|Happy fandom swap, Nimielle!
||[May. 6th, 2006|10:54 pm]
The Fandom Swap Fiction Exchange
Happy fandom swap, nimielle!
Title: Burial at Sea
Fandom: Harry Potter
Summary: On a journey to Azkaban prison to deal with his late father’s remains, Draco encounters someone unexpected from his past.
AN: Nimielle, this was my first time ever writing this pairing—I hope you like it! Thanks to K. for the super-quick beta!!
Burial at Sea
Break, break, break, On thy cold gray stones, O sea! And I would that my tongue could utter/The thoughts that arise in me.--Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The day his father dies, Draco is in Paris.
He’s trying to forget about the War and everything it took from him by drinking wine and wasting his money on cheap whores, like every bad cliché he’s ever heard, covering up that damning mark on his skin with long-sleeved robes.
One night the woman sees it on his arm and spits on him. She tells him her brother died fighting Voldemort, and Draco sneers and tells her if the Dark Lord won, maybe she wouldn’t be whoring herself out for money. She leaves after hexing him and Draco learns to keep the lights turned off.
The owl finds him on the balcony of the little hotel where he’s staying, smoking cigarettes like some disaffected young writer but without anything in his mind but a dark, pressing anger shadowing a darker grief. He knows the seal on the parchment well enough; the Ministry sent him plenty of owls after his pardon when he turned traitor (hero) to help the Order of the Phoenix kill Voldemort.
Screams slicing through the thick velvet of the night; followed by a woman’s sobbing. “You’re my sister!” Bellatrix, her eyes aglow with madness too long unquenched, her sister’s blood staining her lily-white skin.
The message is brief, and though Draco has been expecting it for years now it still hits him hard. He remembers going to the shore once with his parents as a child; he’d been playing in the surf and had turned towards the beach to wave at his mother and father who were watching him from the shore. The wave had broken over his small body and dragged him under, sea-water choking his mouth and nose with the taste of brine, seeing nothing but churning, furious blue.
That’s how he feels now. He puts out the cigarette and stands up, staring up at the sky. The only salt in his eyes are from tears he refuses to shed for Lucius Malfoy.
He goes back inside and begins to make arrangements to go to Azkaban.
* * *
He doesn’t expect to see Harry there, and when he does, he nearly turns on his heel and leaves.
Stupid, that. A boyhood rivalry that meant nothing after the war started properly, when more was at stake than pureblood ideals and old Quidditch scores. Harry is an Auror but he looks about as pleased with his life as Draco is with his; which is to say, Harry doesn’t look very pleased at all.
Draco remembers Ginny, dead in the final battle. Red hair spilled like blood, crimson-red against the deep green of the field where Voldemort fell. “Potter,” he spits out, with less vitriol than he might have, though he doubts Potter appreciates his restraint.
Harry gives him a nod, jerky-quick, his entire body tense. “You are here to collect the body, I presume?” His emerald eyes are far away; the scar that so defined him faded to a mere silver sliver and covered by dark hair.
“No,” Draco says, stepping back. The wind catches his hair and whips it about his face; he wears his hair long, like his father. Whispers of how he’s failed keep Draco from ever cutting it, even though he thinks his face is too pointed to wear the style as convincingly as Lucius did.
“Oh. Well, they can arrange for his burial, if you wish. You just need to sign the forms.” Harry is staring at him strangely and Draco wonders what he thinks, if he figures Draco is too much a bastard to feel remorse at his own father’s death.
It’s not remorse he’s feeling, but relief. Relief and a curious sense of loss for the home he might have had, if not for a madman’s sugar-sweet promises of power and prestige. If not for his mother’s death at the hands of his batshit crazy Aunt, dead these last few years by her Master’s own wand.
“Right. Let’s get on with it, then,” Draco mutters, but his eyes are drawn to the surf, pounding relentlessly against the slick wet shore. The prison rises like some granite monolith before him; a grey-stone building dotted with barred windows. He wonders which one was his father’s cell, but he doesn’t ask.
He tastes salt-water on his tongue. It makes him sick. He doesn’t speak again as they enter the prison and head towards the warden’s office. Draco can feel madness pressing around him like a fog.
“Do you want to see him?”
Harry’s voice is curiously soft, as if he might have some clue to what Draco is feeling from the way Draco’s fingers are curled tight around the quill, like he’s trying to snuff the life from it. Suddenly Draco can’t breathe; all he can hear is the surf outside, all he tastes is the water in his mouth.
