Fandom: Harry Potter
Summary: 15 years ago, they sealed him away never to see the light again. Now that his innocence has been proven, they want him back, but what they find is a broken man. Will they manage to get over the secrets and get his trust back after all the pain?
Warnings: Post-War setting. Heavy AU, heavy OOC, several OCs, mention of MPreg, mention of rape, mention of child abuse, mention of violence, slash, light lemon, light Weasley/Hermione bashing.
A/N: If anyone has seen the Korean Drama Warrior Baek Dong Soo, Harry's clothes are Yeo Un's in Assassin Garb.
"Are you sure?"
Acastus Malfoy looked up from his book and frowned at his father's distressed tone. Never before had he heard such emotion in his voice -or seen it on his face.
"Yes, my Lord."
Silence fell over the office for a while, before there was the sound of a chair being pushed back, and then, footsteps.
"You are dismissed."
"Yes, my Lord."
The Death Eater left the room quickly, bowing when he passed Acastus, who ignored him. He rose, however, when Lord Voldemort stepped outside of his office too, and inclined his head slightly.
"Acastus. Have you seen Lucius?"
"He must be going through his mail, Father."
He turned to leave.
"Is there a problem, Father?"
Voldemort paused, but then resumed walking without answering. To his eldest son, it was more than enough: he was far too perplexed to give a definite response.
"Marvolo, what's wrong?"
The Dark Lord sat down in the offered armchair, and accepted a glass of Brandy gratefully. He stared at the glowing flames of the fireplace silently, nursing his drink in his right hand, his lips pursed into a frown. The blonde Lord merely waited for his lover to speak, knowing he would once he was finished thinking about whatever had happened.
"I heard the most troubling news today." Voldemort said at last. Lucius remained silent. "It seems that we... misjudged someone."
Slim eyebrows rose in confusion.
"Yes. Our Lord Husband, in fact."
Lucius tensed, painfully surprised. It had been years, over a decade, in fact, since he had been mentioned, and to actually speak his title! His silence must have spoken for him, because the Dark Lord drained his glass in one go and stood up to pace in front of the fireplace.
"It seems that what happened fifteen years ago was the result of a conspiracy."
The blonde's head shot up.
"You don't mean...?"
"Yes. Our Lord Husband was set up. And we fell for it hook, line and sinker."
He was the only one allowed to use such a tone with the man who now ruled Wizarding Europe, though there had once been another, but his rights had long been abolished and he, sealed off where nobody could ever see him again. Voldemort complied, his beloved's face darkening with every word he spoke. Because he was just understanding how mistaken they had been, how cruel, how needlessly horrible their behavior had been when it had come to their younger husband. A husband who had apparently been raped countless times ever since childhood, and hadn't even found safety within the boundaries of their manor.
They stood silently for a while, before Lucius sighed heavily, running a hand through his long blonde hair.
"What should we do? We have to free him."
"And talk to the children. They don't know the truth."
A house-elf popped in, large ears flapping as it bowed.
"Fetch our children."
Five minutes later, five people entered the room. The first to come in were twins, though non-identical. One, a girl, had long blonde hair which fell to the middle of her back in gentle waves, and beautiful emerald eyes. Her twin was a seventeen-year-old boy with straight dark brown hair, almost black, and silver-blue eyes. Both had delicate features, and looked increasingly curious as they noticed that the whole family was gathered. Then came Acastus, the eldest at twenty-five, with long black hair and forest-green eyes the color of the Dark Lord before they turned red. He was quite tall, and had inherited Voldemort's build on top of his eyes, though his features were the Blacks'. And finally, Adair, the youngest. At fifteen, he looked a lot like Him, with jet black hair artistically spiked up and icy-blue eyes. He wasn't very tall for his age, but had a very lithe build, agile and swift against his eldest brother's strength and power.
All of them got along quite well, even though the twins always stayed together, and Acastus tended to dot on Adair all the time -in a respectable Pureblood manner, of course.
"Father," Eden, the only girl, began, "what is the matter?"
"Sit down, all of you." Lucius said. "Your father and I have important news to tell you."
They obeyed mutely, and waited.
"You all know that neither of us gave birth to you. There was a third."
The children's features closed up at the mention of 'The Slut', as he'd come to being known as, and they stiffened. Acastus' upper lip curled up in a sneer. The twins looked like they were about to set up a lethal 'prank', and Adair worried his lower lip.
"Fifteen years ago, we caught him cheating on us, and sealed him off in a secluded wing of the manor."
"Can't imagine why you just didn't kill him." Thanatos, Eden's twin, muttered.
"Silence." Voldemort lashed out, and his mouth shut with an audible click. The kids looked at their parents in puzzlement, unable to understand why one of them would actually stand up for 'the slut' when he had hurt them so much, and they had been the first to hate him before.
"It appears we were wrong." Lucius said softly, his handsome features showing all his regret.
Acastus straightened up.
"We were wrong. New information came in this morning. Our Lord Husband was framed."
"But you saw him!" Eden spat out hatefully. "How could it be?"
"What we saw wasn't him cheating on us." Voldemort admitted in a low voice, rubbing at his forehead.
"You don't mean..." Adair whispered, looking very pale.
"Yes. He was raped."
