Title: Draco's Locomotive
Warnings: It's hard to put anything here since it all depends how you interpret the fic. Mental disorder.
Summary: "These are not the hills and valleys that you need but the ones at the end of these rail tracks." Draco Malfoy is trying to find the world that the others live in.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters.
A/N: This fic is dedicated to the memory of Michael Serpent, one of the best authors on a fellow-Finn from this beautiful city, a fabulous beta-reader and a marvellous guy whom I, unfortunately, never met in real life although we kept in touch for years. It was an honour to know you although in the end it wasn't possible anymore.
A big thank you to my beta-reader, Marijn!
Stepping out of the train's tiny toilet that would have left many claustrophobics on the brink of insanity, Draco glanced to his right and left to see if there was anyone else in the narrow, bright orange corridor. There wasn't, of course. The bumpy ride and sudden jerks forced Draco to steady himself against the wall, and he kept his eyes fixed on the dark brown, wooden plank flooring that creaked under his weight. Hurriedly he made his way to the compartment, number 42, sliding the squeaking door open and slamming it shut behind him. The familiar smell of leather and citrus detergent washed over him and he began to feel somewhat tranquil.
With a weary sigh Draco slumped onto his seat by the window and leaned with his forehead against the cold, metallic window pane that smelled of old coins and rust. The scenery flew past him in a blurry, sustained flood of images and he gripped a one-way train ticket tighter in his white, bony hands. He had seen so many milestones flash past him that he had lost count ages ago.
So this was the world? Did it truly consist of all of these humungous metropolises full of life and bright lights? These deep, thick primeval forests that never ceased to remain unexplored and full of the strangest creatures that had ever existed? These incredibly open fields and bare, silent deserts? These steep mountains that pierced the blue-blue sky and these mysterious oceans that shimmered under the egoistic sun, the wind pushing whitecaps onto the alabaster white, red and black shores? This was what they were all talking about when they had told him that out there, there was a world far bigger than the one inside our heads. Wanting to believe them, he had taken to himself to find the world, wrap it up in his handkerchief and bring home for further inspection or, alternatively, bring his home to the world. He had seen some amazing things.
'Daddy, I want a swimming pool and a rowing boat', said the seven-year-old Draco to his father, looking up at him with authority beyond his years.
Daddy just smiled and ruffled Draco's hair in a way that could have been affectionate. 'You can have anything you want. Of course you'll get your swimming pool and a rowing boat.'
And he had. Denying Draco's whims and needs had never been an option and he had almost always gotten his way. If he had not, he assumed that it must have been because of his own lack of real interest. The things you really wanted you also always got, right? And when you got it you did not share, you kept it to yourself. Back in the days when Draco had been a mere child, he had been called selfish. A bit later 'selfish' had turned into 'introverted' and 'pent-up'.
Owning the world had never really been a dream of his. Nevertheless, it seemed like everybody else was absolutely craving for a piece of it.
'Like a kidney pie', Draco rasped and with his forefinger, he drew a small circle on the spot where the air he exhaled had condensed on the window.
He travelled alone with lots of company. If an outsider had entered his compartment, asking if they were allowed to sit there, Draco would have just answered by saying that there was no room. Of course, no one had ever entered the compartment. In fact, there was no one else on the train other than Draco and his company. In the beginning, Draco's parents, and many other relatives of his had been there with him along with his doctors, all of his schoolmates and professors, his dearest neighbours, his postman, his store keeper, his burglar, his cat, his home and his ficus. Gradually, they all had got off the train. Draco didn't really mind, though. Of necessity, someone always had to get off so that there would be more room for his new companions who, at some point, had started to mill in. His family had acted as if his new acquaintances were air, which Draco had found both insulting and confusing at the same time. Yes, they had had to go. Surely his family understood, he had thought.
'What are you going to do today, Draco?' Asked Sophie Anne.
Draco couldn't even be bothered to look at her ugly little face. It was never him who chose where to go and what to do, after all. He just tagged along and followed the others like a scared, beaten puppy. At first their voices had been there to soothe him but minute by minute their ones had grown arrogant, dominant and wrong. He had started to regret although his mum had said that nothing was his fault. Draco had felt the radiation of his mother guilt and back then, he had felt puzzled and had wanted to understand it but there had been a wall and a numbing buzz of substances going through his system.
'Draco, don't even try to ignore us', chuckled Marcus and bumped his head to the ceiling.
Draco bit his lip and frowned. 'I don't want to talk to you. You never let me decide on anything. You always do it for me.'
He knew his companions shared a knowing look. 'But we know better, Draco. Without us you'd be all alone and unable to decide what to do. You do things because you can, not because it makes sense.'
Draco let his eyes fall shut for a calming second or two. Don't let them do this to you. People always try to manipulate you, make you imagine utopian things about yourself and they say that what you have and what you see is not really there. That you are to look more carefully and believe and question and prove.
'You have no one else.'
The hills and valleys do exist but not here. These are not the hills and valleys that you need but the ones at the end of these rail tracks. The ones you see are just flashes of what there could be. Do not start to believe in this scenery on your own, not tangibly. You want to see what there is at the other end, right, Draco?
'Do you see anyone else here?'
Suddenly the train started shaking and rattling as if it was about to come off the rails. With a strong surge forwards, the train started increasing its speed, like an aeroplane about to take off. Draco drew his knees up to his chest.
The train had not stopped at any station for a long time. Not since Harry had reluctantly got off at the ninth station, hanging onto the front of Draco's white jacket that was too tight for comfort. 'I don't want to leave him alone! He's my boyfriend, I love him. Please, I want to be there. I have the right!' Eventually he had been forced to let go and Draco had wanted to continue reading his blue book about planets and distant galaxies.
The department felt smaller and smaller the more he saw through the window. The air was being squeezed into a small cube around him and the colours outside the window stood out in strong contrast with what used to look real.
Despite the bright crayon colours and inviting brightness of the sun outside, Draco did not feel secure, happy or like a child.
He wanted out.
Out of the department, away from the window, away from the colours, away from limitless experiences, away from Sophie Anne and Marcus…
''Draco, listen to me. I am not going to leave you here for the rest of your life. Draco, look at me. Do you see me, Draco?' Harry took his head in his hands.
He was needed to water his ficus. Harry was sure to drown it if he was not there to take care of it.
'Yes, it's me, Harry. Now listen to me, you need to follow through with this no matter what. Do you understand me, Draco?'
He felt his eyes watering and his lungs were burning from the lack of oxygen. It was painful and oppressive and scary and comforting to know that soon, soon he would see what there truly was.
Crying out as new sensations hit him, Draco fell to the floor, through it, and the train stopped at its terminal point. When he opened his eyes he was greeted by the one face that he had missed the most in the other world.