draco malfoy is better than you
Anything about everything.
He didn't understand it; he didn't understand why it was so hard to breathe, and why his chest ached and why he suddenly couldn't move his legs and had to sink down against the stone wall. He didn't understand why he screamed, loud and long and high and shrill, like it had been drilled into his skull not to (Malfoys don't scream) and why before he passed out it was cold gray eyes like his own that stared back into his.
Draco didn't understand anything about everything.
When it rains later on that night, it storms. The sky darkens until he can't see the stars, and then the heavens crack and starts to cry.
"Move the body. Over there."
He wants so badly to shriek out, and make some sort of motion to let them know he was there, but he is darkness, he is all darkness, and he cannot forget that darkness feels no pain.
"Drop him there, by the lake."
But he deserves this, and that is why he lets his eyes stay closed while the rain pelts at his skin sharply, striking old and new wounds, curling over the swelling sphere that is his right eyes, unrecognizable, he supposes.
Everything stings, and when he hits the ground with a jarring thud it is enough to wrench him from his half-awake state, long enough for him to cry out in anger.
He is furious that they touched him.
Draco reaches out a hand, because he wants to feel, to prove that this isn't as real as his body is making it out to be. Because what's happening to him isn't possible. He is a Malfoy, his father's son, only son, his mother loves him and he is the heir of millions and he—
—is a failure, who has never beaten Harry Potter at anything but the dream-matches and has never excelled more than Hermione Granger and has never been as sure of anything in his life as Ron Weasley has and will never be as close to anyone as the stupid Trio is—
—is Draco Malfoy, and Draco Malfoy is better than you.
He starts to cry when the voices leave as well and he is left with only his aching body and an awkward, cumbersome weight on his left wrist.
Ron Weasley finds him.
Draco is drifting between this realm and another, and he wants to smirk to show that he is not afraid (even though he is) but instead ends up hissing in pain when someone lightly prods him in the shoulder.
He recognizes the voice instantly, and automatically curls up into a ball, despite the intense sting it brings to his chest. By now it's obvious his ribs are broken, but he ignores the hurt and allows his mind to slip a little deeper into the abyss, where there is nothing there but himself and the darkness he is a part of and accustomed to.
"Hey, Harry! Harry! Malfoy's back, and I think he's dead!"
He doesn't hear the reply, because just the thought of being saved by Harry Potter was enough to send him farther down the chasm. Draco is tempted to loosen his grip and fall, but he doesn't.
He doesn't, because a Malfoy always gets his revenge.
The silence is too loud.
Pomfrey has refused to let Draco out, and he's been stuck inside of the Hospital Wing since he woke up a few days ago. His injuries are healed, but the mental ones are fresh wounds, and they bleed every day.
Bored, Draco toys idly with the gold bracelet that's still on his wrist, wrapping around it with a sort of morbid finality. Dumbledore says it's charmed so that no one may break his mental barriers, but it doesn't specify anything more than that. Dumbledore says that if Draco wants to tell them what happened, he can, but it is entirely up to him.
Of course he doesn't.
Is he afraid?
He wants to see how long he can hold out.
Malfoys don't keep secrets.
Draco sneers, inexplicably, and then turns over. He's getting a headache, and he doesn't want to think about the bracelet anymore. The memories of that night and the night before and all of the time spent before locked—no, just spent there, they were all stored carefully away. All inside him, inside of his head, never to be let out again.
The abyss is still there, though, and he decides to live for a little longer. Dying, her muses, is too emotional.
Pansy and Blaise visit him on his twelfth day in the Hospital Wing. It's his fifth day awake, and he surprises himself and them with the enthusiasm he shows to have visitors.
"Longbottom's got detentions for the month because he blew up his cauldron when it had a Sicilian Essence Potion in it," Blaise says smugly.
Draco picks irately at the loose thread on his coverlet, and examines the way the sun falls on the white sheets, spilling over the crinkles and folds in all its golden glory. Then he crinkles his nose; it's disgusting when he thinks like that.
"Sicilian?" he says idly.
"Come now, Draco," Pansy shakes her head. "It's the best potion to work to sort out Essence problems; a shredded one, a half-one, one that is ill. It heals more than most, and…Draco!"