A long silence, until the twins crossed their arms over their chests.
"It doesn't change the fact that he was a slut anyway. He wasn't even a virgin for your bonding night!" Eden snarled.
"No he wasn't." Lucius agreed. "However, we gathered some intelligence about that as well. And it seems it was... forced."
Another silence, though this once lasted a lot longer.
"What do you mean?" Acastus finally asked, fighting to keep his composure, and the memories at bay.
"We should have suspected it. He grew up with abusive muggles who hated anything related to magic, so we should have guessed... Do you remember how terrified he was, and how he just... lay there that night?"
Lucius nodded slowly.
"I'd thought it was a result of habit, that he was just a whore. But he actually..."
He trailed off, and they all stared.
"You have definite proof of his innocence?" Adair murmured at last.
"Yes, Adair. It was all a set up, and your Lord Father was a victim of rape."
"What do we do, then?"
"Free him, of course!" Adair exclaimed impetuously.
Lucius and Voldemort smiled softly if sadly at their youngest.
"Absolutely. We will go now."
And so they went. They walked swiftly along the endless corridors of Slytherin Manor, passing through the warded doors which drew the limit of the accessible part of the house before stopping as they reached a set of double doors which must have been magnificent once, but which was now covered in dust, the intricate engravings almost drowned under it. Around them, everything was deadly silent, and they became increasingly aware of the heavy sets of charms and curses which had been placed on every inch of this wing of the manor to make sure the prisoner would remain closed off the world and by himself, without any means of communication. Voldemort rose his wand and waved it in intricate patterns, alternatively muttering in Parseltongue and English, until the wards vanished with a small snap.
The doors swung open with an ominous screech which Acastus, to the relief of the others, was quick to mute with a flick of his wand. They stood there, strangely hesitant as they watched the small antechamber. All was silent.
When they finally went in, it was like stepping inside a tomb. There was not a sound except for the small ruffling of their feet on the dark carpet. The few portraits they could see were covered in a thick layer of dust and didn't move at all. The two men could remember freezing all of them to deprive their third of any company whatsoever all these years ago. And, walking amidst the silence, they could only wonder what they would find in the rooms nobody had seen in over a decade.
The antechamber led to the drawing room through a small, dark hallway. The door was closed, and so they opened it quietly after having checked it for curses, for if they didn't remember warding it, it was possible they had anyway. The door opened soundlessly, and they hesitantly stepped in.
The room was deserted. Two armchairs sat in front of an empty fireplace, and that's when they actually noticed how cold it was in here. Two candles were the only source of light here, as all windows had been sealed shut and barred, and his wand had been confiscated and snapped when they had 'caught' him.
A ancient desk sat on their right, supporting the two candles, and on which sheets of parchment were neatly stacked, along with an old quill and inkwell. There also was a small bookshelf full with books, but that was all there was in the room. Curious, they walked over to the desk and peered at the parchments, marveling at the sheer amount of writing he had done in all the time he'd been here.
What they found was disconcerting and horrifying at the same time.
The handwriting was elegant and smooth, regularly spaced, and neatly shaped.
"The days have faded and the night has been taken from me until the minutes faded into one another and darkness became my kingdom. I live in the dark, the shadows dance and sing to me, the light I think would burn me were I to ever see it again.
But I am not, as decided by my husbands. I have been sealed away from the world, imprisoned in this luxurious suite which has not been used for years on end, and shall be my tomb. Here I will age and die, and miss the growth of the children who will be raised in hatred of my name.
My name is Hadrian James Slytherin-Malfoy, né Potter-Black, and this is my story.
I was born on July, 31st in St-Mungo's -the british wizarding hospital. My parents, James Charlus Potter and Lily Potter née Evans..."
Surprised, they leafed through the narrative, only to stop about half-way through as a sentence seemed to jump to their eyes.
"It was decided on November, 15th. The contract was signed, both sides celebrating. Dumbledore, for all of his grandfatherly persona, was quick to do it. I now belonged to Voldemort and his lover, Lucius Malfoy. Why they ever accepted to bond with me I will never understand, though in retrospect, I suspect it only had to do with the sexual aspect, and the opportunity to make the life of the Boy-Who-Lived miserable, and to torment me at every occasion. I remember the disgusted looks of the ones who had called themselves my friends for all these years. Now they call me a slut, a whore. Maybe I am.
I also am, however, the one who will not ever be given the right to live as he wants to in order to save their sorry hides. I have always, and still do even now, dreamed of a family. However, as Vernon told me so many times over, freaks do not have dreams, or the right to dream. They are only to obey and spread their legs. And so I did."
Silver-grey and dark crimson met as Lucius and Marvolo felt the weight of sorrow and regret settle more heavily than ever on their shoulders. Acastus, however, hadn't looked up, and kept looking through the memoirs of his father.
"...They took him away!" The page was marred by tear-stains, the writing, shaky. "My child, my baby, my last born. Claiming he was most likely the fruit of my treachery. I begged and begged and cried for them to give him back, but they wouldn't. I never touched him, never held him in my arms. I do not even know if it is a boy or a girl. My instincts tell me he is a boy, a little boy, but how to be sure? What does he look like? Even now, after all this time has passed, I wonder how he is, who he looks like. Is he like Acastus, beautiful Acastus, with black hair like mine but Marvolo's eyes?"
