Title: History of the War
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Luna/Pansy
Summary: Draco finds something worth fighting for.
Spoilers/Warnings Not Deathly Hallows compliant, character death.
Word count: Approximately 21,000
Author's notes: Written for prompt 160 (Pirate!Harry, Pacifist!Draco in a Voldemort Wins World.) from the HD Carrer Fair. This is dedicated not only to vaysh11 for the prompt, but also heathen_arcade who created such an inspiring banner. Thank you to my betas (and there are many): melusinahp, marguerite_26 , ebethfic, megyal, saladbats, NK, and KF. As usual, I cherish you so.
"Deadbones, hard to starboard. Fast, before she hits the open sea!" Luna Lovegood relays Harry's order that stirs the crew, their anticipation frothed into yawning want as Harry's wand juts towards the darkening horizon and the small merchant ship flying the flag of the Dark Mark. Like a black cloud his hair churns in the wind; his right eye is hidden by a black, triangular patch, his other is locked onto the ship, the dip of its sails, the rise and fall of the sea. Terry Boot spins the wheel with quick hands; the creaking of the wooden vessel a cry for blood to the crew of the Gold Marauder.
"Monkey, hoist the colors. We'll give them a flash of the old Jolly Roger before we blast them with our staves." A house-elf, the color of the sea on a stormy day, with ears twice as large as her head, shimmies up the rigging; a whistle, dangling from a string around her neck, sways with each reach and grab as she swings through the ropes like tropical vines. A lemur matches her progress, squeaking and barking its excitement over the laughter of the wind.
"Loony, alert Millie to have the staves at ready," Harry directs Luna, verdant fire in his eye, and she strolls down the deck, a purple feather bouncing in her hat as she calls down the hatch.
"Black Millie, time to ready the staves," she says with breezy nonchalance, her voice just floating over the din of the crashing footsteps, roared out charms and the constant groan of the Marauder's run.
"Primed and ready, Loony," Millicent calls back. "Stave ports open." Then to her powder boys: "All right you maggots, lock and load, time to pay the Dark Lord his dues!"
Luna returns to Harry's side on the quarter deck and surveys the scurrying sailors: Lethbridge and Alsom, picked up in northern Ireland two winters back; old Firebreath; Monkey and her lemur, Piance; and then of course her mates, those she'd schooled with. All of them rebels against the Dark Lord's rule, the bigotry over purity of blood. She tilts her hat a little over her left eye, it gives her the dashing flourish of a Musketeer, and calls out orders that Harry passes on to her with his calm assurance.
To the east roars the Righteous Triumph, Hermione and Ron's three-masted beast, dubbed the Terror of the Irish Sea by the media, the title cursed by Hermione every time she hears it. Together the two barques charge through the sea, sails full of conjured wind and the prayers of those who believe in the Soul of the Deep. The piercing beak of the phoenix masthead points their way towards the smaller ship, merfolk bow ride even as the gannets soar on the breeze.
The staves boom and the smaller ship rocks under impact after impact. Millicent growls at her boys, "Again, don't give 'em a second!" And the staves roar off another volley of spit and mage-fire. Flames of green and gold feast on the sails.
Men mount their brooms and others swing across on ropes like the primates of the jungle. The boarding is swift, the casualties limited as the enemy crew quickly throws down their wands and raises their hands in defeat.
Terry strikes the Dark Lord's colors and the crew cheers.
The few that attempted to resist are now corpses lining the starboard railing, scorched and sliced by wands and dirks, awaiting their watery grave. Luna inspects the bodies; there is a man from her time at the Quibbler, a reporter for a French newspaper of a name she couldn't pronounce. She tallies the dead and turns away, looking up into the blue sky and calls out: "It's harvest day, folks. Gather up the spoils."
"Last evening the Terror of the Irish Sea and the Gold Marauder viciously attacked and destroyed three merchant ships entering the Bristol Channel. The ships were on a mission to deliver necessary medical supplies and food to Gloucester.
The entire crew from each ship was lost.
Lord Voldemort was not available for comment, but Minister Malfoy offered his deepest regrets regarding the senseless destruction by the country's most virulent terrorists, and offered reparations to the families of the crew.
With the inclusion of the attacks of last evening, a total of 27 ships have been destroyed by the pirate Harry Potter, known as Old Scarface and Captain One-Eye, and the terrorist organization The Order of the Phoenix. Since the disruption of legal magical travel in and out of the British Isles by The Order two years ago, sailing has been the most accessible means for wizards to travel, and now the rebels have turned the seas into a deadly drink.
Draco drops the paper onto the kitchen table; the sounds of Spatty pottering about in the kitchen mingle with the ticks of the grandfather clock in the foyer. A large oil painting absorbs his attention: a willow tree, some deer, the sun setting in deep oranges and purples. One deer nibbles on the field grass, then looks up and watches Draco. The painting has hung in that spot since his childhood and it's grown banal in its solicitous calm. He looks away.
Spatty totters in, her too-large feet flopping against the marble tile. "Tea, Master Draco, sir?" she asks, her eyes wide and watery, holding up the silver server as her ears flap at him.
"No thank you, Spatty."
The house-elf bows and returns to the kitchen. More people have died. Draco imagines a sea of waterlogged corpses, Harry Potter surveying his crop of dead proudly upon his vessel of death, and Draco shivers, having suddenly gone cold. He stands and goes to his writing desk in the drawing room, pulls out some parchment and begins to compose a letter to the press.
"Mr. Malfoy. Mr. Malfoy!" a Quibbler reporter calls out. Draco hides a grimace and nods at the man, tall with a large blue hat teetering on the top of his shiny head. Who had invited The Quibbler? He certainly hadn't.
"Can you tell us what your father has planned for Captain One-Eye?"
The gathering grows quiet.
"I am not in the confidence of the Minister on this subject. It is a matter of state security, not something to be gossiped about at the breakfast table." Not that his father has shared breakfast with him in months. He knows he's disappointed the man with his words against Voldemort's Ministry. His father might be the Minister, overwhelmingly elected following the fall of Dumbledore and the defamation of Harry Potter, but everyone knows where the true power comes from. "I would like to stress that I am not here to place conjecture on anyone's actions, I am here to condemn these actions."
Draco lets his gaze wash over the congregation of reporters. He called the press conference because he felt it was time that someone stand up and say something. Harry Potter's violent actions. The Ministry's reactionary tactics. None of it good for the betterment of the British wizarding people. Peace and prosperity, that's all Draco wants.
"It is time that we, the British magical population, confront these violent actions. Harry Potter is a terrorist and our Ministry is mishandling him. He is not a hero. He is not someone to cheer, someone to offer aid to. His actions breed death and destruction. More than 300 people have fallen at his hands, been murdered by his actions. Magical people are rare, we cannot be throwing our lives away. I urge Britain to cease harboring this villain. Once this threat has been eradicated, we can move forward to a new government, away from old wars and old powers."
He knows he is walking a fine line of treason. He can just imagine the affected look on his father's face: the draw to his brow, the tone of his voice alluding to the extent in which Draco has tarnished the Malfoy name. But he doesn't care anymore. His pureblood status should protect him from prison or exportation, and Draco long ago realized he's just tired of fighting, tired of death, ever since his mother was killed.
He hears a mumble percolate from the left. "If magical people are so cherished, why is the government shunting them off?" A hushed silence surrounds the area of the speaker, but nobody looks up to claim the statement. It was said quietly enough that Draco ignores it. There is too much truth and damnation in the question.
Flamingo Smith beams up at Draco, her white teeth sparkling with what was undoubtedly a Makeover Charm. "I agree with Mr. Malfoy. We must dismiss Harry Potter, stop building him up as this vigilante champion of the people. I am the people and I want no part of him." She stomps her foot onto the ground, making no noise in the thick lawn. He nods at the woman's speech, offering her the smile that he knows instills people with pride and the feeling of acceptance, even through he secretly thinks she's an idiot. For the past twenty-six months since the Disapparition Net had been corrupted by the Order allowing nobody but house-elves to instantaneously travel, she has been following him around like a yes-man acolyte, speaking to the crowds that gather as if they are on the same platform, preaching political reformation and the coming of a new world power.
That, in a way, is Draco's goal. But just not with her by his side.
The Ministry has been careening towards implosion with a madman wielding power and a mass of mindless cockroaches following along, surviving in any way they can. Nobody has a mind of his or her own anymore. Draco feels terribly alone in his self-awareness. As he smiles and answers more questions from the reporters, he senses that there is nobody out there like him.
The echo of Terry Boot's steps rebounds against the high ceiling of the main cavern, the force of his anger impacting the stone with each stomp. "Can you believe what Malfoy said about us this time?" He waves a paper through the air and then slaps it onto the large round table where Harry, Kreacher and Luna are planning their next foray out to sea. Harry's parrot squawks, taking flight to land on a perch not far off. It begins nibbling on a peach, chattering that Deadbones should keep it in his pants.
Their Ministry informant had smuggled them the next two routes for the Snake and Bones to traverse. The ship is reported to carry supporters of Voldemort and the dirty government, and that usually meant Galleons. Pirate militias did not live on fish alone.
Luna glances up at Terry. The furrow between his brows deepens into a ravine with such depth the shadow covers his eyes. He's such a moody Ravenclaw. "What?" he snaps.
Luna shrugs. "He's just telling the same old tale, nothing we haven't heard before." Luna's taken it upon herself to read four papers a day. None of them have the precise reporting that The Quibbler had when her family had run it, though pot-bellied Crups being the latest rage was something she'd probably never have found out about if it wasn't for The Manchester Star. And that there was a plague of snargelpusses in western Wales. She'd read the article covering Malfoy's speech. It was so dull she wouldn't paper a cockatrice coop with it. The Prophet had an advertisement for Quickening Pens, something from the Weasley twins' shop. They still operated in Diagon Alley, protected by their pureblood status, and filtered information to them when they could. Luna hopes they send some of those pens in their next shipment of supplies. And maybe a Seekocular, so they can finally track down Voldemort and snuff him out with the Soul Patch. It's impressive how well that hollow man has hidden himself with so many searching for his deathless body. But, she thinks with a sigh, he's done it before—twice—why is she surprised now? She likes being surprised though, otherwise life would be tedious.
Maybe they could lay a trap for him with snake treats. She hadn't thought of that.
"What's Malfoy babbling about now?" Harry asks, barely looking up from the lines cross-crossing the naval map. Luna likes to make mystical designs with the lines. She summoned an imp once.
"He's defaming us. Calling us terrorists. Murderers." Terry jabs the newsprint with his index finger. "We are not murderers! People die in wars." Luna nods at her crewmate and friend. He'd always been an emotional boy. "They make us out as criminals." Spittle flies from his lips and rains down on the paper. The picture of Draco Malfoy calmly nodding with a bucket of compassion in his eyes flinches at the abuse. "We are the resistance! They are in the wrong, not us."
Harry draws a little blue x on the map and looks up at Terry. "Malfoy's always said this…" He lets the sentence die, his arched eyebrows begging for an explanation for Terry's off kilter emotional eruption.
Terry's gaze turns hard. "But Captain," Terry says. "People are listening to him. Malfoy is telling them half-truths about things that he doesn't understand, and the people think he's right. The fence-sitters afraid of supporting us because of Voldemort's DEs side with Malfoy and his… his idiotically idealist views of peace and non-violence, and—" the air is roused by the distress of his thrashing hands, "—they all expect us to lay down like beat dogs and then the world will turn always sunny and the streets will be lined with violets," he finishes with mockery in his tone.
Luna thinks that sounds lovely, if terribly unrealistic.
With a contemplative crinkle in his eyes, Harry turns to Luna. She cocks her head and offers a ghost of a smile. "Well," she says, "If his understanding is less than expected—" she shrugs, "—perhaps a sleepover is in order."
Terry's face lightens in measured degrees. "I think you've got something there, Loony."
When Draco Malfoy comes to, memories of the last few hours shuffle through his brain like a receiving line. In marched Terry Boot and his pals, ragged and smelly. Draco had just sat down to eat poached eggs for breakfast and Spatty had about steamed at the ears at the thought of all those new mouths to feed that she hadn't planned for. He'd assured his elf that the intruders would not be staying for breakfast. However, Draco hadn't realized that he wouldn't be staying for breakfast, either.
Now he finds himself trussed up in a minuscule cell, cramped and soggy. The closet Harry purportedly grew up in had to be larger than this rat trap. Three sides are constructed from roughly hewn planks and the fourth is a barred door with a little slot at the bottom. The bars are about the length of his middle finger apart. Braided hemp rope digs into the skin on his wrists. He can't breathe for the stench.
"Bastards! Couldn't you have just used spells like normal wizards!"
He immediately regrets yelling as his head bursts into a blinding display of pain.
Oh yes, he'd forgotten the heavy handed touch of Millicent Bulstrode. How she'd ended up on Harry Potter's manifest, Draco has no idea.
