Title: What Victory Is
Characters: Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy.
Summary: "The world has gone mad, Harry. Or was it always like this, and only you noticed? I don't know." Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy and running out of time. One-shot.
Notes: Gah. GAH. It kills me. This is my first Drarry piece (unless you count one failed freeverse that I love but no one else seems to) and I love it so much. I have this whole story in my head of how they got together, and don't get me wrong, I adore the canon ships, but I can never write anything but non-canon fanfiction. Sometimes, I think it makes perfect sense. Other times, it never could have happened in the books, but that's irrelevant.
Points: The song lyrics used are by Imogen Heap. I love writing Voldemort so much. The parts in italics are memories. And without further ado, I hope you enjoy!
"Now, now, darling; oh, don't lose your head,
'cause none of us were angels,
and you know I love you, yeah."
- 'Speeding Cars', Imogen Heap.
Victory is triumph.
Victory is endless cheers and laughter and delight.
Victory is after-parties and celebration and that elated feeling of winning, which is rarer than usual nowadays. It is spring-time and jubilation and just a hint of insanity, after all, because they are Death Eaters, and they don't do things halfway.
Victory isn't blank green eyes. Victory doesn't grovel on a filthy stone floor, waiting to die.
For a few moments, Draco doesn't feel very victorious.
"Dr-" Harry coughs, and splutters, and the others laugh and cheer in triumph and delight, but Draco falls to the floor, next to the fallen hero's head, and wishes they hadn't won. "Draco."
"If they could see you now, Potter," he says bitterly, and the Death Eaters laugh, thinking that Draco is humiliating Harry, thinking that finally, finally, Draco has given up on foolish crushes and joined the rest of his family in their twisted delight. He was running out of time.
"Imagine what the Prophet would say," Harry whispers back, and his lips are chapped and broken and a scar runs too close to the corner of them, and Draco cares too much.
"Something disasterous about your outfit and whether or not you've joined the Dark Lord, all while insulting your hair and calling you fourteen."
"That happened a lot, didn't it?"
"I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry, Pot- Harry. Harry, Harry, Harry," Draco chants, and he's more than aware that it sounds as though he is just as mad as the rest of them.
He's never had a marvellous grasp of his sanity around Harry, anyway.
Victory is torture.
"Hey," Harry whispers, and with an obviously great effort, he raises a hand and strokes Draco's cheek in comfort. "Hey now."
"You're comforting me?" Draco laughs humourlessly, and brushes Harry's hand away. "Oh, that's just perfect, Potter. Just perfect." He pulls Harry's head into his lap and rocks him softly, muttering sweet nothings mixed with insults, and oh, if they could see him now.
Harry screams under Draco's touch as if it burns. Voldemort cackles, sounding even less sane than the rest of them, and Harry twitches.
"But so touching, Draco!" Voldemort says silkily, his bare feet covered in blood and - well, Draco doesn't want to think about what else. "Have you grown to care for the boy after all?"
He stays silent.
"Don't do this, Draco," Harry warns quietly, leaning forward and closing his fingers around Draco's wrist. Draco opens the door of the cabinet, and closes his eyes against the emptiness there. He lifts the canary in his hand.
"I'd say I have to, Potter, but I don't. I really don't. I just want to." Draco places the canary in the cabinet and the door swings eerily on its hinges.
"Don't lie to me, Draco. I know what he's threatening; I know what he's promising. I understand."
Draco slams the door shut.
"How could you understand? Hmm? How could you possibly understand? Your parents are dead, Potter, and they're safe! Those bloody Weasels are your only family, and there's so many of them that no one would notice if one or two went missing anyway!"
Harry lurches forward and for a moment, Draco thinks he's going to punch him. But Harry just tears open the cabinet and looks inside. It's empty.
"Okay. Okay. You've made your choice, and I've made mine." He casts a Tempus charm and swears. "I'm running out of time. I have to go. Good luck, Draco." Draco almost cries.
"I made no choice, Potter."
Harry nods, and turns to leave. At the last second, he whips around. "Harry. Call me Harry." The next time Draco sees him, it's on a battlefield.
"Leave him alone!" Harry pants as the curse wears off, staring at Voldemort with hatred. Draco idly wonders where his glasses are, when he notices a shard of glass next to one dull green eye. Ah.
