Ouroboros

Chapter 3: The Last Light is Extinguished

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Inches from salvation, freedom had once again been snatched away at the last moment. Only a near-impossible toss of a knife marked the separation between Andromeda's Portkey, and lying on the plush purple carpeting, bereft of hope.

It took every inch of will to do so, but despite the protest of his aching body, Harry forced his head up, away from the blood-splattered carpeting. He planted his left palm on the ground, pushing himself up. His deteriorated legs screamed with displeasure, eliciting a wave of pain so intense it caused his vision to waver, and his stomach to churn with nausea.

Yet he still gained his feet.

As he stood wobbling, Bellatrix Lestrange visibly relaxed, placing both hands upon her hips as she let out a mad, deafening cackle.

"Don't you know you've lost, Baby Potter?" she asked, her haggard features alight with mirth.

Harry took a single step forward, nearly falling over in the process.

Of course he was fucking doomed. The Portkey had been destroyed, Andromeda was dying, and if his legs weren't healed soon, he wouldn't be far behind his benefactor.

That wasn't the point.

With a maniacal grin, Bellatrix casually waved her wand. Harry's feet flew out from under him as he was lifted into the air, floating several feet above the floor. He tried to fight against the levitating force, but suspended in air, he only succeeded in useless flailing.

"Let me down!"

"Patience, Potter," crooned Bellatrix as she walked forward. Like a banner Harry floated before her, helpless.

The door to the Receiving Room, it's lock and handle fully eaten away by the acid, swung inward under pressure from his body. He caught a single glimpse of gleaming marble before he was thrown forward. In mid-air he turned, before being slammed into an uncomfortable chair. The breath was forced from his lungs, filling his chest with pain.

Short of breath, he tried to rise, but a length of slender chain erupted from Bellatrix's wand. It flew towards Harry, before encircling him in a constrictive embrace. Links of metal pressed hard against the arms, chest, stomach and legs, so tight that he could barely breathe.

"Don't go anywhere, Potter," Bellatrix almost sang, before exiting the room, a spring in her step.

In the madwoman's absence, Harry's eyes darted about the room, trying to soak in every detail, to determine if any advantage could be gained from his surroundings.

A fifteen foot square, the centerpiece of the white-walled room, was a dais in the middle of the marble floor. The circular platform was constructed from a gleaming silver metal without blemish. Inlaid into the marble floor surrounding the dais was a circle of solid gold, which looked life molten holy fire by the silver torchlight. In all probability the interior of the golden circle was where the Wards had been lifted.

Little fucking good it did him without the Portkey in hand.

The rest of the room offered a similar amount of hope. A wide, pristine, white-bricked fireplace, the gleaming silver tools beside it and the gem-crusted box upon the marble mantle were all equally barren. Weapons that were useless without hands, and Floo Powder that was worthless without the password.

Left with no other option, Harry struggled against his bonds, but could not gain a single inch of wiggle room. As he fought, Andromeda's tortured gasps floated in through the hallway, growing closer with every breath. The sounds of something heavy being dragged accompanied her dying breaths, each one tugging at Harry's soul.

Andromeda Tonks had selflessly volunteered to help him escape, and all it had gotten her was a deflated lung. In essence, she was going to die for him.

And it would all be for nothing.

The broken door was flung open, allowing Bellatrix to back her way into the room. Within her clenched fists were handfuls of dark brown hair.

"Come on Andy, it's almost time!" declared Lestrange, giving another pull. Dragged by her long hair, Andromeda entered the room, violent coughs spraying mists of blood. The woman's struggles were faint, almost passive as he was pulled to the center of the white marble floor, leaving a crimson trail in her wake.

"I'm so sorry I dragged you into this," Harry gasped, guilt flooding his conscience. His failed benefactor turned her head towards the sound of his voice. He met her warm, caramel eyes, and saw hopelessness and regret reflected within the twin orbs. Slowly, as if summoning forth the last of her will, she opened her mouth to speak.

"Gggaaa…."

A blood bubble formed upon her lips, stealing her words. In stood above her mouth for a moment, before popping, splashing more scarlet over her ashen features.

Their eye contact was broken as Bellatrix let go of her sister's hair, allowing her skull to bounce off the floor with a sickening thud.

"You should be sorry, Baby Potter," crooned Bellatrix as she knelt over his sister. "If not for your meddling, your little Mudblood whore might have evaded our Lord's grasp for a little while longer."

While Harry fumed, Lestrange reached down and swept Andromeda's sweat-soaked hair away from her eyes, tucking it behind her ears. The dying woman shied away from the touch, moving her head away an inch.

"Oh, did that hurt? I can be so clumsy sometimes," she purred, before moving her right hand to the silver handle protruding from Andromeda's chest. "Maybe this will help take your mind off it, okay?"

In a blur of motion, Bellatrix ripped the knife free, a long arc of crimson following the blade's path. Her younger sister involuntarily folded in two, gasping wheezes erupting from both her mouth and the ragged hole in her chest.

Bellatrix let the knife fall to the ground, withdrawing her wand and launching a spell. It slammed into Andromeda, causing her legs and arms to snap straight to her side in rigid posture.

"Just leave her alone!" yelled Harry. His captor turned back towards him for a moment, her gaze speculative. After a moment's pause, she dropped him a wink, before falling gently to her knees.

Blood dripping from its blade, Bellatrix picked up the silver knife and held it in the air, all while looking down on her sister.

"I know you can hear me," she whispers, violet eyes wide with anticipation. "And I want to tell you how wonderful it is to finally make you useful. All your life you've spat upon your heritage, lain with Mudbloods, producing impure, wretched spawn. Well, now you're finally going to play a role. A small part, but vital, nonetheless."

With her opposite hand, Bellatrix flicked her wand. A loud rip cut through the air as Andromeda's robes tore down the middle, the bloodstained garments falling to either side of her frozen form. Knickers and bra were both saturated with crimson, a ragged hole torn through one of the cups where the knife had entered.

"Muggle garbage," sneered the older sister. "Did your precious Mudblood dress you in these?"

Left without a voice, the question went unanswered. Expecting nothing less, Bellatrix leaned over her sister and began to carve into the flesh of her solar plexus with the point of the blade. The cuts were shallow, the slashes connecting to form an unfamiliar runic shape. Sluggish blood flowed from the wound, dripping down the sides of her exposed upper body.

Bellatrix chanted as she cut, the tongue unfamiliar, the words causing Harry's flesh to crawl. The air itself grew heavy as crimson light began to radiate from the mysterious sigil, bathing the room in an unholy light.

"Don't do this!" screamed Harry, dread filling his mind. The ritual was unfamiliar, but he could feel the taint of Dark Magic in the air, like a demon lurking unseen. "Please, stop!"

Ignoring his cries, Bellatrix raised her wand, Conjuring a silver goblet. She placed the cup on the floor, before waving her wand in a series of complicated arcs. As if gravity had been reversed, flecks of blood began to rise from the Andromeda's hair, body and robes. The stains around her mouth disappeared as the drops of blood coalesced into a sphere, which floated two feet off the floor.

She spared her sister one last look of equal parts triumph and hunger, before holding the cup aloft, capturing the sphere between its silver walls. Bellatrix swirls the chalice a single time, before bringing it to her lips.

Like a cat at a saucer she supped at the blood as if it were a fine vintage. The crimson light intensified while growing darker, as if swallowing the silver torchlight.

Harry let out an involuntary gasp as the soft, unblemished pale flesh of Andromeda's torso mottled and wrinkled, becoming loose on her petite frame. The faintest suggestion of lines grew into cragged mountains, the corneas surrounding her terrified, caramel eyes yellowed.

As rapidly as Andromeda aged, time traveled in the opposite direction for her older sister, stripping away the years. Lank, ragged hair regained its black sheen, lengthening and straightening to a perfect tapestry of coal locks. Heavy lines and crow's feet smoothed, restoring her aristocratic high cheekbones, each dashed with a faint blush, completing her flawless complexion.

Through a slit riding the side of her robes, he saw the dark blue piping of veins floating just beneath the skin of her legs recede as her calves gained definition and muscle tone.

Bellatrix lowered the cup slightly as reddened, luscious lips formed into an 'O' shape, allowing a moan of ecstasy to escape. A shudder wracked her frame before she raised the cup back up.

