Chapter 33. I Need You Now

"STAY AWAY FROM ME!" Hermione heard Harry bellowing as she sprinted up the stairs. The rage in his voice made her legs pump harder in haste. Running towards the sound, her thighs burned with the effort.

Jesus, why did this house have so many damn stairs?

Bill and Fleur had reached them just as Harry vanished, demanding to know what the hell was going on, and asking how badly they were hurt while Ron screamed curses at the man who could no longer hear him. Furious, Ron turned to face them and frantically demanded one of their wands, refusing to answer his brother's questions and slapping Fleur's hand away impatiently when she attempted to tend his bleeding forehead.

Hermione quickly handed him the one she'd caught after disarming Narcissa without asking what had happened to his own. Then Ron went after Harry, insisting she stay behind. But the hell with that! She'd stayed only long enough to carefully pick up Dobby's body, still wrapped protectively in Harry's jacket. Handing the bundle to Fleur, Hermione gave a quick explanation and an inadequate apology to the bewildered couple. Then she followed. There was nothing she could do for Dobby, anymore. And she couldn't allow herself to think on it right now, either, to lay blame or even truly comprehend the horror of his death. It was Harry that needed their help now.

Having seen the look in Harry's eyes, Hermione knew instantly where he was going and what he planned to do. She would not, could not leave it to Ron to try and prevent it.

Struggling to breathe, panting heavily from exhaustion and panic, she gripped the banister to help pull herself up. Impeding her in her effort were all the decapitated heads of the house elves, which had been ripped from the walls. They littered the stairs, and she tripped and stumbled over them as she ran.

"YOU SWORE! You swore you wouldn't do this," Ron shouted as she reached the landing. Throwing out an arm, she gripped the door frame of Sirius' bedroom, pivoting into the room. But she stopped short at Ron's next words. "Hermione, FREEZE! Don't you dare come in here! You hear me? Don't you dare!"

Hesitating only a second at the fear in Ron's voice, gripping the wand in her fist, still breathing hard and clutching at a stitch in her side, she took a step forward and then another. Ignoring his warning, she walked slowly towards the bathroom, towards whatever was happening inside it.

The bathroom door was flung open and hung drunkenly off its hinges. When she stepped slowly, cautiously into the room, she saw that the mirror above the sink was smashed, which added to the appearance that some kind of explosion had occurred inside. Bloody shards littered the floor and the sink basin. Then she saw Harry. He was stripped to the waist, the knuckles on his right hand bloody. The fingers on both hands were also bloody, the tips shredded from where he'd pried pieces from the mirror. Holding one particularly large triangular shard in his hand like a weapon, Harry pressed the sharp edge into the skin of his right arm.

"It's in there!" he wailed, his eyes pleading with Ron. "I've got to get it out of me."

There was madness in those eyes, and his whole body was wracked with tremors as he held Ron off with the threat to harm himself further. Both of Ron's hands were raised, trying to be as non-threatening as possible to calm Harry down, trying to reason with their hysterical friend. The glass shard pierced the skin as Harry's hands trembled, forcing the tip in deeply.

"Stop this. Harry, just stop," Ron said in a voice of forced calm, reaching out again slowly to take Harry's arm. "Give it to me."

"You don't understand. It'll eat me alive if I don't," Harry cried, backing farther away from Ron and showing them his already savaged arms, as if they could see what was afflicting him. "Please, help me get it out. I have to get it out!" He was keening as he begged them, the glass cutting into the skin again.

"Harry… there's nothing in there," Hermione tried to convince him from the doorway, holding both her hands out to him now, too, like Ron. Terrified of what she was seeing, of what he was doing to himself, she tried to calm him down, but he was shaking his head already as he gripped the glass more firmly.

"NO! You don't understand! The blackness, it's filling me up. You see? You see it?" he screamed, showing her his bleeding arms again. "Oh, God! It's everywhere!"

Abandoning the wedge of glass, he let it fall to the floor as she edged past Ron into the tiny room. Harry began clawing frantically at his skin then, whimpering and tearing at the flesh of his arm and at his chest with his bleeding fingers as if he were trying to pull his old wounds back open.

"Please stop, please, Harry," she begged him in horrified alarm. Trying to grab his arms, she attempted to drag them away from the deep gouges he was making in his own skin, but he slapped her hands away, growling savagely at her.

"I'm death. I'm the bringer of death, and it's coming for you," Harry said suddenly, the sound of his voice terrifying, his face going strangely blank. "I've been leading you both to it from the moment we met."

"Shut up!" Ron snapped.

"No you haven't, Harry," she argued. "You've always saved us. You've saved everyone you possibly could."

He shook his head. "No one can live while I survive."

Harry's words had made Hermione go cold all over. It wasn't fear that his words were true, but that he believed them. In the madness of grief that had gripped him, he believed that what he was saying was true, that he was the cause of all the death around him. And the weight of that belief was suffocating him.

Tears streamed from her eyes as Hermione stared at him, stared at a man she hardly recognized. But Harry was in there somewhere behind those beautiful eyes that were now dull with shock. The boy she loved was still trapped inside, terrified and alone. If he would only let them help him, if he'd just reach out his hand to her or Ron and let them pull him back.

"You need to calm down," she urged, stepping closer again. Undeterred by his wild aggression, she was determined to stop him hurting himself further, to quell the frenzied madness building in him. But Harry looked panicked with both of them closing in on him and attempting to take hold of him.

Without warning, he suddenly lunged at her. Shoving her hard in the chest, he tried to bolt past her out of the bathroom. Only Ron was too fast for him. He seized Harry by the arms as the frightened wizard struggled for the door.

Kicking out at Ron, trying to twist out of his grip, Harry howled in rage. "Let go of me!" he demanded, his teeth bared. His face was blotched red with fury as he yanked on his blood-slicked arms, trying to wrest himself free, but Ron held on tight.

