Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. JK Rowling owns it all. We just want to play in her world for a while...
Summary: A set of enchanted journals bring solace to two very unlikely lost souls. Whoever said the art of penmanship was lost? This is a wizarding twist on the old fashioned art of correspondence (or the modern art of Internet chatting). What will happen when the mystery writers finally discover the identity of their counterpart? Join this star crossed pair as they obliviously chat to each other; along the way learning about life and love. Find out what will happen when their own voyages of self discovery lead them to the most unlikely of places. This is eventual HP/DM, but there are other pairings for the protagonists along their journey.
This fanfiction was initially started in early 2004 after . It has been modified and updated as of 28 February 2005.
Per Solum Lacuna: By Words Alone
By Azhure and Wintermoon (A collaborative fanfiction by two authors)
Chapter One: One of Those Days
Suddenly it all looks so familiar
Gone and wrecked it like I always do
Don't you know it?
Life is out to kill 'ya
But you still go getting on with it
Seen better times than right now
But I'm not running away
No nothing's gonna bring me down
It's just been one of those days
Even though he was now living in Paris, those in the know could tell you where to find Draco Malfoy. All the hip, young student wizards could be found right in the middle of de l'étudiant en Sorcellerie - the student precinct of the Wizard Quarter.
This was the top socialising spot for all the students of l'institut des Magies - Paris's top Wizard University. Despite this, you would be hard pressed to actually find Draco in this area, for he did not come here to seek attention nor did he come here to socialise with his fellow students. Draco came here to hide away from all the usual distractions that could be found in the Wizard Quarter.
In an unfashionable alley off the main drag was a series of older stores. Only the serious students with unique needs, or those seeking illegal items, frequented these stores. There were plenty of second-hand stores in this alley, which fascinated the blond wizard no end. For the past two and a half years, Draco had almost been a permanent fixture at Emmaline's Emporium - a crazy combination of second-hand bookstore and coffeehouse. Draco initially went there to find some obscure books; however - to his delight - he discovered that Emmaline brewed the finest damn coffee this side of the English Channel. Being a Saturday afternoon, he could be found at his regular table presiding over all that he surveyed - if he had been paying attention that is.
Emmaline's was a wizarding store that made Flourish and Blotts look like they actually had some semblance of order in their stacking of books. To find what you wanted at Emmaline's, you needed to spend hours and hours. You might find potions books in seven or eight different places. But those who were in real need would take the time to scour the store from top to bottom. It seemed that Draco was the only other person who understood the unique filing system that Emmaline herself had invented. She was often so busy with the customers or making coffee, that patrons would often turn to him for assistance in finding some of the more obscure titles held in stock. After all, he did spend every spare moment inside the establishment's cosy interior.
Draco didn't officially work there, but he did live in the small rented studio above the store. He had been thrilled to discover not only the store's warmth on a particularly blustery day, but also the empty studio going begging. He saw it as the perfect opportunity to escape the University dormitories. Having spent nine years at school in communal living - seven as a student, and two as a soldier during the war - Draco couldn't stand another three or four more years living with his fellow students. Having grown up an only child, the effects of this on his personal space only made him appreciate his solitude even more. He had another six to eighteen months left in Paris to finish his training, all dependent on what he planned to do at the end of the current university year.
Not long after his arrival in Paris, the Malfoy heir had discovered that his father's grip could affect him - even from beyond the grave. Trust the sadistic and malicious Death Eater to have the Malfoy fortune untouchable until Draco reached the age of twenty-five. Here he was; the richest and purest blooded wizard in all of Europe, slumming it in the unfashionable side of the French Wizard Quarter. Oh he wasn't destitute; but according to his standards, he may as well have been. The trustees of his father's estate had agreed to pay him a modest stipend - enough to cover his studies and a modest living allowance. Unfortunately, Draco's idea of modest far exceeded that of the executors.
Looking upon Draco this cool and crisp Saturday afternoon before Yule, one might think that he was pondering such huge questions as his future - which direction he would take at the end of his studies and whether he would continue in research or take a position as an apprentice. But not today. Today Draco wasn't even contemplating his next cup of coffee.
His usual table was on the mezzanine level of the quaint establishment. It was a small and intimate table, but one that gave him a complete view of almost the entire store, particularly the entrance. Draco hated anyone to sit behind him - unless it was in a classroom - that was different. The war left some scars wide open, and having a wizard sneak up on you from behind was not something he found pleasant. Any wizard who tried it would most certainly regret the attempt. In point of fact, the last two had spent days getting over the bat-bogey hexes as a result.