Frozen in place, unable to tear his eyes away from the horror, Harry bore witness to Andromeda's body shriveling, her skin turning to leather. Hair drained of all color thinned and fell from her skull, forming a pile of thin white strands. Her withered lips peeled back across her face, revealing gums receded all the way to the jaw, and the brown husks of her teeth.

The air grew even heavier, almost as if he were swimming, the crimson light darkening further. In the scant illumination, he saw Andromeda's eyes disintegrate, leaving behind only black sockets. Her skin began to flake and dissolve like running sand.

His vision fixed upon the death of his promised savior, a clang of steel caused his heart to nearly burst within his chest. Bellatrix, who had stolen time itself from her sister, leaving her looking no older than twenty, paid little heed to the empty silver cup rolling at her feet, instead stood with her eyes closed.

"What did you do?!" screamed Harry, the impact breaking his paralysis. "What did you do?!"

At his screams, Bellatrix opened her eyes. All traces of Azkaban had been purged, leaving bright violet orbs bursting with an unhinged light, a stark contrast to the porcelain corneas. A second shudder worked its way down her frame as she took a single step forward, eyes blazing with a feral hunger. She ran a delicate, pink tongue along the upper ridges of her pearly white teeth, before her hands lowered to her sash, undoing it.

The thick robes fell away from her shoulders, pooling upon the marble floor. Harry froze before another reprimand left his lips, transfixed by the sight.

Thoughts of Andromeda's sadistic end, the torture he had endured, the inevitability of his own death; they all fled before the perfection before him.

In stark detail he drank in all of her, from the high, gravity-defying thrust of her generous cleavage, tipped with tiny buds of coral, to her wide, swaying hips, to the thatch of short, silky black hair nestled between her long, shapely legs.

"What was it you called me before, Potter?" she purred, stalking closer. "A fucking ugly hag, was that it?"

Harry tore his eyes away from her lithe form, his mind tainted by self-loathing at the blood being re-directed to his nether regions.

"Get away from me, you psychotic cunt!" he screamed, slamming his eyes shut. He would not succumb to her, not this bitch, after all she had put him through.

"Baby Potter," she crooned. "It's okay to look. I won't tell. After all, I'm not so ugly anymore, am I?"

Even her voice acted as an aphrodisiac, thickening the saliva within his throat. Disgusted with himself, he spat.

"Look at me," commanded Bellatrix, her voice husky.

"Fuck you!" he screamed, pouring forth every bit of hate he could conjure into the two simple words.

"Look at me, Potter."

Harry scrunched his eyes even tighter, his eyelids aching under the strain. Despite his efforts, they flew open of their own accord, to see Bellatrix standing a mere foot away, lowering her wand.

Unable to look away, his direct line of sight was level with the pink, crinkled flesh of her nipples, hardened in arousal. A wicked smile crossing her features, she reached out with her left hand and began to rub the front of his pants.

Harry let out a hiss of air as his hips greedily strained forward, paying no regard to the chain tethering him in place.

"G-g-get the fuck away from he!" he gasped, but his body played the role of traitor well, his erection straining against the confines of his pants.

"Your bits speak the truth your mouth won't," she said with a cruel chuckle, before her hand moved upwards. Bellatrix didn't bother with the button or zipper, she merely reached inside his waistband.

Harry's nerves lit as she wrapped a soft hand around his hardened length, squeezing down. The pressure caused him to gasp, sending threads of pleasure coursing through his body.

Despite the protest of his hormones, he tried to jerk away from her touch, but only succeeding in building more friction with her hand. She let out a throaty laugh and made a first around him, moving up and down.

Helpless, he let out a cry of mingled frustration and anguish. He hated Bellatrix with every fiber of his being, but his body was Judas, screaming for the touch of the woman who murdered his Sirius and Andromeda.

"Don't fight it," urged Bellatrix as her hand worked faster. "You belong to me now, Baby Potter."

An all-encompassing hunger filling her eyes, she whipped her wand forward. Wood creaked as Harry's world tilted a quarter-revolution, the back of the chair now parallel to the floor, pointing his face at the domed marble ceiling. Out of sight, he heard a wand clatter to the floor.

"You're mine!" Bellatrix hissed as her right hand snaked towards the chain wrapped around his chest. She pulled herself up, planting a foot astride each side of his body.

"Mine!" she said, like an incantation, staring down at him with clouded violet eyes, her long coal tresses tickling his chest. With her left hand she pulled his manhood from his breeches.

Harry shook with equal parts rage and lust as she stroked him a few more times, before lowering herself. She rubbed his cock against a warm, sopping moistness, before letting herself fall.

A gasp escaped her lips as she impaled herself upon him. Harry let out a sob as his length was engulfed within her wet folds, his psyche at war.

The velvet walls between her legs encircled his manhood, cocooning it, milking him as she moved up and down, her moans filling the air. Though his body was awash in pleasure, rage and humiliation tore at his sanity.

Deep, throaty moans lit the air as Bellatrix moved a second hand to the chain, using it as leverage to bounce herself harder and deeper.

"That's it, you filthy Mudblood! Fuck me!"

Perfect globes jiggled and bounced with every thrust, their motion transfixing him. A wave of lust burying his mind, an urge to reach out and cup the twins, to squeeze the coral, hardened nipples between his fingers came unbidden.

"Fuck me, Potter!" screamed his captor, slamming herself down with hardened vigor, the echo of their colliding flesh bouncing off the walls. Under Bellatrix's onslaught, he felt a vast clinching of the nerves, as if he stood on the brink of an endless abyss of pleasure.

"Yes!" she screamed, giving one final bounce, pushing him over the edge. A supernova of ecstasy careened through his body as he shot his seed deep into her womb. Harry screamed as he emptied, unprepared for the intensity of his orgasm.

Bellatrix, her eyes purple fire, began to pump away again, prolonging the final frantic moment. A knowing gleam reflected in her eyes, fully aware of the psychological wounds she had just inflicted.

"You belong to me," she purred. "Mind, body and soul."

Harry, filled to the brim with hate, opened his mouth to yell, but her nether lips constricted around him, drawing a moan instead.

"Mine."

A satisfied smirk crossing her features, she contorted her body, reaching to the floor without raising her hips. When she rose back up, her wand was clutched in her hands, the tip pointed straight at his head.

"Pleasant dreams, baby Potter. Don't you worry, Auntie Bellatrix will be back to see you when she can."

"Stupefy."

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Harry awoke to the familiar darkness of the cell beneath Malfoy Manor. The absence of light, the cold chill and the persistent drip of water were his steadfast companions, just as they had been during his first term of imprisonment. Even the burning pain of his chafed wrists, tightly bound within manacles suspended in the air remained the same.

It was he who had changed.

He wished he could have taken Bellatrix's assault as a good thing. That if he ever escaped, he could be the first of the other Gryffindor Sixth-Years to reach the coveted plateau of getting a girl to go all the way. That he could boast to his gathered classmates that a woman of unrivaled beauty had wanted him so bad she had been soaking wet.

It was just a wish, though.

Bellatrix had taken something innocent, untainted, the daydream of every adolescent and turned it around, twisted it into nightmare form. Every single moment which should have been viewed with fond remembrance had been perverted.

It was not the softness of her skin he recalled most vividly, or the velvet sheath at the juncture of her thighs, but the hatred. Each bounce of her hips had filled him with poison, so much that if it began to seep from his pores, there'd be enough to drown the world.

"Starting with her," he whispered, his voice shaking with rage. Lestrange had taken his freedom, his once chance of escape, and now his innocence. Death was a kindness too merciful for her.

If he could have escapade, her torment would be without end. The Prophecy, Voldemort, the Order; they could all wait.

Vengeance was all that mattered.

"But what about…" whispered a small voice, from deep within the recesses of his mind.

"Shut up! Shut up!" screamed Harry, trying to drown out the voice, unwilling to hear. His shrieks echoed throughout the dungeon as he thrashed again his bonds, desperately trying to break his chains. If he could, he'd bash his own fucking head in, just to destroy the traitorous, maddening sector of his brain.

The part which wanted to fuck Bellatrix again more than anything else in the world.

It flew in the face of all reason, with all the torment she had heaped upon him, time and time again, but lust burned in his body, in direct opposition to the hatred boiling in his heart. He felt the moorings of his mind fray beneath the strain of the dichotomy, unable to reconcile the two halves.

