AN: This is the sequal to Background Secrets. If you haven't read that, go read it, then come back here. This won't make any sense to you otherwise.
Rating: PG-13 (T), but it may go up
Warnings: This contains SLASH. That's boy/boy, and girl/girl. If you don't like it, don't read, and please don't flame me just saying you don't like it. That would not show you in a positive light.
Also, this has an insane amount of OCs. I promise you, none of them are Mary-Sues (I hate them too) but if you don't like OCs period, you won't like this.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything with it. That's the sole right of WB and JKR. I do, however, own all of my OCs, and as I'll be using them in my books, please don't steal them without asking.
Also, a side note, the title of this fic comes from a line in "Higher than Hope" by Nightwish.
"...Red Sun rising
Drown without inhaling
Within, the dark holds hard
Red Sun rising
Higher than hope my cure lies..."
And the title of this chapter is from track five of Coheed and Cambria's Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV Volume One.
Red Sun Rising
Prologue: Crossing the Frame
The room echoed with the boy's pitiful screams. It was what he wanted, yet he hardly felt satisfied hearing them. The boy knew scrams were what he wanted, so he was giving them, and that took half the pleasure away.
"Stop, Severus," he commanded. Instantly, the screams ceased only to be replaced by broken sobs. Normally, that would have been even more satisfying than the screams, but it only incensed him further now.
"Leave us," he hissed to the dark haired man. Severus bow deeply and walked backwards out of the room. He almost smiled; at least someone was showing the proper amount of respect.
He stood and slowly stepped down from his throne, enjoying the way the boy flinched away from him. It was amusing, seeing this boy so broken. He'd had such fire when he'd been initiated.
"You've disappointed me, Draco," he murmured, watching the boy flinch again. "Do you know how?"
"I-I couldn't kill him myself...my lord..." the boy whispered.
He actually smiled this time; so the boy did not yet suspect what he knew. He wondered why the boy had seemed only fearful for his life.
"No, you could not...but I never expected you to," he said simply. "Yet, you provided a way for my Death Eaters to enter the castle...
"You have already been punished for your weakness."
The boy tensed. He had expected him to; it was part of the fun.
"You thought perhaps a death sentence was in order for your failure? Had you already resigned yourself to death, young Malfoy?"
The boy was silent for a few moments, thinking over his answer, no doubt, so he wasn't completely stupid. "I would deserve no less, my lord," the boy said finally.
He smiled again, savouring the moment before he broke the boy completely. "You are correct; you deserve no less. You deserve far more."
He paused and leaned down to hiss in the boy's ear, "I know about your little affair with Potter."
He watched the horror, and then hopelessness, form on the boy's face with relish. This was, of course, no less than this traitorous boy deserved.
"Yes, I know all about that, Draco," he hissed as he stood and began pacing again. "You thought, perhaps, that you could hide it from me? I am Lord Voldemort; the world has never seen a better Legilimens."
"Then why don't you kill me?" the boy spat. He frowned; the boy had gone from hopeless to angry faster than he had anticipated.
"You are still very useful to me, Draco," he said calmly, drawing his wand. No, the boy wasn't stupid; the realization of what he meant hit him instantly.
"Fuck you!" the boy growled, staggering backward. "I'd rather die!"
"And you will, as soon as you are no longer useful," he said simply, smiling cruelly. "But for now, you are my one reliable link to Potter…or you will be once I'm through with you."
The boy's eyes fell to him wand and, rather than paling, he flushed angrily. "I'll fight you with every fibre of my being. If you knew anything about me, you'd know that."
"I wouldn't have it any other way," he hissed, pointing his wand at the boy. "I'll enjoy breaking you."
"Never," the boy hissed back. "I'll never betray him. I only joined you to protect him!"
"And you're welcome to tell him that you will now be his demise," he responded. "Crucio!"
He screamed. He couldn't help it. He could feel the emotional and well as physical pain, though he knew logically he shouldn't. The curse wasn't pointed at him. But he could feel it.
No, he could be screaming his name! That was like giving up!
"Harry! Wake up!"
The pain was fading. Did that mean he'd lost? Was Voldemort going to kill him now?
"Harry! You're going to wake up your friends if you don't shut up!"
He opened his eyes with a gasp, clamping his hand down on the burning scar on his forehead. He felt disoriented and shaky; it had been almost a year since he'd had a vision like that. Yet, he could hardly remember what it was about. He remembered feeling happy, though, much too happy.
"Harry! Are you awake yet?"
Harry shot up, whirling around to find silver-blue eyes staring back at him. He scrambled to grab his glasses so he could make sure he wasn't just seeing things, but no, it really was Draco standing there.
"Draco?" Harry whispered. "What are you doing here?"
Draco raised an eyebrow. "I risk life and limb to talk to you and that's the response I get?"
"Draco..." Harry murmured disapprovingly. He did take time to look Draco over and was a little horrified; the blond had obviously not been treated well in the past couple weeks. He was filthy and his robes hung on his frame a little too loosely. Cuts and bruises riddled the skin he could see, and his pale hair was tinged pink in a few places. Worse of all, however, was the occasional subconscious twitch of his muscles that Harry was sure only came from repeated sessions under the Cruciatus.
"What happened to you?" he finally asked, looking back up at Draco's eyes and hating the slightly haunted look in them.
