- Story Summary:
- Draco had no idea that the repercussions of stealing Potter's journal and shoving it down the back of his trousers would be so extreme. Featuring nefarious plots, the mating rituals of Slytherins, double-crossing spells, Ron/Pansy, and Draco/Harry.
- Chapter Summary:
- Draco had no idea that the repercussions of stealing Potter's journal and shoving it down the back of his trousers would be so extreme. Featuring nefarious plots, the mating rituals of Slytherins, double-crossing spells, Ron/Pansy, and Draco/Harry.
- Author's Note:
- If this chapter seems a tiny bit shorter than the others, I'm sorry, but I should be updating again in a few days to make up for that.
I think God made you wise
I think he made you crazy.
That's why you can only see what's underneath.
Who knows what you see in my eyes.
Now I'm gone and I've left you with memories
And they're fragile and fading
Like great ghostly entities.
And I swear if you listen, they're sending you energy.
You are not lost, you are not wrong.
You are not that which you most fear.
Tell your demons to disperse, they are not welcome here.
And if I miss you, and if we falter, we will rendezvous
Under the water.
"I swear, Draco, winter broke last night. It shattered, do you believe a season can shatter? I didn't, but that was before everything. Now I know anything can shatter… mirrors, seasons, ice on top of lakes cracked apart by squids, even people. It's turning spring, I could feel it. That's what I meant, about winter cracking. It's like ice, so tense, and then sometimes you can feel it break. It'll be spring soon, I just thought you'd like to know… I've always liked the spring. And I felt it crack through winter last night, sitting up on our tower, and thought of you."
Harry smoothed his fingers along the edge of the parchment, staring off into space. He couldn't sleep, he rarely did anymore, and his body was feeling the strain of that. Rather disconnected, like he wasn't in it at all. His eyes looked like bruises, dark, empty black pools, and his face was pale, and too thin. He didn't much like eating, either.
"I hate you, I hate you so much you can't even comprehend. I want to beat you and hurt you and make you bleed, make you scream, for doing this to me. But then sometimes, like when I walk alone by the lake when it's cold outside, I miss you so badly that it feels like I'm shattering too. Like the winter, like the ice on the lake. Breaking into little pieces and there's no one here to pick them up again because you left me. You promised you wouldn't leave me. I hate you. I cannot help but hate you. I wish I could hate you. God. I'm falling apart."
His quill was trembling too badly to finish the letter, and Harry carefully set it aside, waiting for the ink to dry and then folding it, slipping it into a small wooden chest on the table. It was already nearly full of letters, all unread, untouched.
He was surprised, and exhaustion had made him jumpy. Harry leapt to his feet and spun around. It was Hermione, in her white nightgown, her hair wild around her, her eyes concerned. "It's late, Harry, why are you still up?" She had known he would be, of course. He always was.
"Can't sleep," he said, relaxing a little.
She glanced from him to the quill and blank parchment on the table, beside the small chest. "Who were you writing to?"
She sighed. "Harry, won't you tell me what happened?"
Harry stiffened, face going even stonier than before. "No." He hadn't told them, not a thing. What they had guessed, he had no idea, but he hadn't told them what had happened, the night Ron had brought him back to Hogwarts those weeks before, broken, bloody, and asleep. He hadn't wanted them to know, because he hadn't sorted it out himself yet. He remembered going to Draco, and Draco sending him away. And then Voldemort… He didn't remember the rest clearly at all, and that was why he didn't sleep. His dreams were plagued with shadowy remembrances, and he was terrified of sleeping, terrified of reliving that.
The rest of the school had been told that Draco had transferred somewhere else, and no one else questioned it. No one else except Hermione, Ron, and Ginny, but Harry wouldn't tell them anything.
They were his riddles to decipher; Draco's riddles had always been his that way. Everything about Draco had always been his.
Hermione had come closer now, and touched his face gently. "Harry," she said, just as tenderly. "You've got to sleep. You're wasting away."
"Maybe that's how it should be," he replied distantly, a small smile flickering over his lips.
"Of course it's not," she snapped. "I could kill him for doing this to you."
