Ha. Oneshot. -stares at it- I came up with the original concept sometime last night amidst depression triggered by Rent (bloody awesome musical with its awesome characters DYING) and insomnia. I'm not sure this is how I wanted it to come out and might post an alternate version, but until that comes to mind, back to Depravia. I probably won't continue this past that alternate version. -waves- Review, read my other stuff! XD
Oh, by the way, Chiron is not THE Chiron, it's more of a ceremonial name. XD Ignore it, it was random.
Pain chooses to manifest in different ways. Physical pain turns out to be the expression of mental pain; emotional pain manifests itself as anger, fear, even hate. Pain is a part of life for all beings, whether we know it or not.
The way we cope is just as different as the manifestations of pain. He'd always known that. He dealt with pain by wallowing in it until he became numb. He dealt with pain by exaggerating it, ramming it down everyone else's throats, then laughing it off and rejecting those closest to him.. They clashed in the midst of their pain, seemingly oblivious to each other's suffering, when they were the only ones who truly saw it in one another. He picked at his food, watching him from across the enormous hall, barely listening to their inane chatter. Just because it was over didn't mean he was okay.
Occasionally he'd look up, see those green eyes, look back down or laugh it off. They'd point it out, again and again, mocking him, ignorant to his boiling rage. He pressed another layer of ice over the emotion and clung to his facade. He didn't feel it, he didn't see them, he didn't hear them. He was cut off.
"I'll be up in a few..." They nodded and drifted away, further away, blurring together into a faceless crowd that he couldn't be one of anymore. He waited, waited for hours, watched them leave, finally fled the silence. Through the corridors, ignored by the caretaker and the cat, ignored by the ghosts. He'd been out so many times it was a waste of time trying to track him down. Out the doors, across the cold grounds, under the tree, collapse onto the soft grass, brushing away the discomfort of a branch digging into his back – it wasn't anything in comparison to the pain. It would start in a moment; he'd replay his short, short life, worrying away the sharp details until it went gray and he passed out. It was only a matter of time before someone other than the centaurs found him out here, unconscious. It was only a matter of time before they realised he was breaking down; not eating enough, not sleeping enough, not living enough.
"You need a life, Potter." He sat up, eyes narrowed on the hazy form in front of him. He scooped up the metal and glass and shoved them back onto his face, wincing a bit at the pain that jolted through his head at the clarity. Seeing clearly hurt – ignorance of the details of the world was sweeter than they knew.
"What about you, Malfoy? What are you doing, roaming the grounds at night?"
"If you haven't noticed, it's morning." Their words lack the usual bite; most of their interactions are strained at best, but there's almost no emotion there. He sits down slowly, nothing like the sprawling brunette; ever motion is precise, sharp, and cold.
"Aren't the Gryffindors going to panic when they realise their precious Saviour is nowhere to be found?" He snorts.
"As if they'd notice." Silence blankets them again, briefly cut by the low rumble of thunder in the distance. Neither moved to leave; this confrontation wasn't exactly comfortable, but they knew better than anyone else what the other was feeling. He leaned back against the tree and produced a razor, holding it up and absently gazing at his reflection.
"Cutting's not healthy."
"Vomiting up your meals and not talking for days on end isn't healthy either." The short brunette reached up and curled his fingers around the razor, pulling it slowly out of the blonde's hands. He starts when the blonde jerks his hand away with a hiss and they both stare at the thin cut, oozing the slightest amount of blood, too dark against his pale skin. The razor falls with a light thump into the grass as he sits up and moves onto his knees, cradling the other boy's hand.
"Sorry." I'm worried.
"Don't worry about it." That's the first time I've really felt anything in a while.
They were not ignorant to the others and their personal pains; they'd merely carried it for them for so long they'd forgotten how to give it back. They lashed out against one another, feeding the pain in one another, until they broke and went silent for days, not talking, not sleeping, barely eating, barely breathing. They'd unconsciously accepted a burden few could endure at a young age and didn't know how to break the mold.
"It's getting colder."
"Then go inside, Potter." Soft light, the wound heals.
"I don't have anywhere to go."
"Go back to the Tower." But he knew what he meant. Just because he was physically there didn't mean he was truly there. Something cold hits his skin and he looks up.
"No shit, Potter." The shorter male doesn't answer, merely stares at the clouded sky, jaw tight.
"We should go back inside." The blonde eyes him, perturbed.
"What the hell is wrong with you?"
