Title: Nova Cupiditas
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Warnings: Attempted rape, issues of consent, violence, gore, sex, heavy angst, profanity. Ignores the epilogue.
Summary: Nova cupiditas—the curse that makes the victim desire someone they hate. There is no cure, and the consequences grow increasingly violent the more the desire is denied. And now someone has cursed Draco Malfoy to desire Harry Potter.
Author's Notes: This is a very dark story. It will probably be between twelve and twenty chapters.
Chapter One—First Strike
They seized him when he was coming out of a pub in Diagon Alley, turning back to shout over his shoulder. Draco never remembered who he was with that night. The drink and the shock of the curse drove everything else out of his head. Perhaps they had been part of the plan, perhaps not.
Draco didn't know that it mattered, given what happened to him.
Someone hissed into his ear, and then they draped a sack over his head. A wand hit him in the ribs, casting an extraordinarily painful Stunning Spell that made Draco slump. He could still hear and feel, but he couldn't move, and of course no one would notice anything unusual about someone who couldn't walk on his own being escorted away from a pub at this time of night.
Draco felt the cobblestones lurch past under his feet before someone whispered something harsh and disgusted, and he was heaved up and carried. His head dangled and flopped. His neck hurt. His legs ached. Tears of pain rolled down his face and collected against the sack, accompanied by a dribble of snot, and he couldn't even reach up to wipe them away. He just had to hang there and let himself be carried.
They Apparated, as he knew from the cracks nearby and the wrenching, whirling sensation in his stomach. When they landed, he could smell, even muffled through the sack, the strong scents of night-blooming flowers. The fingers of his captors ran over his head and shoulders, then yanked the sack away.
Draco, already starting to recover from the Stunner, squinted desperately about him. Nothing. A fire burned in front of him, destroying his night vision. He could make out grass and a tall tree, an oak. It could have been anywhere. Anything—a garden, a manor house, a Muggle dwelling. He might even have doubted they were in England if not for the fact that one couldn't Apparate between continents.
"Drop him." The voice was harsh and had the growling undertone of an auditory glamour, masking it to the point that Draco couldn't even tell if it was male or female.
His captors obeyed with brutal efficiency, and Draco flopped to the ground. He gasped, which alerted him to the fact that he could move a little now. At once he whipped his hand down, reaching for his wand.
But his captors were faster than he was, especially with the Stunning Spell still partially in effect. One of them kicked his hand away; another pinned it to the ground. Someone came near with what looked like a blunt saw in hand, and Draco's stomach tried to crawl out his throat as he realized that they meant to cut his fingers off.
The harsh voice created silence all around them. Draco could sense his captors turning to look in its direction, and he knew this was the leader. He closed his eyes, rejecting his sight as useless, trying frantically to learn anything he could that might help him identify his enemy later. The scent of burning wood, yes, but was there anything under or behind that, a fancy perfume, perhaps? He thought he smelled something extra, but that could have been his own frantic imagination making up clues.
"But we agreed that we could torture him," said a more distinctive voice, not hidden, from Draco's left. He didn't know it, but he thought he would recognize that particular flat whine if he ever heard it again.
"I have thought of a better way," said the voice, and there was a moment of furious whispering. Draco tried to control his own panting and listen, but it was extraordinarily difficult. The only good thing, as he could see it right now, was that they probably planned to let him live, if they bothered to hide their next move from him.
"But everyone is doing that." The flat whine again. "I wanted some unique torture for what his father did to my family."
My father. Of course. Draco's bitterness swallowed his fear for a transient moment. It always came back to Lucius, and the fact that he had sustained only a three-month sentence in Azkaban for his Death Eater activities. Draco himself thought that he should have had longer, but he didn't see why he should pay for his father's crimes.
"Not with the recipient I have chosen," said the disguised voice, and there was more whispering, then sharp laughter. Draco knew he would hear that laughter in his dreams to the end of his life, assuming they left him his hearing.
"Perfect," said a different person, a woman, soft and low and eager. Draco might have found her voice charming had they met under other circumstances. "May I cast the spell? I would like to."
"No, I should!" the flat whine disagreed at once. Draco counted his heartbeats and told himself to remember that. This person with the flat voice was competitive and wanted to torture him. It was information that could be used to find an enemy again.
"I am afraid that she is more steady," said the disguised voice. "You will have your chance later. Be still for now, Abelard."
Abelard. It was a fake name, it had to be, but Draco still seized the name and sank it into the depths of his mind. Let them take everything else from him; he would remember that name, and track it to its source, as long as they left him alive.