For the first time, Harry's gaze sharpened, coming to rest on her face, and a hot sort of possessive fury burned there, turning his eyes from their empty black back to vibrant green. "Doing what?" he snarled in a low, warning tone.
"Hurting you," she said soothingly, stroking his face. "It's alright. Go to sleep."
"I can't." The fury was gone and now there was only that same aching pain. "I can't sleep, I have nightmares."
"I know," she whispered, hugging him. "I'll stay with you, if you like."
"Will you?" The prospect of someone there, even if only Hermione, to wake him if his nightmares started again, made Harry shake in relief. He was so tired.
"Of course," she said, taking his wrist and tugging him back up the stairs to his dorm. Everyone else was sleeping, it was late, and she waited patiently while Harry carefully put the small chest in his trunk, stripped to his boxers, and crawled into his bed. It had been this way at least once a week since she'd returned from Christmas Holidays, and she was glad that there was something she could do, even if it meant being so tired that she could hardly focus on her studies. Her grades were slipping, but she didn't care. Even class wasn't so much a priority anymore, because she was terrified that Harry was slipping away from them all.
She smoothed Harry's blanket up to his chin, ignoring him when he protested that he wasn't a child. "Sleep, Harry, I'll wake you if you start to dream," she said softly, so as not to wake anyone else in the room.
Harry smiled at her and closed his eyes. Pulling his glasses off and setting them aside, Hermione curled up on the chair beside his bed and waited for him to fall asleep. It would only be an hour or so until the dreams would start, but an hour was better than nothing, and she would be here when they did.
Falling asleep quickly, Harry slept peacefully for the first little while, and Hermione shivered in her chair, staring out the window. The snow was melting quickly, it was almost spring, and she was wearily glad. It had been weeks since Harry had come back to them broken, and surely time would heal him.
He just seemed to be fading more and more away, however.
She sighed and rested her head on her arm, closing her eyes.
An hour later, when Harry started to whimper in his sleep, she was there to wake him.
Saturday found Harry in the library, in the back, darkest table (sometimes when he closed his eyes, he could almost swear he could smell the faint scent of cherries), with piles of books all around him. He spent most of his time either in class, or here, researching. He didn't even know what he was looking for, he hardly remembered what had happened after Voldemort had taken him and Draco had left him. But he wanted an explanation, and if he couldn't get one for why Draco had chosen Voldemort over him, he'd get one for what, exactly, Voldemort had done to him.
All he remembered, though sometimes his dreams showed flashes of other things that had happened that night, were some hazy, cloudy images, of Voldemort, and a knife, and a few words, chanted in a soft, hissing voice, another language. And the pain, of course, but that had come and gone, like consciousness. Then there was that strange echo inside himself, almost as if he wasn't all here, but somewhere else, and if he closed his eyes, he could almost see it, this other place where the rest of him was. It frightened him and he didn't much like trying.
And then, most vivid in his mind, was Draco's face, very near, and whispering.
"C'mon, love, wake up."
"I knew you'd come for me."
"Of course I did. I will always come for you…"
But that, of course, had all been a dream. It could be nothing more, there was no other explanation. Draco had gone home, been reminded of his loyalties, lost his father, and hadn't wanted Harry anymore.
And researching whatever Voldemort had done to him was the only thing that kept Harry from considering that too closely and shattering.
Exhaustion had taken its toll on Harry, and that Saturday, alone in the library with no one to wake him, the dreams returned, and he lay helpless, his head pillowed on a stack of books.
In the dream, Draco was sitting before him, holding a knife with snakes carved into the blade. "It's not worth doing if you don't cut deep enough to make it bleed," Draco said, scoffing. He reached out and took Harry's hand and Harry glanced down; there was a trail of blood there, a tiny, bare trail.
"I did draw blood," he replied.
"Not enough. Never enough." And then Draco touched the cold blade to his hand and slid it upwards, to his wrist, turning as he did. He slipped the tip of the dagger into Harry's skin (it went in as easily as a knife into butter, or Draco into Harry) and then it was like painting a delicate painting you've painted a thousand times before. Every move was precise and deliberate and yet done with careless ease, as if every line had been memorized. And it was only after the whole thing was done that it started to bleed, blood welling up from a lattice of cuts, running hot and red down his arm. Harry looked up.
