A/N – Right, this is slightly AU, it's pretty much the same as canon – however Albus isn't dead and Harry and Co know that he is a horcrux. The other horcruxes are known about but they do not know what they are or where. It would veer off the original path during the sixth year, and it is set during Harry's seventh, in the late spring of the year.
Un-betafied I'm afraid – so sorry if there are any mistakes.
Disclaimer – I do not own Harry Potter.
Harry had always known love was a great emotion, exceeding powerful and capable of making people able to perform great scarifies. He just never expected Hermione to sacrifice him for Ron...
If anything Hermione was the last person he ever thought would do anything like that, she was always the reliable one. Harry would have trusted her with anything and ...then this happened and Harry realised that he had under estimated Dumbledore's statement that love was the most powerful emotion...the most powerful magic...He had never thought that Hermione would do that for Ron. He knew they were going out, but he didn't believe that she would hand over the light's most valuable secret in order to stop Ron being tortured – only for a period of time too. Harry didn't want it to happen to Ron of course, but it was one of those things that they knew that might happen when joining a cause for the war. It seemed to be the mutual understanding from either side that if you were captured you were forfeit all your human rights...torture was inevitable.
He had always just believed that it would be Ron who would crack under torture – not Hermione who cracked watching said torture.
He wasn't entirely sure how it had happened in fact, the three of them had been on their way to Hogsmeade for the day, when something had hit the back of his head...a portkey that was also a rock that had given him a nice cut on his scalp. Unfortunately, Ron had just slung his arm around Harry's shoulders and his other arm had been around Hermione's waist so all three were dragged along for the ride. Portkeys were not Harry's favourite method of travel, apparition though uncomfortable and most risky was something that Harry had got used to but portkeys...Harry had never liked them and never would. All three of them landed with a loud thump on dirty dry land, that when touched dust stayed on Harry's fingertips. Harry suddenly knew exactly who they were with within seconds as his scar burst viciously with pain, a violent explosion of burning agony that made his vision blur and spin making the scenery become one slurry of colours.
"Whaa...?" Ron began in a slight slur from being disorientated when a high cold familiar voice interrupted him. It was almost humorous Harry decided, that in a moment like this all common sense flees from your person. Instead of jumping up and using their wands, all they did was sit there and gape. Harry didn't think he could get up even if he wanted to, but Ron and Hermione - what were they doing?
"Ahh, it seems we have more guests than we planned for." Then there was a horrid hissing laugh, echoed by loud deep laughter of death eaters trying to impress the Dark Lord by laughing the loudest. It was disjointed and sounded all wrong to Harry's ears.
"Ah, Harry, I must admit we were only expecting you, but to bring more friends to play with? How generous..." He purred happily, gesturing to a couple of death eaters and pointing to the pale Ron. "Let us start then with Weasley...it is only fair to include you all in this...party...You know the rules of course, any information you want to volunteer is much appreciated."
Hermione let out a scream when all of their hands were bound together with thin tough rope that would splice their skin and tried to grab at Ron's robes as he was pulled up by a burly masked death eater and dragged to the centre of the circle formed around the Dark Lord.
Harry saw Ron being dragged away but couldn't move properly, even as their wands were removed from them. All he could think on was the pain in his scar...it had never been this bad before, this time it was literally crippling him...he felt increasing light headed and sick with it. He slumped to lean on his hands, his pride not letting him curl on the floor and shut his eyes like he needed too. He distantly heard Hermione begging and screaming, but it wasn't near, it was like she was in the distance and...all he could hear was the rhythm of the pain in his scar, it thrummed and danced with the beat of his heart.
It was when the first curse cast on Ron that made it worse, and he screamed at the pain that increased when the Dark Lord used his magic, whilst Ron screamed at the curse he was subjected too.
When the first curse was stopped, Harry let out a shocked cry of relief as he wiped his forehead collecting the blood on his bared wrists and letting it soak into the hem of his shirt. He frowned in worry at the blood that continued to force its way through the tiny wound. Bellatrix at some point landed heavily next to him and made sure he watched whilst revelling in Hermione's sobs laughing at her tears.
