Tangible Schizophrenia


The Black Road IX: Book of Changes

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: R. Character death and violence.
Pairing: Harry/Lucius, Severus/Sirius
Feedback: Good lines, typos, etc.
Disclaimer: These characters are J. K. Rowling’s, not mine.
Notes: AU. Does refer to all the books up to HP:HBP, and does not draw on the movies except for visuals (because the only one I ever saw was the first).
Summary: Harry and Voldemort finally meet each other.


“Invincibility depends on one’s self; the enemy’s vulnerability on him. It follows that those skilled in war can make themselves invincible but cannot cause an enemy to be certainly vulnerable.”
--Sun Tzu, The Art of War

* * *

Once Voldemort had entered the building, Harry either forgot or didn’t care that Lucius was still there. He walked out into the hall and had reached the top of the stairs by the time Lucius, still reeling from Draco’s abrupt removal, convinced his body to move after him. When Lucius called out, Harry didn’t even appear to hear him, but instead walked on with his hands in his pockets, slightly pushing back his coat. He strolled down the staircase with all the nonchalance of a king entering his court.

The temperature of the air continued to drop and the lights, both magical and mundane, slowly dimmed. Lucius watched as the three-candle fixtures lining the hallway self-extinguished themselves, then slowly came back to life, but only with one flame per fixture. Eventually he noticed also that the dimming was actually occurring in the opposite direction to which Harry was walking, whereas the candles that were relit occurred in the same direction.

The entire building was deathly silent, and when Lucius looked up at the walls, he didn’t see a single face in any of the portraits. One large painting of a country scene normally showed peasants laboring beneath the stern eye of a horseman, while more horsemen carried out a bloody hunt in the background, but right now the only signs of life Lucius saw was a herd of cows in the upper right corner. They had backed themselves into a ring with horns out, but even they didn’t dare make a sound.

On his way out, Lucius had remembered to grab his shoes and cane, and he attempted to jam his feet into his shoes as he hurried after Potter. However, it soon became clear that that was impossible and he’d have to stop to do it properly. He wavered for a moment, torn between his desire not to miss anything no matter how damaging and his desire to keep up appearances. Even in the Middle Ages, Malfoys had never gone into battle barefoot, as the portraits could testify to.

As they could have; it was a ridiculous concern to have, but it was a deeply-ingrained one and at this point, Lucius was clutching at any fragments that still remained. He stopped and put on his shoes.

When he looked up again, Harry was gone. Lucius heard a sharp inhale, then realized it had originated from himself. He felt a curious sense of loss and insecurity—relatively speaking, since he hadn’t felt quite safe since he’d made that damned trip to Hogwarts’ ruins. The halls suddenly seemed abnormally high and empty.

He slowly turned in place and his eyes caught something. The air was still, but the chill in it seemed to slip beneath Lucius’ clothing and creep up his stomach and back. He pulled at the sides of his shirt and then the tails, but his shaking hands only succeeded in pulling his shirt entirely out of his trousers. In the end he wrapped an arm around himself, holding the folds of fabric to his skin, and that seemed to slow the icy crawling.

Lucius turned around to face where Harry had been last and he saw it again: some sort of flicker, like the slap of a robe rounding a corner, at the edge of his vision. He began to walk down the hall, pretending to face directly ahead. “Harry?”

The flicker turned into a large patch of black that swept over the walls and floors towards Lucius, who instinctively stumbled back from it. Its blackness was a thick, dull blackness without any kind of reflection or sheen to it; all light that fell across it simply vanished. It grew tendrils that sluggishly tried to curl around Lucius’ feet, but those seemed to struggle to make headway into the lighted space.

Light flared behind Lucius and he glanced around in time to see the candles in the holders right above him go off like firecrackers. He looked down again and saw the black tendrils whipping back as if they’d been injured.


It wasn’t Harry’s voice. It also sounded as if it were coming from the black patch, which was confirmed a moment later when the blackness rose as if someone had pinched it in the middle and raised it like a dropcloth. The silhouette of Voldemort emerged and beckoned.

“My lord?” Lucius said.

But it was beckoning in the wrong direction, motioning to the empty space to its right. The wrongness of that made itself apparent and the shape swung itself around, but though it was now facing in the right direction, Lucius still had the impression it wasn’t seeing him. He moved backwards and to the left without making a sound, and the silhouette didn’t seem to register the movement at all.

