Here's my new story! I hope you all like it! There are darker themes than my other stories (a whole new general direction for me) but I hope you like it all the same. Maybe even more.
This will be a Harry/Draco story eventually. I can't help but stress that EVENTUALLY. It takes a long, long time. It does happen and I know since I have the entire story mapped out.
I'd like to thank all three of my wonderful betas, especially Evie, my Pokemon pal, who deals with me sending long and – er – strange emails at six in the morning. I appreciate all three of you and – er – I know my wording isn't the best but I'm looking at this as a learning experience. Hopefully I can fine tune some of my writing for when I start my second novel.
Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling. I think she is a genius and I admire her greatly but I am not her. Anything you recognize is hers. Anything you don't, including this plot, is mine. I know, I need help. You could sue me, but you wouldn't get much and there would be too much red tape to be really worth it. I need all my money for when I finally go to college. Please have mercy.
Dedicated to my sister, Jen (ferretgirl1023), because she puts up with me (and pretends to get excited – though maybe she isn't pretending) when I walk around the house quoting the dialogue from chapters I'm planning to write.
Falling: Chapter One
The metal of a double edged dagger gleamed in the low light of the room as it was turned over in the holder's hands. It was cold against the warmth of his sweaty palms; his flesh was dampened with perspiration, now rubbing against the emerald encrusted handle. A fire flickered to his right; the flames crackled, popped, and sizzled causing a low heat to permeate through the room. Beneath him, the leather upholstery squealed as he readjusted himself to pull his legs underneath his body.
From the corner of the room, a grandfather clock boomed, signaling that it was now two in the morning. Other than the clock, there was no sound in the house. His mother was asleep in the room next to his and part of him felt guilty doing this while he knew she was in there. They were all each other had anymore and an act of self mutilation would not be something that she would be happy to hear about. Not again; not after what had been the consequences of his actions the last time.
He knew she blamed him. Hell, he blamed himself. Still, he shouldn't be doing this but he couldn't bring himself to care. Part of him thought he needed help, but an even bigger part of him said that he was beyond help. He really could do no less than to concur.
He lifted the dagger, which caused the sleeves of his robes to slip down his upraised arm and collect at his elbow. Milky white skin was revealed where the black material of his cloak had been only moments before and the contrast made him hesitate for only little more than a moment. Soon there would be a thin crimson line to add to the growing assortment of hues that decorated his arm. That line would grow, flourish, and then it would close up, leaving only a scratch. It would appear harmless and physically, it would be. Only he knew the real damage it would do and even then it wouldn't matter.
This wouldn't be the first time he had cut himself. Certainly wouldn't be the last time, either. It was ironic in a way. The reason he sat there holding this dagger to his wrist came from the first time he had participated in this practice. Depression had been too strong at that time, though, and it went beyond the point where he could hide it. He had almost died the last time, but it was only almost, and that had fell short of what he meant to do. If things had just gone right then his father wouldn't be gone and he wouldn't be sitting here about to embark down the road a second time. If only he had been stronger then maybe he would have never embarked down the road in the first place. It didn't matter. All the 'if only's' in the world could be uttered and it wouldn't change a thing. He would still be sitting here the same way he was now feeling - well, not really feeling at all. He was hollow, and if cutting himself would make him feel (if only the feeling was pain), then who was he to deny?
When the razor sharp edge of the dagger first pressed against his skin, he jumped a little and a small gasp escaped from his lips. He knew it was coming, but he hadn't expected the way it would feel with that cold, unfeeling, and merciless metal against his fragile skin. A surge of adrenaline shot through him as memories of the first time came back to him. Things shouldn't be this way but there was nothing that could change them now (not now that his father was gone). Things should have gotten better after he lived through his first suicide attempt. Things only ever got worse. He figured it was more than he deserved.