And then, there was another entry.
"I hadn't recovered yet, I remember, when they locked me up. They had had enough of me, evidently, and they just had me hauled up by McNair and Greyback before throwing me here, in the rooms I have not left for how long, I have no idea. Time seems to have melted, and with the loss of the eternal cycle of night and day, my ability to estimate it has disappeared. They have taken my wand, snapped it. The faifthul companion who saved my life countless times, gone.
And little Acastus, standing tall at ten years of age as they shut the doors. I remember looking up at him as I tried to stand up. He looked so disgusted.
His last word at me: 'Whore!'"
Adair shot a shocked look at his usually so collected brother, who was shaking by now, lips pursed, unable to imagine his role model saying such a thing to his own father. Lucius put a gentle hand on the young man's shoulder soothingly.
"It wasn't your fault. We did it. You were still an impressionable child, and we said such hurtful, such horrible things to you and in your hearing range back then..."
"I should have known better." The black-haired youth said grimly.
"No you couldn't. You barely knew him, you had been taken from him quite early."
They looked back down at the parchments. There were still a lot even after he had been locked up, and they could only wonder what it was that he had written.
"We will come back and take it all. Let's go and find him first." Marvolo said softly to his husband.
They all nodded, the twins uncharacteristically silent, before moving on to the only door they could see other than the one they had come through. It was open, and left way to the bedroom. It was neither small nor large, just standard, though compared to the rest of the manor rooms and theirs in particular, it was miserable.
There was a single bed with only one blanket over it on their left, and considering how cold it was, they couldn't help but shiver at the thought that someone had had to sleep there with nothing else that that meager protection against the vicious chill of the air. The windows had been shuttered here too, and the room was lit only by one candle, which allowed them to see that there was a hand hanging limply over the old, brownish armchair sitting in front of an unlit, cold fireplace.
The mere sight of that hand and its position was enough to have them blanching, for it was far too reminiscent of corpses to their taste. Fearful of what they might find if they stepped around the armchair, they studied that hand first, and it didn't take very long to notice how bony it was, and pale. The skin was all stretched over the bones, and they could see almost see every vein and sinew under that thin layer of skin...
They almost jumped at Eden's bold question, and stiffened as she stepped forward and impetuously went to stand before the armchair. The hand twitched, before withdrawing, and going to rest on the armchair as he used it to support himself in his endeavor to stand. Slowly, he drew himself to his full height, which wasn't much, and they could see that his black hair had grown enough to be carefully restrained in a loose bun.
"So, you gonna talk, or what? You turned dumb?" She asked again, annoyance seeping in her tone as Thanatos went to stand by her side, followed by the four other members of the family.
Slowly, very slowly, he looked them over, dark eyes settling over them one after the other, before he stopped as he reached Voldemort and Lucius. No expression crossed his face, though, and he merely took a step back before kneeling on the floor, his forehead to the ice-cold floor. The greeting they had forced him to do after they had caught him in bed with another man, despite his advanced pregnancy and obvious difficulty with the movement.
He did, his features blank even as he swayed, and flinched when Lucius reached out to steady him, causing the blonde to retreat hastily. He then stood there silently, eyes lowered to the floor in the submissive posture they had practically beat into him.
"You shall not greet us in this way anymore." Voldemort said. "Your innocence has been proven, so you shall come with us and take back your status as our equal."
There wasn't the tiniest hint of emotion on that face as he spoke, and so, he added "do you understand?"
They started walking back through the rooms and the hallway. Voldemort led the way with Adair, while the twins, Acastus and Lucius made up the rear, Harry between the two groups, walking at a slow, tranquil pace, his feet making no sound on the used carpets. The Dark Lord and Adair were quick to walk through the great double doors, but stopped and turned around when a soft call from Lucius indicated that they had a problem. And indeed, their Third was standing there, studying the line of dust on the floor, head bowed slightly and shoulders hunched.
Then, ever so slowly, he took a hesitant step forward, and out of the suite which had been his prison for the past fifteen years. And as he stepped into the light and rose his head to look at the hallway, they couldn't help the gasps.
The vivid emerald eyes were but a memory, as they had darkened to an almost black shade of green, and the hair which had once been jet black now held two silver strands on either side of his face, framing his features and enhancing his hollow cheeks, prominent cheekbones and the dark rings around his eyes. The tattered robes he was wearing were the same he had had on when he had given birth to Adair, and they now hung limply on his far too thin body, showing a bony bare shoulder and testifying that Harry, who had always been very thin, was now little more than skin and bones. He was, in fact, skeletal, and it was a miracle that he could actually stand and walk.
Acastus couldn't help but feel the guilt increase tenfold at the thought that he was partly responsible for this, the near-death of the man who had bore and given birth to him, and, if the writings they had found were anything to go by, loved him more than life itself. Yet, he had called him a whore, never questioning the words his other fathers said, believing them and spitting his disgust at him without even trying to get an explanation... Granted, he had been very young at the time, but still... At ten years old, he should have known better. And the man had never been anything but gentle and loving with him.
