The Spirit Room
by Gypsy Silverleaf

Rating: R

Summary: Summary: After going back to the Dursleys at the end of his fourth year and the Triwizard Tournament, Harry is abused by his uncle. He quickly falls into despondancy and despair. When he believes nothing can possibly get worse, three dark figures appear on the doorstep of 4 Privet Drive.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J. K. Rowling. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. It's just fan fiction!

Author's Note: Very happy thank-yous to my beta-reader, Savidana, who runs the wonderful slash site Dead Muse Rising. She has been so supportive of this story and way too nice to me. Kudos also to Aileen who read the story first, and to Tracy and Caroline.
< >This fanfiction is posted at Schnoogle and Please feel free to leave your comments at either site, or write me an E-mail (gypsy @

Warnings: This story includes ADULT CONTENT, including language, implied rape/abuse, and slash. Please return to the main page if you do not wish to view such material or are underage. There are sufficient warnings about this story and if you don't want to read very dark, emotional material which includes male/male relationships, please leave.

Chapter Three: Turn it Inside Out

< >"He has no idea why he's here," announced the fourth cohort.

< >The group was standing outside the chamber door, having just pushed their captive inside.

< >"It's not as if we've told him," snarled the second man, infuriated. He folded his arms across his chest and glared at the young one of their group for stating the oh-so-sodding-obvious. "He's already got a decent idea in mind, if you couldn't tell. Did you see how he fought? . . . I didn't think he had it in him."

< >"Insane Muggle. Spoiled him for the rest of us," said the fourth, tone becoming artic and returning the fierce look with an angry stare.

< >The first man glowered at all three of his accomplices, holding his fists balled at his side. "What I want to know at this moment is what in hell is wrong with him until we do anything else. We don't need him anymore tarnished than he is now, do we?"

< >"Well, he doesn't want him hurt, that's for sure, or it will be on our heads."

< >"Let's get this over with," said the second man darkly, his eyes hooded underneath a mass of dark hair. "I have places to be."

< >"Yes, that's right, you are the only one who - "

< >"How injured do you believe he is?" the moon-haired one asked quietly, signaling for his three companions to lower their voices so Harry Potter, gasping for breath barely five feet beyond the door and clutching one of the high-backed chairs for dear life, would not hear them. He looked up and watched a fifth figure approach from the hall they had just come down, nodding his respect to her as she stopped before the arguing group.

< >"Hard to say until I look him over," replied the first sourly, also greeting the woman with a curt nod. "That Muggle does not seem to exactly be a gentleman and he" - he pointed accusingly at the second man - "is more familiar with those people than I am." He regarded the second man coldly, turning on his heel to meet him face-to-face. "You also spoke with the woman. What did she say?"

< >"Hardly anything, but actions speak much more than words."

< >"Which is certainly where we are right at this moment," snapped the woman. This newly arrived figure had an authoritarian voice that made all four conspirators take heed and listen. She glared at them as she tugged her hood over her head, intending to enter the dark room as well. "It isn't that hard. Stop jabbering nonsense - he's been in there unaccompanied for too long now. He'll think you've gone soft. Take him to the couch and look him over, then do what you want with him."

* * *

< >A hand slipped under his sweater and tentatively touched his back. Harry cried out involuntarily as wounds began to leak crimson lava again, burning him. The hand retreated and he gasped as he felt cool metal brush the small of his back, the hand suddenly replaced by something very long, very cold, and very sharp.

< >The tip of the dagger prodded at his skin and he shrank away from it instinctively, feeling the sharpened point almost cut his already marred backside. The wielder of the blade lifted it above his back and placed a hand squarely on his back, holding him in place. He bit his lip as the unknown character sliced his jumper in half, straight up the middle, cutting through his collar cleanly and sweeping expertly past the unruly hair licking the nape of his neck. The remains of Harry's sweater fell to the wayside, helped by the knife owner's quick hand, exposing his back to the room.

< >There was a sharp intake of breath at the sight from the body leaning over him and the room hushed, the crackling of the flames in the inglenook the only thing breaking the silence.

