Heaven Forbid

And So It Begins

Harry reached out, as if to touch the sleeping Draco and make sure he wasn't a terrible figment of his imagination. He stopped himself, and drew his hand back. He couldn't believe what he was seeing.

There was seventeen-year-old Draco, lying in bed, a large comforter pulled up to his chin. His blonde hair, normally slicked back, was matted to his forehead by sweat. His expression looked pained, as if he were dreaming something awful. Yet he made no movements, lying completely still, except for the occasional whimper that escaped his chapped, pale lips.

Harry looked down on the boy, his own face one of shock, concern, and disgust. Who would do this to someone? Deprive them of their life. Keep them from growing old, from experiencing love and a family of their own. It twisted his insides. No one deserved such a fate; not even Draco. Besides, Harry hardly blamed him for the things that he'd done those twenty years ago. He was only a boy, lost in the lies of a very wicked man.

And he remained a boy. But why? Harry didn't understand.

He looked back at Narcissa, who was gently brushing Draco's hair out of his eyes. He lay his hand on her shoulder, suddenly feeling more remorse than ever for all those horrid thoughts he ever had of the woman. Whether or not she deserved it no longer mattered to Harry. All that mattered was what lay before him.

Though, he couldn't seem to figure out just exactly what it was that lay before him.

Narcissa cleared her throat softly. "He's been like this for a long time now. Sick. He's been asleep for a week. I'm afraid the spells Mr. Darke has cast are beginning to truly take effect".

Harry swallowed the urge to throw something. Instead, he made a mental note to check with the aurors about this Mr. Darke. Perhaps there was something they could do about this man. If this was his doing, Harry could only imagine what other Dark Magic the man had been performing, or what else he might be planning.

"And the aging?" asked Harry.

Narcissa's face darkened, anger flashing in her eyes. "Mr. Darke is a perverse man," she growled.

Harry's eyes widened. Oh, god, he thought. He'd assumed that the man wanted Draco as a slave to tend to him, not as a toy for his perverted fantasies. The very thought of any human being used like that was enough to make Harry feel murderous. He couldn't help but think of his own sons. What kind of monster would even consider such a thing?

"Alright. I've heard enough. What do I do now?" he asked, wondering how he'd explain this all to Ginny.

Narcissa moved to close the doors to Draco's room, and took out her wand. She motioned for Harry to do the same.

"You more than likely won't need it," she said. "However, if something were to go wrong.... It's best to be safe."

Harry frowned. If something were to go wrong. That didn't sound good. Shaking the thoughts out of his head, he gripped his wand at his side, ready to do whatever was needed of him. He hoped he was making the right decision.

The woman began to mutter incantations, as Harry strained to hear what she was saying. He couldn't make out the strange language she spoke, but he'd assumed as much. It was Old Magic they were dabbling with here, one that probably required much practice and concentration. He watched silently as fiery symbols appeared in the air before them, circling the witch, and then floating towards the bed where Draco lay asleep.

Without breaking her chanting, Narcissa motioned for Harry to come closer to the bed. She took Draco's left hand, and Harry's right, and clasped them together. The symbols circled their hands, growing closer and closer. Strangely, Harry felt not the burning heat he'd feared he would, but a gentle, warm breeze as the symbols began to burn into his arm.

He kept his eyes on Draco, who didn't even so much as stir when the symbols began to settle into his translucent skin. Finally, the room grew silent as Narcissa finished her incantations. She glided over to the pair, and closed her own hand around theirs.

"All you have to do is claim him now," she said, looking at Harry with a small smile.

Harry raised an eyebrow in question.

"Just say, 'I, Harry James Potter, hereby claim Draco Malfoy as mine, and only mine'" she said, shrugging. "It's simple, really. Not very eloquent, if you ask my opinion."

Harry almost wanted to laugh. Typical Narcissa Malfoy for bad-mouthing a spell that wasn't quite as eloquent as she'd like. She seemed to be at ease now that this spell was taking place. Harry just smiled thinly and repeated the words.

There was a sharp sting in his hand as the symbols made themselves permanently, and visibly, at home in his skin. He grimaced, wondering how he'd explain that to anyone who asked. Surely they wouldn't believe him if he claimed it to be an accidental burn. They looked too much like actual symbols to be thought of as not.

Glancing back at Draco, he saw that the boy had the same markings in his own hand, though his were a bit more profound than Harry's. He let go of the boy's hand, gently laying it back down on the bed. Draco seemed to be more comfortable now; the pained expression he had been wearing earlier had left, replaced by more of a weary look.

Harry sighed. There was to be no turning back now. Whatever happens now would be his responsibility. As if he'd needed another one of those.

Feeling a small hand on his shoulder, Harry turned around to find Narcissa silently beckoning him out of Draco's room. He followed her back into the hall, rubbing his hand in hopes that the stinging sensation would go away soon.

Narcissa shut Draco's door behind them, and took Harry's unmarked arm.

"Now, let's go back to the study for some tea. You can rest there, while I explain what you should expect," she said, gently pulling Harry forward.

Harry hesitated for a single moment, but, realizing there wasn't much he could do now, followed the woman who held the answer to his newest problem.
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I hope you all like what's happening so far. I love writing this story. <3

Lots of love,