A Midnight Meeting

By Allanasha Ke Kiri

Harry groaned as he woke, his head a splitting headache. He tried to massage his temples, but found his hands were bound behind his back. He shoved the pain aside with the ease of practice and pried his eyes open. At first, he thought there was a blindfold over his eyes, but quickly tossed the thought out when he didn't feel any additional weight across his face.

Dark room then. No windows.

He laid still, listening carefully for any sign of life. It was several minutes before he allowed himself to relax. No one else was present. Harry struggled upright, trying to remember what had happened. The last thing he remembered, he'd left St. Mungos - now a full medi-wizard. He was supposed to meet Ron and Hermione (married two years ago, with their first child on the way) for dinner, and to spend some time with his goddaughter.

Someone had asked him for directions and then … Nothing.

Careless, he snarled to himself. He hadn't been that careless in … It had been just over five years since the last attempt on his life. six months before the dragon fever.

I'm supposed to be safe now, damn it.

The thought that someone was still out to get him closed his throat. Just when he thought it was safe to live again, something like this happened, which sent him right back to the war. Act and React. Breath, fight, escape.

He shoved down his irritation. Pushed away the grief for a life he'd never be able to live. Focused on what he had to do to get away. He needed his hands for that.

Harry bent backwards, arching his spin as he painfully worked his bound arms under his ass. His shoulders screamed at him, displeased with their angle, and the action he demanded of them. Finally, however, he managed to work them under his legs. He spent precious time moving feeling back into his shoulders, trying to stop their protesting. His wrists clinked with movement, letting him know that something metal was what dug into his wrists. He'd need light before he could see what kind of harm he'd done to them, but that was something for later. First, escape, then worry about his health.

As best he could, he searched his person for his wand. It wasn't on him. Nor was his bag nearby. He bit back a curse. If there was someone outside, he didn't want to clue them on to the fact that he was awake yet. They didn't need any incentive to hurry alone their planning.

With another steadying breath, Harry felt backward, feeling along the stone floor until he found the wall. The, he slowly rose, using bound hands to side along the wall, looking for the door. He'd made two turns before he found it, It was just his luck that he'd gone in the opposite direction of the door.

Could be worse. Could have gone the wrong direction on the right wall. He allowed his lips to twitch upwards at the thought. Yes, his luck was bad, but it generally wasn't that bad. It usually made it up to him, too. Usually in the same day.

He tried the doorknob, turning carefully to avoid any noise. He was unsurprised when it didn't turn. Pulling his hand carefully away from the doorknob, Harry rested his forehead on the wall next to it.

He could try casting wandlessly. He managed to do a few simple spells over the years, usually in situations of high stress. While this was significantly less so than a dementor attack(1), it was possible he wasn't completely helpless.

Wetting his lips he put his hand on the door, sliding over the doorknob until he found the lock. Locked from the outside, as he'd thought.

"Alohomora," he breathed, still trying to keep his voice down. Nothing happened. "Alohomora."

Still nothing.

He bit back another curse and put his ear to the door. If there was someone out there, he'd hear something. What he wouldn't give for an extendable ear just then. It was several more minutes before he was certain there was no one outside. Heart thundering in his chest, he pulled back and tried again, louder this time, putting as much authority as he could into it. Still nothing.

"Bloody hell," he muttered, pulling back away from the door. He leaned against the wall, considering his options. If he couldn't get his magic to work, he would have to surprise them when they unlocked the cell. If he could lock one of them over, he might be able to get a wand. Even if it didn't work properly, he might be able to get to his own. then, he'd stand a fighting chance.

Nodding to himself, he settled down to wait, keeping his ears open for the slightest change.

It was hours before he heard anything but his own breathing, or the ringing in his ears. There were two. Three, he corrected as he heard them speaking. He rose, pressing against the wall behind the door, though far enough to prevent getting hit by it.

He held his breath as he heard the door click, and the door opened, spilling light into the room for the first time. Harry blinked, momentarily blinded. A figure stepped in, and Harry separated from the wall, diving forward. The hit the ground, and something exploded beneath him. Harry jerked up and away in surprise.

A gun? Why would-?

Before he could do anything else, something clicked behind him. "You move, I shot," someone said.

Harry raised his bound hands.

"Fuck," the guy in front of him muttered. "I didn't expect him to do that."

"I did," said the one with the gun.

The guy in front turned, and it was then, as Harry tried to look for his gun, that he realized that he wasn't wearing his glasses. All he was, was a vague, blurry, shape.

"Where are my glasses?" he asked.

"You won't need them," said the one with the gun.

"Get him up."

He was grabbed by his arms and pulled from the room. The third one stayed behind them, presumably with the gun pointed in his direction. He listened to them talk as he was dragged forward down one hall, then another, unable to even take in his surroundings.

They're muggles! he realized, astonishment filling him. He'd been kidnapped by muggles.

I'm never going to live this down, He thought, too dazed to even put up a struggle. Not that he'd have gotten far with the gunman behind him.