Ron let out a high pitched scream where his flesh was starting to turn inside on his exposed left foot, the blood spurting out of the blood vessels and bones emerging like icebergs from the rapidly opening flesh. Harry's head was held in Bellatrix's grip, his two ears being pinched firmly as she watched the torture draped over him. Eventually the bones in Ron's foot fell away from each other as the tendons and ligaments were removed. Harry shut his eyes to the scene, throat raw from his screaming and his vision swimming with tears of distress and pain. However, none of them had breathed a word yet despite the desire to stop Ron's pain. He heard Bellatrix's laughter at Hermione's pleads for them to stop and suddenly her hands were removed from his burning ears from the restricted blood flow to the tips. Harry's glasses were pulled down his nose by a bony finger and then his eyelids were pried opened by Bellatrix. "You must watch, ickle Harry..." She purred at him with a vivacious pout as she let go of his lids. He shook his head trying to blink some of the moisture back onto his eyeballs. Bellatrix laughed wickedly and got up and skipped towards her Lord, kneeling by his feet and hissing something excitedly to him while wrapping her hands in his robes.
He laughed at what she had said and nodded, one hand threading through her hair and smiling at her as he encouraged her to her feet. He indulged her too much, Harry thought...He suddenly back tracked wondering where the odd thought had come from.
Ron suddenly let out a breathless cry as Bellatrix ran a knife lightly around his eyes, no breaking the skin but leaving a red swollen line where it trailed. "Such pretty blue eyes...I love blue eyes..." She whispered softly, and the death eaters that heard started to laugh with lewd undertones.
Unfortunately this is when it happened, where Hermione decided she couldn't take anymore, her nose running and nails filled with mud from where she ground her hands into the dirt beneath.
"HARRY'S YOUR HORCRUX!" Hermione shrieked loudly, tears dripping off her red swollen face. A strangled moan followed her destroying statement as she bent over sobbing loudly, a large strong of frothy saliva hanging from her open lips. A strange keening sound emerged from her as her tears dripped into the dirt.
Harry made a slight choking sound, low in his gullet and just gaped at the sobbing girl. He couldn't seem to even form any type of response or bluff to what she said; he watched her disbelief written across his face. He figured he was lucky that he was already on his knees as he could feel his body starting to tremble in fear and knew that he would not be able to support himself, he could feel his body sagging and slipping to his left already. His breath seemed too loud, and the beat of his heart matched in tempo with the pulsing pain in his scar seemed to echo. It seemed so far away – Harry thought he must have been going into shock.
Harry had never really been too afraid of Voldemort, that changed when he heard he was a horcrux however. That would mean Voldemort wouldn't kill him – no true Gryffindor feared death after all – but the man might keep him – forever locked away like the accursed cup in a vault. He had escaped the Durselys and their dark, dusty cupboard and to be placed in another... so soon after being freed from his last one...no, Harry couldn't deal with that. Harry could feel his breath becoming loud and shaky...rapid and shallow...oh Merlin, he was panicking...if this wasn't a giveaway what was?
The whole assemble paused, Hermione's desperate cry being heard by all and simultaneously they all turned to her and the gobsmacked Harry whose bound hands were shaking and lips were trembling in an attempt to form words.
Voldemort ended Ron's torture was ended a simple twist of his wand; Bellatrix instantly standing and moving back into the crowd with a sad, mournful expression. Though the screaming had stopped endless whimpering had replaced it. Ron breathed through bloody lips, laying in his own excrement, urine, saliva and snot. His chest rattled unhealthily and blood splattered the ground from each difficult exhale and a sheen of sheet coated his skin, highlighting the sickly pallor of grey he had turned. His freckles stood out starkly on his face, and his eyelids fluttered slightly as he lay in a semi conscious state.
The Dark Lord slowly turned to the two, a shrewd expression upon his snake like face and his Death Eaters parted like the Red Sea to give him a better view of the shell shocked pair. Even Hermione did not seem to be able to digest that she had let out such a valuable secret as she continued to cry and moan raggedly while she wiped her face roughly her small eyes swollen and dartingly around worriedly in her puce face between Harry and the Dark Lord.
