Thin as Thimble
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter; it is a product of a mine far greater than my own. Not to mention, much richer-and therefore, not susceptible to bribery that would result in my owning it. Damn it.
Author's Notes: [SLASH] That means homosexuality implications. If you can't deal with it, there's this cute little thing called a 'back' button. ^_^ Yah?
Utterly nonsensical and pointless. I'm abusing Draco's character with horrible, poetic lines and laments. Post-Hogwarts, timeline unknown. Harry speaks to a rather scrambled and flawed Draco Malfoy, who's mind is utterly shattered by thimbles and gardeners with golden brown eyes. He's also lost the power of internal speaking, it seems… ^^;;
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lest we weep, then I shall speak
Of thimbles and of rice
There laid a dandelion on the sewer grate
It would sing a thousand ballads
Before falling into oblivion
"Keep me," she whispered, "for I am weak."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Hullo, Malfoy," he says on Tuesday morning.
I frown vaguely at the ceiling above me, studying the many cracks running throughout the white plaster tiles. It is cheap, shoddy work that would have never been seen in my home. The constructors of this room were very stupid. They had to have been to use such worthless, degrading materials, and that's putting aside the obvious lack of attention to style. This room was not designed for pastels. Perhaps soft blues, but never whites or creams.
"It was probably a Muggle," Harry murmurs with a smile. He does it often; that gentle, bitter-lined twist of lips that speaks of both dignity and amusement. I feel he's joking with me. He does that often, too.
"It probably was," I tell him firmly. How dare he contradict me? Of course it was a Muggle. Everyone knows they're stupid, fumbling sods-can't even fix a damned ceiling, can they?
Harry laughs at me.
He does that a lot, too, on his good days. He has them every so often. Sometimes he's angry, and comes in with pursed lips and flashing green eyes, often reminded me faintly of the storybook characters that play the witch. An avenging, green-eyed monster bent on destruction. He plays the part well, wielding a tongue as sharp as a sword, and scathing as blown flame. A monster dragon, that Harry Potter. Who ever said I was the dragon? They were liars, all of them, and they'll burn in a wicked hell for it, just like Daddy said before they took him away.
Sometimes Harry Potter comes in looking sad and morose. On these days, he sits by me and stares in some disgusted, pained sort of fashion, as though he could burn his will straight through my pallid skin. Maybe he can? The flesh is weak as paper, and I used to be fascinated by the idea that it was as thin and fluttering as Japanese lanterns. I tried to string my forearm into one to hang in my ugly white room, but the horrible ladies that live outside stopped me. It was a pity. It was being dyed such a lovely crimson, as well.
Let it never be said I am not an art fan.
I digress, however; the subject at hand was not my lanterns, but my Harry Potter. He's such an odd boy. Really, the ladies outside tell me he's my age-they flutter about and cluck like chickens dressed in pressed white linen, smoothing my covers and prattling on about 'that lovely Mr. Potter, so good, so brave' for hours. (They can't seem to believe I hear them, the stupid bints.) They tell me he saved our world.
That's really rather odd, don't you think? He saved a world. He's not so unordinary, you know, with that mop of tangled black hair on his head, falling into those fathomless eyes that remind me of a million and one things; things like spring grasses and lime marmalade, then maybe like emeralds that were melted under molten fire. Still nothing special, though. Perhaps, then, he's so extraordinary, so awfully wonderful, that the brain has to file him down into an image that's understandable. Perhaps my mind cannot fathom anything further than chapped lips and tattered sneakers, or the way he never wears clothing that fits. Perhaps my thoughts would overload if I saw anything past the too thinness of his wrists, and the too broadness of his shoulders.
Perhaps he's a god, and I'm blind to it because I'm weak.
It wouldn't surprise me. The doctors say my mind can't handle much of anything. Put under 'harsh strain' is what they say when they think I'm ignoring them. The ladies outside cluck and coo, fiddle with my hair strands and push them behind my ears, gasping over how long the silvery blonde strands are getting. They treat me as though I were their doll. Their plaything. Their little Deatheater baby, so sweet, look how long his hair is getting, oh, it's just like his father's when-
"Malfoy, are you listening?"
And of course, who cares if my mind is frail? So what if I don't remember the days, and think that everyday is a Tuesday, and fade out of reality only to realize I've fallen to the floor and begun softly speaking to the dirty tiles there.
