A/N: This is one of those strange little plots that occasionally bite at my ankles and demand to be written. It actually disturbs me, a little, which I think may be a good thing.

Blood blossoms in his mouth, the coppery taste fresh and familiar. Warm. Lower the blade. Safe, still.

'Taste it.' A blade pressed against his lips; warm blood; a sharp, nasty flavour. 'You don't like it, do you?'



Step over the body. It's necessary. People die in war.

'If you don't kill, they'll kill you. And then they'll kill everyone you've ever cared about. Do you want that?'

The taste of blood still in his mouth. 'No.'


Tuck blade away. It's only needed to test his sanity. Wand in hand, keep walking.

'You have to kill, to protect. Until you start to enjoy it, you're safe. Do you remember how that blood tasted?'

The blade was still in Moody's hand, mingled blood and saliva on the blade. 'Yes.'

'Good. Here, take this.' Blade pressed into his hand, still sticky.

The door moves before he reaches it, and curses form on his lips, mixing with the blood already there. Hold back a moment.

'Did you hesitate before you killed him?'

'Yes. I'm sorry –'

'Don't be. When you stop hesitating, then you're mad.'

'I'll try to hesitate.'


Enemy. The curses drip from his lips, and he tastes each one as they fall. Tastes bad. Tastes bad. Tastes bad. Safe.

'You want to know why they call me Mad-Eye? It's not because of my eye.'

'Why, then?'

'Constant viligance. I always spot the enemy before they do. They think I don't hesitate. Sometimes I don't. But I'm mad. Are you?'

'Not yet.'


Touch blade. No need – the blood's still sharp on his tongue. Still safe. Next door. Next enemy. Next burst of curse and pain and death and blood. He hesitates. But he still feels mad.

'Do you hate Voldemort?' A different conversation, a different questioner.

'Yes. Can we talk about something else?'

Hand on thigh. 'Later. Will you enjoy killing him?'

'I don't know. Maybe.' Take his hand. Pull him close. Kiss.

Corridor. More Death Eaters. They enjoy the taste of blood, he's sure. So he feels no remorse. No joy, either. Mustn't feel joy. Stab blade, taste, safe. For now.

Pulling away. 'Seriously. Don't try to distract me.'

Angry. Snapping. 'I don't know!'

Silence for a moment. Move away. 'I wouldn't.'

'Why not? He killed your mother.'

'He killed yours, too. But I'm fighting against hate. And I won't be a hypocrite.'

Plant a kiss on the back of neck. 'I'll try not to enjoy the idea of him being dead, then. For you.'

Door to the right opens. Hesitate. Look. Friend. No – Draco. Smile. Clasp hands. No time for more, battle clears aside all potential joy. He makes sure it does. Touch knife.

'That's not enough, Harry. I worry –'

'I don't want your worry.'

'That's why I worry.'


'I worry you're starting to like it.'

Horror. 'No!'



'What about Voldemort, then.'

'I… I enjoy the thought of him being dead. But I don't enjoy the prospect of killing him. I think.'

'You think.'

'I can never be sure. That's why I taste the blood.'


'Really. It was Moody's suggestion.'

'Somehow, that fails to console me.'

'It's to reassure myself that I don't like the taste.'

Kiss. 'That sounds more sane.'


Death Eater. Death. Blood. Next room.

New day. After a battle. He's there. Hug. Kiss. Grateful they've survived another day.

'You taste of blood.'

'You don't like it?'

'Of course I don't!'


'Harry, it's not sane!'

'What isn't?'

'This… this vampire impersonation.'

'I don't like it. That's why I do it.'

Pull away. Walk away. Chase after him.

'Draco, you have to understand –'

Sigh. 'I… It scares me.'

'It scares me to. But I'm sorry it upsets you.'

Kiss, filled with sorrow. 'I know.'

Voldemort. Spells. Curses. Death. Knife in hand. Draco at his side. Press knife to Voldemort's corpse.

'No, Harry.'

'I have to know!'

'Harry, you don't need to kill anymore. It's over!'

'You were the one who asked me if I would enjoy killing him.'

'It was a question. This has to stop!'

Knife pressing into flesh. Tears in his eyes. Tears on Draco's cheeks. Broken murmur. 'I have to know.'

Raise knife. Blood looks black, sickly, evil. Poisonous. He can already taste the acrid coppery flavour in anticipation.

'Please, Harry.' Open mouth. Move knife to lips. Sob from Draco. 'Please…'

Drop knife. He doesn't need to taste it to know that he hates it. The taste has already left a scar on his soul.

Hug Draco. Whisper in his ear. 'I'm sorry.'

Kiss on the cheek. Wet with tears. 'I'm sorry too.'

Pull back, laughing. 'I'm going to enjoy his funeral, though. Even though I hated killing him.'

Laughter in return. 'That's fine by me.'

A/N: For those who read Sold, it should be updated some time in the next week or so. Thanks for your patience!