Title: The Rivers Run Red
Author: Bleeding Star Goddess (aka BSG) and can be contacted at Toqkid@aol.com or Satarian@aol.com
Rating: A hard NC-17
Challenge Response: The Scratched Hearts Challenge
Challenge Scenario(s): B) Assassin! Harry
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story shall take place in an Alternate Universe and will contain elements of Asphyxiation, Blood Play, Extremely Questionably Sexual Intercourse, Gore, Cannibalism, Cross-Dressing, Relationships of the Homosexual Nature, Major and Minor Character Death, Abuse, Original Characters, and Domination/Submission situations.
I REPEAT, THIS STORY SHALL CONTAIN VAST AMOUNTS OF GORE AND EVEN CANNIBALISM, THE SCENES IN WHICH THESE EVENTS OCCUR WILL BE DESCRIPTIVE AND GRAPHIC!
Summary: He is deadly, swift, and untraceable. He is also cursed. But when he gets too close to the target can he still do the deed?
The Rivers Run Red
I was frozen. My body was laid siege with the cold of the dead. My hands reached out for warmth and there! There was the racing pulse of a scared heart replying to my needy seeking hands. I gripped at the pulse, needing the fire rushing just beneath the surface. Soon there was a soft whimper, the scratching of nail-bitten fingers against my own, a face starting to redden, and a wild struggle for freedom underneath me.
I gazed into crying hazel eyes and smiled.
"Don't cry," I soothed as my hands squeezed harder. "I know it hurts but it will be over soon…"
A gasping word, "Why?"
My cold hands started to warm, stealing the wonderful heat of another's life.
"Don't ask lovely, don't ask," I cooed.
A sob, a breath, a scratch, and then… stillness.
I closed my eyes and pulled my hands away. My body tingled with heat; my blood slowly started to run through my veins. My eyes opened briefly so I could close the lids of her red-rimmed hazel orbs and placed two gold coins atop the tanned skin.
There is the always familiar soft scent of hemlock and deadly nightshade, a quick sliding of a blade, and the slice of air as my dagger embedded into the wall beside the newcomer's head, locking a strand of hair beneath its point, and then… a chuckle.
I sighed as I stood and turned to look at the door of the small one-roomed shack. The rotten, termite-eaten floors didn't creak as I moved. My green eyes locked with gray, a smirk challenged my solemn lips, and a pale hand pulled out a strand of golden-almost silver-locks of hair from beneath the dagger's point.
"I never miss, Draco…," I whispered before I walked past the blonde.
I knew that Draco was gazing back down at the corpse, I made her red hair fan around her head, and I had straightened her corset and petticoats. She would look to be sleeping if it weren't for my gold coins upon her eyes. Draco will sneer, knowing that I had struck with perfect untraceable accuracy once again, not even red marks around her throat from the specified killing.
Draco will spin on his heel and then hiss as his cheek will be hit by the wind, and it will hurt. He'll stop and lift a hand to his face. His eyes will narrow as he pulls back his hand to see blood upon it, blood that is darker, richer, and so much sweeter. He'll cluck his tongue before smiling.
"Damn, he's still in the lead," is what he'll mumble, and I know he'll say it because I say it too when he's still in the lead.
And then Draco will walk out and walk away as I pray to the growing pyre for the woman's safe passage to the Underworld, to Hades, for no one else shall.
Besides, Draco shall chuckle outwardly as he walks through the woods on some Marquise's land, because even as I pray, he knows I'll come back to the Dragon.
"Of all the animals in the entire world, there are but two so deeply entrenched in magic and mystery that the very utterance of their names spark the instant ember of witches and demons in the mind. The ethereal visage of the cat and snake, two distinctly different creatures allied in enigma, elegance, intelligence and immersed in myth. They are beings whom have been praised and disgraced, worshipped and vilified all around the world in all cultures. Their attributes and flaws are vast and chronicled."
I watched as he walked into the rundown shack, following the cooing and simpering female in front of him. She smiled up at him, thinking she was worth his time, worth his night, but she'll never be, not someone like her.
The night was getting colder, I could see my breath with each exhale and I pulled my coat closer around my body, watching and waiting in the bushes as I watched them walk. They were headed inside, and as soon as they were inside he would be the perfect statue of a stoic god and the same old play would begin.
I got out from my hiding place and neared the door to make sure nothing went wrong - not that it ever did - and then took out a cigar as I leaned against the decayed wall, this too, was part of the same old scene.
"The snake and his cleverness, his fangs, his hypnotic dance, and with his honeyed words that sweeten his venom as he ensnares his next victim onto his dinner plate."
He looked up at the other with large eyes and grinned.
"Doesn't this sound hilarious Draco?"
Draco frowned as he looked over his shoulder again.
"Shh Harry! We can't be seen here or we'll get in trouble! Just keep reading!"
We were in the forest of a Marquise's land. The job was simple enough, the Marquise wanted the maid gone because the Marquis couldn't keep his dick to himself. I let out a ring of smoke from my cigar, taking in the heat that pooled through and past my lips. The Marquise requested strangulation, which was unusual, since the client rarely cared about how it was done just so long as it was.
I sneered around the cigar's length; we shouldn't even be doing a job like this. We were too good for it… he was too good for it. But he took the job, and thus, for a week, he flirted and gained the attention of the redheaded bint.
"The cat with her independence, her eyes, her nimble feet, her knowledge, and her soft alluring purrs as her claws and fangs tighten into her prey’s throat."
Draco stopped Harry from continuing and pulled him back from the table and into the shadows of the musty library as one of the monks entered. They remained perfectly still, trying not to even breathe.
"Where are those boys?" they heard the monk mutter.
Harry bit his lip and leaned in closer to Draco, the book gripped to his chest.
Draco wrapped an arm around Harry's shoulders, trying to bring both of them closer into the shadows because they couldn't let the monk find them in the forbidden library.
I knew how it went as it usually goes the same when strangulation is requested. She would try to kiss him, they always try to kiss him, but he would put a finger to her lips before taking her hand and leading her to sit on the floor. She would follow, they always follow, and then he would run his hands through her hair. She'll say something stupid, they always say something stupid, and she'll say something moronic like his hands being cold.
And that's when the drama shall really commence.