Recall of the worst memories of his life did nothing. The surprise in Sirius' eyes at he fell backwards through the Veil; Bellatrix's insane cackle echoing through the sunken pit as Neville writhed beneath her Cruciatus Curse; the rivulets of blood running the corners of Andromeda's mouth.

Each instance kept the flames of hatred stoked, though did nothing to stem the mingled lust and self-disgust.

"Fucking hell," he swore, feeling more helpless than ever.

If Voldemort didn't break him, it would only be because his mind had done it to itself first.

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Echoes in darkness roused Harry from shallow slumber. A steady clacking sound that saturated the desolate dungeons, approaching at an even pace.

Bellatrix.

Lust boiled in his loins, in direct conflict with the self-hatred and disgust soiling his mind. No matter how many times he considered the logical disgust of his wants, lust always made its voice heard. How was it even possible to be fundamentally fucked up on such a deep level?

"Wakey wakey," crooned Bellatrix, peering at him through the barred windows. Delicate, porcelain features bathed in torchlight, she would have been angelic, if not for the shadow of madness lurking in her gaze.

Harry had no answer, not trusting himself to speak. Pure hate, anger, or even worse, a plea for her touch; he didn't know which form his reply might take.

The heavy door creaked open, rusted hinges squealing. Light poured through the threshold, casting her lithe form as a silhouette.

"Did baby Potter miss his Auntie?" asked the darkened shape, stalking closer. Harry closed his eyes against the bright light, offering no response. Slow, ponderous footsteps inched closer, closing the distance to a few feet. He considered trying to knock her teeth out with a kick, but discarded the notion. Without leverage, the best he'd be able to do was land a cursory blow.

"Is the itty-bitty baby giving me the silent treatment?" she asked, as if admonishing a child. Harry maintained his silence and dropped his head towards the floor. Inching his eyes open, he fixed his gaze on the damp, greenish stone at his feet.

A hand grasped under his chin, forcing it upwards to Bellatrix's face. Violet eyes regarded him with amusement, while a cruel smile grew wider.

"Didn't your mother ever teach you to look at people when they're talking to you? Oh, she didn't, that's right," the woman said with a light chuckle. "Perhaps your Auntie will have to educate you further? How would you like that, baby Potter?"

Her hand moved upwards, caressing his cheek. Ignoring the warm flush spreading into his face, Harry snapped his head to the side, biting down. Bellatrix, as if expecting his actions, drew her hand back, saving two of her fingers.

Harry flung a defiant glare at his captor, but Bellatrix didn't seem perturbed his actions. If anything, she looked pleased as she raised her index finger, waggling it towards him.

"Baby Potter is going to learn how to play nice," she chastised, before reaching into a pocket and withdrawing her wand. She swept it across her body, as if swinging a tennis racket.

An invisible wave of force slammed into Harry's right cheek, causing a hollow crack to echo through the tiny cell. The coppery taste of blood and hard chips filled his mouth as pain exploded through his face. The agony was so potent that he grayed out for a moment, before spitting out a lumpy mixture of blood and dislodged chips of teeth.

"Remember, Potter: You're mine," she purred. Harry, his head throbbing, head down, let out a grunt, unwilling to move his mouth. Footsteps rang out as Bellatrix began to circle him. Harry tried to track her movements, but his entire head throbbed like a rotting tooth, making it difficult to concentrate.

Without warning hands laid themselves upon his hips, before encircling his midsection. The pleasant weight of her cleavage pressed into his back as she embraced him, while laying her head upon his left shoulder. Warm, moist lips suckled at the nape of his neck, temporarily blotting out the pain, eliciting a moan. She worked upwards, until her hot breath was upon his ear.

"You don't have any choice in this," Bellatrix whispered, while her hand began to drift downwards. "Remember, you're mine. Nothing more than a passive observer. If I want to leave you alone to rot down here, I will."

Trailing fingers a hair's breadth from his straining hardness suddenly withdrew as she pulled away. The void of her warm embrace was filled by cold, drawing a gasp of despair. For a brief moment, he nearly cried out, before she stepped back forward, resuming her ministrations.

Though his body responded, his mind recoiled in hatred. Was this what he had been reduced too?

Her fingers snaked downward, under his waistband. A small, smooth hand encircled his length and began to slowly stroke, sending waves of pleasure radiating out from his core.

"If I want to fuck you, I will," she breathed, before releasing her grip on his manhood. Both of her hands slid around and began to pull down, divesting him of his trousers. Bile bubbled in his throat, overwhelming the roar of his hormones. The moment she drew away, Harry threw his head back, hoping to smash her nose in.

She evaded the blow, before grasping the sides of his head, forcing it to the side.

"And if I want you to suffer, you will," she whispered in his ear canal, before her lips moved downward.

"Fuck y-aaggghh!"

Hard incisors bit down upon his ear, setting it alight with pain. He screamed as Bellatrix spat onto the floor, letting out mad peals of laughter. Blood spilled from the wound, running down his neck, soaking into his shirt.

"When are you going to give up, baby Potter?" asked Bellatrix as she moved into his vision, dark blood smearing her mouth and chin. "You are completely helpless, and can do nothing unless I allow you! When will you see?!"

"N-never," spat Harry, ignoring the pain speech caused. Even though the final night at Privet Drive seemed to be millions of years ago, he had not forgotten the oath he had taken as Voldemort approached. Until he had no breath left to spare, he would fight.

Rather than being incensed at his defiance, sheer joy shone upon Bellatrix's features.

"Thank you, Baby Potter," she whispered, a grateful smile gracing her features. "You don't know how happy that makes me."

Even in his tormented state, Harry found he still possessed the capacity to be surprised.

"Most wizards I can break in a day," she stated casually, as if discussing the weather. "A few rounds of the Cruciatus, solitary confinement, and they're ready to spill their deepest secrets. Even some Aurors don't last longer than a week. But you, Potter…"

Her grin spread wider, blooming into a full-fledged smile, which would have been flawless if not for the bloodstains upon her teeth. Bellatrix swayed closer as he spoke, running a pink tongue over the ridges of her canines.

"You have not disappointed me yet. Whatever drives you, whether its hatred, a thirst for vengeance or even misguided hope…it's beautiful to behold."

The gap between the two closed to a few feet, Harry spat out a mouthful of mingled blood and saliva. The front of her dark, filmy robes was splattered, but she took no offense from his defiance, letting out a small cackle.

"As I said before, baby Potter, I will break you," she promised, closing the distance to a foot. "But before all is said and done, you may just prove to be my most entertaining plaything."

Harry was lost within her violet-eyed gaze as she moved her head close, planting a chaste kiss upon his lips. For a moment he floundered, but before he thought to chew her face off, Bellatrix ended the kiss.

"Thank you," she breathed, before drifting downward, every inch of her body running along his hardness. He wanted to rebel, to dish out some sort of punishment, but both pain and vindictiveness vanished as she hooked her hands into his trousers, pulling them down.

Freed from the confines of his pants, cool air met his erection as it bobbed in the air, before she wrapped a soft, gentle hand around it. With careful, delicate strokes she moved downward, squeezing gingerly upon reaching the head. Pleasure flooded his senses, obliterating the agony of his broken cheekbone and chewed ear. His hips began to jerk greedily forward with each stroke, as if possessed of minds of their own.

"Do you like that, baby Potter?" she asked, her voice husky. His eyes closed, for a brief moment, defiance rose from the sea of bliss immersing him, but a hard squeeze from Bellatrix doused his mind's rally.

"Then you're going to love this," she promised, before fabric began to whisper. Her hand pumped upward, stopping shy of the head, before a warm, wet heat engulfed the tip. His eyes flew open as he let out an involuntary gasp.

Bellatrix, knelt before him, sitting upon her heels, lips wrapped around his engorged head. For a brief moment her violet gaze caught his, before she lowered her eyes, fans of black hair obscuring her ministration. A shudder passed through his body as she swirled her tongue beneath the underside, before taking him deeper into her mouth.

Groans lit into the air he sunk to the hilt in her wet, willing mouth, not unlike the velvet softness of her cunt. Friction gripped every inch of his erection as she began to moving her head up and down, her lips maintaining constant contact. All emotion fled, leaving behind lust. The rest of the world disappeared, leaving behind his cock and Bellatrix's mouth as the only things of substance in the universe.