Now, however, there was nothing in those eyes as they walked down the hallway and to the Master Suite, and he followed listlessly, as would a good dog. He didn't know much about his father, but from what little memories he had of him, the dead, dull shade of the emerald orbs was not how they used to be, and the man, he was pretty sure of it, hadn't been so... broken. Because as they entered the rooms and he just waited for instructions by the door, it was quite obvious that that was the case. Hadrian James Potter-Black, once a symbol of hope for the Light and constant annoyance for the Dark, defeater of a Dark Lord and main actor of the Peace Treaty which had officially put an end to the war, was no more than an empty shell.
"Can you bathe by yourself?"
"Then go and wash up. Severus will be here shortly to evaluate your health. Then, someone from Gladrags will come to make you a new wardrobe."
Another mute nod, before he locked himself up in the bathroom. They could hear the water running and turned to each other.
"Well," Eden finally said, crossing her arms over her chest, "he's a complete wreck. Nice. I'm glad we got your intelligence." She said to her fathers.
Voldemort's eyes blazed, as Lucius narrowed his in anger.
"You will not speak of Harry like that. He's extremely intelligent, I can assure you." The Dark Lord said coldly.
"Well, it's the truth anyway! Look at him! He's half-dead already! Completely useless!" She said a little defensively.
"I'd like to see what you'd be like after fifteen years of solitary confinement!" Adair shouted fiercely.
"I advise you not to speak in such a way again, Eden, lest you endure my... displeasure." Voldemort concluded, Lucius nodding in assent. "Minty!"
The house-elf popped in.
"Yes, go and fetch Severus Snape. Tell him to bring his Mediwizard kit."
A few minutes later, they could hear footsteps walking down the corridor, before someone knocked drily.
The man came in, and bowed curtly.
"My Lord. Lucius."
"Severus. We have someone we need you to run a check on. They're in the bathroom at the moment, but should come out any minute now."
The Potions Master nodded and settled down for the wait. It wasn't long before the door opened again, and out stepped Harry, fully clad in a dark green and black robe, a wide belt holding them at the waist, enhancing how thin he was. Onyx eyes widened impossibly as he took him in, and he couldn't help the slight whisper.
His head snapped up at that, and his eyes met the Potions Master's obsidian orbs. They stared at each other for a long minute, neither moving nor breathing, before suddenly, something flashed through the young man's eyes and the corner of his lips stretched ever so slightly. They supposed it was his best attempt at a smile at the moment. He stepped forward hurriedly, stumbled, and would have fallen had it not been for Snape's arms around his waist, holding him up and against a strong chest. He took a second to clear his head and looked up, before throwing his arms around the older man's neck and hugging him as if there was no tomorrow. Severus merely returned the hug and buried his face in the crook of his neck, gently stroking the damp hair and back.
"Thank Salazar you're finally out." He breathed.
"There was a time, when I had just started living with my husbands, when I got terribly bored. I went out of my way to stay out of theirs, knowing they would never like me or desire to see me, and so I did everything I could not to force them to see my unlovable face. They were, anyway, men of a level of power, beauty and refinement I could never even dream of reaching.
Thus I started haunting the library There was a corner there, hidden and shadowed, which was pretty much invisible if you were not looking for it. Severus found me there one day, reading a Potions book. He could not resist the temptation to put his sharp tongue to good use, of course, and so we started talking and then brewing. It did not come easily, of course. He would not believe in my ability as a Potions brewer until I proved it to him, and prove it I did.
It was the start of a long friendship, as I took the habit of taking refuge in his labs to disappear and brew to calm down. He never pushed the issue when I did not feel the need to talk. But he was always there to listen when I felt otherwise. And his support, silent as it may have been, was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time.
I might not have survived without him."
It seemed like they had forgotten all about the world around them, and it was only Acastus clearing his throat which made them part, or rather, made Harry jump back as if burnt, before standing very stiffly. A gently hand on his shoulder prevented him from falling, and Severus took out his wand.
"I'm going to run a few tests, okay?"
Harry nodded numbly and stood very still while the Potions Master proceeded, ignoring the Dark Lord, Lucius and their children, whose stares where currently boring holes in the back of his skull. A few minutes passed in silence except for a few mutterings on Snape's part, and then, the Third was allowed to go and take a seat, as he was swaying on his feet, however much he tried to hide it.
"So?" Questioned Lucius, one eyebrow raised.
The dark man ran a hand through his silky black hair.
"Well, we are lucky. He's just dangerously underweight, but over than that, he seems fine. His eyesight has worsened, though, so he will need a correcting potion."
"He had not said a word since we came to free him." Adair said quietly.
"Yes, I have two theories about that. Either it has to do with emotional damage or, and it's most likely, his being silent for fifteen years on end made it pretty much impossible for him to talk. It will be a long and painful process for him to speak again, if he ever feels the need to, that is."
There was a long silence.
"Very well." Voldemort said at last. "Thank you, Severus, you can go."
The man nodded and turned to Harry, bending over to say something in his ear before leaving with one last comforting squeeze at his shoulder.
Lucius and Voldemort's eyes narrowed at that, but they didn't say anything, remembering that their younger husband had developed a strong friendship with Snape during the ten years they had been married and actually living together.
