I am calmly sitting on the sofa in Spinner's End, reading the obituary section of the Daily Prophet, when a nervous Pettigrew Apparates before me.
"What is it?" I ask him.
"M--Mulciber and... Fenrir. They've c-caught Potter."
My heart races. "Where?"
"In Godric's Hollow. Master ordered them to watch the Potters' house. He knew the boy would go there, sooner or later."
"And why have you come here?"
"They told me to warn the Master."
And you came to warn me? What game are you playing, Peter? And I? What game should I play?
"Stay here," I order him. "I will take care of this matter."
I Apparate immediately in front of the house in Godric's Hollow that had belonged to James Potter. An icy wind is blowing. I open the door with a simple Alohomora and enter. It's dark, and the cold wind follows me inside. I cast a Lumos to light the tip of my wand. A shiver runs down my spine when I hear a long, poignant cry from upstairs. I dash up the staircase and head to the room from where I can hear cries and moans.
The scene I witness - oh, I don't think I will ever forget. Potter is naked in bed; Fenrir is brutally raping him, and Mulciber is casting Cruciatus on him repeatedly.
Mulciber greets me with a sadistic smile and, for a moment, forgets about the torture. Fenrir, however, thrusts relentlessly into Potter, and sinks his nails into the young man's flesh.
Free of Mulciber's Cruciatus, Potter tries to release himself, but Fenrir slaps him hard.
"Snape," says Mulciber. "Come and join us. Isn't he a treat? I could eat him all up, but I suppose there won't be much left when Fenrir finishes. Don't you wonder how this pretty mouth would feel around your cock?" Mulciber touches Potter's lips. Potter tries, in vain, to bite him. "Crucio," Mulciber hisses, and Potter's face contorts in pain.
He is beautiful. It's the first time I have seen him naked. The pale, smooth skin, the subtle but well-defined muscles, the lovely cock.
The impossibly green eyes, now tainted by red. The blood flowing down his legs.
And yet he's beautiful, and I want him. I have wanted him for a long time. Perhaps I want him just because I will never be able to have him.
I want every inch of his slender, young body.
I feel ashamed of my thoughts and recompose myself. "Stop it. The Dark Lord gave orders to take Potter to him at once."
Mulciber seems willing to comply, but Fenrir is growling, ready to start tearing into Potter's flesh with nails and teeth. I can't let him bite Potter. In a desperate move, I cast a non-verbal Stupefy on Mulciber and then on Fenrir.
Seeing his aggressor collapse onto the floor, Potter focuses on me. There is no pleading in his eyes, in spite of everything he has gone through. There is only hate. Pure hate.
Better this way.
Now a desperate Potter fumbles for his wand. I spot it on the floor and grab it.
"Give me my wand!"
"Calm down, Potter. You have bruises all over your body, and you are bleeding. I will return your wand later, after I cast a healing spell on you - with my own wand, naturally."
"No! I don't want you to heal me. I want to kill you!"
A wave of exhaustion floods over me, and I try to get nearer to him. He skitters away from me. Without touching him, I cast a calming charm to fight the effects of the Cruciatus Curse, and start to chant a healing spell for his external and internal wounds.
He doesn't fight me any more, and surrenders to the healing powers of the spells.
"Where do you want me to take you?" I ask him. "Who can take care of you?"
"I don't want you to take me anywhere. I hate you."
I lose what control I had left. "Stupid boy, don't you realise I'm trying to help you?"
"I don't want your help."
He still looks too weak, and must be in shock. Albus used to tell me that what makes Potter special is love. It's a bitter irony, that he receives such violence in return. Another bitter irony is that, in some stupid corner of my perverted mind, I believe myself capable of helping him, while he rejects me completely.
There is a spell that can make him stronger, a spell that will give him part of my magic for a few hours. I press him into the bed and touch his heart with my wand. "Consocio!"
He relaxes immediately. I feel my magic flowing into him. I sit beside him. He shuts his eyes - the power of magic penetrating him must have made him drowsy. I pull my wand away; the magic I passed on to him is enough. If I give him more, I won't be able to Apparate from here. There is an affinity between his magic and mine now. My magic is inside him.
I wish there were something that I could give him to erase the pain, the violence and the humiliation he must have suffered today.
I brush a strand of hair away from his face. The tenderness in my own gesture scares me; I didn't know I was capable of such feeling. I can't stop caressing his face. As if by their own will, my lips approach his face and place a soft kiss on his eyelids.
When I pull away, he opens his eyes and stares at me, astonished. He seems so lost, so helpless.
"I don't want to like you," he says, in a whinging, perhaps begging tone. "I don't want to."
