Hold on to me love I'll miss the winter
You know I can't stay long
All I wanted to say was I love you and I'm not afraid
Can you hear me?
Can you feel me in your arms?
A world of fragile things
Look for me in the white forest
Hiding in a hollow tree (come find me)
I know you hear me
I can taste it in your tears
Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself
Are all my thoughts of you
Sweet raptured light it ends here tonight
I'll miss the winter
Draco's eyes snapped open as his grandfather clock struck one. What was going on, he wondered, blinking slowly? Where was Harry? Why was he on the floor? Why was his head pounding?
"Draco?" called a soft voice.
"Harry?" he croaked.
And suddenly… it was back. Every horrible detail came back to him with a force that took his breath away. He sat up like a shot and immediately regretted it when his head started spinning.
"Harry!" he panicked. "Where's Harry?"
"Draco, take a deep breath and drink this for your head."
Draco blinked rapidly, his eyes focusing on Hermione's face. He took the smoking potion and only when the rim of the cup hit his nose, did he realise that his nose had been fixed already. He gulped down the potion and instantly felt the dizziness recede.
"Where's Harry?" he whispered.
Hermione's eyes were blood shot, he noticed. His mind began spinning. He felt frantic as he grabbed the front of her robes. "It wasn't real!" he screamed in her face, spit landing on her cheek. She flinched but didn't back away. "Tell me it wasn't real, Granger! Tell me he's not dead! Tell me!" his voice shook with his hysteria.
Hermione dropped her head. "It was real, Draco. Harry's dead." Her voice cracked but she cleared it before she spoke again. "We moved him… to the guest bedroom. We wanted him to be comfortable."
Draco was up in a flash and stumbling down the hall. "Don't follow me!" he shouted when he heard her footsteps. "Just give me a minute by myself!"
The door was ajar and there was somebody sitting next to the prone body. It was Ron. There was a tear rolling down his face that he quickly wiped away at Draco's entrance.
"You're up," he said, standing.
"Yes. Now give me a moment with him before anybody else gets here to take him away."
"The Aurors were called five minutes ago. You won't have much time."
Draco didn't say anything. He simply stared at Harry's face until Ron left the room. "Harry," he whispered as he sat on the bed beside him.
Draco spent minutes just staring and then smoothing back the unruly black hair. "I don't understand… I… You didn't fight at all. You just took it, Harry. You let them kill you."
Hot tears began to flow down his face. "Why didn't you fight?"
Draco leaned down and kissed his lips, tasting the drying blood there. And finally the tight feeling in his chest exploded with a cry so tortured, so mournful that it made the hairs on Hermione's and Ron's arms and neck stand on end in the hall outside.
"NO!" he screamed over and over again until his voice was hoarse and Ron was attempting to pull him off Harry's body; for he had lain his head on Harry's chest and was hugging him as if his own life depended on it.
"Leave us!" Draco screamed.
"If you calm down, we'll leave," Ron said, his hands on Draco's shoulders.
Draco nodded desperately, his sobs coming in great sniffs. He slackened his grip on Harry, and Ron moved from the room.
The blond took one great sniff and looked into Harry's face. Only then did he notice that nobody had closed his eyes yet. He understood. It was not easy saying goodbye to eyes like those. The emerald colour looked dimmer somehow, but they were still the eyes Draco knew. He brought a hand up and closed the lids over them.
"Goodnight, Harry. Rest well."
He leaned up and softly kissed each eye, and travelled to each cheek, to the forehead, nose, chin, and finally the lips. "Wait for me tomorrow, because I don't think I'll be there to say good morning." His lip trembled violently. "Soon, Harry. I hope."
Draco lay with Harry until the Aurors came, his body tremulous with tears the whole while. When men and women began walking in and out of the room, Draco knew that his last moments alone with Harry were over, so he kissed him one last time, and left the room without anybody noticing. Three of his friends from the Auror training program stopped him in the hall to give their condolences before he could get to the bathroom. He thanked them and might have said something to offend them, but his mind was beginning to shut down, and he was too tired to fight anymore.
Hermione met him at the door to the bathroom to ask if he needed anything. She had new tear tracks down her face. "Sleep," he answered with a slur. "Sleep. I just want to go crawl in bed with Harry and sleep."
