Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter and its characters are not mine.

Carve Thy Name upon My Nape

Chapter I: Hollow as Glass

The lofty, dim entrance hall of the manor was cold like the autumnal night beyond the looming double door, but Draco was used to it, just as he was used to the perpetual coldness of his limbs. Nevertheless, he sensed something was amiss in this empty mansion. Frowning slightly, he surveyed his surroundings. The ebony banisters and the mahogany panelling gleamed darkly as always. The solemn stillness of the manor remained undisturbed. The unique blend of faint mustiness and floral fragrance lingered still in the air.

At length, his ashen grey eyes fell upon the white spider lilies arranged loosely in a vase on the pedestal table. Upon those virgin petals were several dark crimson smears that were not there before. Gingerly he touched the petal; the smear was dry beneath his finger. His frown deepened, Draco took the candelabrum from the table and swiftly vanished into the bowel of the manor.

Light footfall echoed in the corridor and disrupted the hollow silence. Golden candlelight illuminated Draco's pale face, but it gave him no warmth. Muted portraits of past lords and ladies of the manor stared baldly at him as he passed; eyes of greenish grey, cerulean grey, violet-tinted grey, and mercurial grey followed his movement like moths.

A blast of cool breeze assailed him the moment he opened the door leading to the grounds. He shuddered instinctively, and the candlelight shuddered with him. The chilly midnight air stung his face; above, the reddish grey sky looked ready to cry. Letting out a breath, Draco shielded the swaying flame with his hand and hastened across the grounds to where a glass pavilion stood.

Composed of metal and glass, the circular pavilion was a whimsical construct against the rigid classicism of the mansion. In appearance it resembled a conservatory, but it contained no plants. Instead, it housed silver instruments and glass apparatus and leather-bound books; Draco was a healer and a researcher, not a herbologist.

The pavilion should have been unoccupied, yet presently light was shining from within like a beacon, outlining a human silhouette. As if drawn by the light, Draco quickened his pace. The candlelight in his hand wavered wildly, but he ignored it. Once he reached the intricately carved door of the pavilion, he opened it without hesitation and stepped inside.

The chamber offered little relief from the chill. Spacious and barely furnished, the pavilion was as hollow and desolate as the mansion proper. Silver and glass glinted faintly in the shadow; a black leather jacket was carelessly thrown over the deep green chesterfield sofa; piles of books littered the rosewood low table and the floor; but Draco's attention was drawn to the light and the lean figure standing by the rosewood desk. Quietly he closed the door behind him, shutting out the spiteful wind.

The figure, clad in a black jumper and a pair of khaki trousers, turned around and smiled at Draco. Dark, unruly hair liken to raven's wings, a pallid, boyish face framed by a pair of glasses, crystalline green eyes sparkled - the young man was a study of serenity if not for the blood-stained hand clutching a blood-stained cloth to his throat.

"Hello." Harry gave a sheepish wave with his free hand, his warm baritone voice ringing beneath the domed ceiling. "I let myself in. I hope you don't mind."

"You don't seem to mind letting yourself in, so why should I?" Draco remarked, though he did not appear annoyed. After blowing out the candle and banishing the candle holder to where it belonged, he took off his dark overcoat, revealing the flawless navy blue shirt and black tie beneath.

"Sit down." Draco gestured at the sofa, before throwing his coat atop Harry's, and himself on the sofa. Only when Harry sat down placidly beside him did he finally chide, "When are you going to learn?"

Peppermint green pupils glittered like stained glass in the sun. "I was thirsty, and my throat was so dry and itchy I couldn't help myself."

Draco did not answer; instead he removed the cloth and examined the livid red scratches on Harry's throat. It looked as though Harry had tried to claw his throat open. A trickle of blood was oozing from the wound, a teardrop of vermilion on raw flesh. Metallic eyes narrowed, Draco let his professionalism take over. He pushed aside the books on the table, conjured the necessary medical supply and a ceramic basin filled with water, then set to work.

As he cleaned Harry's wound with a fresh cloth, Draco felt his fingertips going numb from the icy water. Harry, on the other hand, found the chill soothing against his burning throat. Verdant eyes lingered on Draco's sharp visage for several beats before turning away; mercurial eyes flickered upward briefly before returning to examining Harry's throat.

Tantalising seconds turned into tantalising minutes, and Harry could stand the empty silence no more. "How are you?"

"I've been busy." Draco applied a thin layer of white ointment to Harry's throat, his touch delicate yet impersonal. A sweet aroma liken to Queen of the Night infected the air. "And you?"

There was a note of hesitation in Harry's voice. "I'm all right. Just a little tired."

Draco did not ask if Harry was feeling unwell; he already knew. As he directed a ribbon of fresh bandage to coil neatly around his patient's neck, he said pointedly, "You haven't been sleeping well."

"It's nothing serious," Harry replied dismissively and smiled again, a softened curve on bloodless lips. "I'm a night owl, remember?"

"And I'm your healer, remember?" Draco countered impatiently. After clearing away what was left of the medical supply, he washed his hands in the basin. The water was as clear and heartbreakingly cold as glass.

"Yes, I know." Quiet words accompanied the gentle sound of sloshing water, and Draco fell silent.

Out of habit, Harry studied the healer's hands: long, artistic fingers, blue veins beneath bone-white skin, and sensually curved wrists. They were like the most delicately and lovingly carved of ice sculptures. And those hands had touched him when others dared not, when he himself had forgotten the delight of human warmth.

His throat tingled with growing thirst, Harry grasped his bandaged throat and said, "Thanks."

"Don't thank me. You have to pay for it." Draco pointed out nonchalantly as he wiped his hands on the towel. Theirs was never a conventional relation between a healer and his patient, even though they had maintained the illusion of one.

When finally Draco raised his silver eyes to meet Harry's, he found Harry staring at him, his smile fallen away like leaves. Something flickered in those dark absinthe eyes of Harry's, and Draco knew what it meant. Several heartbeats later, Draco slowly loosened his tie and collar, before turning around to face the other way.

"You have held out longer than I had expected." Words came out as a whisper.

Harry let out a dry, hollow chuckle, then gently pulled Draco's shirt lower to reveal his pale, elegantly curved neck. Leaning into the dark-haired man, Draco felt a sharp pain biting into his neck and winced, but soon the pain dulled into a lingering ache.

"Sorry," Harry murmured as if he was mumbling in his sleep or trapped in a trance.

As always Draco said nothing, but he could not help twisting his mouth sardonically. Words became no more than smoke beyond this boundary, intangible and insubstantial like the paper thin connection between him and his patient.

Cool lips descended on Draco's neck; dry mouth closed around the wound and drank ravenously from it. Cool hands gripped his chin and clutched his hand, fingers interlaced with his in solace. Draco could conjure neither fear nor thrill, not even a spark of disgust as he listened absently to the wet, suckling sound of his blood being drawn from him, nothing but burning cold that could have been mistaken for heat. And ever so slowly, ever so tantalisingly, he closed his eyes.


To be continued...

A/N: Happy Hallowe'en! I apologize for the lack of update recently. This is somewhat of an unconventional vampire story. In this story, I attempt to evoke a cold, transparent, and hollow ambience. I envision Draco as less of a healer in the conventional sense and more like a doctor; I confess I am indulging myself somewhat with this set-up.