Disclaimer: I do not own Draco Malfoy or the HP universe.
Scribe's Note: Read, REVIEW, and hopefully enjoy. P.S. I changed the name of the story in case you didn't notice.
"Just ignore the spider. It won't bother you." Draco was unsure. There was a particularly nasty looking tarantula staring at him with eight beady eyes. It was either the size of a rather small grapefruit or a significantly large baseball. Its furry, spindly legs tapped against the class of its aquarium, creating a beat that was remarkably similar to the Weird Sister's latest hit single. Odd, Draco thought, that a tarantula would be playing "You're the Lumos in my Life".
Emma lived over the pub in little more than a poorly furnished attic. It wasn't even fit for a house elf, and nearly not tall enough either. The ceiling grazed the top of Draco's head, sending showers of peeling peach paint and cobwebs into his hair. There was a window, at least if the circular hole with no glass cut into the back wall could be considered a window. It let a breath of air into the stuffy attic and the pit pat of rain that accompanied the tarantula's tapping nicely. Beneath the window rested an iron bedstead, complete with a mattress, sheets, and a moth-eaten sweater that Draco assumed was used as a pillow.
"Nice place," he said. Emma missed the snide pitch to his comment and beamed proudly.
"You think? I haven't been here long, but I've got big plans for the interior decorating. What would you say to a bust of Churchill over in that corner?" She pointed to a corner already occupied by a colony of beetles and newspapers.
"Churchill?" Draco queried, only half interested.
"Would you prefer a bust of Doubledoor?"
"Dumbledore," Draco corrected. Emma shrugged.
"Well, I've never been good with remembering names." She walked to the corner in question, squatted, and scooped a few unfortunate beetles into her hand. "Make yourself at home," she called over her shoulder. Draco hadn't come further than two steps into the room and he was still debating if it was two steps too far. Emma's next words settled the debate.
"Would you like to feed him?" she asked, holding a handful of panicking beetles under his nose. One of them made a dive under the sleeve of her wool sweater, but Emma pushed him back out onto her hand without batting an eyelash.
"Feed who?" Draco stammered, backing closer to the door.
"Tilly. What the hell is a Tilly?"
"The tarantula of course."
"Of course," Draco repeated faintly. He was beginning to think that her mind had been scrambled by a powerful Obliteration charm. Or perhaps she was just naturally mad.
"So do you want to?"
"No, not particularly. Actually I think it's best if I took my lea…What are you doing?" Draco's eyes widened in horror as Emma slid aside the lid of Tilly's aquarium.
"Don't let that thing out!" He grabbed the nearest weapon of defense, which happened to be a plastic sunflower. Emma laughed as she shook the beetles into the aquarium. Tilly wobbled slowly to the closest beetle and snatched it up between her two front appendages. It looked as though the tarantula and the beetle were hugging until Tilly sunk her fangs into the tiny bug's neck, or at least what Draco thought would be the beetle's neck. His grip on the plastic sunflower tightened. He imagined that he was the beetle; helpless, never had a chance, forever feeding someone else when all he really wanted was to settle down in a nice little beetle-town and live a perfectly normal beetle-life.
"Tarantula venom is weaker than a honey bee's." Emma recovered Tilly's aquarium and joined Draco by the door. She carefully removed the plastic sunflower from his hands. "I think you're safe."
Safe. Draco pondered the word for a moment, only half aware of Emma's lips travelling to his. He couldn't remember having ever felt safe. It was an abstract state of being he'd only heard of. He'd felt enraged, certainly, and from time to time he'd been scared senseless. He'd felt the way only a man being asked to move Antarctica to the moon should feel. He wouldn't even know what safe felt like, but there was an unusual sensation deep in his stomach. At first he thought it was the tea coming back to haunt him, then he noticed that he was being kissed just before Emma pulled away. The unusual sensation lingered however. In fact it grew. It split into two separate entities. The two entities made love and multiplied into a thousand unusual sensations spreading through every limb of his body.
"That was nice I suppose." Emma spoke first. "I figured you'd be better though." And the sensations died. Draco's pride throbbed.
"Stupid muggle," he hissed, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
"Look, I don't know what a muggle is, but it surely didn't sound polite." Emma folded her arms over her chest and frowned. "And I do know what stupid means, Sir."