Lucius, return to your master. I am angry with you, but I—

“You can’t even find him, can you? Him or Draco. I bet that really gets under your skin,” Harry suddenly said.

Lucius turned around again. The railing that led to the staircase had previously been empty, but now he could see Potter perched on it with one hand casually down for balance.

The silhouette stilled briefly before abruptly and quickly flowing past Lucius to confront Potter, who was maliciously grinning. “So where’s your feared Dark Mark now?” he jeered. “Your damned pet Malfoy is standing right by you and you can’t even sense him. Not unless I let you.”

He was trying to bait Voldemort into attacking first. That was blatant enough, but even more blatant was how well it was working. Harry…Potter. I see you were more resourceful than I thought. Though still not very original—did you suggest it before or after my own strategy was discussed?

Harry’s face convulsed with too many emotions, but he quickly got himself under control. He hopped off the banister and slowly walked in a wide spiral around Voldemort, one hand in his pocket and the other restlessly flicking at his leg. His eyes were unnaturally bright and they at first appeared to be black, but after watching them carefully, Lucius decided they actually created that illusion by switching between red and green very quickly.

What is your business here? Voldemort went on. What message do you carry from your…master?

“Oh, great. You think we’re still at the bargaining table.” The sneer on Harry’s face twisted into a snarl. His fingers curled up tightly against his hip, then suddenly flipped downward in a rigid splay.

At the same time, every single candle in the hall blazed with a needle-thin, foot-tall flame. The light soared and invaded the darkness coating the walls so it shuddered and recoiled on itself; Voldemort’s silhouette dropped flat, then disintegrated into a thousand pieces that quickly dissolved in the light.

“Fire,” Lucius blurted out. “How incredibly fitting, even if you’ve switched sides.”

Harry shot him an annoyed but distracted look, clearly preoccupied with other concerns. “The Devil is Lucifer, you know. And I thought you were going to hold up a little longer before your mind started giving way—”

He suddenly spun about as a surge of blackness welled up from the carpet beneath his feet, one arm flying out in a summoning. In response, streams of shadows flew from the ceiling and the walls to crash headlong into the blackness; they were thinner and lighter in comparison, and their strength actually seemed to depend somewhat on the strength of the light. Another piece of darkness engulfed one of the candle-holders nearest Harry and the shadows, which had been gaining the upper hand, fell back as if weakened. Some vanished altogether with the light that had helped cast them.

A flap of the blackness managed to cover Harry’s leg. He jerked free a moment later, throwing himself into a roll and agilely coming back up on his feet, but a tiny red spray had followed his movements. When he stood up, Lucius could see a slash in Harry’s trousers mending itself.

Lucius himself had tried to back away as soon as the fighting had started, but he’d run up against first shadows snaking back and forth across the hall, then a wide spread of blackness. Even if Voldemort couldn’t pinpoint Lucius’ exact location, he apparently could deduce enough from sound to come uncomfortably close.

The entire hall suddenly whited out in brilliant light; Lucius instinctively dropped to the ground. Intense heat scorched over his back, and then the unmistakable crackling of fire sprang up all around him. The house rumbled in protest, and deep inside Lucius was screaming in outrage at the violation of his property, but he had no time to dwell on it.

“You fucking bastard—there you are!” Harry shouted.

When Lucius looked up, it was just in time to see Harry take a swan-dive off the stairway railing. He scrambled to his feet, narrowly avoiding a patch of falling, flaming ceiling, and ran to the railing. All around him, the blackness was in tatters, but it was still locked in a vigorous struggle with the shadows, now given new if erratic strength by the leaping outbreaks of fire.

He hit the railing palms-first, leaving his wrists first numb and then shocked with pain, and nearly went over the edge before he finally stopped himself. Down below, Voldemort—the real Voldemort, and not merely a proxy he’d summoned up—lay spread-eagled on the floor, his robes billowing out around him. Potter was on top of him and had his wand-hand pinned down, but Lucius couldn’t see what Harry was doing—

Blackness surged at the pair from all points and simply rolled Harry up in it, yanking him off Voldemort so Lucius could look straight down into the mangled hole Harry had made in Voldemort’s chest. Shreds of flesh hung from rib-tips that had been broken out of the way, and…but it was all grey. Grey and bloodless and dull except for something silvery gleaming from the very bottom.

