By Tango Dancer
Summary: 15 years ago, they sealed him away never to see the light again. Now that his innocence has come out, they want him back, but what they find is a broken man. Will they manage to get over the secrets and get his trust back after all the pain they made him go through?
Warnings: Post-War setting. Heavy AU, heavy OOC, several OCs, mention of MPreg, mention of rape, mention of child abuse, mention of violence, slash, light lemon, light Weasley/Hermione bashing.
A/N: If anyone has seen the Korean Drama Warrior Baek Dong Soo, Harry's clothes are Yeo Un's in Assassin Garb.
This story wasn't beta-ed, and English isn't my native language. Sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes, tell me if you see any and I'll correct them immediately.
"Are you sure?"
Acastus Malfoy looked up from his book and frowned at his father's distressed tone. Never before had he heard such emotion in his voice -or seen it on his face.
"Yes, my Lord."
Silence fell over the office for a while, before there was the sound of a chair being pushed back, and then, footsteps.
"You are dismissed."
"Yes, my Lord."
The Death Eater left the room quickly, bowing when he passed Acastus, who ignored him. He rose, however, when Lord Voldemort stepped outside of his office too, and inclined his head slightly.
"Acastus. Have you seen Lucius?"
"He must be going through his mail, Father."
He turned to leave.
"Is there a problem, Father?"
Voldemort paused, but then resumed walking without answering. To his eldest son, it was more than enough: he was far too perplexed to give a definite response.
"Marvolo, what's wrong?"
The Dark Lord sat down in the offered armchair, and accepted a glass of Brandy gratefully. He stared at the glowing flames of the fireplace silently, nursing his drink in his right hand, his lips pursed into a frown. The blonde Lord merely waited for his lover to speak, knowing he would once he was finished thinking about whatever had happened.
"I heard the most troubling news today." Voldemort said at last. Lucius remained silent. "It seems that we... misjudged someone."
Slim eyebrows rose in confusion.
"Yes. Our Lord Husband, in fact."
Lucius tensed, painfully surprised. It had been years, over a decade, in fact, since he had been mentioned, and to actually speak his title! His silence must have spoken for him, because the Dark Lord drained his glass in one go and stood up to pace in front of the fireplace.
"It seems that what happened fifteen years ago was the result of a conspiracy."
The blonde's head shot up.
"You don't mean...?"
"Yes. Our Lord Husband was set up. And we fell for it hook, line and sinker."
He was the only one allowed to use such a tone with the man who now ruled Wizarding Europe, though there had once been another, but his rights had long been abolished and he, sealed off where nobody could ever see him again. Voldemort complied, his beloved's face darkening with every word he spoke. Because he was just understanding how mistaken they had been, how cruel, how needlessly horrible their behavior had been when it had come to their younger husband. A husband who had apparently been raped countless times ever since childhood, and hadn't even found safety within the boundaries of their manor.
They stood silently for a while, before Lucius sighed heavily, running a hand through his long blonde hair.
"What should we do? We have to free him."
"And talk to the children. They don't know the truth."
A house-elf popped in, large ears flapping as it bowed.
"Fetch our children."
Five minutes later, five people entered the room. The first to come in were twins, though non-identical. One, a girl, had long blonde hair which fell to the middle of her back in gentle waves, and beautiful emerald eyes. Her twin was a seventeen-year-old boy with straight dark brown hair, almost black, and silver-blue eyes. Both had delicate features, and looked increasingly curious as they noticed that the whole family was gathered. Then came Acastus, the eldest at twenty-five, with long black hair and forest-green eyes the color of the Dark Lord before they turned red. He was quite tall, and had inherited Voldemort's build on top of his eyes, though his features were the Blacks'. And finally, Adair, the youngest. At fifteen, he looked a lot like Him, with jet black hair artistically spiked up and icy-blue eyes. He wasn't very tall for his age, but had a very lithe build, agile and swift against his eldest brother's strength and power.
All of them got along quite well, even though the twins always stayed together, and Acastus tended to dot on Adair all the time -in a respectable Pureblood manner, of course.
"Father," Eden, the only girl, began, "what is the matter?"
"Sit down, all of you." Lucius said. "Your father and I have important news to tell you."
They obeyed mutely, and waited.
"You all know that neither of us gave birth to you. There was a third."
The children's features closed up at the mention of 'The Slut', as he'd come to being known as, and they stiffened. Acastus' upper lip curled up in a sneer. The twins looked like they were about to set up a lethal 'prank', and Adair worried his lower lip.
"Fifteen years ago, we caught him cheating on us, and sealed him off in a secluded wing of the manor."
"Can't imagine why you just didn't kill him." Thanatos, Eden's twin, muttered.
"Silence." Voldemort lashed out, and his mouth shut with an audible click. The kids looked at their parents in puzzlement, unable to understand why one of them would actually stand up for 'the slut' when he had hurt them so much, and they had been the first to hate him before.
"It appears we were wrong." Lucius said softly, his handsome features showing all his regret.
Acastus straightened up.
"We were wrong. New information came in this morning. Our Lord Husband was framed."
"But you saw him!" Eden spat out hatefully. "How could it be?"
"What we saw wasn't him cheating on us." Voldemort admitted in a low voice, rubbing at his forehead.
"You don't mean..." Adair whispered, looking very pale.
"Yes. He was raped."
A long silence, until the twins crossed their arms over their chests.
"It doesn't change the fact that he was a slut anyway. He wasn't even a virgin for your bonding night!" Eden snarled.
"No he wasn't." Lucius agreed. "However, we gathered some intelligence about that as well. And it seems it was... forced."
Another silence, though this once lasted a lot longer.
"What do you mean?" Acastus finally asked, fighting to keep his composure, and the memories at bay.
"We should have suspected it. He grew up with abusive muggles who hated anything related to magic, so we should have guessed... Do you remember how terrified he was, and how he just... lay there that night?"
Lucius nodded slowly.
"I'd thought it was a result of habit, that he was just a whore. But he actually..."
He trailed off, and they all stared.
"You have definite proof of his innocence?" Adair murmured at last.
"Yes, Adair. It was all a set up, and your Lord Father was a victim of rape."
"What do we do, then?"
"Free him, of course!" Adair exclaimed impetuously.
Lucius and Voldemort smiled softly if sadly at their youngest.
"Absolutely. We will go now."
And so they went. They walked swiftly along the endless corridors of Slytherin Manor, passing through the warded doors which drew the limit of the accessible part of the house before stopping as they reached a set of double doors which must have been magnificent once, but which was now covered in dust, the intricate engravings almost drowned under it. Around them, everything was deadly silent, and they became increasingly aware of the heavy sets of charms and curses which had been placed on every inch of this wing of the manor to make sure the prisoner would remain closed off the world and by himself, without any means of communication. Voldemort rose his wand and waved it in intricate patterns, alternatively muttering in Parseltongue and English, until the wards vanished with a small snap.
The doors swung open with an ominous screech which Acastus, to the relief of the others, was quick to mute with a flick of his wand. They stood there, strangely hesitant as they watched the small antechamber. All was silent.
When they finally went in, it was like stepping inside a tomb. There was not a sound except for the small ruffling of their feet on the dark carpet. The few portraits they could see were covered in a thick layer of dust and didn't move at all. The two men could remember freezing all of them to deprive their third of any company whatsoever all these years ago. And, walking amidst the silence, they could only wonder what they would find in the rooms nobody had seen in over a decade.
The antechamber led to the drawing room through a small, dark hallway. The door was closed, and so they opened it quietly after having checked it for curses, for if they didn't remember warding it, it was possible they had anyway. The door opened soundlessly, and they hesitantly stepped in.
The room was deserted. Two armchairs sat in front of an empty fireplace, and that's when they actually noticed how cold it was in here. Two candles were the only source of light here, as all windows had been sealed shut and barred, and his wand had been confiscated and snapped when they had 'caught' him.
A ancient desk sat on their right, supporting the two candles, and on which sheets of parchment were neatly stacked, along with an old quill and inkwell. There also was a small bookshelf full with books, but that was all there was in the room. Curious, they walked over to the desk and peered at the parchments, marveling at the sheer amount of writing he had done in all the time he'd been here.
What they found was disconcerting and horrifying at the same time.
The handwriting was elegant and smooth, regularly spaced, and neatly shaped.
"The days have faded and the night has been taken from me until the minutes faded into one another and darkness became my kingdom. I live in the dark, the shadows dance and sing to me, the light I think would burn me were I to ever see it again.
But I am not, as decided by my husbands. I have been sealed away from the world, imprisoned in this luxurious suite which has not been used for years on end, and shall be my tomb. Here I will age and die, and miss the growth of the children who will be raised in hatred of my name.
My name is Hadrian James Slytherin-Malfoy, né Potter-Black, and this is my story.
I was born on July, 31st in St-Mungo's -the british wizarding hospital. My parents, James Charlus Potter and Lily Potter née Evans..."
Surprised, they leafed through the narrative, only to stop about half-way through as a sentence seemed to jump to their eyes.
"It was decided on November, 15th. The contract was signed, both sides celebrating. Dumbledore, for all of his grandfatherly persona, was quick to do it. I now belonged to Voldemort and his lover, Lucius Malfoy. Why they ever accepted to bond with me I will never understand, though in retrospect, I suspect it only had to do with the sexual aspect, and the opportunity to make the life of the Boy-Who-Lived miserable, and to torment me at every occasion. I remember the disgusted looks of the ones who had called themselves my friends for all these years. Now they call me a slut, a whore. Maybe I am.
I also am, however, the one who will not ever be given the right to live as he wants to in order to save their sorry hides. I have always, and still do even now, dreamed of a family. However, as Vernon told me so many times over, freaks do not have dreams, or the right to dream. They are only to obey and spread their legs. And so I did."
Silver-grey and dark crimson met as Lucius and Marvolo felt the weight of sorrow and regret settle more heavily than ever on their shoulders. Acastus, however, hadn't looked up, and kept looking through the memoirs of his father.
"...They took him away!" The page was marred by tear-stains, the writing, shaky. "My child, my baby, my last born. Claiming he was most likely the fruit of my treachery. I begged and begged and cried for them to give him back, but they wouldn't. I never touched him, never held him in my arms. I do not even know if it is a boy or a girl. My instincts tell me he is a boy, a little boy, but how to be sure? What does he look like? Even now, after all this time has passed, I wonder how he is, who he looks like. Is he like Acastus, beautiful Acastus, with black hair like mine but Marvolo's eyes?"
