September 8th, 2008
|05:00 pm - Morning After|
Title: Morning After
Summary: Truth is a curse. Draco suffers.
A/N: For rurounihime. I promised this little ficlet to you long, long ago; I hope it fits! ♥
I have to leave, is what Malfoy says the instant Harry's eyes open, in crusty wonderment at being cramped all night on the far edge of his bed because someone else--Draco--had taken up the rest. Malfoy is rumpled, frowning, jerking on clothes like he's late for a train and Harry hasn't even had a chance to clear his throat or sit up. Fuck, Malfoy mutters. Fuckity fuck. There's a problem with a clasp or a zipper or a button; Harry can't tell. He pushes himself up and gets his glasses on.
Morning, sunshine, he says with blatant cheer, in a fuzzy attempt to cover the slow-moving awkwardness sinking into his limbs. Malfoy's clothing rustles loudly; he makes a frustrated growl. Harry tries a laugh, trying to brazen it out. Not turning into some weird daytime werewolf, are you? he asks, sliding over the rucked-up sheets to where the narrow shoulders are hunched. At his touch (so light), Malfoy turns sharply, his jaw cutting the air, and Harry stops immediately.
It's nothing, really--except Malfoy had told him (he'd been unsure when Harry had asked, last night, but he'd nodded, looking away)--and Harry thought this was it, the triumphant beginning of the rest of their lives. There'd been so many fights, with the Weasleys, the Ministry, the press, the world, and at the end of them all was Draco, pale and guarded, lips sneering, fingers unresisting when Harry gently picked them up. Is this okay? Harry asked. Yes, Draco had told him.
It seems that Draco had lied.
I should not have stayed, Malfoy mutters, his teeth so firmly clenched that Harry can't think how he said anything at all. I should not have stayed. Malfoy's shaking his head, which is lowered to the door; he's got past the difficulty with the clasp or zipper or button and he's grabbing at his robes in his haste to put them on. He's pushing to the door next and he'd be through it in beat, but Harry's there first, heart wild, hands cold.
What are you doing? he demands, aware his breath is foul, aware his body's shaking, aware of the regret bristling in Malfoy's glare. The sting of that look won't fade for some time, but at the moment Harry hasn't time to dwell. Malfoy's pulling out his wand.
Move, Malfoy orders. Harry reaches for his wrist but Malfoy sweeps it back; with a flick Harry finds himself yanked aside.
Harry lunges, furious; Malfoy cries Don't touch me! in a breaking plaintive voice. It has Harry skidding in a desperate effort to obey but Draco is unswift and Harry can't turn back momentum. They collide. Harry's arms circle Draco and Draco shouts Don't with such anguish Harry feels it in his chest--and then he realizes Draco isn't shouting, isn't whispering a word.
He's dazed, leaning hard against Malfoy, who's crushed to the ground beneath the arch of the doorway. Draco? he asks, but he can hardly hear himself over the torrent of Draco's thoughts, Draco's fears flowing too thick and warm to be fully comprehensible save for he knows, he knows. What's...? Harry asks. And then, he simply knows.
It was punishment, Harry knows, for Draco can't help but tell. Punishment for his mother--for lying, deceiving the Dark Lord in what should have been, could yet have been, his moment of glory. The Dark Lord had been near--the true savior he was!--a mere heartbeat from delivering his cherished world from chaos--but Draco's mother had laid soft hands upon Potter and proclaimed him dead, to save her son, her son, her selfishness had undone them all. She would never lie again.
Truth is a curse, and Harry wonders how the curse came to Draco. Draco obliges at once, with barely a shudder in Harry's shock-stiff arms. It was meant to lay bare Narcissa Malfoy's duplicity, surrendering it to the vengeance of the Loyal, but Draco saw them gather about his mother's proud head and shamed though he was, disgraced and cowardly and useless though he was, he could do this one act, he could suffer this one strike...
It wasn't like this before, Harry thinks without thought. I couldn't hear you before--
Draco responds accordingly. A potion--it suppresses the curse, for a little while, affording him archipelagos of time when his thoughts are his own. He's studying methods to enhance its effects, but the work is deadly dull and there is no hope in Draco's mind, no hope, no hope--
Don't say that, Harry thinks, forgetting Draco has not uttered a sound. It was a courageous thing you did, he says aloud, self-consciously, squeezing Draco's middle. A part of him wonders if Draco wishes now that he hadn't rushed in--
Yes, is the answer that darts to Harry's chest. Yes, I wish I hadn't. And Stop is the word ringing in Harry's mind, Stop! I wish I hadn't.
Harry shifts, startled. He lets Draco go, knowing what it is to bear just that kind of guilt and how it doesn't matter that the good deed is done; Draco scrambles up, out of Harry's arms, slings himself down the hall and through the living room like an arrow, dripping thoughts all the while as he wings to the door. Harry follows, throat prickling with the things that Draco is desperate not to think (Potter scares me, I shouldn't have, so fucking stupid just once, this is just once it'll never happen again it isn't happening again) and that last one--Harry has to know whether it's true or not.
Draco's answer comes, wordlessly, as he's blasting open the front door. I'm not coming back here. It feels rough in Harry's head. I wish I could.
Harry watches Draco leap through the wide rip in the wards; the rush of Draco's panic breaks off with an inaudible snap. He must've Disapparated, Harry realizes numbly, moving toward the front door to fix the lock. He summons his wand from the bedroom and casts the necessary spells. Then he goes to his desk, sits down in his boxers, and fishes out a piece of clean parchment from the third drawer he tries.
The potion, he writes, after considering for a moment and finding nothing better. I want to help. He isn't sure what else to add; he puts If it's okay? and sends it off. It comes back the next evening with Malfoy's yes. There is a list of books. Harry examines it, making plans to visit the library's special collection tomorrow and reflecting on what will happen if he can't make the potion any better. He imagines what it'd be like, if Draco didn't mind.
Sad. But I like the hopefulness in it.
Thanks for reading! :) Oh, yes, I imagine this to have a happy ending, if a rocky beginning. Harry will help Draco, and slowly Draco will let Harry stay close, whether or not he's had the protective potion...♥