|Shades of Grey
Author: mandamedieval PM
During the months preceding her 17th birthday, Roselyn Martell must make a very important decision. But when she has to choose between life, love, freedom and morality, will her choice lead her to the darkness, the light or will she be stuck in the grey?Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Draco M. & OC - Chapters: 19 - Words: 56,250 - Reviews: 91 - Favs: 43 - Follows: 50 - Updated: 03-11-11 - Published: 07-08-09 - id: 5201171
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Shades of Grey
15. Paper Lives
Draco stretched out across the bed and exhaled deeply. "That was pretty good," he concluded. Rose said nothing. "Definitely makes it worth, then, does it?" Rose still didn't reply. "Doesn't it?"
"No," she answered shortly.
"No?" he asked, aghast. "What? Are you kidding? That was really good sex!"
Without saying a word in answer, she stood from the bed and began searching for her clothes. Draco leaned over and grabbed her hand, pulling her back. She tried to squirm away, but he pinned her down and looked her right in the eye.
"Rose?" he said in a worried tone. "Are you regretting this?"
"No—maybe—I don't know."
He rolled away onto his back, covering his face with his hands. "Can we just, like, once in our lives have sex without you hating it after?"
"I'm sorry, Draco, but we shouldn't have. Not tonight."
"It was your idea!"
"And you let me do it?" she cried. "Why would you let me do it? You knew I was feeling angry and upset! You took advantage of me almost as bad as the last time!"
"Oh you've got to be joking," he scoffed, sitting up. "Now it's my fault? You're the one that dragged me in here. You were on top here, love—for most of it. You could have stopped at any time."
She smirked a little at the comment. "Whatever," she replied, trying to hide her amusement, but he noticed.
"I see now. You don't think I did anything wrong at all, do you? You had a good time, and you feel guilty about it, so you're looking for someone to blame." Rose shrugged. "I'm right, aren't I?"
"You don't know everything, Draco."
"This thing with Daphne is pretty shitty, but blaming me isn't going to solve anything. You wanted to have revenge sex, or whatever it was, you got it. But don't pretend you didn't love every single minute of it."
"I have to go, everyone will be coming up after dinner soon," she said, ignoring him. Draco groaned, falling on his back.
"You really want to leave it like this? You really want our first time to be this?"
"We've already missed the boat on our first time, Draco," she said bitterly. "You fucked that one up quite nicely."
With that final comment, she buttoned up her pants, tossed the trunk aside with a flick of her wand, and muttered "Alohamora" under her breath as she threw open the door, and walked out. The common room was mostly empty, though Crabbe and Goyle seemed to have returned from dinner early to wait for Draco, their arms laden with food—obviously they weren't dedicated enough to the cause to miss a meal. Rose stole a roll as she walked past, but neither of them noticed until she was well within the confines of the girls' passageway. She knocked on the dormitory door, and entered when no one answered. Daphne wasn't there anymore, though Rose didn't know why she expected her to be. With a deep sigh, she walked back to the common room. Crabbe started to protest about his stolen roll, but Rose simply grabbed another one in response.
Everything felt different. She wondered whether that had more to do with the fight with Daphne, or sleeping with Draco. He was right back in the dormitory when he said she had enjoyed every minute of it. As a matter of fact, it was phenomenal, but he was right again in thinking she felt guilty. Some part of her had hoped that she would hate it, and realize that Draco wasn't worth any fight with Daphne, but it had the opposite effect.
Being that close to him—that intimate—made her realize just how good she had it. If she thought that feeling of empowerment was strong before, it was nothing compared to how she felt now. It was as though every molecule in her body was more aware of its strength. She wanted to be loud, and cruel, and obnoxious. She wanted to get into fights, and show her superiority. Because what was she if not superior? And it had taken until just now for her to realize it.