Drowning, drowning, roaring in his hears and choking his lungs, can’t breathe--
“No,” Draco hisses, shoving the parchment across the table at Harry in one violent motion. “I see my father every morning when I look in the mirror.” His eyes clash with Harry’s and for a moment he can’t keep it away, the grief and the anger, and it shines as clear as daylight on his features.
“Draco,” Harry says, stepping towards him, his hand raised just a little as if he’s going to touch Draco’s shoulder. “I—”
Draco doesn’t let him finish. His fingers snap the quill in half and he turns to leave, nearly tripping in his haste. He yanks at the heavy oak door and all but runs out, the only thought in his head one of escape.
That’s the only thing I’ve been good at, ever.
* * *
Harry finds him standing out on the shore, shaking hands shoved into the deep pockets of his robes. They’re nice robes, thick and wool, but he’s chilled to the bone regardless. He’ll never be warm, never.
“The burial will be tomorrow, at sea,” Harry says slowly, and Draco wonders if he’s getting some sick joy from this, from the fact his noble father will be shrouded in white and dumped into the ocean like some common criminal.
“Potter, as I believe should be clear to you, I don’t give a bloody damn about my father or his final resting place,” Draco snaps, turning a narrow-eyed glare on the other man, hoping the bravado in his voice will mask the fact that he does care, a little, and that he hates himself for it.
Harry nods. “I suppose I get that, yes.” He still has that same sense of awkwardness about him as they did when they were younger, as if he’s not quite sure of the world or the place he inhabits within it.
Draco is beginning to understand the feeling. “What are you doing here, anyway? Surely the savior of the world has better things to do than dispose of some old Death Eater’s remains?”
Harry gives a small laugh, as full as bitterness as Draco’s words. “You’d think that, wouldn’t you? Except that I don’t have anything to do, not really. What can you do after saving the world that measures up?”
“Spare me your hero’s angst,” Draco growls, infuriated. He steps closer to Harry, wanting to shove the other man into the sea, wanting to drown him. Just like I’m drowning. “You can’t possibly mean to convince me you’re miserable.”
“I don’t need to convince anyone,” Harry says with a shrug, looking remarkably undisturbed by Draco’s obvious anger. He looks tired; Draco can see the shadows beneath his eyes. “I lost people, too, Draco.”
Draco isn’t used to Harry using his first name. “That’s what happens in a war, Potter,” he mutters, but there is little heat beneath his words. He’s tired, too, and just wants to go home. Tot Paris, where he can forget this place completely.
Forget everything completely. He’ll run out of money, and soon, but who cares. Money doesn’t keep anyone alive. It’s sad it’s taken him this long to realize it.
The waves churn in cyclical, maddening fury. Harry stares out at the sea, and Draco wonders idly what he’s thinking. “They buried Ginny in a rainstorm. She’d probably have liked that.”
Draco eyes him, taking in the sharp lines of his profile. He’s a handsome man, Harry, but all Draco sees is that young boy that denied his friendship when they were eleven years old. Like his father, Draco does not forget perceived slights against him easily. The words he wants to say—the taunting, cruel words, about washing away filth and blood-traitors—don’t come, though, so maybe he’s not as like to his father as he thinks.
Harry turns to look at him just as a spray of seawater hits them both in the face. Harry no longer wears glasses—maybe he finally got a mediwizard to fix his eyesight—and his eyes are very bright. “I don’t hate you any more, you know.”
Draco hates him for that, a little, even if he can’t really argue with the sentiment. He just wants things to be like they used to be. He wants things to be familiar. He reaches out and catches Harry by the neck, yanking him closer. He kisses him, his mouth hot and desperate, fingers curling almost painfully into Harry’s skin.
Harry kisses him back, his hands on Draco’s shoulders, grasping just enough to let Draco know he’s not entirely bothered by what’s happening. Draco feels a rush of pleasure shoot from the tip of his scalp right down to his toes, and this is the first time he’s felt alive in a long time.
“You should,” he gasps, shoving Harry away when it’s apparent this becoming something more than just a kiss. “I still hate you.” He doesn’t mean it, though, and he knows it stupid to even pretend anymore.
Harry presses a hand to the back of his mouth and stares at him for a long time. His eyes look less troubled, and there’s a glint there that looks almost mischievous. “You should get out of the cold,” he says quietly, and holds his hand out to him.
Draco remembers that long-ago day on the train when he’d done the same, and how Harry had turned his back and walked off with Ron Weasley. Part of him wants to walk away, wants to hurt Harry like it had hurt him that day, being ignored and forsaken for someone else.
Instead, he puts his hand in Harry’s without a word and turns his back on the sea. He can still hear it, and maybe he always will, but Harry’s hand is warm in his own and maybe that’s all that matters anymore.