Then Voldemort furiously threw his robes over himself and stared upward, eyes punching through Lucius as if he were a sheet of paper. The corners of his lip slowly pulled upward, and just as slowly, the Mark on Lucius’ arm began to burn. Lucius grabbed onto the railing and gritted his teeth, but the pain mounted and first one knee slipped, then the other. His heels scrabbled briefly before he fell so his chin hit the railing. He barely kept his head up enough to see Voldemort raise his wand towards him.

Avada K--” Voldemort started.

There was an explosion to the side: the weakly-moving lump in the middle of the blackness suddenly erupted and pieces of the black flew outward to sizzle against walls and tile. Where they hit something flammable, it immediately burst into flames. At the same time, something happened to Voldemort that slammed him backwards into the front doors so he clutched at his chest and doubled over.

Opposite him, Harry swayed on his feet. Lucius could see little save for the top of his head, but Harry didn’t seem to be in much better shape; the excruciating torture of Lucius’ Mark continued unabated.

“I don’t think your master will appreciate such precipitous independent action,” Voldemort hissed.

“And I don’t think you get it.” The laugh Harry made was raw, animalistic, and took no account of the situation in its unmodulated tone. “He’s not been answering, has he? That’s because he’s done waiting. No more half-measures.”

Voldemort jerked up his wand and the shadows behind Harry rallied into a gigantic arch over him that blocked Lucius’ view. His vision was beginning to fade out anyway from the pain, so he allowed himself to drop. Then he struggled to the staircase and forced enough of his body over the edge so that gravity would carry him down.

He tumbled over five or six steps before he slammed up against the railing. Lucius hooked his hand through it, then used the railing as a springboard from which to fling himself backward as the world violently came apart.

* * *

“So this will take me somewhere safe that I can leave the cup,” Ginevra said. She cupped the pair of earrings in one hand and poked gingerly at them with the index finger of her other hand. Her eyebrow arched. “They’re a little on the plain side.”

Severus resisted the urge to slap her. Working this Portkey so soon after he’d brought back Black had nearly killed him, and even with all the potions in his possession, he’d only managed to restore himself to a half-conscious state. His head was pounding and it was an exhausting effort to merely keep his eyes focused on the Weasley girl. “Has the Dark Lord ever expressed a taste for the ostentatious when it comes to his whores?”

“Well, none of them have ever come back alive so I wouldn’t know.” The bite in Ginevra’s reply was sharp enough to attract Severus’ attention. But the girl was already putting the earrings on, so it appeared that whatever her misgivings, she still was wholeheartedly interested in participating in this operation. “Where will I go?”

“Somewhere Voldemort cannot reach, and where Harry probably will go, at some point. But I cannot say whether your friends in the resistance will be able to reach you,” Severus said. Actually, he knew quite well that they wouldn’t be, and that had been part of why he’d chosen Grimmauld Place. If Harry was using the place, then Severus’ gesture should convince Potter of Severus’ sincerity long enough for there to be a conversation. If Harry wasn’t, then Severus would have one more card to play against Potter in order to ensure his own survival.

Ginevra glanced up at Severus. Her perfectly-painted, scarlet lips twisted in a knowing smile, while her eyes were a study in fanatical dedication. “He’s only calling me because he wants to hurt Harry. So I’ll die by myself, is what you’re saying.”

“The vast majority of people die alone, no matter what their circumstances,” Severus said. He stepped back and attempted to use his stare to imbue her with some sense of this mission’s delicacy and importance. If they were all very, very lucky, she wouldn’t let her enthusiasm overwhelm herself and tip off Voldemort beforehand. She needed to remain the downtrodden, warped whore, and not suddenly burst into a last revival of the old—Severus suppressed a sneer—Gryffindor spirit.

His Mark ached, as it often did when he’d pushed himself too far. Sometimes he thought that even if the day came when his arm was once again a blank page, it’d still ache in that spot. The Mark had long since changed from a symbol and a link into an open sore.

“Thank you, Professor,” she said, tipping up her head. She did that with an unconscious coyness so a tendril of carefully-curled hair fell artfully across her wide, pretty eyes. Perhaps there was hope for her, after all.

Severus withdrew to the door.

“Professor?” Ginevra’s hard pose cracked a little. “Will you—will someone tell Harry?”

