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.
On my LJ, I asked people to give me a pairing and an object to write about. Frances Potter requested "Harry/Draco, maybe something post-war. Object – Harry's wand." So, this story is for her.
Many thanks to my reviewers over on LJ.
Title: LIKE GLASS
life ought to have been wonderful.
He had defeated Lord Voldemort, fulfilled the prophecy and done everything he should. But instead of feeling that his life was about to begin, he felt it was over, as if it had ended with the war. The grandest, most important and most overwhelming deed of his life had been done. It was what he'd always be remembered for; nothing he could do would ever surpass it. He had passed the peak moment of his life before he had even left his teens.
And Voldemort, in a way, was still as present as ever. Harry's life, Harry's fate was still bound to Voldemort – their names had always been connected, and would continue to be. Sometimes Harry wondered who had really won.
He also wondered if Voldemort had lived with the perpetual green light at the back of his mind, the light that now seemed to be Harry's own. It never went away. It was there in his sleep; it was there in daylight, however clear the sun was. He had seen so much death he would never be rid of the visual echoes of it.
He descended into a depression that, like always with him, took the form of a passive, stony silence, broken at intervals by sudden outbursts of uncontrollable rage.
- - -
"Depression in males, wizards as well as Muggles, often expresses itself as aggressiveness."
It was Dr Smith who said this in her usual prim, officious manner to Remus Lupin when Harry Potter had been admitted to St Mungo's after a nasty incident.
He had got into a drunken row with a wizard roughly his own age at a bar in Hogsmeade. It had got ugly very quickly. Witnesses said the boys had suddenly got to their feet and started shouting at each other. Harry had broken a glass pane with a spell and snatched up a viciously sharp, pointed shard. He had slammed the terrified boy up against the wall and held the shard against his neck, threatening to cut his artery.
In the end, Harry had let himself be talked out of his rage and allowed the piece of broken glass to fall to the floor, where it had shattered against the flagstones. But not until he had coolly, deliberately cut the skin of the boy's neck. Not violently, not dangerously. Not a deep cut. Only enough to draw blood that trickled slowly down the white skin and disappeared under the boy's collar. Only enough to make his point, whatever that point was. Perhaps just to say "I'm capable of this. Stay away from me."
Only a week before this incident, Harry had been involved in a similar one at a pub in Diagon Alley. It had included a Daily Prophet journalist, a broken pint glass and a highly intoxicated, aggressive Harry.
The wizarding world was shocked and horrified at the violent acts in themselves, but also, although no one said so openly, at the barbaric, Muggle-like fashion in which they had been carried out. Wand-fights were so much cleaner, so much more refined.
Harry Potter was sentenced to treatment in a locked ward at St Mungo's rather than to prison or community service. After all, his services to the wizarding community had already been beyond measure.
He seemed to be drawn to glass. Perhaps there was something about its combined strength and fragility that made him subconsciously identify with it. Glass panes let light into dark chambers, but when broken, they became sharp and jagged, a lethal weapon. Glass glittered and shone and didn't lose its beauty even when shattered. Perhaps, the team of Mediwizards said, this was how Harry Potter felt. Fragile, threatened, but always with a danger potential of his own. A sheet of glass in a world full of sledgehammers.
After three uneventful weeks in the locked ward at St Mungo's, Harry Potter was left unsupervised in a healer's office. Only seconds after the healer had left the room, Harry pushed his hands through the glass door. They found him conscious but bleeding profusely, kneeling unsteadily in front of a spiked, glittering halo of broken glass, his hands and arms still pushed through the hole. He stared dazedly at the blood flowing from the cuts on his wrists and arms, dripping and splashing down on the shards on the floor.
A year later he was released from hospital. He was twenty years old, a thin, bony, not very tall young man with a mop of black hair and a pair of green eyes that would have been beautiful if they had held the slightest spark of life.
The Boy Who Lived? Perhaps, back then. But that time was past.
- - -
Harry didn't want to die any more, but he didn't particularly want to live, either. He just lacked energy. There was nothing there that could fill his empty life or give it some meaning.
He fled from the press, fled from attention, fled to Muggle London and discovered that amphetamine was a great drug and the only thing that seemed to fill some of the void. It took away his fatigue, it took away his hunger, and not only in the most literal sense. But it also introduced a different kind of hunger – it made him want sex more than he had ever wanted it.
So he took it, from everywhere and everyone.
Months went past, but he lost track of time. He didn't eat, he didn't sleep, and the more or less constant drug level in his bloodstream was high enough to be killing him slowly. And then, unexpectedly, just before his 21st birthday, he met someone he knew from another world – someone who had possibly always wished him dead.
Draco Malfoy ought to have been pleased.
