Author's Notes: Thanks to all the usual suspects (libertine, kissaki, krissy, lunarennui, Miss Breed, Rube, and to Audrey, without whom this ending would not exist. Thanks to and to all reviewers, who's comments are cherished.


Chapter Sixteen - Belong

By Ivy Blossom


She began to breathe, to breathe
At the thought of this freedom
Stood and whispered to her child,
She held the child and whispered with calm, calm

-- R.E.M., Belong

It was when the sound of Marjorie Bloom's screaming hit his eardrums, when it became audible in a crash of turbulent sounds, that he came back to himself. She was standing in the open doorway, hands over her eyes, her fingers pulling at the gauze, screaming in a high pitched, rough, bloodied wail as the silencing spell dissolved. Even in his shattered state, he recognized the danger she posed. Draco seemed to be having trouble concentrating; the thickening sphere of smoke was trembling. Harry drew his wand and cast a quick calming spell over the girl. What on earth is she doing here? He moved to press her back out of the room, but she dropped to the floor, crawling on her hands and knees toward Narcissa. She knelt now over the remains of the charm, picking up shards of it and cutting her fingers, holding them against her bandaged face. Of course. They must have used her in their attempts to transfer Voldemort. More innocent victims.

Harry was still reeling from the shock of emotion and memory. He blinked, trying to relearn the boundaries of his own consciousness as the voices and minds of the others, of Narcissa and Voldemort, receded into the background. It seemed that as the smoke seeped out of Narcissa, the more distant those voices became.

Harry trembled with memory. So now he knew where Draco had learned those seductive motions, where his experience in touching men so skillfully had come from. He shivered. He felt foolish, having presumed to make love to someone who had experienced so much horror, who must have thought him such an innocent. Draco could seduce grown men at the age of thirteen, no wonder he had been so enchanting, so perversely seductive all those years ago. He was an expert, he knew how to pull all the right strings. Harry had known all about Draco's reputation at Hogwarts; he left a cacophony of broken hearts in his wake, and could claim the virginity of a shocking number of Hogwarts students. Well, he was taught early that that was where his worth lay, wasn't he.


Cold. Where is my body, where am I? Please, my fingers are frozen, they won't move.

Harry shook his head, feeling the cool thoughts of Voldemort, still shattered and confused. It's not Narcissa who's mad, Harry realized. No no. She is completely in control. It's Voldemort who's been insane. He doesn't remember what's happened, it 's only beginning to dawn on him.

He felt a smirk curve into his brain. Lucky for me you're here, little one. Narcissa's voice was cutting. What a time my son has had keeping you occupied. You certainly underscored his 'worth', didn't you.

Harry felt ashamed. Narcissa flooded his brain with memories, his own memories. The way he had on so many occasions interrupted Draco while he read, while he listened to music, walked beside him under the snow-filled trees, working his tongue around Draco's ear, slipping a roving hand under his belt. The way he had once prevented Draco from finishing his dessert by running his fingers along Draco's trouser-clad inner thigh under the cover of an elegant tablecloth while there were eating out. He remembered the way Draco's fork had clattered onto the plate, his gray eyes turned toward him, eyebrow cocked and the beginnings of a grin on his face. I've been no better, Harry thought, horrified. No, he felt a voice whisper in his brain. No, you have been no better. And you were just as easy for him to manipulate. He felt the warm amber beneath his fingers—no, Narcissa's fingers. It tugged at him behind his eyes, he felt a rush, disappearing to nothing, like a nosebleed gushing and suddenly drying up. The charm. In Narcissa's hands.

"Draco!" Harry gasped, again. He couldn't believe it. He watched as Narcissa rolled the charm between her fingers. Draco looked completely unconcerned, looking, if anything, somewhat relieved. Perhaps it doesn't matter, Harry thought desperately. Perhaps it doesn't matter who's holding it. I wasn't holding it when I used a charm like that. He shivered, shutting his eyes. Soon after the amber sphere touched Narcissa's hands, Harry could no longer hear her acid voice, could no longer sense her venomous presence. He stopped hearing those disturbing thoughts, her horrible, damning memories, the desperate pleas of Voldemort. He felt relieved, but also smaller, weaker, and less bold. He felt very alone, sitting braced against the cushions of the loveseat, the slight draft from the window brushing against the back of his neck.