It was all Severus could do not to laugh at her. Instead he nodded gravely and slipped his hands inside his sleeves. “He’ll know.”

He would, but whether he acted on said knowledge or shoveled it away in the heap of things that no longer mattered to him was a question for debate, if one ever was. Severus’ money was on the latter.

The pain hit Severus in mid-transit, and he arrived at his estate in a moaning, pathetic crumple. He’d barely dragged himself inside and up part of the staircase before a second wave hit, and that one was so horrific that his body, used to abuse as it was, simply refused to deal with it. He passed out.

When he woke, he was lying on a sofa. Sirius Black perched on the arm and stared down at him, eyes expressionless and hands occasionally flipping Severus’ wand into the air. “You cut off some of my hair,” Black said.

Severus drew in a slow breath and spent some time assessing his condition. He no longer hurt, but he was aware of a certain…lack, and a dread of that. It was an oddly familiar feeling. “You should have been asleep.”

“I was asleep. I think. See, the thing is, I’m not really sure where my head is anymore. When I’m awake, I’m asleep, and when I’m asleep…I see you snipping at my hair. You’re always skulking around us, but I never knew your perversions went to that,” Black sneered. Then he blinked, looking confused, and shook himself. “Wait. I mean you were always doing that.”

The lack was Voldemort, Severus suddenly understood. And the reason for the familiarity was that this feeling was the same one that had accompanied the years when the Dark Lord had been weak and in hiding, but still able to manage some connection to his followers. “You’re in extremely poor condition, Black. If you’re to be of any use at all—”

“—it’ll be due to your potions, and of course you need bits of me in order to specialize said potions.” Black’s lip curled. He looked down at the wand he held, then carelessly tossed it at Severus. “Here. You might as well have it—your goddamn furniture tried to hex me when I came out to see who was moaning so much, and it looks like that doesn’t work on me now.”

“That’s to be expected. My furnishings protect against living intruders, and you no longer quite fit into that category. You do, however, fall into several categories of Dark Creatures, and you’ll find that spells designed for them still apply,” Severus replied. He took relish in seeing comprehension, then regret and resentment bloom on the other man’s face. Of course Black still thought himself invincible and was consequently careless towards his enemies.

After a moment, Black shrugged and leaned back so he could swing his legs over the sofa arm and let them dangle. His shoulders fell into a hunch that was…had not been natural before, but apparently was now. “Thanks, Snape. It’s nice to know you still think I’m a magical dunce—you don’t need my damn hair for your potions. You could’ve gotten my spit or blood and that would work better. Also, you still curse like the devil when a Charming spell doesn’t go your way.”

Severus winced, though not at the gist of Black’s jab. If Black had gained preternatural awareness of what happened around him, then it stood to reason that he’d have overheard Severus making the earrings. Next time, Severus would move his operations to the basement level no matter how inconvenient that was. “I was constructing a Portkey to that grotesque property of yours at Grimmauld Place. It was still in Harry’s possession when he died, and I suspect he might revisit it at some point.”

Black turned around and looked at Severus, and the burn of hope in his eyes was only slightly less disturbing than it had been in the Weasley girl’s. “Did it work?”

“No. Something’s happened to the property—I can’t get access to it at all,” Severus said. He wasn’t lying—he hadn’t been able to. But he had been able to send things to the house using Black’s hair, and so he believed Harry was specifically blocking him.

Black looked away. A strange noise came from him, and after a second, Severus understood the man was grinding his teeth. “I don’t fucking trust you, you know. I think you’re lying, I think you’re leaving things out, and most importantly, I think you’re just a fucking cruel git who likes toying with people.”

Severus didn’t bother answering. He started to pull his robes back into shape. He also contemplated leaving, but he wasn’t certain that his body would support that sort of effort yet and he wasn’t about to fall in front of Black, of all people.

“But you know what I do believe?” Suddenly Black clambered down from his perch, elbows and knees moving rapidly and without apparent difficulty, but with an awkwardness that was discomforting to watch. He grabbed Severus’ shoulder and pulled Severus around to face him; his pupils drifted wide, then abruptly focused tightly on Severus. “That Harry’s alive, and that I’m only getting to him through you. You know why?”

“I’m sure you’re about to inform me no matter my reply,” Severus said. He intended his tone to be dry, but the mad intensity of Black’s eyes partially startled him out of his resolution.

