A/N: This is a story based on the myth of Orpheus and his wife. It was inspired by the song "Camellia" by the Buried Beds. I really hope you enjoy this story. For those of you that don't know the myth, I'll give the bare bones version of it to you now. Orpheus was a musician of no equal, and he traveled throughout Greece. Even the wild beasts would not harm him, so wondrous was his talent. Then he met a darling doe-eyed thing that had come to hear him play. They fell in love, and decided to be married. But he had angered one of the gods (I can't recall which; most likely Hera) and on the day of their wedding she sent a poisoned snake to kill Orpheus's bride. One bite was all it took. Orpheus fell into a state of depression. Then he went to retrieve his wife's soul from the underworld. His playing moved Persephone, wife of the cold Lord of Hades, and she begged her husband to grant Orpheus his request. Hades relented, on the condition that until they were both in the open air of the world of the living that he neither speak to her nor cast his eyes back upon her. They almost had reached the world of the living when an impatient and excited Orpheus turned to see his bride. Her hand slipped from his and as she fell back into the world of the dead, it is said that she called his name softly over and over, like a lost little bird.
I was so happy, seeing you there in front of me. You were beautiful, as you were always beautiful. I looked into your eyes, heart-achingly blue, and found all the love in the world there. It was our wedding day.
Not really, of course, but I remember, you had wanted that ceremony so much. I want to feel like I'm married to you, even if we can't ever really be, that's what you told me. You laid your head on my lap, let me play with your hair. How could I refuse you anything? I agreed. We gathered all our friends. It was to be an outdoor ceremony that June. You wanted to be a June bride, didn't you? Though you never said anything to me, I knew that was the way you wanted it to be. You looked better in white, anyway. You blushed when you told me. I fell in love a thousand times over. Hermione had made a garland of wildflowers for you head, and you wore this enchanting gown… Not a dress, no, but oh… It flowed and fluttered in every tiny breeze. I never did understand what it was supposed to look like. All I knew was that an angel had cast aside his wings to stay with me. I felt so shabby next to you in my borrowed tuxedo, but you just smiled at my frown and kissed me softly.
There were two rings, made of ensorcelled white gold, because neither of us liked the look of traditional gold. They connected together, forever, by a strong and unbreakable thread. I don't know how Hermione did it, but she did. Pansy's littlest kept trying to steal them, but her hands would pass right through. Only you and I could touch those rings. I slipped one on your hand, and you one on mine. Our lips met in a kiss filled with such a perfect love that my heart felt as if it might not be big enough to contain it all, and then…
…And then, you were gone. No one ever saw Blaise take out his wand. I had known that you two had been something, once, but hadn't he given us his blessings? I thought he had understood. I was not sure what his intentions were, and now I never will be. Someone took care of him, Ron and your mother, I think. All I can remember is the spell hitting your back, and looking into my eyes… You smiled as you fell. Someone shouted your name, over and over. The hoarseness of my throat told me that it was my own voice that I heard. I crushed you to me, so hard, so hard, hoping that maybe if I held you close enough I could undo what had been done, that your eyes would open and everything would be okay again. Maybe I didn't hold you close enough, for you remained stubbornly dead.
Harry, it was Hermione that said this, her voice thick with grief. All I could do was shake my head and make whimpering noises. Dead? How could the great Draco Malfoy be dead? You were too exquisite a thing to let death's cold hands caress you. Harry, please, Harry. Harry, let him go. No, I wouldn't! Because if I let you go, that would mean that you were really gone, really and truly gone, forever and ever and ever and ever…
I won't! I can't… I can't live without… Can't… She touched my shoulder, told me that sometimes these things just happened, and in time I would move on. I knew she was lying. She knew I knew. Neither of us would say it to the other, because we wanted so badly for it to be true. She pulled me away from the shell of you, and I clung to her instead. I remember the warmth of her as she held me close and rocked me back and forth like a child freshly woken from a nightmare, whispering comforting things to me that I barely heard. I can never say how long we stayed this way. When I became aware of my surroundings, they were all there. Six freckled faces with identical expressions of pain stared down at me, Ron with his hands on Hermione's shoulders. There was Pansy, and her three children. They were crying, I think. Neville and his wife clutched at each other's hands. Snape stood rigidly at his seat, eyes staring and staring and seeing nothing. Your mother had your body gathered up in her arms, but she held you out to me when she saw me looking at her. I took you, held you to my chest, and kissed lips that were already growing cold and blue. Blue, like your eyes.
