7. You and I
Ginny was sitting by the window, her long hair shining a little in the winter sunlight, thumb furiously tapping on a fancy mobile phone. "Oh, Mum!" she called as Harry entered the kitchen. "Oliver's on his way to pick me up. He just texted me." She sent Harry a slightly odd smile.
"Honestly, Ginny, you're not still playing with that silly contraption Arthur brought home last week?" Mrs Weasley sighed. Harry got the feeling her exasperation had nothing to do with the phone. "We have guests."
"I helped Dad break the curse! It works fine now - see, no more tentacles! - and Oliver has one too. Muggles use them all the time, right Harry?"
And in Ginny's eyes he saw a dark young man grinning at him, pressing a small, plastic object into the palm of his hand - this way I can find you when you're not around. Harry blinked, clearing the image from his mind. "I honestly wouldn't know. Tom thinks they're horrid. I came across one once and he sort of - er - blasted it to pieces." He forced himself to return her smile, even if smiling was the last thing he felt like doing - watching Ginny flirt with Oliver Wood, the two of them off to live their dreams as professional Quidditch players while Harry was still bickering with a stubborn Dark Lord about curfews and harmless Muggle technologies.
Ginny bit her bottom lip, looking at Harry sideways. Mrs Weasley appeared to have suddenly found things to do in the kitchen without Harry's help. Pots rattled. "I guess that's what you get when you hang out with a Muggle-hating lunatic. So you - you call him Tom, then?" Her red hair fell across her face and she reached up to tuck it behind her ear, revealing a tiny golden earring in the shape of a snitch.
"When I know I can get away with it. He isn't exactly fond of it." He laughed nervously and forced himself to look back at her eyes when he realized he was still staring at the delicate shape of her ear. "And it's not like he goes blowing things up every day, y'know. Just when he's - testy."
"Right…" Ginny's phone buzzed and she shoved it in her pocket. "Well, Oliver's here, so…?" the last syllable hovered awkwardly between them, heavy with things unsaid.
"Oliver… Right. Yeah." Harry almost winced at how artificial the words sounded. "Hope you have a good date. Um… day. Or - date, if that's what you're… y'know…"
Ginny's ears began to redden, "Harry, I - "
At that moment Oliver Wood walked in, wrapped up in a blue woollen cloak decorated with Puddlemere United's distinctive golden bulrushes. He was taller, broader, and more handsome than ever. He grinned happily at Ginny, but did a double-take when he saw Harry. "Oh… hi Harry…" his grin became slightly strained, "it's great to see you again!"
"Hello, Oliver," said Harry, hoping he sounded more cheerful than he felt.
"Been keeping up the practice?" Wood's smile relaxed, "I could put in a word for you, now that you're back. You're such a good player, and lots of teams need a solid backup Seeker, I'm sure a few would be willing to overlook what happened. You should give it some thought, right Gin?"
"Thanks, but I'm not in any shape to go professional these days," he said quickly, even though he kept up maneuvers every morning. "Though I hear you've made an excellent Keeper for Puddlemere! Must be a bit hard, with your girlfriend on a rival team now… fraternizing with the enemy and whatnot…"
"I haven't played a single game for the Harpies yet," Ginny said quickly, "and even then I'm only a reserve, not like Oliver…"
"Everyone starts out that way and you're a spectacular Chaser, Gin, you'll get there." Wood took a deep breath, "I… I never believed that stuff they said in the Prophet about you and You-Know-Who, Harry. Just… just so you know."
Harry fancied he might be able to feel his heart actually stop in his chest. "They're - still going on about that, are they?" he heard himself say, though he hadn't the faintest clue what Wood was talking about. They couldn't have found out… it was impossible…
"Yeah, but you and Dumbledore faking his return to steal power from the Ministry?" Wood shook his head. "I know you better than that. Honestly, I don't blame you for running away."
"I didn't run away!" said Harry hotly before he could stop himself. This was somehow a hundred times worse than anyone finding out about what had really happened. The Prophet had accused him of lying to somehow one-up the Ministry? That was the thanks Harry got, for giving up his future for the rest of the wizarding world? "I - was out looking for him," he forced himself to say as calmly as he could. "Out of the country. But I saw him come back myself! They all saw him, with their own eyes, standing right in the middle of the Ministry! And - and they're still saying I was lying, are they?"