Black grinned. “Because you were scared when you said that. Whatever Harry is now, he scares the hell out of you.”

“He should chill your blood, if you had any sense,” Severus snapped. He attempted to shake off the other man, but Black only clung tighter. Then, of all things, Black attempted to shove his head into Severus’ neck.

His other hand clamped around Severus’ thigh. His nails had been tended to by the house-elves, but they still managed to slice through the heavy fabric of Severus’ trousers. “Stop it, you greasy son of a bitch,” Black muttered. “Not going for your jugular. Not this time. I’m just…you’re warm. And you make sense, though that’s not pleasant.”

“I imagine it wouldn’t be for you. You always did like to live in fantasies.” Severus stopped struggling, but remained stiff and unyielding. Black’s breath was hot and shallow on his neck, and Black’s hand on his thigh was a bitter mockery of all the things Severus had once hoped to win through his allegiance with Voldemort. Acceptance and the softer emotions…foolish. “Get off, Black.”

“Better learn to call me Sirius, if you want to be convincing.” The other man shifted so his mouth brushed Severus’ throat—an accident, possibly. Hopefully. But then Black moved again and quite deliberately ran his mouth over the side of Severus’ jaw till it was over Severus’ lips. He caught Severus’ skin with his teeth and his tongue was wet and hurried and surprisingly unskilled: raw and jagged, reduced to the bare tatters of the man. “I want to see Harry.”

Something along this line had been precisely what Severus had intended, but now that he was confronted with it, he found himself reluctant. The next time Black came at him, he turned his head away.

The other man laughed and dropped his bony chin on Severus’ shoulder. “You bloody coward. You never could look it straight on—doesn’t matter whether which side it was for. You can’t fucking face up to it.”

“You have, you weak-minded fool. And Albus is dead,” Severus snapped.

As he’d hoped, Sirius went stiff, then drew away with a snarl. The other man began to spit out one of his usual platitudes, but then he stopped. His eyes unfocused, but it was not the same as the other times—the lines of his face didn’t fall into confusion. “Yeah, he’s dead. And you’ve come crawling back again anyway, but he’s not here. Stuck in the past, Snape?”

Severus stared at him. Then he knotted his hand in Sirius’ hair and yanked the other man over. He tasted blood, and he couldn’t help lapping up some before he pushed Black off of him. He stalked out of the room to the accompaniment of Black’s ragged, mocking laughter.

* * *

Draco took his cigarette out of his mouth and stared at the inch-long ash on it. He tapped it off, stuck it back between his lips and took out his pack. Once again, he was down to the last one and no one near him seemed to have any. Granted, he’d been sitting in Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters for several days now and that made sense, but it was still damned inconvenient.

Granger slapped down her book. “Draco? Draco, are you listening to me?”

He probably didn’t have any chance of getting a fresh pack till he went out on some mission and could nip off to the Muggle shops, but chances of that happening any time soon looked rather slim. “What, Granger?”

“You haven’t been. This is important.” Previously Draco hadn’t had to work much with Granger, and now he saw that that had indeed been a blessing. It didn’t matter how the war had gone or to what acts of desperation the resistance had been pushed—Granger still was a pushy know-it-all. “You can’t just raise the dead. Not like they were before, anyhow—however Harry came back, he couldn’t have come back human.”

Biting back a sigh, Draco slowly dragged on his current cigarette. He tried to hold in the smoke for as long as possible, but eventually he had to let it out and lift the cig to his lips again. A gold gleam on the back of his hand caught his eye when he did. “Preaching to the converted and damned, Granger.”

“And what he can come back as is extremely limited. From what you and the others have told me—”

The Black signet ring. Well. How convenient. And in Draco’s mind’s eye suddenly came the image of dozens of fresh packs in that drawer in the bedroom Harry had appropriated…why had Potter had those on hand, anyway? “Has it occurred to you that we’re dealing with powers that aren’t in your damned books? And believe me, I’ve read far ahead of you when it comes to the Dark Arts.”

“That might’ve been true then, but it’s been a while, Malfoy.” Granger’s tone could have fried a salamander’s egg, or doubled as a stiletto. When Draco looked up, she fixed him with bloodshot but cold eyes. She tapped one long, dirty, chipped nail against the table with deliberate force. “A while, and a war. I’ve gone beyond books.”

For the moment, Draco decided the better course was not to question her directly on that odd comment, and to do investigation later, if he ever had the time. “Right. Potter’s weird.”