< >Harry stopped moving, stopped trying to get away; there was no point in resisting anymore. He nearly moaned, knowing what was coming and wondering why he cared, as this had been Uncle Vernon's intention all along. He lifted his head slightly and looked around the room, forgetting as best he could. Two figures stood just beyond the chairs, straddling the line between light and dark, their robes outlined by the firelight. He knew there were more people dancing amidst the shadows, concealed from his view but ever watching; he had heard heavy whispering before the room had lapsed into its current silence. Harry closed his eyes and suppressed a shudder, lowering his head into the soft black leather of the couch. If he just focused on the smell, maybe he could escape.

< >To Harry's great surprise and alarm, he was suddenly flipped on to his back in a movement that could only have been magically induced. The air was knocked from his lungs and he was left fighting, gasping for breath. Hands snatched his wrists once he'd calmed down and held him steady against the yielding leather cushions. The knife rushed past his chin like a whisper, slicing the front of his sweater in two. The remaining scraps of the jumper were pushed around his arms, exposing his emaciated torso to the room. Unexpected tears welled in his eyes for a moment, paining and preoccupying his breathing even more.

< >He went rigid and arched his back in surprise as the hooded holding his legs fast to the couch ran sinewy, confident hands down his thin white chest. He bit back tears and wails of anguish as the man slid his hands with brutal intensity along his arms, teasing the weak physique of his skeletal-like body and ripping away the rest of the shredded jumper. The hands violently pressed their fingers against Harry's abdominal muscles, dancing on their childlike satin, and rubbing his ribs in slow circles. The long fingers attached to the hot-cold hands then glided over his pectorals again, pushing into every crevice they could find with absolutely no mercy or thought for the quivering boy beneath him.

< >Harry finally raised his eyes to meet the man's, or at least attempt to catch his gaze. The man stopped and withdrew his hands from his chest, letting them disappear into the folds of his billowing sleeves. They stared at each other for an eternal moment and with a slight tilt of the shadow-man's head, Harry was flipped over once more to his stomach, the angry scars and gashes open yet again to the world.

< >His arms were pulled back they way they had first been pinned over the sides of the couch, and his legs suddenly felt as if they were bound to the cushions. Muffled between his mouth and the tough fabric, the dark-haired boy let out a soft groan and tried to let himself sink into the couch, afraid but accepting of what was to come next.

< >There was a rustle of movement - fabric swishing across the wooden floor - and Harry slowly lifted his gaze, staring blankly in front of him, just above the curved arm of the couch.

< >He saw nothing but darkness, despair, and the despondency of his life.

< >They were probably behind him now, the wretched little boy thought. He felt ill. The lid of a jar unscrewing was the next sound to echo around the room - and Harry knew this was it. He shut his eyes tightly and tensed the muscles in his lower body, wishing for it to be done quickly. Maybe he could slip into unconsciousness before -

< >Harry let out a twist of a gasp and a cry, his body surging forward as two hands, covered in a glutinous substance, seized his shoulder blades. Fingers interlaced forcefully with his own from both sides of the couch, gripping his arms tightly with their free hands, as his breath quickened and shuddered in time with his feverishly beating heart. He suddenly felt a body lean over the arm of the couch and a cool cheek pressed against his own. The hands loosened their hold on his back, but were not removed.

< >"Against mine, Harry, against me," a voice belonging to no one he knew but seemed to breathed into his ear. "Cheek to mine," it said more urgently, thrusting his jaw against the side of Harry's face to show him what to do when the meek boy gave no response, save a small whimper of pain. Something was pushed into his mouth - a strip of leather or dragonhide, by the feel and smell of it. "Bite down on this."

< >Harry followed his instructions; he recognized there was no other way, nothing else to do but comply. The person pressing themselves against him must have given the one with the cruel hands a nod or look of approval, because the next thing Harry knew was fire. It ripped through his body like nothing he'd felt before . . . almost as bad as the last few days, nearly as cold as the Cruciatus Curse, and yet perhaps it was all much worse.

< >He couldn't tell if the hands were soothing or spiteful, nor what the liniment was intended for, and didn't have time to care. He cried out, shoving his cheek into the man beside him with such great force that he nearly lost the bit as he shouted, gasping out a tearful sob of "Stop!"

