Title: And The World Goes On
Summary: Draco's reflection on his changing relationship with Harry.
In first year I offered you my hand in friendship. You turned it down.
It hurt, but I would never tell you that. Instead I turned the feeling into righteous indignation. I am a Malfoy, I offered you my hand and you think you're better than me. No one is better than a Malfoy. From there, it was an easy leap into resentment, and then anger and hatred. The trick is to find the right path. I reached hatred and made my choice.
I am a Malfoy. No one is better than a Malfoy.
I waged a war against you, tormenting you in the halls, revelling in the joy that getting you into trouble brought. It was an easy thing for me once the choice had been made, to make your life hell, and I was surprised at how gifted I was in that respect, when my first intention had been to have you as a friend. I preferred you as an enemy.
In fourth year you tumbled out of a maze, clutching that Hufflepuff's body in your arms, claiming that the Dark Lord had returned. They didn't believe you.
I had only to look into your eyes to know it was true. I have never felt afraid in my entire life, except when I saw your eyes that day and found them empty and stunned with a trace of fear, and suddenly the world stopped moving and a shiver ran through me. If you, the heroic Gryffindor, could look like that then the situation must have been nothing short of horrific.
I turned the fear into self-assurance because the darkness could not touch me. I had immunity because of who my father was. Because of who my father served. The self-assurance turned into cold confidence that left me shivering under the covers at night, but kept me alive and sane during the day. I wondered how you were holding up. I reminded myself that I did not care.
In sixth year you called after me as I stalked away from you. Both of us up passed curfew, and we revelled in another sparring match, wielding our words like sharp weapons, running them over soft skin and drawing blood -- enough to prove that we both could still feel. And then you caught my arm and blushed and told me that the world thinks that you are crazy, and you think they may be right because you love me. You offered me your hand.
I told myself that I felt nothing and walked away.
There was nothing I could do with the confusion and anger, except hide it beneath a familiar grudge. I redirected my anger at myself onto you because you said that you loved me, and I don't think that you were joking. And I hated you for that.
In seventh year you fought the Dark Lord, and even if you won he still took you with him.
I heard the news from the cell where I was kept after I argued with my father. The day after the supposed victory the door slammed open and I was blinded with light, and someone called my name and dragged me out and I thought for a moment it might be you because the voice was so familiar, but then I realized it was the Weasel, and he told me where you were. Or rather, what had happened, and suddenly the world dropped from beneath my feet and I found it hard to breathe. I told myself it was because of my imprisonment but I knew, with a sudden clarity that hurt more than any of the curses.
I would have cried but I couldn't because I knew it was my fault and I didn't deserve to cry, even my tears had no worth.
The nights in the infirmary and on the fourth I awoke with a hand over my mouth and stared up into your brilliant green eyes. When you withdrew your hand, assured of my silence, I sat up and could only stare. I knew that it was a dream, but it was the best-damned dream that I had in so long and I didn't want it to end yet.
I told you that you were dead.
You told me that appearances could be deceiving, and then grinned in that crooked way you always had and offered me your hand. Last chance, you murmured, and I knew I wasn't worthy. I knew you deserved so much better, but I'd be damned if I let you go again and I took your hand and we disappeared.
This morning I woke with you in my arms and smiled, kissed your hair and you sighed and shifted closer, and all that I knew was that I loved you and didn't have the heart to change that.
In The Prophet the legend grows. How died and were celebrated as a hero. How you were a demi-God who had defeated Voldemort as well as over 1,000 Death Eaters and fifty Dementors before promising, like King Arthur, to always protect the Wizarding World and disappearing in a phoenix flame to be reborn when you are needed. As your legend grows, mine dwindles: Prince of Slytherin, he cold-hearted, evil Malfoy heir that turned Death Eater and, in the end, who returned to the underworld when my master was defeated, a coward who hid away at the end of the war to avoid justice. Until I apparently never existed.
I turn the indignation into amusement when I see the sparkle in your eyes. And then all the little feelings get swallowed up as I look at you, smiling and laughing, and we sit on the porch watching the birds circle the lake, making up other unlikely stories and wondering if perhaps we will ever go back, and always deciding to wait a while.
You settle into my arms and I kiss you deeply. We hear the birds singing and the world goes on.