They struggled, Ron trying to rein Harry in closer to him, to gain control of his thrashing body, which was sliding through Ron's grip like an eel.

"It's taking me!" Harry shouted. "It's going to take you, too. Both of you… let me go!"

"What is, Harry?" she asked, utterly bewildered.

"The Dementor!" he cried. "The wolf. They're inside me. They're trying to get out!"

"Oh, Harry," she said, heartbroken. "There's not… there isn't any…" Hermione was crying, watching Harry come completely undone, watching as he tried to tear himself apart while Ron held onto him. He was wailing in agony, so totally devastated at Dobby's loss. Hermione had never seen him so manic, so dangerously out of control.

"Please, help me." Sobbing and terrified, he was still struggling against Ron, who had his arms around Harry's chest now, gripping him by the wrists, trying to hold him up, trying to hold him together and keep him from harming himself further. "Please," he begged, completely inconsolable. "I need help… I need you."

"Harry… I think you need to take a small dose of the calming draught," she told him then, not knowing what else to do to ease his hysteria. "You're hurting yourself. Please?"

"Nooooo!" he wailed, sobbing in earnest now, trying again to jerk his slippery arms out of Ron's grip. "No… No! Don't do that to me! I'm sorry. Please don't make me take it. I'm sorry," he pleaded, fighting harder in Ron's iron grip again.

They battled, Ron attempting to get a better grip on his smaller opponent, to physically overpower him. Holding Harry against him, Ron pinned Harry's arms across his chest, trying to smother his struggling, as fear now joining the volatile mix of emotions in Harry's eyes.

"You said you'd never make me take it again!" Harry accused, angry now, panting in exhaustion as Ron held him.

Then, without warning, she was suddenly knocked backwards into the wall by the force of Harry's magic, her head smacking hard against the painted plaster so that she saw stars. In an attempted to throw Ron off him, a wave of energy like an Impediment jinx had burst from him. Ron staggered as well, but he didn't release Harry. Yanking the struggling wizard backwards along with him, Ron held on as the back of his head and body collided with force against the opposite wall, rattling the door that hung precariously from its hinges.

"STOP IT!" Ron roared furiously, gripping Harry tighter. "Hermione, get the fuck out of here. Now!"

"No. I'm not going!" she insisted, shaking her head, stunned and frightened, but standing her ground. There was no way she was leaving Ron in here alone with Harry. "Please, Harry," she begged once more, tears rolling down her own cheeks. "You're scaring me. Please, just let us help you. We love you."

"You're a liar!" he spat, his whole body trembling with rage. "You don't love me. You just want to control me. You want what they all wanted from me, don't you? I know what that potion is. I know what it'll make me do!" Then instantly, he switched tactics, his body no longer thrashing against Ron, but rubbing against him suggestively, the muscles in his arms going slack in Ron's grip. "Is this what you want? You're pissed you didn't get your turn?" Harry growled angrily rolling his hips against Ron.

Then he turned so fast that Ron couldn't hold him. Shoving Ron hard against the bathroom wall again, Harry pressed against him. "You want me to give you what she offered you. Is that it? Want me to show you what Snape taught me? Is that what you want?" he snarled.

Now he was tugging on Ron's jeans, his hands working furiously to undo the fly as Ron spluttered, too stunned to defend himself against this new attack while Hermione shrank back against the sink, terrified.

"You don't even have to bother with the potion, I'd be glad to," he sneered. Then he was on his knees in front of Ron before Ron could even react.

"Fuck!" Ron yelled as Harry engulfed him.

Taking Ron into his mouth and burying his nose in his crotch, Harry's hands pressed against Ron's hips, pinning him to the wall.

"Oh, my, God!" Ron groaned, his mouth falling open as he tried to push Harry off of him, but Harry wouldn't budge.

Growling around his cock, his thumbs digging into Ron's hips, Harry bobbed his head, trying to bring Ron to full arousal. He slid Ron in and out of his mouth, his lips stretched around Ron's thickening shaft while Hermione gaped at the scene in front of her from the corner in which she was still cowering.

"Harry, stop," Ron panted as Harry continued his furious assault. "Stop this!" he shouted, finally managing to shove Harry off him.

"Then what do you want from me?" Harry bellowed, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, still on his knees in front of Ron. "What? You want more than that? You want to fuck me? Is that it?" he asked, getting to his feet and fumbling now with his own trousers.

"No. Harry, stop it. We just want—"

"What's the matter? Hermione's not enough for you?" Harry sneered, trying to kick off his slashed trousers, which were sticking to his leg with coagulated blood from the wound on his thigh. "Can't she satisfy your needs? Are they so insatiable that you need more than one lover? Or maybe she won't do the depraved things you want to do to her? No, that can't be it. She's okay with sharing herself, isn't she? Fine with you wanting to watch another man fuck her, isn't she? You liked watching what I did—"

In fury, Ron had balled up his fist, and before Harry could react to defend himself, Ron swung, smashing it into Harry's face with a sickening thud. The knuckles connected with his mouth with so much force, that Harry's head snapped back. Hermione shrieked as Harry's head and body swiveled violently sideways from the impact, his teeth crashing together.

The momentum of Ron's punch sent Harry reeling backwards. His feet tangled in his own pant legs, he went down, arms flailing. The backs of his calves hit the toilet, and he fell onto it, his back slamming hard against the corner of the sink.

Harry grunted in pain. The force had knocked the wind out of him, but fueled with adrenaline, he jumped back up again as if he didn't feel a thing, as if the blow hadn't almost dislocated his jaw and punctured a lung while Hermione continued to cower frozen against the wall. Her mouth hung open in shock at the violence that had erupted around her.

. . .

"YEEESSSS!" Harry hissed. Pleased that his deliberate provocation of Ron had finally yielded the result he wanted because what he needed was a fight, an all-out brawl that would leave him bloody and dazed.

