Sides of Pain @eveamlizya
Braving Toxicity

Harry sat in Lucius's study, with tea, a book, and a lavender white chocolate scone. Usually she wouldn't be reading, but she had nothing to do to help the time pass. She'd already explored the manor enough to find their rooms, save for those with locked doors. She sat in Lucius's chair behind the desk, her legs crossed in the seat.

The floo roared to life as a familiar blond stepped through. “Well, that's certainly a nice visual to welcome me home,” he said, spelling the ash from his robes. He rounded the desk, leaning down to give her a kiss on the forehead. “How was your day, princess?” he asked as the floo roared behind him.

“What the-” Draco's voice sounded. He startled her to stand. “What are you wearing?” he asked, looking at her as if she'd grown two heads.

Harry looked down at her dress. “You don't like it,” she whispered, knowingly.

“You hate pink. And lace. And ruffles. You look like a child.”

“Draco...” Lucius warned.

“Is that your bit, then?” he asked his father in disgust. “Turned on by her looking like a little girl?”

“That's enough!” Lucius yelled. Harry had felt the tears start to flow. She left the room in such a rush,

she toppled her teacup onto the desk. Taking the stairs as fast as she could, she ripped the clips from her hair.

Harry turned down the hall, passing Draco's room and heading for the double doors at the end. She'd discovered that it was Lucius's room. Slamming the door, she yanked her shoes off, throwing them into opposite corners. She peeled the tights off, feeling her magic starting to slice at the fabric.

Like a child... Disgusting... He didn't like it...didn't like her. He hated it...hated her.

Ripping a sleeve off, she saw the edges beginning to singe and burn, but she didn't care. She tore the other sleeve...then started with the layers of lace. She clawed at the silk bodice until it fell away in shreds.

The smoke stung her eyes and nose. She saw the half burnt tatters of dress fabric on the floor. Oh, no...she thought, dropping to her knees. Her dress...Daddy's dress...his gift for her. A panic began to fill her mind and she ran, finding the closet, crawling into the darkest corner. She pulled her knees to her chest and cried. Daddy will be mad. He'll hate me, too.

“Harry?” Lucius's voice came from the bedroom. She covered her mouth to hide her cries. “Oh, Harry...” She heard another muffled voice from further away. “No, I think I know what happened, Severus. She doesn't want anyone to see her like this. I'll take care of her.”

Harry's mind flashed to a memory. Hiding never helped. They always found her. She'd be locked up. She'd get no food. Her Uncle Vernon's face red with anger came into view, “I've got you now!”

“No! Please! I didn't mean to, I swear!” she screamed.

“Harry!”

“Don't lock me up! I'll be good! I promise!”

“Sweetheart...I would never do that to you,” he said, keeping his voice soft and calm. “I'm not angry with you. I know it was only a reaction. You didn't mean it.”

“I did a bad thing,” she cried. “Dray hates me...now you hate me too.”

“No, princess, not at all. How can I hate you?” Lucius sat in the floor, moving slowly. “Will you let me hold you?” he asked, holding his arms out.

“I don't want to go back to the cupboard,” she cried.

“Never, darling.” Lucius waited patiently as she looked at him. Harry moved slightly, afraid to get too close. She slowly crawled into his lap and his closed his arms around her as she cried. “There's my good girl. It's alright. Daddy's got you.”

“I'm sorry.”

“There's nothing to be sorry for. All is forgiven. You just cry.” Lucius ran fingers through her hair soothingly and ran his nails up and down her back. As her cries began to quiet, he moved a hand to her feet. “Close your eyes? Deep breath? What are these?” he asked, wiggling her toes.

Harry giggled through the tears and sniffled. “Toes.” Lucius squeezed her feet. “Feet.” He massaged her calves, working his way up to her thighs. “Legs.”

“Good girl. What's your name?”

“Harry Potter.”

“What are these?” he asked, holding up her fingers. He could tell from the tone of voice that she was slowly coming back to herself.

“Fingers.” He walked his fingers up her arm. “Arms.” He poked her stomach and she smiled. “Stomach.” He never touched her breasts or genitals when she regressed. Lucius knew she could never actively, fully consent when she wasn't herself...and he wasn't a pedophile. He touched the tip of her nose. “Nose.”

“Where are you?”

Harry looked around. “A closet?” she asked, unsure. “Your closet.” He hummed for her to continue. “Your house. Malfoy Manor.”