What she realized more than anything, was that she was scared. These feelings of strength and power were fake, borrowed, temporary. If she acted on them now, what would be the consequence? She couldn't let herself make any rash decisions, like the one currently circling her mind—she couldn't give in and be a Death Eater. Because once she did, there was no turning back, and everything would fall apart. She wouldn't feel empowered and strong, she would feel helpless and weak. That's what being a Death Eater did to people. She knew it better than anyone, had watched it happen countless times, and yet now a part of her yearned for it. And that part—she had to fight that part. She had to fight it with everything she had, because one momentary lapse in judgement, and she would give herself over. One single night with Draco could make her forget the consequences, and except a fate worse than death.
She opened the doors into the Great Hall, and made her way to the Slytherin table. Students were beginning to leave to their common rooms. Rose spotted Daphne sitting next to Theodore Nott who seemed to be doing his best to take advantage of Daphne's bad mood. He had his arm around her, patting her back in gentle consolation. Rose began striding toward them, but upon spotting her, Daphne stood from her seat and walked past her out of the Great Hall. Rose turned on her heel to follow. Daphne only made it as far as the bottom of the staircase leading to the dungeons before she wheeled around to face Rose.
"Why are you following me, Martell?" she spat.
"Daph, please, can we just talk?" Rose pleaded.
"Why? So you can tell me all about the sex you and Malfoy just had? Yeah, thanks, but I think if you've kept me out of the loop thus far, you might as well leave me out of it for good."
"I know, I know, it was stupid of me to do that. I just—I was upset—"
"—so you spread your legs for the first guy to your left? Wow," she paused, "I never thought I'd see the day when you became your mother."
Rose blanched. "Daphne—what—how can you—"
"Don't act so surprised, Roselyn. I wasn't sorted into this house for my good looks."
Rose let her walk away. She didn't try to stop her, or call her back. Daphne had hit way below the belt, and she knew it. What's worse is that Rose didn't disagree. Every day it seemed like she was turning more and more into her parents. It made her sick to think of it. She couldn't let her life become like theirs. She vowed a long time ago never to become the mess that they were. Their Death Eater lifestyle, corrupted marriage, and bitter outlook on everything. And the danger. The danger, she especially didn't need. The death and destruction, pain and mayhem. It was the last thing her life needed.
Rose snapped out of her thoughts, and looked up at Draco, two girls she didn't recognize standing behind him.
"Can we talk?" he asked. Rose looked over his shoulder at the girls. He motioned for them to walk away, and they obeyed.
Rose cocked an eyebrow. "Er?"
"Crabbe and Goyle," he explained unclearly. She still looked on in puzzlement. "I have them take Polyjuice Potion sometimes when we go up there. They're very conspicuous, see."
"You wanted to talk?" she continued, shaking her head.
He took her by the arm and led her away into an alcove. She didn't protest. "What are you doing?"
"Standing in an alcove in the dungeons?" she replied uncertainly.
"I mean with me," he said seriously, conveying a different meaning
"Marrying you?" she asked, trying to avoid his gaze.
"Rose, I'm serious. Tell me now whether or not you want to actually be with me. If you don't, then don't pretend you do. I might not be the most sensitive of men, but I still have feelings."
"What are you talking about, Draco?"
"Do you, or do you not, want to be with me? It's a pretty simple question."
She hesitated, not knowing the answer as surely as she did earlier that very same day. When she didn't reply fast enough, Draco's face screwed together in anger. She saw his hand rise in a strike, and flinched. Instead, he hit the wall by her head with his fist. There was a crack as several fingers broke. Blood covered his knuckles, but he didn't seem to notice or care.
"What am I to you, Rose Martell? I'm not a toy. I am Draco Malfoy, and no girl is going to get the better of me, do you hear? Do not try to make a fool of me. I will make you regret it," he said, his teeth clenched together on the last sentence, face just inches from hers.
"No, Draco, I'm not. I'm sorry—everything has just been so confusing. I don't know what I want anymore."
"Figure it out," he spat, pushing her against the wall, pinning her wrists at her side. "Or—"
"Or what? Don't you threaten me," she retaliated, standing on her toes to seem more intimidating. It didn't work. "You won't lay a hand on me, and you know it."
