Chapter 97

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Harry still didn't believe Deus, but it wasn't like he was losing anything by accepting his offer but before that he had another pressing matter to attend to,

"I want you to transfer Bella and Nick to my castle."

Deus smirked,

"Yeah, your castle is definitely something. I visited it before I came here, and I've already locked them up in the dungeons. You can have some fun with them tonight. I'm sure your lover would want to join you."

Harry laughed which soon turned into a cough and Deus was there with him again, rubbing his back and trying to soothe him. He was definitely getting worse. It took him several minutes to regulate his breathing and when he did, Deus patted him on the back and spoke,

"You have a meeting to get to now."

Harry rose to his feet shakily as he watched Deus revert to his bashful persona again. Getting on his feet and taking every step was a fierce battle that he fought with his body. He hated how weak he'd become. He made his way to the meeting room with Deus at his heels. The vampire delegation was already there when he stepped into the meeting room. He recognized Marcus and several other vampires. Voldemort rose to his feet at his arrival and rushed to his side immediately. He wrapped an arm around his waist and despite his murmured protests led him to the chair and sat him down before reclaiming his seat the head of the table. Marcus cleared his throat and spoke,

"I was just offering my congratulations to The Dark Lord and I offer you the same."

Harry smiled and thanked him before leaning back in his seat. Normally, he would have talked or flirted but talking made his lungs burn worse than they already did, and he wasn't in the mood for another cough attack. The vampires talked to Voldemort about the politics while Deus stood behind his seat and took notes. Every breath he took left him feeling drained. He must have dozed off at some point because Voldemort's gentle touch on his cheek woke him up and the first thing he saw was Voldemort's pale cheeks and nothing but concern on his face,


Harry tried to straighten up, but Voldemort stopped him. Harry raised his hands to wipe away his tears and tried to speak but Voldemort rested a finger on his lips and whispered in a broken voice,

"You…you stopped breathing…"

Oh damn. Voldemort pulled him into a hug and Harry saw the vampires all standing there along with Deus. He closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around Voldemort's shoulders. Voldemort's hold tightened on him and he breathed,

"Do not terrify me like that again. Please, Harry."

Harry held him closer,

"I'm sorry…I'm so sorry."

Voldemort kissed every exposed inch of him, as if trying to reassure himself that he was still there…still alive…still warm and breathing. When he pulled away, he spoke softly,

"Do you want to go home?"

Harry shook his head and looked at the vampires over his shoulders,

"You should finish your meeting first."

Voldemort turned to the vampires and spoke,

"I'll see to it that Nicholai is found as soon as possible. Do not fret. I am sure the order is behind it. You may leave now."

As the vampires filed out of the room, Harry couldn't help but grin. Voldemort cupped his face and smiled,

"That gorgeous grin on your face can only mean one thing."

Harry tilted his head back and Voldemort kissed his lips gently before carefully pulling him into his arms. Harry draped an arm around his shoulder and pulled his head back down for another kiss before whispering,

"We're running out of time."

Voldemort pulled him closer and held his gaze,

"I am striving for it."

Harry kissed him again and spoke softly,

"Shall we go and find Nick now?"

Voldemort grinned and kissed him harder,

"Rest first."

Harry groaned as Voldemort apparated them back to their castle and laid him back on the bed before sitting down at the foot of the bed and unlacing his boots. Harry sighed softly and tugged at his hands,

"Come lay down with me."

Voldemort kissed his feet and Harry couldn't help but giggle which was interrupted by a cough. Voldemort was beside him an instant and holding him tight and Harry buried his face in his chest as his heart nearly exploded with fear. What if he stopped breathing again? What if death stole him away in his sleep? He murmured against Voldemort's chest,

"If I should die before I wake, pray no one my soul to take and if I wake before I die, rescue me with your smile."

Voldemort fisted his shirt and Harry pleaded,

"Don't let me die… Please don't let death take me… I don't want to go…"

He didn't care if he sounded afraid or desperate. He was beyond that point now. He could feel Voldemort's tears soak through his shirt. He could hear his whimpers, the sobs he was trying to muffle.

"I will not let death steal you away from me…I promise, Harry…"

Voldemort cradled him close to his chest as he coughed again,

"Just rest…You will feel better after you get some sleep."

Voldemort sounded unsure about that and Harry knew that they both knew that sleep wouldn't help him recover. Time was slipping through their hands like sand and they both knew it.