Finally, they entered a dimly lit room, the flickering lights suggesting they were candles. It made it difficult to tell who else was in the room.

Harry was shoved to his knees, his two guides placing hands on his shoulders to keep him down. He stayed only because he could hear the gunman behind him.

Wait for your moment.

"What's going on?" Harry demanded, wondering if he should play the terrified victim, or if they knew he was a wizard. Wasn't that a terrifying thought?

"It doesn't concern you."

"Considering I've just been kidnapped, I think it does."

There was a pause. The men on either side of him tensed, and Harry prepared to be hit. Strangely, it didn't come.

"Don't fear, child," the man said, voice condescendingly comforting. "Your sacrifice is not in vain."

"Sacrifice?" Now he could worry. "What sacrifice?"

"No more questions. It's time to begin."

Harry tried to rise, but the hands kept him firmly in place. When he tried to struggle, they grabbed him more firmly. He really was out of shape if they managed to do this. If he got out, he promised to spend more time with Ron, fixing that.

At least five people chanted, one of them feminine. Harry managed a running dialogue, in the hopes of distracting them, until one of those on him slapped a hand over his mouth.

Shit. He'd had enough of rituals to last a lifetime. He'd had enough of staring in rituals to last several.

Finally, the chanting stopped with a bright flash of light that forced his eyes closed. When he opened them, there was something in the circle, but without his glasses, he couldn't tell who.

"We have called you here, demon and have acquired an appropriate sacrifice."

Demon? I am so fucked.

"You've summoned me," a familiar voice agreed. "But there is nothing that requires me to listen."

"Fuck," he breathed through the hand over his mouth.. He felt the demon's attention shift.

"Harry Potter. You're their sacrifice?" If it wasn't so full of sorrow, Harry would think the demon was pleased.

Harry yanked his head, uncovering his mouth. "Only if they manage to kill me."

"You … you know each other?"

"We've met," was Harry's wry reply.

"Such few words for our intimate encounters," the demon murmured.

Harry flushed, at the suggestive words. "Oh, you tosser, nothing happened."

"For you, perhaps," was the mournful response.

Harry swallowed.

"And still so sad, Harry Potter. What brings it this time?"

"Oh, this and that."

"You like your sacrifice then, demon?"

"Hardly."

"Good to know I'm wanted," Harry quipped, mind whirling in an attempt to find an escape.

"I wish to touch you."

"You can't leave the circle, demon," the main man said. "Not until our contract is set."

"A contract," Lord Loss answered, softly, the weight of his gaze never leaving Harry. "A contract must be formed, or rejected."

Harry's tongue darted out to wet his lips.

"That's not-"

"Get me out of here," Harry told him, hoping he was reading this right.

"Shut him up!" Harry's mouth was covered once more, but it was too late.

"Deal."

The figure in the circle never moved, but suddenly, there was screaming. Those holding him were yanked away, and the sound of slaughter reached his ears, if not his eyes.

Never make a deal with a demon. It never ends well.

"You can't see."

Harry blinked, looking upward as the demon appeared in front of him. "Er … no. Not without my glasses."

"Find them," he ordered. Something scurried away, but Harry couldn't seem to look away. Slowly, Harry rose, wondering if it was his turn to die now. He hadn't exactly had a chance to set a type of touch. For all he knew, the demon was about to disembowel him.

"Always so sad," Lord Loss murmured, one hand rising, but not quite touching his face. "One could drown in your misery."

"You always say the sweetest things," Harry managed, thoroughly disconcerted. Why was it this demon always seemed to show up?

The Demon laughed, a hollow echoing sound that tore at Harry's heart. It was the sound if infinite sadness. the sound of one who had never known joy, never felt love, and knew just things would never reach them.

Merlin help me, I'm sympathizing with a demon.

"Thank you," Harry said. Deciding now was not a time to forget his manners.

"We made a deal." The demon shrugged.

"We did."

Harry steeled himself, waiting for the touch, the possible pain, but it never came. He frowned.

"Don't you want your side?" he asked.

"I wish you to see me, first."

"Oh." That was odd.

"Your eyes are clear now, unobstructed, but fuzzy." The word twists in his mouth, as though he finds it distasteful.

Harry nodded, though he didn't really understand what was going on in the demon's head.

"How do you do it?"

"Do what?" he asked, blinking up at the demon. Something in him, a long dead desire for self-preservation, demanded he put space between them, but in the long run, it wouldn't matter. He didn't have his wand, he was still bound, and he was under no illusion that he could escape the demon, should it want to catch him

"Your sorrow. Yet you are happy, I assume, around it. How do you do it?"

Harry blinked. "It's a human thing, I think."

"No," Lord Loss countered. "No other human is quite like you, Harry Potter. No other human has ever exuded sorrow as you do."

"I guess it's just who I am. I feel for those who die. Known too much of it in my life."

"You mourn for them?"

There was no question who 'they' were. The muggles. Harry nodded.

