Chapter 78

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Harry woke up coughing but as soon as he tried to move his hands, the sound of clanking caught his attention and he realized with cold dread that he wasn't able to move them. For a moment, the world was a blur of dull colours. Then, as he properly awoke, everything came into focus. Harry desperately wished he hadn't, for he found himself once more in that wretched room. Shackles were tied around his ankles and wrists, chaining him to the bed. Every time he so much as shifted, the chains made echoing noises that seemed to go on forever. Something soft was wrapped around his throat. The feeling grew more pronounced as he gulped. A collar…A bloody collar. He cursed and tried to push himself up into a sitting position but failed.

He glared up at the ceiling. Chained and collared. Nicholai had certainly fulfilled his fantasy. He was going to make him pay for this…He was going to make Nicholai wish he wasn't born. The voice inside his head interrupted his thoughts and chimed,

If you get out of here

Harry banged his head against the pillow and wanted to shut up that voice. He swore it came alive at the most inappropriate of times. He ran his gaze around the room. The curtains had been drawn and he wondered what time it was. Rabastan… The funeral…Had he missed it?

Serves you right

Harry buried his face in the pillow and screamed, hoping against hope that it would drown out that bloody voice in his head. When his head was relatively quiet, he turned over again and stared at the ceiling. Sadness sat an inch below Harry's face. He willed his eyes to remain dry and kept his expression impassive. He knew that if he even let a fraction of it out, the rest would follow, a never-ending torrent of grief. He couldn't afford that. Not now when he wasn't sure what Nicholai intended to do with him. The door opened and Harry kept his gaze focused on the ceiling but clenched his teeth. He felt the mattress shift and Nicholai spoke in a dark, velvety voice that grated on Harry's nerves,

"You look absolutely stunning. Better than I could have ever imagined."

Harry turned his head as soon as Nicholai reached out to touch him and his hands balled into fists. Nicholai dropped his hand and chuckled darkly,

"I adore your defiance. Even now when I have you subdued, your spirit refuses to yield."

Harry spun his head and finally met Nicholai's lustful aquamarine gaze,

"What the hell do you want from me?"

Nicholai's perfect eyebrows arched with amusement and he gripped his chin before Harry could avoid it,

"I thought you were smarter than this, Harry."

Nicholai ran his finger over the collar and laughed cruelly,

"This collar is more than a mere trinket. It will suppress all of your restless magical energy."

Nicholai tiled his head and purred appreciatively. Harry kept his gaze fastened on Nicholai's and spat on his face. Instantly, Nicholai's handsome features morphed into an ugly visage of rage and Harry felt like his jaw was going to shatter in his bone crushing hold. Nicholai wiped his face with his other hand and Harry felt internally terrified as those aquamarine eyes glittered with unnatural malice and a truly malevolent smirk formed on those voracious red lips. He would die before he let his fear show,

"You have no idea what I am capable of, Sweetheart."

Harry laughed and made sure his eyes conveyed his fearlessness as he bit out,

"Do your worst."

Nicholai finally released his jaw and Harry was sure he had left bruises if the throbbing pain was anything to go by,

"I do intend to."

Nicholai's hand cracked across his face, snapping it back with the force of his blow and causing his head to reel sickeningly with the force of the impact. When black dots quit covering his vision, he found Nicholai holding his already bruised chin again, his sharp nails sinking into his skin and causing tiny rivulets of blood to stream down his collared neck. The pain of his hold nearly caused him to let out a startled little gasp of pain but he bit the inside of his cheek and stopped it from leaving his mouth. When he was sure his voice wouldn't betray him, he snapped out,

"Is that the best you've got?"

Nicholai growled and ripped his shirt straight off his body and as the cool air struck his bare skin, the gravity of the situation finally began to affect him. His stomach sank and his heart was threatening to beat out of his chest. Fear acted like a knife in his gut which was slowly being twisted, it was a constant hammering on his head. Harry refused to leave Nicholai's gaze. He refused to let his fear show. He had faced worse…far worse at Dumbledore's hands. Nothing could be worse than that. He forced himself to smirk and felt the fear evaporate like water under an early summer sun. Fear was an illusion. It was just an illusion.

Nicholai smirked demonically and released his jaw to brush his hair away from his forehead,

"Be careful what you ask for, sweetheart."

The pain had an unpleasant warmth to it, it ate at his stomach. There was nausea too, just enough to make him hold onto the chains binding his wrists for support and control his breathing. He had prized his ability to ignore pain but that just wasn't possible at the moment and his ability proved to be bloody useless. The pain steadily owned him and dominated every thought. Harry struggled to push it away. The pain spiked and it turned sharp like a needle point or a knife. His back arched as the pain rushed through his body like an igniting fire. it burned his innards better than boiling water. Everything felt scorched. His muscles felt as though they had been flash-burned with acid from the inside.

He was in more pain than he could have ever imagined was possible and it only continued to grow. It increased in waves, small lulls giving false hope of an end. Each peak robbed his ability to speak, fraying his delicate self-control. He wouldn't scream…he wouldn't scream…He just wouldn't scream.

But it was so bloody difficult not to scream when his blood had become acid, intent on destroying him from the inside out. All he could do was writhe, the occasional whimper escaping to echo off the walls. The paralyzing hurt spread through his body like icy, liquid metal. His grip tightened on the chains and he felt them rubbing against his wrists, tattering his skin. His body twitched and his jaw tightened. Fire in the form of water stung eyes, threatening to spill. He crunched his teeth over his lip harder than he ever had. Bitter, metallic blood filled his mouth. Reality tried to tap its way into his hazy pain filled thoughts. This pain would go on forever. There was no end in sight. There was no Rabastan to rescue him this time. He was utterly helpless.

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