"Draco…" Hermione began, but Draco pushed into the bathroom and grabbed a dreamless sleep potion. He staggered into his cold, empty bedroom with Hermione close behind, and downed the potion.
"See? Harry's sleeping already." And he collapsed onto his empty bed, asleep before his head hit the mattress.
The next couple days passed in a blur for Draco. He was little help in the funeral arrangements. He had handed the key to his vault to Mrs. Weasley and told her to use whatever they needed. The Weasleys, Sirius, Remus, and even Snape helped with the arrangements, so Draco saw no need. He knew that those helping would know what Harry would have wanted.
A massive memorial for the entire wizarding world was held the day before the actual services where only family and close friends were allowed to attend. The family listened to the memorial over the radio while Draco locked himself in his flat, scrubbing and casting spells in an attempt to clean all the blood from the floor. No attempt was successful, and when Draco arrived at the funeral the following day, his hands and arms were scrubbed raw and blistered.
Draco felt dizzy throughout the entire service, and he felt like if anybody asked him how he was holding up one more time, he would hex them. Ron and Hermione were his guards as they left the building, but they weren't able to block the questions the reporters were throwing at them.
"Mr. Malfoy, how are you holding up?" One reporter yelled. Draco felt his eye twitch.
"Everybody knows that you were witness to Mr. Potter's murder. Some even hypothesise that you were the one to do it."
Draco stopped walking. "Keep walking," Ron and Hermione hissed in his ears.
"Was it jealousy that made you do it? Were you and Mr. Potter having rows everyday as our source tells us?"
Draco spun around, fire in his eyes. "You think I did it?" he yelled.
"Draco," Hermione pulled on his sleeve.
"You accuse me of these falsehoods when all I've done is love and support him? I was right there when he killed Voldemort. I helped him to recover just as he helped me. I've sat by and watched as he struggled to overcome an injury from the war he never would have recovered from. I saw how it hurt him to not be able to do what he wanted to do because of it. I saw how his face would light up every time he saw somebody he loved. I saw and heard his laugh when he found something funny. I've seen him cry, and I've held him. And now…" Draco's voice cracked and he cleared it. "I've seen my husband killed while I was helpless to do anything about it! And you, you smug bastard, want to accuse me of having used that weapon against him! By accusing me of Harry Potter's murder, you dishonour him, because Harry would never have been so foolish to trust somebody he shouldn't."
"Yet, it's testimony that he married his murderer."
Draco whipped out his wand and sent the first hex he could think of. In an instant, the reporter's clothes disappeared. The crowd was utterly silent as Snape stepped in and began pulling Draco away.
"I loved him!" he screamed. "That will never change, you bastard! I LOVE HIM!"
Later that night, when Draco was alone in his flat, he viciously scrubbed away the dried up tear tracks, because if they were gone, so were his memories of Harry. But as Draco tossed and turned in bed, images of he and Harry together kept coming back to him as he dreamed. Each time he woke, he reached for the spot in which Harry should have been, only to find it empty. Anger boiled deep within him that night – anger at the men who killed Harry, anger at Harry for dying, anger at the world for pretending to care about his death.
'But they couldn't possibly miss him like I do!' Draco thought angrily. 'They weren't the ones sleeping beside him every night and waking up to his horrid breath every morning!'
Draco let out a dry laugh. 'They're not the ones who miss even his horrid breath.'
He rolled over and punched Harry's pillow. "Damn you, Harry!" he yelled. "You didn't have to die!"
Hot tears stung his eyes, but he shook his head. "I'm not going to cry anymore. And I'm not going to sit back and do nothing." In that moment, he decided that he was going to hunt down the Death Eaters and give them their dues. He was going to kill them, and he was going to enjoy it.
Sleep was beyond comprehension at this point, so Draco got up and dressed, not in his clothes, but in one of Harry's flannel shirts. It still smelled like him. The Aurors had tainted the magic in the living room, but Draco was an Auror and a brilliant wizard. He worked through the night, breaking through the different magical signatures until he came upon the last man to Disapparate. Anything before that was too old – too covered up by newer magical activity to distinguish.
Draco sat back on his heels, sweat beaded on his forehead, his magical reserves drained from the long day. He smiled. The signature was hard to read, but he got exactly what he needed from what was still intact. He recognised it from his days at Hogwarts.
One of the men had been Theodore Nott.
