The Frailty of Hope
Harry gradually came to with a dull throbbing in his head and a taste like unwashed socks on his tongue. As awareness filtered in, his heart lurched with the realization that something was incredibly wrong. There was no sound, the air surrounding him was chill and stale, and he was lying on a hard surface. Continuing to feign sleep in case he was not alone, Harry tried desperately to recall what had happened.
"I know you're awake. I can hear the change in your breathing. I can see your pulse beating in your lovely, fragile throat."
The voice coming from somewhere to Harry's right was barely more than a whisper, but he recognized it all the same. Bellatrix! Memory flooded in, and at once Harry remembered slipping off to Diagon Alley alone because he had needed to get away from his well-meaning but occasionally overbearing friends for a while; being grabbed from behind and pulled into a dark lane so quickly he hadn't had time to shout or draw his wand; being filled with blind panic at the notion that someone might have seen through his concealment charm; burning as the hex hit him, hearing a harsh laugh as the world went gray, and… waking up here. Wherever 'here' was.
Eyes flying open wide, Harry attempted to sit up and found that he could not. Tight cords bound his wrists and ankles, and something heavy and cold lay across his neck. Bellatrix cackled cruelly, apparently finding amusement in Harry's reaction. "Let me up, you crazy bint," Harry seethed. "Where am I?"
"You think me mad, do you?" Bellatrix said, ignoring Harry's question as well as his demand. "You're the one who was wandering around Diagon Alley alone. That hardly seems entirely sane. It's almost as if you wanted to be caught and collared."
"Fuck you," Harry spat. He might have been ready to go round the twist in the bleak Twelve Grimmauld Place, but he certainly hadn't been trying to get captured by Death Eaters!
Sensing movement, Harry tensed, and a moment later Bellatrix came into his peripheral vision. She leaned down, and very near to Harry's ear she hissed, "Yessss, fight me, struggle. It will only make breaking you that much sweeter."
Harry was unable to suppress a shiver at the malicious whisper, but he lifted his chin and retorted defiantly, "You won't kill me." She might cause him pain, yes, but Voldemort would want him in one piece. He still recalled Snape's words from last spring clearly: Have you forgotten our orders? Potter belongs to the Dark Lord -- we are to leave him!
"Kill you?" Bellatrix replied, her tone one of mock bewilderment. "Oh, no, no! What would be the fun in that?" She began circling Harry then, slowly moving in and out of his vision. Her black robes and gaunt appearance put him in mind of a vulture hovering over its prey, and he couldn't help but stiffen when she passed behind his head and out of his sight. "No, I have something much more exciting planned for you, my pet." She came to a stop at Harry's feet, and her voice turned hard and cold as she added, "And I brought something special along just for the occasion."
Seeing his captor slip her hands into the folds of her robes, Harry expected her to draw her wand, and was confused when she instead withdrew two long, slender knives. Bellatrix had just said that she didn't intend to kill him. Did Voldemort want more of his blood, or -- god forbid -- a hand or something?
Light from some unseen source glinted off the blades as Bellatrix approached Harry. "Such a common face," she said, running the flat of one blade across Harry's cheek, the point skimming just below his eye. "I see no reason you should be deemed so valuable. Perhaps I'll need to look a little deeper."
Harry's pulse raced as Bellatrix slipped the other knife under the edge of his oversized t-shirt and tugged upward. The worn fabric gave way with a smooth snick, and Bellatrix repeated the action again, and again. Harry tried not to breathe, not to flinch away from the knife as it drew nearer and nearer to his skin with each pass. At last the seemingly inevitable occurred, and Harry felt the faint sting of the razor-sharp blade biting into the flesh of his chest. "Oops," said Bellatrix in the voice of a demented child. "I really should learn to be more careful with my toys."
"I'm not your toy!" Harry protested, hating the slightly frantic timbre in his voice. He didn't know what Bellatrix's objective with him was, and he began to wish Voldemort would just hurry up and make his appearance already. At least with him Harry knew exactly where he stood… and he had survived encounters with Voldemort in the past.
