Blue Tablecloth and Coffee Stains
You kiss me like you always do when we meet up for coffee. Nothing has really changed, except for your eyes. They look at me, but I can tell that you don't really see me and I instantly know that something is wrong. I don't question it; maybe you're just having a bad day? I love you, after all. You're my everything.
I try to take your hand as we walk beneath grey London skies, the heavy traffic of Earl's Court road roaming behind us as we walk. You won't take my hand, but I figure it's because my hands are cold. They always are, and I know this.
We're at the local café. You order an espresso, no sugar as usual, and I have my standard latte. We haven't seen each other for a few days now, and I know it's silly but I think it looks like your hair has grown. Blond strands fall into your eyes in a way they don't usually do, but when you have that look in your eyes I can't really care. You seem vacant.
"Draco?" I ask, wanting to know what's on your mind, wanting to know what I can possibly do to make you feel better.
"I can't do this anymore, Harry."
At first, I don't understand what you mean. What is it you can't do? Drink your coffee? Look me in the eye? But then you speak again; and you say the words I will have to repeat in my mind a thousand times over to comprehend.
"I can't see you anymore."
I ask you why, the words stumbling off my tongue in an ungraceful manner but I cannot bring myself to care – after all, how could I, when my world is falling apart, shattered by your words alone?
Your eyes refuse to meet mine.
"I don't love you anymore, Harry. I'm breaking this off. I can't be with you anymore."
"You what?" I breathe, and my vision is blurred by unshed tears. I reach clumsily forward; trying to take your hand but you withdraw, and instead I accidentally pour out my latte, the hot liquid staining the blue tablecloth.
You move your chair backwards in a jerky motion, your eyes never meeting mine as you rise to your feet. I can tell you're embarrassed by the scene I'm creating, and by the odd stares people in the café are giving us, but I don't care. Fuck the people, fuck the world. All I care about is us, and now you're telling me that there is no such thing as 'us'? My voice is thick when I speak again.
"I don't believe you," I choke out.
You glance around, and then back at me. The look in your eyes is pleading. "Harry, please don't do this. Don't make a scene. I just can't... Just can't stay with you anymore. I'm sorry."
You toss a few Galleons to the coffee stained table and then you're gone. I remain at the table for almost an hour after you leave, staring blankly at the empty chair across the table, never looking at the most probably bewildered waitress who's cleaning up the mess in front of me. As I rise to walk on shaky legs towards the exit, the tears finally stream freely down my cheeks.
Don't make a scene, he'd said.
You almost laugh at the complete absurdity.
The weeks that follow are hell. My final thought before I fall asleep each night is you. I wonder what you're doing – are you with someone else? Do you think of me at all? Do you miss me like I miss you? Does your heart ache painfully whenever you think of me, like mine does when I think of you? My first thought each morning when I wake up in my empty bed is that life's not worth living when you're not there next to me, your snarky voice telling me what a lazy prat I am for sleeping in again, your hair tickling my cheekbones as you lean over me to kiss me good morning.
When I at last manage to get out of bed I stumble into the kitchen to make coffee and to down some Hangover Potion. I drink too much these days, but then again, don't we all? It helps me forget, sometimes, but sometimes it makes the absence of you even worse. I never thought about it before, but Fire Whiskey reminds slightly of your cologne.
I go through the days without speaking to anyone. Hermione tries, sometimes, to get something out of me but I can't help but to snap at her. She says she's worried about me, and I believe her. I've seen how I look in the mirror, and I guess a diet consisting of nothing but coffee and Fire Whiskey doesn't do much for my appearance. My cheeks are hollowed, my skin is pale and the blue circles around my eyes tell the world just how little sleep I get.
As the night falls over London I sometimes walk along the Thames and towards Charing Cross. I wander around aimlessly but I always end up outside your flat. I look up towards your windows but I never see you. I see the lights are on and I see shadows ghosting across your cream painted walls, but I never see you, and for this I'm almost happy. I don't know if I could bear the sight of you.
I have taken to visit shabby bars and clubs almost every weekend now. I spend hours in the bar alone, downing shots of Fire Whisky at a rate that even makes the bartender arch his eyebrows in disbelief. When my mind finally is numb enough and my body hot enough I get up from the bar and make my way on unsteady legs towards the dance floor. In a matter of minutes some bloke is chatting me up, his tongue plays with my ear, he fumbles for my cock, and I barely look at him twice before I accept his suggestion to leave the club. I don't care that I give myself up to a fucking stranger, to anyone who wants me; all I want is a distraction, something to take you off my mind for only a few minutes.