The clop of shod feet warns Draco of someone's approach and up walks Terry Boot, a nasty scowl on his face as he surveys Draco, seeming to conclude that Draco rated just slightly above child molester. His hands are hidden behind his back.
"Good to see you're up, pretty boy," Terry says with mocking joviality. "I hope you enjoy the accommodations we've set up for you." He smiles at the cell, empty except for Draco propped up in one corner.
"Oh yes," Draco casually drawls as he shifts his weight to sit up straight. "It's quite comfortable. Now, if you don't mind a little room service." They had made him miss breakfast.
Terry's smile doesn't possess even an iota of friendliness. Draco remembers the Ravenclaw from Hogwarts; isn't he a Muggleborn? If that's true, then his family—along with the families of all magical people unable to trace their ancestry back at least three magical generations—had been forced to leave Britain or go to Azkaban. "Sure, coming right up, Mr. Malfoy." He speaks Draco's name like it's a taunt. Then he leans down and pushes a tin plate through the small hole along the floor of the barred door. Draco continues to look at Terry's face, then his stomach grumbles and his eyes slip from the mocking quirk of lips to the plate presenting a single piece of bread.
"Oh, and here's your chardonnay." Terry leans down again and pushes a chipped cup through. Some of the contents splash over the lip as the pirate flicks it in another few inches. Draco scoots sideways; his face goes blank.
With a snort, Terry turns and walks away. He didn't even undo Draco's bindings.
"You gave him water you spat in?" Laura Madley asks as she sets a platter full of carved chicken onto the dining table between the other dishes of food. Millicent spears a chunk with her fork and dumps it on her plate next to some discolored peas from a tin and two boiled eggs.
Terry laughs. When he isn't pissy, Luna finds him surprisingly cordial. His dual personality has always been confusing. Bedfellow to living a lie.
Harry twists sharply from the tall table where the tea supplies rest, his mug of tea half-prepared. "You did what?"
The temperature in the room dips and food stalls in mid-air, balanced on forks and spoons before tenuously open mouths. Everyone stops eating to look from Harry to Terry. Everyone, but Millicent. She shovels a spoonful of soggy peas into her mouth, then bites off a chunk of bread. It's truly astounding how much she can stuff into her mouth. Half-pelican.
"What?" Terry asks, his face placid. "He's pureblood royalty, surely he deserves extra flavoring." A closed-lipped smile cracks his face, then a loud snort erupts from his pinched mouth.
Laura joins in. "Oh come on, Harry," she says to his disapproving look. "It's funny."
"No, it isn't." Harry has long forgotten his tea and Luna worries about the bitterness of it as it sits steeping. Bitter tea is bad for the pancreas and their medi-wizard is on leave in Aberystwyth for three days. "It's disgusting." Heat flashes from his remaining eye and Terry shifts in his seat.
With a spin on his heel, Harry turns back to the tea, swiftly throws together another cup and stalks from the galley towards the stairs that lead down to the brig.
"What's with the Captain?" Terry scowls. "He's all in a twist over fucking Malfoy."
Silence, and then Laura bursts out laughing.
Terry peers at her, but she only shakes her head at him.
"I have to check the bulkhead," she says breezily and leaves the galley with half a wave of her slice of bread.
"What's up with her?"
Luna only shakes her head; wondering if a snargelpuss has invaded below deck, disrupting her crewmates' minds.
Draco raises his head from his hunched-over squat in the corner. As unwilling as he is to touch the certainly worm-ridden walls of his cell, he's grown tired and has to lean against the fetid wood for support. His thighs and Achilles tendons ache. He'd sell his long-tarnished soul for a chair.
Harry is smiling. It is tentative, but it is honest, and though before him stands a force of destruction, it causes something in Draco to unclench.
"Potter," Draco says as the man approaches the bars, refusing to address him as Captain or something as silly as One-Eye or Scarface. Harry is not a crime lord. He does not deserve acclaim.
He raises his wand. Draco follows the snap of the tip and feels the ropes around his wrists release. "I made it myself," Harry says, pushing the mug through the little slit at the bottom of the door. It doesn't quite fit, so Harry has to tilt it over; some of the black tea spills out and seeps into the cracks between the planks of the cell. Harry says the words like they mean something significant. Draco just watches him.
Harry examines Draco squatting on the floor. A shadow flitters across his face and the smile fades.
"Listen… Malfoy… "
Draco waits, but nothing else comes.
He takes this moment to survey Harry's appearance, instinctively approving but stubbornly disapproving of what he sees. Harry's hair, though always shaggy, has grown longer and holds a shimmer that perpetual sun-baking must have broiled into it. The fringe is long, hiding the brand that marks the wizard as more than ordinary. A survivor of the Killing Curse; surely unmatched in any scar. And there is a black patch crossing over his right eye. Does it mean that Harry is missing an eye? Or is it more a sign that the man has truly visited the Witch of Crazy and has abandoned normality and sanity to embrace this rogue lifestyle.
Well, apparently Luna Lovegood is his First Mate…. If that isn't a red, flashing alarm, Draco doesn't know what is.
He looks down at the mug of tea, three-fourths of the way full. The smell is rich.
"For me?" Draco asks, letting a sliver of flirtatiousness lift his words.
Harry's chin is rounded, and his cheeks are deeply lined with dimples that strike Draco the instant the man smiles. And he does smile, quickly and dashingly, and something about the quirk to his lip, the wry parade of straight teeth, draws in Draco's gaze, even more so than the flouncy shirt that hangs open to reveal a hairless stretch of chest that normal wizards purchase charms to imitate.
"Of course." Harry performs a flourish of a bow, complete with outstretched leg and rolling arm. It should be ridiculous, but on him it looks debonair. "I would hate for my guest to have sub-par refreshment." Then the man straightens and his face darkens again. "First, I must apologize for this entire…" he looks away a moment, then returns his gaze to Draco's face, "debacle. It was not my intention to have my crew kidnap you, but they took it upon themselves, with a truly heart-felt desire," he says with a hand pressed to his chest, "to educate you on our stance in this war." Harry tilts his head, those dimples returning. "I'm working to establish new accommodations for you as quickly as possible."
Part of Draco hates him, a very large part. Hates him with a burning passion, but he only nods, nods and waits and listens to all the things that are not being said. Because, though he's trapped on a vermin infested heap of junk, apparently the renegades don't mean him harm. Unfortunately, the real clincher, the part that frustrates Draco on oh so many levels, is the aura of confidence exuding from Harry. The deep self-awareness, the pride, the assurance that he can stand up to anything, race through Hades, and still come out unscathed. That… That is what speeds up Draco's heart, causes his brain to fizzle when he rather wishes to toss off something disarming and witty, but none of Draco's vast piles of scathing remarks are within reach when Potter's full attention is on him.
"I would appreciate that," Draco says after a moment of silence. He swallows; his throat is dry.
"Captain! Oh, Captain!" Harry glances down the hallway, then smiles at Draco again.
"Duty calls. Drink the tea," Harry says with a nod as he turns to leave. "And Malfoy?"
Draco glances up through his thick lashes.
"I would advise not taking anything from anyone but me or Luna."
Curious, Draco only nods and wonders what the hell Terry had laced his uneaten ration with.
He waits, bound to a chair by more ropes, enchanted this time, that slither along his skin like lengths of roughly braided snakes. He's in a small cave, the floor long ago smoothed over with charms, the entrance widened to allow for easy passage. Long ridges of calcite-washed basalt line the walls, giving Draco another sense of being jailed. Bars everywhere. Beyond the mouth of the cave he can see a larger cavern, brightly lit, with just the tip of a ship's masthead within view, reminding him vaguely of the Statue of Liberty's crowned head.
The scent of salt saturates the air. The chair he is strapped to is metal and not comfortable. He shifts; he has to pee.
Little time passes before in walks Terry Boot, Luna Lovegood, and a Hufflepuff a few years below him whose name he can't dredge up. Draco remembers Harry's words, and keeps his attention on Terry and the Hufflepuff.
"Good morning," Draco says in a practiced drawl of disinterest. Terry snorts.
The Hufflepuff stares at Draco, a thoughtful set to her lips. "So, this is the famous Draco Malfoy. Champion for Peace and Non-violence." Her eyes run from his leather shoes to his slightly mussed hair. "Pleased to meet you, I'm Laura, Laura Madley." She nods at Draco, who dips his chin in acknowledgement. Her hair is cut in a short, sassy bob that tugs his thoughts along a brief trip back to Pansy. "I'm Muggleborn." Draco snaps back to the present. "My parents were almost killed by your Ministry."
Draco sizes her up. "And Harry Potter swooped down, saving them from utter destruction, and now has your undying loyalty." He can hear a bell clanging from somewhere in the larger cavern, the sound somehow swelling with each ring.
She smirks. "Wow, you're a quick one."
"I do try." There's a moment where Terry glares at Laura and she rolls her eyes. Then Draco continues. "However, please attempt to keep up. In my capacity as Champion for Peace and Non-violence, I support neither the Ministry nor its destructive actions, so I can hardly claim it as mine." The ropes slide along the thin skin of his left wrist, already chafed, and the burn almost pulls a hiss from his lips.
Terry clears his throat, turning away from his crewmate to scowl at Draco's pale face. "I believe in the fundamental truth that all wizards and witches are created equal," he begins and Draco resists the urge to laugh, or maybe weep. This is going to be a long afternoon. "I believe that each of us has the right to walk down the street without molestation. Has the right to enter stores, schools, gain jobs we've been educated for. Most of all, Malfoy," he says with bitterness, leaning close enough that Draco can feel the man's hot breath and smell the spicy scent of the sausage he must have eaten that morning. "I believe we all have the right to live and let live!"
Draco flinches as spit hits his cheek, but he doesn't turn away.
"Well, Mr. Boot," Draco says, deceptively polite. "That's excellent: you and I seem to see eye to eye. That being cleared up, why not take off these bindings and drop me off at the nearest port." Draco smiles up at Terry, blinking coyly. Terry pulls away. Draco's gut hardens. He considers exercising his charms on either of the witches, but doesn't have the stomach to even pretend to be interested in a woman. And he doubts Luna Lovegood would even notice.
With a sigh Draco drops his shoulders in a sign of surrender. "Fine. Why don't you just tell me why you kidnapped me so we don't have to waste time on witty repartee and guessing games. I've a lecture I intend on making at Cambridge tomorrow morning." It's a struggle to keep his expression passive.
"Oh, Draco." He's shocked to hear Luna speak. "I highly doubt you'll be making that lecture." She says this so matter-of-factly, that he can't seem to hold a grudge. "We just wanted to give you a taste of the ol' pirate lifestyle." Her eyes trace the columnar cracking crossing the walls and ceiling. "And hopefully you can tell us where Lord Voldemort is hiding," she adds as if in afterthought.
Startled, Draco shakes his head. "That is something I don't know. Nobody knows." Though his father gets his orders from somewhere. "Anyway, you can't touch him even if you knew where he was." There have been attempts. Many failed attempts. In a level voice, he says, "He is immortal."
Gazes and almost imperceptible nods pass between Terry and Laura and Draco knows something intrinsically valuable hangs silently in the air. "Well, nobody is immortal." Along Luna's neck is a necklace of acorn hats speared through with a golden string. She fingers it for a moment then smiles, still studying the lines in the wall. The woman had always been brewing with a poorly stocked potion's kit. "Not even that which feasts on souls."
Goosebumps flutter across his forearms. "What?" Draco says, his tongue a lump of flesh in his mouth.
"I think," Luna says with breathy weight to her words, "that he's trying to replace everything that he's already lost."
At that moment Harry struts in, calm and collected, like the ruler of all he can see, which at the moment was a small ocean cave, but the clarity of his gaze made it appear as if the world would gladly kneel at his feet and he was aware of its fealty.
Draco's attention is drawn to Harry's one eye. Something in it sparkles, like that damned fool Dumbledore's. The man he couldn't kill. The man who'd pried Draco's eyes open with his own death.
"How's everyone's morning going?" Harry asks and it's just so stupid that Draco breaks into laughter.
"Jolly," Draco responds once he catches his breath. "Just trying to convince your friends here that I've no idea where the Dark Lord is, that we all want the same things, and you should all just set me free." He smiles up at Harry and inwardly cheers when a little pink colors the pirate captain's sun-kissed skin. Harry smiles back. Draco is not below seducing his way out of this mess.
With a swoop of his wand, Harry materializes a chair. He repositions it, the feet scraping against the rocky floor, and sits down with a casual lean that makes the entire scene almost chummy. The other three remain standing. Now if only Harry had a decanter of bourbon and a smoking jacket, maybe a hound at his feet. Draco's father had never been fond of hounds. Draco had always wanted one.
He blinks and refocuses, tired. His bladder reminds him of its need.