< >The pain ripping through his body ended abruptly and the man next to him pulled away slightly to look at his accomplice lighting the match upon his back. There was a long moment of silence and he felt the hands holding his tighten their grips, giving him the incentive, the plea, to grasp their own. He did, but only when the torment resumed; slower this time, but still alighting the same terrible inferno.

< >Harry felt his body tense every time the emulsion was worked into his open wounds and gashes, feeling like each knead of his skin beneath the cruel fingers was the first. The person leaning over the couch pushed back against his cheek, giving him footing as he curled his toes in his shoes and fought back tears as a painful relief slowly slid through his back, gripping the anonymous fingers like there was to be no return.

< >A slower and steadier rhythm progressed - it had been more intentionally rough in the beginning - and Harry's back began to relax under the perplexing massage. It wasn't until he awoke in a bed of cool, silken sheets, stretched out on his stomach with his arms sprawled above him on the pillows that Harry realized he'd fallen asleep.

< >Bleary-eyed and dried tears still lingering on his face, Harry turned his head slightly sidelong into the pillow as he heard voices, seemingly coming through a thick mist to gently caress his ears. He fought with himself to listen and not cry out in surprise, feeling a definite, fully unquestionable pain swell in him as he rotated his neck. It took a moment to recall why he would be in a bed, in such agony and his breath caught in his throat.

< >". . . we must let the wounds heal on their own."

< >"I thought you had healed them all together . . ."

< >"The salve . . . cleaned and closed the wounds . . ." murmured a third voice from far away, perhaps near the door.

< >". . . you wanted him pristine?" sneered the first voice, dripping with malice as the owner spoke with the second man, ignoring the trespasser to the conversation. "He will not scar, I have assured that. . . . was all I did. But . . . heal naturally; magic on such a butchery would have . . . certainly left disfigurement in its wake. The same for his bloody mind, unless . . . want him to be as irrational . . . -ing mad . . . the Longbottoms. . . . Must let all good things come in time . . . no one wants him marred, not now anyway . . ."

< >The second voice barked out a laugh and Harry found he could now hear them both properly, albeit still awaking from the realm of dreamland. He moaned unexpectedly, trying to rise. The soft cracking of a dried-out cream on his back was an odd sound and he attempted to look behind him. A white sheet and black coverlet had been pulled up to his waist so it would not mingle with the lavender-coloured paste and he was sure he was completely naked. Harry shifted slightly and, confirming his suspicions, decided he didn't want to know any more and continued trying to look over his shoulder.

< >He could dimly make out the couch and chairs sitting across the room in the darkened room, the only light beside that coming from the fireplace focused on him from some unknown place. Again he moaned, trying to cover his eyes and quell the sudden queasiness exploding dangerously in his stomach. Almost immediately someone was beside him, bending over the bed slightly to push him back down.

< >"Drink this," said a thick voice. A glass was brought to his lips and tipped. Harry coughed and sputtered, but it was too late as a heavy potion poured down his throat and he was forced to swallow the foul infusion. "That's right. Close your eyes . . ."

< >Harry felt himself start to fly away again, more quickly this time. Dully, he wondered what they'd given him. Poison, no doubt, he reasoned, licking his lips serenely as his head settled back into the goose-down pillow, held there gently by a heavy hand. Couldn't kill me before . . . trying again . . . well, it's not as if it's a terrible death . . . yet . . .

< >When he woke the second time, the covers had been drawn over his shoulders and he could no longer feel anything but a dull ache stinging the skin around his spine. He sighed and lay there for a long time, understanding everything and understanding nothing. The ointment on his back was gone, having served its purpose - whatever it was.

< >Wicked saviors, he thought darkly, cringing at the thought of the earlier state of affairs. He gripped the bed sheets in tightly clenched fists.

< >There was a shuffling of footsteps and Harry turned slightly, back still extremely tender, to see who - or what - was coming toward him. Without any warning whatsoever, he was hauled from the bed by his arms and brought face-to-face with a bowl, jutting from the darkness of robes and the room. It was steaming and the overpowering smell of stew wet his mouth. Harry hadn't eaten in at least a day or two, for all his stomach - and brain, since Uncle Vernon had refused to feed him since the nightmare several mornings before - could tell. His nudity, obvious now on removal of the coverlet, was forgotten.

