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Silver Tongues

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Harry still speaks Parselmouth.

Should have slipped his tongue when Voldemort was slain, but you know what the ancients say of serpents: a snake shedding is dying and coming back again. In days past, Harry's flesh had been that skin, Voldemort's soul and voice the new body waiting within to emerge fresh from Harry, baptized in blood, birthed as nothing ever should be.

Since slivers of another's soul were inside him before, Harry sees no reason why slivers might not be still, for once he was the viper's vessel without giving his permission, taking any mission, acceptance to be handmaid of any lord. Lord Voldemort slid inside so silent and insidious that maybe he slipped back when Harry killed him again, or maybe killing him made Harry so like him that Harry's secretly been some scion of Voldemort ever since.

Service to the Dark Lord's legacy was never his desire, but it had been the Death Eaters', Bellatrix's, Malfoys', Draco's, which makes Harry want to give it to them just like it was given unto him: by force. Force is fucking, in a way: violating, victimizing, using bodies as Harry's was used, which must be why Harry is fucking Draco now: just Voldemort's vice in the form of his voice demanding what he commanded of everyone: service.

Hissed whispers in Draco's ear, a kiss to his spine, the ties that bind him to the bed, the tongue so slow and teasing from behind: "You are mine," they say, in every way. Way down deep in Harry, though, the cry—"not mine"—pushes at his veins, thrusts up his cock, pulses at his brains, making his blood hot, so that every denial is a thrust, each regret a touch, because the protest comes out hissed.

"This isn't me," Harry hisses, even as he spreads Draco further. The further Draco spreads, the more Harry hisses, "Please, I'm not this."

*

When Voldemort rose and Draco followed him, it could have been the story of the first witch and wizard, who partook of knowledge and were condemned to Muggle lands by the seduction of the snake. Snape was tempted in the same way, by knowledge and by power, and so was Lucius, and so even Salazar. So was everyone who meant anything to Draco all the way from who knows when.

So it must be with Harry: Draco under the spell of knowledge and of power, the sound of serpent speech so enticing he follows it like a snake charmed from a basket, rising. Rising beside Harry in the mornings, bruised, deliciously used, Draco wonders where that promised power is, the knowledge, for he only feels the shame of nakedness, of being known, and of desiring to be so abused.

Muddy though his memories of Voldemort are, Draco thinks it might not have been the serpent who enticed him, but Snape, Lucius, Salazar—it was they who were tempted by the snake, and they who tempted him, and so when Draco ate he ate of the family tree. Trees of knowledge do not comprise the groaning board on which he feasted as a child; that table was made of blood, the wood grains veins he followed, the roots a descent he pursued all the way down, falling, from the garden into mud.

So with Harry: Draco falls into his arms not for ambition, not to reach the knowledge or the power at the bottom of the snakepit; pitifully, something in him longs to submit, to be subdued, to sink. Sinking into Draco's body, Harry stutters, "Come with me; come screaming," and Draco knows it's not suffering he's falling for, but solitude he's running from. He follows Harry because he cannot stand to be alone in that garden. "Come with me, screaming, into Hell," Harry could say, and so would Draco go.

*

Another's soul having stitched its way inside him, Harry wonders if that means some slivers of his own soul have been replaced, unwillingly surrendered. Rendered less a man by this sacrifice, Harry sought his soul and his lost voice in fantasies exclusive to himself: dreams of love, of woman, of seed planted in the body of another.

First time inside Ginny, though, the serpent's fantasies slithered to the surface: Harry's cries of pleasure sounded like the sighs of snakes, and Ginny froze as if her bed contained a basilisk. Lisping, once, in that same voice, a viper had befriended her, become her confidante, forced her to surrender her chamber of secrets, open her innocence to an invader. Whatever Harry did to save her down below, Voldemort was first.

She stands—years after, after trying so many times, times they both were so in love, love still never quite enough—shining in the Ministry assembly hall, on the arm of another woman, woman, who can't threaten her with serpent thrusts. Thrusting through the crowd to avoid the sight and smell of her, the seduction not of his missing pieces but of the mirror she is to his unwhole self, Harry knows that as sullied, shattered as she feels, he'll never have one so pure and strong, so shining as she.

No one else can see his sickness, this monster in his chest that lusts to sin, to insinuate inside her so he can at last fit in, into these crowds, these normal people. People watch as he slides by, somewhat aloof, but still their savior; to friends he seems slightly off, sometimes strange; with lovers only are all the secrets shed and he is psychotic, deranged, a saboteur. Were they to see him as he is, the Ministry'd be full of human statues as there were when Voldemort reigned, for Harry is like that basilisk; the inner truth of him would shock them into stone. Once Ginny saw that side of him, but she has turned away, and only Draco is in his sights, standing stock still, reduced to prey who never can say no.

Feeling like he's slithering on his belly, Harry worms his way through the crowd to him, the only other one as low, the only other one marked by a snake too. Two years Draco's been trying to rise above, in the Ministry now with his pristine record, but he'll always be stained, unclean, down here in the muck with Harry, who snags him and drags him down the hall so they can fuck themselves free of feeling.

*

Make them scream, Voldemort used to say. Make them pray.