Bellatrix only smiled malevolently as she continued slicing the shirt from Harry's torso, nicking him at random intervals as she worked. Once the scraps of fabric had fallen away, she stood back and surveyed him with an expression of detached consideration. Unable to do little more than await his captor's next move, Harry focused on steadying his breathing until at last Bellatrix seemed to come to some sort of decision. "It's an improvement, but it still needs something. I believe I know just the thing."
In an instant the dark woman was leaning over Harry once more, laying the twin blades on Harry's stomach, murmuring an incantation above them. Harry gasped a surprised inhalation of breath as the knives began to move of their own accord. Straining against the collar that pinned his neck, he looked down to see the blades lose their shape then quickly reform into a pair of identical, shimmering snakes. The silver serpents slithered up his chest, their cool metal bodies rippling eerily over his skin. As they reached his nipples, they opened their fanged mouths wide, then clamped down hard.
"Much better," Bellatrix pronounced with an approving nod. "Do you like them?"
"No, I bloody well don't like them!" Harry answered hotly, anxiety giving over to anger as he rapidly tired of his captor's undecipherable game.
"Oh, you will," Bellatrix promised. She reached into her robes once more, and this time Harry was almost relieved to see her draw her wand instead of more knives or another peculiar torture device. Any relief that he might have felt, however, was cut short as Bellatrix murmured a word and the rest of Harry's clothing abruptly vanished. A shiver ran through Harry, but whether it was due to the room's cool air or the way that Bellatrix ran her gaze critically over his naked form, Harry couldn't say.
"Hmm. Most disappointing," Bellatrix remarked.
"Wh-what?!" Harry stammered, torn between horror and offense.
Placing her hand on Harry's knee, Bellatrix stepped slowly towards him, her fingertips trailing up his exposed thigh as she moved. Her hand drew perilously close to parts of Harry that she had no business touching, and Harry tried to press his knees together reflexively. "What are you doing?" Harry demanded, his heart hammering in his ears.
Unwavering, Bellatrix's hand continued on its path and slipped between Harry's legs to cup and fondle his balls. "There's no need to be coy, Harry," Bellatrix cooed in her falsely saccharine tone. "I think you know exactly what I'm doing. You can't be that innocent."
Harry felt dirty, violated; he bucked and thrashed against his bonds uselessly. "Don't touch me, you filthy, murdering bitch!"
Bellatrix's expression turned thunderous, and searing pain shot from Harry's groin as Bellatrix closed her fingers tightly around his bollocks and twisted. Harry's breath left him in a wheezy, whimpering sound. "I'll do what I like, boy," Bellatrix said, her voice going as steely as her grip, "and you'd best learn to like it as well."
The painful pressure abated, a heartbeat passed, then Bellatrix's hand returned to unceremoniously grasp Harry's limp member. Bellatrix seemed to study him intently, as though he were a particularly intriguing experiment. She squeezed him in her palm, tugged him sharply, pinched him lightly between her thumb and forefinger and rolled his foreskin back. Realizing that struggling was futile, Harry didn't bother to resist. Instead, he closed his eyes and tried to think about wand motions for Transfigurations, the portraits between the Great Hall and Gryffindor Tower at Hogwarts, anything besides what was happening at that moment.
However, Harry had never been good at clearing his mind or ignoring his immediate concerns in such a fashion, and when Bellatrix gripped him snugly and began to move her wrist with a smooth, rolling rhythm, sliding his flesh up and back, up and back, Harry couldn't block it out. No one had ever touched him there before, and the stimulation was too much. Entirely against his will, and much to his horror, Harry felt himself growing hard in Bellatrix's hand.
"Ah, not so disappointing after all," Bellatrix remarked smugly. With a bark of amused laughter, she added, "Now I know what the Weasley chit sees in you."
"Leave her out of this!" Harry shouted, lifting his head as much as possible and turning a hate-filled glare on his captor.
Bellatrix laughed again, her stroke not faltering in the slightest. "Does she touch you like this, Harry?" she mocked. "Is she as good at it as I am? Does she know how to make you feel good, your sweet, young blood traitor?"
