Title: Post Post Scriptum
Genre: Drama, Romance,
Pairing: Draco/Neville, Harry/Snape (mentioned),
Summary: Have you ever wondered, why is the totally nice guy together with that complete b***h? Draco and Neville's story. Continuing the series.
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, no copyright or trademark infringement, or offense is intended.
Warnings: slash, not beta-edited. About the same warning that in the first story. I will add that you won't see much of Harry and Draco in this one.
A/N: In this, I continue with Draco and Neville's story. So there is not much Severus/Harry. Not interested? Don't read then. But for those who are – enjoy.
When Draco opens his eyes, he is not sure where he is at first. Until he turns his head to the side and sees that, it is Neville Longbottom, whose arm is draped over his middle. It's a large and heavy arm and it is strange that Draco doesn't feel trapped, maybe because said arm doesn't feel possessive.
Longbottom's face is so close that Draco can count his every eyelash. Actually, he has very nice, long, dark eyelashes. But, of course, if Draco didn't find Longbottom attractive, then he wouldn't have climbed in his bed. At least he wouldn't have this time for some inexplicable reason.
Maybe, because he thinks that Longbottom is attractive enough, and he is there. Maybe…Maybe Draco is not in the mood to analyse his reasoning too closely.
Longbottom's lips part and Draco has this ridiculous urge to insert his tongue between them. His eyelashes flutter and their eyes meet. And once again, Draco wants to kiss Longbottom. Ridiculous. It's a foolish want.
"Are you rich, Longbottom?" is Draco's 'good morning'.
Longbottom looks at him for a long moment and then rolls his eyes and Draco tries to hide his disappointment when Longbottom takes the arm away. But then he sits up and the sheet slides down uncovering broad chest with dark nipples and thick, toned, manly waist. Longbottom is heavy with muscle and solid, he is absolute opposite to Draco's graceful slenderness…
"What? You are not rich?"
"No. I know, what you are thinking about. The answer is, no."
That's just not fair!
"You can pout all you want; it's still a 'no'."
Now it's Draco's turn to roll his eyes: "I'm in your bed Longbottom."
"And you still won't call me 'Neville'."
This is ridiculous: "Are you a virgin Neville?"
"No, Draco, I am your friend."
"Am I about to hear some lecture on Gryffindor moral 101, or something?"
"Do you want to?" Is he kidding? "But, no, not really." Then Longbottom puts his palm on Draco's cheek, turns his head so they are facing each other, and looks closely into Draco's eyes. There are only a couple of inches between their lips. "I am not going to take advantage of you Draco, even with your leave. And I will not let you use me."
Draco tries to get free of the grip. Longbottom is rejecting him! Neville Longbottom dares to reject him, Draco Malfoy!
"Draco! Don't. Don't be angry with me, please. You don't need sex. You need someone to be there for you. If I sleep with you…" Longbottom isn't letting him look away.
How dares Longbottom to… to… Draco has no idea, what… but, how dares he! An odd swell of emotion, threatening to overcome Draco.
"Look at me Draco. I am your friend. I hope that one day you might become my friend too," then he lets go and Draco can finally hide his eyes away from the inquisitive gaze, which feels as if reaching into the very depths of his soul.
Draco knows, that he should say something. Make a scathing remark or insult Longbottom, preferably in the worst way possible. But his mind simply refuses to come up with anything and Draco has a feeling that even if he knew, what to say, his lips would have failed him.
Then there is a strong grip on his hand.
"Come," Longbottom pulls Draco to his feet, out of the bed.
"Let's get dressed and have some breakfast. How do you take your tea?"
Despite everything, Draco can't find anything wrong with his breakfast. It's good, just the way he likes it. He can't find anything wrong with the house either. Of course, it's not Malfoy Manor, but that is actually a plus because the Longbottom Hall is less ostentatious. White marble, countless ornaments, golden door handles and all the crystal. Singing roses? Albino peacocks? At this point, Draco finds all that splendour pompous and annoying. Maybe he is somewhat biased; he has been showed the door, after all.
Anyway, right now he much prefers the calm elegance of Longbottom hall.
Approaching clicks of someone's heels bring Draco out of his musings.
"Neville!" The women's voice is stern. It makes an impression of someone, who never quite approves of you no matter who you are or what you do.
"Where are you boy?" The elderly witch keeps clamouring even as she is entering the dining room and Draco decides that apparently it's just her way of a stern matron and a force to reckon with at the same time.
