When he was sure both had made it far enough away from the dining room, he broke the silence. “What is it that you think to accomplish?” he asked, taking another sip of his wine.
“I don't know what you're talking about,” Draco spat, summoning something stronger to drink.
“If you seek to hurt her, I assure you that's all you're doing.” Severus watched as he poured himself a whiskey. “Tell me, does it make you feel better? When you humiliate her, how do you feel? When she cries because of something you've said, runs away thinking you hate her, that you find her disgusting...does it make you happy?” When he received no response, he continued. “I know you're hurt, Draco, whether you acknowledge it or not, but it's time to move past it. What's done is done. You can take it out on her all you like, but trust me...all it does is make you feel worse. I accomplishes nothing.”
“You know nothing about how I feel,” he sneered, focusing on his glass of whiskey before downing it all.
“I know enough.” Severus finished his glass and set it back on the table. “You have two choices, Draco. You can continue like a child, making both yourself and Harry miserable. Or you can man up and open your thick skull to see how much pain she's in...has been her whole life...not much different than your own. You can help her. Either way, she is staying here and we are going to help her. You can be part of that if you want. It's your decision.” He moved to stand, pushing his chair back in, he added, “Just know, Draco...I will not allow you to make her feel like you did today again.”
“Lucius?” she asked, resting her head against his chest. Harry nestled closer, wrapping a leg around his beneath the sheets. He steadily traced circles on her shoulder, but his eyes were closed, relaxing in the aftermath.
“Um...I feel a bit strange asking this,” she started, feeling his eyes on her. “How do I...let people in? Draco specifically, I suppose...” Harry glanced up and noticed the strained sort of thoughtful expression and back-tracked. “Nevermind...it's weird...I mean...he's your...” she stopped, hiding her face against his chest, groaning with embarrassment.
Lucius chuckled slightly. “Harry...look at me,” he said, tilting her face back upwards, thumb grazing the pink in her cheek. “It isn't weird. It's a fair question considering our previous conversation.” He took a deep breath. “I'm not sure you'll like the answer, sweetheart, but...he needs to know your darkest. You know his, probably more than I do. He needs to know about your childhood.” He felt her tense. “He also needs to know what really happened in that graveyard.”
“He doesn't already know?” she asked, shocked and slightly horrified at the idea.
“I certainly never told. As far as I am aware, only a couple of us knew what was really happening, besides the Dark Lord, that is. I don't even think Severus knows since he wasn't there. There was only mention of torturing you.”
“I...I don't know if I can,” she whispered, feeling her eyes tear up at the memory.
“Are you afraid to tell it? Or just afraid to tell Draco?”
“Both?” Harry took a shaky breath. “I just want to forget about it all.”
“I've been thinking that...maybe that's part of the problem, Harry. You're holding on to so much trauma; you're practically drowning in it. Have you told anyone about it?” He pulled her in tighter when she shook her head. “Maybe tell Severus first. It is something I have been thinking might have had some impact on why your magic is wreaking havoc.” Lucius paused, thinking.
“Would you feel better if we practiced something?” he asked, getting her attention. “I could ask you questions, things I don't know about or maybe know very little about. You can answer them in your own time and we can talk about it. To be fair, you may ask the same of me.”
She felt the tears that had formed before leave her eyes, falling down her cheeks and onto his skin. Harry wiped at the wetness, unintentionally drawing his attention.
“Oh, Harry,” he said, pulling her up on top of him, her legs straddling his waist. Lucius pulling her down into a hug, letting her cry against his neck and shoulder.
“H-how can you be so...good to me,” she cried.
“You deserve it.”
She looked up, startled. Severus stared at her, seeming to await an answer. Blinking, she answered, “I-I'm sorry, sir.”
She looked up, startled. Severus stared at her, seeming to await an answer. Blinking, she answered, “I-I'm sorry, sir.”
“What has your mind so occupied?” he asked, going back to his work. They were in his study, connected to the potions lab. He had been researching, compiling sources and taking notes when she'd come in for company. Both Malfoys had left for the ministry again.
“I...um...it's sort of...difficult to talk about,” she said, picking at the hem of her shirt as she thought about the night before.
“I am listening if you want to talk, Harry,” he assured her.
“Well...I w-was wondering if...” she started, “it's too hard to say it.” Severus studied her as she fidgeted in her seat. “Lucius is the only one who knows...that's still alive that is. He said I should probably talk about it.” She threaded her fingers into her hair and growled at herself, frustrated with how difficult it was. “Can you just...look?”
He thought about what she was asking, putting his quill to the side and capping his ink. “Harry, if you can get to a point to say it, then I would strongly urge you to. Relying on my ability to use Legillimency...it's not going to help you release these things.” She started tearing up. “Is it something about your past?” Harry nodded. “Is it related to your aunt and uncle or cousin?”
“N-no...it's...Voldemort.” Harry said, cringing at the name. It wasn't until he was gone that she'd started to feel that the name seemed to stir something in her that she didn't like. She looked down at her feet, trying to find the words. “In the graveyard...he did something,” she started, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “It didn't stop there, though...it kept happening after...when I'd have a dream or...when he'd be in my head.”
“I heard about the torture, Harry...”
“No,” she said, kind of startled at the volume. “It wasn't just the Cruciatus. He did something to me... I felt the pain from it, but h-he...I had orgasms from it.” Harry looked up; Severus had a slightly surprised look. “I don't know what he did, but it didn't stop. Every time I had a dream of something he was doing, it was like... What if that's what's wrong with me? What if he did something and that's why I can't be normal?”