The blackness in is veins was thick like tar. His heart was struggling to pump it through his arteries as it attempted to spread the poison to every part of his body so it could take root there and grow. And if he couldn't cut the infection out, then Ron could beat it out of him, until his body turned black from the blows, but his blood flowed pure, until it poured red from his mouth, from his nose and ears.

He wanted Ron so enraged with him that he would attack him without mercy. So he'd used his best weapon, his words, against the one target he knew Ron wouldn't be able to resist. Harry wanted to be punished, desperate for the pain to numb him against the greater one shattering his insides. He needed it to atone for the horror of what he'd done, to smother the aching desire that was still raging in him from his furious attempt to fuck Bellatrix. And Ron was just the man to do it.

His head ached with the struggle to block out the fury Voldemort was unleashing back at the Malfoy's, and it had doubled with the rattling his brain had just sustained from the blow Ron had delivered. Blood dripped from his mouth now where Ron had split his lip, and Harry shot forward, wanting more. Grabbing Ron by the face, Harry pulled them together so forcefully that their teeth clacked together. His torn and bloody lips slid over Ron's as he pressed against him. Grinding his nearly nude body against Ron, Harry forced his tongue into Ron's mouth.

In a complete frenzy, he clawed at Ron, pulling at his hips as if he were trying to crawl inside him. Then Ron moaned around his invading tongue when Harry rubbed their erections together. Responding with a satisfied growl, Harry turned quickly to grip the bathroom sink as he braced his legs apart. His wild eyes stared into Hermione's through the shattered mirror. Blood was smeared across his face, his chest, and his arms. He looked utterly deranged.

"Do it, then," he growled. "Do it, Ron!"

"Harry, I can't. It'll hurt."

"It's supposed to hurt!" he spat angrily, his teeth stained red from his torn lips as he bared them at Hermione. His knuckles went white as he gripped the counter and widened his stance, preparing for the painful invasion.

"No, it's not, mate. It isn't," Ron said sadly.

"I need it to hurt, Ron, please," he begged, pleading for relief as he pushed back into Ron's hips. His body was straining, and if he couldn't have the knife, he'd take what remained available to him before he was totally consumed with the blackness and went completely insane.

"No, Harry, I can't. I won't hurt you like that… even if you're asking me to."

Harry roared in frustration. And then they all gasped at the sudden warm wetness between their legs as he had wandlessly cast a lubricating charm on all three of them. "There! Now do it, Ron. Fuck me," Harry ordered as Ron yelped in stunned surprise.

"What the hell, Harry?"

"I don't know how to do it any other way!" he shouted, furious at the delay, his body screaming, desperate for the punishment, for the release. "This is the only way I know how!"

"Then let me show you, mate," Ron said quietly, soothingly, reaching out a hand to stroke down Harry's spine. "Let me and Hermione show you how."

"Noooo." Harry shook his head violently. He didn't want comfort, didn't deserve it. What he needed was something so much blacker than that. Harry was desperate to incite and act so hateful, that it would be just as ugly as what was inside him, something that could purge him of it, or allow him to drown in it. "Please… help me," he pleaded, shaking uncontrollably. "You said you would help me."

Ron growled in frustration. "Damn it. I'm trying!" Leaning down, Ron wrapped his arms around Harry's heaving chest and pulled Harry to him then, standing them both upright and bracing Harry's back against his chest.

As Harry stepped backwards with him, Ron slid his arms up and around the back of Harry's neck, clasping his fingers together behind Harry's head, trapping his arms, holding them back away from his chest in a full nelson before Harry even realized what was happening. Then Ron pressed his lips against the shell of Harry's ear. "It's not gonna go down like that, Harry," Ron breathed, causing Harry to shudder. "We're only trying to help you."

Then Ron motioned with his head for Hermione to come closer. She hesitated only a second at the feral look on Harry's bloodstained face before she complied. Stepping in close, she slid her hands to his waist as Harry growled at her like a wild animal, arching his back in an attempt to pull out of Ron's hold. Terrified of having her involved in this, Harry was suddenly ashamed of having her witness anymore of his complete degradation.

"Shhhh," they both whispered to him as she stroked his face, trying to calm him down while Ron still held his arms pinned back away from her.

"It's not about what you think I want, or Hermione wants from you, you prick. We only want to help you, to comfort you. And you're going to let me, damn it. If I have to hold you down, kicking and screaming, you're going to let me give you the relief you need, understand? I could have lived with the strangling part, but you went way over the line. You tried to fuck Bellatrix for Christ sakes, Harry. Bellatrix!" Ron said incredulously.

Harry's cock jerked, and he groaned, his whole body shuddering with desire and revulsion at her name.

"We do love you. We're only trying to calm you, and if this is what you need to keep you from completely destroying yourself, then we're doing it my way. Nice and slow, or not at all," Ron warned, still speaking low, directly into Harry's ear while Harry continued to growl at Hermione, licking the blood from his ragged lips, his need obvious as clear fluid leaked from the tip of his swollen erection.

. . .

Hermione pressed her body to Harry's, so that they were all resting their weight against Ron. Running her hands up Harry's neck, into his hair, she captured his lips in a gentle kiss. Whining at the contact, Harry struggled against Ron's hold. But despite his protests, Harry was eager for her. Opening his mouth immediately, he groaned when their tongues met, and dug his erection into her hip. She tasted blood and fear, and when she pulled away, his eyes were black with desire, his trapped arms straining, his fingers grasping at the air, trying to reach her.

"You… you have to get away from me," he moaned, shaking all over. "Stun me, Hermione. Hurry, before I hurt you again. Please. I'm begging you. I'm coming apart, and I can't get control of it."

Hermione took a step back from Harry then, and he visibly sagged in Ron's arms, relieved perhaps at the belief that she'd taken his advice. But she had no plans to stun him if she could help it, no plans to ever walk away and leave him. Never.