The plan came slowly over the next month and Draco put his Auror training to good use. However, even as he put his plan together, Draco suffered yet another loss. In the first days after Harry's death, he thought little on their coming child. Only when the commotion of the funeral died down did the horrible news infiltrate the newspapers and radio. Tiada Mildewing – the woman who carried their baby – was missing. The healer came forward to tell of a distressing call he had received from the woman a day before she went missing. She claimed to have had a miscarriage. When he told her to come in to the office, she seemingly panicked and ended the call. Magical Law Enforcement had no leads as to her whereabouts, but after hearing of the miscarriage, Draco stopped caring. She did not matter anymore. Her purpose was gone, and Draco thought that his purpose was gone as well. His husband and his child had been taken from him in one fell swoop. He was numb. There was nothing left.
After the news of Tiada and the baby, Draco did not allow anybody into his flat even when Ron and Hermione were threatening to break the door down. He let everybody believe that he had virtually become a hermit. Wild stories were being transmitted over the Wizarding Wireless Network, and printed in The Daily Prophet.
In reality, Draco disguised himself with a glamour charm every day and Disapparated to a different part of London and took a mode of Muggle transportation. He followed Theodore Nott everywhere. It became an obsession. He put listening charms into Nott's home; he knew all of Nott's friends and acquaintances; he knew everything there was to know about Nott, except for the third person in the puzzle. Draco found out who the man was who had lifted Harry's arm. His name was Jimmy Stratham. And the person who spoke the whole time was Nott himself. However, Draco was getting impatient. No information was coming up about the third man who had been so docile, so one night five weeks to the day of Harry's funeral, Draco Disapparated from his flat into the alley behind the Leaky Cauldron.
He entered the pub with dark brown hair, brown eyes, a pudgy nose, and thin glasses. Draco spotted the man with which he was meeting and quickly moved toward him. "Mr. Nott!" he called with a grin. "I'm so glad you could make it!"
Theodore Nott stood a pinched smile on his face. "Mr. Wallace, I presume? A good entrepreneur allows himself time to meet with potential customers."
"Indeed, indeed," Draco nodded. They formerly introduced themselves then.
"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Wallace –"
"Please, call me Alfred."
"Of course. Shall we sit, Alfred?"
Draco straightened his new robes and looked at himself with a critical eye. He wore his disguise as Alfred Wallace once more and was getting ready to meet Nott at his home. He checked his belt for the dagger, nodded in satisfaction, and took a breath. "Remember why you're doing this. He deserves it." With a 'pop', he Disapparated.
Nott lived in his ancestral home, a smaller version of Draco's childhood home, situated on the top of a hill. Draco looked up at it, remembering the times he had come here as a child with his father, and played with the boy named Theodore. Lucius had always told Draco that he and Theodore were equals, and Draco would never find another young wizard like him. Draco had adhered to every word, and though Theodore was always quite strange, he knew a lot and had a lot of contacts. Draco kept him within arm's reach throughout childhood and Hogwarts. Theodore had always been a businessman, and knew that business was business. He would understand Draco's visit today if he only said that he had unfinished business with him.
A small, frightened house elf answered the door to Draco's knock within moments, and led the way to Nott's study. A low murmur of voices drifted from beneath the door. The elf knocked and only entered when he was given permission.
"Master Nott has a visitor," the elf bowed and backed out.
Draco entered with a smile. Inside were two couches centred in the middle facing each other, and bookshelves were lining the walls, except for a break where another door stood slightly ajar. Draco remembered his father disappearing through that very door with Nott Sr.
Theodore Nott was standing at the other end of the couch, while two more men sat on the couch opposite. One of the men Draco had counted on, but the other he had not. The one he had not counted on had his hands tied with rope in his lap, a black eye, dirty, dishevelled brown hair, and torn, dirty clothes. He had his face turned to the floor.
"Mr. Wallace!" Nott greeted. "Please sit! This is my colleague, Jimmy, and the other is inconsequential to our meeting."
Draco sat after shaking the two men's hands and gave the other man a curious glance. Draco could not recognise him, so he wondered who he was and why he was being kept there.
"Mr. Wallace has expressed interest in our trade. He told me his story of not being able to join in on the war. He rather hoped that the Dark Lord would win, so he'd like to make up for some of it now and join us. I thought I would bring him here to give him a couple tests on somebody from downstairs."