"It is enough?" he whispered.
"Never for me," Draco replied casually, before dropping the knife (snakes writhed with the flickering of light over the blade as it fell) and getting to his knees. "He's coming for you, Harry, are you ready?"
"Who? Who's coming?"
But Draco's face had begun to shift and the blood on his arm was stinging. Draco's face became longer, sharper, more classically handsome and less artistically beautiful. His eyes though, his eyes turned a strange purple and then finally red. He had become Voldemort, and when he spoke, his voice was a strange mixture of both Draco and Voldemort. He spoke in a tongue Harry had never heard. "Arr Unda ra teguan. Nayala Heath Na."
And then the blood on his arms began to burn like a fire and Harry fell back, arching his hips and tilting his head back, screaming. In and out of consciousness, awareness flickering like a candle flame, and each time he opened his eyes, Voldemort stood over him, soothing him, petting him.
And then finally the pain faded and Harry opened his eyes, even in the dream, feeling weak.
Draco sat before him, and leaned close, as if about to share a secret. "Arr Unda ra teguan. Nayala Heath Na," he whispered.
And Harry woke up with the seared scars on his wrists aching.
His face was damp with sweat, his eyes felt burnt, and he was trembling as he sat up and ran two shaky hands through his hair. He'd had that dream before.
"It's pointless," he moaned out loud, burying his face in his hands. He'd been basically flipping through random spell books looking for a ritual that involved blood, snake daggers, and strange incantations. He was getting nowhere.
Breathing heavily, he closed his eyes, whispering, "Arr Unda ra teguan. Nayala Heath Na… What is that?" Those words had been in every dream and he'd never considered them much more than random gibberish. Now he wasn't so sure.
Eyes narrowed, he left his table and went to the language section, having previously only been searching in the Dark Arts section. He quickly scanned the titles, most of which were dictionaries and English manuals and, on the last shelf, found a book simply called Translations. Harry pulled it out and returned to his desk, opening it. The pages were blank and he was reminded of Tom Riddle's diary.
Then, at the front of the book was a single word, written over and over in hundreds of different languages. "Speak."
"Alright," he said out loud, rather bewildered.
Instantly, the book fluttered open and ‘Alright' appeared on one of the blank pages. Then slowly, as though someone were writing, these words followed: ‘English. In agreement with. French: d'accord. Bulgarian: ?epeh. Spanish: de acuerdo. Italian: bene. Latin: bene habet.'
"Enough!" Harry snapped, and the writing stopped accommodatingly, stayed for about thirty seconds, and then faded away.
Licking his lips, Harry whispered, "Arr Unda ra teguan. Nayala Heath Na."
There was a long pause and Harry felt almost as if the book was hesitating, not wanting to translate it. But then, finally, the words slowly appeared. They disappeared much faster than the other, but he still had time to read the results.
‘High Hakiran. In the tongues of the ancients be warned. You Are Mine.'
It didn't bother to go into any more detail, or if it did, Harry didn't watch long enough to find out. He slammed the book shut and hurried back to the language section, searching quickly and finding a book on High Hakiran in the back. He pulled it out and read flipped through it.
‘The ancient language of the wizarding race, High Hakiran is the language prophecy was first spoken in and can be found in its purest form. Also used in higher level and ancient rituals, any word spoken in this language carries with it an ancient sort of binding magic, explaining why it was used in prophecy. There is some doubt as to whether or not it was the prophecy itself that bound mankind to its fate, or the language in which it was spoken. A dead language, it has fallen into the shadows of myth and is rarely spoken any longer, let alone understood.'
"Shadows of myth," he murmured out loud, deep in thought. "Binding magic." He shook his head. "I don't understand."
He turned his arm over and studied the scars there, identical on either wrist, both symmetrical designs that made no sense either. It would drive him mad, these riddles.