"It is a little suspicious, Harry," Ginny said, her brown eyes gleaming. "I mean, no one's seen him since that night. Where did he go?"
"I realise that, Ginny," Harry said through gritted teeth, "but I wasn't the only one who saw him, was I? Absolute rubbish - faking his return - how convenient none of you mentioned this in any of your letters!"
"Professor Dumbledore said it would only upset you -"
"I'm not upset!" Harry all but yelled.
"- and, you know, your girlfriend."
"Oh, congratulations, Harry!" Wood winked at him, "does she play Quidditch?"
"I think she's more of a Beater than anything else, really…" Ginny muttered slyly.
"There's more to life than Quidditch, you know," Harry snapped. "And she probably would be upset - but why shouldn't she be! After all I've done - I reckon a lot more people should be upset, instead of sitting back and watching the Prophet print such crap about their friend!"
"Well, maybe you should do another interview with the Quibbler, Harry!" Ginny snapped, just as angrily. "You know, tell everyone the truth?"
"Maybe I'm too busy with Lord Voldemort to try and convince people I'm not barking mad!" Harry said loudly. "I shouldn't have to give an interview with some raving magazine for people to believe me! But no - they'd all rather sit around and slander me while I tramp around the world with my Beater girlfriend, making all the hard decisions so that they don't have to!"
"Who has dared to slander my Harry?" an icy voice demanded, and Harry felt the bottom drop out of his stomach. Lord Voldemort was standing on the stairwell, crimson eyes glittering dangerously. Tom's thoughts were as cold and unforgiving as his blank, red glare.
"Um - hello there, Tom!" Harry scrambled to stand between the furious Dark Lord and Oliver Wood, who was gaping up at Voldemort in horror. "We were just talking about you! And they were - just about to head out. Weren't you, Ginny?"
"I will not be dissuaded by platitudes!" Tom hissed, gliding forward. "Tell me who has dared to speak ill of him and I shall end any such libel!"
"You can hardly blame them," Harry said, "it's just the sort of libel you encouraged in the first place, y'know... I'm quite used to it, really - no need to overreact…"
"I will not see you insulted!"
"I can take care of myself!" he hissed back, with great irritation.
Tom halted, his expression dissolving into an expressionless mask as he took a step back. "Very well," he said quietly, "then perhaps you should obliviate that witless fool." And he turned on his heel and gracefully ascended the stairs once more, trailing rage and bitterness behind him.
Harry swore and whirled around. Wood was staring at him, "That - he - that was?-!"
"Well, Oliver, it was really lovely to see you again," Harry said, with false, biting geniality, "we'll just have to catch up again some other time, I s'pose - Obliviate."
Wood's eyes slid out of focus, and his look of horror fell away, replaced by dreamy indifference. Harry would have been proud of himself if he hadn't been so frustrated. Ginny grabbed her boyfriend by the elbow and dragged him out the door, pausing only to send Harry a furious glare over the shoulder as she left.
"Have a nice date!" Harry called cheerfully after them as she slammed the door.
"Harry," Mrs Weasley walked up beside him, looking disappointed. "I… I'm very proud of what you're doing with… with him… but our Ginny didn't deserve that."
That was the last straw for Harry. "Oh, we're going to talk about what we all deserve now, are we?" he said furiously. "You'll have to wait a few minutes - I've got to go and make sure he doesn't blow up your house first."
Flustered, the flush draining from her face, she looked anxiously from Harry to the empty stairwell. "He, he wouldn't… would he? Dumbledore assured me we'd be safe… he took a vow..."
"No, don't worry - he'll simply take it out on me instead," Harry snapped, and shaking off her hand, stormed up the stairs after one very offended Lord Voldemort.
Voldemort's fingers jerked and the door of his makeshift room slammed behind him. It felt claustrophobic, but at least here there was no one here to gape or reprimand him, no etiquette by which he must be bound. He had felt the rage of his Horcrux and come to his aid, as was only right. Still, Harry's fury called to his own; it was as though he were surrounded by walls of delicate glass, unable to move for fear of shattering them, while the sun shone down upon him, its heat scalding his flesh.