He'll smile; it's the smile that a normal animal would run from… but humans' aren't normal. He'll smile and then trail his hands from her hair to her throat. He won't say anything, not yet. And then… and then he'll lean over her and squeeze.
She'll struggle; she wouldn’t be human if she didn't struggle. She'll cry too, and that's when he'll talk, that's when he'll soothe her.
The monk left and both boys exhaled in relief. Draco suddenly shivered as Harry's breath ran across his ear. He couldn't turn his head and so he was stuck as Harry just kept whispering the words into him, the meaning engraving itself onto his mind for all of his existence.
"So, it is with the greatest and utmost care of Mother Nature to see that the two beings’ cannot tolerate each other and that they are unable and wholly unwilling to procreate with one another. For were these two beings - as magical and dangerous as they are - were to have a child, that child would be, and in fact could be, nothing less than the nexus of all magic in the universe."
She'll get a word out, they somehow always get a word out, sometimes it's a question, sometimes it’s a plea, sometimes it's just a word. And he'll answer, not because he feels obligated or guilty, but he'll answer and soothe her.
And then… then it's all over. He'll lay the coins on her eyes for Charon so she can get across the river Styx*.
I tapped the ashes off the cigar and stepped inside.
He could smell me, of course, he could smell a flea's breath a kilometer away if he so chose. He threw a dagger at me; I chuckled and gazed at my pinned hair logged beneath the poisoned tip.
He sighs and stands with the grace of a jungle cat, sinewy muscle sliding under skin. He locks eyes with me, his fiery emeralds gaze into my steel. He has a wall, a mask, every type of dam possible to stop people from seeing into his soul-binding gaze. But not me… never me…
"I never miss, Draco," he whispers because sometimes I think he doesn't know how to talk above that level.
He walks past me and I grab his wrist, if only for a second but he doesn't comment, it doesn't register, because he's going cold again.
I gazed back down at the corpse, her red hair fanned around her head, her corset and petticoats straightened. But she never stood a chance. She looked to be sleeping if it weren't for the gold coins upon her eyes. No one ever stands a chance and I sneer, the Angel of Death struck with perfect untraceable accuracy once again, not even red marks around her throat from the specified killing.
I spin on my heel; it wasn't worth the time to gaze upon his victims, not when it was such a low caliber hit. I stopped and then hissed as the wind hit my cheek. I lifted the hand not holding the cigar to my face. My eyes narrow and I gaze upon the sight of my own blood, gleaming, darkening, and eternally red. I hear my tongue click and then I can feel myself smiling.
"Damn, he's still in the lead."
I walked out of the hovel and handed him my cigar so he could start the fire and set the damned hut aflame. All traces destroyed, all evidence ruined. I walked away, my boots crunching in the snow; I left the Angel to pray undisturbed.
Besides, I chuckled outwardly, as I walked through the woods on the Marquise's land, the Angel always came back to me. He had too because the Angel of Death belonged to me…
I didn't bother looking up from my book as I heard the Angel enter the room. Oh, it wasn't an obvious sound like a normal human might give off like a shuffle of the foot or an intake of breath. No, what gave him away - and something that he doesn't even know he does and something only I can hear - was the beating of his heart.
He walks quickly across the crimson rug and kneels before my armchair. He closes his eyes and rests his head on my thigh. I put my book down on the side-table closer to the hearth with its blazing fire. His gloved hands run up my legs and wrap around my waist. I smile as he gives himself up entirely to me, prostrating himself in the utter form of submission.
"My Harry," I cooed, "come closer."
He nods his head once against my thigh and stands smoothly before resituating himself on my lap. He straddles my legs and leans his head on my shoulder. I chuckle at his display of childishness.
"Shh, I know" and I always cut him off because I always know what he is going to say in these situations.
The Angel of Death, my Harry, is always cold. The doctors say it's because of his blood, I know it is because of his curse. He does not love me; he'll never love me because he hates me with every fiber of his being, every seam, every muscle, every tendon, and every organ, filled to the brim with hatred for my person just as I do so hate his.
I kiss his forehead and smile into his hair as I make quick work of his black pants and grip his flaccid length.
He hates me because he needs me, because I can always provide a constant warmth, warmth that no fire can procure, no blanket, no hot meal. I set his blood aflame and get it to move through him; l am unlike the heat of his victims, I do not turn cold, my heat does not dissipate. But I hate that I have to give it and I hate him more because our curse makes me the only one able to provide the everlasting heat. It is not just the heat and passion of sex, it is my heat, my life.
He whimpers, pawing at my shirt and I award him with slow movements of my hand against his growing erection.
"Tell me you want this," I hiss into his ear before biting at the sensitive lobe.
He pants and bucks into my hands.
I move my bites away from his ear and along his jaw. The marks are red against his pale skin.
There is no tenderness in this. He does not come to me for love or kindness because he hates both emotions because we knew neither when we were growing up. I divest him of the rest of his clothes, and he of mine. He sits naked and panting and needing and I have not stopped my slow torture along his cock.
He is groaning as he clings to me, his gloved hands gripping my shoulders tightly.
I bite at his lips, drawing blood and a moan from them.
"Take off your gloves."
He shudders as my command runs through him. My commands he must always follow and it is my commands he hates.
He hesitates, only for a second, but I see it, and I squeeze his shaft hard. He whimpers and quickly pulls the black leather gloves off.
"Throw them into the fire."
He bites his lips and I growl before I shove him off me and onto the floor, I follow him before his bearings could be gained and quickly pin him to the rug, uncaring if he is in any pain from the fall.
He likes those gloves; I made them for him for his tenth birthday. I grab the gloves out of his hands and throw them across the room, away from the fire.
I claw my nails down his chest and he hisses and I sneer at the seams of blood that follow my sharp claws which have lengthened for the occasion. I grab his throat and lean over him, sneering still to fuel his hate. He thrashes beneath me, moaning, panting, and needing. And my body sucks in the cold, needing it, as he demands my warmth, my heat.
"My little Angel, who do you need?"
"You," he gasps out.
My sneer transforms then, into a smile, because it hurts me what I must now do. He does not want tenderness or love, he wants hate and fear and death. He does not know how to deal with kinder emotions… not anymore.