< >The robed person holding the stew took the spoon in the bowl in hand, scooped out a bit into it, and brought it to Harry's lips. Though he was hungrier than he'd been in a very long time, he shut his mouth tightly, hemlock or even some other just as simplistic poison quite vivid in his mind.

< >"You do not wish to eat?" the Robe asked; Harry could see no face no matter how hard he tried to see and thought this designation was entitled to this creature, for even his original captors were somewhat easy to distinguish between, if he bothered to listen. The voice was so disfigured that he couldn't distinguish gender or even if the thing was human. Harry shook his head vigorously in dissent. "You are hungry." He nodded then again shook his head no when the spoon of food was offered again.

< >The Robe sighed, lowering the spoon. "You do not trust us. Why not?"

< >Again, Harry nodded, very slowly. "I have no reason to."

< >Instantaneously, a total darkness swept before Harry's eyes and he realized his face was halfway into the creature's hood, feeling its blistering, spicy breath on his face. He desperately bit back a cry of alarm and was supported only by the Robe grabbing his elbow tightly. "That is entirely incorrect, Mr. Potter," the Robe growled, its countenance changing so abruptly Harry felt chills run up and down his spine.

< >Fear began to leech onto Harry's face, etching itself intricately into his muscles and erupting in his eyes, but he forced himself to push it away. "You have every reason to trust us because we would not have taken the measures to bring you here just to poison you. A waste of effort purely on our part. There would be no point in that, do you see?" The creature drew away from him and Harry coughed roughly, trying not to choke as he relieved himself from the hot, heavy breath that had torturously entered his lungs.

< >Harry finally looked up and nodded weakly at the Robe. He knew it was right, whatever it was. Why would they feed me poison if they had taken such measures to capture me? These current accommodations and actions on behalf of his kidnappers reeked distinctly of a prolonged endeavor and Harry almost wished he was still at the Dursleys, succumbing himself to Uncle Vernon. What these people could do - would do - how they would play with him, how they would break him slowly apart, would be far worse than Harry knew he could even imagine. And he understood fully well, and to his utter dismay, that he was powerless to stop them.

< >"Well-behaved little vagrant now, aren't you?" the Robe asked contemptuously, picking the spoon out of the bowl again where it had been carelessly dropped in the heat of the moment.

< >Harry grew red in a mixture of anger and embarrassment, but stopped himself from answering. He couldn't get angry outwardly - he grasped that idea; had told himself so repeatedly when he'd had time to think, which had not been very long, that he could not fight back or he would face consequences he wished not to learn. It was well known, at least through his own personal experience with these people, how they worked.

< >"Oh, you don't like that, do you, little one?" the Robe mimicked Harry's furious resentment of its revile, cackling evilly. The individual who had helped wrench Harry from the bed snickered as well. The Robe sobered and looked pointedly in their direction, hushing them almost instantly. "Well, get used to it, little vagabond, because it is all you will be hearing."

< >The spoon came back to Harry's lips and he reluctantly gulped down the searing hot food. "Good." The Robe handed him the bowl and pointed to the bed, gesturing for him to sit. "Eat your food after we leave. When you are done, put the bowl - and the spoon - on the floor. I expect you'll go back to sleep once you are finished."

< >Gripping the wooden bowl and spoon in his hands, Harry lowered his eyes in affirmation and quickly, silently, sat on the bed, pausing only to cover himself again. After the door closed to the room, he promptly ate the food, despite the obvious warning of it being spiked with a sleeping draught. He did not want to risk being walked in upon and have the food ripped suddenly from his hands. When the bowl was licked clean - for who knew when he would eat again? - Harry placed the bowl on the floor beside the bed and sat back, holding the sheets around his waist protectively.

< >The next few minutes were carried out in the silence of his mind, buzzing mutely with nothing of clarity able to be discerned. He finally slumped his shoulders, far too exhausted to hold them up in a dignified manner any longer. Harry had no dignity remaining anyway, so what was the point? Turning this over in his brain, he leaned forward and rolled his shoulders toward his chest. He bowed his head slightly, besieged with thoughts and ready to retch away his meal.