Movement above him. Draco snapped his eyes open and saw the woman kneeling over his body. Of course, she wore such a thick cloak, with raised hood, that he caught no more than a glimpse of pale cheeks and intense blue eyes. She held up her wand and said, "Harry Potter," in a clear voice, like an offering to Merlin.
Draco would have looked around if his pride had let him. Potter was part of this conspiracy? Draco wouldn't have thought it of him, which was probably foolish. Potter had always hated him in school.
The woman began to lower her wand towards him. Draco tried to break free again, but the hands on his wrist and body held firm. So he did the only thing he could, and spat up into the woman's face. She dodged neatly, and the spittle fell back to coat Draco's cheeks like the tears his eyes had already leaked.
The woman didn't appear angry. She only shook her head, like someone scolding a naughty child, and said, "Nova cupiditas."
The spell caused no pain. There was nothing more than a flare of black light around Draco's body, which settled into his skin like a setting sun. And they released him a moment later and picked him up, Apparating him to the gates of Malfoy Manor, where they tossed him like rubbish.
But when the house-elves found him, Draco was screaming.
Harry took a few steps back, cocking his head, and then nodded. The ladle lay in the exact center of the table, which wasn't the complete answer to his problem but seemed to help. He would try again.
Holding out his wand, he whispered, "Videtur."
His wand spat a sullen spark. The air around the ladle seemed to congeal, and for a brief moment, Harry made out an airy image of what looked like the map of Europe. Heart leaping in hope, he strode forwards.
The image faded at once, and with it, any sense of magic the ladle may have possessed. It once again lay there, an ordinary object.
Harry grinned anyway. That image was unique, and more than he had got any of the other times he had tried to see this particular spell.
He whooped, caught the ladle, and tossed it into the air in celebration. When he caught it again, he stood there a minute holding the cool metal and closing his eyes so that he could savor the triumph.
He had been trying for months to see a Finite Incantatem on an object that he'd enchanted and then removed the spell from. He'd varied the speed with which he cast the revealing spell, the object he'd cast it on—that, hundreds of times—the location where he tried the revealing spell, and his emotional temper. This was the first sign of visible success.
Harry snickered. Visible. I amuse myself.
But the ladle was an ordinary object, if a metal one, and it appeared that placing it on wood and then casting the revealing spell as soon as he could was the best method. That had got a better result than the one with the metal spoon, which in turn got a better result than the one with the metal knife. Round objects, or a degree of roundness, appeared to contribute to success, too, Harry thought. He should try with a metal sphere next.
He carried the ladle upstairs to his workshop, which was filled with everything from blocks of blades to pegs that carried cloaks, scarves, and other clothes. On one side was an enormous desk crowded with paper. Harry rooted through the parchment, found the list of notes he was looking for, and began noting the image that had appeared around the ladle down.
Harry had drifted into his project of trying to learn to see spells by stages, at first getting interested in the Dark Arts that the Aurors focused on, and then in how one prevented them, and then in how one cured cases of rare curses where their casters or inventors had been dead for years, and then in what one might do to invent new spells. Inventing new spells was rare and difficult, and most people believed that the best wizards created no more than one or two completely unique ones in their lifetimes. Most of the spells in the margins of the Half-Blood Prince's book, for example, had turned out to be variations on common curses. Harry had learned that at the very start of his investigations.
But if one could see the spells, either by their effects or by an image they would create that was like a magical signature, then one could start classifying them. And by changing the image they produced, maybe you could create something entirely new.
Harry had to study revealing spells, and how those revealing spells worked, and the few cases already recorded where people could see the signatures of spells, and then he had to put all the knowledge together and push it forwards. It was indirect, and Hermione, while she admired his dedication to the research (of course she did), told him that he would be better off investigating the spells that already varied a lot and learning how to cast different versions of them than doing this.
But Harry was interested, and intrigued enough to keep doing it. If he never did anything else with his life, he was determined to reach this goal. He had only been studying it for two years, and already he'd made a significant amount of progress.
He stopped collating the notes when the clock chimed noon, and took up his cloak. He wanted to grab a quick lunch from the Leaky Cauldron and come back as soon as he could, while the image around the ladle was still fresh in his mind.
When he stepped into Diagon Alley, though, he knew immediately that something was wrong. The air around him rang with that particular chill that meant Dark curses had been recently cast, and there was blood on the cobblestones, he saw a moment later. Harry drew his wand and crouched back against the wall of the shop he'd Apparated in by, wondering what was wrong. The Aurors ought to have been here by now if it was certifiable Dark magic.
When he concentrated, he heard troubled breathing from a few streets away. That was the only sound. Harry's eyes narrowed, and he aimed his wand at the cobblestones where the blood was. "Videtur," he whispered.