"Hi, Gran," Longbottom sounds meek like a little boy, "How was your trip?"
"Fine," she retorts curtly, the sharp, brown eyes already boring into Draco.
"And you would be?" She asks gruffly, and Draco has no doubt that she knows very well who he is, since the Wizarding world is not that small and his hair alone is very distinguishable.
"This is Draco, Gran," Longbottom introduces politely. "Draco, meet my Grandmother, Augusta Longbottom."
"It's a pleasure, Madam," Draco turns on his charm, well aware, that it is going to annoy her.
"Hm," she makes it clear that the feeling is not mutual.
"Draco is going to stay here for a while," Longbottom announces calmly. "As long as he will feel like staying, I mean."
Her expression says 'we'll see about it'. Her lips press together in a thin line: "Can I talk to you outside for a moment Neville?"
Draco marvels at the manner in which she manages to wield Longbottom's name like a weapon against him.
Longbottom seems to be pretty unperturbed, maybe he is used to her ways. Draco would know, with parents like his.
Draco continues cutting his food into small pieces, bringing them to his mouth and swallowing meticulously.
Few minutes later Longbottom returns to his place at the table. He's as calm as he was, when he left. Nothing hints at the argument, which Longbottom most likely has just had with his grandmother.
Well, Draco is not going to bring it up.
Apparently, Longbottom is not a pushover after all, since he is not asking Draco to leave.
"I wish I didn't have to work today," he says instead. "I would have liked to show you the garden myself. Some plants are not very friendly, but you will probably recognise those. You did fairly well in Herbology, didn't you?"
"I do very well in everything, Longbottom," Draco snorts.
"Of course," Longbottom's smile is indulgent. It's like he founds it amusing that Draco would think he should apologise for doubting his abilities.
Draco is lazing on the terrace with a glass of daiquiri, probably the first one in the poor house elf's life, but very good nonetheless.
A shadow falls over him; it is too early for Neville to be home. Draco cracks open his right eye. Who else could it be, but the charming 'Gran' Augusta?
"Good morning Madam," he greets her lifting the glass by an inch.
"It's well in the afternoon, Mr. Malfoy."
"Oh. Alright," he doesn't really care, does he?
"Mr. Malfoy, a good guest knows when he has outstayed his welcome. Or when he's not welcome at all."
Subtle, isn't she? Draco answers with a smirk: "I couldn't agree more. You are absolutely right."
Draco doesn't look at her; if he looked, it would mean, that he's interested in her reaction, which would imply that he might be trying to get a rise out of her. Which is true, but unlike Augusta Longbottom, Draco knows something of decorum and subtlety.
He doesn't think her face reddens when she is angry though. She's most likely the eyes narrowing, hissing type, like Snape.
And exploding suddenly type.
"You are the most shameless, layabout I have ever had displeasure to meet! Have you no decency at all!"
"Apparently, you have not had displeasure to meet many Slytherins; of course it is not like I don't stand out a bit even among my house mates. Father says that I have taken after the mother's side of the family. He doesn't mean it as a compliment," it's probably true. All the Blacks have been particular in their own ways, except, maybe Draco's mother. She is actually very sane and mild mannered in comparison.
Draco finally graces her with a look. Her eyes have become very narrow slits. Augusta has no sense of humour apparently.
"Your presence in this house is absolutely improper! To burden strangers the way you-"
"Look," she is starting to give Draco a headache and wasting her breath. "I am afraid, I can't agree with you on this, Madam. I could never be a burden. Someone ugly with no personality would be a burden. I, on the other hand, am an adornment."
Draco emphasizes his words by giving outraged Augusta Longbottom one of his most charming smiles.
"And I wish my presence here was more improper…" he whispers to himself, watching her stalk away in a huff.
Neville is plucking off the blooming heads of singing Dandelions. It's a bit sad, to end the soft tune, but that is the work of apprentice like. Could be worse; they could be screaming and begging him to leave them alone. Besides, singing dandelion honey is the most important ingredient into the potion used to enable mute people talk. He is just being sentimental and silly.
But then Professor's Burdock's house elf announces that 'Mr. Longbottom, Sir!' is having a visitor and should apparate back to the greenhouses.
Neville frowns before apparating. Who could it be? Who would visit him at work?
He almost makes a fool of himself by tripping over his own feet. But, damn, who expects Lucius Malfoy to show up at your workplace in all his arrogant glory? But when he thinks about it, Neville can imagine what this is about.
