AN: And we've come to the end. It's actually the first chaptered fic I've ever finished. This chapter is from Draco's POV.
"And that's for what happened to Harry Potter!"
I stare at the woman incredulously, currently standing drenched in a puddle of her own making. She looks to be in her early 60's, but it's always been the older ladies who've had a particular interest in the Chosen One. Cougar, I think, as I shudder irritably like a cat whose been forced into a bath. I'd hiss if I could. After some personal reflection, I've decided that run-ins like these end quickest if I simply shut up and pretend like I really am a horrible cretin who stole Harry Potter's innocence like some harlot from the dodgy end of town.
Of course, it doesn't help that Harry Potter can't really speak up to defend either of us right now. In a way, that is my fault, though I wasn't allowed to have a say in the matter.
That's something I'll never forgive him for, and I suspect I will never get the chance to, because he'd never admit that he was wrong. Even if he could. That bastard left me frozen on the dirty ground because he couldn't stand the thought of not saving the day again. I've entertained the thought that he simply didn't want to share the spotlight… that it was his name he wanted in the headlines, and his name alone. And then I remember the way he looked at me, and I know that even I can't pretend this was about his thirst for fame. Which, of course, (and I'm not proud to say it) I had needled him about endlessly when we'd been in school.
It seems like such a long time ago. I sigh, and turn to go with the woman still muttering to herself as she heads off to continue her shopping. People stare at me as I go, which they always do, but I suspect that now it has more to do with the fact I am currently soaked through and less to do with the fact that I corrupted their precious Golden Boy. Diagon is, of course, crowded with people today and the cobblestones are heavily shadowed with their presence. I'd come merely to grab something from the apothecary, but I've strangely lost the urge.
I don't have the stomach for other people's company even when I'm not in a mood. I liken crowds to hot dogs in that, you don't really know what is in them, and you probably don't want to know.
I crisscross through the people until I reach a point where I can Disapparate safely, without accidentally taking someone with me. I don't trust myself to do that, not because I'm a poor at traveling, but because I might splinch them on purpose. They'd likely deserve it for grabbing on to me in the first place. Cheeky sods.
When I Apparate to Potter's house, the wards let me in without putting up a fuss. It's a novel experience, as most would reduce anyone with the Mark into cinders and ash within seconds. It's a bit of a hazard, walking into someplace new for the first time, let me tell you. I've had a few close scrapes and have singed my eyebrows and hair on more than one occasion. Oddly, no on ever apologizes. Apparently, that's one of the occupational hazards that comes with being a Death Eater – something the boss had deigned too insignificant to tell us about.
I've gotten quite handy at re-growing my hair with magic.
At any rate, if Potter doesn't want me there, he can't really tell me so. He can't say much of anything to anyone these days, given the circumstances. Of course, I have it on good authority that he probably doesn't mind, or at least, he certainly hadn't seemed to dislike my presence in his home prior to the fight. Then again, I know better than most that time changes everything.
One minute you're sitting at your father's desk pretending to be him, and the next, you want to burn it for what he did to your family. To you. I think most parents really do want the best for their children, but often times, it ends up being the absolute worst thing for them. There's a point when the kid has to figure out that he knows himself better than his parents and that his parents' happiness won't make him happy. There's a point when you've got to be selfish.
As I walk through the living room with the infamous sofa upon I had slept like a wounded soldier a few months before, I think that this is the best thing that I have ever done for myself, and the fact that my parents would hate it only makes me feel more sure of myself. Because when I walk into the bedroom, Harry Potter is propped up with a few pillows and is staring at me with the type of devotion I have never known before. It's unnerving and it's frightening and it makes me want to run away as fast as I can in the opposite direction.
And yet, it's very right.
After the fight, the Healers had determined that he'd suffered some damage to his frontal lobe which hindered his ability to speak coherently. They had told me (albeit reluctantly) that it would take some time to for him to be able to communicate with anyone, and that he'd need to be surrounded with the people who care about him the most.
Granger, to her credit, had given me her full support in seeing to Harry. I told her that his muteness doesn't bother me. Strangely, a silent Harry Potter is just as good as a talking Harry Potter, if not better. I've always thought much of the human race could be improved if their ability to vocalize their thoughts were taken away.
But in his case, it's not that I don't want to hear his thoughts. It's that his eyes tell me all that I need to know.