He pushed the books away, growling under his breath in frustration. He picked up a quill and began writing, because the only thing that kept him sane anymore was this writing. It was just like before, with the journal, except… except Draco never wrote back. It was still a way, however weak, to be connected to him. Even if Draco had chosen his family and Voldemort over Harry, Harry was defiantly holding onto him.
It was obsessive, he knew, and not doing much towards helping him get over Draco. But he still did it, at least once a day, folding the letters and putting them in the chest, never looking at them again.
"I feel like I'm walking on the blade of a knife. There's something twisted inside of me and it's like, if I close my eyes, I can feel…something. Something dark and shadowy and far away, but something all the same. Sometimes I pretend it's you. That you've somehow left a part of you behind, in my mind. And that if I whisper very, very softly (sometimes the softest whisper can be heard far better than angry screaming because you'd rather hear the whisper), you'll hear me. You'll feel me. You'll remember. Because I'm sure you've forgotten. Everything. But I don't whisper, because I'd rather sorta believe it's you than find out for sure that it's just me. And I've gone mad."
He slipped that letter in with all the others and closed his eyes, thinking hard. "What have you done to me?" he mumbled, tracing the marks on his arms. They itched sometimes, like they had insects climbing on them. He scratched idly, picking up the small chest of letters and leaving the library, still scratching.
He was distracted, automatically walking back towards Gryffindor Tower, lost in thought. He didn't even see Snape come up the stairs leading from the dungeons and walked right into him.
"Clumsy," Snape snapped, shoving Potter away from him. He stumbled and Snape was about to take house points from Gryffindor for nearly pushing a professor down the stairs when he noticed Harry scratching his wrist, and his eyes traced the scars there. When Weasley had come back in the middle of the night with Potter bloody and weak in that carriage, everyone had wondered what had happened, of course. Dumbledore hadn't said a word about it to anyone, punished Weasley severely for taking Potter off the grounds and let Potter himself off relatively unscathed (apparently nearly bleeding to death was punishment enough for disobeying the headmaster, though Snape disagreed). He'd been incredibly curious ever since that, especially considering that he'd lost his favourite student that same night. Surely the incidents were connected.
Snape grabbed Harry's hand and pushed his sleeve up the rest of the way, studying the scars. Then he started to laugh. "Don't tell me that boy was foolish enough to mark you," he sneered.
Harry looked away and swallowed heavily, his face slowly flushing. "It wasn't him."
Instantly looking suspicious, Snape studied his face. "Then who?"
His eyes were drawn down to Snape's left arm almost involuntarily, but nonetheless as if he could see the Dark Mark through his robes. "Who gave you yours?" he whispered spitefully, snatching his arm back.
Snape's eyes narrowed and he grabbed Harry roughly by the arm and pulled him downstairs, into the dungeons, and then into his office. "Do you have any idea what it means?" he ranted as Harry stumbled along behind him.
"I tried to research it," Harry stammered, nervousness inspired by Snape's reaction. "But I couldn't find —"
They were in Snape's office now and Snape was going through his bookshelves, slamming a few texts onto his desk. "In ancient Egypt, marriage, especially for pharaohs, was forever, in every sense of the word. When a king died, to ease his life in the underworld, his wife, servants, and even pets would be killed to journey with him. Marriage consisted of a binding ritual in which the pharaoh's intended would be bound to him in blood. The pharaoh would perform the spell, because the blood must be spilt by his hands, stain his hands. And then they'd be bound, unbreakable even through death. If he should die, she'd die simultaneously. If she should do something worthy of punishment, he could kill her with a thought. A pharaoh could not have a weak-willed wife disobeying him when he had so many other things to attend to."
Harry's eyes widened with dawning realization. "But if she died, wouldn't the pharaoh die as well?"
"Of course not. A pharaoh's life was worth a thousand wives, he would never trust it to her weak handling. It was a one-way binding spell. Don't even think that if you killed yourself now, all our problems would be solved. Voldemort never would have bound you to him if it was that simple. What I don't understand is why he did this and didn't just kill you outright when he obviously had the chance."
Harry swallowed, his stomach tightening, as even more understanding suddenly hit him. He wasn't sure he could speak, he wasn't even sure he remembered how to breathe, but he managed to whisper, "Because it wasn't me he wanted."
