Author's Notes: Written for Earl Tom Bin's Baa Baa Black Sheep Competition on the HPFC forum.
Warnings: Drug use, implied slash/incest.
It had started innocently enough.
Rodolphus had gone to visit his brother, and had been directed by the house elf to where he could find him. He had followed the directions with utter trust.
It was only when he got to his brother that things had started to seem a little off.
The place the house-elf directed him to was a grimy stone building in the heart of London, sandwiched between two other, equally filthy structures. Rodolphus eyed it with disdain – why on earth would his brother be there? Surely the house elf had made a mistake.
"What d'you want?"
The door had opened a crack, and a pair of dark, rather watery eyes was peering out at Rodolphus. A scent of something sweet drifted out of the building.
Rodolphus cleared his throat, drawing himself up to his full height and speaking with as much dignity as he could muster. "Do you know where I can find Rabastan Lestrange?"
"Depends on who's asking," said the man, opening the door a little wider so that Rodolphus could see his face.
"His brother," Rodolphus said icily.
"Will 'e want to see you?"
"I should think so."
The man appraised Rodolphus, then nodded. "Come on in, then." He opened the door the rest of the way, and Rodolphus stepped inside.
Dark and dingy though the building was, Rodolphus couldn't deny that the décor was beautiful. The floors were covered in richly coloured rugs and pillows, and sprawled all across them were men – and a handful of half-undressed women as well – asleep, or gazing up at the ceiling or at each other with looks of peaceful wonder.
Rodolphus was led up a rickety staircase, coughing at the dust and smoke that hung in the air. He sniffed tentatively several times as he made his way up – it didn't smell at all unpleasant.
"Right," said the man when they finally reached the top of the stairs. "Rabastan's in here." He pushed open a door, revealing an attic loft. The walls were nothing but the wooden slats of the roof, but it was warm and Rodolphus could see a glass bowl containing one of Rabastan's portable, waterproof fires – the only light in the room.
Rabastan himself was sprawled on the ground amongst rich velvet cushions, gazing up with a slight smile on his face. When the door opened, he turned lazily to Rodolphus.
"Roddy," he murmured.
"Rab," Rodolphus hissed, "what is this place? What's going on? Why are you here?"
Rabastan sat up slowly. "Poppies, brother, poppies…" He patted the floor, indicating for Rodolphus to join him.
"What do you mean, 'poppies'?" asked Rodolphus, even as he sat down beside his brother. Rabastan was scaring him a little – he had never seen his frail, fragile brother looking so happy or at ease.
"Watch," Rabastan whispered. He leaned over, and picked up from a nest of silks, a pipe and a small bowl of black powder. With utmost ease, yet supreme concentration, he tipped the black powder into the bowl of the pipe and used his wand to light it on fire. A curl of smoke unfurled from the pipe. It smelled sweet, Rodolphus thought, the same scent that he had noticed in the rest of the building, but more so.
Rabastan raised the pipe to his lips and inhaled deeply. He shut his eyes, then blew out a ring of smoke and passed the pipe to his brother.
"Try it," he murmured, his voice soft and almost dreamy. Rodolphus took the pipe hesitantly and inhaled some of the smoke.
It was sweet. It tasted sweet and bitter on his tongue at the same time, and felt good as he inhaled it deeply. He held it in his lungs for a long moment, then exhaled, doing his best not to cough. His eyes watered a little, but the smoke tasted amazing.
"What is this?" he asked his brother, sinking back against the pillows on the floor and staring at the pipe.
"Does it matter?" murmured Rabastan, relaxing next to him.
"No, I don't suppose it does."
He took another breath of smoke, then shut his eyes and allowed sweet sensations to course through him. The dim lights of the lamps around the room seemed to be growing dimmer, though the colours more intense. Rodolphus felt his breath going deep and even, and he shut his eyes, enjoying the heady sensations.
"Nice, isn't it, Rod?"
Rabastan's familiar voice sounded strange and exotic. Rodolphus opened his eyes again, and it was as though he was in another world. The smoke was twisting and contorting itself into the most glorious designs, and the very air seemed to sing with warmth and sweetness. Listening to Rabastan was like listening to someone speaking in another language, yet at the same time the voice and words were so familiar that Rodolphus felt that they were a part of himself.
Rabastan took the pipe and inhaled from it, then passed it back to Rodolphus who took it, though he didn't really feel it in his hands. It was like being in a dream – a very warm, very comfortable dream… He pinched himself to see if he was still awake. He didn't feel anything.
Rabastan fell softly onto the pillows next to him, gently taking the pipe away and laying it in an ashtray. Rodolphus let his heavy eyelids fall closed again and he felt his body melting into the pillows. So warm… so sweet…
He felt Rabastan's hand slowly stroking his chest, undoing his shirt, cool against his flushed flesh. With mild curiosity, he felt Rabastan's fingers running over the contours of his chest, exploring him, but the haze was too thick for him to really register anything… except that it felt… vaguely nice…
That it was his brother's hand stroking him didn't even occur to Rodolphus. It was detached, anonymous, having nothing whatsoever to do with the person who shared Rodolphus's parents.
He felt warm, soft, dazed… sleepy…
Rodolphus awoke sweaty and shaking. He was completely disoriented, he had no idea where he was, or who this man lying next to him was…
…lying next to him…
…entangled in his arms, head resting on his naked chest…
Rodolphus's voice was hoarse. His head spun horribly as he sat up.
Rabastan raised his head. His eyes were almost shut, the pupils dilated under the lids, through his thick eyelashes.
"Rod," he murmured, and his voice sounded as soft and velvety as the cushions on which Rodolphus was laying. Rodolphus let out a soft moan. "What… what happened?"
"Last night…" Rodolphus rested a hand on his forehead, finding his skin hot. "What… what happened? You… were smoking something… and I had it…" The night was a foggy, dark blur with only vague, half-formed memories of sensations. "And, I think…" He ran a hand down his own bare torso, and along his brother's back.
"Opium, brother," whispered Rabastan, his lips curving into a beautiful smile. "Isn't it lovely?"