Draco slouched over the table, his coffee long cold, staring at nothing in particular - his chin held up on one arm, his other hand drawing circles around a knot in the timber tabletop. Woe betides the wizard who snapped him out of this stupor. Voldemort - although long dead - could have waltzed into the store, done the Riverdance on the counter and performed the Unforgivables on everyone, and Draco wouldn't have noticed - or cared for that matter.
Emmaline had seen that look on the young man's face before, and knew that it was going to be a long couple of months before he would come to some semblance of his usual witty and outgoing self. Draco's love life was the cause of his woe, and Emmaline could not forget the long hard months that followed the end of his previous relationship.
Draco was by far the richest, most beautiful, and definitely the most talented potions student at l'institut at the present time. Witches and wizards both threw themselves at his feet, but he did have standards.
Draco had occasionally partaken of the pleasures of both witches and wizards, but both his long-term relationships (those that lasted six months, or more) were with wizards. It was the end of classes before the Yule break and the thought of spending it alone was not one he was looking forward to. He was lamenting the end of his latest relationship this Saturday afternoon, and things were looking grim for the young wizard.
Merlin, I'm an idiot, he thought. That's it, I'm swearing off romance and lovers forever. At this rate, I'll be destined to be a lonely potions master forever and ever. Doesn't matter that I might be a rich and attractive wizard. No, I have to go and fuck it all up - as usual. Draco's boyfriend Antonio had dumped him the night before, and being the confident self-starter that he was, he didn't take too well to rejection. This latest rejection came as a complete shock. It had been a fairly one sided discussion, the Italian leaving Draco with a few hard truths before Flooing away. So he thinks I'm self absorbed eh? Hmph! No good at listening - he's mad. I do listen to others. I'll show him…
Despite the fact that the night before Antonio had told Draco that it was over, he still kept a glimmer of hope that the relationship could be salvaged. At least, that glimmer had been there earlier that morning as Draco prepared to Apparate to the Italian's apartment to apologise. Upon arrival, he found the place deserted and a tang of International Standard Floo powder in the air. There was no doubt that the Italian Lothario had returned to Rome, and was undoubtedly gone from Draco's life forever.
He had been making plans for reconciliation all afternoon, only to come back to the crashing realisation that they would never come to fruition. All hope of reconciliation dashed, he was now wallowing. It took him a while to realise that Emmaline was standing at the top of the stairs, watching him. He had no idea how long she had been there, but looking out at the alley, he noticed that it was dark.
"Sickle for your thoughts, môn chéri," she uttered as she sat down next to him. Draco quickly perked up, not realising his reverie was visible. "I take it you are having troubles in love?" Emmaline had been around long enough, and seen enough young lovesick witches and wizards to know that look on a young man's face.
Draco scoffed. "You know me too well, petite mère," Emmaline had been like a mother to Draco. The eccentric older witch had taken him under her wing after discovering the demise of his own family during the war. Not that Draco missed his father, the stupid fool, but he often wished that his mother had not been as involved in the Death Eater's machinations. After all, they led her to her death, and reaffirmed Draco's decision to fight against Voldemort.
Emmaline looked into the deep grey eyes of the young man who had been like a son to her since he moved into the rooms above her store. "You will find love again boy, your life is not over. It might seem like it, but you will fall in love again. You should have known better than to trust those Italians - they are too smooth by half."
Draco grinned half-heartedly, but he paid scant attention to the older woman's advice. "Emmaline..." He looked up at her eyes - she wouldn't lie to him - she was too honest. "Do you think I'm self centred? Am I a good listener? Antonio said I was self absorbed and couldn't listen if I tried." It had been the last bit that had worried Draco the most.
He had always known he was an attention seeker; it had been easy to be the centre of attention. His wealth, albeit somewhat hindered by the terms of his inheritance, along with his good looks, only helped him to become the sought after and devilishly handsome wizard he now was. But as for listening - didn't he always get top marks in his classes? Wasn't he due to gain honours in his course? How could he not be a good listener?
"I think, môn chéri, that we are only young once. We all make our mistakes, and we all think that each disappointment is the end of the world. You will find your true love one day. Besides, we can't all be listeners. Imagine that, nobody would be talking if that were the case." Draco smiled slightly at her words. "But even if Antonio was a worthless - how you say - git, perhaps you should heed his words. The art of giving is so much more pleasurable than taking." Draco initially laughed at Emmaline's attempt at British humour, but was sobered by her last statement. Emmaline was pleased at the young man's reaction. He wouldn't be wallowing much longer. "Now, I need to close up boy, so let me take that empty cup, and you can go up to your studio."