"You didn't think I'd get away with not killing Dumbledore myself without a scratch, did you?" Draco answered bitterly. "It was my job, I failed, and I'm being punished for it."
"What? Dumbledore's dead; who cares who did it?"
"The Dark Lord," Draco answered simply. "Anyway, that's not why I'm here—"
"Draco..." Harry interrupted, staring at him again. He'd only just noticed; he could see his window through Draco, as though the other boy were a ghost. "How are you here? You're not...dead...?"
"Oh!" Draco looked down at himself for a moment, then grinned sheepishly back up at Harry. "No, I'm not dead. This is the surprise I've been keeping from you for years. It's a hologram."
Harry stared at him in shock. "You're kidding."
"I'm not. It took forever to figure out how to do it, and it's a really complicated spell, but otherwise I couldn't be here right now, could I?"
Harry reached out and passed his hand through Draco's body. His image froze and wavered for a moment before becoming clear again.
"That's amazing," Harry murmured.
Draco smiled faintly before turning serious again. "That isn't why I'm here, Harry. I have something extremely important to tell you."
Harry nodded once and he continued, "I'm not sure why I haven't been killed yet, but Voldemort says I'm still useful. There's no way I'm going to stick around I find out how. Severus and I have been working on an escape plan—"
"Why?" Harry asked bitterly. "Isn't Snape Voldemort's favourite now that Dumbledore's dead by his hand?"
"Well, yes, but you don't understand. Severus has always been on our side—"
"Yeah, right. That's why Dumbledore's dead."
Draco sighed. "Not Dumbledore's side, our side. Yours and mine. Us. Our side. He's been doing his best to keep us together. Not that it worked..."
"What are you talking about?" Harry asked, extraordinarily confused. "He hated me before I was born. Why would he want to help me?"
"Because it helps me, and because he's a Slytherin. He thinks that siding with you is the best option right now." Draco shook his head impatiently. "But none of this is important right now. What's important is that I'm going to try to escape and I need I place to hide."
"You weren't thinking...here?" Harry said, gesturing at his junk-filled room.
"Only if I'm welcome," Draco answered softly. Harry had to look away from his hopeful bluish eyes to think straight, but even then he had trouble. Draco wanted to come here, to Privet Drive. Draco wanted to come back to him even after how horrible and completely unfaithful he'd been. Draco still wanted him.
"Of course you're welcome," Harry finally answered. "I just...I didn't think you'd ever want to talk to me again after...after how horrible I've been."
"You haven't been horrible, Harry," Draco chided softly. At Harry's sceptical look, he shrugged and said, "Well, maybe you have, but that's the way you are. I told you once years ago that your heart's too big, and since you've done nothing to correct that, I'll have to assume that's a good thing."
"I always wondered where your got all that sappy poetry from," Harry said with a smirk. "I guess from the same place you're getting this stuff."
"Touché," Draco replied. "Still, you better have dumped that Weasley bint, or I might have to go somewhere else."
"Don't call her that. And I didn't dump her; I told her we couldn't see each other anymore in case Voldemort decided to use her as bait."
Draco smiled in a very self-satisfied way. "Good. Then what are they doing here?" he asked, jerking his thumb back at the sleeping forms of Ron and Hermione on the conjured bed on his floor.
"They're here because they wanted to keep me company during the summer," Harry answered. His eyes narrowed slightly. "And if you do come, I don't want you to give them any trouble. I'll tell them to leave you alone too, but it only works when both sides participate."
"Fine, I'll leave them alone," Draco said, rolling his eyes.
"And you won't care that you'll be staying in a Muggle house?" Harry asked, amused.
"I'm seventeen now; I'll curse them if they cause any trouble. I may curse them anyway."
"Well, not if you don't want me to..."
Harry shook his head with a faint smile. He could hardly believe how much he'd missed this—the childish banter that they'd always had between them, just hearing Draco's voice in more than a sob. It made his heart ache.
"Actually," Draco murmured thoughtfully, a hungry gleam touching his eyes, "now that I'm seventeen, I can do a lot more things to you..."
"Which I can't do," Harry muttered, rolling his eyes. "I'm two months younger than you, remember?"
"Oh yes, I remember that."
Draco suddenly tensed and turned around to look at something Harry's couldn't see. When he turned back, his face was white and his eyes were wide.
"I thought I would have more time with you," he whispered. "But they never do leave me for long. I have to go now before someone wonders who I'm talking to."
"They're coming back to torture me, Harry," Draco answered simply. He glanced back again before rushing over to press a ghostly kiss to Harry's cheek. "Don't worry about me; I'll be fine. I have you to think about."
"There's a pleasant thought," Harry muttered, trying to lighten the mood, though neither of them even smiled a fraction.
"I'll see you soon, okay? I love you."
"I know," Harry whispered, looking at him anxiously. "I love you too...and I'm sorry, about everything..."
"Don't be. And don't you forget it. Wait for me." Draco gained a determined look and swiftly disappeared.
Harry stared at the spot where his ex-boyfriend had been for a moment, then quickly lay down when he thought he heard movement from his guests. Much as he tried, however, he couldn't fall back asleep again and lay staring at the wall, his gut filled with anger and hatred for Voldemort, until the sun's first rays crept into the room.