(Story Notes: The 5 chapters of Scarification were written in 2003, just after the release of "Order of the Phoenix". Everything after this should be considered AU. Previously archived on Beloved Enemies and Skyehawke under the Lady Lazarus nic. Enjoy! - Abyssal)

"You've made up your mind?"

"I have."

"Then remember this. There are some places in this world where its very name is like a blight on the tongue, more hateful than any curse. Do you understand that where we are going is one of these very places?"

Harry nodded, his mouth pressed tight against his teeth, his face already setting into the hard lines of adulthood. From the look that Kingsley gave him, Harry knew that the older wizard had seen the first glimpse of the man behind the boy's eyes.

He's sixteen now. The brief sunshine of childhood has already dimmed. What kind of man will he be?

Since their introduction, Kingsley had not yet made his mind up about Harry. Sixteen was a difficult age. One could go either way with their life, choose any number of paths. It was all he could do to guide the boy on the right one.

"I need to see them. Unless I know that they are suffering I won't be able to sleep at night. I see ..." for Harry the name was hard to speak, and he did so only with effort, "... Sirius' face -- always. I see the veil. I see him fall and die and the memory is poisoning me from the inside out ... Kingsley, do you understand what that's like? I need to know that they ache like I ache ..."

After listening to the boy, Kingsley's breath escaped him with a long sigh. He ran his fingers over the top of his scalp - a long time had passed since he'd had hair - and said, "Harry, I understand. That is why I've agreed to take you to Azkaban."

"He might be the son of a Death Eater, but Draco is still my cousin. I can't exactly say I don't feel pity for him. It's hard to lose a father."

Harry didn't spot an ounce of resemblance in Tonks to the blond Slytherin pure-blood. If he winced his eyes up, disregarded the dark eyes and the ever-changing hair, and concentrated only on her pale face, he might have seen a slight, slight resemblance to Draco's slim mother, who he had only seen once, and that two years ago. If anything, Tonks most resembled a very young Bellatrix Lestrange, whose wand had issued that killing blow.

Sometimes this made her hard to be around.

"He didn't lose his father. His father is still alive." Harry corrected Tonks somewhat harshly. Then he flushed with shame. He hadn't meant to snap at the young witch, but this was not the first time someone had suggested that Harry and Draco shared a loss in common.

"So - Kingsley Shacklebolt's agreed to take you to Azkaban," she said, dropping the subject of Draco. Harry did not miss how her voice had fallen to a lower timbre on mentioning the prison.

"He agreed to take me. Especially since I've made up my mind to become an Auror, he also thought it would be a good idea to know where I'll be sending them."

It did not escape the notice of either of them that Harry could not bring himself to say witch or wizard. For Harry especially, to dabble in the dark branch of magic was to renounce your calling entirely and subjugate yourself to a lesser kind of existence.

Meanwhile Tonk's hair had turned a lurid, poisonous green.

"You don't approve, Tonks?"

She replied with a non-committal shrug. "It's not that I don't approve, but like the old muggle saying goes, battle ye not with monsters, lest you become a monster yourself ... and when you look into the Abyss, the Abyss also looks into you."

"I'm not battling them. I'm just going to see for myself that justice is being done."

"Suit yourself," she said, shrugging again, but would not meet Harry's eyes.

Kingsley portkeyed the pair of them not into the prison proper, but onto a wind-wracked road that fronted the huge double doors of the castle.

Looking upon the jagged structure, with its terrible dark stone battlements thrown up against a sullen, steely-grey sky, Harry wondered why they even needed Dementors. Just the outside of the prison was enough to infect a person with paralysing despair.

A noxious odour of rotting seaweed and garbage was whipped up by the seething wind. Harry covered his nose with the sleeve of his robe before looking askance at Kingsley, the tall wizard shaking his head and frowning in agitation.

"Let's just get in there and get it over with," said the Auror through gritted teeth.

Bolstering themselves against the wind they struggled over the creaking bridge of the moat. The wires holding the bridge steady let out a keening wail as the wind buffeted against them. The moat water oozed and burped stinking gases. As Harry looked into the slimy, crusted liquid, he was sure he saw the lazy hump of a giant serpentine back erupting from the foul skin of the moat, curving and sliding back in with the kind of grace that suggested the creature was much, much bigger.

At the iron-mangled doors, a small porthole emerged, allowing them to step through. Though no-one had yet joined them, Harry knew that there was some powerful magic separating Kingsley and himself from the other robed people in the courtyard. These aimless figures were all meandering through the enclosed yard as if they were sleepwalking. One shabby-looking wizard with cloudy eyes shuffled towards them without even a look in their direction.

