the boy to a sitting position. Still, Harry continued to scream, hands flexing out and hitting his uncle several times across the face and chest.

SMACK!

The crying stopped abruptly, Harry's green eyes wide and a hand resting on his cheek, where a bright red handprint shown out.

"Vernon!" Petunia gasped, hand flying to her mouth in horror.

"Thank you," Harry whispered, refusing to look either of his relatives in the eye. "I needed that."

Vernon harrumphed. "What were you thinking, boy? Some of us here are trying to sleep."

"I'm…sorry. I was…having a nightmare," Harry said softly, wrapping his arms tightly around himself to provide the comfort he knew his aunt and uncle would never give. "I won't wake you up again."

"Good. Come along, Petunia. We have to be up early tomorrow for the garden show." Without waiting for an answer, the man swept from the room, for once neat, and down the hall.

Petunia slowly approached Harry, who sat on the bed, rocking himself back and forth, breath coming in soft, laborious gasps, tears still streaming from his tightly closed eyes.

"Harry?"

The boy gasped and looked up. He'd thought both of them had left him alone as the always had before. He had thought things would never change…why would they now?

"Are you… all right?"

Touched and little confused, Harry slowly nodded his head, not willing to let his true feelings be known. His aunt would never understand them…she wouldn't comprehend what his dream had meant…if it had even been a dream.

"All right then. Good night." And then she too left the room, the door closing with a soft click behind her, the hall light shutting off and plunging Harry once more into darkness. The boy-who-lived glanced at the digital clock sitting on his nightstand, the glowing red numerals reading three twenty-six a.m.

With a sigh, Harry fell back onto his pillow, curling up in a tight ball and trying to chase the dream away. After all, it had to have been a dream. Snape had looked so…so angry at seeing Malfoy hurt. And even though Harry knew that his old Potions professor certainly did have a close bond with the Slytherin, losing his life over Malfoy's failure.

And why would his arch nemesis, cold-hearted bastard that he was, be upset when his mother died? He never showed any true feelings before except when…well, right before Dumbledore was killed. Harry stifled a sob in his pillow, shoulders heaving.

He had seemed…frightened when he was at the Astronomy Tower with his wand aimed at Dumbledore. The whole night was a little hazy in Harry's mind, but he did remember Malfoy saying something about his parents and that he had too.

Speaking of which, when he'd stumbled across his classmate in the bathroom with Moaning Myrtle, he'd been saying something about how he and his family would be punished if he didn't do 'it'. Harry had assumed afterwards that 'it' had been killing Dumbledore. But…

Green eyes shot open, stark fear lining every inch of his face. Hermione! Malfoy was supposed to have kidnapped Hermione! He hadn't done it…but with Snape's life on the line, it was possible. Harry normally wouldn't throw himself so brashly forward from a dream (after Sirius he'd vowed he wouldn't ever listen to them again), but this was…different somehow.

For one, Hermione was his friend…one of his best. And if Malfoy were going to go after her, he would protect her. And that was the other part. Why would Voldemort send him a dream with Malfoy as the victim when he clearly must have known how much Harry hated him?

Then again…there was that Kuroshi thing. Harry knew that he had never, ever, read anything even related to winged human. So was that part of his imagination? Or was it real?

In any case, he wasn't going to leave Hermione alone. Sure, she was staying with Ron and Ginny (she thought it would keep her parents safer if she didn't go back to them and the Weasley's were quite happy to have her), but a warning would be good in case the dream was real.

Sitting up once more, Harry opened his window and gazed out into the night, the stars obscured by heavy clouds. So far, the summer had been quiet despite the fact that pandemonium was reigning in the Wizarding world.

Voldemort had not yet made any moves to kill a mass amount of muggles or muggleborns…in fact, ever since the night Dumbledore died, no Death Eater activity had been reported at all. Which was a good thing, considering what Harry was going to do.