And then, there was another entry.
"I hadn't recovered yet, I remember, when they locked me up. They had had enough of me, evidently, and they just had me hauled up by McNair and Greyback before throwing me here, in the rooms I have not left for how long, I have no idea. Time seems to have melted, and with the loss of the eternal cycle of night and day, my ability to estimate it has disappeared. They have taken my wand, snapped it. The faifthul companion who saved my life countless times, gone.
And little Acastus, standing tall at ten years of age as they shut the doors. I remember looking up at him as I tried to stand up. He looked so disgusted.
His last word at me: 'Whore!'"
Adair shot a shocked look at his usually so collected brother, who was shaking by now, lips pursed, unable to imagine his role model saying such a thing to his own father. Lucius put a gentle hand on the young man's shoulder soothingly.
"It wasn't your fault. We did it. You were still an impressionable child, and we said such hurtful, such horrible things to you and in your hearing range back then..."
"I should have known better." The black-haired youth said grimly.
"No you couldn't. You barely knew him, you had been taken from him quite early."
They looked back down at the parchments. There were still a lot even after he had been locked up, and they could only wonder what it was that he had written.
"We will come back and take it all. Let's go and find him first." Marvolo said softly to his husband.
They all nodded, the twins uncharacteristically silent, before moving on to the only door they could see other than the one they had come through. It was open, and left way to the bedroom. It was neither small nor large, just standard, though compared to the rest of the manor rooms and theirs in particular, it was miserable.
There was a single bed with only one blanket over it on their left, and considering how cold it was, they couldn't help but shiver at the thought that someone had had to sleep there with nothing else that that meager protection against the vicious chill of the air. The windows had been shuttered here too, and the room was lit only by one candle, which allowed them to see that there was a hand hanging limply over the old, brownish armchair sitting in front of an unlit, cold fireplace.
The mere sight of that hand and its position was enough to have them blanching, for it was far too reminiscent of corpses to their taste. Fearful of what they might find if they stepped around the armchair, they studied that hand first, and it didn't take very long to notice how bony it was, and pale. The skin was all stretched over the bones, and they could see almost see every vein and sinew under that thin layer of skin...
They almost jumped at Eden's bold question, and stiffened as she stepped forward and impetuously went to stand before the armchair. The hand twitched, before withdrawing, and going to rest on the armchair as he used it to support himself in his endeavor to stand. Slowly, he drew himself to his full height, which wasn't much, and they could see that his black hair had grown enough to be carefully restrained in a loose bun.
"So, you gonna talk, or what? You turned dumb?" She asked again, annoyance seeping in her tone as Thanatos went to stand by her side, followed by the four other members of the family.
Slowly, very slowly, he looked them over, dark eyes settling over them one after the other, before he stopped as he reached Voldemort and Lucius. No expression crossed his face, though, and he merely took a step back before kneeling on the floor, his forehead to the ice-cold floor. The greeting they had forced him to do after they had caught him in bed with another man, despite his advanced pregnancy and obvious difficulty with the movement.
He did, his features blank even as he swayed, and flinched when Lucius reached out to steady him, causing the blonde to retreat hastily. He then stood there silently, eyes lowered to the floor in the submissive posture they had practically beat into him.
"You shall not greet us in this way anymore." Voldemort said. "Your innocence has been proven, so you shall come with us and take back your status as our equal."
There wasn't the tiniest hint of emotion on that face as he spoke, and so, he added "do you understand?"
They started walking back through the rooms and the hallway. Voldemort led the way with Adair, while the twins, Acastus and Lucius made up the rear, Harry between the two groups, walking at a slow, tranquil pace, his feet making no sound on the used carpets. The Dark Lord and Adair were quick to walk through the great double doors, but stopped and turned around when a soft call from Lucius indicated that they had a problem. And indeed, their Third was standing there, studying the line of dust on the floor, head bowed slightly and shoulders hunched.
Then, ever so slowly, he took a hesitant step forward, and out of the suite which had been his prison for the past fifteen years. And as he stepped into the light and rose his head to look at the hallway, they couldn't help the gasps.
The vivid emerald eyes were but a memory, as they had darkened to an almost black shade of green, and the hair which had once been jet black now held two silver strands on either side of his face, framing his features and enhancing his hollow cheeks, prominent cheekbones and the dark rings around his eyes. The tattered robes he was wearing were the same he had had on when he had given birth to Adair, and they now hung limply on his far too thin body, showing a bony bare shoulder and testifying that Harry, who had always been very thin, was now little more than skin and bones. He was, in fact, skeletal, and it was a miracle that he could actually stand and walk.
Acastus couldn't help but feel the guilt increase tenfold at the thought that he was partly responsible for this, the near-death of the man who had bore and given birth to him, and, if the writings they had found were anything to go by, loved him more than life itself. Yet, he had called him a whore, never questioning the words his other fathers said, believing them and spitting his disgust at him without even trying to get an explanation... Granted, he had been very young at the time, but still... At ten years old, he should have known better. And the man had never been anything but gentle and loving with him.
Now, however, there was nothing in those eyes as they walked down the hallway and to the Master Suite, and he followed listlessly, as would a good dog. He didn't know much about his father, but from what little memories he had of him, the dead, dull shade of the emerald orbs was not how they used to be, and the man, he was pretty sure of it, hadn't been so... broken. Because as they entered the rooms and he just waited for instructions by the door, it was quite obvious that that was the case. Hadrian James Potter-Black, once a symbol of hope for the Light and constant annoyance for the Dark, defeater of a Dark Lord and main actor of the Peace Treaty which had officially put an end to the war, was no more than an empty shell.
"Can you bathe by yourself?"
"Then go and wash up. Severus will be here shortly to evaluate your health. Then, someone from Gladrags will come to make you a new wardrobe."
Another mute nod, before he locked himself up in the bathroom. They could hear the water running and turned to each other.
"Well," Eden finally said, crossing her arms over her chest, "he's a complete wreck. Nice. I'm glad we got your intelligence." She said to her fathers.
Voldemort's eyes blazed, as Lucius narrowed his in anger.
"You will not speak of Harry like that. He's extremely intelligent, I can assure you." The Dark Lord said coldly.
"Well, it's the truth anyway! Look at him! He's half-dead already! Completely useless!" She said a little defensively.
"I'd like to see what you'd be like after fifteen years of solitary confinement!" Adair shouted fiercely.
"I advise you not to speak in such a way again, Eden, lest you endure my... displeasure." Voldemort concluded, Lucius nodding in assent. "Minty!"
The house-elf popped in.
"Yes, go and fetch Severus Snape. Tell him to bring his Mediwizard kit."
A few minutes later, they could hear footsteps walking down the corridor, before someone knocked drily.
The man came in, and bowed curtly.
"My Lord. Lucius."
"Severus. We have someone we need you to run a check on. They're in the bathroom at the moment, but should come out any minute now."
The Potions Master nodded and settled down for the wait. It wasn't long before the door opened again, and out stepped Harry, fully clad in a dark green and black robe, a wide belt holding them at the waist, enhancing how thin he was. Onyx eyes widened impossibly as he took him in, and he couldn't help the slight whisper.
His head snapped up at that, and his eyes met the Potions Master's obsidian orbs. They stared at each other for a long minute, neither moving nor breathing, before suddenly, something flashed through the young man's eyes and the corner of his lips stretched ever so slightly. They supposed it was his best attempt at a smile at the moment. He stepped forward hurriedly, stumbled, and would have fallen had it not been for Snape's arms around his waist, holding him up and against a strong chest. He took a second to clear his head and looked up, before throwing his arms around the older man's neck and hugging him as if there was no tomorrow. Severus merely returned the hug and buried his face in the crook of his neck, gently stroking the damp hair and back.
"Thank Salazar you're finally out." He breathed.
"There was a time, when I had just started living with my husbands, when I got terribly bored. I went out of my way to stay out of theirs, knowing they would never like me or desire to see me, and so I did everything I could not to force them to see my unlovable face. They were, anyway, men of a level of power, beauty and refinement I could never even dream of reaching.
Thus I started haunting the library There was a corner there, hidden and shadowed, which was pretty much invisible if you were not looking for it. Severus found me there one day, reading a Potions book. He could not resist the temptation to put his sharp tongue to good use, of course, and so we started talking and then brewing. It did not come easily, of course. He would not believe in my ability as a Potions brewer until I proved it to him, and prove it I did.
It was the start of a long friendship, as I took the habit of taking refuge in his labs to disappear and brew to calm down. He never pushed the issue when I did not feel the need to talk. But he was always there to listen when I felt otherwise. And his support, silent as it may have been, was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time.
I might not have survived without him."
It seemed like they had forgotten all about the world around them, and it was only Acastus clearing his throat which made them part, or rather, made Harry jump back as if burnt, before standing very stiffly. A gently hand on his shoulder prevented him from falling, and Severus took out his wand.
"I'm going to run a few tests, okay?"
Harry nodded numbly and stood very still while the Potions Master proceeded, ignoring the Dark Lord, Lucius and their children, whose stares where currently boring holes in the back of his skull. A few minutes passed in silence except for a few mutterings on Snape's part, and then, the Third was allowed to go and take a seat, as he was swaying on his feet, however much he tried to hide it.
"So?" Questioned Lucius, one eyebrow raised.
The dark man ran a hand through his silky black hair.
"Well, we are lucky. He's just dangerously underweight, but over than that, he seems fine. His eyesight has worsened, though, so he will need a correcting potion."
"He had not said a word since we came to free him." Adair said quietly.
"Yes, I have two theories about that. Either it has to do with emotional damage or, and it's most likely, his being silent for fifteen years on end made it pretty much impossible for him to talk. It will be a long and painful process for him to speak again, if he ever feels the need to, that is."
There was a long silence.
"Very well." Voldemort said at last. "Thank you, Severus, you can go."
The man nodded and turned to Harry, bending over to say something in his ear before leaving with one last comforting squeeze at his shoulder.
Lucius and Voldemort's eyes narrowed at that, but they didn't say anything, remembering that their younger husband had developed a strong friendship with Snape during the ten years they had been married and actually living together.