With her other hand his captor began to squeeze and knead at his bits gently, bringing the stirring pressure in his loins to the boiling point. Light-headed, he barely perceived Bellatrix relinquish her grip on his bits.

Without warning she pushed away from Harry, leaving him a single stroke shy of ejaculation. He let out a cry of frustration, only to have it die in the air at the silver dagger clasped within her hand.

The same weapon used to murder Andromeda.

Harry tried to draw back, but she lunged forward, swiping the blade through the air. Runes carved into the blade shone as it arced low, towards his heel. With a tearing sound the dagger sliced through both of his heels. His screams lit into the air as the ragged ends of the severed Achilles tendons poured blood. Pain equal to the Cruciatus radiated from the back of his foot as the weight of his body pressed down on the injury.

"I wouldn't put too much weight on those, baby Potter," crooned Bellatrix as she rose to her feet, wearing a wide smirk.

An anguish cry filled the cell as Harry screamed. He was unable to articulate the depths of his pain and hatred, fueled even further by the angry seed swirling within his loins.

His reaction only served to please Bellatrix, who backed away to the door.

"See you tomorrow, Baby Potter."

She let out one more cackle, before closing the door behind her. Nauseous with pain, Harry did his best to pull himself up, relieving the strain upon severed tendons, but even through the torment, he knew it was only a matter of time before his arms gave out.

The light faded from the world, plunging him back into a dark void.

And in the darkness, Harry Potter brooded, dreams of brutally murdering Bellatrix the only distraction from the all-encompassing agony.

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In the solitary dark Harry hung from the ceiling, the chain pulling taunt against his wrists. Long ago the heavy manacles had cut through his flesh, causing rivulets of blood to flow down his arm, soaking into his shirt. After hours of suspension, his upper body was almost numb.

The same could not be said for his feet. Even hanging limply from the ceiling, allowing his wrists to bear the brunt of his weight, the severed tendons howled with every movement, no matter how small.

Unable to reach down and pull up his pants, a glance down showed that his bits had nearly shriveled back into his body, seeking out the last vestiges of warmth.

It was fucking humiliating.

Being tortured, made to feel inhuman amounts of pain was one thing…but what Bellatrix had inflicted upon him felt was an even deep violation. Worse, as absurd as it sounded.

As little as a month ago, Harry wouldn't have believed it if someone suggested otherwise, but after experiencing it himself…she was breaking down his mental defenses, weakening him. Even as he screamed when the pain became too unbearable, his thoughts would eventually drift towards the potent ache in his groin, to once again bury himself in her warm depths.

His mind had split into two distinct halves, each existing simultaneously. The first longed for her to come back, to finish the job she started. The other shunned her very name, and set about to plotting his revenge, each ploy more unlikely than the last.

Bellatrix had been right. There was no way he could ever escape. Dumbledore had sent a spy in, and Andromeda had failed. If the Headmaster had any contingency, up to and including storming Malfoy Manor, it would have been enacted by now.

He was on his own.

With no hope of escape, he had only one remaining thing to hold above Voldemort's head.

The prophecy.

The Dark Lord claimed that he had the power to pluck Professor Trelawney's words from his head, but the more time passed, the more Harry doubted the claim. Voldemort was patient, but with the truth within his grasp, why bother waiting? Why not just tear it from his mind? Was he incapable of doing so?

If so, it would explain why he was still alive, and why Bellatrix was trying to 'break' him. To smash him down into such a weak mental state that he would spill the contents of the prophecy when asked.

Fighting that one request, to deny the Dark Lord what he wanted…that was the only true battle remaining for Harry. His fingers might be removed, his eyes plucked out, his guts spilled upon the floor, but if he could keep the prophecy a secret, he would still be the victor.

A pyrrhic victory, but to forever deny Voldemort the knowledge he sought was the only remaining solace, the only factor which kept him on his feet, fighting against Bellatrix the best he could.

A losing battle, but the only avenue of defiance he had left.

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The room was warm, suffocating. Hard to breathe. In the heat his arms began to melt like tallow, falling to the floor with wet splats.

He was free!

Harry let out a delirious laugh, and took a step forward. Visions of leaving the cell playing through his head, he was jerked backwards as the chain caught on the eyebolt. Agony ripped through his nerves as he shuffled his feet to keep his balance.

Reality came flooding back upon the wings of the pain. He still had arms, which were shackled to heavy manacles, fastened to the ceiling.

He was trapped in a dark cell, within which he would mostly likely die.

If Bellatrix didn't do something soon, he was going to be in serious trouble. He had been fading in-and-out too often to tell with any accuracy, but if his parched throat was any indication, it had been at least a day since her last visit. A pungent, fungal smell permeated the air. Drained of all optimism, Harry guessed that due to the damp atmosphere and lack of dressing, the twin slices through his Achilles Tendons were becoming gangrenous.

It was a grim, faint hope, but Harry almost wished that they'd forget about him. Once the fever spread, he'd be incoherent, but freed from the constant torment Bellatrix had piled upon him. Unless the sickness robbed him of any defiance, and caused him to casually part with the contents of the Prophecy.

Before he could mull over the subject further, a faraway echo caught his attention. Ears strained, he heard the furious clack of footfalls upon stone. Unlike the leisurely pace that Bellatrix normally set, like a cat stalking a crippled mouse, the approaching person was almost running.

Either something very good, or very bad, was about to happen.

Light briefly appeared in the corridor, before the door to his cell was flung open, banging against the outer wall. Bellatrix stormed through the threshold, wand drawn. Her eyes were narrowed, the pupils wide as she jabbed her wand forward, a snarl upon her lips.

"Crucio!"

All other injuries were forgotten as liquid fire filled each and every one of his nerve endings. Like a fish plucked from the sea and dumped upon the ground Harry flopped. A second stretched out to a thousand years, trapping him within an endless construct of pain.

Like a frightened animal his mind tried to retreat from the curse, but had nowhere to run.

And without warning, it ended.

Harry slumped against his bonds, pulling in deep gasps of air. Bone-deep aches penetrated his entire body, which continued to spasm. Anguished, he looked up, to see Bellatrix staring down at him.

There was no playfulness in her eyes, none of the glee that accompanied her visits. Only determination and a wild, swirling emotion he couldn't place.

His mouth played the part of traitor before he could think, spilling words into the air.

"No, please, no more, I can't-"

Not bothering to answer, she launched a spell at his legs. Harry shrank from the spell, expecting the worse, but his legs locked into place, like a Body-Bind applied only to the lower body. She dropped to the ground at once, before pulling his trousers up in one smooth motion. Bellatrix inspected him for a moment, before stepping back, apparently satisfied.

Wondering what was going on, Harry opened his mouth to ask, before the clack of boots upon stone met his ears. The pace was steady, but deliberate, free from the hurry that Bellatrix had displayed.

At once the truth came to him, sending a shiver of fear down his spine.

Bellatrix was making him presentable for her master.

Voldemort was coming.

As the footsteps grew louder, the sharp edge of Harry's fear began to dull, leaving behind a hollow shell of apprehension.

Nothing was going to change. He was in physical agony now, and the Dark Lord's arrival wasn't going to improve the situation. Voldemort would torture him, and demand the prophecy.

At the thought of losing the prophecy, the one true bit of leverage he still possed, he tried to summon forth the familiar rage. It was sole shield against the horrors he had faced, the righteous fire that had kept him going through the early days of his imprisonment, the fury that had led him to resist Bellatrix at every opportunity.

He was unable. Even the imminent arrival of the Dark Lord, the creature responsible for his incarceration, the most feared wizard in Britain, couldn't conjure the flames.

A sharp pain dug into his arms. Turning his head, he saw that Bellatrix had dug her spade-like nails into his upper arms.

"You will show the Dark Lord every respect."

"Or what?" questioned Harry in a listless voice. At a loss for a reply, she merely hissed in anger, digging her nails deeper into the arm. She punctured the skin, drawing small beads of blood, but she let go quickly, dropping to the ground in a subservient bow.

The gaunt, emaciated form of the Dark Lord filled the doorway. Crimson eyes burning, he stepped through the threshold, like a pale wraith. The nostrils of the flat, snake-like face flared as he walked in, gaze fixed upon Harry.

"My Lord," murmured Bellatrix.

"Rise, my faithful servant," said Voldemort dismissively, not bothering to spare her a glance, the whole of his attention focused on Harry. He strode forward, until only a few feet separated the two. Voldemort studied him, like a scientist contemplating an animal he was about to dissect.