“Harry...” Severus moved to stand, rounding his desk and pulling the other chair to face her. He sat down and took her hand, making her sit facing him. “There is nothing wrong with you.” Harry wiped her cheeks again, shaking her head. “I'm going to tell you something...” He waited until he was sure he had her attention. “You aren't the only one.”
She looked up, startled. Severus continued, “It's like you're feeling the pain, the torture, but it's also ripping pleasure from your body over and over again. He did it to me, too, Harry. It was before...your mother. It was known we were friends before. He didn't like that I'd contacted her. I tried to make it seem like I was trying to get information, but, that time, he didn't buy it.”
“W-what was it?” she asked.
“It's a modified Cruciatus, but he never told anyone else the spell. He did it to humiliate as well as torture...to mess with your head. He didn't do it to everyone...just those he thought that humiliating would have more of an advantage to him than just torture.” Severus thought about what she'd said. “However, I don't think it affected you after...I think that was something different. You were his horcrux, Harry. When you dreamed, had visions of what he was doing, the part of his soul inside you was feeling pleasure while you felt pain. But I can imagine, at your age, with no knowledge of the horcrux, you likely felt that something was wrong with you...or that he'd 'done something' that affected you permanently.”
Harry sighed, some mix of relief and frustration, and dropped her head to her knees that were drawn to her chest again. Severus knew that she wanted something to be wrong so that it could be 'fixed.' She needed something to give or it was going to be her to give. He needed to give her something to hold on to.
“I've been thinking,” he said, leaning back in the chair. “Perhaps I should take back what I said before. The research I've done so far...I think it would be beneficial for me to take a look inside your mind, to go back as far as you remember and look for anything that might stand out. It won't be easy...something so extensive can be exhausting to us both and it's likely to...trigger.”
“Do you think it'll help?” she asked, slightly hopeful.
“I think it's the best option we have right now. I want to talk with Lucius first before I say for certain.” There was a few moments of silence as she processed everything. “Harry...you have to know none of what happened was your fault. It takes a very strong person to have been through everything you have and still be here fighting. I appreciate you trusting me enough to tell me this, but every time it comes to mind, you must acknowledge it, accept that it happened, know it wasn't your fault, see the raw evil that it was, know he's gone, you're still here, and you're strong enough to keep going. As time goes on, the less it'll come up and the less pain it'll cause when it does.”
The floor roared green in his study. Harry had spent a few hours at Grimmauld, checking her letters and thinking...a lot. She'd had to write to Hermione insisting she was fine. She told Kreacher to send any other letters to her room at Malfoy Manor so she wouldn't make Hermione worry enough to send the cavalry.
Lucius had been replying to a few letters he'd been neglecting when Harry came through the fireplace. He couldn't help the smirk that graced his features when he saw her tattered jeans and sneakers. It never mattered how fine the things he bought her were...she always picked things like that.
“Afternoon, Harry,” he said, catching her attention as she spelled the ash from her clothes. “Did you get everything done that you needed to?”
“Surprisingly, Hermione only sent three letters. She was threatening to get aurors involved in the last one.”
“You still haven't told your friends anything,” he noted. “Won't they be worried about where you are if you aren't home?”
“Hermione's so busy with work. They don't really come over...certainly not without owling first. She knows I don't like unannounced visitors, even if it's her and Ron.”
Lucius kept his opinion to himself. He didn't like that Granger and Weasley didn't check on their friend as often as they should. “I've been talking with Severus today,” he said, changing the subject. “I have to agree...though, I certainly expressed my concerns.” He put his ink and quill to the side and turned his chair, motioning for her to come closer. Harry took his hand as he guided her into his lap. She blushed, looking to the open door. “I don't want these...sessions with Severus to trigger you in such a way that you regress without him knowing how to handle the situation,” he said quietly. “If it's alright with you, I would like to be there...until you're comfortable.”
“A-actually...I um...had an idea,” Harry started, the subject making her anxious. “Is Severus here?”
“He is...practically lives here, too, you know,” he laughed. “Between you and me, I think he only stays here because the lab is quite a bit larger than what he has at Spinner's End.” Harry snickered a little, looking up when she heard someone clear their throat. Severus stood at the door, eyebrow raised. “Ears burning, Severus?” Harry moved and Lucius reluctantly let her off his lap.
“I was going upstairs when I heard Harry say my name,” he said, crossing his arms. “I also stay for the food and drink.” Harry laughed, the first full and sincere laugh she'd had in days. Severus allowed himself a little smile at hearing it. “Did you need me, Harry?” he asked, turning the attention away from himself.
“I...well, I was thinking, about you going in my head. I don't know if I'm ready for you to just go in and look for whatever you want,” she said, looking down. “I need to have control over that.” She took a breath before continuing. “I also know that I need to...share,” she cringed at the word, “these things. Would it be alright...at first, anyways...if I pick the memories?”
“I think that's perfectly reasonable, Harry,” Severus replied, pleased she had given the idea a good amount of thought.
“I also thought...instead of you doing it...what if,” Harry paused, “what if I pulled them out. That way, you both can see them at the same time. I want to...um...ask Draco, too...if he wants to.” Lucius and Severus looked at each other, gauging the other's reaction.
“I am supportive of whatever you feel comfortable with, Harry,” Lucius said, inserting his opinion first. “I do, however, want to say that I think Severus should have a look eventually...just to be sure there isn't something even you aren't aware of.”
“I know...I just thought this might be a place to start...until I get used to the idea.”
“I think so, too,” Severus finally said. “Would you like one of us to talk to Draco or-”
“No,” Harry interrupted. “No, I should do it. I need to talk to him, anyways.” She turned to Lucius, “Is he...”