Dinner was a silent affair. The kids kept shooting not-so-subtle glances at their father while their fathers tried to coax him into talking or at least reacting. But the man merely sat there, dark eyes glazed over, barely touching the fabulous meal cooked and served by the house-elves, and left the table as soon as dinner was over. He waited obediently for them to tell him where he would sleep, and Acastus thought he saw his shoulders relax ever so slightly when they informed him that his private quarters had been kept habitable by the house-elves, or more precisely Dobby, Winky and Kreacher, who had adamantly refused to obey them ever since their master had been locked up and so badly treated despite his weakened state. The three creatures had displayed a shocking loyalty to their unofficial master, and stood up for him quite fiercely. It was only the anti-house-elf wards on the Forbidden Wing which had prevented them from breaking him out or at least bringing him food, clothes and whatever else he would be in need of.
And so days passed.
Harry never spoke, never even really looked at any of them. The only one he seemed to truly see was Severus, who regularly dropped by to visit and talk to him of the happenings in the world during his seclusion. They would sit by the fireplace and the younger man would look at the flickering flames expressionlessly while the Potions Master talked, and though he never showed it, they thought he was listening.
They assured him repeatedly that he was their equal, and that as such, he could do whatever he wanted, though they would never let him out of the manor without an escort of some sort, seeing as he hadn't set foot out of a locked room for over a decade, and was most likely completely unused to light and noise. He indeed still kept to the shadows, recoiling every time the rooms he stepped in were lit by more than three or four candles, and the people coming and going quickly learned to dim the lights whenever he came near.
He was like a ghost, almost transparent, mute and silent, his footsteps unheard and his movements only betrayed by the slight rustle of fabric, barely eating, barely there. It was like he had faded already and wasn't of this world anymore. And it despaired them to know that they had been the ones to break the fiery spirit of their Third to such an extent.
One day, he disappeared for the whole afternoon, and had everybody in a state of utter panic by the time he returned, meaning for dinner. They had searched Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, Hogwarts and the entire grounds without finding him when he merely showed up in the dining room, washed up and clad in dark blue and black robes, ready for the meal. He never answered when they asked him, quite vehemently, where he had been, merely flinched a little at the tone, then directed a blank stare at them when they asked about his whereabouts for the afternoon.
Feeling immensely relieved, for some reason, that the man who had given birth to him and mourned so much over his loss of him was safe, Adair impulsively stalked over to him and, throwing his arms around his too thin waist, hugged him fiercely. Harry stood stiffly for a second, and then, slowly, brought his arms down and returned the embrace gently, though his eyes remained just as empty as they had been since they got him out of his prison. And the teen couldn't help but feel immensely relieved.
"While Marvolo was always very authoritarian, Lucius was softer. His Pureblood education, I was quick to learn, only served as a facade for his soft-spoken and caring nature. I must admit he had me fooled for years on end, until I had been living with them for several months, in fact. I saw him appeasing Marvolo's anger or stress several times and to tell the truth, it really soothed my heart and unsettled me at the same time.
Because I knew that I would never be the recipient of such tenderness.
And yet, it all changed when they found out I was pregnant with Acastus."
The man didn't look up from his position, seated in front of the place, dark eyes reflecting the flickering dance of the flames. That was all he did in the evenings, he just sat there and didn't make a sound, merely waited for the time to retire to bed to come, never making a sound or moving a finger. It was like he had become a statue.
Seeing him like this, cold and empty, Lucius couldn't help it. He took his hand, and almost dropped it when he felt how icy it was, and how the younger man had tensed at his touch. He didn't let go of it, though, and started rubbing gentle circles on the back of it with his thumb. The skin was as smooth as he remembered it.
"I know you can hear me, and... I have to tell you something." He paused. "What we did fifteen years ago... It was horrible, it was inhuman. We hurt you so much... Looking back, ever since we were bonded, hurting you seems to be the only thing we've been doing. Our bonding night... We had been promised your virginity. And then after that... We thought you didn't care. And when we found you with him... had we known... I'm so sorry, Harry, please believe me. I think the truth is, we reacted that badly because we had actually fallen for you, and that made the betrayal twice hurtful, since you were the bearer of our children, and our husband, and had sworn faithfulness... And because being cheated on was so humiliating..."
He held his breath when those empty eyes turned to him, staring at him, and he could guess what they were saying without words.
Yet you yourself did it, and made it so that I would witness it...
"And yet we did cheat on you. It was like revenge. We wanted you to hurt as much as your 'betrayal' had hurt us. And so once you had given birth, we locked you up. Because the mere sight of you was too painful for us." He let out a strangled laugh. "We were such fools. I can't believe we were so stupid. To think that someone like you would stoop so low... It was obvious, and yet, we were so utterly convinced that you hated us, that it never came to our minds that someone so dutiful and loyal as you were would never do such a thing."
A lone tear ran down his face without him noticing, and he squeezed Harry's limp hand gently. His younger husband was back to watching the fire.
"For what it's worth, Harry, I'm sorry. I am deeply, sincerely, utterly sorry. I know it's nowhere near enough and that nothing I said excuses what we did, but I hope one day you will find the strength to come back to us and see how beautiful your children have grown to be, and to allow us to do our very best to make it up to you over and over again. And prove to you how much we actually love you. Show you what we failed to prove all those years ago."
Slowly, he stood, and bent over to lay a gentle kiss on the back of Harry's delicate hand. With one last lingering caress at his fingers, he then left and went to the door, his heart heavy in his chest even as he saw Marvolo standing in the doorframe, waiting for him, dark crimson eyes glinting in the dim light. The Dark Lord wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him close to his body, and they went back to their rooms in thoughtful silence.
"Though I should have expected it, I was delighted to find that the gardens had been kept intact. I was quite worried they would be more frequented, since four children would need space to run and spend their energy in. But to my relief and confusion, it seems that nobody ever set foot there since my 'departure'.
The Moon Fountain still stood where I had last seen it, its water clear and pure, and ice cold. It was a joy to see the small lotuses I had put in it over a decade ago still there, and in perfect shape.
And so it was that, after fifteen years of solitary confinement, I went back to the place which had kept my sorrows at the times of great loneliness."
Harry disappeared again after that. Every day, he would vanish off the face of the Earth for several hours, leaving right after lunch and coming back just in time for dinner, where he slowly started to eat more. His eyes took on a slightly lighter shade after Lucius came to see him, and it seemed that he tolerated the blonde's proximity more easily, though he seemed not to have any problems with Adair. Acastus he was extremely wary of, along with Voldemort and the twins, Eden especially.
The eldest of his children saw this with despair, and decided one day to take matters into his own hands, knowing that his red-eyed father planned on having a talk with his Third very soon. And so, one day, he followed him after breakfast and into the gardens, where the man loved to wander in the morning light, which was far softer than the intense sunlight the rest of the day, particularly since he was a very early riser.
Acastus wasn't sure whether Harry knew he was there or not. The man was very difficult to read, even more so than his other Slytherin fathers, and he couldn't help but wonder how such a Gryffindor person as Lucius and Voldemort had described could have actually seduced them. He resolved to ask them later.
He watched quietly as Harry stood by a fountain, silently observing the soft ripples in the water and his reflection, before taking a hesitant step forward. The man tensed slightly, but didn't move. Acastus took another step, and soon, he was standing by his father's side. Stealing a glance at the man, he could only admire his features, how delicate he looked, and utterly fragile, with his porcelain complexion, hooded green eyes and jet black hair. The silver strands merely enhanced that broken-beauty feeling he gave off, and he resisted the urge to wrap his arms around the frail body and protect it from everything in the world.
It would be useless, he knew, because what had broken him now lay in the past, and he had been a part of it. And so it was part of his duty to mend it to the best of his ability. He had seen it in Adair's gaze. After the revelation of what he had said, the teen had never looked at him the same. He glared at everyone, and spent a lot of time with Harry whenever the man was around, just sitting there with him, either talking about nothing and everything, reading, doing homework, or merely holding his hand.
And he, Acastus, wanted to be a part of that.
Coming back to reality, he saw that Harry hadn't moved an inch.
That was the only thing he could come up with, and he felt more than saw the older man's surprise, though his features remained carefully blank.
"I was a horrible child, ungrateful and disrespectful and absolutely horrific. What I said to you, no father should ever hear from their child, and I did it, despite the fact that you had never been anything but good and loving to me. So please, dad, hit me. It's the only thing I deserve. I'm not... asking you to forgive me, because I don't deserve it. But I think you should dish out the punishment I was never given."
There was a long moment of silence. Harry hadn't moved an inch. Only the slight rising of his chest showed that he was alive. Dark strands of silky hair fluttered gently with the soft wind. Acastus could only hear the faint sounds of the chilly breeze over the frantic pounding of his heart. And when the man turned to face him and those dark green eyes rose up to settle on his face, he felt his breath catch in his throat. A pale, bony hand rose slowly, and he closed his eyes, waiting for the blow.
It never came.
A fluttering touch, soft, almost timid, a gently caress, and his eyes snapped open in shock. Harry's gaze was curious as he let the tip of his fingers slide down the lines of his face, studying them with a troubling intensity.
And that's when the young man truly understood, truly saw it. How Harry had managed to get his two life-hardened husbands to fall for him despite their differences. It was simply because he wasn't only beautiful outside, he was also the most gorgeous person inside. His heart was pure, full of love and forgiveness, despite everything the world had done to him, despite everything they had done to him. The fact that he could still muster such gentleness when touching the child who had rejected and insulted him with so much hatred fifteen years previous, sullied his love and shattered his already broken heart... It was mind-boggling and devastating. And Acastus couldn't help but feel lower than ever before. He felt that he was nothing compared to this man, this being made of utter love and compassion.
And at the same time, he couldn't help but feel strangely happy to think that Harry -his father! Had actually deemed him worthy of his... love? Forgiveness? He had no idea what it was. But he intended to treasure it for all the time he'd be granted this privilege.
His eyes slid shut as, without even thinking about it, he wrapped his arms around the slim waist of the small man and buried his face in the crook of his neck, inhaling deeply as he held him close to his chest. Thin arms embraced him back, and he couldn't help but hold on tighter. Harry's fragrance was soft, of freshly cut grass and winter and frost... And it was oddly refreshing. He felt of purity. And it was something Acastus had never known, as he had grown up in a house full of Dark Arts and corrupted people. He could feel his heart swell with a strange, bubbling feeling. And he knew he owed it all to the amazing man standing there who hadn't needed a single word to turn his whole world upside-down.