"Now that your grand leader is here, can we conclude our business?" Draco asks with a sigh. He wishes he knew what these people really wanted. He wishes he could be certain they wouldn't kill him. Their body toll is sky high, and he and these four had never been friendly.
"So," Harry begins, eye twinkling. "You don't know where Voldemort is?"
With exasperation, Draco shakes his head. "No. I've already informed your esteemed colleagues that I don't have an iota of a clue. Nobody knows." Draco pulls against the ropes, leaning as closely to Harry as he can. He locks eyes with the man, opening his soul to him. "Only my father."
Harry just stares at him. Draco's body loses its tension and he slumps back. The ropes tighten, constricting like a hungry python. He wonders how soon until he is crushed to mash and they all feast on his flesh.
Terry squints at Draco. He feels like a specimen floating about in a jar of alaxial fluid, ready for the cauldron. He's sure that Terry will be the first to arrive with fork and knife in hand on the feasting day.
"How often to you see him? When was the last time your father met with him? Have you ever visited with him and if so, what locations?" And on and on the questions continue. Mostly from Harry, but Terry Boot, Ravennerd extraordinaire, has to make sure he isn't left behind.
"When you fled with Snape—"
"How far back are you planning on digging, Boot?" Draco demands. It has been over an hour and a sharp pain claws down his spine. The ropes force him into uncomfortable positions, binding tighter if he shifts left, tighter if he slouches an inch. A lesser form of crucifixion. "I've told you everything I know about the Dark Lord. I have nothing more to offer. Now, either cut me lose, let me go, or kill me now, because your constant droning is a hell unto itself."
Terry scowls. Luna laughs a high tittering noise and actually taps the rope with her wand; it unravels, falling dead around the base of his chair. Draco looks up at her, shocked.
"You probably want to freshen up a bit," she says, then gestures for him to follow her and leaves the interrogation cave.
Dumbfounded, he stands, looking from Harry to Terry to Laura of the bouncy hair. Terry refuses to meet his eyes, but Harry just sits there, expression placid. Draco turns his back on them and that fucking torture chair, and follows Luna.
The cavern he emerges into is immense, a large fissure in the earth that could possibly harbor its own weather patterns. Longer than it is wide, three ships are docked within the safety of its walls. Wizard globes hover every ten feet, lighting the interior, casting contrasting shadows over everything.
And there are people. The cave is teeming, alive with wizards and witches, house-elves, merfolk in the water and even some of the fae. His senses categorize every detail they can. From the scent of the sea, slightly briny, to the fact that he can't see the sun through the cave mouth. The air is chilly and a constant breeze wafts down the passage. The hairs on his arms stand as his skin tightens into gooseflesh.
The cavern floor crawls out of the lapping ocean, a long ago shift in the earth's crust twisting the rock at odd angles to the surrounding basalt. The slope is gentle and the floor provides a general open area where wooden structures have been erected. Draco glances up and round him; dwellings are carved high into the walls and from the ceiling dangle wooden platforms from long strings of spider silk, swaying as children hop from one precarious perch to the next, laughing.
Draped along the section of walls not sliced into Swiss cheese are long tapestries with the image of a phoenix, wings spread out and a wand clutched in each claw, the symbol of the new resistance. It's all scarily patriotic.
Luna leads him to a wizard-made cave and he walks in to find a full-sized bathroom, complete with claw tub and toilet. He shuts the door and a light blinks on overhead, round and harshly brilliant. He fumbles his trousers buttons, urged on by his screaming bladder, and groans softly as he pisses, the warm liquid draining out of his body.
Merlin that's fucking good.
He tucks himself away and washes his hands. Fiddling with the knobs on the sink he discovers there is hot and cold water and a variety of sudsy soaps. The mirror reflects a tired looking man, his once shiny hair lank. A new wrinkle has popped out between his brows.
Leaning forward, he presses his forehead to the cool surface of the mirror, avoiding the truth it reveals.
"You okay in there?"
He glances at the door. On the other side is Luna, waiting to take him… somewhere. Back to the interrogation cave? To his moldy cell on the ship? The chopping block where they can fillet his flank to serve to Terry Boot?
In slow motion, he reaches out and opens the door.
"Are you going to kill me?" he blurts. His gut writhes in anticipation; his shoulders stiffen in annoyance that he even asked.
Her huge eyes blink at him. "Of course not, Draco. I just thought you needed a bit of vacation." She turns her back on him; her long hair reaches the center of her back. He's sure he would have enjoyed Bermuda better. They return to the small cave where he'd recently spent unpleasant hours with people who had a misplaced sense of justice. Staring at him, accusing him.
She goes in, he follows. What else is he going to do? He doesn't have his wand and the place is swarming with Harry's sycophantic followers. He'd never developed the talent to just wish himself away, though he'd long tried.
Only Harry remains. Luna does a little curtsy, then leaves, nodding briefly at Draco. Draco suddenly feels cold, and very, very tired.
"What now?" he asks, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"Nothing," Harry says with a grin, those miles of dimples popping out. "I do have to say, though, I'm not sure what to do with you."
"Let me go," Draco says, hope lightening his words from the command he'd intended.
With a laugh, Harry shakes his head. "Not yet. But don't worry, Malfoy. We're not going to feed you to the fishes."
Dryly, Draco chuckles once. "I was afraid you were going to feed me to Boot."
Harry throws back his head and laughs. It's full and straight from the belly; his dark hair is tossed back and looks like the wing of a crow ready to take flight. When Harry catches his breath, he sits up straight, eye bright with tears. "Oh, don't worry about that," he says. "Deadbones is a vegetarian."
While certainly better than that small, mildewed cell, his new accommodations, encompassing a little bed and charmed chamber pot, are still a prison. Sprawled upon the wool blanket, rough spun and sheep-scented, Draco toys with his new accessory, a small iron Anchor Charm tied around his neck with a piece of hemp rope. It's scratchy and has an earthy aroma, and Draco can't help but feel collared with this noose around his neck. Like a dog.
He realizes, after this entire fiasco is concluded, he will be forced to refurbish his ego.
The ceiling is charmed to shimmer like a clear Caribbean ocean, nothing like the churning, grey waters of the Irish Sea. Sporadic fish swim by: angelfish, butterflyfish, a cylindrical shaped barracuda. It's soothing, and he hates it.
He stands and tugs on the door, which opens easily. Harry and Luna have given him the run of the ship, urging him to talk to the crew, to understand the pirate lifestyle.
He groans in dismay. He misses his Sleep-Aid bed, Spatty and her croissants, his toothbrush. Hygiene charms never feel the same, and he has to request Harry to cast them on him. He misses his wand. A spiky-haired young man scurries past him in the narrow hallway. The boy might have met his seventeenth year, maybe, and Draco wonders why anyone would chose to live their life on such a heap. Then he remembers the mob of people in the cave, like a colony of termites, eating away the core of the sea cliff, destroying its inner strength.
But they seemed happy, and that was the most incongruous aspect of it all.
From his doorway he can see the entrance to the Captain's quarters. The door is closed. Harry is either asleep or up on deck.
Following the scent of fresh, ocean air, Draco turns a corner and climbs a small ladder. As his head emerges from the edge of the hatch, he leans against the coaming, surveying the main deck. A tiny lemur hisses at him, then scurries up the mast, gripping the polished wood tight with its tail. Up and up the creature climbs, then leaps into the rigging; it throws itself from one line to the next, along side a very agile house-elf, who seems to be realigning the ropes in no discernable pattern.
The sails are up, full, carrying them out to sea, beyond the grip of the Dark Lord, beyond the grip of civilization, perhaps even the gentle hold of sanity. Draco has no idea where they are heading. He'd always been one to know his next move, and how he's floating in the open ocean, following the wind. And apparently Terry's navigation.
Ah, how like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate.
Terry Boot has a thing for Draco, and not the nice variety of thing. Most of the rest of Harry's crew are tolerable, either ignoring him or downright nice to him. Terry hates him. It seeps out of his pores and gives him a sour odor, it flashes like death curses from his eyes. And while Draco isn't too worried about Terry, the wizard does have his wand, while Draco is without.
The main sail bulges round, pregnant.
Gradually, his view of the rigging, the snapping wings of the phoenix flag, the endless sky is blocked by a large hat embellished with a giant, fluffy feather. Back lit, the person stands there and Draco has to squint to distinguish who the fashion-doomed individual is.
"Oh, good morning, Luna."
"Would you like to meet some of the crew? Oh, I hope the wulfones have all been disposed of. We had a nasty infestation about a month ago and everyone had to rub the soles of their feet down with banana. Things were a little slippery for a while." She tilts her head and her face emerges from the shadow of her hat brim, full of concern and determination.
She nods. "But I'm fairly certain the fumigation of burnt banana leaves did the trick. Though," she adds as an afterthought, "do keep a look out for snargelpusses. We might have one or two of those stowed away now."
Taking the last few steps, he ascends through the hatch to stand upon the deck. A few people flutter about like eager hens, brushes scrub away on the foredeck working up a foam, and Terry Boot leans against the forecastle, scowling at him.
"Deadbones, look sharp," Luna says, her tone suddenly exsanguinated of its usual breathy calm. "This area's being patrolled at regular shifts lately." With a definitive twirl on the ball of her foot she turns her back on Terry, whose face stiffens as Draco watches him. However, without argument, he turns to the helm.
"Trained like a dancing bear," Draco mutters under his breath.
Luna stops walking before him and turns her head to look at Draco. "Don't mock my crew."
The plume in her hat bobs in a playful breeze, but Luna's eyes hold no sway for any ridicule. Draco dips his head in acknowledgement. She continues their stroll, her voice reverting to the airhead tone he's used to.
"This is Firebreath Archer." She gestures at an old man with blackened teeth and half a left ear. Suppressing a shudder, Draco ponders instructing the man in hygiene charms—even those are better than nothing. The man is hunched, his back a long arch as he gracefully twists rope together with gnarled hands. The left pinky is missing and a red scar brands the hand, trailing up under the open cuff of his shirt. "A stripey with some of the sharpest eyes on ship. I'll leave you to talk." She breezes away, continuing towards the aft of the barque.
The sailor squints at Draco and he can't quite imagine a sharp eye out of that scrunched face. "Hello, Mr. Archer." Draco does not reach out to shake the man's hand.
The old geezer wheezes out a strangled noise that might have been laughter. "'taint no needing to be so formal, boy."
Draco's eyebrows jump. "Boy?"
He nods once, sharp and distinct. "What's it you want ta know, boy?" His hands weave and twist, subtle magic flittering across the length of the rope as the splayed ends mend together.
A cringe scrambles along Draco's shoulders. He steels himself against the rudeness and the dragon breath and the uncleanliness of the geezer. "Well, sir, I'm curious, what drove you to join this marauding pack of terrorists?"
That laughter again, and then a hacking cough. Draco takes a step away. Once the man steadies himself, he chuckles. "Terrorists? That's some Double Speak, 'taint it? We don't much think that word o' yours fits. Call a spade a spade, boy." His eyes shimmer. "Pirates, we is. Outlaws, seeking our own form of justice from tyranny." The weaving stops as the old sailor's zeal rises. "We sail the Irish Sea, taking what 'tis we want, helping them who cannit help themselves. We is gunna save this country from people like you." He jabs Draco in the chest with his fist, still closed around the rope. Not a punch; not a love tap, either. Draco brushes the spot, haughty indignation etched in his expression.
"Kindly refrain from touching me."
"Kindly refrain from yer ponciness," Firebreath shoots back with a tiny bow.
Draco gathers himself to eviscerate the man when bells start clanging, loud and reverberating, rattling Draco's heart loose within his chest.
"Frigate on the starboard bow!"
The old man's eyes pop and then he lunges for Draco. The rope whips round Draco's middle, binding his arms and legs as he thrashes for freedom, but the sailor had the jump on him and Draco had never excelled at physical violence, being the dueler, the verbal slayer. Before three blinks of his eyes he finds he's trussed up against the mizzenmast of the ship.
And then the volley of fire and light begins.
The sailor scurries off, one rat in a mass of writhing activity as the crew of the Gold Marauder enters into battle. Overhead spells race across the sky, and then a shudder wracks the ship as something collides into it beyond the perimeter of Draco's vision.
"The Staves! Shoot the Hex Stones," comes one desperate cry followed by the calm command from Luna. "Dive! Dive!"
He can tell the voice is Luna's, clear over the bedlam of foot clatter and the whistle of curses sucking through the air. And abruptly his world tilts, teetering on its axis, and then he is plunging into the deep, blue sea. His heart thuds, crashing against his ribcage, echoing the bells as the cold ocean water slaps against his feet, his thighs, rising up his fluttering chest and then slowly swallowing his neck. He gasps for air, gulping it down as his face descends below the surface. The ship continues her dive deeper into the gloom.