It was more like being an outsider, an unobtrusive spectator watching this figure of beauty stare at pale skin marred with thin, pinkish scars that ran up the length of his forearm. The staring lasted for minutes, though it felt like hours, and only when he moved again did the reverie break. At first he could feel the pain, blinding and stinging, as it surged up the length of his arm. The dagger had broken the flesh, split it clean midway between his wrist and elbow. It had been awhile. He had forgotten how much the pain hurt. Taking the dagger away from the spot, he began to make shallow cuts along the length of his right forearm. He winced, biting savagely on his lower lips, and he grimaced when he tasted that now they, too, were exuding blood from his body.
While he, himself, took no notice of the noise the dagger made when it fell, he expected that the clang of silver meeting stone would have made any other person yelp. He stared at the array of cuts, seven of them, that now adorned his arm. Scarlet liquid was seeping from the wounds and spreading out over his skin and, as he sat there watching himself bleed, his thoughts drifted to his father.
He looked around for Madam Pomfrey but she was no where in sight. Figuring himself in the clear, Draco pushed open the door to the hospital wing and slipped out into the dark corridors of Hogwarts. It was not yet after curfew but the hall was deserted and he released a small sigh of relief. He had been in the hospital wing for a week – ever since his body had been found in the common room by a rather shaken third year. A week at Hogwarts was hardly enough time for gossip to die down, and though no one had come to see him that he knew of, Draco was certain that there was, indeed, gossip.
Of all the people in the world to try and kill themselves, he knew that the school had not expected it out of him. Draco Malfoy was always thought of as a smug and immature git who was thoroughly proud of his money, his bloodline, and his rich Daddy's Death Eater status. No one ever looked close enough, thank Merlin, to see that he was more of a wimp who hid behind his father's name than anything else. No one ever looked close enough to see that he was starved for affection by a man who called himself his father but never really acted like one in the first place.
Draco was smug and immature but even if he acted like a git, he figured he deserved someone's affection. At least he had believed it until the physical pain couldn't block out the emotional and he just tried to end it all. He wasn't the nicest person he could be, and he was particularly proud of his bloodline and rich Daddy - though not the Voldemort issue - but he thought that even spoiled little rich kids deserve love too. Gods, had he been wrong.
And as he walked down the halls of Hogwarts thinking about what he would do if he came across a student or worse, Madam Pomfrey (who would screech and send him immediately back to the hospital wing), he instead caught sight of the subject of his previous thoughts. There, walking down the school halls as if he belonged, was Lucius Malfoy. Surely he had heard the news by now but Draco had not seen him since waking up three days ago and he merely assumed that Lucius did not care to drop by. No one had mentioned his presence and, now seeing him there, shook him.
Instead of heading down the hall and in the direction of the infirmary, somewhere Draco really thought he should be heading, Lucius took the opposite path leading to the dungeons. He scowled at the thought that his father seemed to have better things to do than visit his post-attempted suicide son. Before Draco really knew what he was doing, his feet swept him off in the same direction.
His father's walk was not the usual strut that he was accustomed to following, but rather a lazy, almost weary, drudge as the scenery changed. He now considered himself to be in Slytherin territory. All Malfoys were pale, his father included, but the healthy white glow was gone and replaced by a grayish, sickly pallor. Even his arms seemed to sag by his sides; his shoulders slumped, when Draco was acclimated to squared shoulders and perfect posture. Lucius did not look, in the most remote way possible, like the man that Draco called his father.
Up ahead, Lucius knocked thrice on the door that he knew led to Professor Snape's office. He had been in there enough times getting in trouble for fighting with Potter in the hallway to know. Snape shared a particular distaste for the Boy-Who-Lived, but he didn't like Draco causing a scene just before class. He was sick of being told that it disturbed the class's concentration and Draco almost wished that he would just give him a detention and get over it. The lecture was more excruciating than losing a few house points and receiving detention.
"Come in," Snape's voice came through the door and Lucius entered. Draco hurried up ahead and loitered outside the door so that their voices could be heard even if they were muffled. "Lucius!" he said, clearly surprised to see him there. "When did you get back?"
"This morning. How are you, Severus?"
"Fine, but that's not the issue. How are you doing?"
There was a long pause and then, "I'm really not sure, Sev. Something's got to change. I don't know if I can keep on doing this anymore."
"Mind telling me what you're talking about?"
