That Cold Christmas
Disclaimer: I do not own Christmas, Draco or Harry.
Warning: If slash and angst is not your cup of tea, leave.
This is my X'mas present to all Draco/Harry fans, especially those who are spending X'mas alone this year.
I slowly place my tea on the table, refusing to look up. The little control I have over my emotions is already threatening to break lose. "You are going away tonight?" I finally managed to incredulously choke out.
In the silence that follows, I can almost hear him nod – it is that palpable.
Willing myself to swallow down this piece of information, I voice a question that sounds more like a statement. "So you won't be here for Christmas?"
I guess the pleading tone in my voice reaches Draco's ears because he starts to say something. Ungraciously I cut him off with a jerk of my hand. If this tense banter goes on between us, I will definitely lose my cool, and we just bought a new chandelier - I had no intention of exploding it so soon. I had planned for some time for just the two of us, even convincing Ron and Hermione to have their own little holiday.
"Mate, are you sure you'll be ok?"
I crack a smile at Ron's question. "Of course," I said, "If Voldemort didn't kill me, why would a few weeks of solitude?
"Harry—" Hermione starts.
"I'll be fine, honestly, you needn't worry."
Her reply was filled with the usual indigence. "I never said you wouldn't be. I was going to tell you to—"
However, I interject again. Lately I've been doing that far too often to be deemed amiable. "I know, I know. Now hurry off and enjoy yourself," I say confidently. Hermione knows about my unconventional relationship with Draco. She has probably figured something was up, or that I wanted to keep the details private. Truth be told, I think Ron has figured there was something going on as well, but there is nothing anyone can do about a redhead in denial. Hermione finally gives in, deciding that perhaps I just wanted some peace and quiet with Draco.
Cheerfully I had waved them off, staring into the empty fireplace until the soot finally settles. And here I was, ironically, going to be left alone.
Surprisingly, he is obediently silent. How very un-Malfoy. But for this once, he had better listen to me. After all, that bastard is leaving me alone for the whole of Christmas, and not to mention Christmas Eve. I mentally wonder when I became this calculative. Call me selfish, but I felt a bitter resentment whenever everyone seem to be able to enjoy Christmas more than I. To forget. I close my eyes briefly. With slight dread, I glance up, tearing my face from the tea sitting calmly in my red and green mug I got as a Christmas present from Ginny.
"Fine," I say, my voice even flatter than I had intended it to be.
"Harry, please. You have to understand that I need to—"
Again that nasty habit of cutting people off kicks in and I stop his forthcoming speech. "Yes, yes. You need to visit your mother's grave because her death anniversary happens to fall on Christmas. Then, you have to close up some business at work, and then settle some papers regarding certain Malfoy matters. Right?"
Draco shifts his weight, looking a little uneasy at the way I trivialize his mother's death. She had committed suicide last Christmas, too depressed and almost on the verge of insanity to continue in the meaningless life. Lucius' death had scarred her too deeply for her to recover, and she had basically died in her only son's arms. She had breathed her last in the arms of the only person she had left to remember Lucius by. We all had different ways of coping after the war. Trust Malfoys to be able to influence others even after their deaths.
"Listen to me Harry." Draco pulls up a chair and holds my face in his hands. He is being so patient with me even as I am acting like a five-year-old spoilt brat. Since when had our relationship reversed? here I thought I was picking up the pieces for him. I didn't even realize how much I had changed after the divorce. With my face firmly cupped between his long, slender fingers, I have no choice but to look straight into those slate gray eyes.
"This. Is. Very. Important," He enunciates slowly, as if trying to teach a little child something new. At this instant, it is so applicable that I swear the jerk knows me too well.
Those eyes capture mine and I lose the staring battle, instead preferring to concentrate on other things, like the way his face glows under the kitchen lamp. However, even that proves too much for me as something in the left side of my chest clutches painfully. "This is important, Harry. It's the first year. I cannot do this alone—"
I jump out suddenly. An irrational rage overtakes me and I start yelling unreasonably. "I have no idea what you want from me. You swing around from needing to pushing me away. And for some reason, after all I have done to give us some time for Christmas, you decide you have better things to do!"
At this point, something at the back of my mind tells me that I was really being very, very childish. Still, one is entitled to moods when you saved the world that now wants to move on without you. I press my fingers against my temples. The hurt in Draco's eyes almost makes me relent and ask him to take me along. ALMOST.
In the few seconds that follow, his sharp wit and sarcastic edge seemingly buried, I make up my mind. "Leave," I order. "Leave now."
Draco gives me a very hesitant glance – another trait that seems to be very unlike a Malfoy. He steps closer as if wanting to say or do something. Something breaks in me as he draws closer. I want so badly to spend this day with him. Then at the last moment, he thinks better of it and moves out of the kitchen, quietly shutting the door behind him. I tug at my hair, wondering why I have become a stranger to myself. Once upon a time I had dreamed of greater things, I had imagined a life that would have been easy to live, once I did what I was told to do.
I got rid of the greatest evil, and yet - there was no peace. Just the London fog settling around me as I wandered discontentedly around the living. I watched as people healed. I let myself get carried along by the false positivity of a community that wanted so badly to forget. I let myself slide into a marriage that nearly killed us both. It was not that Ginny was lacking - she just couldn't understand why I had such difficulty letting go. I just didn't understand how she could move on like the war hadn't matter. Like the war hadn't killed our friends. As if time could heal all wounds.
The first Christmas together was undeniably awful. I got stone-faced at a pub, and missed the whole Weasley affair. She was furious, and I was vindictive. Every part of me felt dead. Our relationship was hinged upon the war, and yet we experienced it so differently that when we were forced into adulthood, I don't think we could understand each other. I filed for divorce. A nasty thing in the wizarding world, where ties were deemed important and I dropped off the face of the news. I took long walks in cemeteries, listening to the silence only the dead afforded. The wind whistled through the creaking branches, and dulled me till I could feel no more. I walked along the ancient stone paths in Edinburgh till my toes curled in protest, and the sky opened volley after volley of rain upon me. And I felt nothing.
Until Draco came along.
There is a crack, and I know he has already apparated off. I had no idea where to find him now, though it was my fault that I had never asked. The same naggy voice in my head tells me that even if I asked, there would not have been a point. Angrily, I tell it to shut up and it does. For a few minutes, I wait, almost thinking that the kitchen door might suddenly burst open and Draco will be there, arms wide open, telling me he is sorry and that he will spend Christmas with me. I had believed he understood that giant emptiness that one feels against the faux joviality. When there is no movement at all, I tip toe to the door and pull it slightly open. The hinges creak as I widen the space.
As the whole of the room floods into my view, the hopeful part of me scans and rescans the room a few times before it is finally convince that there is no one else in the whole house. Then and there, I feel this sudden wave of tiredness as I stumble into the living room. I collapse onto the couch and a certain blankness obscures my visions as I stare into space for many an hour, with one name echoing throughout it all.
A/N: There you have it, the next chapter will be out on Christmas day, so do be patient with me. Please review, I'll take it as a Christmas present from you. You can have a Draco gingerbread cookie. =)