How could they do this? How could they tie him here to suffocate, to drown? Bubbles bead up along the hairs of his arms, gather along the surface of the ship, one or two escape, ascending with casual ease. Shifting left, then right, he strains against the charmed ropes, his lungs seizing.
Though his mouth is sealed, he calls out; the sound dull and muffled, the plea of a desperate man. And he is desperate. As his chest flutters, the breathing reflex chiseling against his will to cling to his last reservoir of air, he screams, closed-mouthed, for help, for a Bubblehead Charm, for anything because he does not want to die. Not in the ocean, on a ship, surrounded by enemies. Not here and not now. He's young and healthy and has so much to contribute and finally, as the pressure becomes too much, he opens his mouth and gasps, sucking in a mouth full of air, then another, and as the frantic need dissipates he realizes all the trapped bubbles along the ship's body, the sails, along his arms, legs, chest, that it has all been collected for use and he nearly weeps in relief.
The ship slices through the water like a great whale, the sails unlatched and undulating like flippers and tail. The rolling motion is sickening and Draco closes his eyes to trick his mind into thinking he's strapped to the back of a hippogriff. Something normal and above the titanic pressure of the sea.
Sounds are dim; he can't smell. In tiny sips he takes in air, afraid his bubble supply might vacate from one inhalation to the next. He's afraid he might have wet himself, just a bit, because he notices the majority of his clothing is dry where it is pressed against his skin by the weight of an ocean of water. His ears have already popped twice.
He inhales again praying that the air will last. Inhale. Pray.
Then the deck shifts and his spine presses into the mizzen as they rise. He opens his eyes; the gloom fades and the shimmery promise of sky glistens above him.
And with a crash, they erupt from the ocean's control, the top end of the ship hanging eternal in the air, then it slams down to the surface. With an 'oof' Draco's body is shaken like a baby's rattle and he whacks his head against the wooden mast.
Blackness tightens its noose around his neck as the sharp shout to fire hits his already fading senses.
Just as Luna had planned, they rise twenty-five feet off the port side of the Ministry frigate. She has a knack for this kind of spot-on precision. She'll allow herself a victory squash shake once the battle is over; she deserves it.
Millicent already has the staves ready and the exact second they resurface, she bombards the Ministry's ship with explosive charms, scorching and chomping against the sleek walls. Luna feels bad for the ship, for she is a beauty. Probably straight out of the yards in Falmouth. It's not the ship's fault who owns it, but Luna doesn't let such sentimentalities overrule her duty and judgement. The Ministry's corruption has already tainted it. Its potential has already been drowned and buried.
Her wand is drawn, as are the rest of the crew's as the move to board the ship. She's got a sword strapped to her belt, but it's mainly for show. Harry presented it to her when she made First Mate, a sign of her power, her position, but she's always felt the Tasmanian emu plume is all the mark of accomplishment she needs.
Settling her enhanced Spectrespecs onto her nose, she prepares for those enemies wily enough to board the Gold Marauder. Her ship does not take kindly to trespassers, nor does she.
Over half her sailors flood the deck of the frigate, spellfire filling the air. Golds, reds, purples; the occasional green pledge of death. Some of the Hex Stones slam into the frigate's keel, dissolving the wood into pulp. Luna's chin is held high as she waits; the waiting is not long.
Galator Cullpepper and Pansy Parkinson blink step onto the main deck from their own, the farthest instant travel available since the Order damaged the Disapparition Net. Then blink again, Galator's long blond hair a sunspot in her vision. Luna's specs sparkle, seeking out the invaders' intermediate presence, where their bodies are in that transitional movement phase, trapped in the in-between.
A dazzle, a little pizzazz and she lifts her wand. "Petrificus Totalus Detello." Galator slams back into reality as he tumbles to the deck, stiff as the plank that doomed men walk. Luna stands up straighter, a smile, pleased yet modest, touches her lips before she slumps to the ground, the curse from behind unexpected.
Like a ragdoll, her bones go soft within her frame; her head rolls over and she spots Pansy, a wicked gleam to her eye. 'It is really too bad,' Luna thinks in her last moment. She'd always thought Pansy beautiful, proud. One of her teeth has been replaced with a diamond and it shimmers like a miniature star when her head is turned just right and the sun washes her in brilliance. She'd have done far better as one of Harry's crew--
Then out of nowhere, like a man-sized Monkey, swings Harry, her Captain, from a stretch of rope that lengthens and lengthens until he's spot on behind Pansy, feet held out in some dashing display of acrobatics. Pansy whirls on him, slapping a curse across his chest that etches across his pectoral muscle.
A flinch wracks his body and he drops to the deck—the sound echoes in Luna's ears. Pansy laughs; it's shrill and theatrical. Luna closes her eyes and waits, unable to move, unable to speak; she can only hum softly through parted lips.
A thump snaps her eyes open again and Pansy is on the ground, her legs flailing like a landed fish, as Harry jumps to his feet, a small dagger in one hand, his wand in the other. His shirt is painted red, his face a ghastly white, but he lunges at her as she pops to her feet, his dagger flashing like her tooth, both worshiping the star hanging low in the sky.
Pansy curls over, hollowing out her belly as the blade whiffs harmlessly through the air. Then she backflips away; Harry stops his attack, his eyes impressively wide as he nods in Pansy's direction. "Pretty fancy move," he says.
"Thanks, Old One-Eye," Pansy replies with a flip to her hair. "A little more elegant than swinging from vines." Her voice is snide, but the Captain continues to smile, feigning meekness.
"I thought my Tarzan move was classic." He shrugs his shoulder; the blade glitters.
Luna barely notices the jerk of Harry's wand.
Pansy shakes her head, blinks. "Whatever, Potter. Why are we talking anyway?" She raises her wand, pauses for a breath, then sends off a zap of magic.
The hex pierces the air like a sting; Harry shifts his weight, eyes still on Pansy, and it impales the sail behind him, lodged into the reinforced weave of unicorn hair and charms.
"Come on, Pansy." Harry's eyes have grown serious as he studies Pansy, and Luna wishes she could smile better. The curse has moved from her bones to her muscles and she struggles to suck in a breath. But her Captain has turned serious; he is going to recruit Pansy, save her from her lineage, from the Dark Lord.
Because Luna had asked him to long ago.
Her sight growing dim, Luna wheezes. All she can see now are shoes, black neat slip-ons with a sliver buckle.
Luna remembers those last moments before everything flipped arse up and Lord Voldemort took over. She and Pansy worked together for The Prophet. Luna saw it as a jumping off place—to get some experience at a lesser paper before returning to The Quibbler to work with her father. Pansy ignored her at first, but everyone else ignored Pansy. Luna plied her with baked goods from Madam Leaflie's shop in Diagon Alley. She thinks it was the spinach turnover that finally won over Pansy; eventually, they were friends.
The shoes turn and Luna hears a shocked gasp. "Oh fuck!" And with relief her muscles reengage. Luna breathes, sucking in huge chestfuls of air as she rolls onto her back, watching the willow-the-wisps hovering in the air above her through her specs, ready to whisk her soul away to the next great adventure.
"Luna!" Harry cries out; he slides to the deck beside her, his one eye bulging with panic. "Luna, are you okay?" He presses his fingers against her clammy brow, the side of her face.
Her eyes zone in and out of focus and she finally looks at Harry. "Yes, Captain." Behind him is Pansy, one hand fluttering before her mouth, her face pale, pale like the belly of a ray, a lift to her brows giving her a hound dog expression of fear, worry, shifting to horror like she's pulling on a new layer of skin. Or shedding one.
And right there, Pansy is free.
Luna smiles at the sound of her name on Pansy's lips. It's just a breath, but the weight of it carries the significance of a sonnet, like her gazes, the rare smiles she would pass to Luna late nights at the newspaper setting up type-printing and sizing photographs.
With a twist, Harry jabs his wand at Pansy and her hands are wrapped in twisted vines sprouting from the dead wood of the ship. After a half-hearted struggle she grows still.
"I'm so sorry," she says and Luna smiles up at her.
"Can you stand?" Harry asks and Luna gets to her feet with little fuss, casually brushing away the flittering wisps dangling around her face. Only a few remain. One of them sparkles around the buckle on Pansy's shoe, perhaps preening in the reflection or in the belief that it's found its true mate.
As Luna rises, Pansy falls, an elegant settling to the floor, like a falling leaf in autumn. Her robes billow, and then deflate. They land on the ground around her, a frame to her own horror.
"Oh fuck, Luna." Luna looks down and their eyes meet, a connection that traps them for a moment. "I didn't mean to, I didn't…"
"It's time to decide, Pansy. Back to Voldemort, and his control, or here with us… under probation of course," Harry says, his wand aimed at Pansy. Starting with small circles, he stirs his wand before the sitting woman—then the circles grow, a spiral of magic woven together in a dance as old as the stone gathering places littering the British Isles, the land of her people, the land that Luna wants to return to, she wants everyone to return to. The spell Harry casts reaches out, stopping before Pansy's chest, and Pansy eyes it, watches it grow and swell, fat and ripe with meaning. Harry simply watches her, an expressionless mask painting him with the same strokes used by da Vinci and Monet.
Luna hopes. Wishes. But follows Harry's lead and just waits. And as the battle dances all around them, Pansy reaches out and touches the spiral of magic. Completes the spell.
"I'll ally with—" Pansy begins, looking up at Harry, eyes sharp, then her gaze snaps to Luna and they soften, warm brown. "—Luna." Luna gasps. "And I'll follow her lead until the end of this war."
The spiral of magic rises, like Whalebone Spout, then rains over Pansy, shadowing her skin in golden hues as it soaks in, penetrating her with the magical vow, seeping into her very core. Harry steps to the side, swaying from just having harnessed the ancient magic.
With a crooked smile, he bows once to Pansy, then turns to Luna. "She's all yours."
Luna nods, unable to encompass the joy that threatens to set her afloat. "You know, Harry. Doing this magic, in the middle of battle. We'll, you're a bit of a drama queen."
"Yeah." Harry grins. "I know." With nothing else said, he rejoins the fight, leaving Luna to help Pansy to her feet.
Pushing her specs up onto the crown of her head, Luna asks, "Will you stay here with us?"
Pansy smiles; it's soft. Everything about Pansy is softer. Their gazes are level and Luna finds herself leaning, just barely shifting like a new gravity well has been introduced into her universe.
"Yes, Luna. I will stay here with you."
Draco feels slightly guilty when he discovers he's not the only captive on the ship until he realizes Pansy's not Anchored with a charm, but free to come and go.
"I chose to stay here, Draco." Her eyes have changed, her posture eased. There's almost a smile on her lips as she catches something far away and stares at it, then tugs her focus back to Draco when he attempts to engage her in conversation. One of her teeth sparkles.
They are propelled under top sails only, running on westwards with another ship close on stern. The sky looks angry.
Over his shoulder Draco sees some of the merry gang of the Marauders. With Terry, Luna and Laura are Hermione Granger and her pet twit Ron Weasley. If that wasn't a mismatched pair…
He doesn't see Harry.
"What are they doing here?" he wonders, mumbling the words aloud, not really expecting an answer. From the crowd gathering he hears, "How many skulls." He swears it is Hermione that asked.
"Oh, they're exchanging crew, sharing supplies, having a gam."
With a snort, he stares down at Pansy. "How do you know?"
Her recent metamorphosis is shunted away by a familiar Pansy eye roll. "Come on, Draco. I've been sailing for a year now on the Dark Lord's ships. I know a thing or two about why ships do the bump and brush. Tonight—" she pokes him in the bicep with her red fingernail, "—there will be lots of drinking, sex and bad singing." She looks back up at the crew, he tracks her attention again. The crew has swarmed the rigging and shouts fill the air as people transfer from one ship to the other.
"But…." These people consider themselves soldiers in a war, how could they just get drunk out here on the open sea? "What if somebody attacks them during the night?"
Harry appears from below deck. Today the wind is sharp, the sky a dove-wing gray layered upon charcoal, layered upon a bleak swirl of black. The wind tugs at his hair, the open collar of his shirt. The man still wears indecent clothing that bares his chest, an angry scar now bisecting the tanned flesh.
They'd been talking lately.
"You were a prat, you know," Harry offered helpfully, pointing a crust of toast at Draco as if they weren't sure exactly who the prat was.
"Oh, well at least I wasn't a high and mighty Chosen One with the world fawning at my feet." He meant it as a joke, but Harry's face still took on a shield of annoyance, automatically pulled on and ready for battle.
Hermione's hand is held tightly in Ron's. They look cozy. Harry grins when he sees them; a parade of dimples line up in greeting. It seems wrong to Draco that someone who's killed so many can smile with such joy.
"You kicked me in the face."
Alarmed, Draco said, "I'm sorry. Really." He hadn't expected this change in direction, didn't want to remind Harry of his other misdeeds, lengthy and enough to leaden his soul. "You can't imagine the stress I was going through that year, with the Dark Lord's…" He stopped speaking. Harry's face had changed, turned into something amused, his great grin cracking his face. Draco couldn't look away.