Harry waved a hand in front of the wizard's lined face. The man did not even blink.

"The incarceration enchantment makes others invisible. This is part of their punishment. For all they know they are alone here."

Harry and Kingsley turned to face a short, bearded wizard with a patch over one eye, and wearing severe black robes. At his throat was a stiffened crimson band like a clerical collar.

"I am the Warden," announced the black robed wizard. "I will be your guide."

"Are all the prisoners like this?" asked Harry, worried. Half of his desire to come here was to look upon the Death Eaters and have them look back at him, to see in their eyes their guilt and the agony of imprisonment. These almost ethereal figures seemed oblivious to their fate.

To Harry's relief the Warden shook his head.

"These individuals are the lucky ones. They have a light sentence. They're allowed the privilege of being outside. Some we don't even give that choice."

"And Dementors?" Harry dug inside the folds of his robe for the comfort of his wand. There would be a silver stag waiting for any Dementor that came near him.

The Warden smiled. On a human the grin seemed twisted and wrong. It was a goblin smile, pointed and too-knowing. "We know that you have an aversion to our guardians, Harry Potter. They will stay out of your path for your visit. The wards on the prison doors are very strong. I would say sometimes that we don't even need the Dementors so much, they just add to the atmosphere."

Harry shuddered, and a sideways look at the tall, dark-skinned wizard next to him assured Harry that he was not the only one repulsed by this man.

With a wave of a long, flexible wand an opening appeared in the stone-paved ground, with flickering brands barely illuminating a rough-hewn stairway. With a collective breath, they followed the Warden deep into the bowels of Azkaban.

Only Kingsley's reputation as an Auror allowed them to retain their wands as they entered the deep, high security sections of the wizard prison.

Harry didn't quite believe that he'd have been able to bear these claustrophobia-inducing walls otherwise, not the full gibbets with their rotting bodies, not the dark, pitted and barred insets in the walls where unknowable things sobbed and gasped and died. He held his wand so tightly the holly handle was slippery with the sweat off his palm. How much of the prison was real, and how much of it was the atmosphere Harry did not care to know. For the first time he regretted his need to come here.

As the trio ventured further into the Azkaban labyrinth they passed countless heavy, impenetrable wood-panelled doors. Pitiful clawed hands would protrude from the grilled watch-holes, supplicating, begging. Frail, croaking voices floated from the darkness.


not my fault

forgive me

No sooner would Harry shy away from one set of grasping digits then another hand would reach out to clutch out at him and hiss for redemption. In the end it was all he could do but splash along the central gutter of the corridor, just out of reach.

The Warden grinned at Harry's discomfort, and gestured with his thin, whip like wand at a row of doors.

"Your Death Eaters."

Kingsley stopped, and nudged Harry forward.

"Go, go look boy."

Harry could not help but think of Sirius. Had he been kept here, in one of these cells, in the dozen years he had spent as Azkaban's guest? How had he borne this terrible place?

Harry's breath caught in his throat as he passed each viewing porthole. The pathetic robed figures in the bare cells stared back at him. Some he recognised because he saw their sons nearly every day at school - Crabbe, Goyle, Nott. In the others it was the eyes, eyes that had glared from behind Death Eater masks, that stirred his memory.

At first Harry believed he saw flashes of recognition in the pinched, starved faces. Slowly he began to realise that each one of them had been broken by the combined weight of charm and despondency. He might have been a Dementor for all they knew him.

Somewhere between disappointment and satisfaction, he was about to turn back when he stopped, frowned in concern, then searched each cell again.

After Bellatrix, there was only one other who had a direct role in his godfather's death.

"Where is he?"

"He who?"


The name was like a curse word. Harry couldn't help but wince in speaking the syllables.

"Ah," said the Warden. "Lucius Malfoy. Yes, he presented a special kind of challenge for us."

"What do you mean, a challenge?"

"Well, he is no ordinary wizard. A master of the Dark Arts, first disciple to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named ... Malfoy proved very difficult to break. We had to find an alternate punishment for him."

Harry strode up to the Warden. "What kind of alternate punishment?"

The Warden simpered. "There are some things not to be spoken of in polite company."

"Show me."

"Harry..." started Kingsley, worried. "You've seen enough."

"No! I want to see where Malfoy his and what's been done to him. I want to be sure!"