I remove my hands from his throat and while I fist his length and he is distracted with the heat that pools there, I reach into the inside pocket of my discarded waistcoat. I pull out a dagger; it’s a relatively small dagger, the blade no bigger than a woman's hand in length, but it is beautiful. The hilt is silver, and shaped like a snake coiled around a cat. Both creatures have precious gems for eyes. The snake is poised to strike at the cat's throat and the cat already has a claw near the snake's head.
It is my most cherished item, given to me by the Angel himself.
I take the cold dagger and sneer down at him; it is cold like his body, like the cold I thieve from him as he takes my easily given fire. I continue to stroke him, yanking the base of his length to deter him from completion ever time. I wave the dagger in front of his lust filled orbs and I see hate fill those wonderfully expressive, cryptic gems. He thrashes harder underneath me, bucking his hips into my naked pelvis.
I cannot shiver in pleasure, to shiver would show weakness in front of him, and if he sees any weaknesses, he will turn cold and feed upon it and I will become his next victim whether he wants me to be or not, it is within both our natures.
I sneer instead, as I am not allowed to shiver, and run the flat-side of the blade along his chest. He, however, shivers, I allow him to show such a weakness, such pleasure, because he knows I crave to see him react, to see him pant and moan and need me. He does not deny me that craving or his cold because I do not deny him his heat.
The Angel's legs wrap around my waist, he is warm and when he is warm, he loves me as well as hates me.
I graze the blade up to his neck and kiss him before I flick my wrist and start to carve into his skin. He cries and whimpers and pants as I dig deeper into his skin with each centimeter the blade moves, but he does not thrash. Oh no, not my Angel, he lies perfectly still as the dagger works it way from the base of his throat to the top of his navel. There is no real design but as the blood spills between our bodies I grow harder, hungrier, and the pattern becomes fiercer, sharper.
I bite his lips again, his blood pooling into my mouth as well as his own.
"Need you," he moans.
I sneer and grip his throat, bringing the dagger out of his stomach and close to his eye.
"How do you need me?" my voice is a hiss, something that will forever drive him wild.
The blood on the dagger starts to drop onto his cheek and I lick it away. I want to bite off the skin where the blood drops; I want to be a ravenous wild predator and tear off his skin, I want to rip out his heart and feast upon it as if it has been my only meal in years. I want to tear him limb from limb and bathe in his cold blood that only I can warm, stealing his cold for my own body! I grip his throat harder and I know the gleam has entered my eyes. I have not lost myself, I have not lost control! I have become what I hate to be, what I'm meant to be, what he is able to drive me to be!
"Need you… in me!" he wheezes.
I snarl, I have become the beast; I have become the fire breathing Dragon.
I do not prepare him; to prepare him is a kindness and a kindness is something neither of us wants nor need.
I ram into him. He arches into me and I bite at the largest bloody seam along his chest. He claws at my back and I scrape my nails down his sides, there will be blood, so much blood, so much beautiful, delicious dark blood!
Over and over I slam into him, bang, bang, slap! Blood slicks his entrance and removes the oppressive friction.
I grip his throat again, the dagger lies near his head, forgotten, but in our frenzy we know it's still there.
"I belong to you Draco!" he yells and I slam into him again and again and again, bang, slap, slap, bang. Harder and harder, more and more blood! There must be more blood!
My hand claws into his hip moves and yanks at his cock, harder and harder, faster and faster!
"Do you love me?" I hiss as I bite his ear, drawing more and more blood for the pool around us because there must be more! Always more!
I yell as I slap him across the face, it is not what I want to hear, not what he wants to say. And we hate each other for this dependence.
I slam harder and harder into him, my nails dig into his chin as I force him to look me in the eyes.
He smiles then, the smile that would make any normal animal run away because it is the smile of a predator, but to me, it his smile of undying, eternal devotion and love.
"Always," he whispers before kissing me as he reaches for the dagger.
I smile into the heated kiss because I know what happens next, because it always happens although not always in the same place. He picks up the dagger and rams the blade into my shoulder - this time - bringing both of us to climax.
I yell in both pain and pleasure and he follows behind me as I continue to tighten my grip around his throat.
And together we lay in darkness, in the abyss of orgasm and pain, and glorious heated and cooled blood, intertwined.
I woke to warmth and softness. I knew by the scent of the sandalwood before opening my eyes that we were in our bedroom. The cold body of the Angel's was wrapped and intertwined with mine. I smiled as I ran a hand through his long silken black tresses.
"You're awake," he whispers against my shoulder.
"As are you," I trailed my hand down to his chin and lifted his head.
"Does it hurt?" he asks as he strokes my bandaged arm.
"Did you miss?"
He recounts the evening in his head and the blow, I know the answer.
"Then it doesn't hurt."
He sits up and leans over me, kissing me chastely before stretching, he is not bandaged because he is no longer wounded; only light scratches (which those too will heal faster than mine) are left behind.
"Nessa and Charles had a fit last night."
I chuckle as I pull him back down for another kiss by his hair.
"I imagine they would, we just replaced that rug after all."
It was the second rug that week; Harry liked to see how fast we could get rid of it. Nessa and Charles, our most loyal servants and when we were young, our protectors, didn't approve of how the Angel and I expressed our relationship though they understood we could prove it no other way.
"I didn't like the rug," he mumbles as he breaks from the kiss.
"It wasn't red enough," he idly runs his fingers along my bandages, "It wasn't your red."
I sit up completely the black silk sheets of our bed falls down to my knees. I am careful of my shoulder, but as any other time he struck without hitting a bone or an organ so; I wasn't in any real danger as long as the wrappings and medicines were reapplied when they needed to be; besides it would only be another day or two before it completely healed.
He purrs and remains contentedly pooled in my lap. The Angel is regaining warmth and I am gaining cold and in those rare moments where it is just us, no mission, no outside, no ownership, no curse, we can be a little bit like we once were when we were children.
"No, my Dragon's lap is so warm and squishy."
I growl as I smack him upside the head.
"I am not getting fat!"
He laughs, and just wraps his arms around my waist in a steel grip, nuzzling my navel with his cheek.
"Of course not my Dragon, but you are just so warm!"
I smile as he purrs louder and I run my hands down the path between his shoulder blades. He doesn't tense, because he knows it is my touch.
"What do you want for breakfast?" I ask idly, not really caring because I know Mia will make anything for us in a heartbeat.