"Thank you." He murmured.
Inside the manor, Lucius slid a hand in Voldemort's larger one reassuringly as they looked out the window and at the towering form of their eldest son hugging his father, a sight utterly foreign to them. After Harry had been sealed away, Acastus had never been the same. He had mostly kept to himself, openly distrusting adults and authority figures in general. It was like the 'betrayal' of his father had disgusted him and turned him away from grownups. And so he had never hugged anyone. And there he was, embracing a practical stranger with an emotion they had never seen on him as he was extremely reserved.
Lucius smiled sadly at his husband, running a soothing hand down his side.
"He'll forgive you, love. Maybe not out right, but he will. You know how he is. You just need to talk to him. Tell him how utterly sorry you are. Tell him the truth about your feelings."
"I'm a monster." Voldemort whispered quietly, never looking away from the scene unfolding in the gardens. Father and son hadn't moved.
Slim fingers gripped his chin and gently turned his head so that he would into the silver-blue eyes of his husband. They were swirling with an infinite amount of love and sympathy right now, and he couldn't help but wonder what he had done to deserve such devotion from not only one but two people as wonderful as Lucius and Harry. Especially Harry. Because Harry was Light, pure hearted, gentle and caring and innocent, and had forgiven Lucius and Acastus.
His eyes flickered up to the window, then back at Lucius' understanding ones. Threading his long fingers through the silky blonde hair, he slid his hand down to cradle the smooth cheek in his palm and bent down to lay a gentle kiss on the beloved lips.
"Maybe you're right. But I-" His voice broke and he looked away.
Lucius' grip tightened on his arm.
"Do you think I deserved it? No. And yet he listened to me, or at least gave me a chance to speak. Please, Marvolo, please. Don't pass this chance. Trust Harry. Trust him. We never did in the past, and look where it led us. We broke him. But we have a chance at getting him back, and it means you have to talk to him."
He gently kissed the older man's lips.
"Think about it." He whispered lovingly, before leaving swiftly.
"The relationship between my husband always left me torn between admiration and envy. They had been together for years already when I was bonded to them, thus rushing the processing the process of their own union, and their bond was very deep, because they knew each other intimately, both in character and body. They were also similar through their Slytherin years in Hogwarts, Pureblood way of being and general Dark traits.
I, on the other hand..."
Adair looked up as the door opened, and smiled.
"Dad! You're almost late."
Harry's lips twitched at that, though he didn't show any amusement, but there was a spark in his eyes, a spark which hadn't been there a few weeks ago. He then tilted his head at his husbands and twin children, brushed his fingers across Acastus' shoulders and sat down at his usual spot at the dinner table, before starting to help himself to some food. As the 'woman' of the threesome, he had the same privileges as the Lady of a Noble House, and thus ruled the meals. Guests were only allowed to start eating when he did, and had to let him get food first. He displayed perfect table manners, and always sat very straight, almost stiffly, though he had relaxed a little ever since his talks with Lucius and even more since Acastus had come to him.
The twins, however, he barely tolerated. Eden had proven utterly ill-mannered and almost vulgar in her rudeness, pretty aggressive, in fact, and Thanatos had done nothing but stand by her side silently while she spewed insult after insult in either a subtle -when her other fathers were present- or direct way -when Lucius and Voldemort where otherwise occupied, his gaze going from indifferent to coldly calculating as their father silently took it all without ever showing any emotion at the clear dislike of his second oldest children. It was like he heard none of it or didn't care, but Adair, whose anger at the insufferable twats had been steadily increasing, wasn't fooled by this facade.
And every single derogatory word they spat at him was one more kick at his already shattered heart and dignity, his fatherly love ridiculed and his sincere honesty trampled over with blind, hateful accusations of acts who went against each and every one of his moral principles. Especially coming from the ones who should love him to death, and whom he had never been given the occasion to see grow up when he had been the one to carry them and go through the pains of birth to give life to them.
Harry never showed anything, though. And so the twins went on, uncaring of the damage they were doing, uncaring that they were slowly undoing all the progress that Acastus, Adair and their fathers were trying to pull from the Third.
"You look preoccupied."
Acastus' voice tore his younger brother from his musings, and his head snapped toward Voldemort, who had indeed failed to completely mask the worry in his eyes, and the tiredness in his posture.
"It's nothing. Just a few people trying to rebel is all. We'll get them under control soon enough."
Lucius frowned at that, unconsciously mimicked by Adair, who didn't like the sound of that at all. If his father looked so worried, then there was a reason, and he wasn't one to take threats lightly. However, he knew better than to push the issue if the Dark Lord didn't want to talk about it, and so he was quick to lure his brother into another, lighter topic of conversation.
Marvolo couldn't help a sigh of mixed relief and wariness as his youngest distracted the rest of the family, and slowly rubbed the bridge of his nose before remembering his composure and looking up.
Only to freeze as his gaze caught a pair of dark emerald orbs staring at him from across the table. Harry's face was tense, his lips pursed in a thin line as he looked at him, face expressionless, and he noticed that his fingers were clutching his napkin with so much force that the knuckles were white. Surprised, he looked up again, and started. Something, some untold emotion was haunting those mesmerizing eyes, and he found himself unable to breath as he tried to decipher it.
Harry looked down, and the moment was broken. But Marvolo knew. What he had seen had been, amazingly enough, concern. Concern for him of all people. And he couldn't help the small flicker of hope which suddenly lit up in his heart.
"As opposed to popular belief, Harry Potter was far from an idiot. He might have looked scrawny and unkempt with his messy hair and ever-broken glasses, sounded like an average wizard with an uncanny ability for Defense Against the Dark Arts -as becoming of the Savior of the Wizarding World, the Poster Boy of the Light-, but I know I could have done better. I did better. I just had to hide my ability as not to alienate Hermione and Ron.
I am more observant than people give me credit for, and the look in Marvolo's eyes at dinner was typical. The rebellions have started up again, I can feel it. The Earth is thrumming with the pulse of Light Magic. Soon, they will make a move. Then, either war will break out, or they will be eliminated.
One thing is for sure: the Dark will not go down without a fight."
The twins stopped short and stared, barely holding in a horrified gasp, appalled at the sight. They had wanted to go through their father's room to see if he had written more of his journal, but had come across a very disturbing sight instead. The man had been exiting the bathroom, clad in nothing but a pair of black pants, and that gave them a very good view of his bare torso. It was something they would never forget.
Even Eden couldn't find anything to say. The man was thin, skinny even, despite all the good meals he had had ever since he had been freed, and they could easily count his ribs as they stuck out from under his pale skin. He had some muscle, and it helped alleviate that terrible reality that he had been underfed for fifteen years, but his unnatural skinniness wasn't what shocked them speechless. No.
It was the numerous scars which littered his skin. Burns, lashes, stabs, he had them all, and they seemed to be everywhere. Wherever they looked, there wasn't an inch of smooth skin. And when he turned around to rummage through his wardrobe, they could feel a maelstrom of emotions going on a rampage within their usually indifferent hearts. Because there were even more there, and because some of them were words, carved into the delicate skin of Harry's back with what they assumed had been a knife.
Black material obscured them from their sight, and the man turned, his face blank as he put on a set of robes. It took them a while to notice that he was staring at them mutely and that their disillusionment charm had flickered out and died, and when they snapped their eyes up at his face, they saw him tilt his head toward the door. He wanted them to leave, then. So they did, and he followed, carefully locking the door behind him, though it wouldn't be of much use if a wizard wanted to come in. It was, however, a testimony that he didn't wanted anyone in when he wasn't there, and that anyone who came in anyway was clearly in violation of his privacy. An untold show of trust. And the twins found themselves pondering the mystery that this man seemed to represent. This man who was their father.
So they decided it was time for some history.
The Dark Lord ran a hand through his hair in exasperation.
"If he's going to stay, then we'd better know things about him, right?" Eden replied boldly. "What's more, you've barely ever spoken about him in all the years since he was locked up, and even after he was freed, you never said how you got married and all that."
Dark red eyes narrowed at them. The man wasn't the Dark Lord for nothing, and the twins had an ulterior motive. He just knew it.
"The real reason?"
"We saw the scars." Thanatos finally said, quietly.
"The scars? What scars?"
They stared at him disbelievingly.
"You can't be serious!" Eden spluttered. "He's covered in scars! How could you have missed them?"
"Well of course, who else?"
"Eden, calm down, shut up and sit down. Minty! Call my husband here, will you?"
"Which one, Lord Slytherin sir?"
Voldemort paused, struck by the fact that he had given in to the habit of having only one husband. Shaking his head, he clarified:
He then turned to his children.
"Now, tell me all about those scars."
And so they did, even leaving behind a memory of the scene. They were dismissed, much to their disgruntlement, as Lucius came in, tensing in worry as he noticed the grim look on his husband's face.
"Are you alright, Marvolo? What's wrong?"
The door closed behind the twins, and it seemed that it was all he needed. His shoulders slumped, and he buried his face in his hands.
"How could I have been so utterly blind? It was right there under my nose, and I never saw it...!"
Alarmed by the unusual emotions displayed by his husband, the blonde quickly crossed the room and rested a soothing hand on his shoulder.
"What do you mean?" He asked gently.
"Harry... Harry was abused, Lucius. The rape... he wasn't a virgin... it's because he was used by his uncle... his own relatives! And we never saw anything...!"
He told him everything Eden and Thanatos had said, and then quieted down, waiting for Lucius to watch the memory and draw his own conclusions.
"Goodness, we..." The blonde finally started, choking. "How could we...? But we never even felt them!"
Tired crimson eyes gazed at him tiredly.
"Did we ever take the time to discover him? Touch his body and explore it like we would each other's?" He shook his head. "I don't think so."
There was a knock at the door, and their children, all four of them, came in without waiting for an answer.
"What is it?" Lucius asked, worried by their serious faces.
"Eden told us." Acastus said.
"We want to know what happened." Adair took over. "We want to know about Dad."
The two men shared a glance, then looked back at their children, and nodded.
They did. Voldemort sighed, rubbing a hand over his face wearily, then folded his hands in front of him on the table, and started.
"I was very careful, for the whole duration of our marriage, to conceal the proofs of my relatives' treatment. My husbands had no great esteem for me from the beginning. I do not believe they would have appreciated finding such a testimony of weakness on my part on my body. Especially coming from a muggle, whom I am supposed, as a wizard, to be superior to.