The Warden met Harry's gaze for the longest time before he bobbed his ugly, one-eyed head. "Certainly. Follow me then."

Harry had to jog to catch up with the Warden, who despite his short stature and the dark, slippery floor of the prison was surprisingly nimble. They moved down several more flights of stairs, and the air took on a colder, damper quality. The dingy cells weremore often as not empty. It seemed that there was a level of sentence reserved for a special kind of magical crime, a punishment so onerous that not even Death Eaters were down sent here.

After a short time Harry looked behind him and found that they'd lost Kingsley. Now he was totally dependent on the Warden for direction.

"...you might not find him tractable," the Warden was saying as they approached a cell at the far end of a long, noxiously dank tunnel. "We've not managed to drag good behaviour out of our guest yet."

Despite his loathing of the elder Malfoy, Harry couldn't help feeling a grudging admiration for someone who had refused to be broken under the worst Azkaban had to offer. As far as he knew, only Sirius had managed to put up much of a fight.

However the bundle of rags curled up at the corner of the cell was nothing to admire. If there was a man under here once, it was obvious to Harry that the humanity had long ago been bled away.

The Warden opened the door.

"Malfoy. You have a visitor."

The rag bundle did not stir.

"There's a Mister Potter here to see you."

Without warning the rags were cast off and the prisoner spring from his crouch and lunged at them, jerking short only when the chains reached their full distance. Harry gasped and leapt back.

"You," snarled Malfoy, his silver eyes almost luminous in the gloom. "Don't think I've forgotten you, boy.!"

Beneath the grime of his bare chest and arms, Harry could see that the straining musculature had not yet attained the slackness of someone locked up and inactive for a long period of time. Malfoy's eyes were not clouded like the other convicts, but gleamed with a powerful magic. No doubt they could spit sparks, sear him open with a look. Despite his alarm, Harry felt strangely exited at having this dangerous man chained up before him, so close, yet so tantalisingly out of reach.

The entire structures of power had been reversed in this room. Harry was no longer a child and Malfoy was not someone who had control - physical or magical - over him.

Harry stepped closer, and Malfoy's head darted forward like that of a snake's, a warning hiss escaping from his bared teeth. When Harry flinched, the Death Eater let out a snort that could have been a laugh. Malfoy had not changed. One nostril was caked with dried blood, an unhealed cut sliced in half one eyebrow and his hair had darkened with dirt, but his appearance had altered very little. He had not even grown a beard, as the wards in Azkaban didn't allow a magical person to alter their appearance.

"What has been done to him?" whispered Harry to the one-eyed Warden.

"Everything," replied the Warden. "We cause him pain and heal him of the most exquisite tortures, and yet he refuses to submit. Save a Dementor's kiss, nothing will break him."

The Warden licked his lips, lasciviously, as if the idea of the Dementor's kiss gave him pleasures that none could name.

Harry let his eyes meet Malfoy's wild ones, then slide over the rest of his near naked body. There was a strength there Harry had come across so rarely in others, the way the muscles segued into each other under the taut, famine-cut skin. The lumos in the cell's far corner spat and sizzled in the presence of heady, dark magic.

The light cast into sharp definition Malfoy's arms and shoulders and belly, the still-tight riding breeches he had been wearing on the day of his arrest, the bulge in the crotch. So beautiful, and so deadly.Without realising it Harry too had been licking his lips and swallowing the lump that had developed in his dry throat.

Despite the evidence of magic torture and magic healing - there were still patches of discolouration on Malfoy's skin that could not be attributed to dirt - the wizard held himself with a kind of insolent pride that shrieked do your worst. Further pain would not diminish the confronting, hateful glare in those unrelenting grey eyes.

If Harry wanted to have any effect on this man, he needed to approach him in other ways.

Harry moved outside the cell to speak to the Warden.

"I want him to wash. But not here. Somewhere cleaner."

The Warden looked mortified.

"But the current course of his punishment requires that he suppurate in his own filth here..."

Harry met the Warden's single eye with his own. "And my punishment requires that he clean up."

"You're no Auror. You cannot order this."

Harry felt a new authority welling in him. He had not yet tested the boundaries of his fame and the thrall that he had over others. After Voldemort, it was he who now engendered the most fearful respect in others. His fame had given him an uncertain, mysterious quality. No-one was sure yet in which way he would turn, and few were brave enough to test him.

