Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. Though, I'll admit it, I wish I did.
Bill arrived at Draco's flat and knocked on the door.
"Draco, are you in there?" he called through the wood.
He couldn't hear anything and for a second he was afraid that Draco wasn't even there, but then he heard the sound of footsteps and the bolt was pulled. Bill waited for the door to open, but it remained shut.
"Draco?" he called, even more worried than he had been before, which was saying something.
He turned the door knob and pushed open the door. It was morning, but the apartment was dim, the heavy drapes shutting out the sun and leaving the room in shadow. He could see Draco sitting by the couch, not looking up at him.
Bill entered all the way, shutting the door behind him. He came in a few steps, noting that there was a shirt and robe slung over the couch and that a few pieces of parchment had fallen around the keyboard. He looked back at Draco who was only wearing a pair of black trousers and socks.
"Draco?" he asked. "Are you alright?"
Draco said something, and at first he thought it was nonsense words, which scared him, but then he realized it was French. The English equivalent was 'I f---ed up.'
"That's what your letter said. Do you feel like expanding?"
Draco looked up to meet his gaze and Bill took in the wildly mussed hair, the flushed cheeks, and the glazed expression.
"Shit," he said, knowing exactly what had happened. He had only seen Lord Draco once, but he remembered how the Boggart had looked.
Draco laughed, but it was hollow. "The rest of it is in the kitchen. Would you mind throwing it out for me? I would but I think I just might end up taking it."
"Yeah," said Bill. He crossed into the kitchen staring at the assortment of alcohol on the table and then noticing the pot on the counter that held more of the purple and silver liquid.
He picked up the pot and dumped the contents into the sink and then rinsed out the pan, making sure that all the liquid was down the drain. On a second thought he dumped out all the alcohol too, rinsing out those bottles as well.
Draco was still sitting by the couch when he came back, leaning forward, his hands fisted in his hair.
"You alright?' asked Bill.
"Been better," said Draco.
"Where was your signum?" asked Bill. He already figured it was on Draco's back, because most were and because Draco didn't have a shirt on, but he wanted Draco to show him.
Draco turned slightly and Bill felt sick. There was a large, black tattoo centered between Draco's shoulders, sweeping across the majority of his upper back. The signum was artistic and almost pleasing to look at, but the lines were coal black, ugly against the pale skin and there was a large 'X' through the center of it, an 'X' made from burnt skin.
"Do you have a first aid kit?"
Bill went to the bathroom, pulling open the mirror cabinet and finding a burn salve. He found a roll of gauze as well and brought those out along with some medical tape.
"Turn around so I can reach your back," he said.
Draco did and Bill spread the salve on the burns, noticing the way Draco was tensed, refusing to let himself flinch. Once he was finished he taped strips of gauze over the burns.
"Thanks," said Draco quietly. He reached for his shirt and pulled it on, but had difficulty with the buttons.
"Are you still high?" asked Bill.
Draco laughed again. "Mozart composes the majority of his songs in blue circles, so yes, I'm still high." Draco frowned slightly. "That actually makes a lot of sense to me."
"I'm sure it does," said Bill. His tone was flat and unimpressed. Draco looked up at him, startled.
"You're mad at me," he said. "What did I do? Was it this?" He gestured to himself, no doubt referencing his incapacitated mind. "I didn't mean too, I swear, I just…," he trailed off and then turned angry. "It's not exactly as if I purposefully decided to get high just for the fun of it. It hurt, and it wouldn't stop being quiet and there was just…nothing where it was supposed to be, and I had to shut it up somehow. Or maybe I had to make it talk. No, I was just trying to forget. Trying to forget it all, so I made something to help."
His anger had trailed off during his aside to himself and now it came back. "It's not like I wanted this! I didn't ask to be an addict, because I'm not. I'm not an addict, just sometimes I slip and I can't help it. And I didn't mean to, alright? I didn't mean to!"
He was getting upset, but unlike all the other times, the anger wasn't growing somewhere inside of him, underneath the ice. No, this time he was actually lashing out and Bill quickly spoke up.