Despite Marvolo's youth at the orphanage, I think he would not have understood the desperate need for Hogwarts I felt at the time. Because Hogwarts was my last chance, and even if he loved it dearly and cherished every opportunity he had to get out of the orphanage and far from the kids who called him a freak, he at least had the advantage of terror over the other children.
I, however, had nothing to defend against the Dursleys, as they knew I was unable to retaliate."
He told them about the Prophecy, that fateful Halloween night, the legend of the Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter, and what he knew of his life up until seventh year. The war had come to a standstill by that time, and a compromise had been reached the year he turned twenty. The Dark Lord would cease all hostilities, and become Minister of Magic, his men would be pardoned except for the ones who had committed most grievous offenses. And he would be given Harry Potter.
The official reason was that the boy was unstable, as proven by the events in fifth year, and prone to revenge since most if not all of his loved ones had been killed by the Dark Lord or his troops, and so, he was very likely to start a rebellion and disrupt the Treaty, thus endangering the hard-gained peace. However, handing him over as a prisoner just wouldn't do, and would stand out amidst the general celebrating atmosphere. No, they needed to make it a joyful event. And so it was decided he would be married to the Dark Lord.
Voldemort, however, had no intention whatsoever to leave Lucius for the Potter brat, whom he hadn't seen for years, except on the battlefield. And so a Triad formed. They had been stunned, they recalled, when the boy -no, man, had appeared for the ceremony. As opposed to what they had expected, he looked calm, as if all of this had been his idea, and this was your average bonding ceremony, when they knew it wasn't. The boy, they knew for certain, had never been asked for his opinion on this, and the contract had been signed without him even knowing. And yet, they remembered, he had stood there and pronounced his vows with a clear voice, never wavering, never failing to look devoted.
But they had seen the coldness, the blankness in his eyes, dark, bottomless pits of nothingness. They hadn't known what had made him like that, but they had been shocked to the core, even though at the time, they still thought he was a spoiled brat, a naive Gryffindor. They had decided to keep a close eye on him beforehand so as to avoid a scandal if he said anything about being forced into this union or tried to run, but there had been no need. The man had displayed a surprising set of Pureblood manners as he went from guest to guest with a smile and a remarkable mask of pleasantness and joy. He spoke of his relief that the war was over, and that he had been a major contributor to that fact, that he was glad that his personal life had such an influence on the well-being of wizarding society and so on.
And when they had been left alone, he had quietly followed them, and let them disrobe him, then take him. They had been surprised at his lack of resistance. Aroused by the sight of his naked body sprawled over the covers. Confused when he had just laid there, waiting. Angered when they had realized this wasn't his first time. He had let them take him.
It was only now that they realized every insult they had thrown his way for not being a virgin had darkened his eyes a little more every time.
Their marriage, though not a happy one, had never been unhappy either. Harry knew his place, and rarely slept with them, or spoke to them. He left them alone, knowing better than to think he had any place in their hearts or relationship. He was only included and allowed to spend the night with them when they wanted him, meaning when they wanted to take him. They vaguely noticed, by seeing them together, that he had formed a friendship with Severus Snape and Draco Malfoy, whom he was often with. However, they cared very little, and just went on with their duties.
They noticed he was pregnant when he failed to show up for a meal and, furious, they went in search of him, only to find him passed out in one of the hallways leading to the dining room. He had evidently fainted on his way to dinner. And so Acastus had been born. They had been somewhat gentler to him during the pregnancy, because enemy or not, the man was carrying their child, and it was the first heir of the Dark Lord. For that, he deserved respect, along with his reserved, dignified attitude. Harry hadn't caused any trouble. He knew when and how to make himself scarce, meaning pretty much all the time.
Acastus' birth hadn't gone very well, though. The young man had suffered horribly, and they could remember how the nurse holding his hand had grimaced and had to numb the hand he was holding as he struggled not to scream. They had instructed him that showing weakness was not something they would tolerate, and so he pushed himself to the limit to please them. It was at that time that they had realized exactly how devoted he was to them. And then, slowly, they had started seeing him as something else. Something different.
Paradoxically enough, at the same time they started to respect him more and treat him better, they barely allowed him to see his son, named him themselves, and took the child away to be raised as a proper Slytherin heir. And so the light which had lit in the emerald eyes after so long died down almost immediately when they took his baby away.
How foolish they were to think he would understand or not care, and that their change in attitudes would make up for it! He had asked and asked again to see his son, to raise him, promising to raise him in a way befitting of a Pureblood heir, and they had refused, again and again, until, one day, Voldemort had snapped that he would never again be allowed to see him because his stupid, ignorant, naïve and foolhardy Gryffindor persona would inevitably taint the child.
Marvolo closed his eyes as he remembered the way the younger man's features had closed off, and how all progress they had made with him had been crushed with only those few words. Harry had left the room and disappeared for days.
They had been worried out of their wits when he had come back, perfectly fine but looking emotionally dead. He had only taken the required minimum of meals with them after that, vanishing who knew where all day and barely talking anymore. He had successfully avoided them for two whole years, before they had started to realize they truly missed him. And by the time they had come to terms with their feelings, the jealousy they felt whenever they saw him smiling softly at Draco's antics or immersed in a serious conversation with Severus, the longing they felt to rediscover the delicate body they had not seen for months on end, the quickening of their heartbeat when he was close, six more months had gone by.
And so they had started on the process of seducing him.
It had worked. It had been long and tedious. The man, after all, had years of experience in the field of distrust, and years of unhappy marriage and disdain on their part to go on, and so first thought it was all a ploy to somehow trick him into loving them to break him better afterward. And so it had been five long years before they had slept together again. They had wanted to have him willingly, and for that they couldn't force him to do anything. And so, eight years after their marriage and Acastus' birth, he had given himself to them again. Eleven months later, he was giving birth to the twins, Eden and Thanatos. And though he was allowed to see them this time, the two men often contradicted him with their education, and so he quickly lost any authority he might have had with them.
And then things had started going downhill. Because Harry had started disappearing again, and, as they had overheard a group of witches discussing Harry Potter at the Ministry, pitying the poor lad for the terrible fate he had to endure, and how he could bear it. And one had said that he must have lovers somewhere, because there were people out there who knew his true worth, and were willing to pay a fortune only to see his naked body.
They hadn't wanted to let it get to them at first. But, slowly, the idea had made its way into their heads and hearts until they could only look at him with suspicion in their eyes, picking up on anything and everything they could to criticize him, saying cruel things and scorning him despite the obvious hurt it put him through. Things had calmed down a little when they had discovered he was pregnant again, from a night of furious lovemaking -fucking would have been a more exact word after an argument. This time, as with Acastus, they had found out by accident, when Harry had cried out in pain when he had been jabbed in the stomach. They had then realized how they had regressed.
When he had been pregnant with the twins, the young man had been glad to tell them. But seeing that he once again felt so unwanted and secluded that he wouldn't tell them until he was over three months along had been like a cold shower, especially considering the fact that they had kept having sex with him when he said he didn't want to, and their rough sessions could have been dangerous for the baby. They had dotted on him.
Until the day when they had found him sprawled naked in his rooms, as a random Death Eater thrust into him. They hadn't cared that his cheeks had been stained with tears, his thighs streaked with blood, a testimony of the brutality of the act, or that he had bruises everywhere, a sure proof of the struggle he had put up. They had completely overlooked the fact that he had been under a special kind of binding charm which left the body pliable even though the bound wizard couldn't move. To them, it had been the confirmation of the rumors. Harry Potter, their husband, was a cheating whore.
And so, once he had given birth to their fourth child, they took the baby away, hauled the man up and dragged his exhausted, bloody body into the deserted rooms of the Secluded Wing, thrown him there and sealed him up in there with nothing more than the thin nightgown on his back. He would only be allowed the barest necessities and no contact with the outer world.
Draco had left soon after, and Severus had never been the same. He had become quieter, more reserved, and barely spoke to anyone without snapping anymore. Only Draco could speak to him without getting yelled at. And so the years had gone by with the children growing up and Harry withering away in a dark set of rooms.
Of the scars they knew nothing. They hadn't even known there were any. Only Harry had the answers, and they knew there weren't about to get him to talk to them, much less about this sensitive part of his past.
"It was ridiculously easy, really. A mere confusion charm weaved with a glamour spell, and all they felt when they touched me was the smooth skin their eyes saw. They never suspected anything. That, I am afraid, was my greatest victory and my greatest mistake."
They watched him as he left the table after lunch, knowing they wouldn't see him until dinner. They now knew he didn't go out to meet up with his lovers. What they wanted to find out was what he was doing while he was gone, but like his past, he would never tell them. And so they just watched and waited as they did all they could to get closer to him.
Lucius could touch him now, not as much as Adair or Acastus, but he was allowed to hold his hand or kiss his forehead or tuck a strand of hair behind his ear. The Dark Lord had yet to talk to him, for some reason, and the blonde reckoned it had to do with the fact that they had always shared a very strong bond, be it of hatred or love, and it made it that much more difficult to speak all of his feelings. And so he waited, mulling over his emotions, clearing his thoughts, biding his time. He wanted the talk they would have to be unique, and to clear all misunderstandings, to lay new bases for their relationship. He wanted them to start over. And if that was to ever happen, he needed to say everything in one go, and not forget anything.
And he knew Harry was aware of that.
Because that was how he was: he always seemed to have a sixth sense when it came to them. Maybe that was the reason why he didn't flinch as much when Voldemort came close to him, and allowed him to touch him time and again.
"Marvolo, maybe because of his harsh childhood, was someone who felt incredible reluctance at the mere thought of confiding into someone, because that meant actually trusting an outer person with your weaknesses. Though Lucius had gradually earned that trust, I never did, as he was wary of me, having considered me his enemy for years on end, second only to Dumbledore.
I can see the conflict in his eyes every time he looks at me, and the reason is clear to me. He wants to talk to me, explain his actions, though I think I understand his fear. He knows I cannot forgive me truly until he speaks. But I will give him time the time he needs.
All the time he needs. I have waited fifteen years. I can wait a little longer."
"We're going to Diagon Alley. Do you want to come?"