"We could always use more hands," the other agreed.
Nott nodded and paced to the door behind his desk. "First test, Albert, is to watch this prisoner while we ready an experiment we have just for you downstairs."
"Easy enough," Draco nodded and inwardly grinned. This was perfect. The two excused themselves through the door. Draco stood from the couch and checked his pocket watch. The glamour would wear off in under a minute, and he'd rather they weren't there to see it.
"They'd be more impressed with you if you tortured me a bit," the prisoner spoke up suddenly, looking up to study Draco.
Draco removed his glasses and placed them on the arm of the couch before turning to return the stare. "It looks to me like you've had about enough curses and hexes to last you through tomorrow at least." Draco smiled and winked.
The prisoner furrowed his brow. "You're not like them. Why do you want to become one of them anyway? Their master is dead."
"I know," Draco sighed, and walked to a mirror. He could feel the tingling begin throughout his body and knew he was changing.
"Alfred Wallace, huh?" continued the prisoner. "Never heard of you, and you look about my age. Twenty or so?"
"I'm twenty, yes." He took a deep breath, watching his nose change. "Alfred Wallace doesn't exist though. Maybe he does somewhere but not here." Draco turned and the prisoner's eyes went wide when he saw the change. The tingling stopped and it was done. "One word to them before they're out of there and I swear…"
"Never," the prisoner breathed. "Draco… what's your plan?"
Draco raised a brow at him. "Patience."
He turned back to the mirror and smirked at himself. "It'll feel good though."
The door opened again behind him. "Alf…" Nott trailed off as Draco turned to him. "Fuck me."
"Good to see you, too, Theodore."
Draco walked to him and shook his hand. "How are you?"
"Good… good. Draco, where did Alfred go?" Nott's eyes travelled up and down Draco's body, his eyes narrowing.
"Oh, that man with the big nose? He was walking out of the room when I came in. Something must have come up because he seemed in a hurry."
Nott looked to the exit suspiciously. "He told me to watch your prisoner, in fact." Nott laughed nervously. "Don't worry about it, Theodore," Draco smiled. "Auror work has seemed kind of pointless since… well, since Harry," he swallowed, not quite sure if it was part of the act or not. "Since Harry was killed, and then the baby."
"Yes, I'm sorry to have heard about that," Nott nodded. He stuck his arm back in the door and made a motion to go back. "Please sit down."
"Thank you," Draco smiled and sat next to the prisoner. Nott sat across from them, nervously glancing between the two.
"What of the baby?" the prisoner inquired, biting his lip.
Draco looked to him, slight annoyance at him. "Dead," he said shortly. "That's what they say anyway. Tiada miscarried and now is missing."
The prisoner looked stricken, and glanced to Nott, who looked plainly murderous.
"Would you like for me to send him away?" Nott asked. "If you'd rather speak alone, that is."
"What I have to say is of no consequence," Draco casually waved him off. "I'm just making the rounds, you know."
"Yes, I'm taking a vacation of sorts. I need to get off this island and away from the cameras. I'm tired of the rumours of me being a hermit – ridiculous really." Draco scoffed.
"So they're not true?"
"Certainly not! I may be in mourning and I do miss Harry, but I can't ignore my life, can I? Besides where would sitting around that flat crying over pictures and ghosts get me? It would get me an expensive trip to the loony bin, that's what."
"Potter probably wouldn't want you to mope anyway."
Draco fell silent. Harry would also not want him to do what he was about to do. He smiled to himself. "Harry was too noble for his own good though."
"That's not true!" the prisoner cried out.
Draco looked at him sharply. "And did you know him?" he asked harshly.
Nott stood from the couch and threw a curse at the prisoner and he grabbed his arm in pain. "Was that really necessary?" Draco asked Nott. "Because I don't think it was."
Suddenly, Draco felt something behind him and he had his wand out in an instant. He sent the thing flying into the bookcases with a crack. It was Jimmy and he was unconscious. "Expelliarmus!" Draco cried, disarming Nott as he pointed his wand at Draco. Draco broke the wand in half and threw the pieces in different directions.
"A man can't even visit his friends anymore without worrying of an attack on his person. The world today, honestly."
Nott clenched his teeth. "Why the act? What do you want, Malfoy?"