They tell me of things like thimbles, those ugly little thimbles-
"Malfoy, are you listening?" Harry's asked, and I realize it was a while ago. After this, he resumed staring at me in morose, depressed fashion. What an odd, lovely world-saving boy, that Mr. Potter. I don't understand why he comes every day and every Tuesday, sitting by my little white bed, in my little white room, stroking my little white hand. Perhaps he likes white. Or little things. Or maybe he's done saving that world and wants to start saving my own. Wouldn't that be wonderful?
"I can't save you, Malfoy," he says wearily, and I offer him an absent smile. Of course you can't, dear, make up is for woman. Mummy can't let her precious little dragon wear something for a girl, now can she?
"… that's horrible," Harry Potter the Wonderful says in slightly horrified disgust. That's alright. Sometimes he hates the things that I think, feeds on the little private thoughts that he picks up, and I can't begrudge him this talent. "They're not private thoughts, you're mumbling out loud," he adds, as though it is of importance to me. Tsk tsk, telling his tricks. That miraculous, odd Harry Potter.
"Whatever." It's my line! Bastard. Insufferable git. I remember this line as my own, even if I can't remember who this blonde woman is in my current memory-she's looking flustered and nervous, wiping away at my face and muttering in curt, rushed tones. Oh no, can't let Lucius see, not his little dragon wearing his Mummy's-
"Shut up," Harry pleads plaintively, an anxious and bemused expression creasing his forehead and knocking his odd black glasses up on his nose. I have the urge to reach for them, to pluck them away to get a better look at his pretty eyes, but my hands are fastened down. When did that happen?
Ah yes. The chicken ladies. Cluck, cluck, lock away the pretty doll when you're done playing with him.
That's alright, Harry just carefully smoothes the wrinkles in my hands. They've been rubbed down and patterned from so many times in these bindings. 'For my own safety', my arse. That's okay, my wonderful, world-saving Harry Potter gently eases them down to the blankets, admonishes, "Don't hurt yourself; stay still," and proceeds to massage out the pains in my knuckles.
Ah, such a fabulous Mr. Potter. The chicken ladies are right, he is quite lovely.
He smiles briefly at me, replying, "Thank you." You're so welcome, little stranger. Have we met on this road before? A fork ago, perhaps a mile, where you greet me with a smile… and sail us home, our triumphing sailors, gone away and born of players…
I smile dizzily at the ceiling. Shoddy workmanship there. They should have painted the room blue, but as it's so very empty, I don't think it would help the atmosphere much.
"I wish I was born," I announce to it, and perhaps to Harry, who snorts as if amused. The snuffling sound turns into a deep, wracking sound of bitterness not moments later, and when I turn to look at him curiously, he's glaring with red-rimmed eyes again. Were they that way when he came in? Perhaps not; sometimes he leaves with bruises I don't remember him having, and my wrist straps a tad bit looser than they were. Sometimes there are scratches I don't recall him bearing before stepping foot in my little, blue-less room.
The doctors and chickens say I'm not safe.
"I wish you were reborn, too," Harry says flatly, and I blink at the interruption. It takes me a moment to process the words, even longer to remember the sentence that prompted them to reveal themselves. "So you'd be well again. So you'd stop being so-"
"I want to touch your face," I tell him.
He buries his face in his hands.
When he leaves, his eyes are redder than before, but I don't remember him crying.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The nights come like the shadows, pressing in a demanding and vulgar fashion against my lips. They beckon to be allowed passage rites, teasing at the flesh of my mouth with tiny kisses of darkness. I twist all I can, but I may never flee them. They are the ultimate of rapists, the briefest of lovers, and for every shade of black there is another just as deep.
By morning, my lips clamp shut and I am breathless.
That Tuesday morning, Harry Potter comes again, and I let go of my lost pieces of air, and the chickens cluck some more at the purple bags under his eyes. Perhaps the shadows visit him, too.
"No," he tells me gently, "Just nightmares. Shadows of a different sort, I suppose, if you can remember yours."
"I dream of gardens," I affirm sagely, nodding slowly to myself. There is truth in the statement-I did dream of a garden last night, and today I see it blossoming in the emerald crystals of his eyes. I think spring is coming. The sunlight glows and drifts idly through the window high in the corner of my room, scattering little beams across the white walls. They appear off-white and yellow now. No blue.