Dark emerald eyes gazed up at Voldemort's face. Harry seemed to think about it, then nodded slowly. The Dark Lord nodded back and started to step back so as to leave him his space, but froze as a delicate hand rose expectantly in the air. Shocked, he glanced at the delicate features of his husband, and saw him staring at him, waiting. Slowly, almost timidly, he reached out, and felt his breath catch in his throat as their fingers touched. Harry's skin was as smooth and soft as he remembered it to be, and he delicately enclosed the thin hand in his palm before pulling the smaller man up on his feet. The motion somewhat unbalanced the green-eyed man, and he fell forward, only to be held against a strong chest. Toned arms wrapped around his waist to steady him, and they stayed like that for a moment, neither willing to move, their breaths the only sound in the room.
Harry let his forehead fall forward and rest against his husband's chest, right above his heart.
Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud.
He closed his eyes. The rhythm was soothing, the arms, comforting. He knew that the Dark Lord had grown up unloved, and had trouble expressing his feelings. He also knew that the man would eventually talk to him and express the regret he could see in his eyes each and every time he looked at him. And already, he knew, he had forgiven him. Because love was unconditional, blind and stupid, and because he was an idiotic Gryffindor, and because he could understand the fear of being rejected, cheated on and unwanted. He just needed to hear it.
"Are you... oh."
He didn't open his eyes, could feel Voldemort look up and hear Lucius step closer. Gentle hands fluttered across his shoulders.
"Take your time." The blonde murmured.
They stayed like that for a long time, before Harry moved away. Marvolo cupped his face gently between his palms, and brushed aside a few stray hair, rubbing gentle circles on the pale cheeks with his thumbs.
"Let's go." He said, smiling gently, holding out his hand.
Harry took it.
"Diagon Alley. Today is my grand return to the wizarding world. I will buy a new wand, step into the light, and everyone will be able to see me.
I cannot say I am nervous, for nervous I am not. I lost the ability to afford such emotions ages ago, and it would be detrimental to everything I am to let myself be thrown off balance by the mere thought of being seen in public.
None of them would dare do anything with my husbands there. None of them could do anything anyway. I am no defenseless wreck. I am a Potter, a Black, a Peverell. A Slytherin and a Malfoy, maybe, though I have yet to be sure of that, as my feelings concerning my husbands are still unclear.
Diagon Alley will be a turning point to this strange chain of events I am living.
Diagon Alley will either be the beginning or the end.
What of, I have no idea whatsoever."
Diagon Alley was crowded as usual. Harry, however, didn't look disturbed in the least, and navigated his way without any trouble, until he stopped in front of Ollivander's. They followed him as he went into the shop, the bell ringing as they did. They stood in the dark shop, waiting for the old man to show himself, and the youngest children couldn't help a badly-concealed start as he finally decided to appear. Harry didn't move an inch.
Pale blue eyes narrowed in on him, and widened with awe.
"Lord Potter-Black..." The man whispered. "After all these years... I admit I didn't think I would ever see you again... You need a new wand, do you not? Yes, yes, I remember... It sounds like it was only yesterday when you bought your first wand... Changed quite a lot ever since, haven't you? Let's see..."
Wand after wand passed between Harry's hands, and it always ended in a disaster or another. Eventually, the young man stopped and looked pointedly at the wandmaker, who looked utterly puzzled.
"Curious, very curious. Maybe..." He looked up and into the emerald green eyes, snorting at himself when he noticed the amusement dancing there. "Of course you are right, Lord Potter-Black, how silly of me... Please proceed."
They all looked at him like he was stark raving mad, even as Harry closed his eyes and his breathing evened out. An hour later, they were leaving with a custom-made wand. Eleven and a half inches, red oak, phoenix tears and basilisk venom.
"Come back any time, Lord Potter-Black. I would love to have a nice chat with you. Someone so special..."
Harry merely shook his head with an amused twitch of the lips, and then left the shop. His four children and two husbands could only wonder what the old man had meant by that. They then strolled down the Alley, allowing the kids to look at whatever caught their eye, until they came to a stop at Quality Quidditch Supplies, where the twins immediately started browsing the newest brooms and Quidditch accessories.
"Lord Potter-Black! It's been such a long time since I last saw you! How do you do?"
The man smiled politely as he shook the shopkeeper's hand, before opening his mouth... and speaking. But both Lucius and Voldemort knew it was a spell when the first word came out: the voice was off. It wasn't Harry's.
"Fine, thank you, and yourself?"
The man beamed, obviously delighted to have such a celebrity being interested by his life.
"Very good. My kids have grown up, of course. They've gone into Professional Quidditch, maybe you will see them at a game one day."
Harry smiled politely again.
"I see you have a lot of new models."
"Indeed. Do you want to see them? I am afraid the Firebolt has been outdated for quite some time now."
The emerald-eyed wizard nodded.
"Yes, well, I am sorry to say that it was destroyed in an unfortunate accident." Lucius and Voldemort both cringed at the thought that they had been the ones to burn it. "Show me what you have."
"Of course, Lord Potter-Black. So, here is our newborn, the Nimbus 4000, it has great flexibility and speed, a great broom for a Seeker as yourself, however, I would recommend the Firebolt X, even swifter, and very light. There are lots of stabilizing charms on it, and..."
And so it went. Harry stayed there for over an hour, and they watched him converse with the shopkeeper curiously, wondering about several very precise terms he used. To the kids, it looked like their father had the ability of a professional at Quidditch, though they had never seen him fly, but if the broom-seller's enthusiasm was anything to go by, they had to watch him on a broom sometime. Eventually, the young man chose the Firebolt, much to the little man's delight.
"An excellent choice, Lord Potter-Black! It will serve you well, you'll see! I'm glad to know that you of all people will ride that broom, it's very costly, and very few people can afford it, though of course there are several truly talented people out there. Not as much as yourself, of course, someone has yet to break your record, but still..."
Record? The twins perked up at that.
"Viktor Krum, for example. I heard he had bought one of those. He came by last year, right after the Quidditch World Cup, asked after you."
"Yes, yes, indeed. He said you still hadn't had that one-on-one match you had planned on. But of course, with the events..."
The man's smile slipped as Harry tensed up, then gave a tight-lipped smile as the broom was finally entirely wrapped.
"Thank you. Have a nice day." The spell said, before he turned around and swept out of the shop. They followed him quickly.
"So, you play Quidditch?" Thanatos asked, interrupting his sister, who glared at him.
"You can speak? Why not do it before?" Eden said a little aggressively. "Did you think it'd be fun to have us interpret the smallest of your expressions?"
The man merely pinned her down with a long, silent stare until she started to fidget, and rose an eyebrow.
"What!" She finally spat.
His lips parted, but right as he was about to mouth something, another voice rang out.
"Potter! Harry Potter!"
His eyes slid shut and he inhaled deeply as all activity ceased in the Alley, and people turned to them with wide eyes and pointed fingers.
"Mom! It's really him!"
"It's Harry Potter!"
"Harry Potter. A name I found out was mine at six years of age, when the school teacher read it when calling roll. How glad I was when I discovered my name was not, as opposed to what I had believed for years, Freak! It was my identity, the name my parents had given me upon my coming to life. It was a legacy, a blessing by my parents.
How I would come to hate it in the following years!
Harry Potter never came without the too many titles which seemed to be stuck to it like parasites. The Boy-Who-Lived, The Chosen One, The Prophesized Child, The Savior of the Wizarding World, The Beacon of Light, The Gryffindor Golden Boy, and so on. I could never be rid of it.
Somewhere along the way, Harry Potter became a curse."
Turning around, he came face to face with several people he didn't think he would ever see again. He tensed.
"Hello, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Molly." The spell said.
The three red-heads and the bushy-haired witch looked him over, then glanced at the two men and four younger people standing behind him.
"It's Mrs Weasley to you." Hermione sniffed snootily.
He rose an eyebrow.
"Then it's Lord Slytherin to you. I do believe I married quite some time ago."
"Yeah," the tall red-head spat, "to the King of Snakes himself."
Lucius stepped forward, silver eyes darkened to the color of a raging thunderstorm.
"You would do well, Mr Weasley, to remember your place. You are, after all, speaking to your betters."
"He sure is a better whore than I am." Ron muttered, low enough that the onlookers wouldn't hear, but Harry, Lucius, Voldemort and their children could, along with Hermione, Ginny and Molly. Lucius made a move to grab his wand, but a firm hand on his arm stopped him, and he just stood stiffly. Behind him, Acastus and his siblings, who had had the same reflex, stood at the ready. Harry turned back to the Weasleys.
"If that was all you had to say, Weasley, I think we better part right now before the situations gets out of control."
"Of course, Harry," Ginny simpered, "after all, you always had such a talent for running away..."
The grip on Lucius' arm tightened to the point where he had to struggle to hold back a grimace of pain, and Harry seemed to noticed, because he let go a little, with a brief glance of apology.
"There are a lot of Nargles in your hair, Weasleys..." A dreamy voice said suddenly, and from the crowd a blonde female appeared. "I think you should go and wash them away before they come into your brain through your ears and the Great Snarkelhurt decides eliminating you is the best way to stop them from contaminating people."
"Yes, Weasleys, go and put your filth somewhere else, will you? Your smell is giving me a bad case of nausea." A familiar voice drawled, and Harry's eyes snapped over to the blonde female's side, where another familiar figure had just stopped.
"You'll regret this Malfoy!" Ron exclaimed, his ears clashing horribly with his hair as he turned a nice shade of puce at hearing the crowd laugh at him.
The four then turned tail and disappeared into the Leaky Cauldron. Icy grey eyes turned to the onlookers.
"What are you looking at?" He snapped.
Immediately, they started scurrying away, until suddenly, one stopped and turned. Looking directly at Harry, he inhaled deeply and then opened his mouth.
"Harry Potter! Thank you!"
And he bowed deeply. People stopped and turned around.
"Harry Potter! Thank you!"
And then, they all simultaneously dipped into a very low bow, one of gratitude and thankfulness, the expression of over a decade of peace thanks, again, to this single man, who had given away his future to save them all from a raging war and most certain destruction. When they finally looked up, they felt their breath catch in their throat, for there was a small smile dancing on the delicate man's lips, softening his features, and making it even more beautiful than it usually was. It was breathtaking. He inclined his head to them in silent acknowledgment of their gratitude, and they then went back to their shopping.
Only the two blondes hadn't moved.
