Hermione was caught in the act of applying a lather of whipped cream onto Viktor's chest. Viktor, blinking and stupified in the sudden light, like a rabbit staring at an oncoming car, was manacled to the iron bed, gagged with a cotton stocking. His hairy chest rose and fell – it looked like he was struggling to breathe.
"What in hell are you two doing?" said Harry, finally.
Hermione put the tip of the whipped cream canister into her mouth, breifly, shifting a little in her latex thigh-high boots. The wiring of her corset was beginning to chafe, and she tugged at it with her finger.
"We're playing scrabble," she said.
She left Viktor chained up in bed – something he'd always liked, anyway – and made the distraught Harry a cup of coffee in the kitchen. Viktor's clothes were too large for Harry, but they were the best she could do – one of Viktor's sweaters hung off Harry's small shoulders, reaching almost to his knees. The pants he'd had to roll up at the bottom, multiple times, and he looked a little like a pantomime clown. Not that he could make anyone laugh, in the state he was in.
He'd told her what had happened in tears and sobs, but had quietened since; now he picked at the edge of the tablecloth with his fingers, and refused to look her in the eye.
"You know you can stay here, if you want to," Hermione said.
"No. I'll get my own place. I wouldn't want to intrude, anyway."
"On your salary?"
"I'll live at Hogwarts, then. Dumbledore won't mind."
"If you say so."
Harry sipped his coffee, then made a face and pushed it away.
"I should go," he said. "I'll have to pick up my things before he gets back."
"Let me do that," said Hermione. "If you won't stay here the night, at least go back to Hogwarts."
He pushed away from the table and stood. His fingers were still white-knuckled about the handle of his broomstick – he hadn't let it go since he arrived.
"I'm always here for you, Harry, if you need me," said Hermione. "I'll go over to the manor tomorrow, okay?"
He left, dragging the broomstick behind him, like a child's blanket.
Reaching Hogwarts, Harry walked through the halls despondantly. It was morning by this time – students flocked the halls, stumbling toward the breakfast tables. When they saw him passing, they stopped, and moved aside. He was a sight – his face red, his eyes still watering, dressed in Viktor's too-big clothes.
His hand on the door to his room, Harry looked up. Joaquin Haverson was standing behind him, digging in his bag for something.
"What is it this time, Haverson," said Harry.
"You dropped something when you left, sir," said Joaquin, chirpily – apparently ignorant of Harry's depression. "I picked it up for you."
He found what he was looking for, and pulled it out. The snitch floundered in his hand weakly, its surface grimy.
"I think it must have broken when you dropped it, sir," said Joaquin.
Harry took the ball from him. It felt like nothing in his hand.
"No. It was already broken."
Harry went into his room, and closed the door.
An hour later he noticed the photographs of himself and Draco sitting on his bedside table. Draco and Harry, Draco and Harry, Draco and Harry. Harry always grinning stupidly and waving, and Draco simply smirking with his arms folded, never offering anything more than a shrug to the voyeurs beyond the frame. Harry threw them into the waste bin. He threw the snitch in after them.
The golden ball floundered, hapelessly – it waved its unhurt wing up at Harry in an almost beseeching fashion. Harry lifted the waste bin into the middle of the room, and pointed his want at it.
"Infernious," he said.
The contents of the bin burned with a pretty light, Harry saw. The magical quality of the items inside lent the flames a green tinge, struck through with the occasional flash of silver.
He thought about suicide in a detached way. He wondered who would turn up to his funeral. He wondered what the Witches Weekly would have to say about it. He wondered what Draco would do, what Draco would say. Would he feel remorse? Harry thought so. Or pity. Draco rarely laid the blame on himself.
"You look terrible," said Harry's mirror.
"I said, fuck you."
"Tut tut. Such language."
"Infernious," said Harry, automatically.
It brought him a lot less pleasure than he imagined it should have.
"This is Serverus."
"Did you and Draco break up?"
"Yes. Now go away."
He heard them outside, talking.
"Didn't predict that, did you, Miss Trelwaney."
"Fine, Snape. Here's your money. Much good it will do you, too."
"Thank you very much. It was a pleasure doing business with you."
"Last time I make a bet with a Slytherin."
"Consider it a life-lesson, Miss Trelwaney."
He cried uncontrollably for three hours straight, hugging himself in his bed. He cursed Ron Weasley and his family, he cursed Draco and Lucius, and Narcissa too for spawning such an ungrateful, evil creature. The curses shot from his mouth in little green streams, and hung darkly in the air above his bed.
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