"You can't see the stars in a thunderstorm, Malfoy." He gets up and walks away. No farewell, no sign that they'd briefly found something in the other that they'd been missing for so long. The blonde watches him go, feeling all the colder for the loss. He shook his head and summoned the anger now, just as he'd repressed it during dinner.
He didn't feel it; he wasn't cold; he wasn't all alone, dying in a void of pain.
Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. On, and on, and on. The clock wouldn't stop, and given that he'd finished so early, he would have to listen to it for the rest of class.
Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. He lets his eyes wander, feels old memories blossoming in the back of his mind, rending his peace and pouring more sorrow into old wounds.
Tick. Tick. Tick. He knows he should stop wondering if he's thought about it; he knows he shouldn't care.
Tick. Tick. He's watching him again, dredging up newer memories that soothe the old ones, inexplicably bring a faint smile to a face that has shown so little emotion as to be thought dead. He knows they'll wonder, they'll ask, they'll pester, and he'll shut down again.
Tick. "Time." The surge of soft noise is deafening, and in the chaos their eyes meet and the slight smile grows. Surprise and warmth rise in silver eyes where it has been lacking for so long.
"Harry, mate, lunch."
"I'll meet up with you guys in a little while; I want to check something in the library." Shrugs, even though there's faint distrust; he isn't sure he cares enough to feel remorse. He isn't lying; he's just not telling them everything, and since when do they need to know?
"Dodging Parkinson again, Draco?"
"Shut up, Blaise. I need to study, and food isn't as essential right now." The other wizard snorts and waves him off; no matter what he tells himself, he knows Blaise cares – but he doesn't understand. Weave through the stacks, ignore the Ravenclaws and the occasional Hufflepuff; a first year Slytherin waves and he smiles without thinking. Seated near the Restricted Section – no, in it, sprawled out on his stomach, is the Gryffindor.
"Hiding from your friends again?"
"You wish, Malfoy." Pathetic comebacks come with the territory when one is delirious with joy over something so ambiguous as what happened last night. He sits, a little less precisely than last night, but nevertheless elegantly.
"Basilisks? Didn't you get enough excitement of that kind in second year?" He only vaguely remembers overhearing those conversations, but he knows the Golden Trio isn't the sort to boast about something that didn't happen. No matter what the Wizarding World thought on a bi-weekly basis, Harry Potter was not mad – or rather, he didn't hallucinate the events of his school days. There was no doubt there was something off about him.
"I'm thinking of raising magical creatures – maybe teaching." Well. That wasn't expected.
"What prompted this?" He shrugs, looking up through unruly fringe at the smirking blonde.
"What are you doing after school?"
"I'm an heir, Potter; I don't have to do anything." The brunette snorts and closes the book after scribbling something in a small Muggle notebook beside him, and sat up.
"Surely something interests you." The blonde tilts his head a bit in question; he hadn't really thought about it. Always too busy trying to prove to the world I'm not what they think I am. He snorts himself. And failing miserably.
"You're awfully chatty, Potter." They both turn so that they're facing each other completely, and the shorter boy reaches forward to roll up the blonde's sleeves, staring at his wrists.
"Stop cutting yourself." The Slytherin pushes his hands away and pushes his sleeves back down.
"It's none of your business, Potter."
"Maybe I'm worried."
"Oh, so now you want to save me, Potter?" The sharpness wasn't intended, and the reaction wasn't expected; the kiss is sloppy at best, but the feeling is unmistakable. They continue for a moment, uncertain as to where they really should be going with the action, before the necessity of air becomes overwhelming and they have to pull away. He briefly muses over the joys of breathing through one's nose and snorts at the inane quality of those thoughts. Lacking oxygen really does do strange things to your body; maybe that was why his stomach was doing flip-flops and his heart was pounding as if he'd been running, or flying, or kissing Harry Potter. That thought crashes down on him and he slowly moves back, feeling the blood rush from his head, making him dizzy. The shorter boy looks dazed, and for a moment he thinks about running while the Gryffindor is still out of sorts, then uncharacteristically pushes it down and moves back to him, pulling him slightly forward into an awkward hug.
"I'll try." His hair is soft, and he nuzzles it without thinking. The slightest tightening of the arms registers in his still foggy brain.
"Oi! Malfoy, what'd'ya think you're doing to Harry!" They pull apart less frantically than they probably should have, and the Gryffindor barely gets two feet away before Hermione drags him back to her and Ron, both glaring furiously at the Slytherin.