"What did you just say?" He whispered softly as he strode forward, his eyes cold, sharp and dangerous. Hermione scrambled back on her bound hands and knees making a terrified sound as she tried to flee. Harry didn't move, Gryffindor pride not allowing for it and due to being partially paralysed with a combination of fear and shock. His scar was pulsing with pain as the Dark Lord approached him, and he could feel a trickle of blood escape the raw cut again.
He bypassed Harry however and headed towards Hermione who was still trying to shuffle away, though trapped in a circle of black cloak clad death eaters. "Mudblood?" He asked again, in that dangerous smooth voice. "What did you just say?" He repeated, as he lifted his wand in those long bony fingers and pointed it towards her form in a threatening manner. Hermione found herself whispering it again, although she might has well shouted it. "Harry's your... hor...crux..." It sounded so broken and scared, such the evidence of her emotional distress.
He scrutinised her for several moments deliberating on whether what she said was what she actually believed, there was no sound for a few moments as everyone barely breathed.
Voldemort turned to Harry, his hairless brow furrowing before saying coldly to his servants "Leave us!" The Death Eaters shuffled uneasily and confusedly, before the Dark Lord grew irritated and shouted "NOW!" accompanied with the feeling of angry, ambient magic in the air compressing them. Instantly the Death Eaters scattered, apparating from the woods and taking Ron and Hermione with them. Hermione was screaming at Ron and him in nonsensical sentences as she was pulled away, whilst Ron merely flopped in his captor's hold as he was roughly jostled about so they could apparate.
Harry gulped nervously, the sweat beading upon his upper lip as he watched the Dark Lord observe him like an interesting specimen. The area, now empty of death eaters, was no lighter and in fact felt more claustrophobic with only the two of them. Harry let his breath out his whole form slumping slightly. He could hear his own shaky exhale, and tried to swallow his fear as he looked up and met that crimson gaze. Voldemort walked forward to the kneeling bound figure his figure slung forward in a predatory hunch until he reached a stop in front of the boy. He tucked his wand into one of his billowing robe sleeves, before smiling slowly at Harry.
Harry swallowed the vomit that hit the back of his throat audibly, his eyes watering from the pain and the bitter taste. Voldemort chuckled quietly as he too heard the violent retch.
Voldemort suddenly knelt down in front of Harry, his motion from standing to kneeling seamless and smooth. His hands cupped Harry's face and he tilted the boy's head at different angles as though trying to see what Harry was. He ran his finger over the scar, ignoring the crimson streak of blood that clung to the tip of his finger when he did so. Harry started to speak but Voldemort pushed his index finger against Harry's throat causing the words to catch in his compressed windpipe.
"I did not say you could speak, Potter!" He hissed, suddenly moving forward sharply, causing Harry to attempt to move back, however he was halted by the tightly cupped hands. Voldemort's face was much too close as he looked at the scar, a small smile curved the thin mouth that lacked lips and the man leaned further in and he licked the blood from the scar. The pain which constantly thrummed behind the thin cut suddenly spiked once again, a ragged cry escaped Harry's crushed throat and his whole torso arched forward whilst his head reared backwards shaky whimpers bursting forth as he partially collapsed in his captor's hold. His whole body trembled as his nerve endings sparked with pain with every rapid beat of his heart. A grating cry of pain pushed its way through his clenched teeth. He heard an intrigued hum in the air as Voldemort pursed his lips in consideration.
"Are you?" Voldemort asked himself curiously "I do wonder..." He trailed off, his red eyes unfocussed staring at the dark green foliage. "Nagini" He called, over his shoulder as those eyes slid back to Harry's form that rested in his cupped hands. Harry started to struggle weakly in his captor's grasp until Voldemort hissed at him angrily and he instantly stilled as his scar spiked warningly.
The leaves rustled as the giant body of the snake slithered across the large clearing towards the pair, her large yellow eyes regarding them curiously. "Master?" She asked as she reached him and began to curl around his midriff affectionately. She ran her head along his robed back and rested herself on his shoulders, her glittering eyes turning to Harry, whose eyes were starting to roll backwards, the green irises flashing occasionally as his eyes attempted to focus on anything before his chest would buckle forwards and the whites would show once again.