"I may not be an Auror now, but there are not so many years in between today and the time I will be." Harry was secretly amazed at the rough, masculine voice that burst from his throat. Even Malfoy stopped straining against his irons, and hunched down like an animal who has heard an unexpected noise. "I'm wondering if you will still be here to tell me then what you are telling me now."

After a tense few seconds the Warden shrugged. "There is an old shower room near here. I'm sure it will ... suit."

"And I want to be left alone with the prisoner."

"If you think your magic skills adequate to hold him..."

Harry's silence was answer enough.

The shower room had not been used since long before any of them had
been born. If there had been a layer of enamel on the tiles, years and years of neglect had gradually worn whatever original colour had been present away.

"It is the magic," said the Warden. "Captured, restrained magic is corrosive and poisonous. In time it can wear down the very stone of the walls."

Flaking, rusted water-pipes criss-crossed overhead, occasionally terminating in a decomposed shower-rose, suspended over a grate in the gently sloping stone floor. The controls for the water flow were lined up along the far wall, leaving the prisoner at the guard's mercy.

The only illumination came from high windows inset with ancient, clouded glass.

"This will do," said Harry, feeling an odd chill as he contemplated what could be done here.

battle ye not with monsters, lest you become a monster yourself

He was not cruel. He just wanted to...


...talk to him and achieve some...



A pair of masked, robed guards - perhaps some of the few
non-dementor workers apart from Azkaban's Warden - dragged a non-compliant Malfoy into the shower-room.

Harry watched as the dirty, filth-caked man put up the appearance of being in some state of near catatonia, yet still be perfectly aware of what was happening. This was a place new for him. Already the older wizard was steeling himself for some other kind of torture, binding himself with whatever power he had left.

"Chain him under that shower over there, then leave us." Harry ordered, trying to retain the sense of command in his voice. He might have fantasised a hundred times at having Malfoy under his domination, but now in the cold reality he could feel his resolve weakening.

In his fantasies, Lucius Malfoy had been whimpering and crying and begging to exchange places with Sirius Black, screaming for death. Not silent and watchful like this, those arrogant quicksilver eyes slitted in Harry's direction, as if Malfoy's situation and Malfoy's chains were mere technicalities to be erased with a word.

The guards took one leg-iron, and chained Malfoy by one ankle to a U-bolt set into the stone floor. The bracelets were taken from him, leaving his arms free.

Malfoy allowed himself the weakness of rubbing the chafed, weeping marks around his wrists before looking around him, taking in the old, grimy walls and floor, the shower equipment, the runnels and grates that could drain away water...or blood.

He then returned to Harry, pressed against one wall. Malfoy sensed the young wizard's trepidation, and smirked, opening a just-healed split lip. A drop of blood appeared on his chin.

"I can see you enjoy seeing me like this." The smirk transformed into a scowl. "You'll get no pleasure from me. This is nothing. You are nothing."

Malfoy then spat in Harry's direction, his faced creased in loathing.

Harry quickly stood upright and said, "Take-"

The dryness in his throat had returned, making his voice crack mid-sentence. Silently cursing, he stood closer to Malfoy and said loudly, "Take off your clothes."

"I haven't got any more to take off."

"Your strides. Take them off."

Malfoy paused only for a moment. A puzzled shadow flicked over his battered face, before the blank, arrogant antipathy returned, and he pulled off the tattered riding breeches. The garment tangled up in the U-bolt.

Harry did not mean to stare, but his eyes rutted over the bared flesh. There was more evidence of bruises and not-quite healed injuries, but the long muscles of Malfoy's legs were unspoilt and defined, flowing lines leading up to...

...Harry wanted to pull his gaze away but he could not, for even flaccid Malfoy's thick, veined cock was impressive, much more impressive than those of the other boy's in the school changing room, the place where he had started to realise his sexual leanings followed a bent path.

Harry realised his mouth had dropped open slightly on seeing Lucius Malfoy's aberrant anatomy. To distract Malfoy from his constant stare Harry struck the lever for the shower.

At first there was nothing. Then the pipework began to groan and rattle audibly, knocking and clattering overhead as if a whole boggart tribe was tumbling through the thin bores. With a loud splatter the shower-head disgorged a deluge of orange-brown water. Malfoy let out a grunt of surprise as he was drenched in the dirty liquid. The water pressure was still good after all this time, and soon the water began to run clear.

Malfoy stood, slightly bedraggled in the middle of the relentless flow, refusing to alter his wary stance, to give in to what must be the sheer relief of being surrounded in lukewarm water after Merlin knows how long he'd gone without.

