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Harry lay curled up on the bed with his head buried in a pillow. Everything inside him was hurting way too much and the pain was bordering on unbearably excruciating. Every breath was a struggle, his lungs were desperate for oxygen, but his body would not cooperate. A string of harsh coughs shook his pale and fragile form, leaving him weaker than he had thought possible. The breaths he took were entirely too fast and shallow to be normal. He gripped a handful of the covers and pleaded for the agonizing pain in his chest to stop. The oxygen steadily flowing into his nose had no effect. Tears blurred his eyes, but he shut them tightly to avoid crying. He would not cry. That kind of behaviour was absolutely intolerable because he was not weak. He just had to take this until he got better or died.
Death, unfortunately, did not deem him worthy of its presence yet so when the fit passed, Harry forced himself to sit up straight. His body protested but he ignored it and willed himself to his feet. He was already late by an hour. The blooming blood stain stood in stark contrast to the white of the pillow case but he couldn't bring himself to care about it and dragged himself to the shower. Warm water was only going to slow him down so he turned the shower to cold. The icy cold water blasted over his body and Harry gasped but his body steadily grew accustomed to it. He felt more alert, more in control.
Fifteen minutes later, he emerged from the bathroom, wrapped up in a towel. It didn't take him long to get dressed up. The silk of the green button up that he wore felt wonderful against his skin and the jeans looked like they'd been painted on his legs but felt surprisingly comfortable. He left the top two buttons of his shirt open and tucked in half of the shirt just for that careless messy debauched look. After pulling on his socks, he grabbed a pair of calf length green dragon hide boots and laced them up. His hair didn't need much work. They were still a bit damp from the shower and contributed towards the look he was going for. Now he just had to wear the locket. He grabbed his discarded jeans from the floor and pulled out the pouch from the pocket. After he'd retrieved the locket from it, he tossed the pouch on the bed and pulled it on. He swore he could feel he tiny metal heartbeat right next to his.
The locket looked too flashy. He tucked it under his shirt so that only the chain was visible. Perfect. The shirt definitely brought out his eyes, drawing attention away from the ghostly pallor of his face. The only other splash of colour was the bruise on his jaw. He wet his lips and smiled at his reflection in the mirror. A cough interrupted his smile. He didn't have much time left so he had to absolutely make the best of it. Tonight had to be perfect. If everything went well, maybe he would fall in bed with Voldemort and Rabastan. That queasy nauseous feeling twisted his guts again and Harry cursed. Why was he feeling that way? He wasn't nervous or anxious. Harry shook his head and stepped out of the room.
It didn't take him long to reach the ballroom and with every step he took, the feeling grew monumentally worse. Harry stood at the oak doors, drew in a deep breath, pushed all his feelings and sentiments deep down and strode forward so that the doors opened by themselves and he stepped into the ballroom. All conversation halted as he crossed the threshold and felt every single gaze in the room fixated on him. Harry cursed them all internally but kept a lazy grin plastered on his face. He spotted Voldemort and Rabastan at the far end of the ballroom and felt a genuine smile blossom on his lips at the sight of them. They looked beautiful together. Harry was certain that they would remain together even when he was out of the picture.
Shaking away those thoughts, Harry focused on the task at hand. He had to socialize so he got to it. Harry didn't miss the disdainful looks he received from the Death Eaters especially Bellatrix. Nicholai was the first to approach him and Harry cursed his rotten luck. He gave him an appreciative once over and purred…he bloody purred…the nerve of him. Harry offered his hand and Nicholai took it readily and brushed his cold lips over his knuckles,
"You can be easily mistaken as one of us, if one takes into account the pallor of your skin. It seems Lord Voldemort has not been taking proper care of you."
Harry laughed humourlessly and pulled away his hand,
"That is none of your concern."
Nicholai grinned predatorily and licked his lips,
"It is. After all you are still indebted to me and I do not intend to leave without receiving what I am owed."
Harry wanted to rip the bastard's head off or put a stake through his heart but since all those options were unavailable, a smile would have to suffice.
"Sure, Nick. So, tell me what do you want?"
Nicholai's grin widened. Harry was sure he was itching to get his hands all over him but refraining because they were currently in plain view,
"Well…I wanted your wonderfully delectable body but it seems that it is off the menu so your blood will have to do."
