Harry grits his teeth until it feels as though his jaw will split in two, but he doesn’t cry out from the pain as the Dark Mark burns itself into his arm. Voldemort’s wand feels like a blade against his raw skin, the dark color bubbling out from under his skin a particularly vicious brand. Harry only looks away from the mark when it finishes forming. Everything else aside, he’s glad to be kneeling before Voldemort’s throne, if only because there’s nowhere for him to fall. He rests his chest against Voldemort’s knees as he gasps for breath. It feels as though the mark has stolen all the air from his body, which is fitting, since it often feels like Voldemort does the same to him.
When he finally looks up at Voldemort’s face, there is pride and satisfaction woven through it. “You’ve done well.”
Harry swallows, turning his face away at the way those words affect him, but there’s no hiding from the mark. It will give him away every time. Voldemort doesn’t allow him to shy away, taking his chin in hand and guiding Harry to look up at him again. Oh, fuck you, Harry thinks, but it comes across fond even in his thoughts.
This is the man who he adores enough to kneel for, the man he’s bound to in an inescapable way. Through prophecy, through horcruxes, through the mark that still burns and leaves him lightheaded, and most importantly of all, through choice.
If Dumbledore had wanted Harry to develop a proper moral code, he shouldn’t have given Harry such lovely role models like the Dursleys. Or maybe this is where any version of him would’ve headed. Maybe a Harry Potter raised by Molly or Lily and James would still be right here, staring into Voldemort’s red eyes as his knees and arm ache. It’s a rather comforting thought. Harry doesn’t think any version of him should be any less than he is, not less dark nor less brave. His bravery has a habit of eclipsing his other good traits. It’s led him here, after all.
There are a few ways to make the moment even better. Harry doesn’t hesitate to go for the one he prefers.
He cares for Voldemort the man, the person he is in those quiet moments they spend together.
But it is Voldemort the Dark Lord who he’d pledged himself to, who he stares up at with an emotion Harry won’t let himself name. (A man, kneeling. A god upon a throne.) There is little that Harry can do to be closer to a man whose brand he already wore on his body, his soul, his magic, and yet Harry places the hand whose forearm bears the mark on Voldemort’s knee. “My lord. Anything else you want while I’m on my knees?”
“Go on,” Voldemort says, his eyes dark. He slips his hand from Harry’s chin and waves his followers out of the room, then rests his hands on the rails of this throne.
Pain follows Harry’s movements as he reaches for Voldemort’s robes. He’s done this before, but it’s never been like this. It’s never been so much. Excitement, arousal, but not a hint of shame. He’s exactly where he wants to be.