Snape sneered. "He's always wanted you."
"Wanted to hurt me, punish me, and what better way than this? I'm so blind, shit." He was trembling, his chest heaving almost as if he were about to vomit, though he didn't think he had the energy for that. He didn't even have the energy to cry, let alone care about cursing in front of his professor.
"What are you talking about, Potter?" Snape growled. "It can't be that bad; if he wanted you dead, you'd be dead by now. He bound you to him, he always knows where you are now, he can feel you, just as you can feel him, I'd imagine."
"I never wanted to," Harry whispered weakly. "There… I knew there was someone else in my head but I thought it was… I thought it was Draco. I didn't… I don't… Oh god."
Snape glared at him. "Potter. Honestly. Calm yourself, you're giving me a headache. What are you talking about?"
"Is there anyway to break the spell?"
Harry nodded slowly, eyes glazed as he thought through everything very quickly. "There wouldn't be," he said absently. "So if he dies, I die as well."
Laughing hysterically, Harry said, "That's ironic. Isn't that ironic? I mean, if you think about it, it was me. I delivered Draco to him. I… Oh fuck." He was suddenly choking.
"Potter!" Snape snapped. "You're not making sense! Stop crying, for the love of Merlin!"
Harry lurched for the door. He was sobbing but tears wouldn't come, and Snape shouted something after him, but Harry didn't listen. Still clutching his chest of letters to Draco, he ran to Gryffindor tower, slammed up the stairs and into his room, threw himself onto his bed and pulled the curtains.
Draco hadn't done it because he hadn't loved him. Hadn't done it because he wanted to. He had done it for Harry. Because Voldemort had known that Harry was his weakness and used it against him. Harry was only alive now because Draco had given himself to Voldemort. It was Harry's fault. And he'd just left him there. Gone back to Hogwarts, hating Draco for betraying him, letting Voldemort have him, not even fighting… Which had been, of course, Draco's intention.
Harry whimpered softly, his entire body trembling.
He thought about it for a long time, repeating both the words of the prophecy and the words from the spell, over and over, considering everything. There was only one thing to be done, however. No cure for the binding. No way to get Draco out.
"This is what it's come to then," he whispered out loud, a strange sort of reckless calm falling over him. He wasn't shaking anymore.
He took out a piece of parchment and began to write another letter, this one to Hermione and Ron.
"I don't want this to be one of those ‘legend says' sort of things that everyone talks about, because no matter the outcome, it isn't something worth repeating. This is what I'm doing and these are the selfish reasons I'm doing it. You've both been the best friends I've ever had and deserve to know what happened and how it came to this, and this is the whole story. Tell whomever you like, it hardly matters anymore, or it won't, by the time you read this…"
He told them the whole story. The journal and the Gobbler's ink, both properties of it, the breaking of that spell, the prophecy, everything. All he left out were a few of the more intimate things, as he didn't want to offend Ron's delicate sensibilities on that subject, as well as they were his and Draco's, private and personal.
Ending with a note to explain things to Ginny and tell Mr. And Mrs. Weasley that he'd be alright, he carefully folded the letter and set it aside. It was nearly dawn, he'd written all night.
Then, shaking again, he took one last piece of parchment and wrote another letter to Draco, folding this one and putting it in the chest. He gathered up his cloak and glanced around his dorm room one more time, studying Ron for a moment, before going down to the common room, through the portrait, and up to the owlery.
He tied the letter to Hermione and Ron to Hedwig's leg and whispered, "Give it to them after I've gone," before kissing the top of her head, letting her nip him affectionately.
He left the castle with only his cloak, his broom, and his small chest of letters.
Draco had forgotten all about Harry and the way he tasted like something definitively Harry that reminded Draco of sugar and cool winter nights and the way he smelled of earth and grass, like he'd just fallen off his broom in Quidditch. Not to mention the way his eyes lit up whenever Draco walked into the room, and the way his smile turned a little shy when Draco touched him. He had forgotten the way Harry laughed, like he was trying not to but simply couldn't help it, the way he slept with one hand tucked under his cheek, the way his hair always fell over his forehead and almost managed to cover his scar. He had forgotten all about it. Really, he had.