"What does Potter smell like to you?" Voldemort asked, his eyes on Harry as the boy gasped and tried to wriggle free from the Dark Lord's hands, his own hooked over the pale long ones of Voldemort's and his fingers twitched weakly as he tried to pry the fingers away from him. "Potter! Stop that!" He hissed angrily, his nails digging into the delicate flesh near the boy's eyes. Harry let go, his hands weakly slipping off Voldemort's "How can the supposed saviour of the wizarding world be so weakened by me? How are you anything near my equal when I disable you just by being near?" He asked softly to the unresponsive boy. Nagini slid of Voldemort's shoulders and moved over to Harry, her tongue flickering out to taste the boy, raising herself up to taste the red, engorged scar that was weeping blood.
Voldemort had first figured out that Nagini could sense -in a manner- other horcruxes when she paid particular attention to his ring, and in fact liked to keep near it. Trying it with the others showed that she wanted to be near them and when asked she said 'they smell like family'. It was a stroke of luck regarding the identification of this new possible horcux.
"He smells...like brother..." She finally decided and wrapped herself around the limp boy and tightening around Harry, nuzzling at his neck and resting herself across Harry's rapidly moving ribcage. "...and scared..." She added after a moment, her tongue flickering out to the small cut that Voldemort's nail had left on Harry's throat.
Voldemort smiled suddenly, his tight bruising grip loosening to an almost gentle caress to the boy's features. He used one hand to tug Harry's hair back to look at his mark on the boy's forehead. "My horcrux..." He whispered possessively, as he stroked back the boy's hair. The boy was still gasping weakly, his nerve endings causing his whole frame to twitch. "Do you like your brother, Nagini?" He asked after a moment watching the barely conscious horcrux.
"I don't know him, Master, but I do think I will..." She gave the body underneath her a firm squeeze.
Voldemort put one arm under the boy's shoulder blades and the other under his knees, between Nagini's coils and lifted the both of them easily off the dirty ground.
He made sure that his hold on the boy was secure before apparating back to his home, landing softly in his own quarters and putting the boy down on the floor.
He acknowledged that the boy would have to be rehabilitated as his current attitude was nothing short of infuriating, he would need to see Voldemort and only Voldemort. The boy needed to be endeared to him...to crave Voldemort's approval. He was mouldable, he wasn't too old yet...it was most definitely possible.
At worst if the boy couldn't be tamed he needed to be kept hidden away...safe. He would have to keep the boy near or even in his quarters, he decided, after all he couldn't leave his horcrux where it could be damaged and his Death Eaters wouldn't be able to resist if they saw Harry in a cell.
He used his wand to connect the bindings around the boy's wrists to the thick bed leg, as a temporary way of keeping him still and ...out of trouble.
The boy glared at him from his fallen position on the cold floor. Nagini was attempting to sooth Harry with soft reassuring words. "Hush brother, calm down...Master won't harm you...Brother..." Harry opened his mouth in order to vocalise just how he felt about the 'Master' when Nagini decided to wrap and tighten around his throat. He choked slightly, instinctively trying to move his hands to grab the snake that was restricting his breathing.
Voldemort chuckled, and said softly "You should listen to your sister, Harry." He smiled mockingly and continued, "You will be staying here for a few hours until I have set up appropriate accommodation for you. Perhaps a nice little cupboard?" He walked towards the doors, intending to leave the pair together whilst he dealt with their unexpected prisoners.
"You won't separate us, will you Master?" Nagini called out, worriedly as she curled around Harry more tightly ignoring Harry's struggles against her crushing weight.
"No, of course not, my darling." He crooned softly at her, though continued concernedly. "You are suffocating him..."
Nagini loosened and apologised to Harry profusely, but the boy's eyes were fixed on him in anger but predominately in fear. Voldemort smiled, fear...yes he could most definitely work with that...
He supposed he would have to thank the mudblood... or maybe, he thought twistedly, he should punish her as by betraying his horcrux... by extension was betraying him...Bellatrix did hate mudbloods and traitors.
Voldemort laughed mockingly, spinning around with sardonic flair and leaving his quarters with a last, "Look after your brother, Nagini."
A/N – Please tell me what you think of this, is it worth continuing? This might become slash, but it does depend on how the story and characters develop...
I'm not overly obsessed with the idea, so feedback will help me decide whether I continue with it. :S
Drop a review and let me know please. :~)