He lay on the bed, pulling the patchwork quilt about himself, and shut his eyes tight. Unable to rage, unable to fight, he was stilled with helpless, eviscerating shame. If he merely lay quietly, he could spend his time in this place coiled up like dear Nagini. Offending no one, frightening no one, killing no one. Harry would not be pleased, but Voldemort did not care. It would suffice. He tried to imagine himself sinking into the depths of a clear, cold lake.
The door burst open and then slammed shut again. Harry seemed to roll into the room on a tidal wave of anger. "Oh, this is a great time for a nap, Tom. Barge into the kitchen, yell at everyone, and then leave me to calm them all down while you go and have yourself a rest. Good show."
"You were upset, so I came to your aid," he answered softly without moving or opening his eyes, striving to remain in the dark icy waters of his imagination and not be drawn into Harry's rage, "and then you informed me you did not require assistance, so I removed myself."
"Yeah, well, maybe the kind of assistance you had in mind and the kind that I needed are two very different things!"
"What would you have preferred?" The truth of it was, he realised, was that he could offer Harry no assistance in this. His very presence served only as a complication and whatever answer his Horcrux gave would be a false one. And was it not right to be angry on Harry's behalf? Was that not what the boy had needed - passionate agreement?
"Perhaps you could start with a solution that doesn't involve killing everything that moves!" Harry's voice broke, and he could hear the young man's uneven breathing from across the room, full of grief and broken anger.
"That is what I am doing," Voldemort said calmly.
"Well, good on you. But if you've ever got something that will actually help, be sure and let me know."
At that, Voldemort sat up, swinging his feet onto the floor, perching taut at the edge of the bed. "If you have something you wish to say to Lord Voldemort," he said silkily, "simply say it."
Harry was standing by the hearth, tense and scowling. "I shouldn't have to say it!"
"I apologise for adding to your distress. Is that what you require?" Voldemort gave a hollow hiss. "I only wished to punish those who displease you and, all day, I have been attempting to be polite to those whom you value. It is exhausting but I do it because I love you. True, I have not always succeeded, but what have I done which has caused me to fall so deeply in your estimation?"
Harry deflated. All the rage seemed to rush out of him, leaving him tired and miserable in its wake. "Don't be ridiculous. You've been - you've been great. Really, you have. I'm sorry… I just -" He drew a deep breath and turned away. "Forget it. I don't know what's got into me."
Voldemort stood and wound his arms gently around the shoulders of his beloved. "You have, for the first time, been confronted with the other choice you might have made."
"They don't even care that I'm gone…" Harry said in a small voice, still looking away. "I've been away for five years… I sacrificed everything… and it's all just some sort of joke to them."
He pulled away, stung by the implication that others ought to be grateful for the selfless service Harry provided them by keeping Lord Voldemort in check. "I would hope, Harry, that you did not mean what you just said."
Harry glared at him. "You know that's not what I meant." The young man came for him this time, burying his dark head in Voldemort's shoulder, breathing deeply against him. "I'm sorry," he murmured again into his robes. "This is just - a lot more difficult than I expected."
Voldemort sank his face into Harry's soft, wild hair. "I have seen neither ridicule, nor disregard for your person, in the minds of any of those here. Quite the opposite, in fact."
"Well, of course they care about me. They're my friends." Harry looked up at him, some of the anger coming back into those green eyes again. "They're saying in the Prophet that I - ran away from Britain. That I tried to steal power from the Ministry, and when it went bad, I just... ran off. Like some kind of coward."
"Explain to me why you value the opinions of these people," Voldemort asked. "Are they useful to you? Do you associate with them? Because, unless you wish to punish them, I cannot see any way forward but to cease considering them altogether. You are not a coward, Harry, you know it and I know it. What else matters?"
"I was ready to die for them," Harry said quietly, face tight with emotion. "When I first found out I was your Horcrux, Tom, I was… I was ready to let you kill me."
The mere mention of such a thing was enough for Voldemort to pull Harry closer than close, "Do not speak of it!" he gasped into that warm skin.
"I was," said Harry, voice shaking, "and they make me out to be a coward! Like I ever cared about power - or fame - or any of it - I would have let you kill me so they could keep living their lives, and that's what they've got to say about me…"
He held his trembling, precious Horcrux in his arms, running one hand slowly through Harry's fine, jet black hair. "They are insects to be crushed, my treasure. Utterly insignificant - they know nothing of the brave young man you are; I will not have credulous fools such as they upset you - they have never deserved your sacrifice!"
