Most of you don't remember me, and I am ok with that.
I do not own HP, and I am ok with that too.
Lots of things can change a person, from the people they meet to the people they lose. Some of these changes are for the better but most, he thought bitterly, were for the worst.
Draco Malfoy was changed for the worst.
Battles and wars, conflicted interests and conflicted loves, all of these things had taken their toll on the pale headed boy. He was silent now, when he should be speaking, he was apathetic now, when he should be crazy. As he saw it, apathy was a type of crazy, just not the one he was searching for.
He wanted, occassionally when he felt up to wanting, to be like some of the other survivors. He wanted to be like George Weasley, who still talked to his brother, or Teddy Remus who continued to 'see' his dead parents. He wanted to be like his father, a still shape in a dark cell, or his mother, a woman so broken her frown was a permanent crack. He wanted something besides a blank mind that recalled no images and blank eyes that took in no sights.
He wanted something to remind him that he was still living.
It was hard to remember, a fact that should have come easily. He was breathing and waking, so he must have been living, but he couldn't grasp the fact. Everyday he opened his eyes, let the pale light brush his cheeks, and took a breath. Everyday he walked to his kitchen, said goodmorning to his mother, and ate whatever was available. Everyday he did what was neccessary to sustain life but a piece was missing and his breaths hit his chest without a single promise, and his eyes saw the light but only noted the shadows.
And when he walked through the small town they'd found, when he watched the people smile and wave and talk, he couldn't feel empty because that was all he ever was.
It was like that for awhile, days and weeks and months and years, until something happened. He was sitting in town, watching the people, and he saw a flash of black hair. It made his heart stop, freeze in his chest until is eyes were sure the sight was gone. He left, ran like a coward, and stayed in his room for three days. He thought more in that time than he had since the battle, than he had since his father had been taken away and his life had gone with him.
He didn't venture out again until he was sure the sight had been a phantom.
He sat on his usual bench and watched the people, not frowning and not smiling, like a statue or a mummy. The people walked past and didn't notice, pretended not to care, lived their lives and let him slowly destroy his. He kept his eyes on the moving crowd, thick like a river after a storm, taking in the sight with little interest.
And then he saw it: a flash of black hair.
He got up, tried to escape, but the black hair was coming closer. Before he could escape, the owner of the hair was upon him, green eyes familiar and innocent. Now, after too long, Draco felt something.
He couldn't find his voice so he nodded, eyes cast down. There was no resentment in the others voice, no sadness or regret. He sounded, impossibly so, happy. Draco envied him this easy going way he had, and wondered how he managed it. You couldn't let go of death or, rather, it never let go of you. How could he live when so many had died?
"It's been awhile."
Another nod, curt but timid. He was scared of the dark haired boy before him, afraid of the past they shared. The antithesis of each other, but both so scared. Only one knew what to do with that fear, only one had conquered it.
"How are you?"
It was painfully awkward, too much too fast.
"Well, I'm good."
No more to say, so why didn't he leave?
"I heard about your father."
"It wasn't a secret."
There was a pause then, thick with expectations, neither knowing the expectations of the other.
Draco managed to pull his eyes from the ground, look the other boy in the face. Potter looked the same, green eyed and cocky, but deeper and harder to grasp than expected. His past was there, but so was his future, neither bringing any sort of pain. It was a familiar face, hated but loved, loathed but cherished. Draco didn't know why this face was so important, but he was sure it was.
Potter shuffled his feet on the ground and shoved his hands in his jacket pockets. He didn't seem to expect anymore communication, but sat on the bench like he was going to stay until there was. After a beat of indecision, Draco sat next to him. There they were, The Boy Who Lived and The Boy Who Perished, saying nothing. Potter's breath was white in the cool air, long and even.
The sun peered at them from its safe position in the sky, curious but not pushy. Draco cleared his throat as if to speak but let the words fall back into his stomach. They settled there, a hard weight: nerves.
"You living around here now?"
It wasn't elaborate but Potter seemed to understand. He nodded and pushed up his glasses. There was something different about him, Draco decided. With a twinge of interest, the first he'd felt in a long time, he decided to take a chance and ask what.
Potter looked surprised, shrugging after a short pause. He laughed a bit and shook his head, glancing at the sky as if that would help him. The sun, though a good listener, had no real advice to offer.
"I'm The Boy Who Lived."
Draco couldn't answer this so he remained silent.
"What about you?"
Draco thought about this question for a long time, staring at the slowly lessening throng of people. He couldn't decide what would sum it all up, couldn't even begin to decide what would sum half of it up.
"Lots of people lived."
"Lots of people died as well."
Harry, he was Harry now in Draco's mind, rubbed his jaw and his eyes were filled with a deep pain. It was repressed, even now when he was beginning to probe it, that bruise left on his heart.
"It wasn't your fault."
"It wasn't my fault."
A soft look, "I know."
Draco wasn't sure why, but it felt nice when Harry took his hand. That small gesture, that small bit of comfort, meant more than any of the words. He relaxed just a bit and felt a tiny flash of contentment at the soft palm on his. Tight fingers gripped tight fingers and a heart that was easily captured in its current state. He'd been dead for so long, his heart was craving for something to let it live again.
"Life isn't fair."
"Neither is death."
He threw Harry a sharp look, wondering at the meaning of the words. Did Harry suspect something, or was he merely stating a fact?
Harry nodded and the conversation appeared to have come to an end, hands still intertwined and hearts pressed close together. There were things that hadn't been said, would never get words, but could be felt in the air.
Night came and Harry left, just like Draco knew he would. He didn't say goodbye, but he gave Draco's hand a squeeze before he left, like he was promising something. As Draco walked back, he hoped he had been promising to come back.
That night Draco lay in bed and thought, thought long and hard, back to when he'd first met Harry. He listed memories like he was listing mistakes: one after the other. The list grew from two to three to four, happy and sad and vengeful all rubbing shoulders like brothers. He fell asleep to an old memory, an old friend, from just before the battle. An empty room, a dark headed boy, and the feeling of soft lips on his.
The dead can't recall what they once knew but, if revived, they can find a way to remember, if they only find something to live for.