I don't care that I'm acting like a whore.
But even as I'm pressed against a brick wall roughly in a filthy alley, alcohol numbing my body and soul and another man pounding into me the images of you still haunt me. I sob openly now, but he doesn't care and frankly; neither do I, because I know that you don't care for me anymore.
My flat hasn't been cleaned for weeks. I haven't changed my sheets since you left me a month ago. They smell of you. I'm lying sprawled across the bed in the middle of the day, curtains open and the smoke from my cigarette blue in the bright daylight. I smoke your brand of cigarettes, and the smoke curl around the air much like unbidden memories of you curl around my mind.
I think about the first kiss we shared.
It had been two years after the war and we had somehow gotten past the animosity of our time at school and begun a fragile friendship. It wasn't what I shared with Ron or Hermione – it was something more profound and charged, and I think we both knew it.
We had had dinner that night, and at desert you upset me somehow – I don't remember what you said, but whatever it was it caused me to get up from the table and leave. I was striding along the dark street which was black, concrete shining from the rain that was still falling from the starless sky when I heard your voice calling my name behind me.
I turned around, ready to tell you to get lost, but you wouldn't let me – before I knew it your lips were on mine, your fingers tangled in my hair and the heat of your body warming me to the very core in spite of the wet and cold night that enveloped us where we stood in the faint luminosity of a lonely streetlamp.
It had been in that moment that I had realised that I would never be able to love anyone the way I loved you.
Where did I go wrong, Draco? What did I do that made you stop loving me? Because you did love me once, didn't you? You loved me for three whole years. I know I'm not perfect, but you always made me feel complete in spite of that. You saw what others missed; you saw how starved I was for love; you saw the way I needed reassurance even though I was too proud to ask for it. You saw all my flaws, and yet you loved me. Made me whole. You were there throughout my nightmares and I was there throughout yours. I will always need you, Draco, and to know that you don't need me anymore is far too painful to bear.
I grab the bottle of Fire Whiskey and empty it swiftly, trying not to think about what sort of state I will be in when Hermione comes around later. She's used to see me drunk by now; but that doesn't mean I'm not ashamed when she comes here to find me passed out on my bed or on the floor, my entire flat reeking of alcohol and cigarette smoke.
I think she hates you for what you have done to me. I wish I could hate you, too. Hate is so much easier to deal with than grief. Hate is simple. It's uncomplicated. It doesn't hurt. Actually, anything would be to prefer over this hell that I'm living in. Time is lost on me these days; I don't even know what month it is. The skies are grey and the winds are chilly so I'm guessing autumn. Or spring.
Who fucking cares.
That's the final thought to cross my mind before my eyelids grow too heavy to remain open, and I fall into a blissful sleep.
I had forgotten how beautiful you are, and I almost can't breathe when I see you. You're at the counter, ordering an espresso. I see your profile; the way your silver hair falls across one elegantly shaped cheekbone, and I have to refrain from running across the café and wrap my arms around you, to kiss your pale throat and sob into your expensive shirt how much I have missed you. When I think I can't take anymore, you turn your head in my direction.
You look me straight in the eye, and I feel my knees grow weak.
You look shocked at first, but then you smile tentatively and I feel myself grinning back. I have missed your smile, your teeth, your grey eyes.
When you have gotten your espresso you walk up to me, and my knuckles are white as I squeeze the doorknob to the café. Your scent is in the air around me, and I almost want to cry. But instead, I force myself to smile neutrally.
"Hello Harry," you offer in a stiff greeting.
"Hello Draco," I echo, and I realise that it's the first time I say your name out loud since the day you left me.
Your tense smile broadens now; you seem to relax, happy that I'm not creating another scene. "How have you been?"
A wreck. "Just fine. You?"
Bastard. "I'm glad to hear it."
You seem to hesitate, as though unsure of whether or not you should say something, but then you speak again. "I ran into Hermione last week. She said you weren't doing very well."
My jaw is tense, and in that moment I want to kill Hermione. "Did she, really?"
Your eyes are concerned, and I realise that you pity me. It makes me feel physically ill.
"Yes," you say gently, as though you think that I will break into a thousand pieces if you speak to me in any other way. Ironic, really. As if you haven't already broken my heart without even blinking half a year ago. "She said you barely eat anymore. That you drink too much. Is it true?"