Draco looked at the very cold dregs of his coffee; the skin on the top of the cup had dried up hours earlier. He sighed as he looked longingly down at the coffee machine, fervently wished for another cup. Emmaline knew that look all too well. "How about I make you one more cup - how you say - for the road?"
Draco nodded, knowing that he would only go back up to his room, and continue to wallow if he didn't find something else to keep occupied.
Draco didn't notice Emmaline's surreptitious wand movement as she descended the spiral staircase. He slowly made his way over to the bookshelves, hoping something interesting might stand out to keep him occupied. A good book - something I can lose myself in. He was officially on holidays, so he wanted absolutely nothing to do with his studies. Any books remotely related to potions, drafts, tonics or even herb lore were definitely off his list. His search had taken him to the darkest corner of the furthest shelf.
He looked up at the top shelf in confusion. He cast a light from the end of his wand as he moved closer to take a better look. The contents of the shelf looked totally unfamiliar to him. That's funny; I could have sworn that I've covered every inch of these shelves. Why haven't I seen these books before? Maybe I'm just tired. He shrugged, glad that the new discovery might take his mind off his worries. Emmaline smiled at herself as she heard him grab the ladder to take a closer look at the previously hidden shelf of books.
Draco was perusing the titles carefully - many of these books were over twenty years old. Suddenly, a soft rattling and vibration shook the titles on the shelf. Draco withdrew his hand quickly. What the hell is going on? Just as suddenly, it stopped. He waited a couple of minutes, but nothing else happened. As he touched the spine of another book, it happened again. This time, he noticed one of the books was shaking its way out of the confines of the shelf. Its spine looked well worn. Draco kept staring at the book, unsure if he should take it. He recalled many books that had a mind of their own - in particular the Monster Book of Monsters, and Perilous Potions Preparation. Was this a book along the same lines? Draco was reluctant to touch it, but it continued its attempts to escape from the shelf.
Draco eventually picked it up, and it stopped its rumbling. He looked at the cover. It had no markings beyond the well worn black leather cover with the gold mounted corners. A myriad of colours had been etched into the cover leaving a tapestry effect; an effect that bore no sign of wear. No title adorned the spine, or the cover; yet a perfect black leather faceplate was affixed to the front cover, just awaiting some mark of identification from the owner. A gold clasp indicated that the book had, at some time or another, been kept under lock and key. Flicking open the clasp with a silent spell, he sensed a slight stirring of magic. A protection charm had definitely been on the book, and Draco had just broken it. He knew by the ease in which he broke the protection spell that it couldn't be a dark grimoire.
His curiosity piqued now, he opened the cover to see what treasures could be contained in such an exquisite looking book. Turning to the title page, he watched in disappointment as he saw a shadow of handwritten words slowly fade and vanish. That's odd, Draco thought. I've never seen a book erase itself before someone opened it. Flicking through the pages, Draco discovered that the entire book was devoid of writing. Most peculiar. He took the book back over to his table, and sat - staring at the empty pages.
Emmaline returned with a pot of fresh black coffee. Her return startled him; he had been so intrigued by the book he had not heard her approach. In his surprise, he knocked the coffee pot over; the dark liquid splashing across their robes, the table, and unfortunately, the book.
Draco looked on in horror, realising that without the protection spell, the coffee would ruin the book. Thinking quickly, he opened the book to mop up the mess with a scourgify charm. As he did this, he suddenly sensed the book's strange magic stirring again. He watched on in awe as the coffee began to dry up, then disappear – leaving no stain or mark on the pages. He was fascinated as he saw this happen across all the pages of the book. Within a few moments, the entire book was in its pre-accident state. Draco could do nothing but stare. Emmaline chuckled knowingly.
He looked up at her in confusion. Her knowing look held no surprise at the book. He touched it as she looked upon it wistfully.
"It practically jumped out at me, Emmaline. I found it up there." He pointed to the corner, but in the darkness, he wasn't sure if the shelf was still there any more.
"So, it has chosen you, Draco. I am not surprised." She smiled with a twinkle in her eye as she looked at him over the top of her reading glasses.
"What are you talking about? How can a book choose anything? Besides, it's empty. Neat charm built in to clean it up though. I must learn that one to protect my other books from spills."
"Oh, it isn't just any book Draco. It's a Journal Intime Partagé. It definitely wanted you to pick it up. It's your responsibility now."
"A what?" Draco had never heard of that before. He picked it up, checking the cover again for any markings.
"A - how you say - partner's diary." Draco raised an eyebrow in surprise. He had heard of those before, but had never seen one. Emmaline continued. "Somewhere, that diary has a matching partner. They are usually used when two people want to converse when they are apart. They are quite rare."
