Half My Soul
By Ekai Ungson
DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter the series copyright J.K. Rowling. Characters used without permission.
For Alli, for informal beta, fruits basket afternoons, phone calls at eleven in the evening, hugs and kisses.
When we were young,
We did not know of summer's approach
By the playful gusts of wind that darted about Mother's skirts,
Or by the pale yellow ribbons that gleamed in Little Sister's hair.
Rather, we knew of summer
Spark by scarlet spark, blazing.
--"Heat and Light"; Jaime Oscar Salazar
Draco Malfoy did not have a lot of good memories. Most of his life had been spent in surroundings that went from black to blacker with time. There had once been a time, however, that his days were filled with sunshine and light, and laughter. It was a summer long ago spent on a stretch of shore that his family owned but rarely went to.
He did not remember much from the time. He had been very, very young. He had a handful of vague images but nothing concrete—the sunrise on the horizon, the water coming in waves, some seashells in a red bucket and a little girl with blazing fire-red hair.
Draco could no longer remember her name. But in his world devoid of love he could honestly say one thing: He had loved that little girl who sat on the shore building castles with him.
When Draco was small his Gran'mama—his mother's mother—had given him a heart pendant. It had two silver chains, which had puzzled him at first until he saw that the pendant divided into two clean halves. His initials had been carved on both of them so he wouldn't lose them, and his Gran'mama made him promise that he could give away one of the pendants—but only to a very, very special person.
A seventeen year old Draco Malfoy was rifling through his immense closet when he found a pendant of indiscernible shape at the back of his jewelry container. It was somewhat scratched but other wise looked good as new. He held it in his hand, feeling the weight of the silver, and stared at it curiously. The thing felt as if it were charmed by something he couldn't identify.
The pendant, he realized finally, was one half of a heart. He began looking through the container for the other half but could not find it anywhere. He wound the chain around and around his wrist as it was too small to actually fit his neck. Besides, the thing was such a female sort of accessory that he didn't know why he had one in the first place.
The holidays would be over soon, and he would have to go back to school for the last half of the term and graduation. He had a feeling something pivotal was about to transpire. Something important. Something he had been waiting for, all of his life.
Ginny Weasley was turning a corner in a frazzled hurry when she bumped into a plate of very solid, very hard iron. She tumbled backwards, startled. Iron wasn't green. Was it? And it didn't… flap… that way, as if it were robes. Right?
She was about to apologize when a very lazy drawl rang out and said, "Watch where you're going, Weasley."
Her head shot up and met Draco Malfoy's coolest stare. "I beg your pardon," Ginny spat, brushing the hair out of her eyes so she could glare at him more effectively.
"Yes, do that," he replied coolly. "It's what your family's best at, isn't it?"
"You're despicable," Ginny retorted fiercely.
Draco, however, could not think of a smart reply. He was staring intently at something on Ginny's neck, a small silver pendant glittering there.
"What are you looking at, Malfoy?" she demanded, after what seemed like a very long silence.
"Nothing," he replied, and with that he stalked away.
Ginny would not see Malfoy again for several weeks, of which fact she was thankful for. However, it did not save her when the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, a spry young man named Professor Wayne, had the brilliant idea of getting the seventh-years to partner with sixth-years for dueling practice.
And this was where Malfoy had come in. He had been partnered with her. And true to his insufferable ways he thought up of duel practice schedules that were at best ridiculously late, or at the most improper times, like, say, now. Four in the morning.
"It'll actually do you well to block spells," Malfoy said in a pompous voice. "Why was I partnered with someone so incompetent? And female, too."
"So sorry," Ginny replied, dusting herself from the floor. "I was taught to duck, not block," she replied. "And what do you care about it anyway?"
"I care because I get expelled if I get you killed," he snapped.
"A couple Disarming spells can't kill me, prat," she replied. "Please. You act like you're so high and mighty and—"
She broke off when he began to stalk toward her, a menacing look in his eyes. She was almost scared. Almost. He towered above her and she stared up at him, waiting for his next move.
"Can you move your arm?" he asked. She raised an eyebrow. This was not what she expected.