"Good for you." Draco turned his back to her and swung the door open, sensing that he'd already stayed far too long. He'd come to kill himself, but this girl was just torture. Now he'd go find a nice bridge to jump off. He took the stairs two at a time, hoping that he might trip and break his neck on the way down.
"So you're going to go kill yourself now?" Emma's feet thudded on the stairs behind him. "Maybe you'll do a better job of it this time. Try taking a bath with a toaster or…" Draco didn't know what a toaster was. He ignored her as she continued to sling a few more angry suggestions. Really he couldn't understand why she was suddenly so furious.
"I know who you are!" That stopped him. Isn't that why he'd gone with her? To find the answer to the question he never should have asked in the first place. Who am I?
"You're a coward," Emma cried. A second later she was pinned to the wall, trapped between the ugliest wallpaper in Britain and the angriest man on the continent. Draco spoke, but it was closer to breathing fire.
"Wrong," he spat. "You don't know anything about me."
"I do," Emma argued bravely, or foolishly. Draco's nails cut deeper into her wrists. "I picked you."
"Because you wanted to be picked. You were just standing there in the middle of the street, practically begging-"
"I don't beg," Draco interrupted sharply. Emma ignored him. Her words tumbled over one another in an anxious rush.
"Begging for someone to be with you, because you don't want to be alone either. I know that. I know it's terrible and terrifying. I know…I know that I don't want to be alone. Tilly's a wonderful friend, but she doesn't say much. Neither do you, but you're warm and you only have two arms, which is nice. We could be friends if you like." She finished in a whisper and Draco struggled to remain angry. He understood angry. He could cope with it, but Emma was shaking and he still couldn't help but like the freckles across the bridge of her nose.
"Why?" It was the one word that always came out when he didn't want it to. He didn't want to know why. He was afraid of why.
"My mother died last year." Emma closed her eyes to hide the frown within them. "Out there on the crosswalk tonight you looked like I did then. Lost. So I found you, because no one ever came to find me and it gets really exhausting wandering around all of the time." Then there it was. Just one tear, barely noticeable, slipping down her freckled cheek. He'd seen Pansy Parkinson blubber like a seal and he'd seen his mother sob when she thought no one was watching, but this was different. It was one tear that should have been millions. She wasn't crying to him like Pansy or crying because of him like his mother. Somehow he knew that Emma was crying for him. He brushed away that lone tear, because Draco suddenly realized that he didn't want her to. With that realization it all fell into place. Who am I? Absolutely no one, but she would let me be everything.
She was a muggle, but it didn't stop him from kissing her again. It didn't stop him from loving the way she still tasted like bitter tea and bacon. Draco pressed her harder against the wall, his hands slipped to her waist. The wool of her sweater scratched his fingertips, while Emma was so soft against him. She hadn't known him longer than two hours, yet she opened herself completely and Draco decided to take advantage of it. He wanted to be everything, if just for a little while.
"That was more of what I expected the first time," Emma said breathily when Draco broke away. He smirked, something he hadn't done in a very long time, and it felt more natural than it ever had. He cupped her face between his hands and looked at himself in her perfectly normal brown eyes.
"Let me have you," Draco muttered urgently.
"Maybe I should warn you first that I'm quite odd."
"Yeah, I'd pretty much worked that out for myself." Draco felt her smile against his lips when he kissed her again. Somehow they returned to Emma's room and Draco half wondered if he'd Apparated unintentionally. Either way Emma hadn't seemed to notice. The mattress sagged beneath their weight. It groaned in protest, but neither of them currently cared for the mattress' discomfort. Or the tarantula watching them with mild curiosity with its eight beady eyes, still tapping out "You're the Lumos in My Life" to the pitter patter of rain, the creak of the bed, and two thumping hearts on the verge of breaking but not quite there yet.
"Did you know," Emma gasped through the thick fabric of her sweater as Draco pulled it over her head, "that tarantulas molt. They shed their…oh," Draco's mouth moved languidly along her collar bone to the dip in between. "It means they shed their exoskeleton."