"You're defending him, Potter?" Voldemort laughs, leaning forward and brandishing his wand. "This boy, your... lover, was it? He betrayed you, Harry. He chose his pathetic father over you. As any proper wizard would, of course. Why choose the halfblood spawn of a Mudblood over one's own pureblood family? Tell me, Potter, what does it feel like? Does it hurt?"
Harry looks up at him and inwardly, Draco winces. He knows that look. It's the look that'll get Harry killed... eventually. Once Voldemort's done with him, at least.
"Yes," he whispers, not looking at Draco. "Yes, it hurts. But it is nothing compared to the pain you would've had to go through, Tom. It's better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, right?"
"Oh, Harry," the Dark Lord murmurs with glee and malice, "you think you can taunt me with that little Muggle name as though it is worth something, now. Tom Riddle is dead. I am Lord Voldemort, isn't that right, Draco?"
Draco does not speak.
"Come now, Draco! Don't be shy! The boy's asking you a question, after all! Is it better, Draco? Is it?" Voldemort asks, hitting Draco round the face with a well aimed curse. He can feel the metallic taste of the blood against his lips and he relishes in it. He still has blood to bleed. He is still alive.
"What a shame," he muses, walking towards them, his cloak flowing behind him in some twisted version of a hero's cape. "Such a handsome face, too."
Draco spits the blood onto the ground.
"Manners, young Draco, manners!" Voldemort shouts gleefully, sending a Stinging hex at his cheek. "Didn't your darling mummy ever teach you your manners?"
Narcissa is kneeling on the ground, amongst the blood and filth and bodies and debris. Her expensive robe is ripped and she cradles her arm to her chest like a child. She looks very broken, and very surreal. She does not belong on the battlefield.
"Harry Potter is dead, she said!" Voldemort calls, and the Death Eaters all laugh; excluding the Malfoys, that is. "You should know better than to lie to me."
I don't know where you are. I couldn't begin to guess. You're on your pathetic mission for Dumbledore, with Weasel and the Muggleborn, and I am stuck in Malfoy Manor, alone with Voldemort.
I can't honestly decide who has the worst deal.
Another Muggle arrived three days ago. The Dark Lord still hasn't finished with her, and I fear he never will. I've grown accustomed to her screams. I've named her Julie, like a pet I own with a collar and a bed and a limited thought capacity. It makes me sick, Harry, and I have no idea what to do.
This is the fifth time I've come back to this letter - every evening I'm drawn to it, like I was drawn to you, and I write another line.
Sorry I didn't write yesterday. There was nothing I could say that would mean anything.
Mother asked where you were today; I told her that I had no clue (and even if I did, I wouldn't tell her) and that you'd probably already offed yourself anyway. She asked me why I kept pretending. I fear Mother has finally cracked. It was only a matter of time, with her genes. My genes too, I suppose, though I was already insane when I fell for you.
We're running out of time.
The world has gone mad, Harry. Or was it always like this, and only you noticed? I don't know.
I miss you.
P.S. Julie died this morning. I thought you'd like to know.
Harry sobs from his place on the ground; it is a terrified sound, a dying animal sound, a sound that does not, should not, belong to Harry Potter. Those hands, bloody, bruised and broken (each finger snapped and hanging loosely) and marked and scarred with the words, 'I must not tell lies' are not Harry's.
That face, stark pale and covered in dirt and grime and scars of every nature - claws and spells and burns and that ever-present lightning bolt - is not Harry's, nor is it James'.
Those blank green eyes, bloodshot and shadowed, that try so hard to focus, but stare at nothing all the same, are not Harry's, and they are not Lily's.
Harry is oh so beautiful, so this broken boy could not possibly be Harry Potter.
"Tell me, Harry," Voldemort whispers, leaning over the pair and brushing the lank hair away from his forehead, showing that lightning scar to all the world. Draco shivers, but he is forgotten, for the meantime.
"Tell me the story of how you died."
"You cast Avada Kedavra on me," Harry murmurs, his voice faint; his leg twitches. "We both passed out. You ordered..." Here he chokes, and Draco can only presume that it's in guilt rather than pain. "You ordered Narcissa Malfoy to check it I was dead. She said that I was, to protect Draco. You all thought I was dead. You made Hagrid carry me to the Great Hall, in front of everyone. But you knew."
"And what did I know, Harry?" He asks curiously, his inhuman eyes gleaming under the dense light of dawn.
"That I wasn't dead," Harry mouths, his words inaudible. Draco hugs him tighter, and tighter, trying to protect him. "You... you bound me, and... and tortured me, and made everyone watch before you locked them away in the dungeons."