"I want Dragon with a side of toast."
I chuckle and shake my head.
"But you had Dragon for dinner, too much of it and you'll get sick of it."
"Sick of Dragon? Never," he whispers.
It is at this time that there is a knock on the door because there is always a knock on the door when Harry and I forget the outside world, to remind us that we are not allowed to forget, to forget the outside would mean we would forget our curse and our hatred.
We both let out a sigh and he unwound himself from my heat and I from his cold. I watched him stretch like a cat, purring even, and I just chuckled before I got up out of the bed.
Uncaring of my state of undress I opened my door. I raised a questioning brow at Nessa.
She rolled her eyes, not even bothered by my nudity before she took her hands off her hips and crossed them over her ample chest.
"A messenger is here My Lord, and he would love to meet your wife."
I heard Harry snort in disgust behind me.
"Very well Nessa, tell our guest that my wife and I shall be down soon enough and please express we find it terribly rude to intrude on our home before we've even had breakfast."
I closed the door and turned to see Harry already pulling out a light blue dress with silver trim for the Duchess Malfoy.
"You don't have to come Angel; I could lie and say you're not feeling well."
Harry snorted before slipping on the pantaloons and petticoats. I went over to him as he sat in front of the vanity and I wrapped one arm around his waist and another around his shoulders.
"My pretty Angel," I whisper in his ear as I bite harshly at his shoulder.
"Enough Dragon or your wife won't be able to make an appearance in time. Besides, you need to get dressed."
I kissed his temple before helping him with the corset and then removing myself from him taking his blessed cold with me and going over to my own closet to get ready.
I put on dark blue pants and a dark gray shirt before putting a lighter blue waistcoat over it. I put a blue jacket with gray trim over the waistcoat. I was always careful of my shoulder and it was stiff as I tied my blonde hair back with a simple leather tie.
I strapped my boot dagger around my shin on both legs before putting on my black boots. I placed another dagger in the inside pocket of the jacket and my favorite dagger just in reach under my waistcoat. My arsenal of poisoned needles sat snuggly near my right wrist while my lock-picks rested around my other arm.
I turned to look at Harry and smiled as I gazed upon the beautiful visage of the woman before me. His black tendrils were pinned to the top of his head by several poisoned needles and lock-picks, beneath his skirts were two pistols loaded and ready. Between his imaginary ample breasts was another dagger well concealed beneath the corset. And, most likely, four (though sometimes he would put five) more daggers sat sheathed under his sleeves.
He put on light makeup, a little powder on his cheeks to hide the already fading bruise from where I had slapped him.
"You look lovely my dear."
"Thank you My Lord," a soft voice neither male nor female and yet both replied. "Do you like my dress?" my Harry asked as he picked up his fan from the vanity.
"Very pretty," I kissed his temple as I opened the door and gestured for him to leave first.
We walked down the manor arm in arm, passing the portraits and artifacts that we have acquired over the years. What servants we passed bowed or curtsied, and upon seeing Harry, some of them sighed in awe for the "Duchess Malfoy".
I leaned in close to him.
"I think you have more admirers when you are a woman," I whispered in his ear.
He looked up at me and smiled, running his fan along my jaw (1).
"That's because they think you truly have a wife and that when I am a man, I am just a good friend that visits," he whispered right back.
We passed two of the newer maids talking furiously together.
"Isn't it romantic Annie? The Duke and Duchess are so in love!" they giggled and I gave them a slight smile while Harry pretended to blush and hide behind his now open fan.
We walked down the main staircase and were greeted by Charles.
"My Lord, My Lady, the guest is in the drawing room."
"Very well Charles, and Charles," I called after him as he started to leave, "have Mia prepare us some breakfast after our guest leaves."
"Of course my Lord and what shall I have her prepare?"
The Angel and I shared a glance and I was almost tempted to reply Dragon with a side of toast, but that was conversation meant for our world, separate from the outside.
Charles bowed and we headed to the drawing room. Jacob, one of the slightly older servants, opened the doors.
I gazed upon our visitor and instantly knew it was a young Lord in disguise, certainly not a Duke, perhaps a newly titled Baron, but the boy was either a good enough actor to fool even Nessa and Charles or a complete and utter fool that our two head of staff didn't think him smart enough to be a noble.
I motioned for the doors to close behind us and then moved Harry to sit upon the small couch and once he was comfortable and all of his skirts straightened, I sat down after him.
"Duke, Duchess, please allow me to--"
"You requested to see my wife, a rather impertinent demand for a mere messenger," I cut in, to request for 'my wife's presence' business needed to be done and I was in no mood for a horrible dance with this boy for I knew he couldn't follow the steps in the slightest.
I kept my mask in place as I watched him bristle at being called a messenger.
"It was of the greatest import--"
"My husband and I are very busy with all of our charity work boy," Harry whispered from behind his fan (2).
Harry and I were playing the game, the boy was not, the messenger act only worked for so long and the both of us were already bored.
"Will you please let me finish!"
"And why should we? Who are you to demand such a thing? You, a mere servant?"
The young Baron stood, huffing.
"I am NOT a mere servant! I am Baron Finnigan!"
I raised a brow in question at him and sneered, so it was Baron Seamus Finnigan, was it?
A horrible realization came across the boy's face and he looked around him quickly. It was rather comical really, in a pathetic sort of way. I glanced at Harry and saw him get increasingly bored and a bored Angel was never a good thing for anyone's life or health.
"Quiet," I hissed.
Finnigan gulped as he locked eyes with me.
He instantly sat down.
Harry 'hmmed' and tapped his temple with his fan (3). In reply, I picked off an imaginary piece of lint off my jacket, telling him that I thought the boy to be too stupid to be luring us into a trap, but better to keep on the safe side.
"Now Lord Finnigan, as you seem to lack the finer subtleties of the dance, just tell me why you requested our… expertise," and in truth, the young baron truly didn't know the intricacies of the dance he was too young and too newly titled.
We once had a Marquis request our services, a Lord Snape; he had been an excellent dancer. Every word we had spoken between the three of us needed to be turned over on all sides for a different and hidden meaning. The kill had been a challenge as well, he wanted twenty-six barbaric thieves who had raped and harassed his five children killed in some of the most painful ways. Some had been poisoned, others dismembered, we even let one or two get caught by the authorities so they could be hung. Those two were the first in fact, a warning to the others.