Harry shook his head against the Dark Lord's shoulder. "If they knew… If they just knew, then they wouldn't be saying these things about me…"
"Beloved," Voldemort sighed into Harry's forehead, sending tingling beads of magic through the touch, "if they knew they would be saying far worse."
"You're wrong." Harry looked up at him. There was an edge of desperation to his shining green eyes that Voldemort did not often glimpse there. "People are good, Tom - they just - they don't understand, that's all. But if they did… I know it would be different. I know it."
"In my experience people are neither good, nor understanding, nor ever likely to be different." A pale hand stroked down the young man's cheek. "You must content yourself with the sum of what you are and not look to such petty, easily influenced things as newspapers for the truth."
"The sum of what I am." Harry laughed miserably. "And what am I, exactly? Ron's training to be an Auror. Hermione's crusading for equal rights in the Ministry. Ginny's a bloody reserve Seeker for the Harpies - and what am I?"
You are mine, Voldemort though fiercely, but then began to consider Harry's words. What am I? "And I am a Dark Lord without followers, without subjects over whom to rule…"
"Hasn't stopped you from acting the part," Harry said darkly.
"Thank you," Voldemort said, pleased.
Harry yanked away, filled with sudden fury. "That isn't what I meant and you know it! I do everything you ask me to, don't I? I follow your curfew, you always know where I am - I never pull too hard on the bloody leash you've slipped around my neck - and it's still not enough for you, is it! It will never be enough for you! You might not have any subjects to rule over, but you will always find more people to kill!"
And the world sharpened to something red and crystalline; the softness draining out of it as Harry's words struck bone. Thin, pale skin pulled back from grinding teeth and Voldemort hissed. Darkness bled from his limbs and the fire went out. "And do I, Lord Voldemort, not obey you? How dare you presume that you are the only one who has made sacrifices? You, who have brought me to the bosom of my enemies, complain of wizards who do not care where you have gone - did not care to seek you out - do I not suffer the same?" He lowered his voice to a furious whisper, "Why do you not go and play with your Gryffindor companions while I continue to endeavour to stay in this room and disturb no one with the shame I feel that it should have come to this!"
"Shameful, is it, to be stuck with me -?!" Harry hissed back, blood rushing into his face.
"Shameful to be reduced to this! To hiding in a spare room, unable to be Lord Voldemort yet unable to be anything else! Being treated like glass and chastised like a child!"
"Maybe if I weren't afraid you were going to off anybody that breathes at you the wrong way, I wouldn't need to!"
"I told you I was not ready for this and you ignored my warnings! I told you this was going to be more difficult than you imagined and you ignored my warnings! And, after I go out of my way to avoid imposing myself on these people, you come upstairs and berate me for your own injured pride!"
"Perhaps I was just hoping for some support! From, you know, my lover! Instead of hearing all about how hard you have it - about how you miss BEING A BLOODY DARK LORD!"
"AND I WOULD SUPPORT YOU IF YOU HAD ANY INTEREST IN LISTENING TO ME INSTEAD OF BERATING ME WITH THINGS I HAVE NOT DONE SINCE ARGENTINA!"
Harry made a hissing noise, stepping backward as though physically struck. "So we're going to talk about Argentina now, are we -?! BECAUSE THAT WAS SO LONG AGO, WAS IT? WELL - EXCUSE ME IF IT TOUCHES A NERVE WHEN YOU COME DOWNSTAIRS THREATENING TO KILL EVERYONE - I MEAN, SIX MONTHS IS SUCH A LONG TIME TO FORGET A COLD-BLOODED MASSACRE -"
"THEY WERE MUGGLES!"
"HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU! THAT - DOESN'T - MATTER!"
"IT WAS SIX MONTHS AGO, HARRY!"
"SIX MONTHS! IS SIX MONTHS SUPPOSED TO MAKE UP FOR THE HUNDREDS OF LIFETIMES THAT YOU ROBBED THOSE INNOCENT PEOPLE -"
" - I TOLD YOU THEY WERE MUGGLES!"
"I - DON'T - CARE!"
"NO, YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT THE FACT THAT NOBODY HERE APPRECIATES HOW YOU SAVED THEM ALL FROM LORD VOLDEMORT!"