Instead of drawing her wand, Hermione placed it on the sink behind her and opened her beaded bag. Pulling the vial of Dittany from its depths, she uncorked it and dripped the healing potion on Harry's wounds that were still oozing down his arms and thigh and then across Ron's forehead. Then she wet a flannel with warm water and wiped the blood from his chest, from his and Ron's faces, and what she could reach on Harry's arms, which Ron still held pinned back. Harry watched her every move, all of them silent except for their heavy breathing.

The scar was bright red against his forehead, and she knew that Voldemort was to blame, at least in some part, for the suffering Harry was enduring.

When she'd healed and cleaned what she could, Hermione poured a generous measure of the calming draught into a spoon she'd conjured. Moving deliberately slowly, she took a small sip while she stood in front of Harry, whose eyes went wide with renewed fear, his nostrils flaring as he backed into Ron. Bypassing him, she then offered the spoon to Ron, who also took a tiny sip.

"We all need a little calming down, I think. The full moon is making you too aggressive, Harry," she said soothingly. "You're terribly upset. You're in pain and so very frightened. Let us help you. We only want to help you." Finally, she offered Harry the rest. "It's only a calming draught, I swear it."

Harry stared at her fearfully, his body heaving, his teeth still clamped tightly together as tears rolled down his cheeks. But Hermione held his gaze and eventually, he gave in, reluctantly opening his mouth to take the rest. Letting the potion calm his aggression, Harry finally let it soothe his hysteria. After a few minutes, he relaxed into Ron's arms, the fight going out of him at last.

Ron loosened his grip on Harry once it appeared he'd calmed down. He was still breathing hard, but he was no longer hysterical, no longer straining to get out of Ron's hold. Praying the worst was finally over, Hermione breathed out a sigh of relief.

Still whispering soothing words of reassurance into Harry's ear, Ron turned him, holding Harry against his chest with an arm across his lower back and a hand at the base of his head. Gripping Ron's waist, Harry pressed his face into Ron's neck, whimpering and trembling like a small bird.

"It's all right, Harry. Everything's going to be all right. Just hush now," Hermione crooned, stroking his back while Ron held him.

Harry clung to Ron, burrowing into his neck, gripping fistfuls of his shirt as his body shuddered in Ron's embrace. Crying again, but working his mouth over Ron's throat at the same time, he smeared tears and probably snot, but Ron didn't look like he cared in the slightest.

Pushing away from the wall, Ron walked Harry slowly backwards out of the bathroom and into the bedroom, steering him towards the bed. Half way there, their lips met again. Both of Ron's hands were now on the back of Harry's neck, his fingers in his hair while Harry continued to clutch at Ron's waist.

Hermione followed them out of the bathroom silently, almost dreamlike as she watched in awed fascination at the two men she loved embracing, entwined together in a way that was desperate and dangerous, but also beautiful.

Harry was almost completely naked but for his socks, bent slightly backwards in Ron's arms. The new wounds were freshly knitted, but still raw on his skin as he slipped his hands into Ron's unfastened trousers, sliding them over Ron's hips to grip his arse as Ron backed him into the bed. They broke apart when Harry lost his balance and was forced to sit. He just stared up at Ron then, his eyes and nose red, his mouth parted, his expression a mixture of fear and desire.

. . .

Ron stared down at Harry, trying to read his eyes. Harry said he needed them, and there was no question that it was true. But he was saying one thing with his body, with his hands and mouth, and something else entirely in those almost-black orbs, and Ron wasn't sure what he should do.

Harry had told him he was either raging, or had a raging hard-on. Today it was both and a whole lot of other shit. He'd gone completely mental. Running off to try and get himself killed, almost getting them all killed, then escaping again to try and finish the job with another suicide attempt. He'd broken the promises he'd made, and Ron had had enough of it. Whatever the consequences later, Harry needed relief right now, and Ron was going to give it to him, however he could.

"I'm afraid," Harry confessed in a whisper.

"We all are. I can't even remember not being afraid, anymore. But I'm not afraid of you, Harry. And I'm not afraid of this," Ron replied.

"But if I… if we do this… we can't go back. Not anymore, Ron."

"I know," Ron agreed, leaning down and pressing his mouth to Harry's throat to nip at the skin there. "I don't want to. Hermione and I have already talked about this."

"Talking about it... and doing it are two different things," Harry argued, his breath hitching at Ron's continued attack on his neck.

"I believe you started it this time in the bathroom when you were swallowing my cock," Ron growled into his ear, sucking the lobe between his teeth.

"Oh, God," Harry groaned. He sounded miserable, but Ron could see Harry's cock throbbing at his words and what he was doing with his mouth. "I'm sorry… I… I don't know what I'm doing anymore, Ron. I'm out of control. But there's still time to turn back. Please take it. Take Hermione and run."

Pulling back, Ron stared hard into his face. Harry was telling him to leave, yet clinging to him desperately at the same time as if afraid he truly would.

Ron shook his head. "I can't. It's too late for that. I already told you, I'm never leaving without you, Harry, so just stop fighting it," he breathed, his lips back against Harry's neck. "We all want this, need this, and you know it."

Harry didn't try to deny it this time as Ron slid his hands back into Harry's hair and his tongue into his willing mouth. Holding him firmly, Ron crawled onto Harry's lap, straddling his thighs now, pushing him backwards so that Harry was propped on both his elbows underneath him.

Their snogging grew more urgent, and Ron pulled back again, breathing hard, needing to calm down before he flipped Harry onto his stomach and started humping him like a dog, or crawled farther up him so he'd take him into his mouth again. God damn, Ron wanted him! But this wasn't about him, he had to forcefully remind himself.