He isn't listening, because he's just realized how much the nonchalant way Blaise has been twisting the coverlet around his finger reminds him of something. Someone winding a rope around his wrists, tying him back, throwing him in a cell, and screaming, wild laughter—
Pansy screams when she notices the tendril of black snake around his wrist, sending a shock of pain up his arm, again and again and again. Draco barely notices when Pomfrey arrives; he's so fascinated with the black.
Side to side to side to side
The tendril is caressing his cheek now, and he leans into the touch, ignoring the spells Pomfrey shouts close by, and the fact that Blaise is saying something to him and all Pansy's doing is shrieking because suddenly everything is gone and he's back in the abyss. He's forgotten what he was thinking of before.
Names are important, because they color and describe a person. Draco can't remember names very well; he can't remember people, but he remembers things. The names of Dark things, things that haunt him in the night.
What is his name?
"Let me," he gasps, "Let me die!"
What was inside him, that made him so sure and hateful and upset and miserable and cranky and cold and unlovable and alone? What inside of him confused people so much that he couldn't even keep a steady girlfriend?
There's a dark canyon, somewhere, waiting for you…
Draco sits up; eyes wide and mouth open in a silent scream. Instantly, hands push him down again.
"Still, sit still," says Severus, and Draco follows orders.
He is darkness, he is all darkness
His head pounds, and his heart is beating a hole through his chest. Dumbledore is here too, and Harry Potter. (Draco feels too tired to add Sodding to his name.) Dumbledore says he shouldn't have activated the charm so quickly, not when he was weak. Dumbledore says not supposed to think of these things until they are ready, but it looks like they will have to be ready now.
"Dumbledore says a lot of things," he thinks out loud.
He finds himself unsurprised as Harry Potter leans over, touching a wand tip gently to his forehead and whispering, "I know."
Draco's insides squirm.
"Draco, what is wrong with you?" Lucius is cold, so cold, and even his touch is icy when he strokes his son's cheek. Affection by proxy.
"What have I done to displease you?"
An automatic answer, never wavering despite the fact that the manacles are chafing his wrists, and the mild spell on him is making it hard to stay awake. He pretends that Voldemort is not sitting in the corner of the room, and that he is not waiting for Lucius to come do unspeakable things.
Ew. Especially that last one.
"You've disobeyed me, Draco," Lucius says, watching him closely. Draco wonders if there's something on his face; maybe that was blood, then, not sweat?
"I told you very clearly not to try and save Potter, no matter what childish thoughts were running through your mind—"
"He's my arch-nemesis."
"Stop whining, Draco," Lucius says and Draco does, but only because he notices the wand that has suddenly appeared in Lucius' hand. "He was ours, and all you were to do was lure him to the Forest."
"I did," Draco says, unable to stop the tirade of words. "I mean, what kind of idiot Dark Lord doesn't even attack his enemy when he's five feet away from him!"
Lucius shoots him a disgusted look. "The kind who cannot see through Invisibility Cloaks and wards."
Draco doesn't scream when Lucius hits him, but his mind does.
"Ickle Draco, where're your friends now?" Bellatrix coos into his prison, softly stroking his hair as she cradles his head in her lap. "You're all alone."
Draco knows she is rights, and ignores the fact that his heart knows she is wrong. He has no heart, he tells himself. His insides are black, because he is darkness, he is all darkness.
"Draco, do you know everything is going to end?"
"Do you know what can stop it?"
"Do you want it to stop?"
Bellatrix looks at him, black eyes wide and huge, mouth curved into a parody of a smile. Her lips are red, so very red, and Draco knows it is because when she kissed his head it was matted with blood. He shivers, and she smoothes back his bangs.
"You know, you are darkness, all darkness?" she says, and Draco wants to die a painful, slow death. "Like me," Bellatrix continues. "Only worse, because you've no guidance."
Draco pushes her, and tries to get up. Bellatrix watches his struggles, and giggles girlishly when he falls back down.
"Idiot," she says affectionately.
Draco wants to kill her.