Offensive is the best defensive, or isn't it what they say?
"Mr. Malfoy. How are you? What brings you here?"
Lucius gives Neville an assessing look. He doesn't hide it. Neville can see that he is being judged, because the man wants him to see it. Probably to make sure that Neville doesn't miss it when it is shown that he has been found lacking in a subtle way.
"I went to school with your parents," Malfoy states, making Neville freeze.
But he manages to stop himself from reacting, because that is obviously what Malfoy is aiming for. He wants to get a rise out of Neville, to throw him out of balance. He wonders if it is personal, or it's a habit.
"My parents are fine," it's not true, but it's not a lie either.
"Really? And what would they say if they knew that you had invited to their house the nephew of the woman responsible for their current state?"
Neville gapes. He knows that he is staring at Lucius Malfoy like a muggle at a unicorn.
Then he gives a laugh: "Are you for real? Did I hear you correctly? Did you really just say that?"
"You really think that I would hold against Draco something his aunt has done? You think I'm... sorry, but do you think I am stupid or that prejudiced?" Now it is Neville, who is trying to understand the other man.
Lucius' expression doesn't change; it looks like his face has been carved in marble. But then there is a subtle shift; something does change in the man's eyes.
"Merlin, you do. You really thought I was like that!"
Neville is not sure if he should laugh or be offended. He doesn't even care that some people obviously doesn't think of him much; it feels too good to make Lucius Malfoy uncomfortable.
"It is strange that you find your low social status amusing. But I see that you are not the kind of fool I thought you were."
"Hm. Thank you," Neville doesn't let the spitefulness, which he is feeling to colour the tone of his voice.
Neville sees Lucius lips twitch in annoyance, but the man ignores his last retort.
"Mr. Longbottom, I understand that my son is currently residing with you."
"Yes, he is," Neville has decided not to give Malfoy senior more than necessary. It's not that he is scared, but cautious, and he doesn't think Lucius Malfoy deserves any courtesy.
"Mr. Longbottom. My son has greatly displeased me," Malfoy pauses narrowing his eyes. "And he continues to displease me. In light of what he has revealed to me about his lifestyle… I can't help, but to be concerned about the nature of your relationship with Draco. I would be very disappointed if your 'cohabitation' would hinder my son's return to the family."
Neville blinks, trying to digest all the pompous words.
"Listen, Mr. Malfoy, Draco and I, we are not a couple, if that is, what you are hinting. But it doesn't matter, I mean, it wouldn't matter, even if we were together that way. I have already told him that he can stay as long as he wants. He is a friend and nothing you can say could change that."
There was a long pause. Neville lifts his chin by an inch; if necessary, he can out-stare even a Malfoy.
After that, he turns around and stalks away and Neville returns to the singing dandelions. He can't say that he isn't worried. Everyone and their dog know that Lucius Malfoy is a bloody bastard. Neville has no idea how far he is ready to go to have his way.
Longbottom is such an awful cock-tease. Does he honestly expect Draco to believe that he has that much respect for him? It's impossible. Draco is a freeloader, he has slept with Snape, and he has called Longbottom and his Gryffindor buddies all the names imaginable and tried to get them expelled. He comes from a family that supported the Dark Lord.
Moreover, he is not a virgin or a witch, so why would Longbottom refuse him, because of 'respect'? Why the stubborn idiot keeps refusing him when there is nothing worth respecting, when Draco owes Longbottom for board and lodging?
'I don't want to use you' – oh, please! That's so moronic.
Longbottom has a couple of perfect excuses to fuck Draco.
What's keeping him from it? Oh, sure, there is this thing they keep prattling about – Gryffindor nobility, morals etc. However Draco is certain, that it's more talk than action and most men loose their scruples behind close doors along with their closes.
"Look at her, Draco! Isn't she a beauty?"
Yes, Draco can't deny that she is.
"Wild butterfly orchid, very rare. They bloom late in the evening to attract a particular kind of butterflies, which come out at that time attracted by their sweet smell. The butterflies pollinate them."
Under other circumstances Draco would have pointed out that, he is not stupid and that it is obvious that butterflies pollinate the damn flowers. But Longbottom's voice is like a flow of warm water pouring over him, it's just in the right temperature and impossible to resist.
He doesn't care what Longbottom is talking about as long as the words keep flowing. How ridiculous is that?