It had taken us two weeks for all twenty-six thieves, the leader had been especially tricky but we caught him and even allowed the Marquis to join in. It was rather spectacular for the Marquis was a genius with poisons and herbs. He was able to keep the thief completely conscious while a poison ate away at his skin.
Harry's foot gently nudged my own, bringing me back to the pathetic excuse of a Baron at hand.
"I-I want to throw a-a-a… charity…"
I glanced back at Harry and gestured for him to get us some tea. He nodded and stood, gliding over to the tea set near the bay window.
"Is that so? And what is this charity for?"
Finnigan glanced at Harry.
"Perhaps this isn't conversation for a gentle woman's--"
"Nonsense," it was best to dissuade that they held any power, besides, I could tell his stupidity was grating on the Angel, "you requested to see my wife as well as I, well we are here. Besides, I do not throw a single charity without my wife."
"It's a charity--" he started again.
"So you have said," Harry replied softly as he handed me a cup of tea before sitting down with his own.
"It's for a bastard child…"
My attention caught at this.
"Oh? Bastard children are usually swept under the rug, Baron Finnigan, their mothers with them. How do you know this child is not already dead?"
"Because this bastard child has been staying with me… a ward of my manor," Finnigan fidgeted, he had nothing to occupy his hands.
"How kind of you my Lord," Harry whispered after he sipped his tea.
"Yes well… my wife… she had a baby…"
"A boy I presume?"
He looked at me.
"Congratulations Lord Finnigan," Harry continued.
"Yes well, with my son around… my ward needs to leave…"
"I'm curious my Lord," I began after taking a swallow of my tea, "why did your ward remain in your house to begin with?"
"Well… my son is only a year old and my ward is seven…"
Harry and I didn't need to share a knowing glance. The young baron had committed a classic biblical story, he was Abraham, his wife was Sara and the heir was Isaac. Only this time, Ishmael would not be allowed to live.
"Very well, would you like this charity done any certain way?"
"He's just a child!"
"You wanted the charity did you not?"
Finnigan bit his lip and both Harry and I were disgusted by the display of weakness.
"Make it quick then, I want it quick and… painless…"
"And the mother?"
"Dead," he whispered.
I raised a brow at that.
"Childbirth, she died in childbirth, I suppose it was for the best really…"
"If you say so my Lord…"
"Of course," Harry whispered, pretending to blush, "we won't do this charity without certain help you know."
Finnigan began to panic; he started sweating and fidgeting more.
"Yes, it does cost to put on these charity events you know, the base price for putting on a charity event is always two-thousand, and from there it shall increase or remain the same…"
He licked his lips and started tapping his thighs. I worry about these new aristocrats, these Lords and Ladies who get their titles by just having enough cash. Finnigan couldn't be much younger than Harry or I, in fact, no more than ten years our junior… less probably.
"How much-What would be the best price?"
"It always depends my Lord, you want it quick so that is in your favor, you want it painless, and that is in your favor too. But how many do you want to know about the charity?" the Angel always decided whether or not to take the job, I always decided the price but I stayed silent as Harry continued to explain how the price for the kill might change.
"Clean as well, the boy's mother is dead and as your ward has no other family, there shall be no one seeking retribution for having a miserable time, correct?"
"Yes, um, I'm--"
"No need to go into particulars Lord Finnigan, we're just trying to figure out how much you need to put in for this charity!" my Harry giggled, fanning himself and signaling to me exactly what he thought of Finnigan (4). "To continue though, how exactly does your young ward live with you?"
"Um, he has a Governess, but she's been sick lately, beyond her no one knows about him, not really. The servants think he's a nephew staying with me until my brother and his wife return from their voyage for their new trading route and my wife knows but she hates him."
"Does this Governess know about the charity?"
"No, no one knows, not my wife and… no one… and I don't want it to be a surprise…"
Harry turned his head towards the window and fanned himself again (5) business was done and the price to my decision.
"Very well," I started, taking Harry's tea and mine back over to the server, "your part in the charity shall be 2460 in gold. You will pay all of it before the charity or the occasion shall not commence, at any point in time you decide not to proceed with the event you shall pay a quarter of it on top of your earlier investment." I came back and sat down next to him, smiling. "And one more thing Baron Seamus Finnigan, if you or anyone else betrays us or you do not pay or slight us in any manner, if you allow our names to slip to certain friends in law enforcement perhaps. Know this, you cannot and will never be able to redden both of our hands and one of us or the other will hold a charity, free of charge in your honor and I promise you it won't be a quick occasion. Do we understand each other?"
"P-P-Perfectly Duke Malfoy!" he squeaked.
I smiled and stood, offering my arm to Harry.
"Wonderful, my wife shall contact you sometime soon about the event's date while my servants show you out."
I opened the door and looked back over my shoulder.
"And boy, tell your Master and Mistress that no matter how inspired they are by our work, that we shall not receive them in our home, my wife and I are far to busy to entertain a young Lord and Lady's whim."
Finnegan looked confused for a moment, before recollection came upon him. He got up and bowed.
"I'm very sorry to hear that you will not meet my Master's, Duke Malfoy, but I thank you for your time."
I nodded and gestured to Jacob.
"See to it that he is shown out promptly."
We walked back towards our room, and I caught Charles by the elbow.
"Charles, have Nessa bring our breakfast up to our rooms, we shall be dining there this morning."
"Of course my Lord," he whispered before heading off.
I chuckled as I stroked his cock through the skirts and nipped his earring-adorned ear.
"It will never work," he sighed as he leaned back into me, his gloved hands messaging my thighs.
We stared at ourselves in his vanity mirror, or more precisely, we stared at him in the mirror.
"And why not?" I purred as I ran my hand up his corset to grip his chin, our eyes locked through the mirror. "The family is dumb enough."
"My face is too recognizable as the Duchess Malfoy; they'll never buy the Governess sham. And if we use the identical twins explanation people are going to wonder why my "sister" is a mere governess."
He turned his head and caught my lips, his body starting to warm.
"They won't recognize you, perhaps the Baron but not the family," I whispered as I wrapped my hand around his throat. His breath hitched and he gripped my hair tightly, biting my lips and making them bleed.
"What do you mean?"
