Author's Notes: Written as a horribly belated birthday gift to the absolutely awesome JoeCool989. I'm sorry for being so late and I hope you enjoy it!
Also for Round Three of Mrs Bells Riddle's Death Eater Multiple Round Competition with the character Rodolphus Lestrange and the prompt "He could practically taste the metallic tang of blood".
The air in Rodolphus Lestrange's cell of Azkaban was colder on the night of the breakout than it had been in the fourteen long years before it.
That was the first thing he was aware of when he lay quiet and alone on the plank of wood that passed for his bed – that he was colder than usual. He had long since grown used to the deathly chill that permeated the air, product both of the Dementors and of the ocean winds. But this chill was stronger, strong enough that Rodolphus – so accustomed to the temperature – tucked his hands beneath his thin arms and shivered.
And then there was the noise.
Three explosions – one, two, three – in quick succession, and Rodolphus sat bolt upright, a sweat breaking across his brow. He staggered to his feet, clinging to the stone walls and blinking as stars swirled before his vision, and then his door sprung open.
At first, Rodolphus could only assume that it was the spectre of death that stood at his door, and for one long, terrible moment, the thought became terrifyingly clear in his mind: he was going to die. He was going to die there and then and there was nothing in the world that he could do.
But then the spectre tilted its skull-like face, illuminating the dark eyes set deep into shadowed sockets by the light of the moon through Rodolphus's narrow window.
Rabastan was indistinguishable from a living skeleton.
His prison robes hung off his frame – already thin when they had been brought into Azkaban, now positively emaciated and little more than bones – and when he reached out his hand for Rodolphus's, the bones in his fingers bulged grotesquely beneath the skin.
"Rodolphus," he breathed. "Rodolphus, the Dark Lord… the Dark Lord is here."
Rodolphus felt as though the breath had been knocked out of him. He was already reeling from the sight of his brother –he had fully expected to never again lay eyes upon him again…
"How- do you know?"
"He opened my door, Rodolphus." Rabastan grasped at the air in front of him, demonstrating the turning of a handle. "He's come to free us."
His voice choked with emotion and he swayed in place. Rodolphus stepped towards him and caught him in his arms to steady him, running his hand through his thin, brittle hair. He could feel Rabastan shaking against his hold, his body so frail that he could barely support his own weight, and Rodolphus's heart ached when he saw tears glazing his eyes.
"I've missed you," Rabastan croaked. His nails dug into Rodolphus's shoulders so hard that Rodolphus could feel his skin breaking beneath them and winced. "I've missed you."
"I've missed you as well." More than you know, more than I can say.
Rabastan let out a weak, strained half-sob. His hands scrabbled at his brother's torn shirt and Rodolphus let out a small gasp when he felt Rabastan's hand press directly against the skin of his chest. The ache in Rodolphus's heart intensified a thousand fold – every brush of his brother's skin against his felt so much stronger after all this time of being without human contact.
"I've missed you," Rabastan repeated meaningfully. "I couldn't stop thinking about you."
"Not here, Rab, not now." Rodolphus's breath caught when he said it. He had not been so close to another person in fourteen long years, had not heard another person's heartbeat, had not felt their breath or their arms around him. It was more than he could hope to endure if Rabastan touched him more…
"Here," Rabastan insisted. "Now."
"No." It took everything that Rodolphus had, all his self-restraint, but he managed to place his hand against Rabastan's shoulder and push him back. He saw tears welling automatically in his brother's eyes and felt a pang of remorse.
"One kiss," whispered Rabastan. "Just one. Remind me what it's like."
Rodolphus glanced to either side automatically, though he knew that they were alone in his cell and that no one would be interrupting them (did anyone even remember that they existed anymore?)
"Fine," he whispered at last, then leaned forward and kissed his little brother's lips. They felt thin and hard against his, barely more than skin covering Rabastan's teeth, and Rodolphus could practically taste the metallic tang of blood.
Rabastan's body shuddered against Rodolphus's and a soft moan escaped his lips, and when Rodolphus pulled back, there were tears on his face. Rodolphus wiped them away with the gentlest touches that he could manage.
"I thought about you every day and every night," Rabastan whispered, his voice choked with emotion. "All the time. Did you think about me?"
"Every day and every night," Rodolphus echoed without a moment of hesitation, and Rabastan's eyes swam with tears of gratitude.