"I'm not upset about this, Draco. I'm upset that you didn't tell me you were getting disowned. I would have helped you; you didn't have to resort to this."
Draco was silent.
"Why didn't you tell me, Draco?"
Draco shrugged, but the motion seemed to pain him. "You were busy with Ron," he said.
"So you didn't want to bother me," said Bill.
"Draco, look at me."
Bill waited until Draco's glazed silver eyes were at least turned in the direction of his. Draco wasn't exactly focusing that well.
"Draco, you are like a brother to me," he said. "I think of you the way I think of Ron and Charlie and all the rest. I want to know when something like this happens to you, alright?"
"Yeah," Draco muttered looking away, but Bill could tell, by the way Draco seemed uncomfortable and slightly embarrassed, the words had stuck.
"So, why didn't you tell me?"
"I already told you," said Draco. "Didn't want to bother you."
"I don't believe that was the whole reason. Come on, what made you lie to me about this?"
"I didn't lie. Just led you to assume."
"Which is the same thing as lying. You deliberately didn't want me to know, so what was the reason."
"I don't know."
"Draco, I will stay right here all day if you don't tell me."
"Because you wouldn't understand!" Draco blurted.
It was another falsehood, because Draco would never utter such a clichéd, teenage expression, but Bill went along with it.
"I wouldn't understand?" he asked.
"What wouldn't I understand?"
"Draco, tell me."
"Are you ashamed that you used the drugs?"
Draco scoffed. "I used once. Big deal."
"Big deal? Draco, look at you. You're higher than a Firebolt. You don't even know what you're saying."
Draco grew angry at that remark.
"I don't know what I'm saying?" he retorted. "I'll have you know that even when I'm high on illegal drugs, I'm still three times as smart as you. Do you know what I see when I'm like this? I see mathematical equations and atoms. I hear symphonies being composed into different keys and I see poetry brought to life. I can see what music looks like."
"And yet you had me throw away your drugs because you're afraid you'll take more. If it's so amazing, why are you so scared of it?"
Draco looked away, his fingers blundering through their pattern.
"Look at you, you can't even tap your fingers," said Bill. "You know that this isn't good for you, that you can't think or do anything when you're like this, so don't try to tell me that it's okay for you. Don't try to fool me with that excuse. Tell me the truth."
Draco sighed. "Do you know what Lord Draco said to me that last time I talked to him?"
"What did he say?"
"He said that one day I wasn't going to be prepared to fight the drugs, and that's where he would be. Waiting for that day. You know I'm always right, so he's always right."
"So this was what? Some sort of twisted self-fulfilling prophecy?"
"Something like it."
"Draco, worst fears are supposed to say things like that. Besides, you've spent your whole life trying to prove Lord Draco wrong. Don't tell me that he convinced you."
Draco fell silent again, looking at the floor. Bill sighed and sat down in front of Draco.
"Draco, what was so bad about telling me? Do you trust me that little?"
Draco shook his head, not meeting his gaze.
"That what was it?"
Draco's fingers blundered again through the pattern.
"Draco," said Bill softly.
"I didn't want to tell you," came the quiet answer.
Bill frowned. Why hadn't-? "Why not?" he asked, and some of the surprised hurt crept through his voice. And even when he was high, Draco still picked up on it.
"It's not you," he said. "It's me."
"If I told you about it, then I would have to deal with it, and I would have to think about it, and I just wanted it to be over."
Bill immediately understood. Draco was so closed off to his emotions, so hesitant to actually open himself up to them, that he would keep himself closed off just so other people wouldn't bring it up, so that he could wrap up the wound and forget about it, so that one stray comment couldn't pick open the scab.
"Draco, you can't keep hiding things like that. You can't just shove things aside and think that it's over because it will just come back and torment you."
Draco scoffed, but Bill pressed on.
"You didn't just get high because you got disowned, did you?"
Draco didn't answer. That meant Bill was right.
"You got high because of a bunch of other things you didn't deal with, isn't that right?"