As he'd told his friends at the funeral, he was going to go find the rest of the horcruxs…it was the only way to defeat Voldemort. So far, only the locket, the ring, and the diary had been destroyed…only three parts of Voldemort's soul. And there were still more. And they had to go.

It was planned that Harry would go and collect Hermione and Ron (on their insistence, although he absolutely refused to bring Ginny) in three days and they would begin their search for the horcruxs together. Hermione had said, at their parting after the school year, that she'd be researching anything to do with Rowena Ravenclaw…as their best guess, she too must have an item under Voldemort's control.

"Where are you?" Harry whispered, gazing out over the rooftops in search of his one friend in all of Surrey, his snowy owl.

As soon as Hedwig got back, he'd be sending a letter off straight away to Hermione…just to make sure she was all right. But waiting was insanely hard.

Normally, he'd run into a situation without a backwards glance…especially when it involved his friends. But he wasn't going to endanger their lives over a dream when it might have been just that.

Three forty-one.

Harry hopped off of his bed and over to his trunk to gather writing materials…as soon as Hedwig came back, he wanted to send her right off again. Sitting cross-legged on his bed, Harry began his letter, keeping it simple and to the point.

Hermione,

Just wanted to make sure that you're all right. I had a really weird dream and I want to make sure that it isn't real.

By the way, do you know what a Kuroshi is? If so, let me know when I come and pick you up. Say hi to Ron for me and give Ginny a hug.

Harry

Rolling up the parchment and tucking his quill and inkpot away again in his trunk, Harry glanced again at the clock. Three fifty. Was the clock purposely going slow?

The Gryffindor then took to pacing his room, worry mounting with each passing minute. Despite the fact that it probably was just a dream and that it was Draco Malfoy, Harry couldn't shake this feeling of unease. He hated seeing people hurt…and even if Malfoy was his nemesis, even that pain was too much.

And it was still strange of how Voldemort had said….said that Malfoy had feelings for Hermione. Here, Harry stopped pacing and stood still, contemplating silently. Malfoy had said that he wouldn't let them hurt her…and he'd made excuses of why he hadn't been able to get her.

But…

Did that mean that Malfoy did care? That he really didn't want other people to be hurt?

Then what of Katie and Ron? They had been hurt in his desperate attempts to kill Dumbledore, but he didn't seem to feel any remorse for them.

But he said that he hated her…he just didn't want to see her hurt. Wasn't hating someone wanting to see them suffer? Harry moaned and massaged his head. Too much thinking.

A soft flutter of wings thankfully broke him from his musings and he turned to see Hedwig settling herself comfortably on her perch, a dead mouse on Harry's pillow.

"No resting for you," Harry said, crossing the room with his letter. "I have a job for you…it's really urgent. Get it as fast as you can to Hermione, understand?" he asked, tying the parchment onto Hedwig's outstretched leg.

The owl gave a soft hoot and gently nibbled Harry's finger before taking flight and gliding soundlessly out the window, her form vanishing several seconds later.

With a sigh, Harry crawled back into bed and pulled the covers up to his chin. Even though it was the middle of June, he was suddenly feeling very cold.


"Are you feeling better, my pet?"

"I'm not your pet," came the angry, yet weak retort.

The man grinned, ruby eyes flashing in the dim lighting from the small cell he'd thrown his servant. "That wasn't the wisest thing to say to me. Crucio."

The figure lying on the ground gave no sound save a small whimper and the curse wracked over his shivering form, now only clad in a pair of pants that he'd been wearing for over two days…since the destruction of Hogwarts.

"That…was smart," Draco panted. "Hurting me isn't going to make me feel any better."

"No, it doesn't. But it makes me feel better. And after all, I believe my well being falls above yours." Voldemort looked down at the Kuroshi, the wings once more drawn back into the skin although two long and jagged cuts, that still bled, remained.