That spell was reliable for rock, and, sure enough, created the glowing red half-dome that told him there was a spell near the blood. Harry paused a second, gathered up his strength, and cast a Finite directly at it.
A well-prepared Concealing Charm shattered with a noise like a glass bowl overturning. Harry made out someone lying there under a grey cloak before the person reared up and shot a curse at him.
Harry's legs still remembered they had been trained by Aurors, even when his brain didn't. He leaped sideways and down, and then rolled around the corner of the shop when he heard the window above him shatter. Someone screamed and was silent again. Harry winced. He hoped that his dodging hadn't meant that someone inside the shop was hurt.
But he had tried to put such ridiculous guilt aside in the last few years. He couldn't be responsible for the safety of everyone in the wizarding world for the rest of his life. He peered around the corner.
Either the attacker had fled, or the Concealing Charm was back up. Harry could see nothing on the cobblestones but blood now.
He started to stand, and a hand thrust out from the air right in front of him and dragged him forwards.
Harry twisted his head to the side, using a different weapon because his wand was too low and too close to his body, and sank his teeth into the arm that held him. The person hissed instead of screaming as Harry would have expected and pulled him closer, through the flimsy barrier of the charm hiding them, which felt like mist sticking in his eyebrows when he passed it.
The person jerked him up and held him there. Harry blinked, struggling to see past the pounding blood in his head and the pain of his robe collar cutting into his throat. They had to have cast a charm for extra strength, too, he thought hazily. There was no way that an ordinary adult man, which this bloke looked like, could just hold someone of Harry's weight aloft without dropping him.
Then he saw the pointed face, and the wide, crazed grey eyes, and the telltale hair, and he forgot his careful accounting of spells in his surprise.
"Malfoy?" he choked.
The grey eyes focused on him, and widened. Harry expected Malfoy to cast him back into the street and run like hellhounds were after him.
Instead, he put Harry on the ground and stood there staring at him. Harry shivered. He had never encountered someone who studied him that way before. He was used to hero-worship, lust, admiration, and any number of varieties of hatred from people who had been Death Eaters, but Malfoy looked as if Harry controlled the air he breathed and might cut it off at any moment.
Malfoy lifted a hand that trembled and cupped Harry's chin. His thumb stroked Harry's cheek. His eyes were dark with something other than fear now, and he breathed out, causing the breath to raise the tiny hairs on Harry's face that were all that remained of his stubble at this time of the day.
"Malfoy?" Harry squeaked the name this time.
Malfoy leaned forwards, eyes still fixed, and kissed him.
Harry had never felt something so bizarre. Malfoy and he might have been lovers for years. Malfoy's tongue sought carefully along his lips, tapping now and then to encourage them to open. His hand remained gentle and coaxing on Harry's face. He pressed close and shook.
Not just lovers for years, Harry thought, but lovers separated by a shipwreck who had stood no chance of seeing each other again.
He wrenched himself back to the present when Malfoy pressed against him, moaning like a cat in heat, reaching down Harry's chest to his groin. "I don't know what's going on, Malfoy," he said firmly. He could have wished his voice was firmer, but better soft than silent. He cleared his throat. "I think you're the victim of a spell. I need to get you to St. Mungo's. We'll decide what to do when—"
Malfoy pressed his mouth back into place, silencing Harry again, and thrust a knee between his legs.
It was that which fully convinced Harry Malfoy was under a spell. He couldn't imagine Malfoy doing something so crude and—and unsophisticated in public of his own free will. Yes, he might have made a bet, but even then, Harry thought the git would still have tried to lure Harry into a side alley before trying this.
Harry had never let go of his wand, and it was simplicity itself to place it against Malfoy's ribs and cast a Stunner. Malfoy's eyes crossed and he slumped into Harry's arms, head dangling as if he were a slaughtered cow. Harry had no choice but to catch him, trying valiantly not to yelp.
When he looked down, he thought Malfoy's eyes were watching him with wordless anguish. But he was unconscious by then, so they couldn't have been.
Harry was disturbed anyway as he wrapped his cloak around Malfoy and prepared to Apparate to St. Mungo's.
Draco came back to himself as if he was putting together a puzzle. Disconnected pieces of grey and black, void and reality, floated into being and then joined each other. Without being aware of when he started to make sense of his surroundings, he realized that he was listening to a conversation about him.
"…worried about him, I can understand that," said one voice, harsh and impatient. It was the kind of voice that made Draco want to reach down and make sure that his robes were clean, just on general principles. "But it's not your problem, Mr. Potter, frankly. You can go home and not be troubled with it again."
