Title: The Five Senses
Warnings: Torture (non-graphic), man love
Disclaimer: I make no claim to own any of the characters here-in. I'm just a nasty little devil who likes to make them my play things. There is no monetary gain, etc. etc.
A/N: It's been forever since I've published anything. I thank everyone who's being patient with me for waiting, and want them to know I just needed something like this to get me out of my rut. Should be updating everything quite soon. In the meantime, enjoy (if it's your thing...)
When Harry woke up, he was no longer in his warm bed at the Weasley's, but shivering on what seemed to be a flat surface. His vision was a blur of hazy colors, he could tell someone had taken his glasses off, and his breath started coming in heavy puffs as he tried to ball his hands into fists. He couldn't move any part of his body, bound – not by ropes – but magic. Petrificus totalus would be his first guess, if not that his chest was rising and falling so rapidly, his eyes darting side to side in his head, trying to get a glimpse of somebody – anybody.
But Harry heard nothing happening in the dimly lit room, and so he continued to lay, prone, on the cold surface. He strained his ears for a noise, footsteps, the creak of a stair, the swish of a cloak. But nothing came. Blinking his eyes, he had resolved himself to time spent in this sensory limbo, when a shockingly intense pain ripped through his body. He felt it shredding his skin, breaking his bones, burning him with hot iron – and then, as quickly as it began, it was gone. His breath came in even heavier pants now, his chest heaving as he struggled to gain control of his nerves.
A whisper of a touch on his chest, and something swam into his vision. Long, blonde hair tickled his skin, and Draco Malfoy's scent filled his nostrils. "Well, Potter, how does it feel to be my plaything? At last, nothing you can do. You're at my mercy, aren't you?" He spat out the words, his nose wrinkled in distaste, spit landing on Harry's face. Although he wanted desperately to glare back, Harry couldn't move, all he could do was hope his loathing showed through green eyes.
"Better enjoy hearing, while you can, Potter." Malfoy trailed a hand down Harry's abdomen – and it was then, only then, that Harry realized he was naked. He had no clothing, and here he sat under Malfoy's undeterred gaze. He felt his organs squirming. "We can't have you hearing what's happening, all the time, can we? Otherwise you might have some idea where you are. " Malfoy's cold fingers looped a circle back up to Harry's chin, and brushed the stubble there, before inserting a finger into his mouth and pushing it far to the back, making Harry gag. "Don't worry, I'm not going to kill you. But soon, you'll wish I had."
He stepped away from Harry and was soon out of his line of sight. Harry had never before been afraid of Malfoy, but as he lay here, he couldn't help the worry burning a hole in the pit of his stomach. He had never before had to fight Malfoy while in a full body bind, wandless, and without the use of his vision. He couldn't see much of a way out. Yes, he had done magic without a wand before, but at best it had been sporadic and uncontrolled. He could easily harm himself by attempting to solve the problem with a spell. Besides, he had always been rubbish at non-verbal spells.
In the silence, he thought of Ron, back at the Burrow, warm in their bed. Would he have woken when Harry disappeared? Would he think it was just another late night walk to clear the demons from Harry's head? How long would it take for him to notice that his boyfriend was missing for good? What would he do? How could they find him? Harry fleetingly thought of muggle GPS, but it was no good. Harry didn't have a cell phone or a tracker, so even if Ron could work out how to use it (which was certainly never going to happen – one only had to know about the telephone incident to know Ron was lost on muggle contraptions), he couldn't find Harry anyway.
Sighing inwardly, Harry wondered if he would ever get out of this place. Bravery was one thing when you had no clue what was coming at you – when you were in the thick of things. Now that he was sitting here, waiting to see what fate would do to him, Harry found fear bubbling in his stomach. But before he could think any longer about what was happening, he was in excruciating pain again. His muscles were all clenching and unclenching, his body screaming for release. And then the pain was gone, but everything was dark and a buzzing noise filled his ears.