She jiggled her left arm. "Happy now?"
"Not that arm."
She stared at him.
"Well, come on, Weasley. Move your wand arm."
She went on staring, not daring to move her right arm. Not moving a muscle at all.
"Can't, can you?" he asked. "I saw how you slammed into the wall, Weasley. I'm not stupid. Your arm's broken."
"It is not," she protested fiercely. "Get out of my way."
"Yes, it is," he insisted. "You can't even move it without feeling pain. I know."
"Move, Malfoy," she gritted her teeth and threw him a glare. One of her hardest. He did not budge.
"Give it here."
"Give what?" she asked.
"Your arm. Give it to me."
She almost laughed. "Oh, sure, let me just cut it off my body first, Malfoy. Can you wait a minute?"
"You know that's not how I meant it." And with that he grabbed her arm, shooting pain up her shoulder. She winced. And almost cried out. But just barely.
His initial force faded into something most akin to gentleness when he raised the sleeve of her robes and found what he was looking for: a slightly large bruise from her elbow to her shoulder, colored blue and purple.
He held her sleeve that way and rummaged in his pockets with his other hand.
"What are you doing?" she asked, her voice very, very soft. She felt no need to raise her voice anymore—not when he was sitting so very close to her.
"Here," he said shortly, handing her a small bottle. "It's potion. It'll heal your arm."
She stared at the bottle dubiously.
"I'm not going to poison you, Weasley," he said irritatedly. "Drink the damned thing or I force it down your throat."
"Very smooth," she replied, but she took the potion anyway and drank it down. The bruise in her arm began to heal, almost instantaneously. She raised an eyebrow. "Effective."
He straightened and dusted off his robes. Then he extended a hand to her.
She stared at it.
"Well, are you going to sit there all night, or do you want to continue?" he asked. "Time's a-wasting."
She shook her head, trying to clear it, and took the offered hand. He pulled her up, somehow with a little too much force than intended, as if he hadn't expected her to be so light (or to come so willingly?). He stumbled backward, and he took her along with him, so that she slammed against his chest and they both tried to regain balance. And control.
She dared not move.
He didn't move either.
"Do you mind," Draco began lazily, "or are you enjoying this because if that's the case we can stay like this 'til later."
Ginny shook her head, trying to clear it of the fog, and brushed her hair out of her face. Then she rolled off Malfoy, muttering a vague apology.
Draco had a very peculiar look on his face. He stood up and began walking out of the room they had been holing themselves inside.
"Where are you going?" she asked. "We're not done."
"Out," he replied, and that was all she heard from him as the partition in the wall opened and he slipped out.
He always seems to be walking away from me,she thought as she gathered her things. Vaguely she remembered a day at the beach once long ago, a blond boy in dark clothes had walked away as she stared after him with sleep-fogged eyes. Her hand flew up to her pendant. It was warm.
In another part of the school a blond boy was also fingering his pendant. Like Ginny's, it was also warm, which he wondered about. The silver itself never warmed to anyone's touch, even his own, even when he kept it around his wrist at all times. The change in temperature was startling.
And that was not all that was startling about the situation at hand. For days now he had been recollecting vague images of his childhood—something as alien to him a concept as, say, electricity. His dreams were being invaded by images of the last semblance of a childhood he ever had, a beach, some shells, the sea, the sun, a summer. Indeterminate little things of little importance but nagged at his mind, night after night, as if they weighed something more than what they appeared to be.
Dueling practice continued for the next several days. Ginny had to grudgingly admit that though she hated Malfoy's guts, there was something to be said about the way he taught her, and that if she ever got on the wrong end of his wand, well, he wasn't apologetic (did Malfoys know how to apologize?) but he took care of whatever damage he'd done. She excelled in the subject within only a month of practice with him.
The wall opened a crack and Draco stepped inside, polished as ever. Ginny picked herself up from the floor and dusted herself out, her heart pounding.
Hell,she thought. It's Malfoy. Just Malfoy, no need to get all worked up.
She pulled out her wand. He pulled out—
"A quill?" she asked, startled.