"I just wanted to see you, Theodore, my old friend. Nothing more."
"That's bullshit, and we all know it. What is it? You wouldn't have made up Alfred Wallace if you hadn't an agenda. I knew he was sketchy, but I admit you had me fooled, Malfoy."
Draco took a deep breath and sent ropes from his wand to wrap around Nott's entire body, tying his limbs to it. "You know all too well why I'm here, Nott."
"Because six weeks ago, you and two other men, one of which is in this room, broke into my home, tied me up, and held tight to Harry. Not only that, but I have good reason to believe that you're behind the death of my baby."
Nott smirked. "I would never step foot into a Mudblood's home, Malfoy. Are you sure you weren't dreaming? And I had nothing to do with your baby. At any rate, good riddance – it was impure. It deserved death before it was born. Whatever deities were in charge of its life, was correct in taking it away."
Rage contorted Draco's face and he pocketed his wand. He moved across the distance between them in a flash and punched Nott in the face, sending him toppling to the floor. Draco followed him, straddling Nott's chest and punching him in the jaw. He grabbed a fistful of Nott's hair and pulled his head up. "Did you think you were safe when you thought I had turned into a hermit? Did you think I wouldn't find out you were behind it?"
Draco banged Nott's head against the floor and picked it back up. "Did you think I wouldn't come after you?"
"You weren't supposed to live either," Nott wheezed out after Draco bashed his head again.
"Then you should have finished the job you started!" Draco screamed, spit flying. "You killed Harry! You should have come back and finished the job before I got pissed!"
"I can finish it now if you like."
Draco pushed his head into the floor again. "Time's up. We're doing it my way now."
Nott looked away to the prisoner and up to Draco. "You don't understand, Malfoy."
"Don't I? I saw you stab Harry three times until he was dead. I think I know all I need to know."
Draco withdrew the dagger from his belt and dug it into Nott's chest straight into his heart. "Idiot," Nott gurgled and went still.
Draco pulled the blade from his chest and stood. He approached the unconscious body of Jimmy Stratham, and stuck him in the heart. When he stood, he wiped sweat from his brow.
"Draco," whispered the prisoner.
"I just need to clean my dagger and I'll release you."
"You didn't need to kill them."
"Yes, I did."
"Do you feel better?"
"Does the loneliness go away when you're done exacting it?"
Draco stopped cleaning the blade for a moment. "I've got you here, don't I? I'm not alone; therefore I'm not lonely…. Maybe I'll feel empty later though."
Draco finished cleaning the blade and put it back on his belt. The prisoner held out his hands and Draco took them gently with his own, taking out his wand. There were bruises covering the hands. "Do they hurt still?" Draco asked as he freed the bindings.
"Not those bruises."
"Let's see the ones that do then. I'll try to heal some for you."
The prisoner did as he was asked and Draco began working, being sure to be gentle. The prisoner closed his eyes, a small smile spreading his face. "I dreamed of this, Draco," he confessed. "I dreamed that you'd figure everything out and come for me." He sighed. "And this feels so good. I haven't been touched by somebody who cares about me for over a month."
Draco worked slow, confused by this man's words. "Better get home to your family then if you haven't got more injuries that I don't see."
The prisoner looked to Draco with stricken eyes. "Are you serious?"
"Well, I'm not taking you prisoner. I can't have any tag-alongs."
"I didn't think you were taking me prisoner."
"Then stop being ridiculous. At any rate, I need to go… unless you're going to tell on me for killing your captors?"
The prisoner stared for a few moments before shaking his head. "I'll take care of it. Don't worry."
"Thanks." Draco stood and walked to the exit.
"Yes?" he turned around.
"Where are you going?"
"Right now? To see my mother. It's time we talked. After that, I haven't decided yet. I'll probably just go home."
"No vacation then?"
"No vacation," Draco shook his head, a small smile on his face.
"I think it'll take a while to get out of here, but… stay at home, okay? I'm sure somebody will be along to put things right again for you." He winked. "Trust me, all right? Stay at home."
Draco stared. "You're strange."
"I'll make sure to have the person explain me to you when he gets there, then. You'll understand. Will you stay at home?"
Slowly, Draco nodded. "I'll stay at home, if only for the confirmation that you're clinically insane."