It was then, right at that very moment, that I decided to get you back. I told no one, but we laid your body out on a stone slab and placed a veil over you. Not a one of us could bear to put you in the cold, dark earth. Had they asked to, I would not have let them. Flowers were strewn about, and incense was lit. After the ceremonies, for which I wore the same borrowed tuxedo, I locked myself in the place I called our home. I researched tirelessly for day upon nights upon days. Finally, I found what I was looking for. I had only to wait for the new moon.
Remus came once, to comfort me I think. I decided that he would be the one I would tell, he and only he. He reacted much the way I had expected he would. I know how you feel, Harry, he told me. You don't know how long it took me to recover after Sirius's death. I never will, fully. But this is madness! Madness, he said. I laughed. Perhaps. He told me I would die. I stared him straight in the face and said, I already have.
The spell itself was simple. I could feel my soul detach, slip away…
…I was where you were. I don't know how I knew this, but I did. I was no longer in the realm of the living. By the confines of the spell, I had to return back to my body by the full of the moon, or I too would be trapped in the realm of the dead. I don't know if I cared. After all, if I failed in this, what was left in the World Above but nothingness?
Before me lay a long and winding road. Behind me was much the same. Without hesitation, my feet set upon this road. The way was hard, the ground beneath me not solid like earth but soft and slippery like sand, yet it gleamed dully. My feet, used to be corporeal, made soft "swush"ing noises as they sank into the pathway. Who can say how long I traveled in this manner? Surely not I. The underworld is a place that has neither day nor night. Perhaps time was meaningless. Perhaps my month had already passed and I was dead, but I thought not, for surely I would loose my tenuous tie to the world of the living if that were so. At some point I began to wonder whether or not this path had an end. Was this all that the dying had to look forward to? An endless walk on a path of sand that was not sand? Yet, after that brief eternity, I did see some change in my journey. The way straightened itself out, and on the far horizon, I could see… something… All at once I had arrived. I had come to the teaming shores of the River Styx.
Where was I to go from here? All the fables in the world could not have prepared me for the terrifying and utter blackness of the waters before me. The souls of the dead clamoured around me, each one calling out for someone, something. Some for the ferryman, others insisting that there had been some mistake. It was the silent ones, however, that pulled at me the most. They said nothing with their mouths, but instead stared, stared, stared. I think that these dead ones could sense my tiny lifespark, and the ones who had died unprepared tried to grasp at my body. They passed right through me. The ghosts of the castle had no prepared me for this, the sickening feeling of utter cold that occurred when the truly dead came in contact with the living. I contained my shudders, stood absolutely still. Eventually their attention abated, and I was left in relative peace.
But where was our transport? Surely the dead were not expected to swim these waters? I shivered at the thought. Such a ghastly thing, this River Styx. It was hardly a river at all, really, as rivers are bodies of water and what was in the Styx was most certainly not water. It reflected no light and flowed sluggishly, like thick India ink. The truly horrible thing was that every so often one could see a bit of a poor soul reach up out of that terrible mass, desperate for a way out. Had they, perhaps, not been able to pay their fare? I rubbed my fingers over the cool solidity of the coin that I had brought with me. It was the first of many keys to finding you. Still, the ferry did not come.