"You never actually appear at the charities as the Duchess Malfoy, oh, you're there; I don't think you've missed a single one. But do you really think people remember the face of the servant who is just refilling their wine goblet?"
Harry pulled away and sneered.
"And that Baron is so afraid of being caught he won't even comment on it, let alone ask if I might be the Duchess Malfoy."
I chuckled as I caught his lips again and leaned him over the vanity, my blood pooling into his mouth.
"Yes… how lucky for you," I hissed as I started removing the weapons under his skirts.
He shivered as the cool fabric of the dress pressed against his heating skin.
"No," he whispered.
I sneered and yanked him forward by his hair.
"You don't get a choice," I hissed before biting his ear.
He groaned and arched up into me.
"More," he pleaded.
And more I gave him.
Nessa and Charles circled Harry as he stood before them in an extremely high-collared autumn red dress with brown trim.
"Your posture is impeccable, that's good, they'll expect that of a Governess. Your bun needs to be tighter, no ornament beyond what is necessary to keep it there and in place," Nessa commented. "This means you're going to have to be more decisive of the needles and lock picks."
Charles turned to me.
"My Lord is there anyway to get him glasses?"
"I'll see what I can do."
Charles nodded before handing Harry a simple plain black fan.
"You'll only have one fan as a Governess, don't lose it sire."
Nessa took a handkerchief and wiped at Harry's cheeks.
"Less makeup sire, nothing but lipstick, and make sure it's always a very dark red."
"When you walk, either have your hands clasped in front of you or behind your back, never at you sides and never near your face," Charles instructed as he demonstrated a little.
"And while you're walking, keep your eye-level straight ahead, and when the Baron or Baroness walks past you, nod your head but do not curtsey, you are a Governess, not a servant, you're educating their children."
I continued to watch in my naked and newly bloodied (though already healing) state from the bed as Nessa and Charles warned and cautioned Harry about certain traps the Baroness might lay since she knew of the bastard son and would try to get Harry to leave.
We had decided to kill the child with a poison, it would be painless when it took full affect but until it did, it would act upon the boy's system and show every sign of a very bad cold. We instructed Finnigan to throw a small ball in honor of his heir's and wife's good health, the Duke and Duchess Malfoy were to be invited, sadly, only the Duke would attend, and while the signs of the poison would just be halfway through, the bastard child was to come as well, although he would eventually be forced to leave as it got worse.
We had also coordinated a small charity ball in their home since they helped "donate" so much to the cause. By this time, the poison would be fully affective and sadly, the bastard would not be able to attend. As the Duke, I would request to dance with the oh-so-proper Governess since I enjoy her dry wit, and while she was away, the child would die painlessly.
And what was truly great about the plan, as Nessa had pointed out once I and the Angel had told her and Charles, even if the original Governess returned (which was unlikely), I could easily change my request to her.
I smiled, as Harry absorbed all the information given to him. And again, I was struck by how much a part of our lives Nessa and Charles were and what would have happened if they hadn't found us.
They shivered and shook in the freezing rain, tears running down their eyes as they clung to each other. It was okay to cry when was only just them, even if they were both boys. It was okay because they both understood each other completely. But what was happening to them?
Harry let out another sob and Draco clung to him tighter.
Suddenly the rain stopped falling on them and Draco and Harry looked up into the kind amber and green eyes of a young man and woman.
Draco scrambled backwards, still clinging to Harry just as tightly as Harry clung to him.
The woman smiled and knelt down as the man continued to hold the small umbrella.
"Hello," was all she said, her voice like the soft strum of a harp.
Neither boy said anything, both still crying and holding each other. Draco opened his mouth to speak, but when he tried his voice was still too raw.
"Do you boys know who I am?" she asked gently.
Harry shook his head.
"I'm Nessa, and that's Charles, we know all about you boys."
"H-H-How?" his voice was rough, almost as raw as Draco's, but Harry forced the word out.
"Let's get you boys warmed up and I'll tell you all about Charles and me."
She opened up her arms and without any hesitation took both Harry and Draco into them, she was so strong, and her arms were so warm.
Both Draco and Harry had fallen asleep in her hold, still clinging to each other as Nessa's lullaby soothed them to sleep. They were both big boys yet kind, harp Nessa could carry them both just fine as silent Charles kept the rain off of them.
I smiled as I placed the fake thin-rimmed half-square glasses atop Harry's nose and then stole a kiss from those darkly painted lips. My Angel smiled and ran a hand through my hair before wiping the paint off my lips.
"Leave it," I breathed softly as I nipped gently at the pads of his fingers.
"I bet you would make a beautifully woman," he whispered.
I chuckled and ran my hand up the side of the corset.
"Perhaps, but I'd pale in comparison to you my exotic wife."
Harry smiled as his fingers caressed my chin before he drew me in for another kiss.
I gazed into his eyes, so filled with adoration, love, and hatred towards me and smiled softly, my eyes probably reflecting the same.
We weren't quite in our own world, not completely, but the ride in the carriage was close and so the hatred lingered just at the edges.
"I'll be over often enough," I whispered, reassuring him, "saying that I must work with the Baron on the charity. Will you see me?" even though I had asked, I knew the answer, he would have too, he would be so cold if he didn't, his body would be close to nonfunctioning if he didn't visit me, to gain warmth.
The child's death was two weeks away and without heat in between that time, my Angel would die.
"Yes," he breathed before kissing me again.
I watched as the Dragon departed in the carriage, my trunk and a servant who didn't know me as the Duchess Malfoy or the Duke Malfoy's closest friend stood just a bit behind me.
I watched with both longing and gratefulness as my husband and keeper rode away in the carriage but I did not linger on the useless emotions before I turned to the large wooden doors and had the servant knock.
It opened and the always formal "How may I help you" was my greeting.
"I am Miss Potter, the Baron sent for me and my specialties concerning education and etiquette."
When we were in our own world, the Dragon would often comment bemusedly on how I have the amazing ability to be any gender I chose, with or without all proper genitalia. I never reply to that but he could easily do it as well, either as a beautiful woman or as a commanding man.
The servant nodded and sent a runner to bring forth the Baron and I had Nessa's sweet harp-like voice reminding me that I was to act strict and demanding and highly concerned in proper etiquette.