Snarling, Harry flew forward and seized the cashmere robes he had bought the Dark Lord for the cold weather. "Don't you dare act like I've treated you like some kind of burden," he hissed, his eyes bright with anger and tears. "Especially when even you don't appreciate half of what I've done! I threw away everything - all so that you could go and kill the only other people -" his voice hitched, "that I was able to talk to… that I've stuck myself forever to an impossible - ungrateful - volatile - git of a wizard who can't go five minutes without thinking of anyone but himself!"
Voldemort ripped himself from Harry's grasp and took three steps back, trembling with abject fury. "I am going back to London," he said breathlessly, his anger icing over into blank-faced resolve.
Harry's rage seemed to crash into a wall. The light went out of his eyes; his fingers grasped empty air, and then fell to his sides, still. "Are you," he said flatly.
"I came here for you," Voldemort said coldly, "if all you are going to do is hurl insults at me when I defend you and then peacefully retreat to this room, I fail to see why I should bother. You may call upon me, naturally, but I imagine you will be too busy enjoying your time away from the impossible, ungrateful, volatile git you are yoked to for eternity. As, of course, shall I."
The boy did not sit on the bed so much as he collapsed onto it. Many moments passed before he spoke; Harry did not look up at him. "And what makes you think I'll want to leave again?"
You promised me. Crimson eyes blinked. Harry loved him. Harry had promised him forever, had claimed his love could ride out any such storms and would never founder on even such jagged rocks as these. "I see," Voldemort said slowly, his mouth numb.
Harry buried his dark head in his hands, fingers clutching at his hair. "I need this to work," he rasped out at length, "I need it to - I can't keep on like this if I don't know - if I don't absolutely know…"
Voldemort simply stared at him, out of words, out of patience, out of energy, but most profoundly, most unfortunately, not out of love.
"Is that it, then?" And Harry met his gaze as though looking at him were something painful. "Is that all you've got to say?"
"No, I merely have no confidence that you will listen." Voldemort's tone was measured, wary, tired.
"I needed you to listen," Harry whispered.
"I have been listening," Voldemort replied just as softly. "I understand perfectly your ultimatum. That is why I have striven to be everything you wished me to be, despite what you may have perceived. But if I am to be punished before I have failed, then there is little point in such an attempt."
"You are every-" Harry began, and then cut off. His throat moved as he swallowed. "All right," he said suddenly, voice trembling with emotion. "You know what? Fine. Go, then. See if I care."
And somehow, even though it was he who had declared his intention to leave, he felt as though he was being forcibly evicted and remained fixed to the floor like a fool, unable to move, petrified by the very thought of being so far from his most cherished Horcrux.
"Well, which is it? Do you mean to leave or don't you?" And now, of course, was the time for storming or sullen withdrawal from the field; but he stood and he breathed - those green eyes scrutinising his silence - and it was too late because the threat was empty, just as he was, without Harry.
Harry's entire body curled in on itself, as though resisting the weight of physical pain. "God damnit, Tom," he hissed; and then Voldemort was embraced, embodied in warmth; Harry quivering against him and clinging to Voldemort's long, tall body as though it were the only thing that might hold him together. "You can't just say things like that," Harry berated him furiously between kisses, pressed frantically across his face, "you can't just - how could you even think about -"
And Voldemort clawed and quivered and kissed and shook his head and wrapped himself around Harry as tight as possible, a physical bulwark against any such separation. "I was only going back to London - it was you who - who suggested -" He felt as terrified and inarticulate as Quirinus Quirrell.
Harry's desperate lips found his, small fingers curling into his robes, and his mouth tasted of pumpkin juice and honey and thin, wild promises. "Don't you dare," Harry pinned him against the wall with a succession of deep, soul-searing kisses, "don't you dare - you're not allowed, all right? I stayed with you - I stayed when you needed me most - when you gave me every reason to go, I still bloody stayed - you can't just go saying things like that, Tom -"
And they were one, and their anxieties broke over each other and fled from their questing mouths. "I?" Voldemort gasped out, biting into plump lower lip as hands dragged fiercely at his frail ribs.