Harry looked around at the lip of tile under the water levers. He found an old dried cake of soap and a nearly hairless scrubbing brush that seemed as if it were really meant for floors, not people.

He slid both objects over to Malfoy.

"Wash." he said.

Malfoy did not move.

"Go on."

The pale wizard's eyes narrowed, before he scooped the soap and brush up. He turned his back to Harry, as if this act required a modicum of privacy.

Harry was almost about to order Malfoy to turn around, but the sight of the muscled back converging into narrow hips and the beautiful, rounded arse made him forget what he was about to say. Malfoy worked over his body with ritualistic precision, scrubbing the matted dirt from his pale blond head, the snags and snarls washing away with the water, then moving over his broad shoulders, taking care not to peel off an old scab that had been hiding under the dirt, over his chest - Harry was almost ready to tell him to turn around but did not want to spoil the view he had - then his sides and back, the soap suds curling down over Malfoy's arse leaving slow, shiny trails like saliva from a long kiss.

Malfoy was flexible enough, and the brush was large enough for him to reach those difficult parts of his back. Harry found himself wondering whether he would have offered to step forward, ignoring the danger, and offer to scrub his back had Malfoy not been able to reach.

Stop it! Harry warned himself. He's your enemy and you're not here to make his stay any easier.

Malfoy then began to smear and lather the soap what could only be his groin and between his arse cheeks, spending what an inordinate amount of time on his intimate areas. Harry found that he had begun to get uncomfortably hot under his robes.

Malfoy moved down to his thighs, lathering the soap in long, patient strokes. Harry couldn't help but mentally replacing Malfoy's hands with his own. A disturbing thought came to him - he could have had Malfoy completely bound if he had so desired. He could have been the one feeling and touching the soap-slick masculine body, sliding his thumbs into the deep junction between thigh muscles, over those hips, subject that blood-heavy cock to his broom-callused hands.

Harry's breath was already coming in short gasps. He was aroused by the sight of Malfoy like this, naked and vulnerable yet still exuding power and confidence.

Harry turned off the water.

The shower rose gurgled to a trickle, drops of water still coursing
down Malfoy's pale back.

"I'm not finished."

"Turn around," said Harry, and winced when he realised the arousal was painfully obvious in his hoarse and breathless voice.

Malfoy turned around. Clean, he was beautiful, with the lean proportions of a Muggle statue. The torture marks on him seemed like senseless acts of vandalism. How could anyone desecrate something so physically beautiful?

The grey eyes were still insolent. They did not miss Harry's flushed cheeks and moist, parted lips.

"Do you want to come here and touch me, then?" the older wizard teased in a low, husky voice, heavy with malice, running the side of his thumb over a nipple sharpened by the cold. The thumb trailed down to his hip, and the indentation of muscle at his naked groin.

The offer had been made in sarcasm - Malfoy's way of maintaining control in an uncontrollable situation. Harry knew that if he so much as touched Lucius Malfoy the older wizard would overpower him and possibly - most likely - use him as a hostage to escape.

But for an awful moment Harry had needed all his willpower to restrain himself from lurching towards the naked man and tonguing the erect nipple savagely.

Already he had begun to feel his own prick stirring in his trousers. Each time he breathed, it seemed the fabric would chafe over him and inflame him more. Harry had not expected this reaction. It both excited and terrified him. He was mere moments of fleeing this room and trying to find somewhere to relieve himself of this building pressure, and let his mind roil with fantasies of clawing and biting the tight flesh of this man, feasting on the musky taste of that magnificent cock.

The impossible realities of his fantasy made Harry almost want to cry out.

Words burst from him instead. "Touch yourself, Malfoy!"

"I shall not," said the pale wizard.

Harry grappled for his wand and held it out in front of him, the end trembling from the keening of his aroused nerves. "Touch yourself, or I will hurt you and make you do it."

Malfoy glowered at Harry in defiance even as his still-soapy hand slipped down to his groin. He did not even avert his eyes from Harry's own as he took hold of the thick organ and began to slide the slick palm over the veined shaft, challenging Harry to break the gaze first.

"Would you like to know sort of thing that will give me pleasure?" hissed Malfoy as he slowly stroked his rapidly lengthening and thickening cock. "Tearing those robes from your body, throwing you face down on that floor, naked and wet on the floor, powerless to everything but what I demand from you...look at me Potter, see how hard I am when I think of raping you and fucking you so hard it'll be you that begs me to stop..."