Dinner was a silent affair. The kids kept shooting not-so-subtle glances at their father while their fathers tried to coax him into talking or at least reacting. But the man merely sat there, dark eyes glazed over, barely touching the fabulous meal cooked and served by the house-elves, and left the table as soon as dinner was over. He waited obediently for them to tell him where he would sleep, and Acastus thought he saw his shoulders relax ever so slightly when they informed him that his private quarters had been kept habitable by the house-elves, or more precisely Dobby, Winky and Kreacher, who had adamantly refused to obey them ever since their master had been locked up and so badly treated despite his weakened state. The three creatures had displayed a shocking loyalty to their unofficial master, and stood up for him quite fiercely. It was only the anti-house-elf wards on the Forbidden Wing which had prevented them from breaking him out or at least bringing him food, clothes and whatever else he would be in need of.
And so days passed.
Harry never spoke, never even really looked at any of them. The only one he seemed to truly see was Severus, who regularly dropped by to visit and talk to him of the happenings in the world during his seclusion. They would sit by the fireplace and the younger man would look at the flickering flames expressionlessly while the Potions Master talked, and though he never showed it, they thought he was listening.
They assured him repeatedly that he was their equal, and that as such, he could do whatever he wanted, though they would never let him out of the manor without an escort of some sort, seeing as he hadn't set foot out of a locked room for over a decade, and was most likely completely unused to light and noise. He indeed still kept to the shadows, recoiling every time the rooms he stepped in were lit by more than three or four candles, and the people coming and going quickly learned to dim the lights whenever he came near.
He was like a ghost, almost transparent, mute and silent, his footsteps unheard and his movements only betrayed by the slight rustle of fabric, barely eating, barely there. It was like he had faded already and wasn't of this world anymore. And it despaired them to know that they had been the ones to break the fiery spirit of their Third to such an extent.
One day, he disappeared for the whole afternoon, and had everybody in a state of utter panic by the time he returned, meaning for dinner. They had searched Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, Hogwarts and the entire grounds without finding him when he merely showed up in the dining room, washed up and clad in dark blue and black robes, ready for the meal. He never answered when they asked him, quite vehemently, where he had been, merely flinched a little at the tone, then directed a blank stare at them when they asked about his whereabouts for the afternoon.
Feeling immensely relieved, for some reason, that the man who had given birth to him and mourned so much over his loss of him was safe, Adair impulsively stalked over to him and, throwing his arms around his too thin waist, hugged him fiercely. Harry stood stiffly for a second, and then, slowly, brought his arms down and returned the embrace gently, though his eyes remained just as empty as they had been since they got him out of his prison. And the teen couldn't help but feel immensely relieved.
"While Marvolo was always very authoritarian, Lucius was softer. His Pureblood education, I was quick to learn, only served as a facade for his soft-spoken and caring nature. I must admit he had me fooled for years on end, until I had been living with them for several months, in fact. I saw him appeasing Marvolo's anger or stress several times and to tell the truth, it really soothed my heart and unsettled me at the same time.
Because I knew that I would never be the recipient of such tenderness.
And yet, it all changed when they found out I was pregnant with Acastus."
The man didn't look up from his position, seated in front of the place, dark eyes reflecting the flickering dance of the flames. That was all he did in the evenings, he just sat there and didn't make a sound, merely waited for the time to retire to bed to come, never making a sound or moving a finger. It was like he had become a statue.
Seeing him like this, cold and empty, Lucius couldn't help it. He took his hand, and almost dropped it when he felt how icy it was, and how the younger man had tensed at his touch. He didn't let go of it, though, and started rubbing gentle circles on the back of it with his thumb. The skin was as smooth as he remembered it.
"I know you can hear me, and... I have to tell you something." He paused. "What we did fifteen years ago... It was horrible, it was inhuman. We hurt you so much... Looking back, ever since we were bonded, hurting you seems to be the only thing we've been doing. Our bonding night... We had been promised your virginity. And then after that... We thought you didn't care. And when we found you with him... had we known... I'm so sorry, Harry, please believe me. I think the truth is, we reacted that badly because we had actually fallen for you, and that made the betrayal twice hurtful, since you were the bearer of our children, and our husband, and had sworn faithfulness... And because being cheated on was so humiliating..."
He held his breath when those empty eyes turned to him, staring at him, and he could guess what they were saying without words.
Yet you yourself did it, and made it so that I would witness it...
"And yet we did cheat on you. It was like revenge. We wanted you to hurt as much as your 'betrayal' had hurt us. And so once you had given birth, we locked you up. Because the mere sight of you was too painful for us." He let out a strangled laugh. "We were such fools. I can't believe we were so stupid. To think that someone like you would stoop so low... It was obvious, and yet, we were so utterly convinced that you hated us, that it never came to our minds that someone so dutiful and loyal as you were would never do such a thing."
A lone tear ran down his face without him noticing, and he squeezed Harry's limp hand gently. His younger husband was back to watching the fire.
"For what it's worth, Harry, I'm sorry. I am deeply, sincerely, utterly sorry. I know it's nowhere near enough and that nothing I said excuses what we did, but I hope one day you will find the strength to come back to us and see how beautiful your children have grown to be, and to allow us to do our very best to make it up to you over and over again. And prove to you how much we actually love you. Show you what we failed to prove all those years ago."