"Oh, I think Mother told me about those once. There was a set in her family. I think her cousin had them..."
"Quite likely. They were most often used by the aristocracy; handed down as betrothal gifts."
"I can see why Father never bought me one, if that were the case." Draco suspected that if one were to fall into his father's hands, it would have been put to some nefarious use.
"There's a reason why it chose you, Draco."
"What makes you say that? You said the book chose me?" He was still puzzled by this idea.
"You want to be sure you are a good listener. Judging by how quickly this journal has responded to you; I'm guessing that the partner book has been taken over by a new owner, someone who needs to pour out their soul."
"How do you know that it chose me?"
"Did you see any other words inside it?" He shook his head. "I thought not. The book has wiped itself. It's ready for some new conversations; some new stories."
Draco thought this over. "So if I've got this, who's got the matching journal?"
"Oh, I don't know - that one came in on its own many years ago." Emmaline remembered every book that ever came in through her store, and she remembered exactly where that one had come in, but she had no intention of telling this young man the circumstances surrounding its purchase just yet.
Draco knew that if a book was enchanted, not to mess with it. Perilous Potions Preparation was a title that would not let you turn the page until you had prepared all the ingredients to its satisfaction.
"So you're suggesting that someone else has the other diary, and is planning on writing in it soon? You expect me to play agony aunt to some angsty witch with issues?" Draco sounded sceptical.
"Who knows, môn chéri? Perhaps you need to write some of your own issues into it. You can't wallow in your own sorrow forever. Much better to let them out than to bottle them inside - Hmm?"
"But how do I..." She didn't let Draco finish. A firm pat on the shoulder and a knowing smile told him that she expected him to work it out for himself. She always does that - and it's so annoying. Why doesn't she just say what she's thinking?
He promised to switch off the lights as Emmaline bid him bonne nuit for the evening. Before leaving, she conjured a fresh cup of coffee for the bewildered young man. He stared at the journal and pondered her parting words. Draco eventually fell asleep after deciding that it probably wouldn't hurt to have a pen pal. After all, it's not like I have anyone else to talk to this Yuletide. Still lost in his thoughts, he fell asleep at the table, his head cradled in his folded arms; the diary resting innocently before him.
He was suddenly woken by a strange rattling noise. He quickly raised his head from the table, immediately recognizing the sharp twinge that signalled a crick in his neck from having slept so long in an awkward position. That won't go away easily, he thought. He had no idea what time it was, but he had obviously been asleep long enough for the embers in the hearth to have almost extinguished.
The rattling noise sounded again. Draco's wartime reflexes caused him to quickly go for his wand. He spelled the fireplace back into life and searched the room for potential danger. Nothing seemed out of place in the room, but the rattle began again - this time he placed it - it was the damn journal on the table. He cautiously extended a hand to touch it, but the book suddenly burst open of its own accord. The pages shuffled momentarily, but settled back at the first page.
He watched in awe as dark violet words suddenly appeared on the page. Draco felt a great compulsion to read them. The words were difficult to read in the firelight. Blast! I need my reading glasses! Draco cursed the weakness and bad habits that caused him to need the glasses in the first instance. He summoned the offending pair of wire frames as well as casting a spell to light the nearest candle. His curiosity was well and truly piqued now. Someone's writing in it at this moment!
Draco spent the next hour in high anticipation as he read the thoughts and dreams of a total stranger. At least they are writing in English, he thought. I wonder if they know they are writing in a partnered journal? Are they expecting a response? Am I really the one to give them advice? What if I give crap advice? What if they freak out and stop writing?
He gave up asking himself questions as he became absorbed in the other writer's musings. He felt drawn to the words; a feeling of deep seated kinship with the other writer accompanied his reading. The words flowed freely as they poured their heart and soul into the other half of this magical journal. The free flowing script was confident and assured, yet somewhat vulnerable. The author's choice of purple ink was the sort of affectation that Draco would have chosen. The writer made no mistakes – they were definitely not indecisive. At least it's not some flowery witch who dots her 'I's with a star, he thought wryly.
Once the words stopped and the author signed off, Draco debated with himself for only a moment before gathering the presence of mind to summon his quill and ink. Pausing ever so briefly, he picked up the quill and dipped it into the deep green ink.
First Uploaded: 3 January 2004
Edited: 28 February 2005
Well, there you have it. Please click that little review button and let us know what you think of it! Typically, we'll be alternating chapters, with Azhure writing the majority of Draco's perspective and me, Wintermoon, writing the majority of Harry's perspective.