Or he should have. He had tried. Sometimes he managed not to dwell on it; after all, memories were meant to be forgotten. But whenever he managed not to dwell on those things, other things invariably came to mind, like the way his eyes widened and his breathing turned shaky when Draco was inside him, all over him, anything that involved any touching at all, really. The way his eyes changed from emerald to something deeper and darker just before they slid shut and—
So, in short, Draco was driving himself mad with remembrances. He had tried, it had been weeks, after all, but he had decided wistfully that being like that with Harry Potter was something no one could ever forget, least of all him, and had almost given up on ever forgetting. He'd lost his heart to Harry, his soul to Voldemort, his mind to both and nothing would ever change that and he'd never see Harry again.
Understanding it was easy. Accepting it was another matter entirely because sometimes he still woke up at night panting and reaching for Harry, who was never there.
During the day it was easier, pretending to be hollow, not to long for things he never should have longed for anyway. He'd known it would come to something like this.
He was only thankful that circumstances had made it easier than it could have been, being Voldemort's ‘loyal disciple' and all. Shortly after Draco's father had died, Voldemort had finally figured out there was a spy among the ranks of Death Eaters and gone into hiding until the spy could be drawn out, taking only Draco with him, as he hardly wanted to risk losing the possession he had sought for years.
So it had been rather anticlimactic, giving himself to Voldemort in an attempt to save Harry's life. He had almost expected to be sent out killing and maiming right away, and instead had languished in a small wooden house in the outskirts of some little English town, with a lovely garden and stray dogs that were always looking for scraps of food and willing to be Draco's friends should he supply them.
In fact, had he not missed Harry more than he would miss his arm or his leg or any other body part that could have been removed, it would have probably been the most relaxing, albeit lonely, time of Draco's life. Voldemort was intent upon gently persuading Draco to agree with him on all his plans and ideas, content to be patient now that he had something he knew Draco would never risk losing. So there were odd times in which he was required to sit with Voldemort and piles of old texts, while Voldemort explained the ideology behind prophecy and the eventual outcome of Draco's fate.
Draco had never believed in fate, found prophecy rather dull, but had nodded his head like an agreeable puppet because it was what was expected of him and it kept Harry safe.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, after he remembered why Harry wasn't there, he'd lay awake with wide eyes and feel almost…guiltily thrilled. Because he had the power to do something not even Dumbledore could do. Protect Harry.
After the first month or so, Voldemort had backed off, content that Draco was his and would not betray him, had been sufficiently brainwashed without even the expenditure of energy that would have resulted from any charm or Unforgivable Curse that would have led to his unconditional obedience. After all, he knew his cause was just, his ideals pure, anyone who ever had the drive to take their cause as far as Voldemort had didn't do it because they liked being evil. They did it because they thought they were right.
And of course Voldemort had convinced Draco of this. After all, the boy was young, and the young are always easily swayed. Loyalty in the young could be bought with sweet words and promises of infinite power.
After all, it had worked on little Tom Riddle, hadn't it? He'd given up his own soul for power, why shouldn't Draco do the same?
He had even explained in rather plebeian terms, he was sure, why exactly it wasn't that Voldemort wanted Draco. It was that he needed him. And surely the boy understood need and therefore forgave Voldemort for the extreme actions he had taken in convincing him. Surely.
Voldemort wasn't stupid. One didn't get to be a major threat to the freedom of the wizarding world by being stupid. He had everything figured out, everything that was in his power to comprehend: logic, intelligence, reason, the rules of war (which were always broken by the ‘dark' side and followed by the ‘light' side). The only thing he really didn't comprehend was that some things aren't controlled by logic or reason or any of it. Some things weren't controlled at all. Wild and natural, like a thunderstorm or an earthquake. That was the nature of Draco's love for Harry, something Voldemort couldn't understand because he had given up his own capacity for love years before.
And so he was content, after explaining to the Malfoy boy the nature of prophecy, that Draco was, if not eager for his fate, at least resigned to it.