"Correction—I already have two hands on you." He squeezed her wrists in demonstration.
"Please let me go," she requested, her voice suddenly soft. "Draco, you're hurting me, please."
He paused a moment, then released his grip, taking a step back. Rose rubbed her wrists. "I'm sorry," he said finally, much to Rose's surprise.
"I know," Rose whispered, and she did. Everything that Draco was going through was bound to have taken its toll on him. His father in Azkaban, the Dark Lord threatening his life and his family's, the seconds constantly ticking closer to summer as his task still lay unfinished. She didn't blame him for his behaviour. She took his hands in hers, looked him in the eye, and repeated, "I know."
They kissed, but slowly this time. He was hurting and she was comforting him. It was a soft, gentle kiss that Rose felt Draco really needed to feel. Somewhere down the line, some part of her started caring for him, and she wanted him to feel that. It wasn't about the kissing or the sex, it wasn't about the power or the strength, it was about him. And though she would never be able to say such words out loud, she was sure he could feel it in that single, tender kiss.
"Do you want me to come with you tonight?" Rose whispered, resting her forehead against his.
"Can I go alone?" he asked. Rose nodded against him, left a final kiss on his lips, and went back to the common room.
This time, Rose recognized that feeling in herself again. It was different than usual—present, but faint. It was the kind of power that comes with knowledge, she decided. She wondered if it would give her enough strength to talk to Daphne, but as she walked into the common room, and saw her friend sitting in front of the fire, Rose decided that it could wait. Daphne just needed time to adjust, and calm down. She would forgive Rose eventually.
Rose continued on to her dormitory, dressed warmly, and went outside. The grounds were empty and dark, the snow sparkling in the moonlight, the lake covered in a thin layer of frost. She walked the perimeter of the lake for an hour or two, unable to believe that just that morning, she and Daphne were joking and playing right in the very same snow she now saw as not inviting and friendly, but cold and dreary.
Rose wondered when her thoughts became so cynical. Why did everything have to be so negative? Surely she could find at least one good thing about everything that had happened so far. And she did: Draco. As much as it surprised her, he was the closest she came to having a truly good thing. She had lost absolutely everything else. He was all she had left at the moment, and she clung to the thought desperately, as though Dementors were surrounding her by the dozen, and that was all that was keeping her sane. But it wasn't Dementors making her feel the way she did; it was reality. She really hoped the term "It has to get worse before it gets better" applied to real life, because, right now, that was her light at the end of the tunnel. She knew it couldn't get any worse than this.
She tripped, falling face-first into the snow. Spluttering, she stood, trying to scoop snow from her collar. It was melting inside her clothes, leaving her cold and wet. It was such a trivial problem compared to everything else that was on her mind that she let out a laugh in spite of herself. She pulled off her scarf, and unbuttoned her robes to let the snow fall out, wiping the water up with a gloved hand. Now thoroughly freezing, and in an ironically better mood, she walked back to the castle.
Her thoughts ran in circles, refusing to land on anything specific. The feeling of dread she had just moments before was still lingering in the back of her mind, but the snow incident scattered all of the negativity, and all she really wanted to do was go to sleep after what was probably the longest and most confusing day of her life.
The common room was half-empty, most people having gone to sleep after such a tiring day. They had nothing on Rose's exhaustion, and she wished she could live their paper lives, without a care in the world besides homework. Instead, she was anticipating signing away her life to a man that might very well kill her. Besides, she wasn't a fan of tattoos.
Daphne was already asleep, and Rose paused at her bedside, thinking that, more than anything, she wanted her best friend back. Daphne would understand. Daphne would get her through it all. But she couldn't tell Daphne a thing And Daphne wouldn't listen anyway. Rose stripped off her clothes, and climbed into bed. She had a hard time falling asleep because the stress was slowly eating away at her. She lay awake long enough to hear the rest of the girls come to bed, and a bit longer than even that. At some point without her realizing it, Rose drifted into a sleep plagued by another one of the cryptic dream she'd been having for quite some time.
