Summary: H/D Post war, eighth year Hogwarts. This is my contribution to the HD_remix over on LJ; a remix of valinorean's The Lonely Moonlit House. While I did my best to write a oneshot that stands on its own, I really do think that reading the original story is pertinent to the flow of the plot. It also lends for a better understanding in general, I think. Original is here (take out the spaces) http: / / valinorean . livejournal . com / 4543 . html
Word Count: 2,700
Disclaimer: This story is a piece of derivative fiction based on a piece of derivative fiction. I own neither the Harry Potter universe, nor valinorean's lovely, angsty, beautiful story. But, I do greatly appreciate the opportunity to play with these things.
Author's notes: I saw a post on valinorean's LJ a while back where she mentioned being worried that the person who was assigned to her wouldn't find anything they liked. I literally laughed until tears streamed down my face…and then pulled my hair in frustration. I wanted nothing more than to leave her a shouty-caps comment about how I spent the first 4 months of this involved in an intricate and decidedly "grown-up" game of eenie-meenie-miney-moe trying to decide which one to go with. Too many beautiful stories to choose from! I narrowed it down to 2, and started a fic for each, deciding that whichever one seemed to flow more freely, would be the one I'd write (apparently, deductive reasoning is not my strong suit).
Anyway, valinorean, I appreciate the opportunity to play around in your sandbox a bit, and I sincerely hope I haven't broken anything. Also, many thanks to the mods for putting this on, and essentially giving us all a free stalker pass. And inappropriate fondles to my beta, bookjunkie1975, for keeping my moistness in check. Yeah, I said it.
They want to tear down the Shrieking Shack. The Headmistress called me into her office this afternoon to discuss the likelihood of it. She knows we spend time there, you and I. She didn't say as much, but why else would she ask for my opinion on the matter? After all, it isn't mine.
I like to think that I'm no longer a player in this game. That, now that my job is done, I can go on and have a normal life.
. . .
Board up the hole in the roof, you say, and with it the memories. Cage in the ghosts that reside here, haunting the small house on the hill.
You kiss me deeply, moving over me in a slow, careful rhythm, but it isn't enough.
I cling tightly to your shoulders, feeling my own breath rebound off your neck and caress my lips with a moist warmth. Digging my short, bitten nails into your skin, I urge you on, silently begging, take all of me. I'm yours.
Harder, faster. More.
. . .
I would rather my lover leave indelible marks on my body than any more scars on this lonely moonlit house. It will be taken away. In time, we'll leave and not come back, but you...you I'll take with me. No matter what.
I'll keep it for you. I'll protect this place, if that's what you want, you whisper, grey eyes intent with the weight of your promise.
This has come to be our place, and though it doesn't hold the happiest of memories, it's still imprinted on my very soul; a part of me, like the magic inside.
You wake me before dawn, as you always do, my name falling from your lips and landing in a cool puff against my neck. With gentle kisses and tender caresses, you whisper into my ear, drawing me out of whatever far-off realm I've travelled to in my dreams.
We need to get back before the sun comes up, you say softly. You kiss my collar bone, my neck, my lips, chasing away the morning chill with the heat of desire.
I groan, blinking the bleariness of sleep from my eyes, and pull you down on top of me.
The sun can wait.
. . .
As usual, all eyes fall on the two of us when we enter the Great Hall. Not for the reasons one might expect, though. It isn't because Harry Potter, the Saviour of the Wizarding World, has just walked in, nor is it because of Draco Malfoy, the son of a well-known Death Eater. Surprisingly, it doesn't even have much to do with the fact that we're together, so close we're nearly touching. No, the students of Hogwarts—and even some of the professors—are concerned for their own safety.
They don't trust you. You're too quiet since the war. Too subdued. No one really knows what to make of it. You scowl as we walk across the room—the heat of your anger radiating off you in your wake—as if daring them to say something to you.
We sit at the Gryffindor table with my friends. You've stopped arguing with me over that arrangement long ago. You say that I need them, that you understand.
I wonder if you know that I need you more.
We talk of nothing consequential as we sit together, eating our bacon and toast, drinking our juice and laughing at all the appropriate times. As if everything is normal, everything is fine. We all have our own storms brewing inside. Some are just better at hiding them.
The morning sun shines brightly within the Great Hall, glinting off the thin silver chain that hangs around your neck. I watch you as you roll the tiny phial between your fingers. It's a habit you've picked up, I've noticed, only when you're feeling vulnerable, broken. I move closer to you on the bench, not caring what those around us might say. I hope the proximity is at least somewhat comforting. None of them will ever know your weaknesses. No one will ever know that the defensive wrath is merely a mask you wear in front of your peers. The smiles are all saved for me, when we're alone together.