"Draco!" Pansy shrieks, but it's five year old Pansy and she's clutching at her shovel, the one that was supposed to be plastic but Lucius made it real because plastic was a Muggle thing. There is something dark on the shovel, and Draco is crying.
"Draco, I'm sorry!" Pansy cries, wailing so loud Narcissa runs outside, and she puts a hand to her mouth. The world is spinning for Draco, who's just realized that it's blood streaming down his face.
Lucius stands behind Pansy, eyes cold. "Why did you let her hit you? Couldn't you move? Couldn't you have done something with your magic, Draconis?"
It's the first and last time Draco hears Mommy curse, and by then he's half-passed out, so he's still not sure if he's dreaming.
Later, when he wakes up, Pansy is sleeping on the bed next to him. There are piles of gifts next to his head, but Narcissa is missing. She goes missing for a long time, and when she comes back, Draco pretends not to notice that she isn't hugging him or kissing him or even looking at him.
If Lucius can, he can too.
"The Mudblood got a higher score?" Lucius sneers, looking down his nose. "Draco, I'd like you to meet someone, then."
Draco spends his summer with Peter Pettigrew, crying every night because Peter is always with the Dark Lord and the Dark Lord is never without Nagini and Nagini is never without her fangs.
Narcissa sits in the same room, and cries, and Draco cries too. Lucius smirks, a bridge between them.
"Narcissa, leave. There's not enough poison to kill him."
Draco wishes there was. Desperately.
The girl, he's never met before. It is a quick shag and go, nothing special. He's never seen the next few either, and all he knows is that every second spent with them is another second he can spend away from his father, his mother, everything that makes him a Malfoy.
Draco Malfoy is better than you.
Draco Malfoy has never been loved.
Draco Malfoy is better than you.
Draco Malfoy is lonely.
"Shut up, Draco," Lucius says.
"Shut up, Lucius," Draco mocks him. His eyes are swollen shut, his mouth, nearly, and his mind was swollen shut a long time ago. He wonders what happened to Voldemort…eww, and Bellatrix, and then he stops.
Lucius sighs, like Draco is a waste of his previously carefully preserved time. "Where did I go wrong? What is wrong with you, Draconis? I thought we'd agreed on a plan. Lure Potter into the Forest, and run."
What really happened?
The question floats in the air.
"I warded Potter and tried to run. Potter struck back instead."
What really happened?
Wrong answer, Draco thinks, and Lucius casts Cruciatus like Draco is another stuffed dummy in the weapons room.
"Hurry up, Potter."
"Did we have to come out here if you wanted a duel, Malfoy?"
It is dark outside, and Draco shivers inwardly in anticipation. Potter stumbles, catches himself, and stumbles again. Draco rolls his eyes.
"Potter, I'm sure your head isn't that heavy, so can you hurry it up? And we're walking this far because the whole courtyard is warded."
"You used to be afraid of the Forest."
Draco wonders what his point is, and asks so.
"Nothing, it just seems kind of weird. I mean—even though we've both got our wands and everything, there are still animals in here."
Draco muses. Is Potter really remembering their first year? There's nothing around in the forest, anyways, that Voldemort couldn't scare away.
Oh, but is there?
There is a sudden noise, which sounds suspiciously like a scream, way off in the distance. Draco begins to get his doubts when even Potter shifts nervously.
"Malfoy, let's go back."
Something flies by his face and Draco starts to scream, but Potter's hand is suddenly covering his mouth, and Potter's own mouth is next to his ear, hot air spreading across his face and forcing a blush to spread rapidly. He is glad it is dark.
"If there's something here, Malfoy, we don't want to let them know we're around too," Potter says. "Listen, we're going back. We can duel later."
Draco begins to nod, and then stops. Um, hello, he has a mission, remember? He opens his mouth instead to bite Potter's hand, and stops when something flies by again.
"What the hell…!" Potter's exclamation is cut off as both of them fall back, knocked over by the sudden appearance of some unearthly beast, cloaked in black, leathery wings, and with white fangs glinting against its dark skin.
"What is that?" Draco hisses, spitting out leaves and dirt. Potter grabs his hand and pulls.
"Shut up and run!"
Narcissa is packing.