Yes, perhaps spring then.
"It's April 9th, but yeah, getting warmer. They say Hogwarts will reopen this year. It's been completely rebuilt-you wouldn't believe everything that went into it, all the volunteers there everyday…" The boy drifts off, flushing in the horrible sort of embarrassment that only the weakly unconfident find themselves in. I remember it as an emotion I loathed most fondly. "Sorry. I'm sure you don't want to be reminded of… that place."
"Oh, I'm sure I wouldn't, had I known what it was," I respond cheerfully. It was meant to comfort the poor child, but instead his face stiffens and he looks away as though ashamed.
And he saved a world. Still unable to look me in my eyes.
I feel disappointed, I think.
"I dream of gardens," I say abruptly, fighting off the lingering traces of rebuked rejection still threading through my mental facades. I shouldn't be upset. I know that. I can't make myself believe it, however, and resort to changing the subject to something that will perhaps make him smile. Perhaps make him proud. "It was a pretty garden last night."
"Oh?" Harry inquires politely, and I feel the fakeness rolling off of him. It was once reserved only for the chicken ladies, and I feel resentment stew deep inside. A burning much like that of the moments when I try to make paper lanterns out of the canvas my pallid flesh offers.
"It was my favorite garden," I inform him irritably. "Until I was about eight, and then I never stepped near it again."
Ah, because of such beautiful eyes. Satisfied with his now-curious response, I settle back into my pillows comfortably. It seems this will be a good day for me. I can focus on his eyes.
"You know a Mudblood, don't you, with such pretty brown eyes," I sing song nonsensically. This provides a jerk of startled shock from him, pleasing me deeply inside somewhere, and I grin. "You do know them! Oh, how Father hated them, such pretty and shining brown eyes…"
"Lucius Malfoy?" Harry asks hesitantly. "About Hermione?"
Oh, strange, strange Mr. Harry Potter. Talking of music notes now. No, we shall speak of little secret things, yes? Secrets within secrets. We built our family on secrets, didn't we, Father? A pyramid and building done by the finest architects, composed of lies and scandals and blood drippings. I giggle. No, I speak not of harmonies, you awful little Harry, sir, and do stop staring at me.
"He used to sing in the gardens, you know." I tilt my head thoughtfully, staring upwards at the white ceiling. The blankets twist pensively under my slender fingers, twist and twist and twist-
"Who?" Harry asks lowly. He sounds very unsure and dark.
It was no one, really, wasn't it, Father? But you hated that little gardener man, that boy with his pretty brown eyes, dark as earth and twice as rich in colour, though by no means wealthy in any monetary unit. He had hands like mahogany, rough like wood and ever-gentle. You hated his small smiles and the way he dipped his head, covering those mocha irises with long, golden lashes.
Made of earth, made of clay, our little Mudblood gardener.
Harry is staring at me.
"I didn't know you would've had a Muggle servant," he finally says slowly, as though unable to understand. I don't comprehend.
"Your-your gardener. Muggle born, you said."
I had a gardener?
"Yes, you did," he snaps impatiently. Then, almost immediately, he shuts his eyes and screws up his face painfully, regret and remorse thicker than his voice when he chants, "Sorry, sorry, sorry… I didn't mean to be angry with you, Malfoy."
He breathes in relief.
"Oh, he was a Mudblood." I grin conspiratorially, leaning forward as far as the bindings will allow me today. It's enough to get halfway to his face. My hair hands in my eyes, brushing over the delicate skin stretched over my ears. "A filthy, hideous little Mudblood. He had earth in his blood, you know, dirt under his fingernails. So disgusting, our little Sebastian the Gardener Mudblood."
He stares again, ever green and ever young.
He reminds me a bit of him, then, perhaps. Perhaps in the way his hands are callused, but soft, as Sebastian's always were when he would hand me little flowers to decorate my room with. He was a quiet youth, that Mudblood. Father hated him, poor Daddy, always glaring through the windows at the pretty little gardens, smacking me when I played with our pretty little Mudblood-
"That's sick, Malfoy," he says quietly. Dark green eyes subdued.