Isn't that a bit pathetic, that Draco is there tonight, because Longbottom is off somewhere, having a drink with Weasley? Better not to answer that. Draco wonders if Neville is going to tell Weasel that they are living together now (kind of). He would have liked to see the red-head's face. Weasley had always been prone to dislaying expressions that are entertaining to an extreme.
"Hello, Draco," Blaise's tone screams 'reserved'. It reminds Draco of his mother, who likes to show that she's not happy with him by being standoffish. He is never really affected by her particular coldness, because it doesn't differ from her usual coldness that much.
"It's nice to see you too,"
"What are you doing, Draco?"
"What do you mean, Blaise?"
Zabini doesn't even crack a smile and Draco wonders what has crawled up his arse.
"Everyone knows that you have broken your engagement and left the Manor. Or rather your father had made you leave."
"Yes, they do!"
Draco has never seen Zabini this flustered. It's interesting and baffling.
"But you obviously are finding this funny. I don't understand you Draco. Where are you staying? Don't tell me it's The Leaky Cauldron!"
"No, of course not. I am waiting the tables at the Hog's Head and they let me sleep in the broom closet," Draco wishes he had a camera, so he could take a picture of Blaise's face. The funniest expression he had ever seen on anybody. Migt even top Weasel.
"Your sense of humour is very poor, Zabini. Anyway, I am doing fine. Besides, why are you so worried about my relationship with Lucius, when I am not?"
"Why? Are you absolutely obtuse? You are one of my closest associates; we are often seen together. How do you think, this rumour is going to reflect on me? If you will continue ruining your reputation by associating with nobodies and alienating yourself from your family and…"
Draco is taken aback at first. This whole speech, it seems so out of place, so inappropriate, so silly and… and suddenly, now and here, he has Blaise Zabini figured out. Finally. Just like that. The spell is broken.
Oh, Salazar, but it simple! Zabini is a snob and social climber.
His ex-house mate is still insecure of his position in this ridiculous swell society of purebloods. If Draco thinks about it, Blaise's mother has attained place among them by being marriage to one influential British pure blood after another. Of course, the rumour about eight husbands is just that – rumour. But four isn't a small number either.
The fact that she's Italian, very clever and very beautiful has everything to do about it. And the widow of Antius Zabini. However, no one knows who she was before. The famous Mrs. Zabini could have as well been a pretty bar maid, for all Draco knows.
"Malfoy!" Blaise growls, and Draco can sense him squirming; he has a rare talent of spotting other's weaknesses, it's a marvel that Blaise has remained an enigma for him so long.
Draco graced him with a tolerant smile, not without a dose of pity mixed in it: "Lucius is not going to disown me Blaise. I am the only son. It would be like hexing his nose off to spite his face. All the money going to some poor second cousin... And do you think I care what the likes of myself think of me? I don't need them. I come here to get drunk, to pick someone up and probably because it has become a habit. I don't like them; I don't like 'us'. Can you imagine that I never realised it? I have no idea, why I am here tonight."
Then Draco lifted his glass sin a toast and drained it: "Enjoy yourself. I will be leaving before the beu monde starts ignoring me. Or runs me off."
Neville spots Ron the moment he walks through the door of The Three Broomsticks. The Weasley red hair is like a beacon.
"Haya, mate," Neville gladly offers Ron his hand when Ron stands up and reaches out for a shake.
"How are you doing, Ron? It's been a couple of weeks, right?"
"More like three," the red head snorts. "Time runs fast when you are busy. Well, when you are busy with something else than studying for your OWLs or NEWTs that is!" Ron's face breaks into a sly smile.
"So, the Auror training program. Is it what you expected?"
"More or less," Ron says and in the next half an hour Neville finds out everything what is there to know about being a trainee Auror.
"—and then Moody says: 'I'll better see you dead than wearing the red robes, if you won't pull your act together!' And the eye keep spinning like mad for the whole time I know, you might not think it is funny, but believe me, it was hilarious!"
Neville doesn't doubt it. He also has a couple of stories to tell. Professor Burdock can be pretty eccentric at times.
Two pints later, Ron put his hand on Neville's arm and leaned forward: "Alright, Nev, now tell me, what's bothering you."
Neville raised an eyebrow at the red head.
"Yes, I can tell. Come on Neville, spill! What's on your mind?"
Neville rubbed the back of his neck looking sideways: "I am not sure, you want to know."
"Try me. That's what friends are for."
"But remember, you asked for it," Neville warns him.