Then he felt something odd. A warm, familiar finger, a finger of consciousness, of thought, of will, pressed its way into his neck and wrapped itself gently around the stem of his brain. His breath caught in his throat as he smelled Draco, as if his face were buried at that moment in his shoulder. He almost reached out to stroke him, to whisper his apologies, to ask for reassurances, to curl up against him, when he felt a sharp tug at the base of his skull. He could taste Draco, his skin, his mouth, as if he had just been kissed, and the sensation disappeared. The loss of it was so extreme it hurt, and Harry opened his eyes.

Draco was looking at Narcissa, surprised. He was still murmuring in goblin, a rhythmic kind of heartbeat that has already wormed it way inside of Harry's consciousness. Like the click and clack of the radiator against the wall, the mark hot water trailing up and down somewhere, creaking against old pipes, Draco's murmured words had become part of the structure of the room, embedded in the plaster of the walls. His fingers moved slightly with the rhythm of his voice, as if he were painting, calculating, sketching out his matrixes on thin air. His eyes widened, and then he shot a glance at Harry, moving one hand into his coat and removing his wand. With a quick flick of his wrist, and the words "petrificus totalus", Harry felt a cold wave slammed into his brain. He tried to speak but couldn't. His arms were frozen in place, his feet felt nailed to the floor. He tried to scream but merely squeaked.

"I'm sorry, Harry," Draco said coldly between incantations. After so many strange sounds coming from him, Harry barely recognized his voice. "Trust me." He said, his eyes fixed on Narcissa. His fingers were fluttering around wildly, his lips moving non-stop, whispering constantly as he breathed in, as he breathed out. I've lost him, Harry thought. I'm going to die here, and I brought Draco back to the people who would have destroyed him years ago. Narcissa was laughing.

"He'll never trust you, darling. No, not again. Not after all of this, not after what he's seen. Not even he is that foolish. He knows about your..trysts with those Death Eaters now, you know. He's horrified. But it's alright, princeling, I have a new home for you, a new lover, a new life. You can even keep this trinket, if you like. Just help me now. We'll almost there."

Harry seethed as he watched Draco shiver a little, his face turning colder by the second. He wanted to scream, to throw himself at Draco, to keep him from doing this. Not again, no, not again. He had given in before and it nearly destroyed them. How was this different? He looked at Draco, wishing his face could convey the depth of his contrition, his compassion, his love. Not again, Draco. Don't do this again. He tried to fight off the simple spell, but found that he couldn't. He was stuck, and he watched helplessly as the cloud of vapour moved from hovering over the charm in Narcissa's toward Voldemort's prone body on the floor. Narcissa smiled.

"Ah." She said. "Yes, yes I see. Thank you, darling. I knew you would help me. I love you so much, my dearest." Harry watched, aghast, as Voldemort's ashen hands turned slightly reddish and twitched, his eyelids fluttering open and then closed again. Harry was frozen still, staring at the now woodenly breathing body of Voldemort, when wave of warmth hit him fast. He shook himself, and found that he was free. Looking up, he saw that his deliverer was the small and terrified-looking Marjorie Bloom, who had torn the bandages from her face, revealing new, startlingly blue eyes. Her hands were bleeding, there was blood smudged across her chin from her grasping, twitching fingers. She looked at Harry, unblinking, terrified.

"Stop him! She screamed at Harry, pointing at Draco, blood dripping from her palms onto the rug. "Stop him stop him stop him! He's going to bring him back!" She rolled onto the floor, and burst into tears. Narcissa laughed, reaching under her blankets, revealing her wand. Shouting, "No!" at the top of his lungs, Harry leapt to his feet and threw himself at Draco. Both of them flew into the wall, Draco's head banging dully against the plaster.