Slowly, he stood, and bent over to lay a gentle kiss on the back of Harry's delicate hand. With one last lingering caress at his fingers, he then left and went to the door, his heart heavy in his chest even as he saw Marvolo standing in the doorframe, waiting for him, dark crimson eyes glinting in the dim light. The Dark Lord wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him close to his body, and they went back to their rooms in thoughtful silence.
"Though I should have expected it, I was delighted to find that the gardens had been kept intact. I was quite worried they would be more frequented, since four children would need space to run and spend their energy in. But to my relief and confusion, it seems that nobody ever set foot there since my 'departure'.
The Moon Fountain still stood where I had last seen it, its water clear and pure, and ice cold. It was a joy to see the small lotuses I had put in it over a decade ago still there, and in perfect shape.
And so it was that, after fifteen years of solitary confinement, I went back to the place which had kept my sorrows at the times of great loneliness."
Harry disappeared again after that. Every day, he would vanish off the face of the Earth for several hours, leaving right after lunch and coming back just in time for dinner, where he slowly started to eat more. His eyes took on a slightly lighter shade after Lucius came to see him, and it seemed that he tolerated the blonde's proximity more easily, though he seemed not to have any problems with Adair. Acastus he was extremely wary of, along with Voldemort and the twins, Eden especially.
The eldest of his children saw this with despair, and decided one day to take matters into his own hands, knowing that his red-eyed father planned on having a talk with his Third very soon. And so, one day, he followed him after breakfast and into the gardens, where the man loved to wander in the morning light, which was far softer than the intense sunlight the rest of the day, particularly since he was a very early riser.
Acastus wasn't sure whether Harry knew he was there or not. The man was very difficult to read, even more so than his other Slytherin fathers, and he couldn't help but wonder how such a Gryffindor person as Lucius and Voldemort had described could have actually seduced them. He resolved to ask them later.
He watched quietly as Harry stood by a fountain, silently observing the soft ripples in the water and his reflection, before taking a hesitant step forward. The man tensed slightly, but didn't move. Acastus took another step, and soon, he was standing by his father's side. Stealing a glance at the man, he could only admire his features, how delicate he looked, and utterly fragile, with his porcelain complexion, hooded green eyes and jet black hair. The silver strands merely enhanced that broken-beauty feeling he gave off, and he resisted the urge to wrap his arms around the frail body and protect it from everything in the world.
It would be useless, he knew, because what had broken him now lay in the past, and he had been a part of it. And so it was part of his duty to mend it to the best of his ability. He had seen it in Adair's gaze. After the revelation of what he had said, the teen had never looked at him the same. He glared at everyone, and spent a lot of time with Harry whenever the man was around, just sitting there with him, either talking about nothing and everything, reading, doing homework, or merely holding his hand.
And he, Acastus, wanted to be a part of that.
Coming back to reality, he saw that Harry hadn't moved an inch.
That was the only thing he could come up with, and he felt more than saw the older man's surprise, though his features remained carefully blank.
"I was a horrible child, ungrateful and disrespectful and absolutely horrific. What I said to you, no father should ever hear from their child, and I did it, despite the fact that you had never been anything but good and loving to me. So please, dad, hit me. It's the only thing I deserve. I'm not... asking you to forgive me, because I don't deserve it. But I think you should dish out the punishment I was never given."
There was a long moment of silence. Harry hadn't moved an inch. Only the slight rising of his chest showed that he was alive. Dark strands of silky hair fluttered gently with the soft wind. Acastus could only hear the faint sounds of the chilly breeze over the frantic pounding of his heart. And when the man turned to face him and those dark green eyes rose up to settle on his face, he felt his breath catch in his throat. A pale, bony hand rose slowly, and he closed his eyes, waiting for the blow.
It never came.
A fluttering touch, soft, almost timid, a gently caress, and his eyes snapped open in shock. Harry's gaze was curious as he let the tip of his fingers slide down the lines of his face, studying them with a troubling intensity.
And that's when the young man truly understood, truly saw it. How Harry had managed to get his two life-hardened husbands to fall for him despite their differences. It was simply because he wasn't only beautiful outside, he was also the most gorgeous person inside. His heart was pure, full of love and forgiveness, despite everything the world had done to him, despite everything they had done to him. The fact that he could still muster such gentleness when touching the child who had rejected and insulted him with so much hatred fifteen years previous, sullied his love and shattered his already broken heart... It was mind-boggling and devastating. And Acastus couldn't help but feel lower than ever before. He felt that he was nothing compared to this man, this being made of utter love and compassion.
And at the same time, he couldn't help but feel strangely happy to think that Harry -his father! Had actually deemed him worthy of his... love? Forgiveness? He had no idea what it was. But he intended to treasure it for all the time he'd be granted this privilege.
His eyes slid shut as, without even thinking about it, he wrapped his arms around the slim waist of the small man and buried his face in the crook of his neck, inhaling deeply as he held him close to his chest. Thin arms embraced him back, and he couldn't help but hold on tighter. Harry's fragrance was soft, of freshly cut grass and winter and frost... And it was oddly refreshing. He felt of purity. And it was something Acastus had never known, as he had grown up in a house full of Dark Arts and corrupted people. He could feel his heart swell with a strange, bubbling feeling. And he knew he owed it all to the amazing man standing there who hadn't needed a single word to turn his whole world upside-down.