"I care more about shedding clothes right now," Draco chuckled. He shook off his robes hastily, while Emma fumbled with the button of his trousers. They soon joined the rest of the clutter covering the floor. Nakedness was thrilling in a way it never had been before to Draco. He felt as though he'd just shed an ill-fitting exoskeleton too and replaced it with Emma's body. Her arms and legs just fell around him in an invitation that he joyfully accepted. Those strange sensations were thrumming through him once more and he thought he knew what they were this time. Safety.
They found a place where I didn't exist. Draco couldn't differentiate his hand from Emma's or his breath from hers. He didn't even know whether he was screaming her name or his own.
"I found you," Emma whispered into his ear. And at that moment Draco didn't feel lost. He felt in control for the first time in his life without anyone there to tell him what to do. He imagined what his father's face would look like if the man knew what his pureblood son was doing. Priceless.
Draco thought he might die. He thought he might even like to go that way, with Emma. But all too soon it was over. He collapsed against her heaving chest and stayed there for a long time, unwilling to separate from her. Emma sifted her fingers through his sweat-dampened hair and hummed a song he didn't know.
"Draco," she said tentatively, breaking her hum, "do you think we'll be happy together?"
"Huh?" he grunted.
"You and me. Will we be happy? I know this place is pretty cramped, but it can make do until we get a bigger place with a garden. Wouldn't that be nice, don't you think?"
"Very nice." He rolled onto the mattress next to Emma and folded his arms around her. She let her head rest against his shoulder as she dazed dreamily at the low ceiling, planning out their future in the cobwebs.
"We'll move out to the country. The air should be cleaner there and we could raise goats."
"What are we going to do with goats?"
"Oh, let's worry about that after we actually have them." She stopped running her fingers along his arm. "What about children?"
"Perhaps we should worry about them after we actually have them as well," Draco murmured, amused by miniature versions of himself and Emma riding goats through country fields of plastic sunflower. It wasn't so bad of a picture.
"I like your tattoo by the way." Emma's voice was sluggish with fatigue, but as her hands moved to the Dark Mark at his wrist Draco couldn't have been more awake. His visions of goats and children washed away as he gently brushed aside Emma's hands.
"What's it supposed to mean?"
"Nothing important," Draco replied stiffly. She didn't notice the shift in his mood. Her eyes were already falling shut.
"Draco Malfoy," she giggled sleepily, propping up on one elbow to look at him. "I think I'm going to fall in love with you if you don't mind." But he minded now. For the second time that night he looked at her looking at him. What if she did fall in love with him? And what if he fell in love with her, a muggle? She thought he was the type of wizard that pulled rabbits out of hats.
"Go to sleep, Emma." Draco kissed her forehead. It was perhaps the sweetest gesture he had ever made. Emma settled against him again and let her eyes close.
"See you in the morning," she murmured. It had stopped raining outside, but the sky was dark. For how much longer though, Draco didn't know. He held Emma closer as her breathing smoothed out into sleep. He wondered if she was dreaming about waking up together. Suddenly morning was a frightful concept. If he stayed until then there would be no leaving. He would grow old with her, love her, be loved by her. Above all else he would know who he was; her everything. But none of that would remove the Dark Mark from his arm or the memories.
Draco waited for an hour. Two hours. Three hours. He waited until there was no doubt in his mind that Emma was sleeping soundly, before he carefully untangled his limbs from hers and retrieved his clothes. The mattress sighed in relief. After all, it had only been made to hold one person. He found the plastic sunflower by the door and set it next to Emma in the place where the indentation of his body was still visible in the wrinkled sheets. Eventually it would fade away. Emma had found him, but he didn't doubt that in time she would lose him and find some other lost wanderer who would stay until morning.
"Emma Joel," Draco whispered, stopping in the doorway to turn and look at her for the last time. Somehow it only felt like the first. He nearly expected her to wake up and say "Did you know they're all driving around you". She didn't.
"Emma Joel," he repeated, "I think I would have fallen in love with you too." Then he closed the door on their future and descended the dark stairs into the now emptied pub.
You don't have to do this, Draco. Dumbledore's voice carried to him on a damp wind. Draco merely smiled.
"Yeah I do." He walked back to Trafalgar Square, off the edge of the sidewalk, and into the intersection. Traffic was slow this time of night, but he was sure by morning it would pick up. This time there would be no mishaps, because this time Draco knew who he was; nobody, but he could have been Emma Joel's everything. It was so much simpler to be nobody.