"You'd better tell me now if you want to stop," Ron warned staring into those half lidded eyes that blinked slowly up at him as if the snogging had left him dazed, or the calming potion had made him woozy. He needed to be sure before he carried this farther, before there truly was no turning back. He was already teetering on the point of no return. "I'll keep my promise to keep my hands off you, if you tell me you don't really want me. But don't tell me that you don't want to want me again, though, Harry, because that's not good enough this time."

Staring into Ron's eyes, Harry licked his swollen lips, and then they parted again in that same invitation from last night. It looked like that was as close to consent as Ron was going to get. Leaning down, he accepted it this time without hesitation, capturing Harry's mouth once more, both of them moaning as he rubbed their erections together.

. . .

Harry groaned into Ron's mouth, knowing that the fight was over, if indeed there ever really was one. Once captured, he knew he'd submit to whatever they wanted. That's why he'd run so hard from it. But it felt like a betrayal; a betrayal of Ginny, a betrayal of his heart, and it made him burn with shame and self-loathing.

There was no future for them, him and Ginny, but even still, he'd tried to hold onto himself. He'd had it forcibly taken from him, but he'd never before given himself of his own free will, until now. He was crossing a line, had already crossed it with Bellatrix earlier, turning his back completely on the Harry he'd been before. Abandoning the one thing he'd managed to cling to, the one tiny piece of himself that had remained pure, that he could hold up to Ginny as proof of his faithfulness to her, even if only in his own conscience. It was gone now, all of it, crumbled to dust. The wolf in him was just too strong, and he was too weak to keep resisting it.

Harry wanted to want to stop this, to say no, but he couldn't, and he didn't. He needed them so badly right now. He was drowning, and he couldn't fight against it anymore. He hated himself for it, for giving in to his desire, for letting the demon take control of him, for letting it infect them, but he couldn't stop it. Overcome with lust and filled with an aching need, he was desperate for them. Burning so badly on the inside with grief and guilt, he needed them to ease the pain of it, to smother the fire before he went completely mad and couldn't hold it inside him any longer. Afraid it would burst from his eyes and mouth, gold flames exploding from his every pore to consume them all.

Ron turned back to Hermione then, as if asking for permission, for direction, and she reached again into her beaded bag still clutched in her fist, never taking her wide eyes off either of them. The sight of her made Harry's heart pound and his mouth go dry. He wasn't afraid of Ron, for some reason, though he knew that he certainly should be. But Hermione terrified him. The idea of being with her again, of using her like that made him ache with longing and tremble with fear despite the potion she'd given him.

"Just you," he croaked out.

Ron turned back to him, frowning slightly, his forehead creased.

"Just you," he whispered again desperately.

Leaning back down to him, Ron cupped his face, tilting Harry's head back. "Not this time, mate," he whispered back, kissing Harry lightly to soften the rejection. "I don't really know what the hell to do with you, frankly, and I don't want to hurt you. Well, not anymore than I already have," he added, brushing his thumb across Harry's torn and bruised lip.

"I know what to do," Harry offered.

"No, you don't. Not really," Ron argued. "Just relax for me. Let us take care of you, let Hermione and me help you."

"I'm scared... I'm scared of what will happen."

"I know, but it's okay."

Harry swallowed hard, opening his mouth to argue further, to say no, to turn back, but nothing came out.

. . .

They all needed a little more time to calm down and think over the consequences of their actions, Hermione thought. More time for the potion to fully take effect, more time for Harry to back out if he was going to. She would not force him into anything or rush him again.

Her fingers finally found what they were searching for, and she pulled out a small jar, letting the bag fall to the floor while Ron crawled back off Harry's lap. She unscrewed the lid as Ron kicked of his shoes and stepped out of his trousers. Pulling his shirt over his head and tossing it to the floor, he then moved to the head of the bed. He sat; his back pressed against the headboard and pulled Harry, unresisting, back against him. Ron settled Harry between his knees, his back flush against Ron, his eyes wide and frightened again while Hermione moved towards them both.

Dipping her fingers into the jar, she closed her eyes, blinking slowly, drawing the soothing smell of mint into her nostrils when she breathed deeply. No one spoke as she sat next to them on the bed and rested the jar between her knees. Moving slowly, she reached out her hands, placing them against Harry's neck and feeling his rapid pulse pounding against her fingers a moment before she began massaging the salve into his heated skin.

His flesh was so warm; her hands so cold that she thought it might actually steam when she began working the ointment into his skin in small circles down his neck and shoulders, over his arms which were covered in new bruises from Ron's hands. Hermione examined the healing wounds as she went. Uncurling his fists, she kissed the tips of his battered fingers before applying the remaining cream onto his knuckles and around the abused digits.

Gathering more, she moved to his chest while Ron ran a calming hand through Harry's hair when his breath hitched. Tilting Harry's head to the side, Ron buried his nose in Harry's neck when he began tensing up as her hands traveled downward, distracting him when she reached his stomach and slid them around his waist to get at the new bruise that was forming from where he'd slammed so hard into the corner of the sink.

Then she reached up and rubbed a dab over Ron's eyebrow, into the healing cut above his right eye from what she guessed was a grazing Death Eater's spell. Ron smoothed her hair. Cupping her cheek, he slid his thumb across her lips.

"I love you," she whispered, turning her face into his palm. He smiled at her, letting his hand fall from her face to stroke down Harry's arm.

Turning her attention back to Harry, who had relaxed back against Ron a bit when she had tended Ron's wound, Hermione once again filled her fingers from the jar while he watched her apprehensively. She continued her slow healing massage as Ron began exploring Harry's heaving chest, smoothing the gooseflesh that had prickled Harry's skin from the cooling balm. Massaging what remained into his skin, they worked in tandem to relax him, to soothe him.

Whimpering when she was at his hips, Harry's hands curled again into tight fists as she ran her thumbs along his hip bones and down to the tops of his thighs. He didn't relax them again until she had travelled far enough down his legs so that his fear abated.