Out of the gloom, something began. As it approached the place where I stood I could see that it was a boat, gleaming white and made all of bleached bone. Terrible, it was, and beautiful, the pitch-black not-water being cut by it's sharp prow. And at the back, paddling forward this bizarre vessel with smooth and confidant strokes, was our Ferryman. The boat bumped the river's shore. Strangely, the dead who had only moments before been so impatient stood back. The ferryman turned to me. He wore a cloak of the same darkness as the river, embroidered with bits of human bones. I could not see his face, only his hands. One was of unsurpassing beauty. The other was rotting away from the bones. I am Charon, said he. I am the one who transports the souls of the dead across the dread River Styx. Who are you, brazen mortal man, that you come here before the thread of your life, measured for you by the Fates, has been cut?
I am Harry/Orpheus, said I. I have come for my bride. Charon scoffed.
Brides, he snorted. That is what they all come for. I have turned them all away before. I shall do the same for you. This is not the place for your kind.
I am different. I am Harry/Orpheus, I insisted.
Prove to me, fool man, that you are worthy of my services.
I did the only thing I could. I spoke of you. I spoke of your beauty, both of form and of soul. I spoke of how your presence made the whole world wondrous and intoxicating, air a heady brew of unsurpassing sweetness. I spoke of your eyes. I spoke of your hands, your skin, your hair, your smile. You, you, you, every word was of you and the love I had for you. I spoke and I spoke and I spoke, until my tongue became so overwhelmed with the words that it stilled and I spoke no more. There was a silence.
Come, said the ferryman, beckoning with his rotten hand. I shall take you across, provided you may pay me the toll. I handed him the coin and stepped aboard. In silence we progressed. My heart sang. I was one step closer to you. Already I imagined that I could hear you whisper my name, could feel your hands.
Our boat journeyed for many a moment. It felt like a year had passed before we touched the opposite shore. I steadied myself from the shock and stepped onto land. As I turned away, Charon took my arm. His touch was chilling.
I wish you luck with your search. May it not bring you more sorrow.
Then he was gone.
I turned to face forward, and before me lay the ornate and awesome gates of Hades. Beyond those gates were Tartarus, Elysian, and all those lands that the tales told nothing of. I stepped forward.
Halt! The voice rang out from above and below me, before and behind. Who are you, mortal?
I am Harry/Orpheus.
What is your purpose?
I have come for my Draco/Eurydice. I have come for my bride.
The voice scoffed and took material form. Standing in front of the gates was a woman of three faces, each one wearing an identical expression of disdain. Her/Their hair was wild and black. She/They beat a clawed fist against her/their naked breast. I know not how you fooled the Ferryman, but you shall not pass. It is my sacred duty as Gatekeeper to prevent mortal souls from carelessly wandering in. You do not belong. Turn back.
I cannot. I have come too far to turn away now.
The woman screamed and flung herself at me. I was unafraid. If I would die here, I would be with you. Yet, she passed right through me. Though in this world I was more solid than the Shades that inhabited it, she was more solid still. Her body was real and ever-living. She could not touch me.
I need to get through.
I am Cerberus! she screamed. You shall not pass here! I forbid it!
I am Harry/Orpheus. Let me pass.
You will not! Heed me!
Let me pass.
She let out a strangled yell of rage. Her body coiled and tensed, as if she were preparing to spring. I stood still.
Let me pass.
Her body melted away and the gates swung open. I stepped through.
As I journeyed onward, the landscape grew increasingly strange. Where before it had been barren and flat, now twisted trees grew in shapes that strangely resembled human beings in a state of terror. The waters that would flow turbidly past me seemed to moan in pain. All along the path my feet moved on were the souls of the damned, condemned to forever live out a life of torment. Though they screamed to me for my aide, I would not be moved. My thoughts were only of you. I was so close…!
I crossed the rivers of Lethe and Mnemosyne, Forgetting and Remembrance. Nymphs beckoned from Lethe for me to drink, and ghouls called from Mnemosyne for me to turn away, yet I paid them no heed.