It had been during the first few weeks, when Draco's eyes were dark and wide, very empty, and he didn't seem to be listening to a single thing that Voldemort said. Voldemort had changed tactics, becoming gentle, reasonable, appealing to the intelligence he knew the boy had somewhere inside him. Malfoys were known for their intelligence.
"There's a fine art to prophecies, Draco. They're never as simple as a telling of the future, because the future is never set in stone. One common destination and a thousand paths to arrive at it. Prophecies never tell of the final destination, only of a fork in the road on the journey to it. Your family prophecy was told so long ago, translated from ancient languages to English, and in the translation, a fork was forgotten. Half of the prophecy was lost, but I went back and found the original telling of it in an ancient text and translated it all very carefully, discovering the forgotten fork. The original prophecy said that you would be my loyal servant —"
He missed Draco's soft snort of derision, did not even pause to wonder if it was due to the fact that he'd mentioned ‘loyalty' or called Draco a servant.
"But the rest of the prophecy was this: Without the devotion of the child of light, the Dark Lord will burn. Something to that effect. So you see, Draco, it isn't just that I wanted you. I needed you."
He didn't know that Draco scoffed at prophecy, fate, all of it. That the only thing that had any meaning to Draco at all anymore was Harry, and by putting Harry in danger, Voldemort had firmly pushed Draco off the fence he'd been happily balancing on and straight onto the side that firmly opposed him.
However, Voldemort had always misunderstood the Malfoys and their loyalties to him. He'd always taken Lucius' dark, terrified eyes to mean that he was loyal, never even suspected him of deliberately keeping Draco to himself. Just as now, he took Draco's quiet obedience for dedication, loyalty.
Love was something Tom Riddle, whatever part of him still existed inside Lord Voldemort, had forgotten how to understand, or maybe had never known. Who needed love, really, when the world belonged to you?
But every day Draco faded, just a little bit more. And sometimes, in the middle of the night, wide-eyed and so lonely that it hurt, after he'd instinctively reached for Harry, Draco was so sure that, if he closed his eyes and thought really, really hard, he could find Harry there, touch him, talk to him, because surely Harry couldn't be that far away, surely. It felt like he was close, like he was a part of Draco, still inside him, that he'd never left.
Which was how Draco knew he'd lost his mind. Talking to invisible Harrys, lying alone at night missing him, talking to stray dogs, being Voldemort's pet… It was disgusting. It was everything he'd never wanted to become. It was… so empty that sometimes he wanted to cry.
But he didn't, of course. Because his father never cried and he owed his father that at least.
Things had blurred into a sort of morbidly boring routine for Draco, and the one thing that finally broke him out of it and made him actually take notice of something was when it started to rain one night, while he was out tossing scraps of food to one of the stray dogs.
When the first drop hit him, his eyes narrowed in annoyance. Tossing another scrap, he glanced up at the sky, which was rolling with dark clouds. The snow had been melting rapidly in the last few weeks but he hadn't noticed, and now it was only a few splotches on the ground. It had turned springtime and he hadn't even noticed.
The rain didn't annoy him any longer. A few more drops fell and hit him, and he just turned his face up to it, closing his eyes. Harry liked rain, he remembered. Springtime and rain and clover.
That night, his dreams of Harry were more intense, wilder, more vivid, and he woke up with a moan caught in the back of his throat. His eyes widened and he caught his breath.
For one long, long moment, he didn't move, didn't blink, afraid that it was a dream, but even more, he was terrified that it was real.
Harry was kneeling there, watching him with shadowed eyes.
***A/N: This chapter took forever, I'm terribly sorry. I know a lot of people had begun thinking that this story was finished, there's still a little ways to go, however. A few more chapters. The lyrics at the beginning of this chapter come from Matt Caplan's song Rendez-vous, and extra special thank you to Lady M for helping me out with my simply terrible translations with the translating book. I'm terribly sorry for the horrible ways I slaughtered those languages! If there are still errors, it's my fault, not hers, and I'm sorry for that as well. Feedback is always appreciated, of course, thank you to everyone who's ever reviewed any of my stories.