Neville opens his mouth and then closes it. He has no idea where to start. It would not make much sense, if he got right to the point and would be too long if he started from the beginning.
"Draco Malfoy is living with me," he says and watches Ron's eyebrows go for the hairline. "He had a fight with Lucius and, um, I offered him to stay at the Longbottom Hall for now."
Ron is looking at Neville in disbelief: "Why? Since when you are friends with Draco Malfoy."
"I don't know. that's the problem. I think of him as of a friend, but I have no idea, what he's thinking. No, I have some idea, and I want to change his mind, but I have no idea, what he would do if… when… I am not making much sense, am I?"
Ron's face took on a measured look: "Erm, Neville, what kind of friends are you and Malfoy? And before you answer that, keep in mind that I am still getting used to the idea that you and him are on any kind of friendly terms. So, please, be gentle man."
Neville's lips quirk in amusement and he looks sideways, instantly noticing a cracked floor tile. We might be something else, than friends," then he sighs not feeling like smiling anymore. "Something more than friends to me and probably something less to him."
"I am not sure if he wants to sleep with me because I keep refusing him, or, because he really likes me."
Neville's gaze snaps up at the sound of spluttering.
"THAT!" Ron says and spells away the spilled bear. "Was not what I meant asking you to be gentle!"
"Forget it. Malfoy Neville? Draco Malfoy?"
"Mm-yeah, definitely not Lucius."
Ron obviously couldn't stop a giggle from escaping his lips, at the ridiculousness of that: "Hope not! But Draco Malfoy? Seriously? I can't bloody believe it! How did that came about?"
" We talked and one thing led to another. But nothing had really happened yet, and I am thinking that it might be better to leave it at that," because he was afraid to loose what he got, and maybe because Draco needed a friend more than a lover.
" The selfish part of me is cheering for that. But the one that's not wants to ask, what exactly you are afraid of."
"I am afraid that the morning after I will wake up to a cold and empty bed."
Ron scratches his jaw: "Well, it's obviously you, who knows him the best here, so you should know, what he might do on the morning after. Merlin's pants, am I really discussing this? But, anyway, a good Auror doesn't leap into something, unless there's no time. A good Auror tries to foresee the possible 'problems' and makes plans of action to prevent them. You could always tie him up. Or, hide his wand, believe me, Malfoy will never leave his wand behind. "
Neville stars at the other wizard for a long moment.
"Thanks, I guess," he laughs then.
"You are welcome," Ron toasts him with his goblet. "Anyway, I don't think I am the one you should ask for relationship advice. I am hardly qualified."
"So, Ke… Kedra…?"
"Kedra didn't work out."
"Don't be. Not your fault."
"She was a nice enough girl, but something was just missing. I can't even tell what. At least Mum is happy. She wants me to get back together with Hermione, and I am afraid Hermione wants it too. Can get kind of uncomfortable, you know?"
Neville nods and winces. Molly Weasley and his Gran should start a club. And ask Lucius Malfoy to join them. Well, there's a funny thought! The three of them sitting around table and sharing their feelings about trying to arrange their children's' lives.
"What are you laughing about?"
"Just had the most ridiculous thought, kind of an idea, actually. Involving your Mother, my Gran and Lucius Malfoy."
"I don't think I want to know!" Ron exclaims, scandalised.
Neville bursts out laughing: "Not THAT kind of idea! Merlin, Ron, are we drunk?"
"Nah, we're good, not there yet and must have another pint…"
When Draco apparates home, the first thing he does is to summon the house elf and ask if Longbottom is in already. He isn't, but Draco is not disappointed at all; at least that what he tells himself.
What the hell is wrong with him?
If Longbottom is not home then Neville can't make another attempt at seducing the stubborn idiot into his bed. He considers the option of waiting for Longbottom naked in his bed, but Draco has tried it twice already and Longbottom has refuted him both times. Of course, he has been perfectly nice about it, but… he wants to stop this tiring obsession with Longbottom's cock.
He sits down at the dining room table and orders the house elf to bring him a glass of water.
For some reason Draco is suddenly feeling so lost… absent-mindedly he brings the glass to his lips and takes a small sip. Lost in thoughts? Only he is not thinking of anything. But the world seems so large, cold and empty all around him. Everything suddenly seems so pointless; he feels so useless… the despair makes his throat tighten almost painfully and his eyes prickle.
Merlin, when did he turn into such wimp?
He hears the door open. It must be Neville. Draco's fingers tighten around the glass stubbornly.