Harry tried not to let his shock show and kept his smile firmly pasted on his lips. Harry imagined that to anyone, who was watching them, it would seem like they were having a very pleasant conversation,
"You want my blood?"
Nicholai eyed his neck and licked his lips,
Harry took a step back and repeated,
Nicholai nodded imperceptibly,
"Yes, Now. Unless you wish for me to break this alliance in front of all this audience and disgrace Voldemort."
Harry ground out,
Nicholai grinned smugly,
"Shall I take that as a yes or a no."
Harry cursed under his breath and spoke through clenched teeth,
"Yes, it's a yes. But I can't just disappear. Someone is bound to notice."
Nicholai's fingers wrapped around his wrist and Harry shivered involuntarily as he felt like he'd been doused with cold water. Nicholai grinned, displaying a mouth full of sharp teeth. Every last one was pointed, like a saw blade.
"There… now no one will notice that anything out of the ordinary is taking place here."
Harry drew in a deep breath. His heart was beating at a million beats per second,
"What did you do?"
Nicholai pulled out a pocket watch and showed Harry the time but before Harry could inquire what the hell that was for, Nicholai vanished the watch, brought his hand to his mouth and licked it,
"You are absolutely delightful. So feisty…"
He turned Harry's hand over, scraped those razor teeth over his wrist, and then bit. Nicholai's mouth felt like acid burning through his flesh. Harry couldn't even scream. An instant later, the pain diminished and Nicholai pulled away. Sharp spikes rattled against Harry's lungs when he tried to breathe. He felt as though he'd been crushed into and then dragged over broken glass. He managed to rasp out,
"This…This is the first and the last time you'll ever get your hands on me."
Nicholai ran a finger down Harry's neck and laughed,
"It is enough for me. I intend to take as much as I'll ever need from you in this moment."
Suddenly Nicholai's teeth ripped into the skin of his neck. Flaming spikes pierced his flesh. Harry's throat ached as though he screamed, but only whimpers came out. Those small sounds seemed to drive Nicholai on. Fingers dug into his shoulder and Harry felt Nicholai's nails sink into his flesh. He wanted the torment, the burning fire in his blood to stop.
It didn't stop. It lessened for a moment when Nicholai pulled his fangs away but then it returned as soon as his fangs pierced his skin again. He burned as if someone had set fire to the marrow in his bones. When he pulled back, he would've cried out in relief had he been able to make any sound at all. The short reprieve ended as ice sliced through his neck once again. Fire pulsed up in waves. The acid burn was too much. It was like glass daggers pierced every inch of his skin. Nicholai's hair fell against his face and shoulder. The fine strands slithered like maggots, then buried into his flesh. Harry's nerves screamed and seemed to rip out of his body. A buzzing filled his ears, and lightning flashed over his vision. But he didn't…couldn't…pass out. Something close to a wail finally escaped his lips.
Harry was dimly aware of Nicholai's arm around his waist, holding him up. A flask was being held to his lips and he was glad that he still had the sense to keep his lips sealed shut. Nicholai chuckled and spoke,
"If you wish to stay on your feet for the rest of the night then I suggest you drink this."
Harry opened his mouth and gulped the potion down. When he felt some of his strength return, he pushed Nicholai away and checked his wrist and then his neck. There wasn't a single mark on his wrist and the skin on his neck felt smooth as well. Nicholai conjured the same golden pocket watch and Harry reluctantly looked at the time. His eyes widened as he realized that only a minute had passed. Impossible. The pain had definitely lasted for more than a minute. Harry drew in a deep breath and when he was sure his voice wouldn't betray him, he spoke,
"We're even now."
Nicholai laughed and flicked his dark hair back over his shoulder,
"I agree. You tasted so much more exquisite than I expected. Pure ambrosia…"
Harry wanted to launch himself at Nicholai but he still felt a bit lightheaded and even if he had the strength, he couldn't. Harry turned away from Nicholai and spoke softly,
"I hope I never have the displeasure of seeing you again."
Nicholai merely whispered,
"There is no point in hoping for that. After all we are allies. Although I am glad to see that you are as spirited as earlier."
Harry could feel himself fuming and he was about to walk away when his vision blurred. It took him a moment to center himself and he cursed Nicholai,
"May I assist you?"