< >He didn't know what had, or had not, happened to him in the hours he had been asleep. More than five but less than seven, he knew, for he felt the familiar throb of insomnia still tugging at his mind, even with the sleeping draught slowly pumping through his veins. Anything and everything could have happened - his whole body was sore and aching - and he'd only know if he checked, and he had no energy to find out the extent of his captors' maliciousness yet. That could wait a millennia or two, he decided bitterly, a hateful scowl working its way onto his face.

< >This was definitely a fine predicament.

< >And the problem of the century was how to solve the riddle. He was locked in, probably bound with magic, and being manipulated by controlled substances. These were small compared to the fact that he was utterly surrounded by intense, overwhelming figures who were shrouded in frosty mystery and most likely would not be merciful if he tried to escape their clutches. They were not expected to take kindly to something like that, or anything else he did.

< >This was definitely a fine predicament. The Boy Who Lived sighed.

< >Rewrapping and tightening the sheet around his waist, Harry stood up and decided to survey the room. He freed the sheet from the bed after a bit of a struggle, nearly stumbling into the large, squat, and very ugly armchair upholstered in shades of forest and pea-green. It was set facing the bed, about four feet away (being the only piece of furniture that was apparently and obviously not of the set) and was truly one of the oddest pieces of furniture he'd ever seen. Maybe it was just entirely out of place that he found it so hideous, but he couldn't decide.

< >The rest of the furniture in the room was definitely all supposed to be together. The polished oak of the chairs, coffee table, and couch all matched the dark polish of the king sized bed, situated in the center of the far wall, probably twenty-five or thirty feet directly from the door. There was probably four feet of space between the twin chairs and the door, and the same between the chest - his chest - at the foot of the bed and the couch.

< >Harry noticed suddenly that the floor was stone instead of wood, changing into cold rock right beneath his feet. He shivered, remembering something he had not recalled before just then. Arabella Figg - Miss Figg - Dumbledore told Sirius to round up the 'old crowd.' Mundungus Fletcher, Arabella Figg . . . she must be a witch. Harry sighed. Or was.

< >From the middle of the room, each side of the room extended at least nine metres. The wall with the fireplace in the corner and parallel to the bed was adorned with large portraits of people and creatures he didn't recognize, and landscapes of battles and death he could have lived without seeing. They didn't move, but he didn't expect them to; the severity in those eyes and the brutality of the wars said all they needed to say.

< >Wrapping the dragging part of the sheet quickly around his arm so it wouldn't be able to trip him after a quick inspection of the hearth, which was enflamed with a magic fire and oddly made out of an adobe-like material, he crossed the room to the other adjacent wall. This wall was stone, with two still paintings of a castle in the dark of night and a raven in flight against an eclipsed moon, the silhouette enhanced by the gloom winding its way around the bird. Near the end of the wall, farthest from the door into the room, was a thin wooden door. Harry opened it and found a windowless bathroom. The gleaming white of the tile and fixtures nearly blinded him, and he shut the door quickly

< >Stone blocks were also the wall used solely for the bed. Two torches were placed on either side of the bed, but neither was lit. The bed itself had a headboard and hangings, much like his bed at Hogwarts, but was not a four-poster. The drapes simply were hung and tied like curtains to the headboard, shadowing the pillows at the top part of the bed slightly. Also a major difference were the white cotton sheets, the black duvet made of thick brocade and gold thread, and the black silk of the hangings, making it look very strange indeed, lit by the strange lights now beginning to dim affixed to the inside of the headboard overhang.

< >He knew the black and white were probably symbolic in some way and closed his eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath to calm himself.

< >The wall housing the door was void of portraits or trinkets save for a few candles lit in sconces high above his head. It was painted a very dark green, interlaced with raised black patterns that were very coarse to the touch but couldn't be established well because of the light. A few more candles had been lit and were sitting on the coffee table, but he did not dare touch them, fearful of the magic that might be running through them.

< >That light's illumination led him to the door and its frame. He was surprised he hadn't noticed the light coming from it before, but, then again, certain circumstances had taken his attention away from such things. There were markings engraved in the doorframe, all the way around, one after another, shimmering on their own accord into different shades of blue. From the colour of the sky at noon etched with clouds to the colour enveloping the evening star at night, Harry thought he probably could see every blue hue to ever grace the earth with its presence. He sorely wished he had taken the Study of Ancient Runes, like Hermione had, and slowly raised a hand to touch one of the runes.