However it hardly lasts a moment.
He stands up and still not thinking of anything starts towards the door which lads to the hall, in a blink he's there, bumping into Longbottom, who catches Draco by his shoulders.
"Whoa! Where's the fire," Longbottom smells beer and male and… Draco looks up into those incredibly plain, incredibly kind, grey eyes, his lips part, but no words are coming. He is trying to say something with his eyes at least, to plead, for something.
And then there is a distance between them and no hands on him.
"Not tonight, Draco, alright? Not tonight."
Draco watches Longbottom's broad back and mussed hair as he is leaving him alone in the dark, empty hallway, in this house, where he has lived for two weeks and probably had felt more comfortable than he should, because it is not his house, not his home, not his anything. Why is he here? What is he trying to accomplish. No one wants him here; no one needs him. As Augusta Longbottom keeps reminding him every day, he can only ruin everything for her grandson, who has apparently had enough of Draco. Walking back to the room, he lets out a strangled chuckle. Finally.
And since when does he care if taking what he wants ruins something for someone else? Obviously, the masochist in him has finally beaten the sadist. And doesn't that sound stupid, if only in his thoughts.
Why did he ever think something could have worked between a Longbottom and a Malfoy?
They are too different and on the opposite sides, still, after everything, because only naïve think that the war is truly over. It never will be for the old pure blood families who fear for their way of life or for magical creature haters, or for muggleborns who hate pure bloods; because they do not like being looked down on.
It's ironic that Draco isn't truly moved by any of the fractions, he just uses his status as a pure-blood to pose and aggravate people the same way he uses his sexual orientation to annoy his parents. He doesn't truly care about how others live or what they are as long as they leave him alone. If they aren't smart enough to keep the distance, the consequences are their own fault.
OK, that's not completely true, Draco does go out of his way to mess with people… but they deserve to be messed with, scandalised, challenged… tested. And they almost never fail to prove Draco right. They confirm tall his preconceptions, prooving that he is right to despise them.
Except Longbottom, Draco thinks bitterly. He was the only one with whom the usual tactics failed. And a lot of good it has done him.
And now he is sitting in his room, (which is actually one of Longbottom's rooms), with his head between his knees and fighting off a… bout of distress that Draco experiences once in a while… anyway, leaning forward and holding head between his knees usually helps.
How has everything turned into this tragic comedy? Draco Malfoy chasing Neville Longbottom – that's enough to make a toad laugh. Pun intended.
Draco looks at the potted plants on the windowsill, green and lush. They look like happy plants. He had never thought much of green vegetation forms, seeing them mostly as potion ingredients, and they are Longbottom's whole life. How pathetic... or charming is that?
If Draco were a plant he would not be a happy plant, he wouldn't fit within the gardens of Longbottom Hall, since it's master obviously cares for miserable creatures, or pities them. And everyone knows, it's sadly not the same. However Draco as one of the Wizarding World's privileged, is not one of them.
Neville wakes up. His eyes are itching and his throat is dry and the room, or maybe Neville himself, smells like stale beer.
It's a definite hangover. Maybe the third he has ever had? The first he had the next day after loosing his virginity to a muggle boy whom he met in the village near Longbottom Hall. The second hangover he had after celebrating the fall of the Dark Lord and Bellatrix Lestrange. Merlin, he still hates her…
He doesn't have a hangover potion, Neville is sure of that, because Gran would never keep something like that around – she has always believed in facing the consequences of one's actions, especially when they are irresponsible.
It means - a headache draught and pepper-up will have to do.
"Blossom!" He calls out and the house elf pops up so fast that he gets dizzy. Neville is about to moan for the potion, but stops short.
"What's the matter Blossom? What happened?" Neville has known the elf for almost twenty years and can tell that something is not right the moment he sees her. The elf's whole being just screams – distressed!
"Oh, Master!" The huge eyes fill with tears in front of Neville's eyes. "It is being Master Draco!"
"Draco? What happened?" Neville is out of bed, the headache forgotten. "What has happened to Draco? Where is he? Is he hurt?"
"No! Not hurt. But Blossom hears noise and checks on Master Draco and… and master Malfoy is magicking his things in his bags!"
"Blossom is a good elf, she offers help, but Master Draco says, no, she cannot and she is not telling master Neville until he calls her. Blossom is a bad elf, very bad! Master Draco leaving and, and—it's all Blossom's fault!"