"Today we go to the books," he said professionally. "It's almost final exams and you need to know how to defend yourself from werewolves, banshees, vampires, dementors." He looked at her. "Those don't use wands to get to you."
Ginny understood as she pulled out her books and quill.
"Now, vampires. They're not scared of crosses, that's only what Muggles like to think. They're very afraid of the sun, burns them to the point of ash—"
She looked at him as he talked in a low, almost gentle voice, and she jotted down notes as he explained things to her. He was animated speaker, obviously knowledgeable about his topic (though by being studious or first-hand experience was anybody's guess), and he answered all the questions she asked when she didn't understand with the patience of a saint.
"And the last topic—werewolves," Draco was saying. "Pay attention, Weasley," he said to her pointedly.
"I AM paying attention," she returned.
"Werewolves are fascinating magical creatures—they're immune to most spells off a wand," he explained.
"Aren't werewolves human, too?"
"Well, yes, and no. When a human transforms into a werewolf by the light of the moon, the basic wolf instinct tends to take over. Animals don't have human feelings of guilt or remorse—their instinct is to kill in order to survive."
"Werewolves are deathly afraid of silver—it's the only metal than can pierce their skin. There are rumors that the very touch of silver metal burns them—like acid."
Ginny blinked again.
"If it makes you feel any better, werewolves wouldn't dare go near you—not when you have that thing on your neck," Draco finished.
"This?" her hand went up to the chain around her neck. "I don't even know if it's real silver or just an alloy." She pulled the pendant out of her neck, showing him the peculiar half-heart shape of it.
Draco's eyes widened very slightly. That necklace. That pendant.
His head began to whirl, his eyes became blurry. A beach, a small house, a net of red hair tied messily behind the head of a little girl. Sand castles and seashells and the ocean.
"It's real silver," he said finally. Then he shook his head. "I think we've done enough for today, Weasley," he said. "I'm out of here."
And with all the speed he could muster in his state, he left the alcove, the pendant on his wrist warm against his skin.
It's her. She's that girl from the shore. I remember her. I remember everything. Not everything, but.These thoughts ran through Draco's mind as he made his way through the long, winding corridors of Hogwarts school. He wanted to go to his room. He wanted some fresh air. He wanted a quiet place to think, God damn the noise in this school! He wanted, he needed—
Confusion was not a feeling he was accustomed to having. His father had taught him how to be sure of everything about himself, giving him a self-assuredness that bordered on the boastful. Having that, he was a little more than just rattled at this surprise revelation.
That pendant had been his, once. He saw the inscription at the back, his initials. Done by his Gran'mama when he promised he'd give it to someone special.
His father had killed everything special about him when he was a child. But there had been that girl. His mother had launched into apathy soon after, but there had been that girl who gave him back a little piece of his innocence, if only temporary.
And what would he do now?
Ginny couldn't make heads or tails of Malfoy's recent reactions. He was usually the slave driver type who loved extending their practice session (partly because he derived some inane sort of pleasure from driving her against her will) but these days it was as if contact with her was something he couldn't take, or even attempt to take. He barely looked at her, spoke to her in clipped tones (not much of a change, but Malfoy was a detail nut and went on and on about things sometimes it was sickening), and pretty much avoided direct contact with her whenever possible. She didn't get it.
She then heard the crack open and he walked in with a fresh ink bottle (they had run out). He sat down on the table a seat away from her and began tearing through parchment like a madman.
Ginny tugged at her necklace unconsciously. "Malfoy. Slow down. It's only parchment, not Harry's head."
He looked up sharply at her. "Since when did you start making fun of Potter?"
"I don't really remember," she replied, still fidgeting with her silver chain. "Maybe when I realized he was a pretty thick git and is completely useless half the time unless it involves world-saving."
"By the gods, Weasley," Draco said, shaking his head. "You sound just like me. I didn't even know you had it in you."
She grinned at him. "Well, it works only in certain situations."
He nodded his head in the direction of her hand working the pendant. "Where'd that come from, anyway?"
She raised an eyebrow, surprised at the question. "Oh. This? A boy gave it to me."