Unsurprisingly, Harry felt some of his fear begin to return.

"Potter," he rasped through papery lips. "I trust that Bellatrix has been an attentive host."

The unexpected question, not to mention the unintentional innuendo behind it, brought a snort from Harry, who was on the verge of cracking up despite his terror.

Attentive was certainly one way to put it.

The ghost of a smirk vanished from Voldemort face. Crimson eyes narrowed, he turned towards Bellatrix.

"Was I mistaken in assigning you to this task?" he demanded.

"No!" she vehemently denied, shaking her head. "I am your most faithful-"

"And most disappointing," Voldemort finished. Distraught, Bellatrix began to pull and tug at her own hair.

At her anguish, a smirk grew across Harry's features. There had been precious little to cheer Harry since his final night at Privet Drive, but seeing Bellatrix dressed down by her master did the trick.

"I…I will try harder, my Lord," she said with a deep bow.

"Will you know? You have had three weeks to try hard with Potter, and I see that he remains as defiant as ever. Three weeks down in a dark cell, helpless, chained up. Surely he hasn't proven too much to handle?"

Harry burst out in laughter, unable to contain himself any longer. The sounds echoed within the enclosed space, amplifying it. Bellatrix, fury blazing in her violet eyes, surged forward, wand drawn and raised. With a maniacal grin Harry watched her draw closer, exhilaration coursing through his veins.

"Bellatrix," called Voldemort softly. Bellatrix, her pale face filled with hot blood, her lips pulled back into a snarl, froze in place.

"Turn around."

"…Yes, my Lord," she choked out, before turning around. As she moved, Voldemort drew his wand with almost supernatural speed, and trained it upon his servant.

"Crucio."

The curse struck Bellatrix in the face, dropping her to the floor. Upon the damp ground she writhed and screamed, as if possessed. Her cries were like soothing, uplifting choirs to Harry's eyes. He laughed with joy, drinking in the sight with hungry eyes, nearly euphoric at the sight of her agony.

For a moment, he even forgot his own pain.

Far too quickly Voldemort cancelled the curse.

"Do not fail me again," he rasped, before turning to Harry. "I admit, I am surprised to see you remain sane. Most do not last long under Bellatrix's tender care."

"Maybe she's lost her touch," replied Harry in a bored, uninterested tone. As if she was unworthy of mention.

Upon the floor Bellatrix's muscles continued to spasm, courtesy of the Cruciatus Curse's after effect. Anger and humiliation were written on her face, but she seethed silently.

"Time shall tell, Potter," Voldemort stated, a small leer crossing his snake-like features, the likes of which would weaken the stoutest of hearts. "But I am patient, Potter. Everything breaks. Everything. It may take a week, a month, a year, it makes no difference. One day you shall kneel before me, begging for release."

"Beg you? I don't think so."

Voldemort replied not with words, but with another Cruciatus Curse, moving so quickly Harry never even saw the spell strike. One moment he was standing, the next thousands of infinitely small knives stabbed at his flesh. Held up by his shackles, he thrashed like a puppet, all rational thought vanished.

After what seemed like an hour, Voldemort ended the curse. Free from the blinding pain, Harry sagged against his bonds, taking large gulps of air to control his breathing.

"You forget your place. Count yourself fortunate that Bellatrix has been less than diligent in her duties, but I am confident she shall re-double her efforts. Starting tomorrow."

"Yes, my Lord," answered Bellatrix as she peeled herself off of the floor. Without further preamble he began to walk out of the room, Bellatrix trailing behind him. At the door he stopped, turning to fix his crimson gaze upon Harry one last time.

"Remember, Potter: Everything breaks."

"Everything."

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In darkened silence Harry stood for an indeterminable amount of time. His nerves still twitched from exposure to Cruciatus Curse, but it was a mere discomfort to the agony that was the back of his maimed feet. A smell wafted into the air, one of rot, of decay, one that Harry could only associated with one thing.

Death.

Yet, despite the occasional post-Cruciatus twinge, a stray lance of brief pain which occurred without warning, Harry was heartened by Voldemort's last visit, more so that he had been since the day of Andromeda's failed rescue attempt.

For the first time in a while, Harry once again saw the vague specter of hope.

When Voldemort claimed to have left the responsibility of torture in Bellatrix's hands, he wasn't just speaking of the time she spent in the darkened cell, but everything.

The Dark Lord had no idea that Harry had been a few feet away from escaping.

It was hard to say with any certainty, but in his estimation, Voldemort might not have even set foot in Malfoy Manor since Harry's first day in the dark cells, being too occupied by other matters.

Had Voldemort been intent of marching down to the dungeon and intimidating Harry into relinquishing the secret of the prophecy?

If so, things clearly did not go according to plan. Bellatrix's failures had incensed the Dark Lord, driving him to deal with his servant more harshly than his prisoner.

At first glance, Harry supposed that perhaps Voldemort dealt harsh love to all of his underlings, but now he was no longer sure, keeping in mind recent history. Bellatrix, despite having the advantage of numbers and skill, had failed to secure the prophecy at the Department of Mysteries. During Voldemort's fall, she had failed to aid her Master, allowing herself to seek vengeance and fall into Ministry custody. And now, she had failed to break Harry's mind.

How many more failures would Voldemort accept?

Would he have accepted Harry's near escape? Would have be understanding that in the excitement and euphoria of a younger body, she had defiled her womb with his seed?

In all probability, the answer 'no', which improved his bargaining standpoint.

Regardless of the torture inflicted, Voldemort had done nothing permanent in nature. Bellatrix had been cruel, but not once had dragged him to death's doorstep. He was too valuable to waste.

Voldemort couldn't kill him without learning the contents of the prophecy, a protection that Bellatrix did not enjoy. She was no different than any of the other Death Eaters, whether they were Lucius, Crouch Jr., or any other servant that had taken a fall for Voldemort's cause. His Death Eaters were chess pieces, to be casually tossed aside when they no longer provided a tactical advantage.

Was Bellatrix in more danger than he was?

If so, he might have an ace in the hole. As fanatically dedicated as Bellatrix was, Harry had seen the expression on her face, the eyes that had swirled with guilt, shame and pain at failing her master.

Was there a way to turn that fact to his advantage? And what would Bellatrix do to preserve her Lord's favor?

She would never turn her back on Voldemort and let Harry go, but would she make some sort of concession in exchange for his silence?

Harry couldn't say much in either directon.

All that mattered that was for the first time since his return to the cells, he felt something almost alien to this place of suffering.

Hope.

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Left without the means to tell time, Harry couldn't even hazard a guess at how long he had been left alone. Nor would he bother trying.

If asked prior to Voldemort last visit, he would have said with absolute certainty that months separated the present from his arrival at Malfoy Manor, but if the Dark Lord's claims were true, it had only been three weeks.

So when the familiar collision of boots upon stone once again met his ears, Harry felt anticipation worming its way through his gut.

It was time.

Bellatrix's footsteps were like thunder in the quiet dungeon, each step a heavy stomp. As opposed the usual image of a cat stealthily stocking its pray, he movements were more akin to a bear charging through the woods, all sense of subtlety fled.

The cell door was ripped open, bouncing off the opposite wall. Bellatrix, her lips drawn into a snarl, tore through the entryway in a tornado of vitriol and swirling black robes.

There would be no playfulness, no biding her time, no baby talk. Lestrange was livid at being made a fool of, and would make him pay as soon as possible.

Violet eyes blazing, she withdrew her wand and snapped it downward. A long, black cord fell from the tip, coiling on the floor. With a flourish, she raised her arm up. For a moment, he saw the thick whip fly through the air, before striking the right side of his chest with a resounding crack.

Pain lanced across his chest as the leather bit deep into his chest, cutting through the tattered remnants of his shirt. He forced out a cry of anguish, filling the tiny room with his scream. In all actuality, the blow hadn't been that bad. In some respects, it almost acted like anesthesia, replacing the rotted, bone-deep ache of his severed Achilles tendons with a line of fire.

The change of pace was almost pleasant, like eating strawberry ice-cream after a month straight of chocolate.

Not that he intended to make Bellatrix aware of any of this.

Bellatrix drew back her arm again, cutting it across her body. Fire flashed across his midsection as it struck, again eliciting a manufactured cry of pain. His head dropped down, to see blood welling from the long divot clawed across his stomach.