Harry's sense of time disappeared with his sense of hearing and sight. He just felt himself being turned into a tortured animal. Burned with shame when the time came that he could no longer wait and wet himself. Laid in his own vomit. Tasted blood in his mouth from biting on his tongue. Smelt his own stench and wondered how long he had been here, suffering at the hands of...someone. Malfoy had been the first, but surely there had to be more? One man couldn't possible have it in him to be the cause of so much humiliation? And besides, no one had touched Harry since their first meeting, he was sure Malfoy would have delighted in torturing Harry bodily, too.
He wasn't sure how long he had been there, unable to move, or hear, or see. But eventually, he stopped caring. He stopped himself from thinking about Ron and Hermione. Stopped himself wondering how everyone was getting on without him. And stopped hoping.
Then, one day, a callused thumb touched his face. He started at the touch, but unable to move, couldn't back away. A hand brushed over his face, pushing his hair off his forehead, rasping against his beard. There was something so familiar about it - the burning trail it left behind on his skin, the goosebumps it sent up his spine. Lips pressed lightly against his cheek, and hot tears dropped on his nose. And then he could move! He felt his body freed from the bind, tried to sit up, but found himself too weak to do so. He now knew the touch. Knew why he had recognized it. "Ron. Ron?" He wasn't sure how loud he was being, didn't care, as lips pressed hard against his, ignoring what was sure to be bad breath, blood crusted on his face, Ron kissed him and held him in his arms. "Ron, I can't hear, I can't see!"
Ron's thin arms wrapped cloth around Harry and picked him up, holding him bridal style. Harry clasped his arms around Ron's neck. He didn't know where they were going, or what they were doing, but he knew he had no reason to be scared anymore.
When he woke, he was lying in a bed at St. Mungo's, all five of his senses fully functional, and not one of them being barraged with pain. He rolled over onto his side, and saw Hermione sitting in a chair, her head lolling on the arm rest while she snored quietly. Lupin was standing in the doorway, stoic and stiff. But Harry couldn't seem to find the shock of red hair he was looking for. He opened his mouth. "Herm..." But a scratchy croak came out. Not enough to wake Hermione, yet enough to arouse Lupin's interest.
"Harry! You're awake. Don't talk, your throat, it's quite torn from screaming. Hermione..." Lupin turned to shake her, but she was already shifting, stirring because of his voice. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and upon seeing Harry's open eyes, she let out a small squeak, and jumped out of her seat.
"Oh Harry, you're awake, oh Goodness, it's been weeks, we've all been so worried. Can you see me? Can you hear me? When Ron brought you back, he told us about the vision and hearing. The healers tried to fix it, but we couldn't be sure until you woke up. We've been giving you a healing potion for your throat, too. But we weren't sure if it was working or not!" She seemed to say all of this in one breath while taking Harry's hand, and smiling at him.
"Hermione," he whispered, trying to save himself more pain, "I'm fine. I can see and hear and everything. Though my throat's still a little sore. Where's-"
"Well, that's to be expected. I mean you were there for a long time, Harry. Almost 3 months. You didn't get much use out of your voice other than screaming. And you were so malnourished. You're still skin and bones, but you're doing a lot better."
"Hermione." He cut her off with great difficulty, and she paused to look at him. "Where's Ron?"
"Oh, of course you want to see him! I'm so sorry, I just wasn't thinking...I...I'll send him a message right away. He just went home to shower and change. Get something to eat, I think. He's been here non-stop for the last few days, and even though he sleeps while he's here, it takes a lot out of him. He doesn't like to leave your side."
"Hermione, could you get him?"
She seemed flustered. "Yes, of course, sorry." She stepped over to the window and muttered a few sentences before her silvery otter sped away from her. "He should get that soon." She looked at Lupin, who stepped over to Harry.
"We were pretty worried about you Harry." He grabbed the man in a hug, holding him close. "Well, you're not strong enough to walk, but how about I sit you up? I'm sure you'd like that." He pulled Harry into a sitting position, and it was then that Harry noticed his chest was bound. He must have sustained lasting injuries.