The prisoner laughed, his smile lighting up his face, and just for a moment, Draco thought he saw green flash at him from behind the blue eyes. Draco shook his head, his smile fading, and left without another word.
The house was quiet beyond the study, where Draco could still hear the footsteps of the strange prisoner walking around, cleaning things up. Draco let himself into the welcoming room and borrowed the Floo powder on the mantle. He started a fire, threw the powder in and called out, "Malfoy Manor!" The fire whisked him away, and soon he stepped into the welcoming room at his childhood home. His heart beat erratically as he looked around. He had not been here for years, and never even considered coming back until he was old and grey. Now, at this point in his life, at the young age of twenty, Draco felt a strong yearning to run up to his bedroom and never leave the comfort of it. But before he could take one step, his mother entered in a swirl of purple robes. She stopped in her tracks.
He bowed courteously. "Hello, Mother."
Narcissa moved toward him, taking his chin in her hand. She moved his head from side to side, up and down, and then moved it so he would look at her. "So this is what it took for you to come see your mother – that Potter being stabbed to death. Was it he who kept you from me?"
"That was uncalled for, Mother. Harry didn't keep me from doing anything. In fact, I'm quite certain he'd be happy to hear that I've come."
Narcissa nodded, her eyes darting to Draco's cheek. "You have a little blood on your cheek. Is it yours?"
Draco pulled out a handkerchief and wiped it away. "No," he answered truthfully. "It's probably Theodore Nott's."
"What did you do, Draco?"
"I killed him and his friend too. They're the ones who killed Harry."
Narcissa sighed. "Draco as much as you've rejected your father in the past several years, you're more like him than you could ever wish."
"No, I've never killed without a motive."
"Your father's motive was to stay alive for his family."
"And to drag his son into his certain death," Draco scoffed.
"And do you think revenge is a good reason to kill, Draco? Your husband killed my husband. Did I exact revenge on Harry?"
"I don't know. I still haven't found out who the third person was that night."
"Would you kill me if I was the third?"
Draco looked into Narcissa's eyes and felt that pull to stay again. He felt like a child suddenly, stubborn but hurt, and needing his mother's hug, but too afraid to ask. "No," he looked down. "Of course not."
"You can sleep easy tonight then, Draco. I wasn't there. I was just as surprised as the rest of the wizarding world, and worried about you. I attended his funeral, Draco."
"You did?" Draco looked back up.
"Of course. I wanted to see how you were."
"I wasn't at my best, I'm afraid," Draco whispered.
"Judging from that spectacle you made when you were leaving, I'd say you were correct."
"We…" Draco's voice started to crack. "We were going to have a baby, mum. He wanted one so much. But the woman miscarried. The baby would have been born next week."
"It's probably better that she's gone then. You're in no state to care for a child."
"We had the room set up," Draco whispered, not listening.
"Draco… don't think about a baby. It'll do you no good."
Narcissa pulled Draco into a hug, running her fingers through his hair. Draco stood nestled against her, the pulse in her neck a steady anchor to his frazzled mind, just as it had been for him as a child. "I almost wish I could erase him from my memory," he whispered against her minutes later. "Just to feel like I'm normal again. Anything to get rid of this… empty feeling. I think about him all the time. He's everywhere I look at home. I can still smell him in the furniture and in the pillow."
Narcissa pulled away but kept her hands on his shoulder. "I know of something that could help you if you were interested."
"What is it?"
"It's memory alteration. It has the same idea as the 'obliviate' charm, but it works differently. It can square in on one memory, one person, whatever the person might want, and erase it. The obliviate is broader. It'll erase everything you know. This won't."
"You're suggesting that I erase Harry?"
"It's a thought."
Draco pulled away, shaking his head. "I know I said I would like to, but I wasn't serious, mother. I would never do that. Harry isn't somebody I could forget."
Narcissa shrugged gently. "It was just a suggestion, Draco."
"Well… if you have any other suggestions that might let me forget for a while, let me know."
"How about a mini-break, Draco? I've wanted a vacation lately, but haven't sought to go alone. This could be perfect for us. What do you say? We'll go to Greece or Italy… where ever you feel, but perhaps somewhere warm."