After the second blow, the fierce anger began to recede from Bellatrix's face, to be replaced by a rising joy.

"Baby Potter's been a bad boy," she cooed, before lashing out again. "This is what happens to naughty boys."

Four.

Five.

Six.

Seven.

With each successive blow, his cries grew louder, more desperate. Bellatrix drank every bit of his pain, her face becoming flushed, her breathing heavier. On her next draw, he noted the hard nubs poking through the thin fabric across stretched across her chest. The aroma of her obvious arousal began to waft through the air, overcoming the unpleasant stench of damp, rot and blood.

The smell of her drove him to near madness, but he turned the furious blood pumping within his veins outward, forcing it into a glass-shattering scream upon her eight blow.

A primal hunger gleaming in her eyes, she opened her right hand. The blackthorn wand fell to the ground, the conjured whip disintegrating into the damp stone. In a single, smooth movement, she shed herself of the robe. It pooled around her feet as she stepped out of it, crossing the remaining few feet to him.

As he beheld her approaching form, he found himself at war. Half of him noticed the full, ripe breasts, areola hardened with desire. The deep, heaving breaths she took, the bright sheen of lust shining in her eyes.

The other half of his consciousness saw an enemy, who approached him in a vulnerable state, the soft hollow of her throat exposed. It would be the work of seconds to tear into her pale flesh, to feel the hot spurt of blood as it pumped from her torn jugular. To see her collapse to the floor, her final few breaths little more than gargles, eyes full of the knowledge that she had been bested.

However, a dead Bellatrix brought him no closer to escape.

Harry let out a moan as she pawed at the front of his pants, stroking, rubbing the hardness within. With an impatient growl, she yanked down his trousers, exposing his lower extremities to the cool atmosphere. A small, smooth hand encircled his length and began to violently pump, causing a hiss of mingled pain and pleasure to escape his clenched teeth.

Bellatrix, her grip never straying, turned herself around, facing away with him. She bent at the waist, giving Harry a full view of her pale back, and the tight firmness of her rounded backside. Reaching back, she used her right hand to guide him. He found unyielding flesh, before she lowered herself, allowing him to slip into her sopping folds.

Harry let out a moan as he was overtaken by her warmth. Her inner walls squeezed around him as his hips thrust themselves forward, pressing deeper into her sex. With both hands, Bellatrix reached back and grabbed the back of his legs for support to slam herself back against him.

Bellatrix's moans filled the room as he slipped in and out of her. All thoughts of escape, of murder, of revenge had fled. All that mattered was the tightness of her cunt.

"Fuck me, Potter!" she screamed, slamming herself onto his length as hard as she could. Beneath the fury of assault, the dam within him broke, sending him over the edge. With a yell he emptied himself into her womb, continuing to pump at her while the wave of his own climax began to ebb.

Bellatrix let out one final moan, before releasing her hands and stepping forward. Unceremoniously Harry felt himself fall free of her body, bringing with it a wave of regret. Dismayed, he tried to crush the feeling, but it hung on, its very existence mocking him.

Without a look back, Bellatrix knelt to the ground, picking up her wand. She casually flicked it between her legs, Vanishing his seed, before redressing herself quickly. Folding her robes closed, she turned. A predatory smile graced her pink, flushed features.

"I'll be seeing you soon, baby Potter. Don't go anywhere."

With that she stalked off, extinguishing the light behind her. In the dark, the pleasant ache in his groin temporarily drowning out the pain in his feet and chest.

Getting fucked again was nice, but he thought the gambit might have paid off. Bellatrix had been distracted by her own lust, and had not accomplished anything with respects to breaking him. If Voldemort checked in with Bellatrix on a daily basis, the Dark Lord would not be happy that yet another day had passed, and the contents of the prophecy were still unknown.

Next time Bellatrix arrived, she might be fighting directly for her life, and thus more apt to do something stupid.

A deeper, more cynical part of his mind scoffed at his plan. It urged him to admit that there was no fucking plan, aside from getting Bellatrix to pull up her robes.

"No, fuck you!" whispered Harry in a furious tone. "I'm trying to get inside her head, lead her into a stupid mistake. To exercise control over the situation!"

"Oh, is that it?" he replied with a derisive chuckle. "She flayed your chest to ribbons. What's it going to take to get her in the mood next time? Cutting off your hands? Playing jump rope with your small intestines? Cut off your cock?"

Harry was silent, knowing that his time was indeed drawing to a closer. He would have to act soon, before one of Bellatrix's torture sessions went too far.

Tomorrow.

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The breath was stolen from Harry's lungs as a wave of cold hit him. Closed eyes flew open to see Bellatrix standing before him, wand out, water spraying from its tip.

"Wakey wakey!" she declared with a wide smirk. "Did baby Potter miss his Auntie?"

Harry barely perceived the words, still in shock from the rude awakening. Why hadn't he woken? The sounds of footsteps were always enough to rouse him from his thin slumber. What changed this time? Had he finally begun to break down?

"Is baby Potter giving me the silent treatment?" Bellatrix asked, pulling her features down into a caricature of a frown. "Maybe this will make you feel all better!"

With a flourish, Bellatrix conjured another whip, and swung it at him. It bit deeply into the thin scabs covering his torso, tearing them all open again. Harry let out a gasp as a wave of pain flowed over his chest, far more intense than the last lashes had caused.

Her maniacal grin widened.

"Yes, that's it! Scream for your Auntie!"

Harry obliged her for another three blows. As Harry expected, her face had become flushed, and her hardened nipples stood out against the fabric of her robe. For a moment, he wanted to give in, to have her warmth pressed against him, to once again be sheathed inside her, but he angrily banished the traitorous thought.

His life depended on it.

"Wait, is that it?" asked Harry. Bellatrix, panting heavily, froze at his question, her joy vanishing. "I was almost beginning to enjoy it."

He suppressed a laugh at Bellatrix's comically bugging eyes, taking delight in her reaction. She looked like a child just told that Christmas was cancelled.

"And if your tits are any indication, you're enjoying it too," he continued, wearing a wide grin. "Are you wet, Bella?"

"Shut up!" she hissed angrily. Her gaze darted about, as if afraid someone was listening in.

"Come off it, Bella," pleaded Harry in a conspiratorial tone. "Why don't you come here and pull up those robes a bit, just like we did last time? Voldemort will never have to know."

"Don't speak his name!" she screamed, drawing the silver knife which took Andromdea's life.

"Don't worry, Bella," assured Harry. "I'm not going to tell him that you almost let me escape, or that you fucked me. That just a day ago my jizz was running down your legs. After all, he wouldn't like that much, would he?"

With a snarl she darted forward. As Harry openly laughed at her, she reached into his mouth, presumably to tear his tongue out. He was surprised by her careless movement, but seized the opportunity.

Harry bit down as hard as he could, catching several of her fingers. The coppery taste of blood filled his mouth as he clamped his down as tight as he could. With scream a comprised of more surprise than pain, she tried to jerk back, but Harry held tight, tearing into her flesh, bone grating against his teeth.

With a cry of rage, she brought up the knife, and smashed his face. It struck pommel-first, breaking it with a crunch. The blow dazed Harry, causing him to relax his jaw. Bellatrix withdrew her fingers at once. For moment, Harry saw torn pale flesh pouring forth blood, before she cradled her damaged hand against her chest.

"Didn't you ever learn that haste and carelessness never go well together?" mocked Harry, taking delight in his captor's pain.

She whipped her head up, the red fog of murder swirling in her eyes. With her good hand she raised high the knife and advanced. Drops of bright blood slipped from her torn hand, pattering to the floor.

"You know, the Dark Lord won't be all that pleased if I can't speak," reminded Harry as she approached. "How would you explain that one?"

Murder shone in her eyes, but his word brought Bellarix short. She studied him for a moment, violet, predatorial eyes narrowed.

"There are ways around that," she hissed, though her words lacked conviction.

"I don't think the Dark Lord has the patience to teach me sign-language," Harry deadpanned. "And besides, how many chances do you have left with the Dark Lord?"

The edge of her anger receded, suspicion taking its place.

"I am the Dark Lord's-"

"Biggest fuck-up," offered Harry, finishing the sentence.