"Leave him alone, bastard!" The shorter male opens his mouth to chastise his friend, only to be dragged away. The blonde just stares after them, uncertain as to what he should have done in that situation, already missing the short Gryffindor and hating himself for it.
They barely saw each other as the last weeks of school progressed; the Gryffindors closed ranks on their Saviour and smothered him in affection – or rather, hero-worship and a weak mockery of their old camaraderie – while the Slytherins remained as aloof as ever to the rest of their school, while become surprisingly close behind closed doors, with the strange morphing of their de facto leader's personality. He felt better – he supposed having real friends did that to you – but he missed that odd, stilted happiness that resulted when he was around the Saviour. The school year ended amidst fanfare and cheer, and he eventually snuck off – he was an introvert at heart, and while he enjoyed his friends' company, he needed time to himself; or rather, he amended, smiling at the sight that greeted him outside the castle, time to himself and the Gryffindor.
The shorter wizard waved enthusiastically, a bottle of – something – nestled into the tree's roots beside him.
"Hey, Malfoy." The blonde settled into the spot the Gryffindor gestured to and barely had time to return his greeting before warm lips claimed his own. The kiss wasn't as sloppy – either he'd been practicing, something that incensed the blonde, much to his chagrin, or the first kiss had been a fluke. He pulled back after a few sweet moments and eyed the grinning boy with amusement.
"Hello to you too." He started when the shorter boy climbed into his lap and tucked his head under his chin.
"'M'sorry 'bout Ron. He was being a prick."
"I noticed." The head beneath his chin moved.
"You didn't defend yourself." He looked down into green eyes and sighed.
"What was I supposed to say, Harry?" They stared at each other, and the Gryffindor finally shook his head and returned to cuddling into the blonde's body.
"Never mind..." He yawned and burrowed, ignoring the blonde's indignant noise and following laugh when he sneezed mid-yawn. He scrunched his nose in objection to the sound and it cut off suddenly, followed by a light kiss to the top of his head.
"You look adorable when you do that."
"Malfoys say adorable?" He snorted.
"Unfortunately." They teased and cuddled even as darkness blanketed the grounds, when a cool voice brought them out of their bliss.
"Humans, you should return to the safety within the walls. Even those as you are not safe so near our lands at night." They both looked up at the regal centaur, and Harry scrambled out of Draco's lap and onto his feet, grinning.
"Chiron! I thought you were returning to Greece!" The centaur snorted and stamped the ground.
"I would see my new friend home first. Go back to Hogwarts, Harry." He nodded to a shining form gliding towards them.
"Let the phoenix guide you through this darkness." Draco rose slowly, nodding to the magnificent centaur almost sheepishly, and watching him disappear back into the trees when Harry's arms wrapped around his waist.
"Let's go back."
"What the hell are you doing with the ferret, Harry!"
"Ron, try to explore the realms of maturity and move on, please." The blonde swallowed a laugh at the dumbstruck expression on the redhead's face, while still keeping a wary eye on his equally furious sister.
"Harry!" He met Ginny's eyes squarely, smile never faltering.
"What are you doing? He's a boy."
"I never noticed my own gender, Weaselette; thanks for clearing that up."
"Draco." He sighed and nodded, making a face.
"My apologies; my behaviour was discourteous, even in light of your homophobic behaviour."
"...Some apology." He smirked at the shorter Gryffindor's eyeroll.
"Look, guys, leave it alone. I like him, we're dealing with our past issues, and honestly, I've been happier with him than I have with anyone else for the past year." Hermione's pursed lips, the two Weasleys' red faces and furious eyes, the rest of the Gryffindors' varying expressions of shock and – was that amusement from Finnegan and Longbottom? – the pride in McGonagall's face made for an interesting tableau. He felt Harry pull him into a hug and leaned into it, nuzzling his hair.
"Fifty points each to Gryffindor and Slytherin for maturity and new beginnings." Much to their surprise, McGonagall laughed.
"It would appear, Mr. Malfoy, that your House just won the House Cup." He started and looked up from his new – boyfriend? – and blinked. The Great Hall was indeed done in Slytherin colours, and the Slytherins were all celebrating with uncharacteristic delight that seemed to shock the Gryffindors and the Ravenclaws; the Hufflepuffs looked suspiciously smug. He laughed and shook his head, turning his attention back to Harry for another kiss.
They'd always coped with pain in different ways, but always with one another, be it in their fights, the rare conversation, or their growing more frequent kisses, and slowly, their pain was fading into love's brilliant light.