Harry tried to wrestle him to the ground, shouting, "I won't let you, I won't!" Draco had stopped speaking, his face went white. He pushed Harry off, looking murderously at him, rubbed his hands together twice, and rose from the floor, his palm pointed at Harry. Muttering one angry word, a blue flame flickered from Draco's hand and shot straight into Harry's head. He screamed and fell to the floor, his arms and legs lying at odd angles. Every breath was filled with pain, and he felt blood pooling in his knees and elbows. He would have screamed, but his throat was constricted, as if there were a heavy boot on this neck, pressing down until he couldn't breathe any longer. No, oh, Draco, no. Please. He felt like a sacrificial lamb, splayed out as a show of willingness on Draco's part. He would break Harry's arms and legs, and present him to Voldemort, a bleeding and burnt offering.

Still white with anger, Draco scanned the scene. The cloud of vapour had risen from Voldemort's twitching body and was proceeding headlong into Marjorie Bloom. She rose from the floor, her arms spread wide, a cavern of black appearing momentarily on her chest, and slowly disappearing. Narcissa, was saying something, one word, over and over, a word Harry couldn't understand. She reached over and curled the girl into her arms. Draco whispered fervently into his open palms, eyes pressed shut, his fingers moving madly, and a small, red flame drew itself out of Voldemort's still twitching body, which then collapsed and turned ashen. The flame wavered a moment in the air above Voldemort, and then leisurely traced a path to Narcissa's right hand, pressing itself inside the amber charm, which hung in the air just beyond Narcissa's fingers.

Harry, consumed with pain, felt himself losing consciousness, barely aware of what was going on. He heard Narcissa scream, saw the door burst open, Narcissa clutching at Marjorie and backing into the wall. He felt spells shooting around him, heard Narcissa muttering, and saw her disappear with Marjorie. But just as they did, he heard Draco say firmly, "Gjekspfah, Tatya Tewjiek." The last thing Harry saw, before he passed out, was the amber charm in Draco's hand.


Draco handed the charm to his mother, seeing her smile. It didn't matter where the charm was, its effect was undiminished. He wondered what it would do, if she were holding it. Would those last remaining shards of Voldemort, those fingers stubbornly clutching at her ribs, pressed there by countless wayward and incorrect spells, finally find their way out, forced out by the pounding and unwelcome request of the amber? Draco concentrated. Yes, he had been right. Holding the charm, Narcissa was wholly free. He could feel that Voldemort was no longer trapped in the broken charm, no longer clamped down, half-mad, inside Narcissa, yet he was still not whole. His body still lay empty, and somehow, Draco could sense that there was something else, something missing, something the vapour hovering over his mother was still seeking.

And suddenly there was a child in the room, and she was screaming. It nearly broke his concentration entirely. What was she doing here? Who was she? He couldn't stop to wonder.

Draco could feel the ropy sinews of this magic wrapped around these bodies, and understood the wisdom of calling forth the body of Voldemort. He realized, as he sensed the complexity of the problem at hand, that it had been fortunate that his potions had been so successful with Harry, and marveled a bit at his own success. The Death Eaters had tried all kinds of things, spells, charms, incantations, arithmanthetical formulas, potions, plasters, and transfigurations to transport Voldemort's consciousness from Narcissa into his own body, most of which had been dismal failures. But some had gone part of the way. While most of Voldemort's consciousness was floating now in a cloud of grey-green vapour hovering over his mother, there was a portion of it screaming inside Voldemort's body. There were layers upon layers of magic in this matrix; crossed patterns of goblin and wizard spells looping around each other, attacking, forcing them to cannibalize themselves. Like snakes with their tails in their mouths, angry Cerberus gnawing at his own throat. Draco had long understood how he and his class of Unspeakables were valuable to the Ministry, but only now, staring the dizzying array of miscues and horrible, disastrously placed goblin and wizard spells did he truly understand how valuable he was. Sorting through this was like walking through a minefield blindfolded, where the map constantly shifted from one language to another. He weeded through them, nullifying them, cutting out poor spells and straightening the original properties. He sorted out arrays, loops, and permissions, resetting the values. Then he saw it. Ah. There she is. The child in the room, she was that girl who had torn out her eyes. Found in the Death Eater laboratory in Wales. She had been a test case. He could sense it now because he saw the spells connecting her to Voldemort. No wonder she appeared when she did, he thought. She can't help it. It must be driving her out of her mind.