She scoffed. "I can only wish. No, we were five, I think. Maybe six. He was my friend. My very best friend—only boy I ever actually loved, I think, outside of my brothers." ("And Potter?" Draco scoffed, but she glared at him.) "We met in this beach where my family used to go every summer." She looked down at the pendant and smiled a little. "I don't think he meant to give it to me at all—before he left he gave it to me to give back to him the next year. He never really returned. Three years later someone else bought the house. I kept it, only found it this summer."
He nodded once and went back to his work. Then, "That boy—do you remember his name?"
"Louis," she replied. "His name was Louis."
Hogwarts School, Graduation Day
The Great Hall was filled with chatter and laughter, which was not at all different from what it was like normally, but today the jubilation was different—the seventh-years had graduated, and the new Head Boy and Girl had been proclaimed.
Ron Weasley was hugging his girlfriend, Hermione Granger, who, up to everybody's expectations, had graduated top of her class. Next to her in line was Draco Malfoy, which the Slytherin lot had been cheering for the past hour now.
Harry Potter was in a corner, chatting with Ginny, looking very happy. Against his will, Draco glowered. Then he stood up from the table and began to walk out of the Hall for some air.
Ginny excused herself from Harry and followed him.
Draco turned and saw Ginny running towards him. He smiled slightly, being very careful not to let her see.
She finally caught up to him, breathing heavily. "Congratulations," she said breathlessly. "On graduating, and for the second honor bit. I know you hate being second to anyone, but I think it's that much of an accomplishment—you don't find Hogwarts easy."
He shrugged nonchalantly. "That's all you wanted to say?"
"Well, no," she said. "Actually, I wanted to thank you for helping me out this year. I know you were partnered with me for Defense Against the Dark Arts only, but you helped me with Potions, Arithmancy, Divination—" she smiled at him, a real smile. "You're a slave driver, Malfoy, but what it all comes down to is, without your help I wouldn't have scraped as much O.W.L.s."
"It's okay," he said. "You're not a bad student, Weasley."
"Y'know, all this crap about you being evil—I don't believe a word of it," she said quickly. "I mean, you're despicable to a certain extent and you're really annoying three-fourths of the time, but you're my friend, Malfoy," she finished. "I mean that. And if you need anyone to run to, you can come to me."
"I'll take all those thinly-veiled insults as compliments, then," he answered smoothly. "You aren't bad at all, Weasley. Not bad at all."
She smiled up at him. "Okay. That's all. I best be getting back to the Hall. Good luck." She turned, her face an unreadable mask, but—
She turned. "Yes?"
Draco paused, hesitated. There was a long silence. Finally, his hand flew to his hair and he shook his head. "Nothing. Go back to the Hall before your Gryffindor friends think you're fraternizing with the devil."
She made no move to turn back. Instead she was staring at a spot above his head.
That was when he realized that his sleeve had fallen away to reveal the silver pendant wrapped around his wrist. "Ginny—" he began.
"Why do you have that?" she asked, still staring at the pendant. "Where did you get that—why do you have Louis' pendant?"
"Ginny, I can explain," he tried.
She turned eyes as wide as saucers to him. "You wouldn't have Louis' pendant unless—unless—" Pictures of a thin young boy with silky blond hair came to her. The most expensive robes, the accent, the attitude, the swagger. What in hell was going on? Louis was—Louis was—
"My full name's Draco Louis Malfoy," he began. She cut him off.
"You knew. You knew all this time and you didn't tell me. I practically told you that Louis was the only boy I ever cared for—the only boy I've ever truly loved—and you knew and you had a good laugh about it, didn't you, Malfoy?" Ginny had gone completely over the edge, waving her hands about, eyes wild.
He held up a hand while he reached for her wrist with another. "Can you stop being batty for five bloody seconds? I didn't know. Well, I did know, but only recently, and I never laughed at you, Gracie." He looked into her eyes. "I'd never do that."
"Why didn't you tell me?" she hissed, glaring at him. Tears were threatening to pour from her eyes, and she didn't understand why she wanted to cry.