"You," Harry growled, tearing his mouth away to breathe hotly against his ear, "you - do you know what it was like, being without you for a single night? I was - I was going mad - I couldn't stop thinking about you -"
"I could not - even s-s-sleep to - dream," Voldemort eked out in stuttered hisses, as magic seemed to fizz in his earlobe and shudder all the way to his toes. And he became, as he always did, clay in his dear one's warm, wondrous hands that grasped and teased and spun him to such inexpressible delights.
"So why would you - how could you -" Harry thrust his legs apart with a knee, rough fingers finding the silver catches along the side of Voldemort's ribs. They fumbled there for a single throbbing moment, "god damnit," and then teeth sunk into Voldemort's throat as Harry sent an impatient pulse of magic down his body; his robes simply fell away in a rush of freezing air: he could no longer tell if he was shivering from cold or arousal as he rubbed himself against those legs, teeth, hands, and heated breaths; arching into every touch, lingering in every caress, swaying and hissing in keen abandon.
Hands seized his hips and pulled them harshly against Harry's, a spike of lightheaded desire that wracked every inch of his striving, quivering flesh. Bitten nails dug into his waist as Harry ground helplessly into him, shirt riding up his warm stomach, gasping and swearing against his ear. "How could you," he demanded breathlessly; "I hate you," clearly meaning something entirely different. He bit sharply into Voldemort's shoulder as a jar of lubrication flew from the trunk into his waiting palm with a smack. Harry spun him around, heedless of the cold wall as he shoved him roughly against it, breathing what could be either curses or prayers against his neck.
But Harry's fingers were gentle and solicitous as they slid inside him - deep, calculated thrusts that left him aching and restless with arousal. "I touched myself that night," Harry's low voice floated across the infinite sprawl of sensation, "I fucked my fingers like this, Tom, and I thought about you - the way you look when I'm pleasuring you -"
Something between a whimper and a growl escaped Voldemort as he imagined his treasured one naked in the velvet luxury of a Hogwarts four-poster bed, and felt the yearning spill from Harry's memory at the same time as those worshipful fingers continued to minister to his flesh. One wide, pale hand ripped at the wallpaper, while the other splayed against the wet windowpane and slid against the condensation, sharp nails raking the glass with a squeak.
"But it wasn't the same - it could never be the same -"
Harry suddenly twitched his fingers just so, just there, and the world ruptured in a hundred different shades of light. Harry made a low, pleased noise against his neck, and then he withdrew. The sound of Harry undoing his belt behind him, the yank of the zipper on the awful Muggle trousers he insisted on wearing, were nearly enough to ruin him.
But then his Harry was sliding slowly, slowly inside of him - finally - Harry's mouth trembling at the back of his neck, sweaty fingers slipping into Voldemort's grasping hand and pressing it to the windowsill. He cursed in Parseltongue, old, filthy words learned in the East End of London translated into the breathless murmurings of serpents, as his Harry and his Horcrux were once more inside him, holding him tight against a universe flush with stars at each slow thrust.
Strong arms wrapped around his shoulders and pulled him backward against his beloved one, hands drinking in his stomach and chest as they rocked together in ritual communion. He lowered his eyelids and the hands were his, the flesh they invaded was his - the serpent and the cave - the push and the thrust - all were Lord Voldemort, just as his was the name that was pulled from Harry's lips in a long, slow sound of pleasure.
Soft lips nudged at his jaw, seeking his mouth. Harry gave him a deep, boneless kiss that broke off in half of a gasp ("oh Tom - oh god - it's -"),grinding against him in slow, tight, exquisite circles that seemed to caress each knot of his spine with magic. Fingers found his straining sex, and the hot, heavy grip caused him to squirm and throw off their rhythm as all the weight of their arguments lifted - pricking his eyes - and he was transfigured into something wild, helpless, and keening.
"Yeah, Tom," said Harry thickly, stroking him as he writhed and gasped, "oh, that's good, isn't it?" And perhaps it could come to be appropriate that he should be called by that name in such moments as this, not because he preferred it - he would always hate his Muggle father's name - but because this was a precious secret shared between the two of them and garnered no part of his legend. Besides, he had tried to deter Harry from saying it for years, to no avail.