Harry balled his hands into fists and gritted out,
"No, thank you. I'm perfectly alright."
He stalked away from him and towards where Voldemort was standing, deeply engrossed in a conversation with the goblins. Harry pulled up his most cheerful expression and greeted them affably. Harry felt the head goblin's gaze rake over his body and saw his mouth curve into a leer,
"You look as stunning as ever, Mr. Potter."
Harry offered his hand and the head goblin shook it zealously,
"You flatter me, Sir. We are so glad that you could make it."
Harry watched the way Voldemort and Rabastan were gaping at him and smirked. The head goblin puffed up with pride,
"We wouldn't have missed this for the world. Although I was beginning to wonder about your presence."
Harry leaned down and whispered secretively in the head goblin's ear,
"I'm actually extremely unattractive under all the makeup and glamours. It takes me hours to make myself look this good."
The head goblin looked horrified for a moment before bursting into raucous laughter,
"Oh, Mr. Potter. Your sense of humour is out of this world."
Harry laughed and the entire delegation laughed with him along with Rabastan. Nicholai came to stand beside him as the vampire delegation joined them. Harry grabbed a flute of champagne from a hovering tray and watched as Voldemort, Rabastan and everyone else did the same. Whatever potion Nicholai had given him was really beginning to work because all traces of the pain were completely gone. Harry raised his glass,
"To our unbreakable alliance."
Everyone cheered in unison and Harry downed his champagne in one. He felt Voldemort's arm snake around his waist and heard him whisper in his ear,
"You look gorgeous."
Harry laughed softly and swatted away his hand,
"Flattery won't get you anywhere."
Nicholai drawled out,
"I am a bit lost. There are rumours going on that you were seen kissing a lowly death eater earlier this evening and now it seems that you have Lord Voldemort wrapped around your pretty little finger."
Harry turned around and met Nicholai's aquamarine gaze,
"Are you jealous? I can have as many men as I want, Nick, but you will never be one of them."
Nicholai was about to speak when Harry cut across him,
"And I was not kissing a lowly death eater. I was kissing the Head of Magical Law Enforcement."
Harry coughed and covered his mouth with his hand. When he looked up, Nicholai had a grin on his face,
"None of the men you have presumably had have made it to your bed nor have you made it to theirs since you are a virgin in every sense of the word."
Harry willed himself to calm down and felt his nails sink into the palms of his hand as he tried to keep his rage at bay,
"My virginity is none of your concern."
Harry turned away from Nicholai and willed himself to relax. He grabbed Voldemort and Rabastan and dragged them to the center of the hall,
"Dance with me."
The people moved out of the way and Harry snapped his fingers. Music started playing and Harry turned and faced them. Voldemort had a curious glint in his crimson eyes and Rabastan looked absolutely lost and oh so innocent. Harry pulled them closer to himself, his hips catching the beat of the music, tuning out everything…everyone… but his men and the need to move with them.
When they got close enough Harry kissed Voldemort, held his head by the back of his neck and just thrust his tongue down his throat. He pulled Rabastan in tight, letting go of Voldemort so that he could move away and slide behind Rabastan. He held onto Rabastan's hips and ground into him, feeling his cock pushing against his. Harry felt the music and pleasure thrumming through his blood and he attacked his mouth, claiming him right there on the ballroom floor, in front of about a hundred people.
Harry felt Rabastan's arms wrap around him and he kissed back; He could hear him moan and whimper into his mouth as he kissed him rough and ruthless. Their hips were moving with the music, and they were dancing. Voldemort's hands were sliding over his back, wrapping around from behind Rabastan, trapping Rabastan between them.
Harry broke away from Rabastan's mouth and kissed Voldemort, leaning around Rabastan, pulling him tighter to him. He was on fire. Want and passion burned him from the inside out. He felt giddy and something like desire coiled tight in his stomach. Harry heard someone moan and it took him a minute to realize that it wasn't one of them, it was someone from the crowd.
Harry blinked and then turned back to his men and kissed Rabastan again before pulling away from them both. He'd put on enough of a show for one night. Harry felt Bellatrix's and several gazes burn a hole into his back and smirked as he reached Nicholai and the goblin delegation,
"I hope you don't feel lost anymore, Nick."
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