"Oh, Malfoy. I'm teasing you." He offhandedly shook his head, shifted his shoulders. "All that was ages ago. We were boys back then."
"Potter, it was only five years ago."
Harry shrugged. "But in those five years, everything has changed."
And didn't they. Harry glances in his direction and catches Draco in mid-stare, and he smiles. Brighter than he smiled for Hermione. Draco finds his own lips slipping into an easy grin and beside him he hears, "Oh, yeah. Now I see how it is."
He lets the smile fade to something less brilliant than a star and raises a sardonic eyebrow at Pansy. "You see what, dear friend?"
She smirks. "Can't hide shit from me, Draco. I've known you far too long."
He starts, suddenly cold. "Well, at least I'm not lusting after Loony Lo—" A wand to his throat cuts off the majority of his next word. Wand? "Wha— What are you…? Why do you still have your wand?"
Pansy is livid, smoking like he hasn't seen her since Vince practiced the Crucio Curse on her puffskein. "Be good to her." The words menace, attack with subtle grace and Draco categorizes what Pansy must be thinking and feeling to push her to this precipice.
"Pansy." They both look over and see Luna, Harry standing right behind her, his Captain's persona pulled on tighter than an officer's cloak, stern, commanding. Draco shudders.
Pansy releases Draco and steps away looking off into the building storm like a cat who'd just knocked over the fish tank and had discovered the koi missing. A displeased cat.
"Pansy." This time it's Harry who speaks. "If you insist on attacking people on my ship, we will remove your wand." Pansy faces the two pirates, a casual glance at Harry and then her gaze halts on Luna.
Luna offers a conciliatory smile, a small lift to her shoulders that seemed to say 'well you did threaten someone.'
"I'm sorry, Draco." Pansy doesn't meet his eyes. "But please, don't insult Luna."
Dryly, Draco explains, "You do realize that everyone here calls her Loony." Pansy's eyes flash at him and Luna laughs, a high giggle of someone much younger.
"That is my name. Ivory Loony," she says with pride.
Pansy drops her eyes and simply shakes her head.
"We'll have to think of your name if you want to stay," Luna says. "Maybe Plundering Pansy or Buccaneer Parkinson or …"
Luna leads Pansy away with a look and Draco finds himself standing with Harry, the wind howling through the silence separating them. Harry moves to the railing as the house-elf Monkey scampers over the rigging preparing the ship for the high winds. Her whistle fills the air with shrill commands that Draco can't interpret. Harry's parrot and that lemur are nowhere to be seen, hiding from the weather. The sea roils and Draco's stomach does a dance. He'd taken a potion not long ago for sea sickness, but still, the flips continue.
Harry looks serene, at peace with himself and the world.
"You enjoy it out here... out at sea." Draco's shocked.
"I love it." His voice is caught and carried away by the wind that races them across the white caps of the stirring water. "Always on the move. Never a dull moment." He turns away from the grey sea and looks at Draco. There is a smile on his face, a smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes, the rows of teeth attempting to belie the truth in Harry's soul. And suddenly, Draco tallies up another discovery. "I live on the edge of the world. Heaven is just beyond that edge."
A splash of cold spray surges over the bulwark; Draco hisses in a breath.
"But, aren't you tired of this?" he asks, wiping down his face with a lace napkin. "The lack of stability? The constant fighting?"
Before Harry can even open his mouth, Draco knows the truth, and nods to himself.
"Potter," Draco interrupts the impending lie. "You can be honest. I'm not your friend—" he sees a brief flash of something in the vibrant green of his left eye, "—and I'm not your supporter. I'm your rival. You don't have to soothe my ego or sway my opinion. Think of me as the one person you don't have to dazzle. To each other, there can be complete candor."
The wind pulls at Harry's hair, and his gaze slips down to a spot at the center of Draco's chest. Above them sea birds screech, heading for solid ground to weather out the impending storm. Harry turns back to the sea, his gaze soft.
"The sea is a fickle mistress, Malfoy. Some days she loves you like nobody can, cradling you, protecting you. You can read the wind by the waves and the shift of the gannet's wings and it's almost like flying when you're cruising across open water." Harry smiles, a shallow dimple popping up on his cheek, and glances briefly at Draco. Then his smile fades. "Other times, it's rough and tumble. There are squalls, late nights…. " A gust descends and ruffles the two men, causing Draco to reach out for the railing to keep his balance as the boat dips. "All the fighting."
Harry stops speaking and turns away from the sea. A wall rises between them and Draco wonders if he should regret the question. "Let's get below deck. There's a storm coming."
"Pass the mashed yams."
Millicent slides a bowl across the smooth surface of the dining table, cramped with officers and guests. It bumps into a glass of pumpkin juice, almost knocking it over, but Draco stalls the tilt with one finger. Millicent grins at him, her mouth full of yellow mush and he shakes his head at her.
"Manners, Millicent," Draco scolds. The clank of cutlery on tableware ceases and everyone gawks at him. "What? A Slytherin has more pride than that!" He jabs his knife at Millicent, who sticks her tongue out at him. Laura laughs.
Pansy clears her throat and mumbles something that sounds like, "Well, I can agree with that," but nobody stops and stares at her, nor Millicent as she shovels enough food down her throat to sustain a small horse, and Draco can't get his brain around this meal of yams, boring cheese and stale bread. He misses his clotted cream and fresh croissants. Fresh fruits. Flavor.
The lemur scampers through the door, crawls along a little net bridge spanning the roof of the galley, dangles by its tail and nabs an apple that has developed a patchwork of spots and then creeps away. Nobody seems to notice. Draco notices, he notices a bit of fur that shed from the animal onto the plate of yams, and pushes his plate away.
"I'm done." Standing, he ignores the looks and walks out onto the deck.
Terry and Harry are standing near the helm. They are close, heads bent together in conversation that looks equally as hot as it is cold. Harry's face is a stiff mask, his body rigid; Terry's hands are active, reaching out every so often as if to touch Harry, but are stopped short by some invisible shield.
The wind tears away words and phrases and carries them along the barque's deck to Draco's ears.
"I've told…" "…wont' you just…" "…the last time…"
Draco can't hear everything, but when Terry finally generates enough courage from his dance of reach out and pull back, he touches Harry, gently. Far more gently than a subordinate to his Captain, a friend to a friend.
For a moment, Draco thinks that Harry will melt into that touch. There is a softening to that impenetrable line of defense he'd built up, but then he recovers from his moment of weakness and shakes off Terry Boot's hand, turns away, and then he notices Draco.
So does Terry.
Draco can't help it, he smirks, and then returns to his room, just across the hall from Harry's.
On his way he passes through the galley again; he hadn't eaten enough and he remembers some peaches that Hermione's ships had unloaded during their gam.
"… like that batch we got three months ago. They all seemed happy about it. I mean, it isn't like Greenland is hell."
"Close to!" Laura says with a chuckle.
Draco slows his progress, watching Pansy whose eyes betray her interest in the conversation, her wonder.
"So Seamus has us intercepting another vessel off of the Glouchester tomorrow. We'll have to see who wants to go on the Greenland haul," says a sailor whose name Draco can't remember, other than he played Chaser for Hufflepuff when Draco had first started at Hogwarts.
"Maybe we can get some fresh veg; I so want some fresh veg," Luna mumbles.
"So, you haven't been killing everyone," Pansy asks. Blunt, but at this moment Draco appreciates her candidness.
Luna places her hand over Pansy's. Pansy takes on a little glow as a smile touches her lips. "No. We don't kill our prisoners," Luna says.
Draco can't help it. He steps forward, as shocked as Pansy, and asks, "But, then what do you do with everyone you capture? You can't keep them in that cave." He points his finger some random direction. The papers, the Ministry… Draco's father! They all say that the Order of the Phoenix, the Gold Marauder, Terror of the Irish Sea, and Black Death have been capturing merchant ships, passenger ships, all of the travelers going into and out of Britain via the sea, and robbing them of their cargo and sinking them. A watery death to half of the British pureblood wizarding population.
Everyone agrees to this!
Millicent barks some indignant noise at Draco. "Draco, do you think I'd side with those who are killing all the magical people? Come on, you dumbshit." Her voice is mocking. "I'm fighting the Ministry that is killing people. Your side killed off a quarter of the Muggleborns before the Order realized what was going on and shuffled them out of the country. Killed off or jailed in that Dementor infested hell."
Draco mumbles, "It's not my side," but nobody listens.
Millicent springs from her seat, her chair screeching loudly as it's roughly pushed away.
"We are not the Ministry!" Her eyes are wide, her lips pulled back to reveal square teeth.
Draco takes a step back, the paleness of his features lightening. "Then what do you do with them?"
Laura calmly takes a sip of her drink. "We Mind Alter them and drop them off with our people on Greenland." Draco's heart squeezes in his chest. "Then we set them up with new lives in other countries. Same with those unwanted by the Ministry." All this time, he thought that Harry Potter was killing off witches and wizards, innocents. "We have the Diggorys, Pliths, some of the Notts, Fudge and his lot, most of the Muggleborns we'd schooled with. We even have Andromeda Tonks and Teddy Lupin, your aunt and cousin, all safely tucked away." She pops a bit of cheese into her mouth.
He spares a glance at Pansy, who stares down into her plate of yam mash, her hands resting in her lap. He looks back up at Laura, whose large eyes study him.
Harry is not a murderer. Can it be true? Has everything he'd thought been wrong? How could he be so stupid, so duped? His father… His father told him that all of those people were dead. But then again, he might think that true. But Draco now knows the truth: Harry is not a murderer. He's a strong, confident, attractive non-murderer. Something in Draco's chest— maybe his lungs, maybe his constricted heart—flutters, does a little flip, and he knows right there that he's so fucking doomed.
He turns from the open stares and rushes back out to the deck. Harry is alone, facing the dark horizon.
"Potter." His voice is dry and the name comes out feeble. He swallows. "Potter!"
Harry turns and looks at him. Draco realizes he must look something odd if that reaction of Harry's is anything to go by. His eye opens wide; his shoulders lift as if ready to spring into action, something daring and heroic.
"I didn't know," he calls out across the open deck. "I didn't know you weren't killing everyone. I…" he swallows again. "I believed what they told me, what the Ministry told me." Harry's shoulders relax and a hint of pleasure crosses his face. "I'm sorry." The words just flow out of Draco and he doesn't care. "I'm sorry I thought you a monster. I'm sorry."
And he turns and flees.
Draco's sudden realization, the unbalancing of his world view, keeps him ensconced in his tiny room under the pretenses that he has a stomach ache.
Really, he is trying to think. A school of white minnows span the length of his ceiling. One of them stops and stares down at where Draco lies on his cot.
To think about home, about his office, his nice bed.
Think about that latest speech he'd delivered to the media and how he now feels like an utter fool.
Think about how long he's been single.
Not thinking about Harry.
He finds the task daunting, if starkly impossible.
From his vantage point in the entrance to his private room—now he finally realizes what a treat that is—he can see the Captain's quarters, the large table piled with maps and little sea-faring doohickeys of which he has no idea of their function. He can hear the low mutters of Harry, Luna and Terry as they plan their next trip, either to rescue some hapless wizarding folk standing up against the Ministry or perhaps to attack an incoming merchant vessel. If he bends his head just right, one eye peeking around the edge of his doorjamb, he can see into the room.
Harry hunches over the sea charts with Terry by his side, their fingers tracing lines that mean nothing to Draco, just squiggles and numbers that could mean the death of the next navel ship or the liberation of prisoners. Harry's finger taps one spot and Draco tries to crane his neck to see what it is that has drawn their concentration so keenly, but he can't see any detail from the border between his seclusion and Harry's world. He refocuses on Harry's mouth to read the words forming on lips chapped and pink, handsomely shaped with a full bottom lip. Terry and Harry talk. Harry nods. The bottom lip gets bit. Another nod.
It takes some time before Draco realizes he hasn't interpreted any of the rise and fall of lips as words and has only noticed the pinkness, the chapped scabbing, the joining and parting of motion.
Remorse unites with his tenaciously clutched denial, which has been whittled away, layer by layer, since he'd learned of the true fate of the pirates' captives. It isn't just the shape of Harry's body, or the fact that Draco has been abstinent for far too many years. It's the smile on Harry's lips when he sees Draco, the light in his eye when he laughs. The determination and fever that burns within him when he faces some injustice.
Draco crawls back onto his bunk. Thirteen days. He's only been here thirteen days.
When was it that Harry had caught his attention? Frightened his heart into this rabid pace? Upon the knowledge of his non-murdering status? The day of his capture? Perhaps it was their graduation ceremony, cut short by the Dark Lord's intervention and Harry's going to ground. Maybe it was that moment when a careless curse cut him in two, leaking out his life's blood.