"I don't understand you, Draco," the Dark Lord said, shaking his head. "You refuse to kidnap one girl and your mother pays the price. And now you still won't obey and fetch her when your godfather's life is on the line."

"Professor Snape can take care of himself," Draco growled. "And I'm not getting Granger for you…go do it yourself."

"Tell me, Draco. Can your dear professor survive the Killing Curse through his back. Or perhaps when he's asleep…will he be able to defend himself?"

"You wouldn't…"

Voldemort held his arms out wide. "I am the Dark Lord, Draco. I don't care about pity things like a fair duel…those are no fun. And killing is enjoyment…it doesn't matter to me whether the person is awake or asleep…although it does tend to be more amusing when they beg for their lives."

"Coward," Draco accused, struggling to rise, his legs giving out halfway up.

"Crucio," Voldemort responded lazily. "Come now, Draco. This is getting us nowhere. Wouldn't you feel better if you went and got Hermione Granger for me?"

"No," the boy snarled, clutching his stomach to stem some of the blood flow from his injuries. "She isn't going to work for you…there's no point in having her. Go find another witch or wizard…there are more smart ones out there."

"I know that," Voldemort said, leaning idly against the wall. "But I do so want to hear her scream for mercy when we hurt her…and her pleading when we threaten to kill her friends…which I'll do either way, although she doesn't have to know that."

"Why?" Draco asked softly, staring down at the ground. "Why do you enjoy hurting others so much?"

"It is part of me, Draco. It is what I live for…what I succeed in. Once all of the muggles and mudbloods are gone, then we can live in a more peaceful world. But until then, this life will exist."

"Is he still not listening?" drawled a new voice, fearfully familiar to Draco.

"He is your son, Lucius. Maybe you'll have better look with him…I do not wish to kill Severus, but if I have to then I will. Once Draco reaches his full potential, he'll be much more valuable then Severus will ever be. I'll leave you to him then."

With a smirk, Voldemort disappeared from view down the corridor, black robes billowing out behind him.

"I hate you," Draco whispered, his voice cracking as he looked up at Lucius from his seat on the damp floor.

"Is that any way to greet your father after he's just gotten out of Azkaban?" Lucius asked, opening the cell door and stepping inside. "I thought you'd be delighted to see me."

"YOU BASTARD!" Draco cried, putting forth his last remaining strength and jumping to his feet, fists open and flying towards Lucius. "YOU KILLED HER! YOU LET HIM KILL HER!"

"Narcissa's death is unfortunate," Lucius said calmly, easily catching both of Draco's hands and holding them inside of his own, larger ones. "But she wasn't important. I only married her so that I would have an heir…and I was blessed with even getting a Kuroshi."

"BLESSED? I HATE IT! LET ME GO!"

"Be quiet," Lucius hissed, shoving Draco backwards and into one of the walls quite forcefully. "Listen to me. You will get the Mudblood and bring her back. Or there will be consequences for you."

Draco remained silent, silver eyes narrowed in an icy glare. "I'm not going to do anything for you," he finally said, voice soft. "I never wanted to be a part of this…I only joined so that you and Mother would be safe. But you're a traitor and I feel no obligation to help. You may as well go ahead and kill me, because I am not pulling Granger into this."

The next second, Draco lay sprawled out on the floor, blood dripping down from a large gash on the side of his head where he'd been backhanded by his father.

"This is the son I raised?" Lucius said, voice dangerously quiet. "The heir to the Malfoy name? You are a disgrace…a failure."

"Good," Draco coughed, weakly trying to rise, only to be kicked hard in the side and sent sprawling once more. "I don't want…to be your son…Traitor."

"What did you call me?" Lucius snarled, wrenching Draco upwards by his hair, the boy refusing to cry out as his head was slammed harshly against the wall once more.

"A traitor…isn't that…what you are?" the Slytherin asked, black spots clouding his vision. "You…you used us…me and Mother. You betrayed us…"

"No, no Draco…you're the one who's doing the betraying. You're turning your back on your last remaining family member…does that merit nothing?"