She started in a forest again, wearing the same white dress she had the last time. She pushed brambles out of her way, trying in vain to find the end of the wood. Ahead, she could see the light of a clearing, and pushed forward harder to reach it. She tripped several times, tearing the fabric of her dress, and scarping her bare skin until it bled, but she had to reach that light. A sinking feeling in her gut told her the forest was not friendly to her, and she was in danger as she stumbled through it. A voice called to her from within the trees.
Rose whipped her head around, recognizing the voice. It was Draco, leading her away from the edge of the forest, deeper into the darkness. She was torn, unsure of which path she wanted to take. She took a tentative step toward the voice.
"Draco, where are you?" she called.
"I'm here, Rose. Come to me."
"Draco, no, it's too dark. You're too far away," she said desperately. Just then, Draco stepped from behind a tree, his hand outstretched towards her, urging her to come closer.
"Follow me, Rose. Come with me."
"It's too dark," she continued to insist. His voice sounded very far away, even though she could see him just a few steps ahead.
He began walking backwards, into the dark. "Rose, you have to, or it'll be too late."
"What? Too late for what? Draco, come back! Don't go in there!" She was hysterical now, trying to call him back, but he continued to move deeper into the forest. She took two more steps toward him. "Please come back!" she pleaded.
"I can't go there with you, Rose," he said, nodding toward the light at the end of the trees.
"Yes, you can! It's warm there. Come with me."
He shook his head. "My house is just 'round the corner. You'd like it there. Plenty of roses like you. Plenty of birds and trees and sunlight."
"No," she said, confused. "The sun is there." She pointed over her shoulder, but the light was gone. The forest once again seemed to be stretching out far beyond reach of an end. She hadn't realized she had been walking toward Draco the whole time. The clearing wasn't visible in the thickness anymore. She was lost.
"Just a bit closer," cooed Draco. "Everyone is waiting."
Not knowing what to do, Rose walked forward, following Draco. He began to move faster, and she had to jog to keep up. Suddenly, he appeared again, wearing a red suit that she found strangely familiar. He held out his hand, and Rose took it eagerly, glad to have finally caught up. His skin was cold, like he hadn't been in the sun for a very long time.
Rose had only then noticed the other people standing amongst the trees. Her mother, her father, Draco's parents, and a figure she didn't recognize dressed all in black. They were looking at her expectantly, as Draco locked their arms, and walked them forward toward the people.
"Where's Daphne?" Rose asked curiously.
"She doesn't live in the forest," her mother replied in an airy voice that didn't belong to her.
This answer seemed to satisfy Rose just fine. She nodded and looked up at Draco. He looked down at her with a smile, then shifted his gaze over to the dark figure between their parents. Rose did the same, still confused, and wanting to find that light again. It was too cold here.
"Rose," whispered Draco beside her. "I love you, Rose."
The words didn't make sense. It sounded foreign, like he'd spoken in Japanese, and expected her to understand, though she didn't. She raised an eyebrow, but Draco just kept smiling. She heard herself answer.
"I love you, too," she said, but she couldn't feel herself forming the words, and she didn't know what they meant, or why she said them.
"Are you scared?"
"For what?" Rose asked, clueless. "Where's the sun?"
"It doesn't live in the forest," Rose's mother said again in the same airy voice. Rose nodded, content. That made sense.
Once again, everyone turned their attention to the strange figure in black standing before them. She felt herself step forward toward him. A part of her wanted to run, but she couldn't understand why. This is where everyone was, shouldn't she be with them? But that part of her insisted that she should be afraid; she should run. But I love Draco, she thought, still not quite understanding what those words meant.
A voice far away called her name, but she wasn't paying attention anymore. There was no need for the light anymore. It was too late. Wanting the light was silly; it doesn't live in the forest.
Pain erupted through her, and she woke, panting.
Author's Note: The title of the chapter, as well as the corresponding line within it, is a tribute to John Green's Paper Towns.
Pick up that book and read it now. Read it or perish.
Also, review this chapter or perish.