Or perhaps, though Draco is loath to admit it, it was that moment when Harry refused Draco's hand, so many years ago. Immature and haughty, he wanted to be friends with the famous boy, and now he's the man's captive, locked away on a bilge heavy ship, mere feet apart from where he sleeps and Draco can't quite face what that does to him, in the dead of night.
Aberystwyth greets them with the cheery façade of Victorian buildings rising up five stories from the promenade. They rotate in color from blue to yellow, to pastel orange and green. All reminiscent of calm Easter shades that Luna finds comforting, unlike the idea of a rabbit that runs around to each person's yard planting colored eggs he'd recently laid. Who'd ever heard of a male rabbit laying colored eggs? Brown eggs, maybe.
The surrounding hills embrace the city, hold it close, protecting it from the Irish Sea and its annual revenge upon the land. The Rheidol River fades away into oak midlands, through the valley of lead mines and over the Devil's Bridge.
The city is a center of education, and has been a pirate headquarters for centuries, as is proper for a town fed by a river that runs the gauntlet through hell.
"Heave to," Luna calls out. The crew bustles about the ship like a meerkat mob, busy with this chore and that, readying the ship for their portage at the bay. The Skull and Snake of the Ministry camouflages their mast, as well as a Disillusionment Charm used to redirect interest from their vessel. Three other Order ships are docked here as well, under the same concealment.
"Lower the killick." The capstan winds, the anchor drops, the grinding sound heralding their arrival to solid land as much as a little bell once caused a dog to drool in a Muggle training exercise. The men ready themselves for a little R&R, eager to crack Jenny's tea cup as much as the dog was for a bit of kibble.
Luna watches it all with a keen eye, watching for the snargelpuss she's sure has boarded their ship since last they'd landed. Last week she thought she'd caught the flash of spotted tail. Maybe it would disembark, too. She's been leaving bits of fish around the ship's four levels and when she later checks on her bait, it's always missing.
Harry approaches her and she dips her head towards him, he nods stiffly at her, prim and proper as a Captain, then winks. Draco follows behind. His skin shimmers in the sun, as pale, or even paler, than her own. His eyes are glued to Harry's back, and she wishes the slow man would finally do something about his crush. Doesn't he realize that all he has to do is say, "Hi Harry, you're fairly keen, fancy a snog?" and her Captain, weak kneed for Draco that he is, would nod eagerly and drool, a mere suggestion from their guest triggering his need? Probably not. Men were slow that way.
One by one three-fourths of her crew disembarks. She will remain on watch until Harry or Terry returns. Pansy steps up beside her. Luna looks over and smiles. Pansy will be staying.
"Kiss me," Luna says, and Pansy does. See, it is as simple as that.
Though he is free to walk the streets of Aberystwyth, he is still a man on a tether, and not a long tether either. His nerves are strung high as he follows Harry around the town from one shop to the next.
Harry is cordial, sickeningly so. "Draco, did you need any new clothes? How about some treats, we can smuggle them into my quarters so the crew doesn't revolt. Interested in anything to read?" All said with charm, an edge of teasing that Draco, for all his experience—which isn't much—can't interpret.
It almost seems like Harry is flirting with him.
"Potter, if I smuggle my goods into your quarters, I'll need free access to come and go… all hours of the night." A flush simmers below Harry's tanned complexion even as he tosses off one of those cheeky grins, dimples, teeth, left eye so open and warm Draco is certain he'll fall into it.
"Well, I'll have to give you a key, then."
At this, Draco almost trips on the pavement where they are walking along the waterfront, but covers his surprise by leaning over and picking up a ball of paper to toss into a trash can. Harry watches him and that grin goes up three notches when he sees what Draco has done.
"Malfoy, I'm positively charmed. You even clean up the streets with your own two hands. I'm sure their list of skills is endless."
Damn, Harry is totally flirting with him and Draco's heart rumbles away as he attempts to walk normally down the busy streets with a half-masted erection. It's been far, far too long.
In the city, Harry has at least buttoned his shirt to the top and is wearing normal trousers. All of the crew have dressed to blend in with the Muggle population. The chest that Draco finds he has to bite his tongue more and more often to not pounce on and lick is hidden away. He's tired of waiting. He wants to get back to the ship and let his body do the thinking, maybe he'll pin Harry up against the wall, devour that chest, his neck, those chapped lips that are so fucking perfect. Maybe he'll strip and await him in his bed… there, Harry couldn't misconstrue that, now could he? They walk past a drug store and Draco wishes he could slip away and purchase lube, but he can't be more than twenty feet from Harry as a safeguard for him making a break for it. Not that he's gone beyond five, but still, the Anchor bruises his pride.
Hopefully, Harry already has lube.
Harry waves down a crewman who is looking wistful.
"Harry, sir," the man says with minimal fawning. Nobody calls each other by their Pirate names or ranks out here on the streets.
"Good afternoon, Barlow. Could you get these things back to my quarters for me?" Harry hands the sailor their purchases and the man simply nods and runs off.
"You probably just derailed that man's date, you know?" The sun has begun painting the sea; the mosquitoes arrive for their evening meal. Draco slaps at his arm.
Harry looks at him then waves his arm about. A passing Muggle ignores them, but Draco can feel the charm settle over his skin like a comfortable shirt, worn and soft. It feels like Harry. "That should help with the bugs," Harry says. "And don't worry about him; he's just come out of Jenny's. He's already had his date."
"House of Pleasures," Harry explains with a wriggle to his eyebrows.
Something in Draco bristles. "Oh, I see. Go there often?" He finds that he's crossed his arms and taken a step away before he even registers his body moving.
Harry's eye widens; the lines of his face smooth out. He looks young, young and innocent. "No." One word, but it carries truth even as it's spoken with a tenderness that Draco can't quite suss out. "I don't go there. I've never been there." Harry looks away, a brighter pink than even before, and all of his confidence, his pure sense of self that just burns under his skin fades away, and before Draco stands a twenty-something, lost and alone in the world.
Draco reaches out, brushes the tips of his fingers up Harry's arm. Harry practically leaps at the touch, looking down where Draco's hand touches him as if amazed that such a thing could happen. Then, the distance and time lodge between them and suddenly Draco feels silly and lets his arm drop to his side.
Harry looks up at him, again he looks completely vulnerable. "Harry," Draco begins, taking a step closer, eyes on that single green window, blown wide open. Then his gaze drops, catches on the peeling skin, the swipe of a tongue as it moistens his lips. All he has to do is lean forward and he knows Harry will be his.
And so, he does.
In the middle of the street, on a warm spring evening, Draco Malfoy kisses Harry Potter, Pirate Captain, Bane of the Ministry. His lips are rough, his taste hot, but the gentle flex of mouth, dart of tongue, is tentative, untrained and Draco knows, knows that Harry has even less experience than he does, and he sums up all the reasons that that could be—war, the Dark Lord, fame Draco now knows Harry has never wanted—and hopes that however much trust Harry surrenders to him, Draco doesn't fuck this up.
There's a whimper and the heat from Harry's body practically scorches him. He wants to slow the kiss down, drive Harry to the edge of sanity solely with the tease of his tongue.
"Come on now. Gentlemen don't snog in the streets. Now look, you're drawing attention."
Harry pulls away first, turning his head towards the speaker; his arm still rests against Draco's back. Draco's hand is holding onto Harry's hip. It feels natural, like an embrace that they've always done since the moment they gained their walking legs. Draco can't seem to move, he's frozen by the sight of Harry, flushed, lips glistening, an inadequately suppressed smile as Harry says, "If we don't draw a crowd it won't be any fun."
His dimples herald his joy.
Finally, Draco looks over at Laura. Her hair has extra bounce today and she's grinning brilliantly. Everyone here's a laughing fool. Even himself, but he doesn't really care.
"See you at the Bildge," Laura calls as she continues down the street towards a cross alley. "Everyone's expecting you and I'll tell elaborate lies if you don't show up!"
Harry and Draco exchange glances. Draco knows what his choice is. He's hard, and Harry's still in his arms, and Merlin fuck it, who gives a shit what lies she tells. But Harry wants to go, he can tell by the look in his eye, staring off after Laura even as he clutches onto Draco. Torn.
Draco drops his hand and jerks his head towards the retreating woman as she disappears between two pale blue buildings. Harry nods and the two men go to join the pirate crew.
Luna introduces Pansy to everyone as if they'd never met. And that is kind of true, because this Pansy is allied with Luna in more than just will. Magic has been spent to prove it. Magic that Pansy has agreed to, unlike the spell she'd been under before. She's akin to a slave, a serf, a bonded servant, but Luna would never abuse her power, she isn't like that. She doesn't want to be seen by anyone as mad.
Everyone is there; well not everyone, but a lot of the old gang. A lot of the DA. Luna thinks back on those days with a smile. Before joining up with Harry, those were the best days of her life. It was the first time she'd ever had any friends.
"Seamus!" calls out Neville as Seamus strolls through the room. He's got a new tattoo of a woman on his arm, breasts disproportionately large, that dances like one of the girls at Jenny's when he flexes. Luna knows, she's been there once to see what all the excitement was about. She didn't quite understand the allure of such a place. What was the point of being with one unknown person for just a night?
She squeezes Pansy's hand. Pansy squeezes back. Luna knows it's better to wait for just the right person.
Then everyone gets quiet and without even having to look she knows the Captain and his Captive have just walked in. Harry's like that bloke Crusoe, and he's found his Friday. Though Luna thinks they kidnapped Draco on Sunday. Either way, it's obvious how powerless Harry had been before when she can see his strength now, with his right person by his side.
She smiles to herself. Can't they all see it's just better to wait?
"What the hell," Seamus says under his breath. Luna quells his next words with a look. Then with a shrug he downs his drink and hails the waitress for another.
"Are you all ready?" Margie, their waitress, asks. She counts up the forty-some people in the banquet room and starts numbering her notepad. "Separate checks I assume?" She's done this before.
Everyone orders. Seafood and steaks, steamed veggies, fresher than anything you can get on a boat at sea. They even retain their color. Millicent scarfs down five bowls of salmagundi. Luna orders a slice of banana cream pie. Disgusted, Pansy glares down at the plebeian place setting before her with only one fork and one spoon. Harry finds that funny, to the enjoyment of the entire back room.
"Here Pansy, take mine." He surrenders all of his utensils and picks up his chicken wing with his hands. All the purebloods look at him with a kind of mesmerized curiosity. When he finishes his chicken, fingers licked clean, he examines his mashed potatoes.
"Here, I'll make do with one fork," Pansy says, placing Harry's fork along the side of his plate and then patting it like an old pal.
Fingers poised over the fluffy pile, Harry seems disappointed.
"It's okay." Everyone stares at Draco Malfoy, whose face is impassive, eyes studiously sticking to his own plate of something Hungarian and full of mushrooms. "Eat it with your fingers if you want to eat it with your fingers." His voice is hard, but supportive in an offhanded way that is completely feigned. Luna smiles around her own spoonful of pie.
Harry grins and plunges two fingers into the mash, picks up a glob, licks off the potatoes, squishes it around in an attempt at chewing, and then swallows it down. Draco watches him, nose crinkled, but all judgement locked away. "Hmm, tasty," Harry murmurs as he sucks his fingers clean, very slowly and very thoroughly.
Pansy elbows Luna lightly in the side, jerking her chin towards Draco. He's gone pink, his mouth slack as Harry licks down one finger, sucks on it a bit, then dives in for more potatoes.
Pansy laughs, and Draco looks away, casually, like none of the laughing is directed at him. He eats another forkful of his meal, a tiny bite, and chews. Harry gives Pansy a sidelong look and a wink.
"I hear Red Beard Riley's in town," a sailor for the Righteous Triumph says.
"Red Beard?" Luna looks over at Harry, who is now slicing up a bean with his relinquished fork and knife that he's pilfered from somewhere, his remaining pile of potatoes marred with finger divots.
"I saw him," pipes up Billy, one of Millie's powder boys just signed on a few months back. "He was at Jenny's."
The pirates nod, eat their meal.
Harry looks up at the young man, an amused quirk to his lips. "Billy."
"Did Red Beard really take your eye in a poker match?"
Draco's head snaps to look over at Harry, his gaze challenging, brow bunched in disbelief.
Harry shrugs. Everyone's already heard the story, but Billy is new to the crew. "He had a good hand," Harry says with a chuckle. Nobody else says a thing.
"Is that true?" Draco demands. "Someone plucked out your eye due to a lost bet?"
The smile on Harry's face wilts, then totally disappears. He resembles a man who'd just delivered the funniest punch line and nobody laughed. He brushes his knuckles against the rounded tip of his chin, and then shifts his shoulders.
"Well, sorta." He's gaze drops from Draco's face down to his own hand, still resting against his chin. Then his features lighten and he looks back up at Draco. "But it got me to fix my existing eye. I don't need glasses anymore; I can even see magic with it."