"Because I figured you would react like this," he answered truthfully. "Because I thought you'd hate me for not telling you, for not coming back. I wanted to, Gracie. I really wanted to. But Father sold the house and I couldn't."
She gulped, trying to process the information. He kept speaking.
"Besides, you hated my guts, Weasley. It wasn't actually right to tell you 'hey, I used to be your best friend, remember, back when we were kids?' when half the time you wanted to hex me. I knew it would confuse you. And I—" he ran a hand through his hair. "I was confused, too. I didn't know what to do or think. And I figured it was best all 'round if I just kept my trap shut."
She stared at him. "I wouldn't hate you."
"But you would if I told you I loved you."
Her eyes widened, she took a step back. "What?"
"I… haven't had a lot of love in my life, Gracie," he said. "So I'd know if I was loving someone or not. To tell the truth I've had so little of it in my life that the very presence of it is unnerving. You… you were one of the little things that I loved when I was still capable of the feeling. You gave me my soul."
"Let me finish, okay? Shut your claptrap and let me finish. I didn't tell you. I didn't tell you because I wanted to be sure it was you I loved, you, Ginny, and not that little girl on the beach. Then I realized it was the same thing. I loved Gracie because she gave me a childhood, or a semblance of what a childhood should be. And you—" he broke off, waved a hand at her. "What's not to love about you? You're a vapid smart-mouth who doesn't know when to keep her thoughts to herself. You're too nice for your own good, utterly mooning over bloody Potter—who you're completely wasted on, by the way—you're headstrong, temperamental, stubborn. And yet—and yet—
"You're you. Just like you're Gracie. You're the only one who can equal me at shouting contests. You're sharp and you're smart. I don't know. But I know I love you." He looked at her. "And now you hate me."
"I don't hate you, Louis."
And the words were delivered with so much gentleness he felt pain at them. He looked up at her and was surprised to see her smiling through tears that had fallen somewhere in between his monologue.
"I loved Louis, back when I was a child," she said. "With all my heart I waited for him, summer after summer, year after year. He never came back. I kept him here." She held up the pendant on her neck. "And I love you."
He stared at her, disbelieving.
"You're who you are. You're annoying, nasty. Cold and calculating. You go about acting all high-and-mighty. But you're patient. You're almost kind, sometimes. You're considerate. And you always, always take care of me. You never let me get into any harm. You hurt me but you fix it yourself. You don't treat me like a hand-me-down, you don't look at me to protect me—you push a little more of what I am, so I can be what I should be."
He was at a loss for words. And then he noticed that her tears weren't letting up. "Why are you still crying?"
"All this time, all this time we spent without each other—" she said. "Had I known, had we both known… we wouldn't lose all that time. And now you're leaving."
"You're upset that I'm leaving?"
"All this time we wasted dancing around each other," she looked up at him. "I could have had a year. I could have had five years. I could have had if I looked hard enough. It's too late now. I'm losing you again, now."
"Who's to say we can't have eternity?" he asked softly. "Who's to say we don't have the rest of our lives? You're… you're one-half of who I am, Ginny. You look at me and I'm not what I am—I'm what I want to be." He wiped a tear from her eye and held it up to the light. "Do you know what this is?"
"A teardrop?" she asked, confused.
"No," he said, transfiguring the teardrop into one crystalline flower, one that would never wither. "This is a promise. Like the promise we made back at the beach, I will be back for this, I will be back for your pendant. I will be back for the other half of the heart, and I will be back for you."
She looked at him. "Just make sure you don't take forever."
"No, I won't take forever," he said. "Forever's going to begin only when I come back to you."
The Malate Literary Folio, for the poem snippet at the beginning of this story.
Teardrop sequence—W.I.T.C.H. magazine (no, there really IS a witch magazine here)
Somewhat weepy author's notes:
This thing took almost a month to complete, and I still say it sucks and needs further beta. Apologies for somewhat fragmented, somewhat hurried plot and pacing, apologies for somewhat cheesy ending. Ergh, I never can write WAFF right. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated, critiques are always welcome. Thanks for reading, this sequel was a killer. XDXD
Hugs and kisses to Alli. I do it all for the love of you, wondergirl. XDXD