Conducting his hisses down Draco, Voldemort possessed Draco's body with sound, played him like a puppet, pulled Draco's arm up slowly, pointed Draco's wand as if his soul was on a string. Stringing along some poor sod, making him beg, Draco was charged with casting Crucio, sparking it out his wand's end, till Draco felt it reverberate back between his own scapula, his spine (his lack thereof) a cord of pain conduction.

He is theirs for use, their possession, less than subject, an object owned and stowed, retrieved just for their satiation and their sin. Synapses subdued, Draco's under their sway, without any need of Imperius. Forcing fists are only an excuse: the snake speakers need only hiss, and Draco is theirs.

Fear is sufficient to direct him, for Parselmouth sounds of power and pain, and plants seeds of terror until Draco is a grove where grass grows, through which the serpents they have loosed pass. Past fear, though, buried deep, is the desire to be afraid. He longs to have his flesh sweat loose and wet with silent shivers, to be so weak—so shamed—that he can not be blamed for the things he has done out of fear.

Snakes of terror in Draco's fingers, tendrils of desire down his toes, until they're sliding, sidling inside him, steering every step. Stepping down this passage of their choosing, madness goes—stalks sanity, opens every part, all the secret chambers, just like basilisks always do, like snakes.

Once, he saw his mother's sister slip this way. Draco saw her swim deep into that place where despair suffuses with desire, where springs from deeper things the obsession to be possessed, for self-discipline slowly to give way to submission. Shunning safety and sagacity, she sighed for his embrace, his taste, his invasion, and Draco shudders and wonders if he could go that way, if he has sunk so low that he'll look in Harry's eyes and be what he saw in her once.

Supine up on the wall, hidden in a closet in the hall of the Ministry, Draco doesn't have to face him, face himself, face how far from sanity he's slipped. Slipping from the tie Harry's hung him from a hook on the wall with, Draco's still strung up. When charged to caress Harry's cock, Draco's arm pulls up slowly, as if a cord in him had been strummed; he's an instrument strung for psalm. Palms spread, like his body is, Draco's played by Harry into a prayer for them both, a begging for release. Pulling surrender from Harry's end, Draco feels it reverberate back between his hand, the spark pulsing from bones to brains, conducting pleasure down his spine.

*

All the same, in all this self-destruction, this act of knowing each other, of covering each other's secret spots, is somehow an escape. Capricious, yes, constricting, almost certainly, but what Harry seeks in Draco he can have in no other. Others, it would split asunder; his tongue would speak like serration, stripping other people's selves of the lies they tell themselves, of insouciance, ignorance, showing them what knowing is, all the shame.

Draco, though, is already split: this slip of a man he's shaped into, slender and still like a candlewick, always ready to be burned and bent. Bent, but not broken, for beneath he's malleable metal, his soul soft like silver he's shaped into something strong, made to take it, what Harry only can give. Given the sadistic steel, Draco anneals, comes together. To him and only him, Harry can be the snake and also the savior.

Sick as this sort of solace is, Harry is just too scared to stop. It tops all other concerns, the slick slide of them together, the suck of Draco's spit and sweat and spunk, the succor of his sweet, yielding sickness.

Always after fucking him with forked tongue, Harry ends spooned against him, snuggled, savoring the gentle sussuration of snores and Draco's dreaming. But Dreaming for Harry almost always leads again to doubt doubt, sliding in sly and masochistic, suggesting that these visions of Voldemort are only seeming; what if, tempts the dark, what if this is what I've always been, before him, this monster, always?

Maybe he was born with a viper in his vocal cords. According to the family tree, Harry and Riddle are related; the serpent speech may stem from his predecessors; perhaps the Peverells also spoke Parseltongue. Parseltongue, perhaps, is the green glare in every eye from time to time, the monster in the chest, the hatred in your mind. Mind broken, corrupt as his was, Voldemort may have been a victim too, infiltrated cunningly by cobralingus. Language sneaks in every hole, every secret oriface, seeps into your soul. Speak, story tell, sing songs of falls and fruit, separate light from darkness, tell Good from Evil, so sidles forth the serpent, and every secret snake you may be.

*

Some days Harry thinks there must be some way to get this mess sorted, stop this sordidness, end it all just like Neville's sword did—use something sharp, that might work, cut off his tongue or . . . o-or something else, slash off some piece of self. Selfless intentions (suicide) no longer last for Harry somehow though, not like that day he walked into the forest set to die, or maybe that's why, might be that's the piece he's missing and it died that day.

Searched the cosmos, once, for ways to wipe away the viper mouth, banish it to Siberia, Singapore, the States, vanish it to where Sodom and Atlantis sunk, send it to the sun or under Dis, to a corner of his soul no one can ever see in. India, though, unveiled to Harry its singing snake of legend, Endless Shesha, who held the universe in his hood before the beginning, soloing verses to Vishnu, and who will do so after the end. There ended Harry's search.

This is the winding way to immortality, not through Horcruxes, but through the voice, this voice that speaks through Harry. Harry wasn't ever Voldemort, not even as the last Horcrux, but somehow Harry's become this—the horror of this voice, it's all his. Hisses still will speak, even after Harry has gone silent, after the last fall, after it is all reduced to this.

Parselmouth these days, you see, speaks Harry.