Luna feels sorry for him as he tries to convince Draco the Pacifist that losing one's eye is not a big deal, and was, in fact, an unexpected gift.
Draco opens his mouth to say something else, but Millicent calls out his name. "Draco." Everyone looks at her, her voice booming over the silent crowd.
"Millicent." Draco's tone is hard.
"What's with all this pacifist crap, anyway?" She continues to chew, looking at him with sly curiosity.
Draco glares at her, then Harry, then returns to Millicent, skewering them each on the heat of his anger. Then he deflates, the wind just dies, his sails laid flat. When he speaks, his voice is hollow like a breeze blowing over the edge of a cut bamboo. "The Battle of Ulcaster. Two years ago." Groans and nods, and more than a few of the diners stop to study their meals. "My mother, being an elected member of the Parliament at the time, was visiting with the Brevediers." Draco pauses, a shadow deepening across his brow. Luna's breath is held tight along with Pansy's hand in her own. He's remembering, like Luna does every September seventh.
"The Brevediers, if you remember," his words have developed steel, each one enunciated to a razor's edge, "had been fighting against the Ministry for better treatment for," he pauses, glances as Laura, "for Muggleborns. They disagreed with the deportation, they disagreed with the imprisonment."
"Yeah, sure… they were still going to ship us all off the Isles." Laura's fingers are pressed white as she grips her steak knife. "This is our home; this is where we were born!"
"Yes, but they were fighting for your lives!" Draco stands, slamming his fist against the table rattling silver and glassware, startling the tense flock of pirates as if they were yearling sheep. "It wasn't like you people were stopping it. She'd never been a member of the Dark Lord's people, you know. She was trying to help you."
He is disgusted, vile revulsion dripping from his scowl, from the pit of his gaze.
"But you killed her."
Laura takes to her feet, leaning towards Draco, both hands braced against the table. "We weren't the only ones there. The Death Eaters were hitting the place, that was why we even showed up. We weren't there for the Brevediers or your mother. We knew the Death Eaters would be there!"
With a scowl, Draco dismisses her argument. "You and them. You and the Ministry. Everyone else is just stuck in the middle. Terribly regrettable deaths. All you know is violence and pain. You people are insane, you know that? Read any Muggle psychology manual and you will find people like you labeled psychopaths." Blank faces all around stare at him. Seamus looks insulted. Harry won't meet Draco's eyes.
"Harry lost his eye." He points at Harry where he sits motionless. "His eye, and all you can do is laugh about it. That is the very reason I can't support you. You all thrive on violence and where exactly has that ever gotten any of you? Eyeless. So blind no one can tell their arse from a hole in the ground."
He throws his napkin on the table, an impotent action, but still Pansy flinches next to him. Draco turns to storm away, but is stopped short, pulled tight by the Anchor around his neck.
"Potter. I want to go." His voice is a smidgen above a whisper, sharp like glass.
Harry stands up and takes a step towards Draco. "Okay, Malfoy. Let's go back."
The Anchor hangs loosely from Harry's fingers, the enchantment broken. Draco is free to come and go, though he feels more trapped than he had when strapped to that cold aluminum chair. The rigging creaks around the two men as they lean against the railing on the quarterdeck, the wood worn smooth by endless caresses.
Harry relaxes his hand and the charm falls to the water to lose itself among the rocks of the bay floor.
A heavy stillness holds court between them: lack of words, lack of actions. Draco wonders how he will ever get off this ship, away from these people who have no earthly idea of the price of their peace. Peace cannot be gained by violence. All it gains are broken hearts and lost limbs… lost years.
He could walk away, but somehow that seems like a dead end. He's trapped, his will, his heart, eaten away. Perhaps it isn't Terry Boot he has to worry about after all.
"You okay?" Harry asks and Draco wonders how anything can be okay.
The breeze is soft, the night air cool against his skin. He remembers when his mother used to blow against his face, teasing him into closing his eyes so she could magic up a lemon drop or licorice wand when his father wasn't watching. He remembers everything.
"It's all history," he says under his breath, staring at the fading ripples the Anchor's plummet had conjured.
"What is?" Harry asks, though Draco is certain he has to understand. He's got his own history to survey like an army of old wounds.
"Everything. Everything gone and buried; everything behind us, in the past." He looks over at Harry; he's brushing the tips of his fingers against the leather of the patch.
"I guess you are right." A pause, then Harry dips a shoulder, shifts towards Draco. "Listen Draco… about my eye…."
Draco shrugs. "It's all history." Maybe he doesn't want to know.
"By losing my eye I gained respect from one of the most important men on the seas. By gaining his respect I got a ship, the knowledge of sailing, a crew… a chance to do something, to undermine Voldemort in some way. It gave me power. I gave up my eye for power."
"Whatever," is all Draco says. In a way, he can understand. But it was years earlier when he would have agreed.
Harry pushes himself to standing, crosses his arms as he studies Draco. "Draco."
Draco adopts a bored expression and turns towards him.
Harry reaches up, his fingers shake a moment, hesitate, and then in one swift move he pulls off the patch, his lid closed, sunken. Then with deliberate slowness, Harry opens the eye.
Draco catches his breath. He doesn't see a mar of flesh, a scared up wound. Instead he finds an endless pit, a gaping hole that sucks in light and magic and everything that comprises the essence of the living.
Harry closes the eye, replaces the patch.
"What…" Draco's voice trembles. He tries again. "What is that, Potter?"
With a sigh, Harry turns away, the weight of an honest answer pressing on his shoulders like the weight of the world's expectations. "It's a long story… But it's the last trace of Voldemort's soul."
Draco doesn't know what to say, doesn't quite understand but he realizes that Harry is right, whatever it is in that maw of blackness is twisted and consuming, just like the Dark Lord.
Harry faces the sea spread out beyond to the very edge of the earth. "When he killed my mother, he split up his soul. Part of it implanted itself into me."
"You're a Horcrux?" Draco asks, catching his breath even as the words escape his verbal editor.
"Oh, so you do know of his immortality." Harry doesn't seem surprised. "Yes, I am…" Then suddenly, Harry faces Draco again. "But we've got something planned. All the others are destroyed…. And mine…" he touches the leather, "well, let's just say that with Hermione on our side, we've figured it all out. My Soul Patch keeps the power of the soul in check. It sucks the energy from it, constantly gaining intensity as Voldemort's soul feeds it. All that's left now is a small shard in my eye, a weak thing. If we put Voldemort and the patch in contact, it'll activate, smothering both souls."
Draco's breath catches. "You mean…?"
"Yeah." Harry smiles. Draco's heart catches against his ribs. "Put old Voldy together with my eye patch and it's no more Voldy."
Right there, before Draco's eyes, is the end. The end of the violence, the end of death. Kill one insane man, no, half of a man, to save many. Could he condone such a thing?
"Yep. Their contact is all that's needed."
It seems so simple. And to think, all these years, Harry has been carrying around a piece of such evil, and still he struggles to do the right thing.
"Does it hurt?"
"When I was younger my scar hurt all the time. Did you know that?" Draco shakes his head. "Yeah, like Voldemort was chiseling his way through my brain. That was nothing, Draco." Draco isn't sure he hears that right.
"That pain, it was nothing. This hole in my eye, the patch sucking the power from Voldemort's soul. I hurt all the time." Harry says this with a casual air that can't be real.
"How can you deal with it?"
He shrugs. "You just deal. I figure, someday I'll kill his sorry arse and be done with it." He grins wide. "It will all be history."
Draco can't understand him, and as he shakes his head in disbelief Harry's smile softens, the light in his gaze grows warm as it brushes across Draco's face.
"This is all history, you know. My eye, the patch, pirates, you being on the ship. This war."
"How can you call this history? The war is going on, right now. History implies something in the past, Potter." Here he can correct, drawl, point out faults. Here, Draco feels on solid ground again. He doesn't have to think of Harry in constant pain. That his only release is the death of another individual, even if that man is a warlord.
"I know. But we are living it. Living history. Our children won't have lived through it, it will be something they study in a dry class that gives dates and figures. But we'll tell them. We'll tell them all about what happened. The injustice, the horror. We will tell them everything and make it real, this history."
Draco nods. And wonders if any of them will survive this history to pass the truths on at all.
It's been a week since Aberystwyth and the revelation about the Horcrux and Harry's eye patch. Draco can't look at Harry in the same light anymore, seeing him as a walking bomb, a smiling, dashing, walking bomb.
And he can't look at Harry and not be drawn to his lips, remembering the brush of them, wanting more of it.
For long hours Harry and Terry pore over the charts, Luna adding her own opinions on where they should sail next. Draco watches it all from the entrance to his room, the flicker of Caribbean blue from above giving him a feeling of seclusion. When Harry looks up, trying to catch his eye, Draco turns away and walks amongst the crew, below the shrouds, along the deck, talks to the phoenix guiding their way, watches the weather and the moody sea. At times the phoenix looks at him, carved of wood and soaked with sea brine, but it never offers any answer to Draco's questions.
What should he do?
Where should he go?
Who should he help?
All answers lead to Harry, like the ancient roads across Europe led to Rome thousands of years ago.
"So, I've decided," he tells the masthead, "that all I can do is wait."
"Wait for what?"
Draco turns and there is Luna, hat askew blocking most of her face in the dim of the evening. She wears a sword at her waist and that is enough to make Draco handle her with care.
"For you and Potter to let me go," he says with a nonchalance he doesn't really feel.
"Oh, do you still want to go?" she says, genuinely shocked. "We're not keeping you."
What should he do?
"I'm quite invested in my personal freedom and safety." The masthead's eye rolls back to look at him. "And it isn't like I can just jump in the sea and swim for shore."
"I thought you would be happy here, Draco. I've even been working on a new name for you." She looks up into the rigging for a moment, watches the lemur shimmy along the ropes. "Death's Head Draco. Marauding Malfoy." She looks back at him. "Though that's too close to the ship's name," she pats the ship's railing, "and people might think she's yours."
"I don't want to be a part of your pirate crew."
What should he do?
"We could stop somewhere to drop you off, but I think now probably isn't the best time."
"Why?" Draco demands. Have they found the Dark Lord?
With a wistful brush of her hair from her shoulders, she says, "Well, there are plans being laid out. And Harry seems happy to have you here, even though you're avoiding him." Draco flinches. "Are you mad at him? Has he done something?" She cocks her head at him.
"No," he mumbles. Then the silence tears from him, "He hasn't done anything."
"Oh, well that's too bad. I thought he'd have you moved to his cabin by now."
Draco's eyes bulge, then he coughs, pulling his dignity in tight. "I'm not so easily had." Even to his own ears it sounds frantic, unplanned.
"Neither is Harry." Luna nods at him, her plume bouncing with the bob of her head. Then as if summoned by magic, Harry's pops his head up through the nearby hatch. He notices Draco and smiles.
"What are you guys talking about?"
Luna stares down at her Captain. "You." Then she whisks away like a leaf on the breeze.
Harry leans against the coaming, that grin still playing on his lips, chapped yet full. Draco forgets himself and readily smiles back.
What should he do?
"I hope that's a good thing," Harry says; a look in his eyes lets Draco and the night sky and the sea all know he's certain it's a good thing.
And finally Draco surrenders. "Yeah, it is."
That night Draco doesn't sleep alone. He's wrapped up in Harry, lips and limbs and fingers crawling through hair, over skin. Harry tastes like the sea, salty and a little fishy, with his own musky flavor that calls to Draco, calls to the cells in his body, the core of his magic.
They balance between gentle and frantic, a kiss, then a bite, fingers toying and plunging. Draco prepares Harry as Harry murmurs to him how long he's wanted this, how long he's waited. Draco can't grasp that right now with Harry's hot breath ghosting across his skin. He can't comprehend the words of 'so long' and 'never before' and as Draco positions himself he looks directly into Harry's face and is lost.
The potency of the moment is cemented by the desperation painted there with sweat and spit, and then Draco sinks into Harry, his nerve endings sparking with life and passion and hope.
That night Draco is no longer alone, like he's been for years. For as long as he can remember, Draco has always felt alone.
That night he dreams. He dreams of Harry, his body, his cock. He dreams of those dimples smiling at him forever. He dreams of future possibilities.
And he dreams of the void behind the eye patch, the promise of dark eternity.
That night the bells rip him from his dreams and there are shouts that they are on the move. Harry leaps from the bed, dressing with fervor as the Gold Marauder races over the midnight sea, cries letting all that can hear know that Voldemort's location is known.
"Captain! Captain, we've got him." Terry barges in, is brought short by Draco, still half undressed, chest covered in bites, hair an array of startling chaos. Harry stands up from tying his shoes. Silence, then Terry nods. "Cardiff, Harry," he says in a steady voice. "Voldemort's in Cardiff.
The Dark Lord is supposed to be here because of a new potion laboratory and a Philosopher's Stone that he had commissioned. Just what the bastard needed, more means to endless life.