Suddenly he felt something. Something radically out of place. It was hidden in the corners of the various matrixes, hidden skillfully. There were new spells here, ones with his permissions and signatures, as if he had added them himself. He hadn't. He traced one, and found another, and another. Lining up these foreign spells and matrixes, he saw what was happening. There was a new if statement imbedded in the charm. If, the new spells indicated, if a consciousness were to be inserted inside the charm, then execute spell X. Draco traced spell X. It was also in his signature. He gasped. As he looked up he could almost see it. There was a cool white thread linking Harry to the charm. If anyone were to try to bring Voldemort into this charm, they would be taking Harry with them. He looked up at his mother. She was smiling at him sweetly, rubbing a piece of parchment in her hands.

It was her. It hadn't been that Lewis character at all, it had been her the whole time. Ron had been right. Draco seethed. His mother had his blood, still. She could hack into this charm, she could link Harry to it, knowing full well that she had rendered the charm useless. Even if he decided to sacrifice Harry for the good of the wizarding world, he would only be handing Voldemort and Harry to her on a silver platter. He was so angry he could barely concentrate, but he had to, he had to finish this. There must be another way.

He pulled out his wand. For a moment he was completely unsure of what to do next; there was nothing he could do to prevent Harry from getting drawn into the charm. He considered for a moment, and then cast the simplest of spells: "Petrificus Totalus!" he said firmly. It wouldn't stop an assault, but since Harry couldn't be drawn into the charm petrified, he would have to be released first. Releasing him was easy, but he doubted that his mother could do so and maintain her concentration on the charm at the same time. Just the few moments I need.

"I'm sorry, Harry," he said. For a moment he had forgotten how terrified and horrified Harry must be by all this. He didn't have time to be reassuring, he was down to mere moments and this had to be done properly. "Trust me," he said, narrowing his eyes and focusing on his mother. She laughed, sending a chill down his spine.

"He'll never trust you, darling. No, not again. Not after all of this, not after what he's seen. Not even he is that foolish. He knows about your..trysts with those Death Eaters now, you know. He's horrified. But it's alright, princeling, I have a new home for you, a new lover, a new life. You can even keep this trinket, if you like. Just help me now. We'll almost there."

Draco felt the blood draining from his face. Harry knew. Of course he did. Oh God, please. He knew how he had done the rounds with the Death Eaters? How they had come to consider him the best fuck in England, how they rode him like a cheap circus trick because he was the nearest thing and unsupervised? Because he was so available, so good when trapped in a corner, so willing to do what they asked if they promised sweetly that they'd never tell? There had been once, just once, when his father had found him tied down with a Death Eater between his legs, and he had thrown the man into the dungeons. Draco had seen him there, caged up like an animal, pacing, weeping and screaming. He had died down there from thirst, while Draco sat in front of the cage, drinking from a glass, letting water dribble down his chin. He should have been an example, he should have been able to use it as a threat. But somehow the word never got around, and no one ever saved him again. And all that time, she knew? Draco shivered. She knew. And she let it happen. Oh, of course she did. Damn, of course she did. How did I not see it? It was a lesson. And I learned. And now she's shown all that to Harry. He shuddered. There was no time for distractions. He took his horror and embarrassment and despair stored it away.