Neville's head is spinning and he can't tell exactly if it's because of hangover or Blossom's crying or because of what he has just learned.
"Calm down, Blossom and not so loud, alright? When did he leave?"
"Night. Master Draco leaving night and forbidding to tell Master Neville," the elf sniffs.
Neville closes his eyes: "Bugger!"
He can't believe it, alright, maybe he can, but he doesn't want to. There is a pressure of headache in his brain, which means that he still cannot think very straight.
"Blossom? Bring me a headache draught and some pepper up, please. And two slices of toast."
He has to start somewhere, doesn't he and then, then he will think of what to do with Draco. However Neville is certainly getting him back. The only question is about how and why, or rather, what would follow after Draco's return.
The owners has tried to make the place look expensive and elegant. Draco snorts. The silk and satin are low quality, the chandeliers were made of crystal, not diamonds, the magical artefacts displayed are fakes. He wonders if anyone else notices. Anyone who had not been raised in a house like the Malfoy Manor.
However no one cares. The wizards who came to the Gentlemen's' Club at Ardour Street No 14 Knockturn Alley were not here to admire the interior.
The man lounging on a chair opposite his, has blond hair. However it's not Malfoy blond, but short and yellowish. Thank Merlin Draco doesn't have that kind of father issues. He has a strong jaw, thin lips and brows that would become bushy with age and lack of care. Linard is American and his smile is so white that Draco almost changes his mind when he gives what he must think is a dazzling smile. But mostly the man is grinning slightly, convinced of his he is being absolutely charming. Draco lets him believe whatever he wants. He doesn't care.
Linard is telling about his broom business, which is the reason why he has come to Britain. Some men think that talk of business is foreplay. That doesn't bring back the happiest of memories, but Draco listens, nods, smiles prettily. He is exactly what Linard thinks him to be – a pretty, foreign thing, a superficial aristocrat longing for someone big and strong. But maybe the American has never heard the Malfoy name, since it's no secret that half of the wizards who come to this place are whores and the other is looking for whores. Draco is a whore tonight. He knows the part exceptionally well. Draco smiles again, when Linard is grinning. He thinking that the American looks almost disgustingly handsome.
Finally, Linard gulps down the last sip of his drink, and puts the glass down on the table, ready to go.
They stand up and leave together. Linard apparates them both to his rented flat and son Draco is laying face down on the bed. "You like it, don't you? You little British whore. Say you like it!" The American's wholesomeness is gone, replaced by something completely different.
Draco tells him everything he wants to hear. He begs, he pleads and he crawls until his knees smart.
He unmercifully shuts off the voice, which keeps nagging him, telling him to stop, to get out, which screams at him that what he is doing is wrong. Why would it be? It's not the first time he's doing this. The American is much better looking than Snape after all and... and this is what Draco wants. He wants to feel, to ache, to forget. He wants to be just like this. He deserves the punishment.
Neville shouldn't have expected that Draco will return his owl. He shouldn't feel so disappointed when his owl Pepper returns empty handed. Or is it empty-clawed? Well, not empty-clawed really, since the bird brings back his letter unopened. Neville had tried to address the letter to Draco and to Draco at Malfoy Manor, but it does him no good. There is a possibility that Draco has refused to take the letter, but he can't know, if Pepper has even found the wizard. The more Neville thinks about it, the more worried he gets.
He can hardly sleep that night.
The next morning Neville has some tea and anxiously watches the grandfather clock on the wall waiting for a decent hour, so he can go to Malfoy Manor. Minutes drag and seen like hours. Half past eight Neville grabs his wand and dashes out. He hopes the Malfoys are early raisers.
It's of no use. The Malfoys refuse his visit. He speaks to house elf who reveals that Draco might be staying with his friends or in his apartment at Diagon Alley. Apartment? Apparently for a Malfoy there is homeless and then there is homeless. The realisation that Draco could have comfortably lived alone all this time, but nevertheless chose to stay with him at Longbottom Hall, makes something tighten in his gut.
He doesn't find Draco at his apartment.
"Where are you silly fool..." Neville murmurs. He can't help, but feel that Draco has gotten himself in some kind of trouble. Besides he can't help feeling that it is all his fault, because if Draco is in trouble, then it is so because he left the Longbottom Hall. That is certainly Neville's fault for not holding on Draco stronger. It's so simple. He was afraid of getting hurt and now Draco is probably lost and hurting.
He will have to try the friends.