"Daddy hated how dirty he was," I say softly in return. My hands seem to be shaking. I stare fiercely at them, willing them to still in their quaking. "He wanted to own him, but Sebastian had dirt in his blood, icky dirt, and he belonged only to the earth, he said, he told Daddy and oooh, oh, he was so furious-"
I can remember that day with clarity. The pounding rain on the windows of the Malfoy Manor, washing down the glass panes in torrents of clear bliss. It was a gray mass of clouds and fog outside, all except that darkened bit of greenery near the west wing ground-floor windows. I stood by there, thunder rattling the rooms so hard my little knees knocked together, and I heard Father and Sebastian. Them shouting, pleading, arguing. I hid my head, but in the morning…
He never came back, and the garden was so ugly.
"Where'd he go?" Harry asks urgently, somehow enraptured and sickened at the same time. I sympathize and wish to touch his face again. When I tell him, he smiles hesitantly, reaching to stroke my hand.
"Oh, Father said he put him back where he belonged. In the filthy, dirty earth."
The stroking stops.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tomorrow, Harry comes Tuesday morning and sits by me. It is a bad day for him. I can tell by the way he clenches his fists, glaring at the blank walls and then back at me, as though daring me to say a word.
Oh, that miraculous Harry Potter, saving my world. My knight in shining armor. My little god.
"Stop that," he demands furiously, eyes flashing with rage. It is a familiarity, and I have few of them, so I indulge in fascinated gazing at the sight.
He's got a face I would love to rake my fingernails down; it's smooth and perfectly tanned brilliance, except for that tiny blemish on his forehead, that disgustingly cliché little crooked line. He calls it a scar, I call it ugly. He laughs when I say it. I try to say it often, but after a while, it becomes old.
Today, I tell him it again.
"That's ugly. Wash it away," pointing at his blemish the entire time.
He glances at me, irritated, and runs a hand through untidy hair. Oh, dear, don't fidget, you have to look perfect in your robes for the ceremony. Don't you want to make Daddy proud? Our Lord? He's very proud of you.
"He's dead," Harry says. "And I can't wash this off."
"Dead?" I frown, absentmindedly fiddling with the hem of my white shirt. It doesn't match the ceiling. I'm very affronted. "I know dead. Dead likes to come here all the time. He says it's very cold in this room."
"Because it is," my world-savior says simply, giving another bitter, yet amused, twist of lips. It is his trademark now, at least in my mind. "It's freezing in here all the time. Why don't you agree with your therapy? You might get out sooner. It's going to be summer soon."
A lovely summer Tuesday, I think to myself. Perhaps picnicking on the benches of a park where the grasses are just beginning to preen themselves in the sunlight, swapping sandwiches with my friends and telling old stories. Perhaps watching the placid surface waters of the lake at-at the place I can't think of, because it burns and sears at the fragile, delicate tissues of my mind, just trying to remember its name.
"Hogwarts," Harry prompts, his voice holding tenaciously to hope.
I close my eyes for a very long time.
"Fuck you, Potter."
"Of course, Malfoy," he whispers, but he's smiling when I open my eyelids, and I can't remember why for the life of me.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
When he comes on Tuesday, I ask for his name.
"What?" He stops in his tracks at the doorway, hands clinging desperately to the frame as he stares in incomprehension and something quite like fear. "What did you say?"
"I can't quite remember your name. You'll have to forgive me for it," I apologize politely, taking in his offense with chagrin. I had somehow known he'd be insulted, and the thought wounds me in a place I had thought frozen over long ago. "I know you're Harry Potter, but I don't know your name."
Something in him relaxes, and he lets go of the door to come over to me. Sitting down in his usual plastic chair, curious and attached at the same moment-a dangerous combination, I wanted to tell him. "Harry Potter is my name, Malfoy."
"No, it's who you are. I want to know your name."
"… you really are mental, aren't you?"
Not really, I want to protest. Not really anything, actually, but more a little of everything wrapped together in a broken shell that was once strong enough to understand its uses. What was I now? Not quite a name, not quite nothing; a bit of something and everything, followed by Harry, and maybe a little of black earth like the garden when I was eight, and the gray of the rain that fell that night.
"Who are you, then?"
I tell him so softly that he has to lean closer to hear it. And closer. And when my lips brush his ear, we're both trembling, and it's still inaudible. Perhaps I cannot possibly say it out loud. It's a mere brushing of sensation rather than a word, and my tongue feels thick and clumsy and heavy when my lips are next to his face, so close that it aches painfully inside of me-
"Harry," I whisper, and then say my own name. Not who I was-Draco Malfoy-but my name. And he shudders.