Finally, before me lay the great Palace of Hades. The guards stood aside as I approached the door: it mattered not if I would pass: the king would either hear me, or he would not. The Palace was beautiful, made all of precious gems and marble. Gorgeous servants of indeterminable gender slithered through the halls, carrying their respective burdens. Every table was laden with the delicious foods of the underworld. I knew better than to taste them. The empty pleasure that they gave would leave one entrapped within this realm for all of eternity.
The doors to the throne room were of heavy ebony, yet the flung open at my slightest touch. There they were the King and his Captive Queen, Persephone. She sat upon a throne of bleached bone, he upon one of ebony caked with dried blood. His eyes were cold and uncaring. Hers were tired and melancholic.
What is it that you desire, mortal, for which you would go so far as to travel to my chambers?
I am seeking a love I have lost.
They all are, young one. What makes you any different from the rest? the King asked of me.
Nothing. I am only Harry/Orpheus. It is he that is different. He is too brilliant a soul to stay trapped here in your dark realm.
He seemed skeptical, this King of Hades, of your intensity. I had to persuade him. I did all that came to me. I spoke, as I had spoken before to Charon the Ferryman. I spoke until my tongue bled and stumbled over the words, I spoke and I spoke and I spoke. All of you, you you you and the miracle that you were. It seemed that there would never be an end to my words when all of a sudden, they did. There was only silence.
Mortal. The Queen spoke as summer rain falling on flowered fields. Mortal, I have heard your plea. I shall grant your request. However! You are under these conditions, Harry/Orpheus. You may not speak to your beautiful one, nor may you cast your eyes upon him until you have both stepped safely into the mortal realm. If you fail in this, I shall not grant you this favour a second time, no matter how strong your love is.
My heart sang in elation. I did as she bid me, and turned my body around to face the door behind the Thrones that would take me to the world above.
Then, quite suddenly, there it was. The weight of your warm hand in mine, that sweet feeling of completion that I had been without ever since that tragic day, once more these were mine! Once more there was that shining and precious thing, that indescribable necessity, once more there was you.
Up and up we walked, hand in hand. Would this cursed journey never end so that I might once again gaze upon your bright visage? Doubts began to plague my mind. What if the hand that so easily had taken mine was not, in truth, yours, but instead that of some terrible creature seeking release from the torment of this Dark World? Yet, you must have sensed my agitation for gently, gently, you squeezed my hand. I remember, you always used to do that when I was upset, just take my hand and apply that light, tender pressure. It would make everything okay.
Still upward we traveled, you and I. Once more I found myself falling prey to dark thoughts and temptations. Could I not just peek at your face, say your name? We had been so long apart… But no, I must remain strong. If I were to give in now, all would be for naught! The thought of never being able to hold you close and hear your voice in my ears was enough to keep my eyes directed only at the path before us.
Ever higher, ever higher. My limbs grew heavy, sensing that the World of the Living was near. My every part strained towards that cumbersome world of flesh, where I would at last have you. There! There it was, ahead, a light, oh, so bright…!
Draco! I said to you, standing in the dazzling sunshine. The sun had never shone so brilliantly, I thought. The air had never had such a sweet, heady fragrance. Draco! I turned to you…
…And your hand slipped away from mine. Those eyes of yours, the colour of the sea after a storm, they stared into mine. Your right foot was still in the shadows of Hades.
Harry. So softly you spoke! And oh! What sorrow was in that one word, my name, that I never thought to hear fall from your lips. Harry. Already you were fading away.
No! You have to stay with me! Stay! I was shouting, crying, screaming. Why were you leaving me again? Was my love not enough to keep you here in this place?
Harry, Harry, Harry.
Over and over again, my name, both lament and curse.
Then, I was alone, and you were gone from me. Forever.
A/N: So? So? What do you think! Please please please R&R!