"Where do you think you're going, my little dragon?" Linard smirks… not as sly as before. There is a cold edge to his smirk now. "I am not done with you yet." His hand grips Draco's wrist painfully.
That is unacceptable. The game is over. Draco has had enough. "Don't touch me!" He snaps.
The next moment Linard has snatched Draco's wand from him and has his heavy hand pressing down on the blond wizard's neck, backing him against the wall next to the door. "This is my game and it's going to be my rules Little Dragon. You think you're so clever, don't you? I saw you walk in yesterday, looking as if you owned the place. You thought that you had me by my balls the moment I set my eyes on you. Well you're wrong my sweet. I am the master here and we will be done, when I will say that we are done. Do you understand?"
Draco wants to yell at the trice damned bastard, to demand, to threaten the man with his father, which is after all a kind of a knee-jerk reflex to the Malfoy heir. But Linard is squeezing his windpipe so tightly that he has trouble breathing. Not to mention yelling. Draco feels as if he would burst in helpless anger every moment now. However, there is nothing he can do.
The man snaps a cuff around Draco's wrist and fastens the other ring to the iron wrought headboard of the heavyset iron bed and leaves saying that he would be back at dinnertime, with a predatory smirk on his face.
"You can't be thinking that you will get away with this! Someone will come here and -"
"Oh? And who will it be? Everyone knows that your parent's couldn't have cared less, since they have cast you out. Didn't think I new? Wel, I am rather well informed, boy. You keep calling yourself Draco Malfoy while you are more like Draco nobody. Who of your pure-blood friends will come to see Draco nobody?"
Draco doesn't answer, because Linard is right, isn't he?
"Behave!" The bastard calls over his shoulder, on his way out.
Draco sags against the headboard, not bothering to rub the wrist, which is already aching because the cuff is too tight. He tries to swallow the tears that threaten to break loose any moment now. He just wants to be somewhere else. He want home. He wants Longbottom, Neville to be here. Draco chokes back a desperate sob. He wants to go home, whenever it is.
Neville feels as if he has been to the Hell and back. He has certainly been through the hell of pureblood snobbery. Under other circumstances he would feel that he had heard enough snide remarks for the rest of his life. But it was all worth it. It would be worth it, if Draco would be here.
Neville had investigated thoroughly. He had found out all Draco's haunts, spoke to numerous witches and wizards who worked there. Tipped half of the Knockurn Alley (Ok, maybe he was exaggerating a bit). In the end, he had to ask Ron to abuse his position as an Auror to find the address of the person that had been last seen with Draco.
At first, after the useless chase Neville feels exhilarated to have at least something, a thread. But then he is knocking on the door of some American guy, afraid of what he would find after the door opened. It will probably be Draco in the arms of another man. Draco will probably tell him to piss off. Was Neville going to beg and plead? He actually wants to tell Draco he's sorry and beg him for another chance.
Neville's hand quivers.
Then he composes himself and knocks with added force.
The door stays closed.
Neville is enough of a Gryffindor to point his wand towards the door without thinking, when he has a gut feeling: - Alohomora!
He doesn't pay attention to the interior. There is only one thought on his mind – Draco. Neville just needs him to be alright.
Neville rushes through the flat.
"Draco!" He calls out.
There is a closed door in the end of the hall. It is the last one. - Alohomora! - He calls out balancing on the edge of despair, feeling about to fall over it.
And there he is. His Draco. As crumpled up in a miserable heap as the sheets he's lying upon. Neville's gaze is drawn to Draco's wrist. It is handcuffed to the headboard, looking delicate for a man's appendix and scratched angry red.
"Draco..." he whispers. Neville rushes to the blond and casts another Alohomora, making the offending metal to fall away. "Draco," he almost moans gathering the other man in his arms.
"Don't," Draco's voice cracks and startles Neville. It's heartbreaking for him to hear. Whatever happened to Draco, it's only Neville's fault. He was the one who pushed Draco away... "Don't!" Draco tries pushing Neville away weakly. "Don't touch me! I am dirty, unworthy, sullied! I... don't! Go away. Leave me, leave me here! This is where I belong, what I deserve."
Neville shakes his head holding Draco close and rocking back and forth. "Never. I am never leaving you. You belong with me."
A/N: I have no time for writing recently, and almost o inspiration because of my work, but I was glad to finish this. Have to mention, that I have the next part started, but, I have no idea if it will be finished ever. Time will show – that can be said about my 2 other uncomplete stories.