Hermione was wringing her hands. "Do you want some water? Something to drink? Are you hungry? Do you want me to get you some food?"
"I'm fine Hermione." But she was worrying him, why was she so nervous? "Hermione, is Ron okay?"
"Yes, of course, he's fine...I just...I...well, Harry, I just missed you, that's all."
That was it, she was going to tell him something, but had certainly changed course halfway there. Harry turned to Lupin. "What's going on?"
"Everything's fine, right Professor Lupin?" There was bite in Hermione's voice.
"Well, Harry," Lupin sat down on a chair, which he pulled close to Harry's side. "When Ron came to rescue you, he had quite a duel to fight." He paused and looked meaningfully at Harry.
"He's not..." Harry's voice caught in his throat. He couldn't say the words. He felt tears building in his eyes.
"No! No, of course not. He just sustained a lot of injuries, he's a little slower than he used to be."
"Well, then, why's Hermione so worried?"
"Not sure." They both looked at her, and she sighed, dropping her shoulders.
"Harry, you have to understand, when you were gone, we thought you were never coming back. We thought you were dead until Ron got the letter from Malfoy. You just...you can't know what it was like. Ron's heart was broken, and...well, we just feel so awful."
"What are you going on about?"
"Ron and I...we...well, we slept to-"
"Harry!" Ron burst into the room, cutting her off. But Harry had gotten the message. "Oh thank God you're awake. I was so worried about you." Lupin moved so Ron could take his seat, the red head promptly filled it, taking Harry's hand. "Oh, baby, I was so worried about you." He leaned over and kissed Harry, who – despite the feeling that his heart was now somewhere near his toes – could not help but return the affectionate gesture. "You can see and everything?"
"When I found you, you were just covered in blood. I wasn't even sure if you were alive. Oh, I can't believe I found you. Just wait, you wouldn't believe how it happened. I was sit-"
"Um...Ron?" Hermione cut him off, nervously. "I think, Professor Lupin and I should go. You should tell Harry about what happened. He has a right to know."
"What? Tell him what Hermione?" Ron swivelled around on his seat, never letting go of Harry's hand.
"You know..." she twisted her wand in her hands. Her fingers were so white, Harry thought it might break. "The thing. We'll go get some tea..." And with that, Lupin lead her out of the room.
"Harry, she...I don't know what-"
"It's okay, Ron." Harry rubbed his thumb gently over the back of Ron's hand. "She told me." He swallowed the lump in his throat, staring at Ron's freckles, remembering the time he had tried to count them all. "I know you two slept together. I'm not upset. Just surprised...I thought you were strictly into men?"
"I am! Strictly into you!" Ron bent over Harry, his ears turning red, and laid on the bed next to Harry's waist. "Merlin, this is embarrassing. See, I missed you so much, I was really withdrawn, spending a lot of time in our room and away from the family. Hermione was worried about me, so she took some polyjuice potion...and..."
"You mean you slept with a Harry-Hermione?"
Harry couldn't suppress his laugh. Here he thought there was some emotional connection Hermione had with Ron, something that would put a stopper in his 8 year relationship with his best friend – but it was just physical! He was giddy with relief. But Ron frowned.
"Don't laugh! It's not funny. I was so worried about you!"
"You're right, it's not funny. I was worried about you, too. I was just so scared that you wanted to be with Hermione, now. She is a lot prettier than me."
Ron scoffed, sitting up. "No one is prettier than you." He kissed Harry's lips, pulling gently at the bottom one, smelling of soap and tasting of peppermint. "I love you, baby."
Harry breathed him in, thanked whoever was up there for giving him the perfect red head, that day on the train so long ago. "I love you, too, Ron." He shifted under the blankets, lying back down and scooting over to make room for his partner. Ron clambered onto the bed, gangly limbs getting in the way only momentarily, and under the bedding. He wrapped his arms around Harry, and snuggled his face into the hollow between Harry's neck and shoulder. "I don't know what I'd do without you."