"You're not a part of my family anymore…"

Lucius shuddered in rage, before throwing Draco to the floor, the boy unable to repress a cry as his arm snapped beneath him, white hot fire racing up and down the limb.

"YOU WILL NOT SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT! CRUCIO! CRUCIO! CRUCIO!"

And this time Draco did scream, clutching his broken arm to his chest and curling up into the smallest form he could make himself, as if that would stop the pain.

Lucius watched, a small smile playing over his lips as the boy writhed on the floor, his body tight with pain. He would make him see what was right and wrong…and if the boy chose the wrong path…then there would be dire consequences. And it wouldn't just be the death of Snape…it'd be something much more.


A rather uncomfortable feeling washed over Harry and he absent-mindedly reached up to swipe away the annoying pecking to his head. An angry hoot sounded as he accidentally grabbed some of Hedwig's feathers.

It was then the night before came flying back to him. As well as a piece of flying parchment that Hedwig managed to shake off her leg and bonk Harry in the head with.

Shaking his head to clear away the stars, Harry glanced down at the tightly rolled scroll. It was a different one…meaning that his letter had gotten to Hermione. Feeling slightly relieved, he went to get Hedwig some water and food first, as well as apologize and stroke the white feathers for a few minutes.

Once the owl was content, Harry sat down on his bed and unrolled the letter, his fingers trembling as he scanned the neat, cursive handwriting that he recognized as Hermione's…as well as the cramped print from Ron and the loopy letters of Ginny.

Harry,

I'm perfectly all right. Although I did nearly have a heart attack when Hedwig came bursting into the house down the chimney. She must have been in a real hurry. I mean, we all know how much Hedwig hates soot and

Hi Harry! Guess what? Lupin is staying with us too! And Tonks! You should have seen the mess Tonks made yesterday trying to help Mum in the kitchen. She went to go

Ron! This is my letter!

But I want to say hi too!

Me too! How are you doing, Harry? As Ron said, it's been really busy around here. I miss you a lot.

Argh! Ginny! Don't kiss the paper! That's just gross!

He's my boyfriend! Give that back!

As I was trying to say… The writing was slightly more messy then usual and Harry had to grin. Yes, I'm fine. Everyone here is. And to your Kuroshi question, I do know what they are. But how did you find out about them. They're only in Dark Arts books…

No way! Hermione! You shouldn't be reading those!

It was for background reading…just so I could understand a few more things. I'm not going to actually listen to anything in there!

Hey guys? Shouldn't we send this off? Harry's probably really worried…

You're right. We'll see you in three days. Be good until then.

Don't let those muggles push you around, Harry. We'll see you soon…ACK! GINNY! STOP KISSING THE PAPER!

See you soon, Harry. Hugs and kisses.

Harry smiled at the letter, thankful everyone seemed to be doing all right. But then, a chill spread through his body.

Kuroshi were real…and that meant his dream must have been too…

Hermione was in grave danger. And he was the only one who knew.

Author's Notes:

I am so sorry for taking so long to update! My life has just been insane. I mean, right now I should be doing my pile of homework due tomorrow. But I feel guilty about not updating anything, and so I decided to write another chapter of TK.

-face faults- You guys are great! I can not believe how much positive feedback this story got! -hugs everyone- Thank you all so much for your comments…they really pulled up my spirits.

For those of you wondering…in Japanese (I'm a fan, okay:P) Taiho means 'Capture(ed)'…it is my belief that Draco is somewhat captured…and I don't just mean behind bars… and Kuroshi is a cross betweent he words 'Dark' and 'Angel' (DarkKuro and AngelTenshi) Draco is a dark angel to me, since his powers are dark, and angel because of the pretty wings.

I can't wait to see all of you again! As always, please do review. Your comments make me laugh and smile…something I could really use a lot of these days.