Lucius sighed and Draco inched closer to the door, his ear pressed against the wall. "I know we've drifted apart over the last fifteen years but we were once friends. I really didn't know who else to go to. Narcissa's a wreck. You can't really have a talk with your wife when your kid just tried to kill himself."
"I'm not sending you away; I just don't quite know what you mean. I presumed you were talking about Draco."
"I haven't talked about much else for a week. I haven't thought about much else in a week at that. It's manifesting in my mind like a cancer."
"I guess that's what happens when you realize your son wants to die."
"Yeah," said Lucius and Draco felt his throat painfully tighten. He had never heard his father sound so distressed or so common. He was always dignified, insisted that if you made yourself seem respectable, you would become respectable. Saying words like 'yeah' did not make one respectable. "Things just aren't right. Something needs to change. I haven't been taking care of my son like I should."
"Have you seen him yet?"
"Only when he's asleep. I was up there this afternoon again but he was out. Poppy said he's been up and down for the last three days. I should have been there when he woke up."
"You needed to get away from him. Sitting by Draco's bed all day and night without eating wasn't doing either one of you any good."
"I've been worried."
There was another pause and Draco's head began swimming. His father was worried? About him? And he had been keeping vigilance over Draco? Suddenly feeling very cold, Draco wrapped his arms around his torso and rubbed at his arms.
"How did I do this to my kid, Sev? He's my son. How did I do this to him?"
"It's not entirely your fault, Lucius. You can't be completely to blame."
"He left a note, Sev. You know what it said? One line. That's it. Tell my father I'm sorry I failed him again. He thinks he's failed me." A long silence followed. "Did I ever tell you that Draco once asked me to leave Voldemort's circle?"
Another long pause and then Snape said, "No. We don't talk nearly as much as we used to."
There was a sharp laugh and Draco shivered as he knew it belonged to his father. "No. We don't. He did, though. He came to me at the end of his fourth year and asked me if I was really a Death Eater. He always knew I practiced the dark arts but I figured Voldemort was never really going to come back and so I tried to shield him from that. I told him that I was and he asked me to the leave Voldemort's circle."
"What did you say to him?"
"I think I yelled."
"You hate that, don't you?"
"Yeah." Another 'yeah'. Draco involuntarily shuddered.
"So what happened?"
"Well I'm still a Death Eater, aren't I?" He sighed. "That scared me, Sev. When he looked at me and pleaded that I leave Voldemort's circle, he looked just like him."
"Yes," he said in a whisper. "You know how our grandfather always told us that in life, you can only be what you make of yourself?"
"I think he may have been right." There was no reply at first and Draco could feel the tension even though he was outside the room. He knew that Snape and his father were cousins but there was rarely an acknowledgement of the fact from either one of them. In fact, there was once a time when you couldn't find one without the other but that had changed. Draco also knew that Lucius was very touchy on the subject of his family all together, and hearing him speak of his great-grandfather caught him off-guard.
"I wish I would have listened," his father said breaking his thoughts. "He always said that you choose your own path. That bloodline doesn't really matter. Great-grandfather would always go on about how important it was that we were pureblood and that the Malfoy name needed to be upheld. All of his children turned out okay. Grandfather was never like that and he taught my dad and your mum that you choose your own path."
"Is that where all this came from?" said Snape. "Lucius, this isn't because of your dad, is it?"
"How I treat Draco?"
"Well, yes. I mean, I never thought that if you had a son you would treat him the way you treat Draco."
"My dad's been eating at me for years."
"I never knew."
"You never really asked."
"Well come on, Lucius. He died and you were never really keen on bringing him back up."
"I know," he said, softer this time so that Draco barely heard the words. "It's just - he was killed by the Aurors. I guess I thought that if our grandfather hadn't been so insistent that there were no expectations then my father would have been more insistent and less carefree. Maybe then he wouldn't have been killed. The light side killed him. What else could I do?"
"Caligula wasn't like this."
"My brother was already grown. Gods, Sev, I was twelve and at Hogwarts when I had to hear he was gone."
"I know. I was there."