With the merfolk's aid, they make it to the shores of Cardiff an hour before dawn, their movements hushed by the lap of the sea. The spy planted close to the bosom of the Ministry had informed them that the Dark Lord was traveling on the Serpent's Skin, a fast, well-armored ship, cut to the bones to lighten her. She didn't even have lifeboats. And now there she floated, asleep in arrogant, uncaring grace, the soft slap of waves against her hull a lullaby to seaman's ears.
But not to Draco's. He'd insisted on coming along and his wand, now returned to him, is drawn and he waits, like everyone else, by Harry's side
What should he do?
He had decided. He would be by Harry's side. Protecting him as he could, along with half the crew. Luna and Pansy remained on the Gold Marauder, along with a few able-bodied pirates and the powder boys who were too young and inexperienced for dueling and wand combat.
Like ghosts, they rise from the ocean brine, water sloughing off like a selkie's skin. Ropes shoot from their wands, digging into the hull as eager as the roots of spring flora. As they prepare to climb, Draco lets himself consider the cost of this endeavor, the price of friendship, possibility… freedom. He swallows, grabs the rope, and hauls himself up.
Embraced by the night, the pirates search the ship, first the deck, then below deck and finally Terry Boot stomps up the stairs with all the elegance of an elephant. "It's a trap. There's nobody here."
As one unit they all look towards the Gold Marauder and through the developing fog see the false dawn of flames.
Without Apparition, all they can do is summon the long boats and beg the merfolk to pull them fast on charmed currents. Like watery knights, the crew surges towards their ship, towards their friends, towards the end, breaths held, prayers repeated in a mantra to every god imaginable that this night they would succeed.
While Draco watches Harry, the Captain watches his ship. And Draco is not the only one turning to Harry. The air about the crew is sharp, tinged with anger and desperation. This isn't about the war, tonight, this has become personal. The man stands at the prow of their little boat, back straight, a silhouette against the black velvet of the sky, the glow along the horizon. The bob of Harry's Adam's apple the only hint that everything wasn't in his control.
Without the need for stealth the trip is fleeting and soon enough the wizards and witches mount the ropes, summon brooms, are pressed up by hands and shoulders. They climb each other in haste and sooner than they hoped, the Dark Lord's men meet them in war.
He's the fourth over the bulwark, the flood of pirates behind him pressing him over the railing, tumbling him lemming style, thrown into the unknown. Someone steps on his hand, another kicks him in the shin, and still they come, even as the Death Eaters swarm them with a volley of stunners, Cruciatus, and the green flash of death.
Someone to his right drops and Draco dives for the scant protection of the main mast, screaming out Deprimo to a cluster of black-robed wizards, taking no time to watch as the explosion throws the men to the four winds.
"Not my ship!" screams Harry, and Draco's shoulders loosen. The fallen man is not Harry.
He snatches a glance around the mast and sees MacTavish shooting jets of electricity from his wand. An arc of it jumps to the metal in the rigging, leaping from pulley to pulley. Draco watches as it zips for the lemur, scurrying as fast as it can, and then in a crack Monkey appears, grabs the primate and pops away again as the lightning continues to fry a path to the crow's nest.
"Diffindo." A rumble consumes the sounds of battle as the main sail slips from its gaff, thundering as the weight of it pulls down rigging and the sail's supports. Flames rise over the side railings and the ship groans as they eat away at its flank.
He spots Harry near the forecastle, stunning and disarming when he can, and lashing out with the pure power of his magic when the non-deadly fails. Draco stands, back pressed to the reassuring solidity of the mast, and then he dashes forward, shielding himself with defensive charms as he skips over bodies and broken pieces of ship, and is finally by Harry's side.
"Have you found the Dark Lord yet?" Draco asks, breath shallow with adrenalin and fear.
"I saw him." Harry stuns another invader. "He's towards the stern, and Luna's back there too."
Draco nods, though realizes Harry probably can't see him so says, "Let's get up there, then."
Together, they push through the mash of pirates and foes, keeping close to the port side to avoid the no man's zone in the center of the deck awash with the deadly crackle of magic.
Time slows, a rusty beast that ticks one moment to the next, and Draco brings up his shield as Harry rockets the Dark Lord's men with a volley of explosive curses that rip and maim. There is blood and Draco feels he'll go blind with it all, even as he protects the men and women of Harry's crew with his own power, warning them of attacks from hidden places.
"Boot!" he calls out. "Duck!" And Terry obeys. The Slicing Hex lodges into the wood and in the next tick of the clock Terry petrifies the attacker with his own spell.
All Harry has to do is get close enough, bring that patch in contact with the Dark Lord's skin, pale, sickly, no longer that of a pure wizard. He's so far from blood purity that Draco finds it amusing, in a maddening way, that the man still promotes such bigotry.
It's all just a lie.
The battle roars around them, but where Draco and Harry are waiting behind a shroud the air is still and silent. Like the universe is holding is breath. Waiting.
A pink glow of the dawning morning sends its tendrils over the deck of the ship, the rigging, the blinking eye of the phoenix masthead causing the wooden bird to look alive with a burning fire.
A curse slices the main mast, snapping the rigging. Draco knows that to Harry it would be like the flaying of his own skin. He looks up and casts "Reparo" before the stalk of wood topples and hopes that Harry can battle on.
They are almost to the mizzen when he hears Luna cry out, followed by the rapid-fire casting of Pansy, and Draco is torn, torn between helping his friend, or watching out for Harry as he dives and dodges, dancing an act of wicked determination.
"Help them," Harry manages to order as Terry attempts to disarm Graham Pritchard, maskless now in the day of the Dark Lord's rule.
Draco turns and sprints for the two witches.
He scans the deck, cataloging loss and damage, fallen allies and fallen foes. Luna is down; the once fluffy feather sprouting from her hat snapped into two, the sword at her side now drawn as her broken wand lies useless at her side.
Pansy, in a very Gryffindor charge, lunges at a man in his august years--Clothius Prince, a distant relative of Severus'--stunners and Sectumsempra rolling from her wand like ocean spray on a stormy day. The man is skilled and he twists and guards, a tribal power to his writhing body.
Draco flanks him and cries out Expelliarmus, but the man tosses up another shield even as he dodges a Dismemberment Curse.
"Fuck!" Draco tries again and with a swirl of fabric the man faces Draco and Draco realizes, in a stark moment of self-awareness, that he is scared. Shitless. The wand raises, even as Draco swishes his own, pulling the armor of magic around him that will (hopefully) stop whatever it is the man has planned for Draco.
The curse light is green, and Draco watches as it charges for him. Green in one moment, a bottomless void in the next. His mind finds Harry in this instant before death; he thinks of his life and hopes that he's done a little good, made Harry proud somewhere in their short interlude beyond swapped insults and immature threats.
Draco closes his eyes.
But the curse never hits.
The voice is Luna's and he's loath to open his eyes and see Pansy, lifeless, but he knows he can't stand there struck blind and dumb, so he braces himself and pries open his eyes. The sight he sees is nothing that he expected. His heart is pounding like a rabbit's that has just escaped the wolf's jaws. Because like the rabbit, he's given a reprieve.
Next to the fallen body of Clothius Prince is the furred body of some animal he'd never seen before. Luna is crouched over it, petting the long spotted tail, brushing the pointed ears tenderly.
"It saved us," she says, true sadness weighing down her words.
Pansy is standing behind Luna, breasts heaving with her wand arm hanging heavy at her side, eyes wide.
"What happened?" Draco asks.
Pansy looks up at him, her expression slowly gathering itself to something more fitting. She shrugs. "I don't know. This cat thing just ran out and leapt into the way of the spell and I had a chance to curse the fucker."
In a quiet voice Luna says, "I knew you were on this ship. I just knew it."
Draco opens his mouth to ask something, anything, but he's frozen when he notices the Dark Lord and Harry facing off. They are circling each other like tigers on the quarterdeck, painted rose by the rising sun. How did it get to be morning already? Draco wonders if the minutes were counted off with each arrested heart.
What should he do?
He has to be up there. Nothing has ever felt so essential, not the death of his mother, not his peace activism, nothing. With his head low he runs for the stairs, taking them two at a time until he's on the quarterdeck behind Harry, the wizard's back straight, his shoulders relaxed.
His wand held firm.
"Ah, young Malfoy," says the Dark Lord, not taking his eyes from Harry. "I see you've given up your pacifism to betray me and your father."
The Dark Lord has a stench; it saturates the air and Draco can taste it on the back of his throat. It's an odor of putrefaction. The scent of damnation. His eyes gleam, reflecting the crimson flames.
In a calm voice Draco says, "It's the British magical citizens that I've chosen not to betray."
"Ah, such green idealism. I see nothing much has changed with you, even though you've had every opportunity to become so much… more." The Dark Lord chuckles, a dry sound too reminiscent of desiccated leaves rolling across hot pavement. It stirs within Draco loneliness, and dread.
"I'm a better man than my father… Or you. You've drowned everything in lies, stolen away choice."
The two are no longer circling each other, only calculating and watching for movement. Draco knows the timing is everything. Timing and speed.
"The people do not need choice," the Dark Lord says with contempt. "They need to be told what to believe. Then, and only then, will there be peace, will there be productivity. I am creating a utopia, Draco. I'm sorry that you cannot see that for the truth that it is. The most important truth of all."
And then Harry flicks his wand, jutting it out like a fiery brand and the Dark Lord swipes his through the air. The blue and green meet in the air, intermingling into colors as vibrant as those of nebulas and newborn stars. Then they separate once more and Draco reaches out, ready to push Harry because he's just not moving quickly enough. Just not quickly…
The green envelopes Harry and this time there is no mother to offer up her love and Draco doesn't comprehend how such a thing is done. From the corner of his eye Draco watches as the Dark Lord slams into the quarterdeck's railing and slumps against the timbers.
Draco's heart stops, then beats a heavy thump. Maybe… Maybe Harry is stunned. Maybe he's just dazed.
What should he do?
He looks from Harry's to the Dark Lord's forms. With hands shaking, fucking shuddering with palsy, he fumbles with the eye patch, avoiding that hollow recess. Harry had said that all that was needed was contact. The patch and the Dark Lord's skin. Patch in hand, Draco stumbles towards the fallen Lord and with little finesse, he drops to his knees and presses the leather patch to the bare skin of the Dark Lord's hand.
A wave of invincibility swallows Draco down, blocking out the world, the war, the dawning of the broken day. A gust whips his hair, tugging it with anger and with greed as lightning flashes between the clouds above like silverfish dance upon the waves. There is so much energy, it spills over with nowhere to go; sucking, drowning, swallowing him and soon he is lost in it, unable to surface.
Within the tempest Draco hears his name. A fragment of breath.
The heat burns him, chars his core, his spirit. He struggles to rise, to surface and breathe and he wants to live, to fucking live even in a shattered world.
His name. He focuses on his name and he follows the soft word through the maze of destruction and in the end he sees him, Harry, standing near a doorway, arched and hollow and telling tales of old bones.
"Harry?" A flash of intuition, instant. He knows. "No."
And like the dew settled on desert sands, Harry evaporates in the rising sun and Draco stands over the prone form of the Dark Lord, breathing no more.
And neither, he knows without checking, is Harry.
They look down upon the body. Captain, Oh Captain! From the fogged-in seacoast the doleful ringing of bells rolls across the shallow waves as the crew gather around their Captain, lifeless. Another soul lost in the feast of violence.
Harry had said the gentle touch of heaven could be found at sea; Draco can see only death in the chilling waves, the Kingdom that swallows down promise as an afterthought and then slackens to smooth glass in the next shift of light. Mercurial.
A tear finds its escape and flows freely along Draco's cheek. Their connection, Harry's death, these tears, they all seem a part of some destiny, like the fateful wind, driving him along a path he has no power over, just trying to stay afloat, trying to drift along the most gentle channels, only to lose himself in the storm.
He fights this battle, a hard crusade that he will never win. He had wanted peace, he had wanted freedom, but all he'd found was the ebbing tide, pulling him out, pulling him out, pulling apart all that was gentle within him, thread by thread.
And now he has killed. Voldemort is dead, a dawning world at his feet. But the murder tastes like ashes in his mouth. To save so much, he has killed. But it was all for naught, for nothing. Harry, his Harry, is gone.
There he lies, Captain, My Captain! a cold corpse.
Draco's tears are not the only ones raining in the awakening day.
He looks up and stares out to the sea, flecked with sun-jewels dancing upon the cold gray through parted mist. The wind is dead, nothing stirs. The sea mourns, she has lost yet another lover. Draco hates that the sea held Harry longer then he ever would.
The mournful bells ring out. 'Harry!' he wants to scream. 'Harry, rise up and hear the bells. Rise up and be with me.' But all that happens is he swallows words he cannot say and Harry lies where he has fallen, cold and dead.
Passages from O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman are used in this story.