"Well you fool!" my voice became a slight shriek, "are you going to invite me in or be extremely rude and leave me to stand on the doorstep like some beggar?"
The servant acted accordingly to being reminded of what my profession probably pertained too, what he was doing, and what type of person I was.
I was lead to a drawing room; the manor that Finnigan resided in was homey though small. I sat down, the dress carefully folded beneath me.
Not much later did Finnigan come in, stopping dead in his tracks at the sight of me.
I stood and gave a slight bow of my head.
"Baron Finnigan, a pleasure to meet you again."
My eyes narrowed just the slightest as I quickly cut him off.
"Yes, yes, Miss Potter so very honored you remember me and I'm sure you're surprised by my promptness to your letter."
I locked eyes with him, although, I suspected him too stupid to make the complete connection.
He made enough of one though and suddenly nodded, forcing a smile.
"Of course, Miss Potter, a pleasure to meet you again. I'm so glad you are taking the Governess position until Mrs. Weasley is returned to us in better health."
I nodded my head, it would do… for now. I removed the small envelope from my sleeve and handed it to him, its contents pertaining to when the Dragon would come over and the likely date for the child's death.
"A letter, Baron, from my previous employer, as you requested. Now," I turned to one of the servants and purposefully made my voice sharper, "take me to the child."
I gazed upon the child, unnoticed, as he played with a small set of hand-painted soldiers and dragons. He was a pleasant enough looking wretch, though I never cared for children, bastards or otherwise. His playroom was like any child of privilege, bright, airy, and filled to the brim with useless toys. He possessed very few features of the Baron Finnigan, though some of the traits were there, his eyes, his bone structure. I could now easily see how the servants readily accepted the child to be a mere nephew and nothing more.
While the bastard did have a few traits similar to his fathers, those traits were common to the Finnigan line as my research into the family ancestry had told me. I was roomed only next door, the entire south wing was the bastard child's, Evan I learned his name to be, but I needed to stick close to make sure the poison would do it's job and what needed to be done in case he was one the few whose antibodies could actually fight the poison.
Evan turned his head, his sandy hair swaying a bit at his shoulders but his soft blue eyes locking onto me and widening just a fraction.
We were alone so I was not worried that the unfooled eyes of a child would ruin me.
"You're not a woman," he stated simply, curiosity edging his voice.
I raised a brow at that, neither confirming nor denying.
"I am your new Governess; you will refer to me as Miss Potter or Ma'am. I have been informed of your abysmal education that you received from your currently unwell Governess, a Mrs. Hermione Weasley; I will not be so lax."
The child looked me up and down again, accepting that I wasn't a woman with the innocence and unusual wisdom that a child customarily possesses.
"I don't think you're a man either though."
Oh that was curious, children usually can tell I am a man instantly.
"You will rise earlier, eat healthier, and I shall be far stricter with your manners."
Evan tilted his head, locks of his sandy hair falling into his eyes.
"There are no servants here sir."
I gave him a small smile; while I didn't care for children I always enjoyed intelligence.
"Alright Evan, what do you know?"
"You aren't a woman."
"Obvious was it?"
He shook his head, still smiling.
"No, you just don't sway your hips when you walk, Lady Finnigan and even Mrs. Weasley do it, even the servants, but you don't."
I nodded my head, it was a slight mishap and one I wouldn't repeat.
"And are you aware what I'm going to do to you Evan?"
He smiled a sweet blindingly innocent and trusting smile; I took in a deep breath to push down the pull in my chest as I felt all of his hope in the smile.
"You're going to kill me sir, now that Christian is here."
I smiled as I stepped forward, walking around the toys and the books. I ran my gloved hands through his hair, the black cloth stark against the light tendrils.
"When it happens it will be quick and painless."
"Mrs. Hermione will be sad."
I patted his cheek.
"She'll be the only one."
He laughed a little, going back to playing with the knights and dragon.
"You are a perceptive little boy aren't you Evan."
"Of course I am; I had Mrs. Hermione as a Governess."
He gave me another blindingly sweet smile and I sighed before walking back towards the door.
"You are taking this well."
"I have to; I'm just a bastard child. Besides, I expected you years ago. I've lived this long… It could have been worse."
"You would have been alive."
"Mmm, but I would have hated it."
I walked out of the room leaving him to his toys and headed towards the room that would be mine for a short time.
I was cold; I wrapped myself up in as many blankets and quilts as I could. I couldn't shiver, I couldn't move. I wished for my Dragon, for his heat, his blazing touch, his smoldering eyes. I knew he yearned for me as well, if he got too hot, he would die just as cold death would grip me without him.
I think I fell asleep, I think I dreamed.
Harry and Draco gazed up at Charles and Nessa both had warm smiles on their lips. Draco sat slightly in front of Harry and they both held steaming cups of hot chocolate in their hands.
"It's a good thing we found you two before any of the survivors," she laughed.
"But… there were no survivors, the Dragon and I killed them all…"
Nessa and Charles suddenly stopped smiling, their mouths slightly agape.
"Evan you will stop that disgraceful running this instant!" my voice carried down the hall but I knew he wouldn't stop; it was something I was relying on as my Dragon was visiting today.
He skidded to a halt when he heard my voice and ran right into the chest of my Draco. He was about to fall but Draco caught him and steadied him, smiling slightly. Evan's cheeks were flushed and he was breathing harder, the poison was finally showing affect after I had slipped it into his afternoon tea two days ago.
Draco was studying Evan, seeing him for the first time after bringing me to the Finnigan Manor three days ago.
He looked up and spotted me, his predatory hunger instantly flashing across his eyes. I did not smile nor did Draco as I neared them I bowed my head slightly.
"Thank you sire for catching my unruly ward, I sometimes think him the child of the wind with how much energy he has in him."
"The wind, madam? Then I am surprised I caught him."
"Indeed, but then again, perhaps the child is of the gentle south wind instead of one of Aeolos brood**."
Draco patted Evan on the head.
"Perhaps, but he may be so inclined as to be part of the West Wind's pack."
I opened my fan and gave a slight chuckle. The hunger returned to his eyes and the meeting was set (6).
I longed for his heat.
For the rest of the day as Evan and I strolled the manor and went through his lessons, I couldn't completely focus. The cold in my bones would freeze me up and I would just stand in the middle of the hallway or in the garden, gazing at nothing as my body shook and shivered. A noise that reminded me of my Dragon and his fire would snap me out of it, reminding me that I only had to wait a little longer.