"How dare you-"

"You're a fucking liability, you psychotic cunt!" screamed Harry, cutting Bellatrix off again. "You're lucky he didn't kill you after the Ministry fiasco! Twelve fucking Death Eaters against six teenagers and you still lost! Are you on Dumbledore's payroll or-"

A cry of inhuman rage echoed through the cell as she thrust her arm forward. Cold filled Harry's midsection.

As if a plug had been pulled, the rage drained from Bellatrix' face, turning chalk-white. Her violet eyes wide, her unbelieving gaze drifted downward, to the silver handle protruding from Harry's stomach.

"No…no!" she breathed, pulling the dagger back. It slid from his navel in a gout of blood, splattering the front of Bellatrix' robes. As she held the blade, frozen in place, a loop of red intestine began to droop from the deep wound.

"You fucked up, Bella!" Harry nearly sang, before erupting in peals of hysterical laughter. He felt pain, but was disconnected from it, as if it belonged to another person.

"Shut up, shut up!" screamed Bellatrix, the raw edge of panic evident in her words as she scrambled for her wand. Cackling madly, his body quivering, the loop un-spooled further, hitting the damp ground with a wet splat.

With a hasty incantation, Bellatrix waved her wand in front of Harry's stomach. The filthy, blood-soaked rags vanished, leaving the bleeding wound in his gut exposed. She whispered another spell, and a purple spell struck. The grimy flesh surrounding the tear began to press inward, attempting to fill the gaping hole.

The skin strained for a moment, before tearing, widening the hole. A second segment of intestine began to dribble out.

"And you're the Dark Lord's most trusted?!" questioned Harry with a cackle. "No wonder Voldemort's uprising failed!"

As he spoke, the edges of the world began to grey. Light-headed, he collapsed against his restraints, legs failing him. He fell, only to be jerked violently as he reached the end of the iron's chains tether. For a moment he hung, before a loud incantation rang through the air, momentarily cutting through the haze. Metal squealed, and suddenly Harry was falling, the damp flagstones coming up to greet him. He barely felt it as he hit the ground, the side of his head striking the ground.

His eyes growing heavy, for a moment he saw his hand splayed upon the ground, a broken manacle hanging from his emaciated wrist.

"Free…at…last," Harry whispered, before the darkness consumed him.

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How sweet it was when her playthings broke. Like a garden she cultivated them, listening carefully to hear the almost audible cracks as their hopes crumbled into dust, the light of humanity draining away piece by piece. Every cruel word, every inch of torment was mere foreplay to the climax of their passion, that final exquisite moment when they ceased to be people, and devolved into hollow shells of life. A week, a month, a year; it mattered not. At the very end, she ascended to divinity, having snuffed out another life.

For the first time, however, the desperation was all her own.

The suffocating stench of blood and depravity cloying her senses, Bellatrix stumbled from the tiny cell, leaving Potter's petrified body behind. Pulling in deep gulps of damp air, she launched herself down the small cell block. Shoulder-first she barreled into the wooden door at the end, plowing through it.

Footsteps echoed in the darkness as Bellatrix pelted down a stone staircase. Torches set into the wall emitted scant, flickering light, illuminating the path which dug deep into the shale beneath Malfoy Manor.

As she ran, she reached into an inner pocket, fumbling within its depths. After several frenzied moments, her fingers wrapped around a large key, which she withdrew just shy of the iron gate at the bottom landing.

Without hesitation she stuck the large brass key into the lock. It clicked as the bolt disengaged, before swinging inward without a sound. Ignoring the crushing dread overtaking her, she stepped forward to a large, ironwood door, and pushed it open.

The cloying stench of death struck her like a hammer, nearly driving her back. Blood, rot and decay clogged her senses as she stepped forward into the dimly lit room.

Upside-down hung three bodies, gently swaying. Iron hooks protruded from the meat of their calves, connected to thick lengths of chain fastened to the ceiling. Two of the bodies had been skinned, leaving behind a human outline of glistening muscle, tendons and fat. A wide basin lay under them. Thick chunks of flesh and gore floated atop the shallow well of blood.

Before the third body stood the Dark Lord, his back to the door, a silver knife clasped casually in his right hand. He stood still, unmoving, making no acknowledgement of her entrance.

Discipline, fear and the gravity of the situation warred within Bellatrix's mind, but logic won out over all of them. After a few moments she lowered herself to the ground in supplication, left knee pressed to the ground, head tucked.

"My Lord-"

"I left clear instructions not to be disturbed," rasped the Dark Lord, cutting across her entreaty. Dismay met his words, but she pushed on, swallowing heavily.

"You did."

Fabric whispered as he turned from the partially skinned body.

"Then what has brought you here, Bellatrix? A faithful servant such as yourself would not have disturbed me without reason."

The swelling of pride which normally met his praise was nowhere to be found. All she felt was shame as she raised her head an inch, meeting his crimson gaze.

"I went too far-"

Like a stone thrown into smooth water, Voldemort's stoic expression vanished, leaving behind blind fury. With a snarl he flicked his wand upwards, and Bellatrix's legs were cut out from under her. An invisible force constricted around her throat as she was upended, floating in mid-air.

"Is he still alive?" demanded the Dark Lord, his eyes narrowed, nostrils flared. Unable to breathe, let alone talk, Bellatrix nodded her head. At once the force holding her relented, dropping her to the floor below. She landed painfully on her head and hip, but kept her cry bottled within.

"Come, Bellatrix," beckoned Voldemort, before turning on his heel and marching away, dark robes trailing behind him. "Pray that he is still alive."

Ignoring the throb in her head and throat, she regained her feet and began to stumble after the Dark Lord.

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Burning agony spreading forth from his stomach heralded Harry's return to reality. With a groan, he opened his eyes, to see that the familiar damp, concrete walls were nowhere to be seen.

Instead of gloomy murk, he now sat in bright sunshine, warm rays filtering through a circular glass window which took up half of the ceiling. Light splashed off flawless, white marble floors, rebounding off the polished brass frames hanging on the walls. Paintings of lushly detailed landscapes covered every section of wall.

With a grunt, Harry tried to move, only to discover that his wrists were tightly bound to a wooden chair by lengths of chain. Legs free, he tried to push off the floor, but his slashed tendons folded beneath the strain, creating a fresh wave of agony so intense it raised the gorge within his throat. Swallowing bile, he tried again, but his legs just couldn't bear the weight.

"Fucking cunt!" spat Harry, red staining his vision. Had he come so far, succeeded in making Bellatrix lose her cool, escape the dungeon, to merely trade one prison for another?

No. No fucking way.

"Come on, Potter! Think!" he hissed. "It doesn't matter how much you want it, your fucking legs aren't going to work!"

Conceding his legs as useless, Harry began to rock his body back and forth. Knit flesh began to twist and stretch painfully within his midsection, splitting the fledgling bonds of the scab, but he pressed on. Back, and then forward. Back, and then forward.

Wood screeched as his momentum dragged the chair's legs across the floor, scouring into the tile. Each movement was like a dance upon the edge of a blade, where every moment offered the chance to overbalance and fall, but after what seemed like an eternity he made it to the closest wall. A trail of scattered drops of blood marked his progress, as did the burning agony in his stomach, but he had done it.

Vision beginning to fade at the edges, Harry began to rock back and forth, until his backward momentum crossed the tipping point. He held his breath as he fell backwards. A loud bang echoed through the room as the back of the chair crashed against the wall, but the crack and splinter of wood he was expecting was absent.

"Fucking shite!" swore Harry, the chair holding him wedged between the wall and the floor. "Can something, just one thing, go right for once?!"

Anger fueling his movements, he began to thrash, but the chair remained stuck, and the wood unyielding.

"Come on you fucking twat! Break!"

A loud clap echoed through the room, causing Harry's head to dart up. Ice filled his veins as a hanging curtain parted. A thin, humorless smile stretched across his features as he approached Harry, bringing his pale palms together at a leisurely pace. Bellatrix followed behind her master, her expression gleeful, despite the bright-red marks upon the creamy flesh of her throat.

"Your perseverance is admirable, despite how misplaced it is," rasped Voldemort. Bellatrix let out a mad cackle at his words.

"Did itty-bitty baby Potter really think he could escape?"

"I did it once, so why not?" challenged Harry. His motives were not petulant, but shots in the dark. There was no telling how well informed Voldemort was of his subordinate's mistakes. Maybe he'd never escape, and die here in this bright room, but if he could at least make Bellatrix suffer a little…at this point, he'd take such a hollow victory.