- - -
Draco Malfoy wasn't pleased.
He looked at the gaunt ghost of Harry Potter and wanted to yell and rage and beat at him with his fists, and why not cry, too. But he didn't. He seized Harry by the arm and dragged him out of the bar, out in the street, away.
"For Merlin's sake, pull yourself together," he said coldly to the shaking Potter in the dim candle light of a room with a creaking wood floor, high above the noise of Diagon Alley. "Here," he added and pointed his wand when he saw that Potter really was incapable of doing just that.
The spell would take the edge off Potter's withdrawal symptoms, at least for a few hours. Then they could take it from there. Potter stopped shaking and was only pale now, not greenish.
"You stink, Potter. Have a shower. The bathroom is there. There are towels in the cupboard."
Potter disappeared silently into the bathroom and shut the door. He hadn't said a word after they had left that awful, sleazy Muggle bar – in fact the only thing he had uttered when he saw Draco was "oh, fuck". But he hadn't resisted when Draco had led him out in the street and taken him back to Diagon Alley. Perhaps because he had only been dimly aware what was going on.
Draco hadn't found Potter by coincidence – far from it. He had been sent out specifically, by Remus Lupin and probably others behind him, to look for Potter. He had protested at first – Potter and he hadn't exactly been the best of friends, had they, even after Draco had joined Dumbledore's and Potter's forces? So why did Lupin think Potter would come with him, Draco, of all people? Lupin hadn't answered that. He had only said, with that mild but indisputable authority that was particularly his, that Draco was the best person to go.
So Draco went.
It didn't take him long to find Potter. Wizards had an excellent network even in the Muggle world, and there were very few wizards and witches who wouldn't know Harry Potter on sight. Potter was clearly in miserable shape – but what would you expect from someone who had taken to using Muggle drugs.
Draco shook his head as he listened to the subdued splash of water in the bathroom. He had no idea what to do next. He guessed he would just owl Lupin, and Lupin would take over from here.
Potter emerged from the bathroom with a towel around his hips, still looking dazed and not quite present. Draco could easily have counted his ribs, if he had wanted to. Potter looked like a thestral.
"There are clean pyjamas for you," Draco said, and his haughty voice had a strange undertone that sounded uncomfortably like tears.
Potter let the towel fall, and Draco turned away.
"Do you think you can sleep?" Draco asked, still with his back turned, and wondered why he was trembling.
Potter didn't reply, and when Draco turned to look at him questioningly, he realised he was looking at someone who hadn't known sleep for months. The bewildered look on Potter's face suggested he had even forgotten the meaning of the word.
Potter was shaking again. Draco repeated his spell, gave Potter a strong sleeping potion and nudged him towards the bed.
"Is it safe to leave you here? Will you run off?" It was like talking to a child.
Potter shook his head.
"You're wanted back in the wizarding world, Potter. Lupin doesn't want to watch you kill yourself. Personally, I think they ought to let you do whatever the fuck you want to do – you're an adult and you killed Voldemort for them. They ought to stop demanding things from you."
Draco bit his tongue. He had surprised himself twice – first by showing both himself and Potter that he'd actually been contemplating Potter's situation, and secondly by realising that the wizarding world oughtn't to stop asking things of Potter at all. That was exactly what had gone wrong here. Once Potter had saved their world, they had dropped him as if he had burnt their fingers. They had celebrated their victory for a while, the victory he had won for them; they had written and read about their hero in the papers... but only for a little while. Then everything had just gone back to normal, and no one had expected anything of Potter any more. They hadn't expect him to need them; they hadn't expected him to think. And they hadn't wanted to think about him, either.
But Potter probably wasn't listening to Draco anyway. Draco went on, with words that tasted of blood from his bitten tongue:
"I'm going to take your wand, Potter, and secure the room with spells you can't break without one. Not my idea, and I'm sorry about it, but that's the instructions I have from Lupin. It's only for tonight, and it's not a punishment or anything; it's just for your own safety. Lupin will come and get you tomorrow."
Potter didn't react at all. He looked at Draco with unseeing eyes, which was unbelievably unsettling, and slowly sat down on the bed. Then he pointed towards the bathroom door, zombie-like. Draco's gaze followed his finger.
"What – ?"
"My wand," Potter said in a weak, tired voice. "It's in the bathroom. On the floor. With my clothes. I'm tired."
And then he began to cry, tearlessly, like a dry, hacking cough. Draco stared at Potter, who sobbed uncontrollably for thirty seconds before the sleeping draught overpowered him, and he rolled into bed and pulled the covers up over his head.
Draco, more shaken than he'd been since his father was taken to Azkaban, picked up Potter's wand from the bathroom floor, left Potter's room and locked it securely with five different spells.