I look you in the eye when I reply. Even I can tell that my voice is toneless and strangely detached. "What if it is?"
You avert your gaze, staring without a focus somewhere behind me. "I didn't mean to hurt you," you mumble.
"Then why did you leave me, Draco?" I ask quietly, not daring to speak up. "Please... Please, give me another chance. Give us another chance. I beg you. I will do anything. I miss you. More and more, for every day that passes. Please."
I hear how pathetic I sound, but what does it matter? All I want is you. All I want is for you to take me in your arms and promise me forever, like you've done before.
"I'm sorry Harry," you say, shaking your head. "I can't do that."
And then you push past me and you're out the door, your hair gleaming in the London twilight as you make your way hurriedly through the grey Muggle crowd. I want to run after you, but I know that my legs will not carry me.
I'm no longer numb when I leave the café. I'm in pain, physically and mentally. All I need is you, and somehow I still ask for too much.
It's two am. My kitchen bathes in inky blackness, except for a faint stream of moonlight that has found its way in between the shut curtains. I have a cup of black coffee in front of me, one hand curled around it even though it's still too hot to drink. It burns my palm, but I don't really care enough to remove it. My heart is racing uncontrollably. I have had nothing but black coffee and cigarettes for two days now. Hermione has locked away all my Fire Whiskey; even brought the key to the cabinet with her so I won't be tempted.
I miss the alcohol, miss the way it soothed my soul even if it only lasted for a few moments, I miss the way it allowed me to escape the ghosts of you. So much in my flat reminds me of you, Draco. I have saved all your possessions where you left them; your toothbrush is still lying upon the sink, your comb and your bathrobe still on the floor of my bedroom. I have smoked the cigarettes of the packages you left here a long time ago now, but I have left the empty boxes where I found them – in the living room, at the balcony and at the nightstand.
I miss you so much, Draco.
I miss your touch, I miss your hands, I miss your breathing, hot and wet against me.
I miss how you'd tease me for hours, playing with my entrance, sucking me, licking me, seducing me until I couldn't see; couldn't breathe. I miss how you'd take me, finally, hard and fast and perfect, miss how you'd make me sob with pleasure, miss how you'd snarl: "Mine," into my ear before you'd come inside me, but never before making me come so hard I could see nothing but white before my eyes.
I miss how you'd grasp my hair and kiss me forcefully afterwards, whispering against my lips how you loved me, how you fucking loved me.
"Always you, Harry," you'd say.
You're everywhere, so abstract. It drives me crazy.
I'm at a bar, a small smoky bar in Chelsea. It's crowded and loud, filled with people just waiting for the alcohol to take the edge of the slightly tense atmosphere. I'm here alone, as usual – I don't go out with people anymore, I can't, not the way I'm behaving. It wouldn't do to let my friends know what a common slut your abandonment reduced me to.
I'm on my second glass of Fire Whiskey when I see you. You've just arrived to the other end of the bar, your hair sleeked backwards like you used to wear it at school, not hanging loosely in your face like it used do when you were with me. You haven't seen me yet, and I wonder whether or not I should announce myself when I notice that you are not alone.
Blaise Zabini's thin fingers enclose your wrist, and my heart contracts painfully, the jealousy and anguish surging through my system like poison. I want to look away, but I can't, and I'm forced to witness how his dark eyes glitter proudly with an unbearable air of smugness as they notice the way others look at the two of you, admiring the handsome couple, before he bats his dark eyelashes at you. I want to scream when you look down at the black haired man with a wide smile before you bend down to kiss him.
I want to kill Zabini right then and there with my bare hands, and I think I would have if I had had a couple of more shots of Fire Whiskey.
It's in that moment, when I feel my blood practically boiling, that you see me. I'm about to walk over to you, when you turn abruptly away from me and place one hand gently at the small of Zabini's back and guide him to a table somewhere at the back of the bar, far away from me.
I feel as though the floor has opened and that I'm falling freely, through the earth and lower, down, down, down, down, until I finally reach hell.
Jealousy and desperation is like fire around my entire being, and tears of humiliation and heartache threaten to fall any second where I stand at the bar, eyes glued to the spot where you stood mere seconds ago.
I stumble out from the bar and into the cold night, not caring that the bouncers look at my tearstained cheeks in contempt and bewilderment. I make it into the nearest alley, where I crumble to the clammy concrete, my body trembling from repressed sobs.
You said you would never stop loving me, Draco Malfoy.
It's not until the sun rises hours and hours later that I realise that you lied.