"No!" Harry didn't want to think of Ginny while Bellatrix's hand was on his cock, didn't want to associate Ginny with this at all. He silently prayed that Bellatrix would change the subject to anything else.
"No? Are you suggesting she needs to work on her technique? Or could it be that the Chosen One is a blushing virgin? Am I the first to touch you like this, little Potter?"
Seemingly delighted with the notion, Bellatrix redoubled her efforts, increasing the speed of her strokes. Sweat beaded on Harry's skin in the chill room, and he felt mortified and ashamed that he couldn't control his body's reactions. "Oh, god, please stop," he whispered, knowing it would do no good.
Harry's plea went unheeded as Bellatrix leaned in closer. "I wonder what the Boy Who Lived tastes like," she said, then bent down until Harry could feel her dark hair on his thighs and her breath on the head of his cock. Harry watched, transfixed, as she flicked out the tip of her tongue like a snake scenting the air and trailed it over his flesh. Biting down on a sob, Harry clenched his fists at his sides. The chill air raised bumps on his sweat-dampened skin as he fought not to thrust up into Bellatrix's hand; not to arch into the clamps that sent jolts of sensation through his torso; not to give in to the tears prickling behind his eyes.
"Come for me, my pet. I know you're close. The sooner you let go, the sooner this will all be over," Bellatrix said in a tone that was almost soothing. In that moment, it sounded like the best suggestion Harry had ever heard, and he hated himself for his weakness. Nonetheless, his balls tightened, a whine rose up from his throat unbidden, and hot ropes of semen splattered over his stomach.
Bellatrix didn't loosen her grip until the last pulses of Harry's release had left him. Then she dropped his spent prick as though it were now a vile and useless thing. A curt wave of her wand vanished the mess. Another wave, and the snakes on Harry's chest relaxed their bite and slithered back into Bellatrix's palm.
Cocking her head to the side, Bellatrix reached out to stroke Harry's cheek in a twisted parody of affection. Harry flushed with shame and tried to jerk his head away from her touch, but she tightened her fingers in his hair painfully and forced him to look at her. "I think you'll be ready for another training session in a few hours," she said. "You may require more encouragement than most, but I assure you, it will be my pleasure to provide it."
"You can't play with me for too long, Bellatrix. Shouldn't Voldemort be along any time now?" Harry spat.
Bellatrix hissed and recoiled in response to Harry's casual use of Voldemort's name, and her eyes took on a sheen of wild fervor. "The Dark Lord doesn't know you're here, little Potter. No one knows but me. And I have no intention of telling anyone until you're prepared for my Lord. I'm tired of your disrespect, boy. You will not face him again until you're ready to kneel before him!"
"My friends will find me," Harry said, glaring at Bellatrix defiantly. "Hell, half the wizarding world will be looking for me. You can't keep me hidden forever."
A screech of wicked laughter escaped Bellatrix. She appeared delighted, excited, as though she'd been waiting for the perfect opportunity to tell the punchline of some particularly witty joke. "No one's going to come after you. They all think you've run away and don't wish to be found."
"Why would they think that?" Harry asked, dread seeping in around the edges of his courage.
"Because I left them a little note, in your own handwriting, telling them you were tired of fighting. Poor, burdened, misunderstood Harry Potter," Bellatrix mocked. "They think you've left the country and gone into hiding. So you see, even if they are looking for you, it will be in entirely the wrong place."
Harry was suddenly having a difficult time sorting out the questions racing through his head. He latched onto one and asked, "…How??"
"Oh, little Potter. You really should be more careful about leaving you old essays just lying around the castle where anyone -- such as my nephew -- could pick them up. A handwriting duplication charm was third-year material when I was in school. Or perhaps Gryffindors aren't familiar with that one?"
"They'll find me. They'll find me and you'll pay." Harry snarled the words, but they felt hollow to him.
"You keep telling yourself that. Keep telling yourself that for as long as you can. Sooner or later, you'll learn to look forward to my visits."
With that, Bellatrix turned and swept out of the room, leaving Harry bound, naked, chilled, and afraid. She took the source of light with her, and when the door swung shut, the room was cast into darkness. Harry felt something within him go out with the light.