"I lost my dad and now I almost lost my son. I thought I'd raise him right. My father was killed and so his way was obviously wrong. If Draco was forced to command respect, maybe he wouldn't die. This whole time I was refraining from doting on him too terribly much and I tried to compensate by spoiling him but now -" Lucius's words were choked off. "I'm thinking of turning myself in."
"What? You'd probably go to Azkaban for that, Lucius!"
"Better there than licking Voldemort's shoes. You should have never listened to me. I got you stuck in this mess with the Death Eaters and then we didn't even remain very good friends. You were the smart one sending Kailah away."
"I'm not stuck in any mess with the Death Eaters so don't worry about that. You haven't lost Draco yet. He lived through it. You have the chance to change things. You love your son. I know you do. Let him know that."
Draco didn't stay to hear any more. He was already shaken up enough between his father's voice and the mention of his grandfather and great-grandfather. Lucius, according to Narcissa, still hadn't found peace after his father's death. He had still been a child at Hogwarts when it had happened. Augustus Malfoy was a supporter of Voldemort in his earliest days and was killed by Aurors while Lucius was away at school. Circe Malfoy, Augustus's only sibling, was Snape's mother and the two were supposedly very close. So had his father and his Potions Master been when they were at school. It was after Voldemort's first fall and when Harry Potter first had the makings of being a constant annoyance in his life that Lucius and Snape had drifted.
Since then, Snape had not been much more than an occasional visitor in the manor and later, his professor. It was only in private, if even then, that he ever dared to call him Uncle Severus or even make reference to their relation at all. Draco didn't have much family and therefore wasn't accustomed to how he should act around Snape. Lucius was the youngest of three and had a brother, Caligula, and a sister, Livia. He rarely saw his aunt and had only ever seen pictures of his uncle. Caligula was neutral when it came to the war with Voldemort, thus creating an air of hostility between he and his younger brother, and Livia, though highly supportive of the dark arts, lived in Greece.
Slipping back into bed, Draco was almost asleep when the door opened. He cracked an eye hoping but fearing to see his father but it was only Madam Pomfrey checking in on him. Sighing, he shut his eyes again and buried his face into his pillow.
Lucius had come up that night and Draco had cried as Lucius held him for the first time in his life that he could remember. The golden rule, 'Malfoys don't cry', had been ignored for the moment and Draco's tears only increased when Lucius told him that he loved him. He had never heard these words from his father before and the sheer elation and peace from such a confession made the dull throbbing in his wrists temporarily disappear.
Things were supposed to be good after that. Lucius was insistent that he turn himself in and when he did, Azkaban was where he was sent. It was only to be six months until he was up for parole and both father and son were positive that the parole board would be in his favor. Things were supposed to be good but they had gone terribly wrong and now Lucius was gone. Voldemort had been angered by losing many faithful Death Eaters on Lucius's accounts. The war, which had already been going strong enough for dementors to be stationed on the school grounds, came to a halt when Harry fucking Potter destroyed Voldemort once and for all.
They danced and sang and praised Potter until his Boy-Who-Lived ego got so big that he couldn't fit through the Great Hall entrance. Draco had grimaced through it all as he mourned the twisted change of events wishing that his father would be back. He wished they could be back in the hospital wing, his father's arms around him and his palms smoothing back Draco's hair. Instead, he was watching everyone praise the golden boy and his sixth year came to a close with his mother greeting him at the train station before going back to the manor.
Everything felt so empty without Lucius there. If only Draco hadn't been such a child then Lucius would still be here and Draco wouldn't feel so empty. He loved his mother and she was a great deal warmer to him now that they were on their own but he knew she blamed him. He had been impatient, Lucius had concurred with his son's request, and his immaturity had killed his father. Draco didn't blame his mother because he blamed himself as well.
He blamed himself and the cuts on his arm proved it. The bell had sounded. It was time for round two.
If you liked it, please review. If you want to see more, please review. If you disliked something, too bad, so sad, write your own story and change it. If you disliked something and want to tell me so, you may e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't like to dirty up my review page with flames. In fact, flames make me laugh and say nasty things back. Mwa ha ha ha ha!!!!