"How long are you going to be gone for, Mother?" Draco asks. He is sitting on the stool he had a house elf drag in here, swinging his legs like he used to when he was younger. He has an overwhelming urge to hug her but represses it quickly.
"I don't know."
"Did Father send you away?"
"Don't lie to me, Mother."
She snaps the suitcase shut so angrily he flinches, and when it disappears in a haze of smoke she is leaning across the thin air between them, face slack but eyes drawn together.
"You are too much like him for me, Draconis. I cannot stand both of you in this house. I need a break."
Draco's voice is flat, his eyes cold and steady. "I can make you stay."
"You can make me do nothing."
He hasn't seen his mother in a year.
His legs hurt. He wonders where Potter is, and then stops wondering as the bat creature (which he has secretly dubbed the Dark Creature Of Hellish Thingers, DCOH for short) drags him along the Forest floor.
Stupid Potter, Draco thinks idly. Why the hell did he have to run so fast?
The Devilish Concoction Of Hysterical Thoughts hisses and stops, and Draco nearly cries out in relief as his legs are removed from the beast's mouth. He hears Potter's voice and wants to ask why Potter has saved him, but he passes out, unfortunately.
When Voldemort hexes him, it's much, much worse than when Lucius does it.
Because Voldemort knows how to keep him awake, how to make sure that all he hears are his own screams and heartbeats, and the sound of blood splattering against the wall, and someone laughing and he turns his head and—oh god—is that Narcissa? Everything spins and moves and he starts to cry because this kind of hurt can't be possible, and then his hands are tangled in something and someone is lifting him and telling him everything will be okay.
"Draco, please, but you must be awake to pass through the words, Draco, please, I love you, wake up…"
He opens his eyes, and smiles weakly at his mother. There is blood splattered all across her face, and he wants to know it was his, but then it trickles down her forehead and off the tip of her elegant, curved nose.
Bellatrix is there. She stands in the corner, staring at Lucius's crumpled body. She must not know what's going on, Draco knows.
They bypass the wards in silence and Apparate to the gates in front of Hogwarts. Bellatrix sneers and pokes him with her wand.
"I don't know why the Dark Lord wanted you to be sent back here as a message, or why Lucius had to be incapacitated, but I think I want to kill you myself."
Narcissa glares at her. "Shut up and help me put him through the gates, Bella."
But the widow Lestrange is not totally duped, and Draco feels his mother shaking as slow realization dawns in the eyes of the mad woman. Narcissa raises her head, ever the proud woman, and stares coldly at her sister.
"Help me take him inside, Bella. He is near dead already. Afterwards, you can take me as the prisoner. I don't care."
And she does it.
It surprises Draco to no ends.
Draco looks at Harry, their noses inches from each other.
"Personal space," Draco wheezes, and sits up. The—whatever it was, is scattered around the wooded area, in several different pieces. Draco grins, and then stops. Voldemort is still here. And Potter—has just saved his life.
"Potter," he says urgently. "I have something to tell you."
When Draco wakes up, the sun is streaming through his window. He remembers what happened and sits up a little. Potter is sitting in the seat opposite his bed and is head is drooping. Every time he leans too far, he jerks up a little and then repeats the process.
Draco wants to smile, but can't.
He is an orphan.
He thinks of his dead mother. She has to be dead now, or in pain even worse than what he endured. His father should be dead, for letting him escape. He wants to laugh at the irony.
Potter is an orphan too, he remembers, and then slumps.
Draco Malfoy is better than you.
Draco Malfoy is an orphan.
Draco Malfoy is disowned.
Draco Malfoy is no longer indebted to Harry Potter, but it cost him everything.
Harry Potter must be indebted to him, he hopes.
Draco suddenly feels too tired to do anything more than stare outside. The sun is very bright.
Yes, Yes, Draco Malfoy is most definitely better than all of us.
How many people can be so flipping proud in the middle of what he's been through? Then again...maybe it should just be Draco Malfoy is Hotter Than You.
That, however true it may be, might drag away from the truth.
And yes, this is just a little crackfic to keep me going. I found part of a couple of days ago started god-knows-when and finished it today, feeling distinctly over the top about it. What do you think?