< >"Sleep now," said a voice beyond the door. Harry started and then froze, hand not an inch from the frame. His eyes shot around the room wildly, just to make sure the speaker was not in the room. No one was there. They could see him, he realized - right through the door. Perhaps even the wall. "Don't ask questions - just do it."

< >He lowered his hand and quickly crossed the room back to the bed, pulling himself in and straightening the sheets slightly to put them back into a botched attempt for crazed orderliness. He pulled the coverlet over him and turned onto his stomach, finding it far too sore to lay on his back and assuming it would be for a long time. The lights dimmed to complete darkness. All Harry would have been able to see, had he slept on his face, would be the candlelight and a blacker than the blackest night silhouette, outlined by the faintly iridescent runes, staring at him from just outside the chamber door.


< >"I know you're awake," said a new voice and Harry jumped, turning his head to his left. He was not at all pleased - in fact, extremely astonished - to see that he hadn't noticed a body sitting on the bed, not a foot from his legs, almost right beside his waist.

< >He'd been awake for at least fifteen minutes, after his sleep of unknown but definitely extended duration. He was staring into the right side of the room, trying to adjust his eyes to the dark although he himself was bathed in bright light from the fixtures above his head, positioned in the headboard high above him, which had obviously decided to come back on sometime during his sleep. Harry felt well-rested, but knowing full well he'd probably had more sleep just then than he'd had in over a week at the Dursleys wasn't exactly a grand epiphany in this situation.

< >He regarded at the hooded figure incredulously, thunderstruck he'd missed her presence. It was the smaller one from the afternoon - the day? the week? he couldn't be sure anymore - before and she'd most certainly had been there while he was still lost in the induced, dreamless reverie. She was expressionless as she regarded him from the gloom of her hooding. "No sense in hiding it any longer."

< >"I -" Harry found his voice hoarse and struggled to control it, "I wasn't hiding anything."

< >Nothing on what he could see of her face betrayed what she thought of this response. "Of course." She said nothing more for a long time, considering him from deep within her hood.

< >"How are you feeling? Are you in any pain?"

< >Seeing she was asking an honest question, he allowed himself to whisper, "All right."

< >"Good." Again, she said nothing more.

< >Harry shifted uncomfortably, eyeing her long pale fingers, which were extremely close to his left hip, strumming idly on the sheets he had exposed by pulling the black brocade duvet around him. "What -"

< >"I did not tell you to speak, nor did I ask a question that required an answer, Mr. Potter." She frowned at him sourly, disapproving, and stilled her fingers. "You wish to know why you are here." Definitely not a question.

< >"Yes," said Harry hoarsely, trying to shift slightly away from her.

< >"These are yours." A pair of glasses appeared in her hand and she offered them to him. Tentatively, Harry took them with one hand and pushed them onto his face, avoiding her eyes as he did. She smiled and reached out, trickling her nimble fingers across part of his lower back, gradually drawing her hand away only when he stiffened. "How does your back feel?"

< >He took a long time to consider his answer. He took so long, in fact, running countless answers through his head Harry almost thought he might have answered already her and she was just staring at him, wondering why he had said whatever he'd said. "Better."

< >"Good," she replied again, nodding her assent. "Did you sleep well?"

< >Harry chose not to answer this question and instead demanded, "Who are you?"

< >The woman regarded him coolly, all emotion disappearing from her face. "Do you really want to know that, Harry?" Her voice held its odd, low tone and in there was an underlying warning, as if to tell him he would not like what he would see.

< >Numbly, Harry shook his head yes.

< >A small smile began to spread on her face and she raised her hands to her hood. The long, flowing sleeves of her robes slipped down to her elbows, exposing snow-white flesh and she paused, holding her black hood with her completely contrasted fingers. Then, leisurely, unhurriedly, so Harry could see and comprehend every feature she possessed, she began to remove the cloth and gloomy shielding from her face.