You relax against the side of my body, leaning into me with a small, barely noticeable shudder, your fingers still toying with the phial.
I wonder if it's your tears in that bottle. I'm told that's what it's for. Hermione calls it a lachrymatory: a trinket used by Muggles over a hundred years ago. It's meant to collect the tears of the grieving, but I don't see you cry.
I think you might. You miss your mother, I know.
Your eyes flick up to the post owls as they come swooping in and, finally, you release the phial, just in time to catch the letter that drops before you. I don't know who would be writing to you, now that your mother's gone and your father isn't allowed—even if you'd want him to.
You turn the envelope over, gripping it in both hands as if it contains the most valuable of secrets, a small, barely noticeable smile playing at your lips as your eyes traverse the Ministry seal pressed to the back. Then, without a word, you stand up and leave.
No one seems to take any notice but me.
I ask you about it later, and you tell me it's an appeal you're working on. I can't imagine it's for your father, but who else is there? Everyone you cared about died in the war or shortly thereafter. You use legal terms that I don't understand and smile at my look of confusion.
Over the next week, I don't bring it up again, and you don't offer any more information about it. Your mood, though, seems to decline significantly. You rarely talk to anyone on a good day, but now you aren't even talking to me. You're distant, lost in thought, and it hurts to see you drifting away from me.
The common room is quiet, most students having gone out for the evening; one of the benefits of being legal adults their returning year. I find Ron in a chair by the fireplace, his potions book open on the armrest. Hermione is sitting cross-legged on the sofa, buried in a heap of scrolls and books that I'm certain outweigh her by far. With some small amount of relief that this day is over, I accept the butterbeer my friend offers and smile gratefully as I sit down on the couch.
You burst through the doorway in a rush, hair wet from a recent shower, and hurry past without even acknowledging any of us.
Ron asks what your problem is, narrowing his eyes at you as you ascend the staircase into the eighth-year dorms.
Hermione and I both glare at him in silent warning.
I give you a moment before following you up, tapping lightly on the open door of your room.
Where is it? You toss clothing and books from your trunk, haphazardly casting articles about. I watch silently from the doorway as they drift to the ground like parchment on the breeze. It must be here somewhere.
Some people think you've gone mad. They've threatened to take you away from here, away from me.
I have to find it.
I think they would have gone a bit barmy, too, if they'd been through the things you have.
Frustrated, you grip the edges of the trunk, jaw clenching, then run your fingers through your damp, golden hair. I step into the room, wanting to help you but not sure how. You aren't wearing your necklace, and I know without asking that that's what you're looking for. When I kneel beside you, offering to help you look, you take a deep breath and shake your head, telling me it's unimportant, but clearly it's not.
You turn to me with a painfully dejected look on your beautiful face. I reach a hand out to you and you don't hesitate to take it, allowing me to pull you along with me to sit on the edge of the bed.
We'll find it, I say. It's a promise. Your eyebrows draw together, but you don't respond.
We sit there silently, fingers laced together, until a knock sounds at the doorway, startling us apart. We turn to see Hermione standing there, a look of pity on her face, arms wrapped tightly around a heavy book.
She makes her way into the room, sitting cross-legged on the other side of your bed and settling the book in her lap. Clearing her throat, she flips it open and tells you she's found something of interest.
Your expression is hopeful, but melts into something more akin to apologetic as you turn towards me. Can you give us a minute?
I nod and slip out of the room.
You bathe in the Prefects' bathroom—all the eighth-years do—and, though I'm sure you've already checked there, I decide to go and have another look just in case.
It's warm from the residual steam of your shower. My soles echo on the tiles as I cross the room slowly, searching. I check the shower area, around the countless sinks, even near the loo where I see Moaning Myrtle. When I ask her if she's seen it, she simply glares at me before diving back into the drain. She never has forgiven me for what I did to you in sixth year, even if you have.
I don't see it anywhere, not even in the bottom of the pool-sized tub. I knew it wouldn't be here. Still I feel I've let you down.
. . .
I watch you as you sleep, pale skin illuminated in bright relief against the inky darkness of night. Somehow you look more naked, more exposed, without your necklace. I place my hand on your chest where it belongs, taking comfort in the steady rise and fall of your breath, the gentle thrum of your heart.
Unconsciously, you reach up, wrapping your fingers around my wrist and holding me tightly. Your lips form words that I can't make out, eyebrows furrowing as if you're in pain even as you sleep.