Malfoy was fully erect now, and Harry's gaze slipped from those intimidating eyes and mocking, threatening mouth, following a large droplet of water as it skidded over Malfoy's pectoral muscle and down his belly to his leisurely moving fist. The swollen glans shone in the filtered light, fat and delicious. Harry could not pull his gaze away, felt saliva flood his mouth, had to grab hold of a vertical water pipe so as not to crawl to Malfoy and grab his thighs and slide the engorged shaft between his lips...

"Can you feel me?" Malfoy growled, his own voice husky with need. "Can you feel me inside you? Can you feel me fucking you...?"

Harry only nodded, mashing his fists into his robe so that he couldn't touch his burning, throbbing prick straining within the prison of cloth. Each time Malfoy's palm pulled down to the root of his shaft, and his glans reared up, gleaming with soap and pre-come, Harry felt his own body quiver as if penetrated by some invisible force. His heartbeat roared in his ears, his legs were shaking, barely holding him upright.

Harry's only consolation was that Malfoy was not far from climax. Malfoy's free hand had seized hold of the shower rose above him for support, and that once conceited face was wracked with concentration and pleasure-pain. But the grey eyes did not once leave Harry, for it was Harry that Malfoy was thinking of as he stroked his gorgeously huge cock to climax, it was a shared image of Harry being thoroughly impaled, Malfoy's organ buried deep into Harry's arse, the pale wizard's lean, strong body grinding into Harry's flesh, Malfoy's thighs behind Harry's own, driving him to orgasm, Malfoy's tongue and teeth and hot breath...

"Can...you... feel...oh Harry..."

Malfoy let out a tormented groan that seemed to have been dragged up from his very core. A spurt of pearl erupted from the head of his blood-heavy prick and spattered across the dark ground.

Harry's untouched cock responded in simpatico. Instantly he jerked as if a current of dark magic had been thrust between is legs. Sticky warmth filled Harry's groin. He fell to his knees, bowed his head forwards and shuddered through the aftershocks of climax.

he'd said...oh Harry

"Lucius..." he moaned, and the name suited in his mouth, no longer a curse, but a necessary counter-spell that needed to be spoken, else the speaker died.

Feeling utterly, utterly unsatisfied by his unbidden peak Harry kissed the stone floor with a mewling cry of frustration, licked up Malfoy's come as if he could attain some closeness to his untouchable lover, anything, anything at all to approximate the taste of skin and saliva and sweat, to assuage the hunger that flared in his stomach, his still-erect penis.

He savoured the strong musky flavour of the spunk as if were the most exceptional delicacy. He still wanted more, he was still groaning for more...

Harry raised his head to find that Lucius Lucius, now? had been as startled as he to have called out Harry's name.

The blond wizard was now holding onto the shower rose with both hands, limp and trembling, breathing hard from what had undoubtedly one of the most powerful orgasms of his life.

Whether it was the prison, his hatred of Harry or the strength of his fantasy to subjugate the boy into violent unrestrained sex, or having verbalised that secret desire in front of his would-be victim without inhibition, Lucius Malfoy's whole body had been overwhelmed by an instant of pure, white-hot ecstasy. The loss of that feeling exhausted him, leaving him with an emotion that could only be akin to anguish.

Now when he looked at Harry on his knees, utterly submissive, tonguing the come from the stone, he was shaken and wary and gods! aching with lust.

Harry saw the change in Malfoy's eyes. Rising to his unsteady feet, Harry now realised that he had affected the Death Eater in a way that no amount of pain or torture could ever have. Lucius' cry still echoed in his ears.

oh harry

A pair of voices were echoing down the corridor outside the shower-room. The booming voice belonged to Kingsley, the apologetic one to the Warden. Kingsley was accusing the Azkaban administrator of stealing Harry away. They were not far.

He cast one last look at Lucius Malfoy. A curious feeling wormed into Harry when saw the wizard standing slouched and beaten, his arms now wrapped tightly about his chest as if he were afraid something might fall out.

Harry couldn't comprehend what brought on such a pang of guilt. Malfoy had practically killed Sirius and deserved nothing more than to be detested. But it was as if by dragging this small secret out into the open, by making Malfoy utter those two words in an unguarded moment, Harry had destroyed and degraded something noble and proud and terrible all at once.

Harry backed away from the chained man, frightened himself. What had happened between them? They had both scarred the other. He stumbled from the room, sticky and uncomfortable, but feeling nothing that approached the loss in his soul.

TBC - "Obsession"