Eden spotted the resemblance immediately. It was hard not to. The man, after all, had hair the exact same shade as hers, and eyes the same color as her twin and blonde father, though a shade darker. He had impeccable posture, and his drawl was typical of Malfoys. The blonde on his arms was very beautiful in an ethereal way. Her hair was a very pale shade of blonde which looked almost silver -a shade eerily reminiscent of the moonlight- and undulated gently down to her waist, framing a small, dreamy face with pale skin and clear blue eyes.
They watched the shoppers go back to their life then turned to them.
"My Lord, Father." The man said curtly, while the female smiled dreamily and curtsied mutely.
The children could only share startled glances. So this was Draco. Acastus was the only one who had ever seen him, and he had been too small at the time to really remember him, since it had been fifteen years since he had last seen him. According to their fathers, this man had been loyal to Harry, one of his only friends, and had left when they had refused to listen to his protests at the sentence.
The two looked at Harry, and they all just stared at each other silently, before the blondes stepped closer, their eyes inspecting the dark-haired man standing before them. He bore the examination without protest, looking back unblinkingly. Eventually, a slow smirk stretched the man's -their half-brother's thin lips. They would never forget what he said, as it startled them to no end.
"So, Scarhead, finally out, huh?"
"Sod off, Malfoy." Harry replied.
Looking up, they thought he would be upset, but instead... He was smiling.
A true, genuine smile, full of amusement, fondness and real affection, and they couldn't help the strange, almost elated feeling that bubbled in their chests at the sight, because it was something they had never seen, and for once, the man looked deeply happy.
"Air and Earth have finally come to their senses and realized they couldn't live without Fire. But beware of the water, it's getting more and more agitated. Steel will be needed, and with it the Poison Shadow."
Harry stiffened at that and his gaze sharpened, but he said nothing, and ignored Draco's subsequent glance.
"Does anyone have more shopping to do?"
They all shook their heads, and so they decided to go back, as a girl of about fifteen came running to them.
"Father! Mother! I found it, look!"
She was proudly showing them a book, and Luna smiled, right as the girl looked at them, and froze as she reached Harry.
"You're Harry, my godfather! I've heard a lot about you! It's nice to meet you." She exclaimed lively.
"I have a goddaughter?" Harry asked, surprised.
"Yes you do. Scarhead, meet Elladora Isla Malfoy, my daughter." Draco introduced ceremoniously. "Elladora, this is Harry Potter-Black, your godfather."
Seconds ticked by as she examined him and he looked back at her, before she finally smiled and extended her hand.
"Nice to meet you. Call me Isla, it's shorter."
"My pleasure." He said as he gracefully bowed to brush his lips over her knuckles. She blushed at the gesture, and Draco swatted at Harry's head. The man glared.
"What was that for?"
"No seducing my daughter, you evil pedophile."
Harry looked nauseous.
"That's wrong on so many levels..." He muttered, hiding his eyes with delicate fingers. "Bad, bad images."
Draco snickered, Isla flushed even deeper, and Luna looked on peacefully.
"He's so... different."
Voldemort glanced down at his daughter and her twin, who was nodding in approval, though not looking away from the fireplace in front of which Harry, Draco and Luna had sat and were now immersed in a deep conversation, their heads bent close together.
"Yes. Luna was the only Light witch to stand by him when the Treaty was signed and was bonded to us. She's his oldest friend."
The door opened on Severus, who nodded at them and went over to the talking group, who looked up and scooted over to allow him to sit with them. And so the conversation resumed. And the Dark Lord, as he held tightly on the hand of his husband, couldn't help but feel left out and jealous.
Isla Malfoy, Thanatos decided, was charming. She was as sharp-tongue as his fathers, extremely intelligent, and ethereal also, as if she were there but not, seeing things others could not, and having a foot in this world and the other in another dimension. It was strange. It was endearing. And for once, he found himself enjoying the company of a female who wasn't his twin sister.
He glanced at Eden, smiling when he saw her obviously enjoying herself, and then up at their parents. Voldemort and Lucius were looking at Harry and his friends, and the longing in their eyes was quite obvious, but they let it be and stayed out of it, allowing the friends their time alone to reconnect after years of separation. Harry was obviously happy, if the air of calm and serenity around him was anything to go by, and the two men didn't want to displease him. They knew he needed his friends just as much as them, and so they stayed put.
"I felt truly alive. For the first time in fifteen years, I really felt... happy. Seeing Draco, Severus and Luna gathered like that, being able to talk to them by the fireplace as we used to... It almost reminded me of the long winter nights at Hogwarts, in the Room of Requirement, though Draco and Severus had yet to befriend me at the time. I had missed them. A lot.
They were, are very important to me, because I know that their loyalty to me goes beyond anything else. As of the day we became friends, they were always there for me, and never betrayed me. They knew me better than anyone else, better than Ron and Hermione, better than Marvolo and Lucius, who thought of me as a whore even after ten years of friendship, and believed that I had cheated on them despite having been married for ten years.
I would never.
Draco, Severus and Luna believed in me, and I trust them.
The bond we share is unbreakable, and I am grateful to my husbands for not preventing our reunion."
Harry had disappeared again.
Voldemort sighed exasperatedly as he stood from his desk. This constant disappearing act was what had precipitated their decision fifteen years ago, and yet, he did it again as soon as he was free again. He walked over to the liquor cabinet and was about to pour himself a glass of brandy when his office door slammed open, revealing a disheveled Lucius.
"Marvolo! The wards! The kids! Attack!"
The fine crystal shattered as it made contact with the floor, but neither of them noticed, as they were already out the door and running. They found the children in the garden. Acastus and the twins were firing curse after curse at the masked wizards and witches attacking them, and Adair and Isla, though the others had told them to go and take shelter, helped as much as they could. Whipping out his wand, Voldemort shot a Killing Curse, and didn't linger on the corpse as several enemies were already charging at him and Lucius. The two shared a glance and then dove into the battle head first.
Minutes ticked by as they fought, but their efforts to keep an eye on the children at all times hindered the two wizards, and they cursed their luck, as it was now completely impossible for the kids to retreat into the manor. There were too many attackers, and some of them would be able to follow them, corner them and do whatever they wanted with them. A flash of blonde on Marvolo's left informed him that Lucius was nearby, and he took his chance, got closer.
"We need to regroup."
The Malfoy Lord nodded curtly, not taking his eyes off his opponents, and, slowly, they started to retreat toward the children, who had gathered in a circle, back to back so as to guard each other. Acastus was doing impressive spellwork, shooting dark curses and causing a lot of damage, though the twins weren't far behind, as their combined spells were a true nightmare to anyone who had ever experienced them. They were a menace. Adair and Isla covered each other and fought side by side, smartly exploiting what they had been taught, and overall defended themselves quite well. They were starting to tire, though, and couldn't see the disillusioned wizards creeping towards them.
One of them was now aiming his wand, and Lucius yelled out a warning, only to cry out in pain as a cutting curse hit his side, which infuriated and broke Marvolo's concentration at the same time. Torn between his children and husband, the man froze on the spot, trying to resolve the conflict. Enemies were closing in on them from all sides, already shouting in triumph and disgusting gloating. A few feet away, the children were surrounded. There was no way they would all come out of this alive, no way the adults could reach the kids in time, the Dark Lord realized. Never had he cursed his decision to close the manor to his Death Eaters on the week-end so he could spend private time with his family more than in that moment.
"No!" Lucius yelled through his pain.
"Goodbye, Dark Wizard Spawn!" The masked wizard cackled hatefully, eyes glinting malevolently through the holes of his mask. "Goodbye! See you in Hell!"
The green light rushed towards Adair, who couldn't help but stare at it with wide eyes, completely frozen in utter terror. Acastus shouted, tried to reach him, pull him out of the way...
It was too late.
The curse struck, exploded, vanished, cut down by a gloved palm.
And suddenly, he was there.
"The day I received them was one of the best days of my life. It was a great achievement to me, the proof of my ability, and the testimony of my Mastery. I was now an official member of the Guild, someone to respect for a reason. Harry Potter was famous because of a feat of magic he couldn't even remember or control, and was in fact, most likely, due to his mother's extensive knowledge of ancient protection charms.
The blades, however, symbolized the person whose name had been engraved in Japanese symbols in the dark metal.
Neah had called me the Poison Shadow. Because my eyes were poisonous green, and because when I moved, nothing and nobody could differentiate my body from the shadows I wrapped myself in.
Neah rose the Poison Shadow from nothingness.
Harry Potter had died long ago by then."
Except for the long blue ribbon crisscrossing on his forearms to keep his sleeves firmly against his skin, the man was clothed entirely in black. Black combat boots, black combat pants, black shirt, black sleeveless tunic held at the waist by a wide belt and flaring out gently down to his knees. He had too short blades, one strapped horizontally right above his belt, the other diagonally, so that the handle stuck over his shoulder. Silky black hair fell to the middle of his back, held back by a piece of blue ribbon the same shade as the one he had on his arms. The lower part of his face was carefully concealed by a black piece of cloth.
The Light wizards stared in obvious confusion.
"Who the hell are you?" The one who had shot the Killing Curse at Adair yelled.
"Someone who doesn't caution killing children." His voice was raspy, as if he hadn't used it in a long time, or wasn't used to speaking a lot. "I suggest you leave now."
The crowd of enemies rippled at that.
"Never! We're about to fell them! The Light will triumph and Potter will be free!"
The enemies cheered, but shut up immediately when a strange, raucous sound echoed, and they realized the man was laughing.
"As if you cared about him. Weren't you the ones who married him off to his greatest enemies without any regard to the way you were depriving him of any chance at a future? Weren't you the ones who turned on him every chance you got? Weren't you... Weasley?"
The mask of the one who had shot the Killing Curse was ripped away, revealing the sallow face of Ron Weasley.
"Of course not! He just kept pushing me away!" The red-head tried to bluff his way out of it, but it obviously didn't work, as the newcomer just laughed some more.
"Some cheek you have here, Weasley. But it won't save you today." He shook his head, reaching for his blades. "Oh, no. Today, all of you child-killers shall die by my hand."
"Kill him!" Ron yelled as he realized what was going to happen.