"Thank you." He murmured.
Inside the manor, Lucius slid a hand in Voldemort's larger one reassuringly as they looked out the window and at the towering form of their eldest son hugging his father, a sight utterly foreign to them. After Harry had been sealed away, Acastus had never been the same. He had mostly kept to himself, openly distrusting adults and authority figures in general. It was like the 'betrayal' of his father had disgusted him and turned him away from grownups. And so he had never hugged anyone. And there he was, embracing a practical stranger with an emotion they had never seen on him as he was extremely reserved.
Lucius smiled sadly at his husband, running a soothing hand down his side.
"He'll forgive you, love. Maybe not out right, but he will. You know how he is. You just need to talk to him. Tell him how utterly sorry you are. Tell him the truth about your feelings."
"I'm a monster." Voldemort whispered quietly, never looking away from the scene unfolding in the gardens. Father and son hadn't moved.
Slim fingers gripped his chin and gently turned his head so that he would into the silver-blue eyes of his husband. They were swirling with an infinite amount of love and sympathy right now, and he couldn't help but wonder what he had done to deserve such devotion from not only one but two people as wonderful as Lucius and Harry. Especially Harry. Because Harry was Light, pure hearted, gentle and caring and innocent, and had forgiven Lucius and Acastus.
His eyes flickered up to the window, then back at Lucius' understanding ones. Threading his long fingers through the silky blonde hair, he slid his hand down to cradle the smooth cheek in his palm and bent down to lay a gentle kiss on the beloved lips.
"Maybe you're right. But I-" His voice broke and he looked away.
Lucius' grip tightened on his arm.
"Do you think I deserved it? No. And yet he listened to me, or at least gave me a chance to speak. Please, Marvolo, please. Don't pass this chance. Trust Harry. Trust him. We never did in the past, and look where it led us. We broke him. But we have a chance at getting him back, and it means you have to talk to him."
He gently kissed the older man's lips.
"Think about it." He whispered lovingly, before leaving swiftly.
"The relationship between my husband always left me torn between admiration and envy. They had been together for years already when I was bonded to them, thus rushing the processing the process of their own union, and their bond was very deep, because they knew each other intimately, both in character and body. They were also similar through their Slytherin years in Hogwarts, Pureblood way of being and general Dark traits.
I, on the other hand..."
Adair looked up as the door opened, and smiled.
"Dad! You're almost late."
Harry's lips twitched at that, though he didn't show any amusement, but there was a spark in his eyes, a spark which hadn't been there a few weeks ago. He then tilted his head at his husbands and twin children, brushed his fingers across Acastus' shoulders and sat down at his usual spot at the dinner table, before starting to help himself to some food. As the 'woman' of the threesome, he had the same privileges as the Lady of a Noble House, and thus ruled the meals. Guests were only allowed to start eating when he did, and had to let him get food first. He displayed perfect table manners, and always sat very straight, almost stiffly, though he had relaxed a little ever since his talks with Lucius and even more since Acastus had come to him.
The twins, however, he barely tolerated. Eden had proven utterly ill-mannered and almost vulgar in her rudeness, pretty aggressive, in fact, and Thanatos had done nothing but stand by her side silently while she spewed insult after insult in either a subtle -when her other fathers were present- or direct way -when Lucius and Voldemort where otherwise occupied, his gaze going from indifferent to coldly calculating as their father silently took it all without ever showing any emotion at the clear dislike of his second oldest children. It was like he heard none of it or didn't care, but Adair, whose anger at the insufferable twats had been steadily increasing, wasn't fooled by this facade.
And every single derogatory word they spat at him was one more kick at his already shattered heart and dignity, his fatherly love ridiculed and his sincere honesty trampled over with blind, hateful accusations of acts who went against each and every one of his moral principles. Especially coming from the ones who should love him to death, and whom he had never been given the occasion to see grow up when he had been the one to carry them and go through the pains of birth to give life to them.
Harry never showed anything, though. And so the twins went on, uncaring of the damage they were doing, uncaring that they were slowly undoing all the progress that Acastus, Adair and their fathers were trying to pull from the Third.
"You look preoccupied."
Acastus' voice tore his younger brother from his musings, and his head snapped toward Voldemort, who had indeed failed to completely mask the worry in his eyes, and the tiredness in his posture.
"It's nothing. Just a few people trying to rebel is all. We'll get them under control soon enough."
Lucius frowned at that, unconsciously mimicked by Adair, who didn't like the sound of that at all. If his father looked so worried, then there was a reason, and he wasn't one to take threats lightly. However, he knew better than to push the issue if the Dark Lord didn't want to talk about it, and so he was quick to lure his brother into another, lighter topic of conversation.
Marvolo couldn't help a sigh of mixed relief and wariness as his youngest distracted the rest of the family, and slowly rubbed the bridge of his nose before remembering his composure and looking up.
Only to freeze as his gaze caught a pair of dark emerald orbs staring at him from across the table. Harry's face was tense, his lips pursed in a thin line as he looked at him, face expressionless, and he noticed that his fingers were clutching his napkin with so much force that the knuckles were white. Surprised, he looked up again, and started. Something, some untold emotion was haunting those mesmerizing eyes, and he found himself unable to breath as he tried to decipher it.