Draco turned his head, thinking. He wanted to say that he couldn't go, but there was no reason to say no. And it would disappoint his mother if he was disinclined to go, and he had done that so much in the past several years. Perhaps now that Harry was gone, it was time to pay more attention to his mother. "I'll go with you," he said quietly. "Greece sounds lovely."
"Wonderful! I'll begin making arrangements straight away. We'll leave tomorrow morning. Why don't you go home and pack, and come back here to spend the night in your old room?"
Draco perked up at the sound of that. He missed his old room for no apparent reason, and would do anything his mother asked if only to attain the comfort the room provided. "I'll be back."
Narcissa kissed his cheek. "I do hope you'll be around more, Draco. It gets so lonely around here."
Draco nodded. "That was my plan."
Narcissa and Draco left for Greece early the next morning just as the post owl was delivering the day's edition of The Daily Prophet. Narcissa called for it to go back and not deliver for a week. Draco watched it fly away as they waited for their Portkey to activate, a dreadful feeling in the pit of his stomach. He suddenly wanted that paper more than he wanted to go to Greece.
The time spent in Greece was nice, though Draco dragged through the days with no particular enthusiasm. He had vacationed in Greece before and nothing was new to him. His spirit lowered with each passing day, and on the third, he finally remembered how the prisoner at Nott's house wanted him to stay at home. He looked around the suite he was in, and wondered dismally why he agreed to come. On the fourth night, he dreamed fitfully. They were dreams of Harry, though all images were distorted and bloody. In all, the images were pleading with Draco.
"Don't go, Draco," Harry would repeat. "I love you and I want you to be happy. Don't forget me, Draco. Never forget me."
"No," Draco moaned, tossing his body over his sheets. "I won't. I'll always remember you. I'll… remember... remember you."
When Draco awoke the next morning, his body was covered in cold sweats, and he could not stop shivering. He wished she had never mentioned the memory alteration. He could not get it from his mind. Narcissa took one annoyed look at him and decided that they were going home. Draco apologised over and over as she led him to his bedroom, but she was cold and distant.
"I'm sorry, mother!" he yelled when she started down the hallway.
"You have nothing to be sorry for, Draco, so stop it."
"I'm sorry that I can't get over him," he whispered as she disappeared down the stairs.
He closed the door and went into his bathroom to take a hot shower. When he was finished, he decided to go to his flat to pick up a few things. Attempting to slip out unnoticed, he stealthily moved through the manor to the front door. However, Narcissa stood in waiting with her arms crossed. Draco was not in the mood to be interrogated. "Where are you going?"
He spared her one glance before slipping out the door and Disapparating. The flat was almost as he had left it, although it seemed as though somebody had gone through it. There were dirty dishes in the sink that he hadn't recalled using, and the bed, which had been neatly made, was pulled back and there was a dent on the pillow where a head had recently lain. Draco felt anger rise within him, because the person had been sleeping on Harry's side of the bed. He picked up the pillow and inhaled, happy to still be able to smell the fresh scent of Harry's hair. He cast a spell to preserve the smell and tucked it under his arm. Next, he went into the closet, cast a preserving smell on two of Harry's shirts, and stuffed them into the pillowcase.
One day, he thought, he would forget exactly how Harry sounded when he spoke, and when he laughed, and he would forget the freckles on his face that you had to look closely to see, but if Draco could help it, he would never forget the way Harry smelled. His scent brought back the vivid memories of how it felt to be held by him, and to make love with him, and to kiss him, and what his skin felt like under Draco's fingertips. With his smell, Draco would always remember somehow. Draco thought of the memory alteration and shivered. It scared him to think that he was even thinking about it. He would never do it. It disturbed him too greatly. Mostly, it scared him to think that he would ever forget anything about his husband.
He clutched the pillow, murmuring the sentiments from his dream, "I'll never forget you. Then he moved back into the living room and grabbed his favourite picture of them, the one in which they stood a few feet away from each other, but cast each other covetous looks before Harry grinned and pounced on Draco so that they rolled together on the ground. They laughed happily before the picture started over. Then he grabbed a picture Harry had hated, but Draco loved. It was of Harry's head. His face was flushed, his glasses falling off his nose, and his mouth slightly parted. Draco had taken the picture in the middle of giving Harry a blowjob, which is why Harry hated it. But Draco loved it, because he looked so radiant, and nobody would ever guess what Harry was receiving just moments before. He looked so natural.