With soft words of encouragement, Harry bent him forward, guiding his hands to the windowsill. "Here," he murmured, "Yeah, that's it - hold on." When he pulled back again, he began to thrust in earnest - long, thorough, toe-curling thrusts that reverberated deep inside every one of his bones. Harry reached around and gathered Voldemort into his hand again; warm and calloused, his fingers seemed to buzz with magic as they pleasured him - Harry's gasping breaths moist against Voldemort's neck, "oh god oh god -"
Braced against the peeling sill, Voldemort stared down through blurred glass into Mrs Weasley's vegetable garden; a clear view obtained only through the ghosts of finger-wiped holes, which disappeared further with each hot, misting breath. His flat nose hit the cold window and the barrow, the chickens, and the snowy fields dissolved into ice and fire as he hit the glass again - gasp-groaning - and a third time and a fourth, slamming into the window as Harry grasped and invaded him.
"Yes," Harry sobbed into his ear, incoherent Parseltongue slicing through the reeling assault on his senses, "You won't leave, you won't, tell me you won't leave -"
Thrust. "No, I - " Thrust.
"You won't -" Thrust. "Tell me -!"
Thrust. "Tell me!"
And Harry was sweeping into his consciousness, a wholly overwhelming surge of delirious, coiling pleasure that only intensified his own. Harry seized his hips and hauled him backward in a swift, driving motion that impaled him completely - bruising fingers moving him forward and backward, forward and backward, a punishing rhythm that made his Harry pant and swear and cry out against his skin.
He slid his right hand into the middle of the sill and moved his left hand, his wand hand, to his sex, long, thin fingers on long, thin flesh; it could never be the same as those heated, sweaty hands - or mouth - but Harry was cracking him open like a geode and the slightest touch sent all sensations a-tumble as Harry staggered suddenly forward, throwing them off balance. Voldemort's shoulder collided with the window; he lost his grip on the sill; and in that moment they were a swaying ship in the split second before a wave sends it tipping over -
And then they were lurching sideways, Harry snarling and cursing as they spilled to the hard floor. Harry slipped out of him in the confusion, and for a few frustrating moments, they were little more than a painful tangle of limbs and nails and hair - and then Harry began to laugh warmly against his stomach and Voldemort joined in, high and breathy cachinnations that took all the air from his lungs. "Told you to hold on," Harry chastised him, grinning, into his tingling skin. Then their eyes met, and his smile became something dark and devious. Harry shifted, burning green eyes never once leaving his own, and pulled him completely into his mouth.
"I was holding… ah…" the shudder extended to every limb, their connection expanding within him like a glistening, boiling bubble of blown glass. Voldemort arched off the hard floorboards and let out a sigh that curled itself into hisses of warm, gleaming pleasure. Harry hummed his approval and took him deeper, hands smoothing up his sides, molding him into something consisting only of tension and sensation - of everywhere Harry's fingers claimed his skin, of the slow, exquisite worship of moist heat and tongue.
Then Harry pulled away. Voldemort twisted and snarled, crimson eyes flashing in the dim afternoon light. Harry crawled rapidly back up his body, bent down, and kissed him hard on the mouth. Teeth ripped needfully into lips as they tussled for supremacy, twining together across the floor; scalding, powerful kisses, tasting of musk and impatience. Lean arms drew him up, lifting him off the floor. Harry was short but strong, he lifted his taller lover over his shoulder with a purposeful grunt, and climbed to his feet, Voldemort raking his nails down his lover's back, leaving long, red lines parallel to Harry's spine. His Horcrux yelped and deposited him abruptly onto the bed.
Voldemort watched as Harry pulled his shirt over his head, damp with perspiration, and threw it carelessly to the floor. Harry did not seem to notice that his hair had become disordered in the process (but was this not always the case, since his beloved disavowed brilliantine?), or that his glasses were askew; he was looking at Voldemort as though he would very much like to devour him alive. And, of course, the Dark Lord had no objection to this. He sprawled across the quilt, teasing Harry with his serpent's tongue, tasting the aroma of arousal on the air.
A low, growling noise ripped from Harry's mouth, and the old mattress sagged as Harry climbed onto the bed and all but fell upon him. Harry's fingers reached for more lubricant, slathering it onto himself as he thrust his tongue into Voldemort's mouth, chasing and stroking the Dark Lord's own two-pronged instrument.
"Can't even hold on properly," Harry murmured and pulled away, grinning wickedly as he hoisted long, white legs over his shoulders. "Just got to do everything myself, I s'pose."
"My saviour," Voldemort meant to say dryly, but it emerged as more of a groan than anything else.