"Ah, yes, I remember now," Voldemort says, looking around the ruin that used to be Hogwarts; used to be home. "I made the great Harry Potter... bleed."
"Malfoy? What are you doing here?"
"I think that's my question, Potter. You're the one sitting along in an abandoned corner of the dungeons. As a Slytherin, it's my right to either remove you, forcefully remove you, or forcefully do something else. I'm personally liking option two," Draco drawls, joining Potter on the concrete floor.
"I liked option three."
Draco stares at Potter. In the dark, he looks very alone. His glasses are reflecting the light of Draco's Lumos charm, and the wide green eyes stare at him. Draco's never really been very good at reading emotion, though.
"... Did you just make a joke, Potter? A dirty joke, at that?"
"What? Don't you think I'm capable of making a joke?" Potter asks bitterly, the amusement gone. "You and everyone else, then."
"You've been watching me. All year. Why?"
"It's only the third week of term, Malfoy."
"Irrelevant, Potter. You know you're just avoiding the question. Is it because you think I'm a Death Eater? Because you think I'm fooling around with Snape? Because you're in love with me, or something?" Potter stays silent. Draco peers closer at him, then notices an off-colour patch in his black hair. It looks as though it's spreading.
"Weirdly, none of those are even close."
"Which means all of them are weirdly close. And did you know that you're bleeding, Potter?"
"It had crossed my mind. I ran across a few Slytherins on the way down to the kitchens. Ended up here, for some reason." Potter leans back against the wall, closes his eyes, and sighs softly. Draco can't help but stare.
"You're pathetic, Potter," he snarls, standing up and hating himself. His wand cuts off the Lumos and they are bathed in darkness. He can hear Potter breathing.
"Tell me something I don't know," Potter mutters, but he doesn't move.
"I like it." And Draco leaves, whipping round the corner before running off to his dormitory like he's running out of time, not stopping until he reaches his bed, where he sits down and thinks about crying. He doesn't, of course, but it's the closest he's felt to it for a while. He wonders if Potter got back safely.
He wonders why he cares.
"You utter bastard," Draco coughs out, tasting the copper hint of blood on his tongue from biting it too hard. He remembers the last time someone made Harry bleed.
"Language, Draco! We have ladies present." Voldemort flicks his wand in his direction and Draco collapses to the ground again, a silent scream on his bloodied lips. They're getting quite well acquainted. "You don't deserve to speak."
Suddenly, a spell hits him again - a bright orange one, like the colour of sunsets or pumpkins - and Draco chokes on his words. His throat constricts whenever he tries to speak, strangling him, suffocating him.
"Isn't that better?" Voldemort says conversationally. "I like people who know how to hold their tongue."
Draco gives him a two fingered salute.
"Draco," Harry whispers, and he realises that the fallen boy has been silent for too long now. "Draco, stop." He shakes his head.
"Oh, look, Draco! Look how he begs for your life, even now. Even now, when you have been an able Death Eater for more than a year. Even now, when you betrayed his school and his friends and him. Do you regret it? Do you regret choosing the right side?"
Draco's tongue loosens, and he can speak.
"More than anything," he whispers, and it's true. If he could take it back... it had been Harry's life or his mother's, and he had had a duty to his family, but dammit!
He regrets it.
"Tut tut, Draco. I expected better." This Crucio is expected.
"Stop it!" Harry yells, and the pain stops. Draco is surprised, though; Harry can barely move, let alone scream. "It wasn't his fault, he did as you said! Stop torturing him for it, and just kill me! You win, Voldemort! Kill me, and you live forever!"
Voldemort's eyes widen ever so slightly, and Draco knows that Harry has him enthralled. He wants power. He wants to defeat death.
Killing Harry is the only way.
"You're a conceited git, Potter. How many times do you stand in front of a mirror each day? Too many to count, and yet you still can't fix that hair of yours," Draco tells Harry conversationally as Harry leans against his legs. They look out at the lake, which is black now after the rest of the school is asleep in their beds.
Or another person's bed. You can never really tell with Hogwarts.
"But I'm your conceited git, Draco," Harry replies, playing with the grass and laughing. A light in the castle turns on, and they both fall silent and freeze. The lights goes off.
"Don't call me Draco."
"Draco. Draco - Draco - Draco," the sixth-year chants, turning round to grin at Draco, his face so slightly illuminated by the weak Lumos he is casting.