“Harry is probably a death,” Granger primly said. The arch of her eyebrow was considerably looser, and her laugh looser still. She smiled like a wounded tiger. “No, that’s not on the list of Dark Creatures. But it’s in folklore—sometimes we Mudbloods retain things you purebloods like to sweep under the curtain. We’ve got a saying: the only sure things are death and taxes. Well, death and taxes have other similarities, like both requiring collectors.”

Draco sat back and smoked the last of his cigarette, then relit the last one he had left. “But he’s being controlled, apparently.”

“That’s one reason why he must be avoiding us. See, he’ll be released after he completes his task, even if he’s under contract to the Devil himself, because you can’t control death for long. But he’ll still be what he is. He died once.” Granger’s smile died and she looked down. Then she put up her hand and rested her face in it. “He can never be Harry Potter again.”

After a moment, her shoulders jumped slightly and Draco immediately got up. The sound of his shoes on the concrete neatly covered up her sob. “Fascinating. Be right back, Granger. Need some air.”

He walked out, pitching his butt into a trashcan as he went, and as soon as he was on the small square of free platform that was left, he twisted the ring.

To be honest, Draco hadn’t expected it to work. He’d mainly tried it because he didn’t need to deal with weepy Granger, or yet another revelation about Potter’s brand-new state and it offered a distraction…but it did more than that. He was sucked in by the center and one disorienting second later, he popped softly into the foyer of number twelve, Grimmauld place.

Someone was on the stairs, tumbled over them in a heap of bright silks and blood still fresh enough to be bright scarlet. Because of that, Draco didn’t understand that the hair was naturally red till he’d knelt down and turned the body over. He winced.

One eye blinked blindly up at him, its iris shattered; Ginny’s other eye was completely gone. The less said about the rest of her, the better.

“Draco…” Merlin knew how she was making her mouth work, but it sounded horrible. “Draco…cup…for Harry. Tell him…missed him so.”

And then she was dead.

After a moment, Draco looked at her hand—or what was left of it. He grimaced as he unbuttoned his cuff and pulled it up, then pried the golden goblet out of the mess of flesh and pulped bone and silk scraps. It wasn’t all that large, and while it bore the Hufflepuff crest, didn’t seem too extraordinary. And yet…Ginny had obviously died to get it, and in doing so had somehow ended up here, where no one was supposed to be able to get to save for Harry and Draco. Though Draco doubted that would last; Harry might have been too busy to take care of that before, but now he would. Draco wouldn’t have time to clean up the visible traces, let alone wipe the place so Harry would never know. If that was even possible, given what Harry might be.

He miniaturized the cup and tucked it into an inner pocket, then stood up. Draco started to step over Ginny, then looked back down. That eye of hers…he leaned down and pushed what he hoped was her eyelid over it, then nipped upstairs just long enough to grab several packs. It was fitting, he figured, that he’d have one of Harry’s cigarettes in his mouth while he carried her body back to her family. And if he dropped ash…well, then, he couldn’t hide so he might as well leave a calling-card. Hello, Potter—sorry you missed this one too, but look, I was here.

A moment later, Draco was back on Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters with Ginny’s corpse in his arms. She completely ruined his suit.

* * *

Lucius was in the bathroom redressing himself after a shower when the door slowly opened. He flinched back and his hand reflexively went out for his wand—which he still didn’t have, and damn Macnair to hell for that. Preferably whatever part had spat Potter back out.

“You’re up,” he said.

Harry leaned in the doorway, dressed in black trousers and casual black button-down shirt, of which he had the tails pulled out. When Lucius had dragged him out of the Manor, his clothes had been shredded and Lucius hadn’t had the resources to buy new ones, nor the opportunity—some invisible ward had sprang up around Potter that allowed Lucius to push him about, but not to do anything else to him. And the many injuries that had marked his body were gone, though he was noticeably pallid. “Yeah. And it’s a few days later and we’re in some bolthole of yours. You didn’t try to kill me.”

“Would it have worked?” Lucius asked. His voice cracked and he awkwardly busied himself with doing up the last few buttons of his shirt. He was uncomfortably aware of how Harry’s eyes were slowly taking him in.

“No, but it’s interesting. I think we need to discuss that.” On that note, Harry stepped completely inside. He pulled the door shut behind him.


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