His skin is burning, a furnace of heat a breathe away.
I want to kiss him, and I do, but he leaves the room with red-rimmed eyes.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Harry doesn't come this Tuesday morning.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The chicken ladies are sending me looks of pity, fleeting and almost sorrowful if not for the fact that they had no hearts. Some butcher has already sold them for the meat counter.
I stare at the white room, the white ceiling, the white bed, and my white, white hands.
I hate Sebastian.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tuesday morning, the men bust into my room.
One is a burly redhead, eyeing me suspiciously. The others are shaggy, underkept men with mops of hair that rival the great Harry Potter's. I gape at them all.
He's following them, all green-eyed and messed up hair, shouting orders and telling them firmly how to be careful with me. I blink in amazement, and he shoots me a grin far wider than any I'd seen before. There's a doctor shouting angrily outside, you can't have my patient, he's not well enough!
Bloody hell. The bindings are gone.
Sitting up makes me dizzy. The entire world trembles on its axis, whirls suddenly, and I'm falling into a pair of strong arms that hold me up. I'm looking into a face that is not very extraordinary, yet suddenly amazing, because I'm seeing the man who saved a world-and my world-from complete destruction. For the first time, I realize in wonder, I see him for the hero he is.
Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived.
He carries me to the car amongst screaming chicken ladies, through the protesting doctors, past white walls and white windows, and suddenly there's air all around me. I bury my face in his cheap woolen trenchcoat. I will buy him something better when I've collected enough mermaids to make a wish.
But oh, there's sun and air, and it's dazzling my skin to the point that all those pretty, thin little lanterns under my flesh are gasping, dancing and burning hotly. This is what life must be, what breathing must feel like. My throat feels raw as I gulp in the world. My fingers are clenched to the point of bleeding into his coat, and he's looking at me in concern, but I'm giving him such a blinding, stunned smile that I don't think anyone noticed the fact that my nails were staining the fabric red.
He takes me home in a car. A Muggle thing.
I love the feel of leather upholstery.
It is a blur. A blur of oddly placed houses, white picket fences, and a tiny black dog yipping at the corners of the sidewalks. When I'm in his home-what has to be his home, so full of the scent of lemon and raspberry, just like him-I'm already hitting the sheets in exhaustion, staring up at an unfamiliar ceiling.
I think I may love him.
He's holding me, all around me, surrounding like the bindings but never as constricting. His face is buried in the back of my neck, nuzzling the golden strands tenderly, and his hands are locked around my waist.
"Don't leave me."
The ceiling is blue. How could I ever leave?
"I know you're not going to be miraculously well, okay? You can't. You'll never be, I don't think."
Sticks and stones, love. I gently press my hands into his own, feeling them squeeze back. Such odd, warming things, cupping me like this. I am a Malfoy.
"Yes, you are, and I won't let you go this time," he whispers hoarsely into my neck, brushing his lips there. The skin tingles. My lanterns are burning. "Just… just stay here, and it'll be okay. I can live with that. I can live with this, Malfoy. Just you and me, forever, laying here, okay? Can you do that?"
"Yes," I murmur. I understand. I really do.
"I won't ask for anything else," and there's salt searing my neck, "for the rest of my life. Just stay here. I'll make us hot cocoa and we can watch the first snow this winter, and we can make picnics in the house on Tuesday summers, anything you want. I'll grow you a garden and make you a mansion, I'll let you dig in the earth for the things you've lost-I'll light lanterns around the house even in the daylight, and close up all the windows so you can see the flames through them…"
He stops, chokes, and then he's sobbing.
I'm still staring at the blue ceiling.
Sebastian says, there's something sweet in being reborn from the ashes. He was talking about the flowers blooming, of course, but I think I understand what he meant that day. I am being burned away and left as a raw shell, but it's ever so exciting. I turn and brush my lips against Harry Potter's lips, gasping softly at the salty taste that mingles together from our tears. When did I start crying?
He holds on tighter, whispering, weeping.
"Just stay… I can live like this, I promise…"
I hesitate; my hands have not been free for many Tuesdays. But then they find themselves, and I'm stroking his hair in comfort, and whispering his name-his name, not the one everyone gives him-that he never knew.
He smiles at me, and I know. I know more than I've ever known.
I think I can live like this, too, Harry.
With you and the thimbles.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~