No answer; Bill wasn't really expecting one.
"You can't keep pushing emotions back like that Draco. You have to face them."
Draco let his head drop to his hands and Bill had to remind himself that although he was ready to have a little heart to heart, Draco was still high and not in a position to listen to a lecture. Even if Draco was sober-minded, it still wasn't the right time. Not now when so much had happened. It was no wonder that the kid, who didn't cope with emotions well in the first place, was so overwhelmed.
He watched as Draco took in a breath and released it. He then stared at something only he was aware of.
"What are you seeing now?" he asked.
"Chemical bonding on the molecular level."
Bill shook his head. "Of course you are. I do have to say though, I think Lord Draco is more of a fun druggie than you."
"He's not going through withdrawal."
Bill frowned, suddenly worried. "Already?"
"I only took one dose, so yeah."
"Is it bad?"
"Not yet, just a migraine."
"How bad is it going to be?"
"Lock me in a room."
"Alright then, come on."
Bill got to his feet and then grabbed Draco's arms, pulling him up. Draco swayed once he was standing and Bill grabbed his shoulders, holding him upright.
"You okay there, Draco?"
Draco nodded, but his gaze was clouded again, and not with a hallucination.
Draco swallowed hard and blinked a few times. His expression remained glazed and he shook his head, obviously trying to clear his mind. That threw him off balance and he swayed again, grabbing onto Bill's shoulder, and Bill tightened his grip in return.
"Hey, you okay?" he asked, not liking the look on Draco's face.
Draco started to nod, but then seemed to think better of it. He shook his head, jaw clenching. Bill stepped closer, wrapping an arm carefully around the middle of Draco's back, underneath the burn. For the first time, Draco actually leaned into the hug, in need of the comfort this time, and too weary to pull away. Bill put all of the reassurance he could into that brief moment and then stepped away, knowing that Draco wasn't one to enjoy extended periods of close physical proximity.
"Are you ready to go?" he asked.
Draco frowned. "Where we going?"
"Home," said Bill.
"Here," said Bill, handing him the piece of paper Dumbledore had given him.
Draco read it. "No."
"I'm high on an illegal potion and I'm going to spend the next few days in a room with a vanishing bucket."
"Exactly," said Bill. "I'm not a medi-witch and I want other people to be able to go for help if something goes wrong."
"Bill, no. I'm not going to go over there when I'm like this."
"Draco, you know how you don't want to contemplate on your emotions?"
"What about it?"
"That's why we have other people. So that when it gets too much, they can help."
"And this is what? A crash course in trust?"
"Something like it."
Draco still didn't look convinced so Bill spoke again.
"Sirius Black was disowned too. When he lost his signum, he got drunk. This is about the same."
Draco rolled his eyes and Bill helped him over the Floo. He threw on a bunch of Floo powder and called out 'Order of the Phoenix Headquarters'.
He didn't know that Draco was thinking, that very moment, of a nightmare he had where he was locked in the Veil room and everyone else had run through, except now it had a happier ending. In this version, Bill had come back through to help him to the other side.
Bill did know, however, that Draco took a breath before he stepped through, and that his grip on Bill's hand tightened.
Hey, sorry about the wait. My laptop, Freddie, broke and I had to take him to the shop. But he's all better now.
And now, the Q and A on the next story.
I don't have a title just yet, but I do have the general outline. The first chapter will be up in three weeks, because I need to take a break. I'm sure you understand. In the next story Draco will be joining the Order and there will be lots of Draco/Ginny moments. Ginny may appear to be slightly cliché in the first few chapters, but that's just because she's got a crush on Draco and will be inserting herself in his life.
Also, Draco will be discovering a code that the Death Eaters are using, there will be a major death, Lord Draco will be making an appearance (because I love writing him), Draco and Ginny will start dating, and…umm, I think that's all I can say so far. A big thank you to all of my reviewers, I love you all! I'm sorry that I didn't respond to unanimous reviews here, but I'm exhausted. Good night!