But it was too late. The man had unsheathed his blades, and suddenly, he wasn't there anymore, and Weasley was lying on the ground, blood soaking the grass from the gaping wound at his throat. Voldemort and Lucius were already moving again, and making their way over to the children, whom they stood before as an unbreakable wall, felling anyone who would dare try and harm their flesh and blood, along with Isla.
The blonde man was getting weaker, though, as his side wound kept bleeding, and the loss of the precious life liquid was proving very taxing. Already, he could feel himself getting dizzy and light-headed, and his vision was getting blurrier. A commotion spell at his feet unbalanced him and he fell to his knees, sweat glistening on his face with the effort to keep from fainting, and the pain of the injury.
He gradually became aware of Marvolo's urgent voice and of the hand shaking his shoulder, and looked up and at his husband, only to realize the man had been hurt too, though it was a shallow wound.
"I'm alright." The Dark Lord said as he saw his glance. "You, however, need to get behind me with the kids."
The blonde shook his hair, grimacing as he did so. His hair was matted with blood and sweat, and was having trouble breathing.
He was cut off as the Assassin, for that was the only thing he could be, reappeared before them, diverting several potentially lethal curses and spells from them, and fell into an elegant battle stance. His clothes were soaked in blood, his hair and hands too, and his blades dripped with red, but he seemed to be well.
"Stay here." He said. "It'll be over soon." He then suddenly stiffened as they felt a wave of magic wash over them. "You are injured. Can you hold on a little longer?"
Lucius nodded shakily.
"I've had worse."
Still back to them, the man nodded.
They watched in utter amazement as the Assassin fended off the attack, crushed the Killing Curse and retaliated, killing the rebels effortlessly, dancing around the spells, evading the attacks, ducking and jumping and somersaulting and cutting through flesh as if it were mere butter. The twins in particular could only think one word.
And then, just like that, the battle was over, and the was wiping his blades clean and sheathing them. Slowly, very slowly, he turned towards them... Only to widen his eyes in horror. He froze for the split of a second, and then moved, faster than he ever had in his whole life.
Blood splattered on the ground, and Eden couldn't help the scream that tore out of her throat as her new hero took the dagger in her stead, and the six and half inches of steel bit into the flesh of his chest. He swayed, stumbled, but nevertheless kept standing, and rose a hand.
The rebel fell, a shuriken buried in his throat.
The Assassin struggled to stay on his feet, jerked when Eden suddenly appeared in his face, along with the rest of the family and Isla.
"Are you mad? Why did you do that? We have to-" She trailed off. The man had looked up, and she found her eyes widening as she recognized the peculiar color of the orbs looking into hers.
"No..." She whispered at the same time her fathers pushed her aside, and tore off the black cloth obscuring his face.
Voldemort cupped Harry's delicate face between his palms almost desperately, gazing into those emerald orbs with the terrible feeling that the man was already slipping away. Blood was dripping down his chin, a stark contrast with the increasing paleness of his skin, and he tightened his grip on his Third's face as he smiled tiredly.
"I'm glad you're alright." He wheezed.
"You big idiot. Why did you do that?" Marvolo whispered gently.
Harry let his eyes slide shut for a brief moment.
"She's my daughter, you know. I..." he coughed "I can't let her die."
He coughed again, spat out a mouthful of blood.
"You need to be tended to." Voldemort said quietly, making to stand. "I will-"
Harry's fingers clutching at his robes prevented him from moving, and he turned to the young man.
"Don't leave me. Send someone else. If they're too late, I want to- I want to die... win your arms."
Tired emerald eyes looked up at him.
"I will go and fetch help. Stay with him." Isla said quietly, before running away before they could think of a protest.
Voldemort sighed and sat down, cradling Harry's in his arms.
"Lucius..." The young man murmured.
"Here." The blonde answered, taking his hand, closing his eyes as the Dark Lord started stroking his hair gently.
They stayed there in silence, waiting for help to come. Acastus, Eden, Thanatos and Adair had settled down around their parents, tears running down the youngest's cheeks even as his eldest tried to soothe him despite his own grief. They could see life escaping their father, his skin was growing paler and paler despite the spells the Dark Lord and Lucius had cast to try and limit the blood flow. His breathing was also becoming shallower, and his lids were dropping, slowly hiding the darkening emerald orbs.
Their heads snapped up at the shout, and they smiled in relief as they saw Severus, Draco and Luna rushing towards them, followed by Isla.
"Help's here. Hold on Harry." Voldemort whispered, only to look down at Lucius' terrified whisper.
"Dad?" Adair called out.
"Harry? Harry, can you hear me?"
But the man had gone limp in their arms, eyes closed and skin deathly pale, and he wasn't breathing anymore.
"NO!" Voldemort roared. "Harry! Harry! Harry!"
Severus reached them, pushed them aside without any consideration as to who they were, merely started casting, immediately joined by Luna as Draco tried to comfort the kids and prevent them from hindering his wife and godfather's work. Harry remained immovable. And they couldn't help the atrocious feeling that maybe...
Harry was dead.
"People fear Death for some reason. I never understood that way of thinking, though it most likely had to do with the fact that I grew up wishing for it instead of fearing it. As a child, beaten, I used to think Death would be a great escape. I would fall asleep one day and never wake up again, never feel the pain ever again.
When I was introduced to the Wizarding World, Death became the only way I would ever get freedom, from my name, the expectations linked to it, the act I had to pull off every day, the Light's manipulations, the Dark's efforts to kill me.
Then, I met Neah, and Death took a new sense altogether. It learned to deal it instead of wanting it for myself. I became Death's companion and harbinger. So goes the Assassin Guild's motto: 'Hand in hand with Death.'"
2 years later.
"I love you."
Emerald green eyes blinked sleepily up at him, and he couldn't help a fond smile. Lucius leaned over and lay a chaste kiss on the dark-haired man's lips, before wrapping his arms around his bare waist. The man, much to their chagrin, was as thin as ever, though he had fattened up a little, and didn't look as skeletal as he had two years ago, when they had freed him from the Forbidden Wing.
Long, slender fingers traced the harsh scar right above Harry's heart, and Voldemort leaned down and kissed his younger husband passionately, remembering the despair he had felt when he had stopped breathing in their arms, blood flowing out of the grievous wound, hand clutched in Lucius'. He thought it was the only time he'd ever seen his blonde lover cry, and had shed tears himself, in the privacy of their rooms, alone with Lucius and Harry's unconscious body, exhausted by the stress of the battle and the fear of losing the young husband they had just got back.
But Luna's healer training had proved priceless along with Severus' potions, and the two's skills, combined with the unsavory concoctions, had made miracles. The wound had slowly healed, and Harry had lived. He had been in a coma for two months, but he had lived. Lived to walk again, to speak, to forgive and love them.
Lived to start over.
For the first time ever, Acastus had cried, while Adair didn't even try to conceal his relief, and had outright sobbed on the just awoken man's lap, delicate fingers threading soothingly through his hair. The twins had apologized for their offensive behavior and, upon being granted forgiveness, had been quick to ask to be taught all the "wicked things you did, it was awesome! Can you do it again?" Harry had laughed at that, promised to teach everything they wanted if they promised not to abuse the power it would give them.
Lucius and Voldemort had taken up the chance to ask about those skills. And so Harry had explained. How, after fourth year, Neah had nursed him back to health one summer day after a particularly vicious beating and rape. He had been there for Harry over and over again, and had started teaching him. Ironically enough, the Savior of the Light had proven to be an extremely talented assassin, and it wasn't long before he gained an official Mastery. He had become the Poison Shadow, and Voldemort had found himself dumbfounded to think that he himself had actually hired the Assassin's services several times over to deal heavy blows to the Light. To think that Harry had been the one to accomplish those missions was mind-boggling.
That had also been the opportunity for them to find out where the young man had been disappearing to every afternoon. He was actually going to the Guild's Headquarters to train or take on missions. When they had asked the reason why he had never said anything to lift their suspicions off him, he had simply answered that he didn't want to be pressured into taking missions he didn't feel like going on, or merely be kept as a tool. He didn't want them to manipulate him into being loyal to them by making him fall in love with them only to keep his skills as an Assassin. And his cover was essential. Nobody could know the truth about him.
The first time they had made love after they had freed him was initiated by Harry. He had offered them his body one day, and they had asked him to drop the glamours so that they could see what he really looked like. He had refused at first, before finally relenting. And as he waited for rejection and heartbreak, they merely kissed him and caressed him and discovered his body, worshiping every single inch of skin, marred or not, whispering silent words of adoration and love and how he was beautiful. He had cried as he came, cried as they held him and murmured soft words in his ear, kissed away the tears and hold him tight all night.
And then, slowly, he had started healing.
Thanks to Severus, Luna and Draco's presence, to his children's respect and love, to his husbands' unconditional love and support. They had waited for him when he left for a mission, watched him train and practice with the twins, slowly rebuilt his self-confidence, helped him accept his scarred body. Killed the muggles who had dared lay a hand on their precious husband. Of course, it had been disguised as an accident. They had just disappeared one day and nobody had ever seen them again.
"Nggh..." He moaned as Voldemort kissed the inside of his thigh, and Lucius pinched his nipples. The Dark Lord spread his legs wide open and gave a tentative lick at his cock, which hardened immediately. Smiling, the man positioned himself at his entrance and thrust in, making Harry arch his back and throw his head back in pleasure, while Lucius kissed him passionately.
That night, as they lay together basking in the afterglow, they finally heard it.
"I love you, Lucius, Marvolo."
The two men shared a glance over Harry's head, and wrapped their arms around their Third's delicate body, holding him tightly to their chests.
"I love you too." They whispered in unison.
And the beatific smile on his lips lit up the room as if it were noon.
Okay, so what did you think? I know the end might have sounded somewhat cheesy, but, well, I thought they all needed to be reassured after all the shit they'd been through.
Here's a little chronology to clarify things as they happened in this story:
2000: Mariage. Acastus' birth (25)
2008: Eden & Thanatos' birth (17)
2010: Adair's birth (15) + Imprisoned.
2025: Bleeding Love.
So, yeah, Harry's 45 in this story. However, seeing how long wizards live, I decided they all still looked young, especially considering how powerful they all are. You can either chose that the Horcruxes exist or not.
If they do, then Harry, as the Master of Death, is immortal, and so is Lucius thanks to his Veela blood, which makes him die at the same time as his mates.
If you'd rather they didn't, then I just gave you an explanation.
So, tell me what you thought about it? A little review for a starving author?