Evan, through out the day, kept gazing at me, his eyes slightly narrowed with child curiosity but he said nothing. And he would always say nothing, for there was an understanding between us. He was dying, I was his killer, and I would not mourn him.
When it was time for afternoon tea again, I didn't need to excuse myself from him, he didn't care where I went because he knew (somewhat) of what I was.
I gently closed the door behind me and then groaned as I was slammed against the wall with my lips caught in a fierce kiss.
Sharp nails clawed down my cheeks and I was digging my own nails into my Dragon's neck.
Deliciously sinful heat coursed through my hands and my lips as I kept taking more and more of the inferno from within him.
He hiked up my skirts, throwing my pistols and poisoned daggers to the ground before entering me in a swift, hard, unprepared, luscious thrust. I hissed in ecstasy as I wrapped my legs around his waist.
Evan gazed up at me as I continued to sew in my chair. We were in the drawing room, light pouring in through the windows. He sniffled and I handed him a handkerchief, he blew his nose and kept it for later use.
I shook my head, the poison was working faster than normal, probably because Evan was a child and not an adult, and while children were faster healers, their bodies were smaller, the blood circulated through the body faster.
I ran a gloved hand through his hair, constantly resisting the need to take his heat.
Draco had left only two days ago; five days had already passed and tomorrow would be the first ball, the celebration for the heir and his mother's health.
The entire staff was aware that Evan was getting sick, something that would make my job easier. Children, no matter how old, often died from illness, if Evan were to die it would be sad, but not uncommon.
He gave a small smile, his crooked teeth not diminishing his sweet smile at all. I felt myself return the gesture, and shook my head slightly before looking out the window again.
"You like those gloves ma'am?"
My head snapped to look at him, my eyes narrowed behind my fake glasses.
"What do you mean Evan?"
He sneezed into the handkerchief, though he still beamed up at me.
"Those black gloves, do you like them, you wear them with everything?"
I stilled my hands from clenching as Evan continued to speak about them. This I would not change, if it became odd, the gloves were a gift from my Dragon, just as my dagger was a gift to him.
"I adore them, Evan, and I would thank you kindly not to speak of them again," my voice was low, treading on masculine, but I allowed it since the boy was well aware I was not a woman.
Evan gulped, fear flickered across his eyes and for a moment, I regretted having scared the bastard child. He had asked a simple question from a child's pure innocence and wasn't aware of what he had unwittingly incurred.
"Evan," I soothed, my voice once more returned to its androgyny, "why don't you go up to your room and get something to play outside with? Perhaps the fresh air will do you some good?"
It wouldn't, he knew it and I knew it, but we had an act to keep up, and the smart child that he was understood he had no choice, his life had been good and now it was over.
Blood. There was blood everywhere. On his hands, his tongue, his teeth, his toes, his legs. Just... everywhere.
A warm bloodied hand gripped his shoulder and he jumped and spun around, claws ready to kill once again. Emerald met steel and he collapsed into the waiting warm arms.
He was getting so cold.
The corpses had given him warmth, beautiful sating warmth that filled him and shot to the marrow of his bones. But now that warmth was going away. It never lasted long, whether it was one body or a hundred, or in this case, two hundred.
But steel eyes - serpent eyes, the knowing cold eyes of a dragon - they and the body they belonged too, were warm. It was that warmth that survived, lasted, filled.
Those warm, bloody arms - bloodier than his - wrapped around him and held him close, a greater protection than any of the walls could provide.
Claw like fingers, so similar to his own, linked their digits together, not shying away, not afraid of the carnage left behind underneath the nails and trapped in the cracks. Those eyes and hands were unflinching because the hands that belonged to those eyes were covered in just as much blood.
A blood covered face leaned in, those steel eyes closed and hot breath ghosted across his cold bruised shoulder.
"We've killed them."
He didn't know who said the words, his lips were numb, maybe it had been him maybe it had been the holder of the steel-gray eyes.
His hands wrapped around the warm body, just as the warm arms had wrapped around his.
He was scared now. Now what were they to do? Everyone was gone, they had killed them all. The cobblestones of the monastery were swathed with the corpses and blood of the slaughter yet the walls stood proud, surrounding them. The walls thought they were protecting the monastery from the world outside, the threat, the danger. How innocent those walls were, because the massacre came from within.
Dead, all of them dead.
Corpses floated in the ponds, were dismembered in the gardens, in the shrines, the libraries.
But the bloodiest copse of all, the one that he and the steel eyes had killed together, the corpse that they had even feasted on the heart and flesh like wild starving beasts, was the cruelest, was the one who cursed them, the one who made them the monsters.
Lying on the altar, destroyed and tattered, was the great sinner and head monk, Voldemort. He had created the beasts. He had brought on his own death by creating it.
His flesh had been vile, his heart tasted as black and charred as it truly was, but they had rejoiced in his death. They had danced around his corpse and had used his bones for toys and toothpicks.
The steel eyes, with their fire, had grabbed his hand when they had danced, just as they were holding his hands now - unflinching, uncaring, devotedly, assuredly.
Steel-gray eyes, the eyes of a dragon - he now realized - looked into his own emerald. He didn't know what the dragon saw, but he knew what the dragon knew.
Bloodied hands touched his face again, and bloodier lips pressed against his forehead.
"I will protect you."
The words were but a soft whisper, his Dragon's throat was still too sore from all his roaring. He smiled and gazed down at their linked hands. Their hands which were so very much the same, so bloodied, so dangerous, so covered, so guilty of countless sins.
He looked up from those hands, hands perhaps he would later hate and revere. He smiled into the steel-gray eyes that would look at him for comfort, for cold, for reassurance.
"I will protect you," he repeated the words back to his Dragon as he pressed his bloodied lips to the Dragon's forehead.
It was an oath, a promise. Through everything, they would remain true to each other.
He gazed back down at their joined hands and gave a gentle squeeze and felt it returned easily.
It was unspoken, they had to leave, they had to get out. Though they need not have, they both started to run, their limbs pushed to the limit.
As if nature agreed with them and wanted to see them to safety, the clouds opened and sheets and sheets of stinging cold rain hid them from sight.