Don't leave me, you say, and this I do hear, your words shattering the silent night. With a small sob, they break against the images fresh in my mind.
I wrap my arms around you, pulling you closer.
. . .
Another week passes, another letter arrives. This time, you look nervous. You squeeze my hand before releasing it and rushing from the Great Hall, Hermione close behind.
I skulk off to my room shortly after. It's obviously something important to you, and I can't understand why you don't want to share it with me. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I kick off my trainers. A glint of light catches my eye from across the room, and there, beside my trunk, is your necklace. I cross over to it quickly, picking it up, turning it over in my hand. Swirling silver wisps twist and curl inside in the familiar dance of bottled memories. I should have known it isn't tears you keep within this phial.
I wonder if it's childhood memories, thoughts of your mother, or perhaps a former lover. The friends you had before the war. The life you used to have.
A small basin sits in the windowsill across the room: a scarcely-used Pensieve. I consider looking, but it feels like such an invasion of your privacy, to be privy to your most intimate, cherished thoughts without you even here to offer them.
I curl up on my bed instead. Exhausted from little sleep, thoughts whirling in my mind, I drift into an uneasy slumber.
A dip in the mattress alerts me to your presence; warm breath on my wrist as you kiss me there, the tickle of the silver chain against my skin, your fingers gently coaxing open my clenched palm. You take the phial from my hand, your touch lingering on my skin, as you whisper your appreciation with loving words and more soft kisses.
When your lips finally reach mine, you kiss me with such passion, such unrestrained devotion that it's impossible not to feel the love you have for me. It's the kind of kiss that lingers on long after it's over. You pull back to fasten the chain around your neck, smiling down at me, and my breath catches. I swallow around the lump in my throat.
The house, the letters, the phial, the secret memories, none of them matter. Just you.
I twist my finger into the chain, pull you down into a deep, warm kiss, roll on top of you, between your thighs. Warm fingers slide up beneath my shirt, stroking my back with barely a flutter as your kiss-swollen lips trace across my jaw, down my neck. Our feet tangle in the bedclothes but neither of us care enough to right them.
. . .
The house is dark, the stains of time and painful memories illuminated only by the faint starlight that shines from above.
Why do I always insist we come here? Perhaps because I know it will be gone soon. Perhaps to remind me of my own tenuous mortality. Cherish that which I have. While it still belongs to me.
The Lumos you cast lights the room nearly as much as the smile on your face.
You tell me you have something for me. For us.
The envelope you hand to me has already been opened, the Ministry seal on the back cracked in half. I slide the parchment out, skimming over the elegant script on the page. My eyes pick up the necessary keywords, like Mr Draco Malfoy, petition, Minister for Magic, and granted. My breath catches and my heart stutters in my chest as I read the final part.
We appreciate the efforts you have extended on this matter, and are pleased to inform you that, as of the day of this correspondence, 2 May, 1999, the unnumbered structure on the outskirts of Hogsmeade, known by residents as the Shrieking Shack, is to be preserved from this day forward as a memorial in the name of the Order of the Phoenix.
I drop the letter on the bed and turn to you, shocked. You did this for me? You kept this place safe?
You trail your fingertips across my cheek, catching a tear as it slides down beyond my control. I take your hand and kiss your fingers, each one.
. . .
As we lie on the bed in the quiet house, listening to the sounds of the night creeping in around us, I trace my finger along the silver chain around your neck.
What's in it? I ask.
You take a deep breath, staring intently at the night sky through the hole in the roof. I watch as you roll the tiny phial between your fingers before answering. You.
My fingers still and I watch you, waiting for you to continue.
The day we met. The first time we spoke after the war. That day on the platform in Hogsmeade, in the rain the first time we kissed… I can't, you pause, shaking your head slowly. Finally, you loosen your grip on the tiny phial and turn your face towards me. I don't want to lose you. I don't want to forget.
Your eyes shimmer in the pale light, causing the grey of their irises to resemble an unpredictable storm at sea. I scoot closer to you, cupping your face in my hands. That won't ever happen. I swear to you, never.
You stare at me for a long moment, eyes searching mine for confirmation. You must be satisfied with what you find there, because you nod finally, leaning in and brushing your lips softly over mine.
We curl up on the bed together, wrapped in each other's arms and, though the night is cold, we're both so perfectly tangled with one another that neither of us move to retrieve the bedclothes from beneath us. We have less than two months left here at Hogwarts, and then we can be together more freely. No one will take you away from me.
I'll never let you become just another ghost that haunts this lonely, moonlit house.