“Good job. Do you remember what happened?”

“I...um...” Harry thought hard. “Draco,” she whispered. “He hurt my feelings.” Lucius took in her words, noting that she said 'Draco' and not 'Dray,' but also that she phrased it as 'hurt her feelings.' “I ruined my dress,” she said sadly.

“That's okay. How did he hurt your feelings?”

“He...he didn't like it...didn't like me. He said I looked like a child. He thinks I'm disgusting.”

“Do you know why he said that?” Lucius saw her shake her head. “Because he doesn't understand. Draco only knows one part of you, Harry. I can assure you he doesn't hate you. He's just not trying to understand you. I can promise you, though, that Severus and I will try to help him understand, okay?” Harry nodded. “What are these?” he asked, touching her ears.

“Ears.” He touched her lips. “Mouth.”

“Good. Do you know what today is?”

“September 22nd, 2003.”

“And how old are you, Harry?”

“Twenty-three.”

“That's a good girl,” he said, kissing her temple. “You did so good. I'm proud of you.”

Harry started to cry again, this time in shame. “I'm sorry.”

“Why is that?”

“I never cry this much.”

“Well, you've had a lot happen over the course of a couple of days, haven't you? I think you have every right to break down a few times.”

“What's wrong with me?”

Lucius leaned back, looking into her eyes. “There's absolutely nothing wrong with you, Harry.”

“W-why do I want...this...” she asked, motioning between the two of them.

“Because it is something you lacked as a child. You were abused and neglected, Harry. Not to mention, you find out that this entire world exists only for it to be completely up to you to save it. It's trauma. You want to be cared for, spoiled, treated in the way you imagine you would've been had your parents still lived.” Lucius paused, and cleared his throat. “If you're asking about our more...intimate relations,” he laughed, “then I would have to say that reflects more upon me than it does you, sweetheart. I don't think the sexual combines at all; it's separate, am I correct?” Harry nodded. “It's like you acknowledge me as the provider, caretaker, and that can also bleed into a sexual relationship. I think the blending of the two comes into play when there's a certain taboo about what we do. However, we both understand where the lines are drawn. Does that about sum things up?” She nodded again.

“You're wondering about how Draco feels about it...I assume the biggest issue he has is that it's me. The rest is just that he doesn't really grasp what you've been through, Harry. I know that it is difficult to want to let others in...to allow them to see certain parts of you, but I think you may want to consider opening up to him a bit more. I think perhaps he feels the scales unbalanced? You know some dark and personal things about him...he trusted you with that...maybe find it in yourself to trust him the same way?” Harry nodded hesitantly. After a moment's silence, Lucius said, “Would you like to see your surprise?” She pulled back, eyes wide. “Come on. Up you get,” he said, moving to stand. He took off his outer jacket and draped it around her shoulders.

As he guided her from the room, she noticed all signs of the dress were gone. She clung to his arm as he walked her back down the hall to a door near the center. He opened the door and the lights began to turn on slowly. It was a wine red bed at the center of one wall, draped with matching velvet and gold trimmed curtains. On the opposite wall, was an extremely familiar tapestry, or part of it. The Lady and the Unicorn. Harry gasped, knowing it from the same set as the other piece that was at Hogwarts. The front facing wall was nearly all windows, draped in the same velvet and gold.

“I thought you might appreciate the color. It's yours, if you ever need it or want it. The bath is just there; the closet is full. You're welcome here anytime, Harry.”

“This is for me?” she asked, voice barely above a whisper. She didn't expect an answer. Tears pricked at her eyes and she turned, burying her face into his chest. “Thank you.” He pet her hair and waited for her to decide when to move away. “Will...will you pick out my dress for dinner?”

“If you wish,” he said, voice rumbling with pleasure at the request. “No pink? Or dare we test the waters again...”

Harry pulled back, shaking her head. “You pick. I don't mind.”

“Brave girl,” he chuckled.

Lucius ground his teeth as she stormed from the room. “Draco...you will not speak of her that way again.”

Lucius ground his teeth as she stormed from the room. “Draco...you will not speak of her that way again.”

“Oh, please. It's the bloody truth, isn't it? You know, I wondered what it was with you two. Guess I know, now,” Draco sneered. “Bet she calls you 'daddy,' too.”

