Disclaimer: Harry Potter, its characters, and settings belong to J.K. Rowling and her publishers; no money is being made with this fanfiction.


~ Patience ~

Whenever he's touched, Harry screams. The Dark Lord found it amusing for a while, but he's grown tired of it; it's always the same. Even Bellatrix is bored by the results of her work.

It's easy to talk them into giving him up, and now Harry spends his days crouched in a corner at Malfoy Manor, mute except for the time Draco's with him.

Listen and wait, that's all Draco does for two years. The day comes when screams turn into moans, moans into whimpers, and finally silence.

Then there's the day when Harry comes to him to be held.

.-.-.-.

~ Hope ~

Harry doesn't look anyone in the eye. When Draco comes to him, he'll move into his arms, gaze glued to the floor. He'll hide his face against Draco's chest, then, and for a long time, they will wait until his racing heart and ragged breathing slow down to normal.

Draco wonders if Harry knows who holds him, if he understands anything beside that he's not being hurt. He doubts it – he's seen too many of his aunt's victims to hope for more than this.

"It's Draco," he tells him nevertheless. "Draco." Every day. "Draco."

Harry never reacts.

.-.-.-.

~ Nighttime ~

The Malfoy house-elves are forbidden to breathe a word to anyone about where their master sleeps.

For almost a year, Draco tried to make Harry sleep in his bed, but each morning, he woke up alone, with Harry back in the place he chose for the night.

The large cupboard is pitch-black and claustrophobic, hardly big enough for a mattress and two grown men. But Draco can hold Harry close, feel him cling to him, hear him hum softly under his breath as he falls asleep.

It's strange, but they're safe and together, and nothing is more important than that.

.-.-.-.

~ Good ~

"Good," Harry whispers, new-found voice small and slurred. "Good, good, good." His grip tightens, his thin body pressing closer still. "Good, good, good, good, good." Like a soft, endless prayer.

It's not supposed to be like this, Draco thinks; he feels bitter and tired. Harry should snap at him, they should bicker, then kiss and have sex.

Not like this. Never like this.

"Good," Harry murmurs; it's all he ever says, the word only coaxed out by Draco's close presence.

Draco pets him, tears stinging in his eyes.

"Yes," he agrees. "Yes, it's good."

.-.-.-.

~ Weakness ~

Harry's pale face is flushed, his eyes closed, naked skin warm and soft under Draco's touch. He's beautiful, and just for now, Draco can forget about everything else, forget five years of caring for a Harry who's not really there. This Harry is real, moaning and jerking his hips to the rhythm of Draco's hand.

"Good," Harry murmurs happily after he's come, and as always the word makes Draco tense. What he's doing is wrong he tells himself, every time again.

But then there's a soft touch on his cock, and a shy smile from Harry, and Draco can't care.

.-.-.-.

~ Hurt ~

Draco never lets Harry see his Dark Mark; he doesn't want Harry getting scared of him. One day, though, when he comes home once again from doing things he doesn't want to because his Lord ordered him to, he's too shaken, too tired, and he forgets.

Harry doesn't scream like Draco always feared, but his eyes go wide, and he whimpers. Too late does Draco realise why.

Then, gently, Harry strokes his thumb over the blackened skin, speaking his second word in years.

"Hurts…"

Draco doesn't know whom of them he means, but he's right either way.

"Yes, it hurts."

.-.-.-.

~ Torture ~

The Dark Lord hardly ever visits Draco's home – he's not one of his favourites, and he's glad to be so insignificant.

Tonight, though, he has been chosen to host a dinner, and his worst fears come true. The Dark Lord and, of course, Bellatrix have entirely different ideas of entertainment than Draco, and he can't refuse. Instead, he watches with icy terror as they cast curse after curse, turning Harry into a screaming, jerking mess. It takes over an hour before they have amused themselves enough.

When, after they're gone, Draco tries to comfort him, Harry starts screaming again.

.-.-.-.

~ Decision ~

Harry is back to untouchable. For weeks, he's spent all day in his cupboard, and he can't bear Draco sleeping there.

This is how their future looks like, Draco realises one day, holding a screaming Harry to his chest like he did years ago: starting over and over again whenever the Dark Lord decides to remember Harry. They can't go on like this – it's bad enough for him, but for Harry, it will be unbearable.

That night, Draco lies awake for a long time, contemplating the Killing Curse. He has to put an end to this. For himself. For Harry.

.-.-.-.

~ Courage ~

Draco can barely breathe, can barely hold his hidden wand, his hands are shaking this badly.

Can he really do it? He needs to want it, and he has failed too often. The Dark Lord knows he can't kill – it's why he made him his torturer. He'll never kill people he's not supposed to, never go too far.

This time, though, it has to be. If he does this, if he succeeds, Harry will no longer have to suffer.

Harry.

Draco whips out his wand, and for a long, painful second, he feels paralysed, unable to speak.

Harry.

"Avada Kedavra!"

.-.-.-.

~ Freedom ~

Harry's face is pale, his eyes and mouth open wide – he looks like he's frozen. Draco doesn't dare touch him.

It's an incredible risk to have taken him here, but Harry needed to know, needed to see to make it real for him. Draco barely believes it himself – it was almost too easy. A private audience, the Killing Curse, a green flash. Now freedom.

Suddenly, Harry turns, clinging to Draco, face buried against his chest.

"Good." Harry whispers. Draco feels tears soak his robes. "Good, good, good."

With a last glance at the Dark Lord's corpse, Draco Apparates them away.

.-.-.-.

~ Draco ~

They're sitting at the beach like every evening, watching the sunset.

"Pretty," Harry murmurs, making Draco smile. Four years since they left England, and slowly, Harry is discovering new words, like a child.

Then Harry turns, trying to press his lips against Draco's. Draco turns away.

"Harry, no." Like their life in England, he tries to leave this behind.

But Harry cups his cheek, staring at him intently.

"Good," he says firmly. "Draco."

He's never before shown that he knows him, and Draco is too surprised to react.

"Draco," Harry repeats, then leans forward again.

This time, Draco lets him.