New pieces joined the puzzle suddenly. Draco remembered what he had done when he was under the influence of lust as powerful as drunkenness, and groaned.
He could hear the people having the conversation turning towards him, but he didn't care. He'd resisted the compulsion to seek out Potter and drown the burning thirst in his throat with a kiss of those lips for a week. What had changed? He couldn't even remember the moment when he had broken down.
He had to face this, Draco thought dismally. There could be nothing worse than the first sight. The disgust on Potter's face when he heard the source of the problem wouldn't be greater than it was right now. He turned his head and opened his eyes.
Potter leaned against the bed, arms folded, studying him. He looked mildly interested, as if Draco was an academic problem, not disgusted. Draco shuddered and had to close his eyes again after all. With one side of his vision, he could see Potter as he was—scruffy robes and mangled hair and all.
With the other side, he saw nothing but a feast. He could dream of licking those lips, biting that throat, shutting those eyes with kisses, mouthing that hair. He dug his fingers into his arms.
A half-hysterical laugh bubbled up his throat. After all, digging his fingers into his arms was where the spell was leading him.
"Malfoy," Potter said, and it wasn't accusing. "What happened? Do you want to tell me?"
The woman fluttering behind Potter, who was the other person Malfoy must have heard speaking, cleared her throat importantly. "You don't need to tell him that," she said. "And you don't need to listen, Mr. Potter. I told you. We're the ones who'll have to deal with this problem."
"I think Mr. Malfoy should tell me what it is if he wants to," Potter said. He sounded unmoved by the Healer, or mediwitch, or whoever she was. "I can think of a few different spells that might make him do this, but I don't know which one it is."
Draco frowned with surprise. Potter sounded like a researcher, as if he had done work with lust spells in the past. It was not at all the way Draco had expected to find him.
Then again, he would have liked not to care if Potter was lost at sea. The spell didn't give him that option, though.
"It's Nova Cupiditas, Potter," he said. "You must have heard of that, since so many of your precious half-bloods and Muggleborns have been casting it on people like me."
Potter caught his breath. There was a sound of movement, and Draco strained his ears, expecting that Potter would retreat from the room now. Instead, a hand landed on his shoulder that might have been intended as comforting, squeezed, and withdrew. Draco looked again, utterly startled.
"I've heard of it," Potter said levelly. His eyes were grim, but they had strength in them, and Draco responded to that strength with a flutter of hope in his chest before he thought about what he was doing. "It's the curse that makes you lust after someone you would usually hate, and if you don't get the lust fulfilled, then you start—mutilating yourself."
Draco nodded. "This curse is hunger, Potter," he said softly. "If the hunger can't be fulfilled one way, then I'll take it out another way."
"But if you do—fuck the person you're thinking of," Potter said. He flushed, but Draco had to give him credit for using the word. "Then the lust retreats, but returns in a short time, and the time keeps getting shorter and shorter in between bouts of sex, right? Until you end up going mad and tearing yourself apart anyway, because you can't possibly have sex with the other person fast enough."
Draco nodded a second time. He did wonder where pure, innocent Potter had learned about that curse, but then again, it had been in the papers since the vigilante Mudbloods started to use it as a means of punishment. It wouldn't have been impossible for Potter to gather the details. "And it's usually not sex," he added, "since they're using it to punish us by making us desire enemies. It's rape."
Potter nodded, eyes and expression distant. Draco rolled over on his side so that he could stare at the wall and not reach out to satisfy the thirst with just one kiss.
"No one can remove it?" Potter asked.
Draco was sinking back into despair. He had the impression that Potter was trying to find a loophole in the curse's description, but there was none. Draco knew there wasn't. "No," he said. "Not even the caster."
Potter gripped his shoulder again. Draco had to turn towards him, had to, because even that brief touch made him feel more real and clear-minded than he had in days.
"I use experimental magic to let me see the signatures of spells themselves," Potter told him. "It's not perfect yet, except for some of the more common spells, but I could—I could try to find out what Nova Cupiditas looks like. I could try to discern its shape. Once I can do that, I usually know what it takes to banish a spell."
Hope had sharper talons than despair, Draco found. He clutched at Potter's arm, and said, "You can't."
"I can try," Potter said. His face had a shadow of anger on it now, which Draco thought was the distant edge of a storm. "It's not right that you be forced to go mad or be made into a rapist because someone thought you didn't suffer enough during the war. And it's not right that I be made into a rape victim or a murderer—or a rapist myself, which I would become if I had sex with you when you can't really agree. We both deserve to be fully human."
Draco had never called Potter a savior except in jest. He might be inclined to start taking that title more seriously now.