She was careful not to touch his full arousal or so much as brush against it as she examined the healing wound Bellatrix had cut into his thigh, fearful herself of causing another violent reaction from him in his volatile state. Hermione wanted to calm him, not send him into another panicked frenzy. Her breath alone was enough to make him groan, his body trembling when she exhaled and the warm air ghosted over his tingling flesh.

Harry closed his eyes when she'd made it down to his feet, groaning again when she pulled off his socks and ran her thumb up into the arch of his foot.

Finishing, she replaced the cap on the jar, took a deep steadying breath, and met Ron's gaze. Now that the moment of decision was on her, she began to feel a bit frightened herself as she stood, placing the cream on the side table. She couldn't believe this was happening. The events of this entire morning still seemed surreal.

Ron's eyes were heavily hooded, his pupils dilated as she began to slowly undress. Keeping her eyes focused on his, her hands shook a bit as she fumbled to work the buttons loose on her top.

"Nice and slow," Ron encouraged, his voice low, soothing her of her nervousness and Harry's renewed fear as he went back to stroking Harry, massaging his neck and then out across his shoulders. "Everything's all right."

Her blouse fell to the floor, and her heart began to pound, a familiar aching beginning between her thighs, growing more profound as she stepped out of her jeans, straightening again to face them both.

Harry's mouth parted, and his tongue darted out to wet his dry, swollen lips when she unclasped her bra and let it slide from her shoulders. His eyes grew impossibly wide, going almost completely black again, filled with undisguised lust. It reminded her irresistibly of how he'd looked in the dungeon under the influence of that horrid potion, and his battered face did nothing to dispel that image. It served as a warning to her of just how dangerous this was for all of them. Yet she had no fear of Harry. Even in those desperate moments of their forced encounter, he'd tried his best not to cause her pain, doing everything in his power to prevent it. Harry would never harm her. She was convinced of it.

Then she was standing bare in front of them, her body flushing with embarrassment at the heat of their combined stares, though the potion was doing its part to help, keeping her from panicking and bolting for the door, at least.

Rubbing Harry's arm again when he began to tremble more violently, Ron held his other hand out to her and she slid hers into it, accepting the invitation to join them.

. . .

Harry was shaking all over, his heart pounding as Hermione climbed onto Sirius' bed with them. His eyes were watering from not blinking. His mouth was open, and he began panting when she straddled his thighs and removed his glasses.

Placing her hands on Ron's knees, she leaned in then, pressing herself against him to kiss Ron, sandwiching Harry between them. Explosions were going off in his head again at the feel of her body, naked and pressed against his, pressing him further against Ron's.

Swallowing hard, Harry closed his eyes and took a deep, calming breath. Their familiar scents filled his sensitive nostrils, mixing with the smell of blood and the musk of their combined arousal. He smelled cinnamon and lavender and mint, his scent and theirs all blending together.

The feel of both of them, one soft, one hard, their warm bodies against his own, coupled with the image of them together like this in his mind, left him aching with longing and trembling with fear.

Harry was terrified of being with them, terrified of who they might turn into in his ravaged mind, of what he would do if he couldn't stop himself believing it. Horrified and repulsed by what he had already done with Bellatrix.

He'd tried to act out his terrible fantasy, blind to everything but his thirst for revenge, and it had cost him Dobby. It had almost cost him Ron, too. The marks were already turning purple on Ron's neck from where Wormtail had tried to strangle him. Harry's mind was still too numb to fully comprehend what had happened, what he'd done. He was in shock, the agony of what his actions had wrought, too much for him absorb.

Pulling away from Ron, Hermione ran her small hands over Harry's chest while Ron went to work on his neck again and behind his ear, whispering soothing words along his dampened, tingling skin. Hermione inched forward, positioning herself over him, and Ron reached down to grasp Harry's cock, which was standing at attention. Harry jerked in fear, gripping the duvet, whimpering again as his cock kicked in Ron's grip.

This was happening! This was happening, and he was letting it. He couldn't stop it. The demon inside him had been let out, the wolf set free. Lord help him!

"Shhhh," she breathed against his lips as she slid herself down onto him, taking him inside her with Ron's help.

"Oh, God!" Harry cried as the blunt tip of his swollen erection was engulfed in molten heat. He squeezed his eyes shut, breathing fast as the panic started to build in him again, even with the calming potion. The entire bottle of it wouldn't have been able to stop it surging in him right now.

Memories of Bellatrix taking him that first time in the same way flooded him, her cold hands on him, Rudolphus behind him, ready with the rope to strangle him. Harry struggled to anchor himself fully in reality and not sink into that horrible nightmare, into that terrifying flashback as he began to hyperventilate.

"It's all right, Harry," Ron tried to soothe him, releasing the grip on Harry's cock to stroke Hermione's thigh.

Tears leaked out of Harry's eyes as his breath hitched, and he held it. He laid his head back on Ron's shoulder when Hermione had settled herself onto him and then stilled while Ron ran his hands through his hair to calm him.

Fully sheathed inside her, his cock pulsed with every beat of his heart as Hermione slowly slid her hands over Harry's shoulders, up his neck, then to his face. She rocked her hips back once, experimentally, and then forward again, wiping the wetness away from his eyes, which were still squeezed shut while he sat rigid underneath her.

He moaned, biting down on his bruised and torn lip hard so that the skin around his teeth was pulled taut, and he tasted blood again. She felt incredible, like his memory of her, images of her chained to the wall, him gripping her as he penetrated her flashing in his mind once more, filling him with terrible remorse as she moved slowly over him.

"I'm so sorry," he whispered, the guilt agonizing. "I'm so sorry, Hermione," he cried, as tears continued to leak out of his eyes, his breath still coming in quick gasps.

"Hush. It's okay, Harry, you aren't hurting me. Look at me," she urged him softly, stilling again.