Draco's heart ached as he looked at it. He wanted to see that face just one more time. He would do anything.
Swallowing roughly, Draco moved into the kitchen and with a flick of his wand, the dishes were washed and put away. He'd come back home tomorrow, he thought, to investigate who had been in his home. But right now, he wanted to rest. As he walked to the door, he noticed that the bloodstain had been removed. He stopped and stared.
"Strange." He looked at the picture of Harry again, and smiled just a little. "Looking out for me still, right? Who'd you know who can get stains out better than you? Bloody ponce, you are, probably meeting up with Better Maids in the U.K. or something behind my back, and they're looking out for me." Chuckling quietly, Draco left the flat and returned to the manor.
Much to Draco's surprise, Narcissa was waiting in his bedroom. "You've been gone for a while."
"I wanted to get some things."
"Planning to stay?"
"I don't know. Maybe. I just wanted my pillow and some pictures. I'm fine now, mum. You don't have to watch me like I'm a two year old."
"I know, but I worry, Draco. You do seem a bit better now than this morning." Narcissa stood from her chair. "I'm going to retire. I'll see you in the morning. Sleep well."
She whisked from the room and closed the door tightly behind her. Draco shook his head and began placing his picture frames on his bedside table. After changing into his pyjamas, he climbed into bed and turned out the lights with his wand. He left the candle burning on his bedside table, and hugged Harry's pillow to him, burying his nose in the soft material. "Good night, Harry. Give me good dreams tonight."
Within minutes, Draco was asleep.
Narcissa peeked into Draco's room, finding it dark. The fire was down to embers in the fireplace, and a candle on the bedside table had only just blown out from the wind coming from the open window. Draco was sleeping peacefully in a foetal position on his large bed, his covers up to his chin, a pillow clutched in his arms like a teddy bear. Narcissa approached him quietly, the vial of liquid in her hand held carefully. She sat next to him.
"My little boy," she whispered gently.
Draco stirred in his sleep, his eyes moving rapidly back and forth behind his lids. His mother softly ran her hand over his head. "Rest quietly," Narcissa told him when he started to mumble under his breath.
"Harry," he was murmuring brokenly. "I won't…."
"Shh, honey. It's all right now. What you don't know, can't hurt you. You'll be all right in the morning."
"I will…." His whimpers grew quieter and then louder. "Will… will remember you."
Narcissa frowned. "You won't have this dream anymore. It's time now, Draco. I hate to see you hurting. This will be for your own good."
She nudged him onto his back and gently lifted his head from the pillow. He stirred, but was so deep within his dream that he did not wake. Prying open his mouth, she poured the liquid down his throat. He choked and began swallowing on instinct.
"Good boy," she purred.
Narcissa withdrew her wand and slowly pointed it at his head. "I'm sorry, my son."
And with a whispered incantation, Draco's dream was stopped, his eyes stopped moving, and he fell limp against the bed. She picked up his left hand and stared at the ring for a few moments. "Wizards gold," she murmured. "And it's still glowing. How interesting you never noticed it, darling," she smirked to herself as she slid the ring from his finger. She thought of the article she had read in the paper that morning, the article that Draco would have read if they had never gone to Greece. What good luck that they had gone! Now things could be as they should have been. Smiling, she removed herself from the bed, grabbed the picture frames from the bedside table, and backed slowly away. "I shall start making the arrangements in the morning," she spoke to his still form. She retreated to the door, and looked back in the room as she started closing it.
"After all," she said with a small smile, "I am not aware of anything that is going on in this room right now. As far as the Ministry is concerned, I've slept through the night. Isn't that right, Draco?" Draco did not reply, did not even move. "That's what I thought. Good night, son."
Closing your eyes to disappear say goodnight
you pray your dreams will leave you here
but still you wake and know the truth
no one's there
don't be afraid
calling me calling me as you fade to black
Author notes: This will obviously be continued in the sequel which is entitled Lacuna! I assure you that I will be posting within the next week. Posting will not be as frequent any longer, but it will be more often than that long break I took on this fic.
At any rate, it's Lacuna, and I won't be leaving you hanging for too long. I know you'll want to know what Narcissa is up to.
Also, could you be kind and leave a review as this is the last part of the story? How did I do? Will you continue reading the sequel, or are you too ticked with me? Please leave a note!