There was really no choice. Even if she hadn't tied Harry to the charm, he wouldn't trap Voldemort inside of it; she would always have the key. He would have to resurrect him now, himself. There was no way around it. He uncluttered the spells around Voldemort's body, preparing him. They were like spider webs, thin, sticky threads of magic criss-crossing him, obscuring him. As he pushed them aside, he saw the little flicker of consciousness that had already been drawn forth. It was red and rattled angrily inside Voldemort's cold chest. He sensed his mother's eyes, her hard-edged mind pressing against his, watching his movements, his spells, his rapid-fire movements. She was connected to this charm, he had already seen to that. And she understood just enough goblin and goblin magic to understand what he was doing. He could feel her mind stretching over his codes, matrixes, permissions and properties, breathing them in, running her fingers over them to secure them in her mind. While she scrutinized everything, every move, he worked quietly in the background. For every chunk of new matrix, he produced a smaller spell underneath, a series of small ifs, stuck in a collection of codes, discreet. If, he wrote with his fingers on the air, if a mind returns to a body, return the body here.If a body is returned here, return the speaker of the deliverance here. If she didn't find it, it would work, it would work so fast there would be no time for reversals. He would encapsulate them both. He would return Voldemort to his body only to trap him back into a new charm, with his mother in tow. It would be seamless.

He watched her take in the matrixes. They were extensive and complicated. He saw he boggle over parts of it, pass over the dangerous elements. Did she see it? He didn't dare guess. He was nearly finished, nearly there, and all the while he was returning Voldemort's dangerous, still-incomplete consciousness to his body.

"Ah." His mother said. "Yes, yes I see. Thank you, darling. I knew you would help me. I love you so much, my dearest." She had seen the key spell; how to return a properly coded consciousness from a charm to a body. It was deceptively simple, indeed. It hardly mattered that she knew; she would never have the opportunity to try, if he could just—

"Stop him!" The child was screaming. "Stop him stop him stop him! He's going to bring him back!" Draco understood in a moment looking into his mother's eyes. She has the child under an imperius curse. Of course. She's caught me, she knows what I'm doing. She knows Harry doesn't trust me. She's going to use him to stop me. She gave her son a cold, fierce, and disappointed look that said, 'you see? I told you he'd never trust you.'

He felt Harry on him as his head hit the wall. "I won't let you, I won't!" Draco nearly passed out for a moment, but shook himself awake. NO. His concentration broken, he saw that his mother had taken the knowledge she had just garnered from watching him, and was shifting Voldemort's diaphanous form toward the terrified girl. For God's sake. Just couldn't even give me the benefit of the doubt, Potter? Now it's ruined. My matrix was unfinished, and now it's too late. Harry was still trying to wrestle him to the ground, pin him down. Wait, maybe there's still something I can do, I can still cripple him, he won't be complete.

He growled. Harry was preventing him from doing anything, he couldn't even stand like this, he couldn't see, he couldn't concentrate. Draco churned with anger and threw Harry off him with the first spell that came to his mind. The blue flame hit him with tremendous force, and Draco watched Harry crash into the floor, arms and legs broken and bleeding. Didn't I ask you to trust me? He bristled. After all that, you still haven't bothered to find out who I am. You're no better than my mother. So fucking righteous.

A black cavern was opening on the girl's chest as his mother stroked her head, saying one word, over and over; glukukuk: belong, belong, belong. He watched her eyes open, black with Voldemort's rising sanity. So. It was done. Damn. Too late. Again. Potter, what have you done? He whispered rapidly. This is my last chance. He pulled out that errant red flame, that one last piece of Voldemort, teased it out like a loose thread on a poorly sewn seam. The door flew open, and he heard spells flying around the room. He ignored them. Dumbledore had sensed trouble, no doubt, and the Ministry had arrived, warriors and heroes all. What a bitter ending. Narcissa had won, she had forced his hand and retrieved Voldemort from her own skull, and learned to pass him into a new body. He was waking, and he was himself again, completel Draco kept tugging on the red flame, that last piece, watching it dance unhappily away from the child. He pried the charm from his mother's palm, now empty, nullifying it. She was grabbing at the child, pulling at her wand and preparing to whisk them both away when the red flame entered the charm. He felt rather than heard her scream of frustration and he spoke those simple words and called the charm into his hand. He was its only owner now. Voldemort was free, but incomplete. Such a hollow victory.

His mother and the girl were gone. He felt empty.

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