"I know," I reply. "I don't want to like you, too."
I feel pathetic for having said that. He widens his eyes at me. My charged tone inadvertently revealed what should never have been disclosed.
"You don't want to, but you do," he says slowly, comprehension dawning on his face. "Otherwise, you wouldn't have been able to cast Consocio."
"How do you know about Consocio? Certainly you didn't learn it in Hogwarts."
"I've been studying a lot since I left Hogwarts."
"Will wonders ever cease?" I say, trying to recover my sarcasm and pull away.
But he grabs my arm, stopping me. He doesn't say anything, just stares at me, bright green eyes boring into mine. He has learnt Legilimency, too. For a brief moment, I let him read my mind.
"We need to go," I finally say.
With his wand, I cast the Killing Curse on Fenrir, then on Mulciber.
I help him to stand up and dress. "I will take you to the Burrow."
"And next?" he asks me.
"What do you mean?"
"What are you going to do next?"
"I'm going back to my Master."
After all the brutality he has experienced, it surprises me to no end that he seems sad for my sake.
"I wish you didn't have to go back," he says.
Ten minutes ago he loathed me and was ready to kill me! Ah. I see. It's just an effect of the spell. "Don't worry," I say, my voice dripping with irony. "When you regain your strength, in a few hours, you will despise me and hate me as before. This is just a side-effect of the bond I had to cast to share part of my magic with you."
"But now... Now I know how you feel."
I avert my eyes from his. I don't know how to explain, how to justify myself. I don't know what to say. "We have to go, Harry." The forbidden name escapes from my lips. I grab his arm. "Hold still."
~* ~* ~
Back in Spinner's End, Pettigrew looks at me inquisitively.
"I didn't find anyone there," I tell him. "You must be having visions."
He shakes his head vehemently. "No, I..."
"If you behave well, I won't say a word to the Dark Lord. You didn't even have to be there. He ordered Fenrir and Mulciber to watch the place, not you, if my memory doesn't fail me..."
He nods, starting to understand. I don't know what game he is playing, but apparently, in a strange way, we are on the same side of the board this time.
~* ~* ~
It's not possible. Prongs, Harry's Patronus. What is he doing here? He motions with his head for me to follow him. But to where? I take my broom and follow him out of the door. He takes off. I mount my broom and go after him.
It's dark, and the silver glow of the stag's silhouette contrasts with the dark blue sky. It's a beautiful vision. A mirage. Destiny is a trap in which I will fall. It won't be the first time; the image of the Shrieking Shack and the werewolf haunt me.
I am a wizard wanted by the Aurors. What the hell am I doing, following the Golden Boy's Patronus? The brat hates me; if he cannot kill me himself, he will surely hand me to the Aurors.
However, another voice inside me insists he would never do that. I know this voice; it will be my ruin.
We are flying over Hogsmeade now. I shiver when I see we are heading to the Shrieking Shack. It's a bad omen.
But now the stag shifts a little to the west and enters a cave.
More and more exasperated by my own recklessness, I go into the cave. Suddenly, he disappears into Harry's wand.
I land my broom and dismount. Harry holds his lit wand in front of me.
My God. He is exquisite. He seems to have completely overcome the trauma of Fenrir's and Mulciber's aggression. How is it possible? I can almost believe he is, indeed, 'The Chosen One'.
"You look well." Besides its inanity, it's the understatement of the century. He takes my breath away.
He smiles. "Thanks to you."
He places his wand in a niche in the cave walls. In the half-darkness, I see his silhouette approaching me. He rests his hands on my shoulders. My heart skips a beat. I don't understand anything and don't want to understand. I wrap possessive arms around his waist and pull him towards me.
Our bodies touch and fit perfectly - he's just a little shorter than me, which allows me to comfortably bury my head in the curve of his neck. I inhale his musky and slightly citric scent.
"I don't know what you've done, or why, but I can't believe you're evil," he says. "I know you're on my side. And I couldn't stop thinking of you since that day."
"I don't understand. How can you have changed so suddenly?"
"I think you've bewitched me."
"I would never do such a thing. I..."
"I know. But I was in hell and you were there. You brought me back to life with your magic. And you know what they say, about love and hate..."
He moans when I press our hips together. My eager lips search for his, and find them already half-opened, soft, and slightly moist.
He is as insane as the joy that overcomes me. I am not alone any more. He wants me. I am an outlaw, and the whole world is against me, but here, with him, I am at home.
He needs me. I can help him in ways he can't even imagine. I can even die for him. Yes, I see it coming. I don't mind; it doesn't matter. What matters is that he gives sense to my life.
see also the wonderful illustration by Kore for this story: Trapped
Ptyx, September 2005