"No! Don't call me that!"
Harry nods, and looks pensieve. He strokes Draco's cheek tenderly, a small smile on his face, and Draco wonders how it got like this. When heated fights became heated nights, and they in turn became evening kisses by the lake and never having enough time.
"Fine. Dray." Draco pulls out of his thoughts and tackles Harry backwards, leering over him.
"Now, now, Dray, don't be like that," Harry teases. He never used to be like this; still isn't, around his friends, like Weasel and the Mudblood, who remind him of the looming war. Around Draco, though, Harry can be whoever he likes, and that person is not the Boy-Who-Lived, but the Boy-Draco-Is-Falling-In-Love-With.
Draco blinks, and returns to reality. The reality in which Harry is offering his life to the worst Dark Wizard in history. The reality that is leaving Draco breathless as the Wizarding World crumbles around them.
No matter what he thought, Draco never thought it would end up like this.
"If that's what you wish, Potter, then who am I to deny you?" Voldemort asks, and he twists his wand in his fingers. But it is not his wand. It will never be his wand.
Because Draco is smarter than they give him credit for.
He casts a wordless spell and levitates Draco away from Harry's body. The green eyes plead with him silently, but soon Draco is thrown against the opposite wall. Voldemort binds him in itching ropes that will leave marks, he knows. Voldemort readies his wand.
"NO! No, you can't! Harry! HARRY!" Draco screams, and he pulls against the ropes. He does not know where his wand is; he wouldn't know where to begin to look.
"Silencio! Silencio!" Voldemort shouts over Draco, sounding more antagonized each time. He keeps his wand on Draco. "Avada Ked-"
And Harry dives in front of him.
Draco has flashes, which is odd, because he is not facing death. Or maybe he is. He can't remember.
He thinks of the night Dumbledore died, the last night he saw Harry, and he thinks of the letter he wrote in what would've been his seventh year - but Hogwarts was not a school at that time, rather a large torture chamber, so it didn't count - and the letter he never sent.
He thinks of the first time he saw Harry in that light, the light that made him look like a terrified, terrifyingly beautiful lonely boy that Draco could've simply loved, in another life.
Draco thinks of when he fell in love with Harry, one uneventful night on the Hogwarts grounds where, in another life, Harry would sit with Ginny Weasley and they would talk about Quidditch and pygmy puffs and be nothing compared to Draco&Harry.
The world stops for one antagonizingly long second.
But the spell does not hit Harry. The spell rebounds off of Harry, in a flash of blood red and lifeless green, and hits Voldemort instead. Voldemort crumbles.
Draco watches as the Dark wizard cracks and falls onto the marble floor of the Great Hall. The gathered Death Eaters, minus Bellatrix Lestrange who would've killed Harry and Draco there and then, gasp in unison. There is a rush of movement, and the hall doors - one of which is cracked halfway down and the other which is falling off its hinges - burst open.
There stand the Weasels. And everyone else.
"The spell He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named cast on the dungeons failed, and we came back as quickly as we could, just in case - just in case-"
Flitwick's explanation stutters to a stop as he sees the fallen body of the enemy.
"Is he dead?" Mother Weasley asks, stepping into the Great Hall, her battered shoes echoing in the otherwise silent room. Narcissa stands, shakily at first, and walks over to the body of Voldemort. Her hand does not shake as she leans down to check his pulse. She waits.
He doesn't wake up.
"Dead," Narcissa whispers, and Draco expects the Hall to erupt with laughter and cheers and shouts. But it's still silent. No one dares to breathe.
"Harry?" Draco asks, and all eyes turn to him, who has broken the silence. Mother Weasley flicks her wrist and the bonds tying Draco to the wall loosen and fall to the floor, taking him with them. He crawls over to Harry.
"Dray," he says simply, and his eyes open to stare at Draco.
There are numerous, deafening pops as the remaining Death Eaters Disapparate, and Kingsley swears, watching them go but powerless to stop them.
Draco sobs into Harry's hair, and whispers promises and insults and says that he doesn't deserve to live. Harry strokes his head. "Now, now, Dray. None of us were angels." And he laughs; the sound echoes and it's contagious. Soon the whole hall is laughing.
"You know I love you, yeah?" Draco asks, and Harry nods.
Victory is silent.
Victory is reflection and jubilation and relief.
Victory is living green eyes. Victory crawls along the filthy stone floor, and says, "We did it." Victory is Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy and running out of time.