"I will have the Prophecy now, Potter," Voldemort declared, as if Harry hadn't spoken.

"I don't think I will," replied Harry lightly, as if discussing the weather. The Dark Lord brought up his wand in response. The chains around his arms dissolved at once, and the chair splintered into kindling. For a fraction of a second he fell, before a giant, invisible hand clamped around his body, holding him in place.

"I will have it!" spat the Dark Lord, crimson eyes ablaze. Harry felt a small measure of fear, but not nearly enough to alter his resolve. They could take away everything he had, and still it wouldn't be enough to make him part with the deepest secret he possessed.

"Crucio!"

Before the echo of Bellatrix's incantation had faded, the curse struck, sharpened teeth bared. The Cruciatus cut swiftly thought the many layers of pain already present, elevating him to a higher plane of torment. He thrashed in the air, searching for something, anything to redirect his agony, but his efforts were in vain.

Several infinitely long moments passed before the curse was lifted. There was no familiar drop, no temporary reprieve, as the invisible force continued to hold him aloft.

"The Prophecy. Now."

Voldemort's voice was flat, emotionless, as if conducting a routine business transaction. Again and again the wand would fall, until what the Dark Lord needed became his. That was, unless Harry had something to say about it.

Still gasping for air, he drew in another breath to speak, but Voldemort read the answer in his eyes. At once the Cruciatus Curse returned. He endured silently for a brief moment, before fresh screams lit the air. All resistance, all rational thought fled at the renewed torture. There was only the endless moment in which every inch of skin was eaten by acid, millimeter by millimeter; all while knives flayed the raw, burning flesh.

For far too long it went on. Desperately he tried to focus on Voldemort, but all thought disintegrated as soon as they formed, being swept away in the endless crimson tide. It all became too much, like trying to bear the weight of a mountain upon his shoulders. Through scarlet haze he regained enough control to see Voldemort staring at him, arms crossed, wand held loose within pale, spindly fingers.

"Haven't you had enough, Potter? Are a few words of nonsense enough to throw away your life over? One word, Potter, and it could all be over."

"I-I-It's a-a-already o-over," stuttered Harry, barely capable of speech, his nerve endings still screaming. With a violently trembling hand, he motioned towards his stomach. "Y-y-you…c-c-can't f-f-fix this. N-no one h-here c-c-can. Only St. M-Mungo's…"

Voldemort's calm demeanor crumbled at once. An invisible force struck Harry in the side of the face, eliciting a loud crack. His world titled as he fell to the ground, blows raining down upon him. The thuds of impact echoed throughout the room, as blood began to pool on the ground, soaking into his clothes.

He barely felt the blows upon his flesh, which were light kisses compared to the bite of the Cruciatus. In the unexpected respite, Harry spat out a mouthful of coppery blood and bile, beginning to laugh manically.

"You have nothing to hold over me! Nothing!"

The Dark Lord lowered his wand, canceling the attack. Features contorted in hate, he turned to Bellatrix, who watched the proceedings with barely-contained glee.

"Rip the Prophecy from his head!"

For a single lucid moment, as Bellatrix raised her wand, cruel smile bared, his entire incarceration made sense: Voldemort was afraid of re-entering Harry's mind. His brief possession attempt at the Department of Mysteries had rattled him more deeply than anyone could have guessed. To the point where he wouldn't even re-enter Harry's mind.

A dilemma Bellatrix did not share.

"Legilimens!"

Harry tried to prepare for the attack, but it was like trying to hold back the sea. She broke through his feeble attempt at repulsion and began to sift through his memories carelessly, strewing the contents to every dark corner.

His struggle never flagged, but he was helpless as she seized at memory with sharpened talons. For a moment Harry relived the sorrow of Sirius' loss, the sting of which he had felt so keenly within Headmaster's Office, wondering how it could have gone so wrong.

Bellatrix, triumphant, withdrew from his mind. The door of memory slammed shut, ushering in the cruel reality of his situation, and the all-encompassing torment.

"My Lord, I have it!" exclaimed Lestrange. At her words, Voldemort whipped his gaze towards her.

"What is it?" he demanded, closing the distance between them.

Harry wanted to close his ears, to ward off the incoming words. The one secret he had protected, had endured hell to keep hidden, the only thing keeping him alive…

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…and the Dark Lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…"

The Dark Lord's crimson gaze widened a fraction as Bellatrix recitation, but he hid his surprise well. Slowly, he turned, fixing his gaze back down upon Harry.

"Of course," he said softly, an octave above a whisper. "Once again, I underestimate you, Dumbledore."

A sharp comment died on the tip of Harry's tongue. Dumbeldore? What did he have to do with this?

"I had assumed Dumbledore's placement of you within the Muggle community, as well as his security measures, were mere incompetence, but now…"

Through the haze of pain Harry tried to decipher the Dark Lord's words, his tortured mind struggling to focus. Voldemort had taken down the blood wards by murdering Petunia and Dudley, but…was there more to it?

"You were nothing more than Dumbledore's sacrificial lamb. I tried to kill you once, and it brought me before the gates of death. Blood sacrifices, arcane magic, a mother's love…I gave your Mudblood mother far too much credence. A mistake I shall not repeat."

Voldemort turned his gaze to his faithful servant, wand drawn. Bellatrix barely had time to blink before the incantation lit the air.

"Obliviate!"

The spell struck the witch in the chest, causing her eyes to glass over. For a few moments she stood, mouth open, before Voldemort turned back towards Harry, wand drawn.

"Bella, I require your assistance."

"Y-Yes, my Lord," she answered, groggy to begin, but sharpening quickly as she joined her master in pointing her wand at Harry's chest.

"Killing Harry Potter would serve little purpose. He'll be remembered as a martyr, a rallying point for Britain's mudblood population."

"Traitors!" she hissed.

"And in time, they shall be uprooted. For now, though, a sign will suffice. A message that those who would fight against our righteous cause face a fate far worse than death."

Despite the agony throbbing in his bones, Harry found that he still possessed the capacity for terror.

"Potter, I believe you mentioned wanting to go to St. Mungo's?" recalled Voldemort, a cruel smile playing on his flat features.

Harry couldn't even breathe, let alone reply. His thoughts turned to Neville's mother, and the small delight she took in giving her son gum wrappers. Her frail, withered frame and vacant eyes.

"No final parting words, Potter? Very well. Bella, shall we provide the Longbottoms with companionship?"

Her leering grin was the only answer needed. In unison both wands fell.

"Crucio!"

"Crucio!"

Like a worm cut in half Harry writhed on the ground, heedless to his other injuries. The millions of needles stabbing at his flesh overruled all, pushing aside conscious thought. He screamed, he pleaded, shredding his throat, but the curse was unrelenting in its fury.

Forever and a day he suffered, the insurmountable agony increasing in intensity. It coalesced into fire, seeping through the pores of his skin. It consumed his mind, torching his memories, everything that he had ever been. The hollow spaces left behind filled with red, obliterating all else.

One, final tortured scream burst from his throat before the final vestiges of his mind crumbled to ash leaving nothing behind.

Not even pain.

X-X-X-X-X-X -|- X-X-X-X-X-X -|- X-X-X-X-X-X

Author Notes:

The rape scenes may have seemed gratuitous, and I wouldn't argue against someone who said they were, but I felt the story needed it to push Harry in a certain direction. I've never been one to shy from depraved details, and didn't want to start now.

I am well-aware that it's been ten months since the last update, and for that I apologize. As difficult as chapters 2 and 3 have been to read, they've been just as difficult, and tedious to write. Thankfully, the setup is nearly done, and Harry is in the place I need him to be for the next portion of the story to take off. The 'imprisonment' arc is now over.

Harry's exact fate will be revealed to open the next chapter, but as one might infer, he is not in a good place. I don't know when it will be complete, but I at least have the rough outline. Progress will be noted on my profile when it occurs.

Thanks a lot to T3t for his beta work. Any remaining mistakes are entirely my fault.

As always, I greatly appreciate feedback. I may not always have the time to provide a prompt review reply, but I will eventually. That is, unless you provide an anonymous review. In which case, I cannot.

DLP Thanks:

saevanus, Zerg Lurker, Gambit, gullibleboats, Scott, psihary, bugler, trolllol, Cxjenius, Wizard Giller, Garden, The Infidel, Silver Cat 777