He shuddered, but obeyed. Opening his eyes, he lifted his head off Ron's shoulder to stare at her.

"We're not in that terrible place anymore, Harry, and I'm not her, all right? Please, just calm down. We'll stop if you want to. You get to say no if you don't want this. We both get to decide this time, but I'm not saying no. Not today, Harry. Do you understand?"

She was gently pulling on his arms, trying to get him to loosen his grip on the blankets again. Harry nodded, letting go reluctantly this time, and she pulled his hands up, placing one on her narrow waist. The other she placed against her cheek. Turning her head, she kissed his palm before lacing her fingers with his. Returning her other hand to his face, she leaned into him again, pressing her forehead against his.

"We just want to be with you. We love you, Ron and I love you. Let us take care of you, Harry."

She'd stopped moving, but squeezed her muscles around his aching cock, still nose to nose with him. He clutched at her waist in response, gasping at the exquisite feel of her surrounding him, gripping him tightly. Then Ron slid his hands over Harry's ribs, brushing his thumbs across his hardened nipples, and Harry shuddered again, letting out the breath he was holding as Hermione started to move again. Taking his silence for consent, she began rolling her hips more firmly over him now.

Her hands on Ron's shoulders, Hermione used him to pull herself onto Harry over and over, grinding into him. His head fell back against Ron again, and Hermione captured Ron's lips as they began to move together, all three of them, Hermione and Ron rocking him between them.

The sensation of too many hands, of too many limbs, overwhelmed him. The calming potion and the sensory overload were shutting down his brain so there was only a buzzing between his ears, leaving him with the ability to feel everything, but comprehend nothing.

Finally, Harry let go. Wrapping his arms around Hermione, his face in her neck, he gave in completely, giving himself over to them, letting them take care of him, letting them soothe his aching grief. Ron slid his own arms around them both, pressing Harry between their embrace as Hermione cradled his head, holding Harry against her.

His back was getting sticky with moisture from Ron's pre-cum and the perspiration from their warm bodies sliding together. And Ron was moaning now, too, as he rubbed himself against Harry. Then it grew more intense, and Ron's hands were everywhere, touching Harry, touching Hermione, touching himself. Ron jacked himself against Harry's lower back, thrusting against him with one hand on Harry's chest now to steady him, the other on Hermione's bum, helping to pull her back into Harry and Harry back into him. And Harry couldn't sit still any longer either.

His body was begging for more, desperate for the release. Digging his heels into the mattress, Harry pressed back against Ron, pinning him against the headboard. His legs stiffened as he tried pushing his hips up into Hermione. Gripping Ron's thighs, Harry's fingers dug into his flesh. He was writhing, moaning again, the pleasure building, bringing the frantic hysteria back.

Ron responded. Kissing him with a hunger that Harry didn't know existed, he pulled his head almost completely sideways for better access while Hermione leaned backwards, her head thrown back, gripping Harry by the shoulders, panting as she rode him still harder.

Harry broke away from Ron's mouth, gritting his teeth and squeezing his eyes closed, his heart pounding as all his muscles tensed up. He was going to come.

Holding his breath, his hands scrabbling feverishly, they finally found Ron's and he dragged them to his throat, shaking as he tried to get Ron to press down on his windpipe. Harry squeezed his hands over Ron's, but Ron wouldn't comply, denying Harry his frantic, pleading request.

Still refusing to breathe, Harry's vision began growing dark. A familiar roaring was starting in his ears as he struggled with Ron, fighting against Hermione now, too, as he bucked underneath her.

Harry was suddenly desperate to get her off of him. His orgasm was speeding towards him, and he couldn't stop it. He was afraid again to come inside her, afraid of infecting her with what was inside him. And he was terrified that the cold numbing blackness would consume him once more when it was over.

Stars were exploding behind his closed eyelids as his body screamed for air, for release, his heels digging into the mattress, his body rolling underneath Hermione. Then Ron pressed a fist into his stomach and jerked hard against Harry's diaphragm, forcing him to expel his breath, and Harry erupted into orgasm.

"NOOOOO!" he howled, bowing off the bed, his vision growing bright white with the force of his release. He was sobbing again, gasping for breath as waves of ecstasy wracked his body, and he came onto his own stomach and chest. "I'm sorry… I'm sorry!"

"Christ! Are you all right, Harry?" Ron asked fearfully, scrambling out from behind him, turning Harry's face towards him when Harry tried to pull away, to curl up on his side in misery.

"Oh, God. I'm so sorry," he whispered.

"I thought you were going to die. You fucking stopped breathing! What the hell was that?" Ron asked fearfully, sitting back on his haunches and rubbing his face.

Harry shook his head, his body trembling all over as he remained curled in on himself, still breathing hard, his heart thumping erratically, tucked in a ball between them again. Then he broke out in a cold sweat, moaning when the nausea hit him and his stomach cramped violently. No. No!

Oh, God! He was going to be sick.

Rolling quickly over a startled Ron and off the bed, Harry staggered to the bathroom, clutching his stomach. His vision tunneling, he dropped to his knees in front of the toilet and vomited.

"Harry… mate? Are you all right?" Ron asked quietly from the doorway when Harry had finished violently heaving up the entire contents of his stomach.

Harry nodded his head, reaching up to flush the toilet, but he didn't get up from the floor. He didn't know if he could. His body was still shaking violently, and he felt dizzy and weak. When he finally stood to wash his mouth out in the sink, he was lightheaded and had to seize the corner of the vanity to avoid crashing into the wall. Ron grabbed his other arm to keep him from swaying as his vision winked in and out.

Finally when he'd steadied himself, he splashed water on his clammy face and rinsed out his mouth before taking several long swallows of water, which rolled ominously in his stomach. Then Ron steered him, on wobbly legs, back to the bed, where Hermione was sitting up, clutching the sheets, her blurry face a mask of concern.