Harry looked down, and the moment was broken. But Marvolo knew. What he had seen had been, amazingly enough, concern. Concern for him of all people. And he couldn't help the small flicker of hope which suddenly lit up in his heart.
"As opposed to popular belief, Harry Potter was far from an idiot. He might have looked scrawny and unkempt with his messy hair and ever-broken glasses, sounded like an average wizard with an uncanny ability for Defense Against the Dark Arts -as becoming of the Savior of the Wizarding World, the Poster Boy of the Light-, but I know I could have done better. I did better. I just had to hide my ability as not to alienate Hermione and Ron.
I am more observant than people give me credit for, and the look in Marvolo's eyes at dinner was typical. The rebellions have started up again, I can feel it. The Earth is thrumming with the pulse of Light Magic. Soon, they will make a move. Then, either war will break out, or they will be eliminated.
One thing is for sure: the Dark will not go down without a fight."
The twins stopped short and stared, barely holding in a horrified gasp, appalled at the sight. They had wanted to go through their father's room to see if he had written more of his journal, but had come across a very disturbing sight instead. The man had been exiting the bathroom, clad in nothing but a pair of black pants, and that gave them a very good view of his bare torso. It was something they would never forget.
Even Eden couldn't find anything to say. The man was thin, skinny even, despite all the good meals he had had ever since he had been freed, and they could easily count his ribs as they stuck out from under his pale skin. He had some muscle, and it helped alleviate that terrible reality that he had been underfed for fifteen years, but his unnatural skinniness wasn't what shocked them speechless. No.
It was the numerous scars which littered his skin. Burns, lashes, stabs, he had them all, and they seemed to be everywhere. Wherever they looked, there wasn't an inch of smooth skin. And when he turned around to rummage through his wardrobe, they could feel a maelstrom of emotions going on a rampage within their usually indifferent hearts. Because there were even more there, and because some of them were words, carved into the delicate skin of Harry's back with what they assumed had been a knife.
Black material obscured them from their sight, and the man turned, his face blank as he put on a set of robes. It took them a while to notice that he was staring at them mutely and that their disillusionment charm had flickered out and died, and when they snapped their eyes up at his face, they saw him tilt his head toward the door. He wanted them to leave, then. So they did, and he followed, carefully locking the door behind him, though it wouldn't be of much use if a wizard wanted to come in. It was, however, a testimony that he didn't wanted anyone in when he wasn't there, and that anyone who came in anyway was clearly in violation of his privacy. An untold show of trust. And the twins found themselves pondering the mystery that this man seemed to represent. This man who was their father.
So they decided it was time for some history.
The Dark Lord ran a hand through his hair in exasperation.
"If he's going to stay, then we'd better know things about him, right?" Eden replied boldly. "What's more, you've barely ever spoken about him in all the years since he was locked up, and even after he was freed, you never said how you got married and all that."
Dark red eyes narrowed at them. The man wasn't the Dark Lord for nothing, and the twins had an ulterior motive. He just knew it.
"The real reason?"
"We saw the scars." Thanatos finally said, quietly.
"The scars? What scars?"
They stared at him disbelievingly.
"You can't be serious!" Eden spluttered. "He's covered in scars! How could you have missed them?"
"Well of course, who else?"
"Eden, calm down, shut up and sit down. Minty! Call my husband here, will you?"
"Which one, Lord Slytherin sir?"
Voldemort paused, struck by the fact that he had given in to the habit of having only one husband. Shaking his head, he clarified:
He then turned to his children.
"Now, tell me all about those scars."
And so they did, even leaving behind a memory of the scene. They were dismissed, much to their disgruntlement, as Lucius came in, tensing in worry as he noticed the grim look on his husband's face.
"Are you alright, Marvolo? What's wrong?"
The door closed behind the twins, and it seemed that it was all he needed. His shoulders slumped, and he buried his face in his hands.
"How could I have been so utterly blind? It was right there under my nose, and I never saw it...!"
Alarmed by the unusual emotions displayed by his husband, the blonde quickly crossed the room and rested a soothing hand on his shoulder.
"What do you mean?" He asked gently.
"Harry... Harry was abused, Lucius. The rape... he wasn't a virgin... it's because he was used by his uncle... his own relatives! And we never saw anything...!"
He told him everything Eden and Thanatos had said, and then quieted down, waiting for Lucius to watch the memory and draw his own conclusions.
"Goodness, we..." The blonde finally started, choking. "How could we...? But we never even felt them!"
Tired crimson eyes gazed at him tiredly.
"Did we ever take the time to discover him? Touch his body and explore it like we would each other's?" He shook his head. "I don't think so."
There was a knock at the door, and their children, all four of them, came in without waiting for an answer.
"What is it?" Lucius asked, worried by their serious faces.
"Eden told us." Acastus said.
"We want to know what happened." Adair took over. "We want to know about Dad."
The two men shared a glance, then looked back at their children, and nodded.
They did. Voldemort sighed, rubbing a hand over his face wearily, then folded his hands in front of him on the table, and started.