“I said enough!” Lucius stepped towards his son. “You may speak of me how you like, but you will not speak of Harry that way,” he began lowly. “You have no idea, cannot even imagine, what she's been through in her childhood. I haven't judged the way you put your hands on her last night, Draco. It isn't my place as long as she is fully consenting. Whatever emotional release that gives her and gives you...that's between the two of you. The emotional release she finds with me and I with her is none of your concern.”

The look on Draco's face twisted as he left the room in a fury. Lucius dropped his head, rubbing his temples. He sighed, ignoring the nearing footsteps.

“What in Merlin's name is all the shouting for?” Severus asked as he stepped into the room.

“Draco saw Harry in her dress and had a fit. Scared her off.” He sighed again, “I should go find her.”

“I'll come with you. I think it best, after dinner, you two leave early...I'd like a few words with my godson,” he said lowly and Lucius nodded.

Harry took the last steps slowly, nervous about walking into the dinning room. She turned the corner and stopped just short of the entrance. Taking a breath, she steeled herself for Draco's stares. Her dress might not have been as pink or as frilly, but it was still very feminine. He was certain to stare...whether or not he would keep his mouth shut, she didn't know.

Harry took the last steps slowly, nervous about walking into the dinning room. She turned the corner and stopped just short of the entrance. Taking a breath, she steeled herself for Draco's stares. Her dress might not have been as pink or as frilly, but it was still very feminine. He was certain to stare...whether or not he would keep his mouth shut, she didn't know.

“There you are, princess. We were beginning to wonder,” Lucius said, standing. She felt three pairs of eyes on her and she blushed. He moved to pull a chair out for her at his left, directly across from Severus. Draco sat at the opposite end, leaving two seats empty on both sides. As she sat down, he pushed the chair up for her before leaning down by her ear. “You look stunning, sweetheart.” She smiled and he returned to his seat.

Dinner was strange to say the least. Draco ate in silence, but Harry felt his eyes on her often. Severus and Lucius spoke about his current ministry work and Severus's research. Harry had little input, though they both tried to include the both of them.

Harry was on her second glass of wine and, since she'd only had crepes and a scone before dinner, it went straight to her head. She giggled at Severus's pronunciation of an ingredient he'd started working with because it sounded strange to her. Lucius took the half empty glass from her and replaced it with water while Harry pouted. She opened her mouth to say something, but he simply said, “Eat first.”

It wasn't until she finished her dinner that he offered it back. “Wine or dessert,” he laughed, “you don't need more sugar and alcohol combined. All you've had is sweets today.” Harry started to retort, but was silenced by his reply. “Dark chocolate torte.” She grinned. “Dessert it is, then,” he laughed again.

Harry heard Draco scoff at the end of the table. Her face fell and Lucius cleared his throat. It was tense for some time before dessert arrived. When it did, she stared at the chocolate, too long apparently because Lucius spooned a dollop of whipped cream onto the top with a few raspberries. He dipped his finger in the cream and tapped her nose, startling her out of her trance.

She gasped and looked at him, laughing as she wiped her nose. Severus even chuckled slightly, which drew her attention. He smirked a little and caught her gaze, looking down at her plate and back up, telling her silently to eat.

Just as everyone was finishing dessert, Draco pushed his chair back and moved to leave. “Sit down,” Severus said with authority, so much so that Draco stopped, glancing to his godfather. Harry saw his jaw clench tight as he sat back down. Lucius placed his napkin on the table and moved to stand, helping Harry from her chair. “Goodnight, Harry,” he said as Lucius guided her to the door.

“Goodnight, Sir,” she muttered, glancing between the two of them still sitting at the table, holding each others gaze.

Halfway up the stairs, Lucius noticed her still glancing towards the dinning room. “Don't worry. Severus simply wants to talk to him and, to get Draco to listen, one has to be a bit stern.”

Feeling her mind racing, she couldn't handle being alone. “Can...can I stay with you?”

1. Complicated Findings 2445 0 0 2. Convincing Truths 1977 0 0 3. Pleasurable Consequences 2820 0 0 4. Painful Consequences 2426 0 0 5. Assuring Reality 2054 0 0 6. Braving Toxicity 2533 0 0 7. Unveiling Ecstasy 2430 0 0 8. Comfort and Whiskey 2440 0 0 9. Chocolate and Cream 3050 0 0 10. Subduing a Brat 3040 0 0