"Ron, he's bleeding again," she said, pointing to Harry's knees.

Ron rolled him onto the bed where Harry lay on his back, totally disoriented. Blood was smeared on his legs, and he had small bits of glass imbedded in the skin of his knees and shins from where he'd knelt in front of the toilet as well as in the bottoms of his feet. He hadn't even felt it.

"Damn it," Ron sighed, bending over him to check the damage.

"Get the Dittany from my bag again, Ron, and a warm wet rag."

He did, and they worked for several minutes removing the glass shards and cleaning his legs before dripping the Dittany over the small wounds to heal them while Harry lay motionless on the bed, barely comprehending the conversations going on around him.

"He's really pale. I think maybe he's allergic to that calming potion, or something."

"No. I think he's going into shock, Ron."

"Do his lips look blue to you?"

"Help me elevate his legs, quickly!"

"I think we should get Madame Pomfrey."

"How do you plan to summon her here? Now that… now Dobby's gone?"

Someone grabbed his wrist while Harry stared blindly up at the ceiling. He thought they planned to pull him up, but whomever it was just held his limp arm by the wrist. His body felt heavy, his brain lethargic, and he was growing cold as if all the warmth was draining out of him again, replaced by the suffocating cold blackness just as he'd feared. But he could do nothing to prevent it.

Then they were stacking pillows under his calves and covering him in blankets while his eyelids became heavier and heavier, like he hadn't slept in days. He was breathing deeply, calmly, but the air didn't seem to have enough oxygen in it.

"Should we try and keep him awake a while, you think, Hermione?" Ron asked. "What if he blanks out again like the other morning in the shower?"

"Harry?" Hermione called softly to him, turning his face to look in his eyes. "Harry, can you hear me?"

He blinked at her slowly, and then nodded his head.

"Something warm. Tea, maybe?"

Harry could hear the concern in their voices, see it in their faces. He wanted to tell them he was all right, but he didn't think he was. He still felt cold and numb, maybe from the potion she'd given him, maybe from shock. He didn't know. He was just so tired. Too exhausted to respond, too exhausted to think. Instead, he shook his head.

"Tired," he mumbled, squeezing someone's fingers reassuringly a moment before trying to curl up on his side again. But there was a hand at his chest, preventing him.

"No, lay back for me a moment, Harry."

Harry frowned, but stilled.

"I'm going to give you a Pepper-up Potion. All right? It's all I really have that might help."

He shook his head, but one of them was already sliding their hand under his neck, lifting his head. The spoon pressed against his lips, a thumb at his chin pried his mouth open to pour the potion in, and he swallowed it, unable to resist them.

Hot liquid slid down his throat and into his stomach, which cramped again, threatening to expel it. He groaned. But then the heat began spreading rapidly out into his chest and limbs, and steam poured out of his ears, evaporating the fog in his brain.

"Better?" Hermione asked.

He nodded again, his vision clearing, his heart beating faster and the ringing in his ears that he hadn't really noticed, subsiding. Even his sinuses, stuffy from so much crying, were drying up.

"Thank God!" she said in relief.

"Hermione, you're brilliant! Have I told you that lately? Fucking brilliant!"

"Thank you, Ron."

"A Pepper-up Potion, how the hell did you think of that?"

"I have some basic potions in my bag, things I'd nicked, actually, from the Burrow, like the Dittany and Mad-Eye's Polyjuice potion. It's a cold remedy, but it was the only thing I could think to do. Madame Pomfrey had given us all some when we came out of the lake during the tournament, and I thought, at the very least, it might quickly warm him up. It felt like liquid adrenaline when I'd taken it."

"Yeah," Ron agreed. "Still, quick thinking, luv."

Hermione's hands were on Harry's neck, checking his pulse again. She tilted his face to stare into his eyes. Brushing the hair off his forehead, she said, "Your color is coming back. Do you feel all right?"

"Mmm hmm," he mumbled. "Still tired." He felt terribly weak and totally exhausted, like he was still recovering from a long and dreadful illness.

"Here," she said, pulling the pillows from under his legs so he could get comfortable, and he immediately curled up on his side again.

After a moment, Hermione lay down beside him, facing him, stroking his hair out of his face again, running her thumb over his eyebrow and across his cheek. Then Ron lay down on his other side, curling his body around Harry's and holding Harry against him in the embrace he'd woken up to on this same bed days and days ago. It felt nice, safe.

Hermione continued stroking his face, tucking sweat dampened locks behind his ears. Pressing her forehead to his, she stared into his eyes a moment and then kissed him softly.

"Everything's going to be all right now, darling. Go to sleep."

Darling. She'd called him "darling." Harry didn't think anybody had ever called him that before. Ginny had called him "love," or "sweetheart" sometimes, but never "darling." He and Cho hadn't been together long enough for them to have developed any affectionate terms or silly pet names for each other. Did Hermione call Ron that, too, when they were alone together? he wondered sleepily.

Won-Won, maybe that's what Hermione called Ron when they were wrapped naked around each other and he was making her toes curl and her body tingle, he thought suddenly. Maybe not.

Mrs. Weasley might have called him "sweetie" once, or "sweet boy," he thought dimly. Perhaps his own mother had called him darling when she held him in her arms. "Her darling boy." It sounded like the sort of thing a mother might call her child, or maybe he was just remembering Aunt Petunia. Not that she'd ever called Harry that. The Dursley's had left off the "darling" if they ever addressed him, his aunt saving that endearment for their little Diddy. They just called Harry "boy" mostly, because he was not their son, and they had never wanted him.

Darling. Sweetheart. Boy. The Boy Who Lived. The boy who just kept right on living, and living while everyone around him died.

Harry's eyes burned again so he closed them, and even though it was still early in the day, he slipped into darkness, falling into an exhausted sleep.

~ . ~