"I will. Later, probably, when I'm not cuffed."

"You do it now," Lord Loss countered. "I can feel it. They would have killed you, yet you mourn for them."

"It's what makes me better than them," Harry quipped, hoping to get out of the uncomfortable conversation.

"No. No other human would do it. So, why do you?"

Silence stretched between them. Harry swallowed, wondering what the demon wanted from him (other than his soul. That one was obvious.)

"I don't know," he said, finally. "I don't know why I care. Why I keep caring. I just do. I've seen what happens to those who stop, and I don't want to be one of them."

"But there is more."

"Well, I don't know what it is," Harry snapped, finally, with a roll of his eyes.

"Likely not. Humans have always been blind like that."

"Some of us are just blind without our glasses."

Lord Loss laughed again, sending another chill through Harry's soul. No being should sound that sad and still survive.

"You amuse me as I have not been in centuries," Lord Loss admitted, his hand rising once more to almost touch him.

Harry almost demanded he follow through. It had to be less nerve wrenching to follow through with it, then to wait time and again for it to happen. But, he didn't, barely.

"I would have you with me, so I might feast on you daily."

Harry swallowed. "No thanks," he managed, voice weaker than he'd intended it to. "I don't think I'd survive long there."

"I think you would flourish," Lord Loss told him. "You are more than you seem, and less than you show."

"… I should be insulted by that."

"Perhaps."

Movement to his side pulled him away from the demon. It was a small thing that handed something up to the demon. Harry held still as Lord Loss bent. When he rose, both hands approached his face, something cradled between them. Harry didn't move as the demon slid his glasses on, though not so much as a finger touched him. Harry trembled.

His eyes blinked open, staring at the uncomfortably close face of the demon, seeing him clearly for the first time.

"Lord Loss."

He smiled then, and it was just as sad as Harry remembered it. "Finally, you've said my name."

Then, he swooped in and kissed him.

Harry froze, eyes widening in shock and horror.

What?

A hand, cool against his heated skin, slid over his neck, keeping him in place. Then, Harry felt it, felt his magic surge up through him, through the lips connecting them, and leave him. Harry inhaled sharply, giving the demon the opportunity to deepen the contact and draw more from him.

Finally, Harry managed to get his hands up between them and shove the demon back. Lord Loss went with little fight.

"What the bloody hell was that?" Harry demanded, glaring at the demon.

"What I was owed."

"You never said you wanted to kiss me!"

"You never specified the kind of touch I was allowed."

He couldn't argue that.

"I also didn't say you could take my magic."

That small smile pulled at Lord Loss' lips again. "There is more than one way to touch you, Harry. I wished to see what made you so special."

Harry's eyes narrowed. "Did you find it?" he demanded, sarcastically.

"Yes."

Harry blinked, waiting for the demon to elaborate. He didn't.

"Well?"

"Perhaps another time, Harry Potter," The demon said. "I have other business to attend to, and you are not going to cry for me tonight."

Harry swallowed at the promise in those words. He was going to have to be much more careful in the future. Or he might find himself dragged away with the demon.

Between one blink and the next, Lord Loss vanished from sight, leaving Harry in a room with several dead bodies, and still handcuffed.

"Fucking hell."


(1) Book five: Harry casts a wandless lumos to find his wand during the dementor attack on Privet Drive

Also, keeping track of Harry's age:

1. 17 (almost 18)

2. 23

3. 28

So, this isn't the 'third installment' I mentioned in the last update. Before I get to that, my muse wants to establish more in the way of Harry and Lord Loss' interactions. So, we'll get to it eventually. Just want to explain a few things.

First, you'll notice that the 'complete' has been taken off the fic. That's because it's now an active project of mine. So, we'll see where this goes. Each chapter will be an entire encounter, including lead-up to the actual meeting between Harry and Lord Loss. Some chapters will be longer than others, while some might be rather short. We'll just see. It depends on how much lead up is required, and how talkative the two get.

I'm not promising any sort of updating schedule, as I have no idea when things will happen, or get written. However, some of you waited seven years for the second installment, and it probably won't take that long again.

Finally, on Lord Loss' actions. In the books, I noticed that he did have a tendency to get attached to certain humans. It just so happens that Harry is one of them, and finds him more useful alive than sacrificed, where he won't get to feed off that bottomless sorrow.

As for the kiss, NO, this is not a Harry/LL pairing fic. Lord Loss might get possessive, and there might be hints of it that pop up, but that's because Harry is a veritable feast. And unlimited feast, as far as he's concerned, and he wants it all to himself. Harry is wary of the demon, occasionally sassy, and is in no way interested in being Lord Loss' eternal meal. He'll put up with the demon if he shows up, but that's only because he can't get rid of him, and doesn't want to piss him off by trying. And, this being Harry, he'll likely get some sort of attachment with the demon.

In this instance, Lord Loss Kissed Harry because he was trying to figure something out. I don't think it's going to happen again.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed. Let me know what you think,

Allanasha Ke Kiri