"Perhaps you'd like me to stop?" Harry asked him archly. "If you're so well off on your own…" He guided his sex between Voldemort's stretching thighs and paused, on the brink of delirium - blunt and promising pressure that was just short of where he needed it to be, to Voldemort's infinite irritation.
"Perhaps you would like me to cut it off?" he hissed back, "I think I could manage a wandless Slicing Hex."
All of the breath fled from his lungs as Harry abruptly penetrated him, piercing him straight through his core - rocking him backward so that the angle was even deeper than before. Sweaty hair fell across Harry's eyes as he leaned over Voldemort's body, panting and smirking. "But then who would make you feel this way?"
"I am sure, with proper training, Nagini could-"
Harry snapped his hips back and then forward again, a bone-deep shock of pleasure careening up his spine. "That's disgusting."
Voldemort laughed, "The look on your face… umph!"
Harry chuckled darkly. "Ngh… the look on your face..."
The red eyes glittered wickedly, flat nostrils flaring as Voldemort's white, hairless scalp hit Mrs Weasley's freshly washed, rose-scented, patchwork pillowcase. Harry grinned back, recognizing the challenge, and pressed Voldemort's knees toward his thin, milky shoulders. Their faces but inches apart, he pulled back and then rammed into the small, sensitive gland that made Voldemort's vision split open in a kaleidoscope of colour. His jaw dangled and the slit pupils dilated to an almost human size. He gasped, eyes fluttering shut, and gasped again. Harry watched him hungrily. "Yes," he groaned, driving into him harder, shoving him further and further up the mattress with each thrust, "yeah, oh god, your face, right there -"
Talons dug into sweaty, jet black hair - so like his own, once - as Voldemort cried out in desperate litany: eager, delirious Parseltongue that could only fail to describe the sensation of souls and bodies crashing into each other. Their mouths melted into each other again as Harry truly fell into rhythm, looming over him, moaning helplessly against his lips:
"- yes yes oh yes yes yes yes -"
Suddenly, Harry rose onto his knees, grabbed the Dark Lord's hips, and hoisted them onto his lap. The smooth skin of Voldemort's bare legs brushed against Harry's ears - his long-boned feet shockingly pale against the dark ceiling above - as strong fingers gripped his waist and held it still, his Horcrux pounding into him mercilessly. Green eyes feasted on his face, blazing with near-tangible heat.
And Harry's excitement hit him as fiercely as his movements, shockingly possessive - the desperate need to ensnare, to claim, to keep close and never, ever release. Voldemort was his - and this was all that mattered, all that would ever matter, the feverish press of Tom's mouth to his face, Tom's hands in his hair, Tom's soul, naked and shining and absent of all the horrors that blackened his thoughts whenever they were separated - this was all that existed, this rhythm of nails and hips and clenching thighs - and Harry fucked him as though he could drive out every dark impulse, every memory of death and torture - everything but the breathtaking sensation of their souls soaring frantically higher and higher in cherished, unparalleled union -
He shrieked and clung all the tighter - they were no longer a ship but the sea itself, raging, rising up into great waves only to crash down into the unfathomable depths of feeling, swirling like the furious lips of Charybdis. Harry, Voldemort, Horcrux: three possessors curving into one pulsing, thrashing possessed.
Harry twisted deep inside him, crying out, and he reached desperately for Voldemort's sex - he was still slick with saliva, and the first slide of Harry's fist brought him almost completely off the mattress, his entire body a single, arching rush of pleasure. Harry buried his burning face against Voldemort's leg, rocking and rocking into him, expression tight, slack-jawed and beautiful - "oh god oh - god Tom - oh - I -" stroking, stroking -
And his own hands caught that perfect face and drew it close: cheeks, nose, lips, scar - and everything pressed as tight as apparition and then thrummed out of him in splinters of ecstasy, Harry mewling and coming helplessly inside of him - their pleasure utterly inseparable, twin souls weaving and pulsing in the slow, hazy descent from glittering stars.
Authors' Note: We were going to post just the fight in this chapter, but all our reviewers have been so wonderful that we decided to give you all an extra long chapter for the weekend. Thank you so much to those who've been following us since 'In Somno Veritas' and welcome to everyone who's just started reading. We love you all so much and hope you had as much fun reading chapter seven as we had writing it.