< >Slowly, a thin, gracefully angular face appeared, silver blue eyes sparkling bright against the pale skin. The black fabric then crested her forehead and fell away, revealing short, slicked back blonde hair, and the only person who could own up to all those attributes was one person.

< >Draco Malfoy.

< >The boy's eyes, kith and kin of both the ocean and the aurora borealis, twinkled maliciously and he smirked, raising his eyebrows as Harry groaned loudly and turned away, burying his head in his arms. He cocked his head slightly as his face fully appeared from the hood, now luminous like the moon that it was no longer shrouded in murkiness of shadows. His smile was a seemingly permanent fixture on his arrogant, self-assured face.

< >"I'm not that terrible, am I, Harry?" Malfoy asked in the same, indistinguishable-of-gender tone, but nevertheless cold and brogue as usual.

< >"I knew it," Harry was muttering to himself. "How did I possibly know?"

< >"Oh, come off it, Potter, you didn't know, you only suspected." Harry lifted and turned his head slowly around, staring at the flaxen-haired schoolmate in front of him. Malfoy sighed. "The only person you might have been able to think of, had you not been unconscious since early last night, would perhaps be the Death Eaters who had captured you before. A faction of some sort might be doing all this to you. But truly? You had no idea. No idea at all . . ."

< >Harry could say nothing; it was all true, but it also made sense for Draco Malfoy, son of the second-in-command to Lord Voldemort, to be involved in this. "Your . . . your voice . . ." he finally managed to croak, trying to distance himself from the subject until completely necessary.

< >"Mmm?" Draco asked, batting his eyes prettily with his hands folded in his lap. His expression was blank for a moment, then what Harry was talking about dawned on him and he crinkled his nose, being more expressive than Harry had ever seen him. "Oh, that." He reached into an unseen pocket near the front of his robes and withdrew his wand. He brought the tip of cherry wood diving rod to his throat and muttered, "Finite incantatum."

< >Malfoy lowered the wand and coughed into his other hand, clearing his throat. His eyes watered slightly, focusing on the wall to get rid of them. He began speaking in a steadily clearer voice that was his own, "Well, couldn't have you screaming out our names to the Muggles. You might have told someone who we were. Doesn't matter if we're just wizards dressed in black robes. They'd figure we're Death Eaters, simple as that, but having names? Names means knowing style, characteristics, favourites, and we can't have them recalling all that, now, can we? Because then it would be fairly obvious."

< >Harry had no idea what his classmate was going on about, other than he'd used a spell to disguise his voice and that it was uncomfortable to undo; the water pooling in Draco's ever-threatening eyes was quite evident of that.

< >"Don't act as if you didn't know my father was a Death Eater, Potter," continued Draco in a perfectly conversational - if not cheerful - tone as he observed their surroundings not so curiously, the fleeting pain evidently gone. His eyes flickered back to meet Harry's and held them, his posture suddenly serious as he leaned slightly forward. "It's not as if I don't know what happened that night."

< >"Malfoy, I -" Harry began, trying hurriedly to get out of the bed and not crumple under the aching tenderness of his person while still keeping a wary eye on the boy sitting beside him.

< >Malfoy stopped him with a calmly raised hand, looking at him pointedly until the midnight-graced boy was forced to collapse back into the blankets. He shook his head, tutting at Harry and shaking a finger in a condescending fashion. "So formal, Potter. Really. Such tenacity. Call me Draco; I'll never answer to anything else, and you'd better get used to it, since you're going to be here quite a while."

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Author's Note:

< >Thanks to the very talented artist, Sidh, who drew two wonderful pictures for "The Spirit Room." Here is the beautiful piece of bruised Harry from chapter one and "Death Eater" Draco from this chapter. Sidh also wrote the great fic "The Song of the Banshee," so go check that out!

Chapter Two | Chapter Four

< >The Harry Potter books and other trademarks are by Ms. Joanne Kathleen Rowling, Little Literacy Agency, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Arthur A. Levine, & Warner Brothers. All rights reserved.
< >This website and all work is 1999-2002 Chako'Lanna Inc. and its designer, Gypsy Silverleaf. All character art is 2001-2002 Meg Kerin unless otherwise stated. Use of information and/or art is strictly prohibited unless written permission has been given.

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