Pairing: Some slash, some het. Harry/Ron being the main focus.
Rating: PG-13? There won't be excessive smut.
Summary: A new evil rises from the ashes of an old. Set 15 years after the fall of Voldemort. Everyone has grown up and moved on.
Standard Disclaimer: Not mine. The characters belong to J.K.Rowling, and this particular story belongs to me.
Warnings (if any): Original characters (not mary sues), un betaed so there may be some glaring errors. WIP, chapters may come out once a week, one every few days, or one every two weeks, but chapters will be coming.
[Unknown LJ tag]
Saturday's were usually quiet, or at least our version of quiet. We'd prowl around the castle grounds, finding all sorts of mischeif to get into. Often these days would end in flight. Running from Peeves, or old man Kreavy, but somehow it felt comfortable. This was how things were supposed to be, and it was how I expected things to turn out.
Until she came.
'Oy! Harris, ready to move ou ... t?' I trailed off in shock as I came around the corner and caught Harris and the girl viciously snogging against the wall. This wasn't innocent kissing, this was a violent expression of teenaged hormones. Only, I thought Harris didn't possess teenage hormones. Boy, was I wrong. Not only did he possess them, but he seemed intent on using them to full effect.
The kiss broke off at the sound of my voice and Harris glanced my way with a half guilty, half annoyed look. I met his gaze a moment, then glanced at the girl and that's when the real shock kicked in. 'Amie Weasley?' I breathed, surprised.
She turned bright pink at the sound of her name, 'This isn't what it looks like Joanie.'
'Don't call me that.' I growled. Jonathan. My name was Jonathan, and only my family were allowed to call me Joanie.
'I lost a contact and he was helping me find it!' she blurted.
'And he was looking in your mouth? With his tongue?'
'Oh!' She trembled from head to foot, her face scrunching up in agitation. She wasn't pretty like that, and I really hoped Harris noticed too.
Harris, though, when I looked at him, wasn't looking mildly annoyed anymore. He was looking peeved. 'Shut up, Jon,' he snapped so sharply it felt like a physical blow.
He and I stared at each other for a long moment. My heart wasn't beating properly. I stepped back, but then it was too easy to turn and run. I was angry, and hurt. How dare he kiss a girl? And /that/ girl. More importantly, how dare he be angry with me? I'm the one who's been wronged. I thought our friendship was important to me but then he goes off kissing my brother's girlfriend?
He was an ass.
And I hated him all the more for not running after me.
The never ending dream. She stands before me, that hurt in her eyes, and I've seen it so much it doesn't mean anything anymore. /'All this time? You've been with him?'/ Her voice trembles.
Not a dream, but a memory.
/'I thought I loved you, Claire ... but I just didn't.'/ I remember speaking calmly. At that point I just wanted it over. I wanted to stop living the lie, and I wanted /him/.
/'You bastard...'/ Her eyes darkened with rage, and a hatred so sharp it made me worry about her sanity.
/'Claire, I never meant to hu...'/
/'Esse-'/ And here the memory ends, in a flash of brilliant red light. I don't know what spell she cast, all I know is that it's trapped here in an endless loop of memory.
The same memory over and over, and I'm not reliving it, I'm simply watching it. If she meant to punish me, this is a unique and effective way to have done so. The echo starts again, from the moment I told her the truth.
/'Claire, I'm in love with Ron Weasley.'/
A love that was never meant to be.
It hurts to breathe. I have to keep moving. Every step forward sends a lance of pain up my legs, every breath makes my chest convulse in spasms. I can't stop now, but I want to. This is hell. This is punishment for my sins, and atonement is just over that hill. I can hear their voices. I just need to reach them, that's all. I would yell out, but I have no voice. I would cast a spell but I have no energy. I just have to move. Just a few more steps, Draco, just a few more.
One foot in front of the other. Move Draco. Move.
I imagine what my father would say if he saw me like this. He'd mock me, I'm sure, probably disown me. He will disown me when he hears. But I can't think about that. I can't think about his anger or her disappointment. This goes beyond family loyalty. This goes beyond everything.
Just a few more steps.
Suddenly my knees give out and I fall to the floor. Only it's not hard and fast, it's slow and the ground receives me like a cushion. I feel the blood escape from my nose, and a curious wetness in my ears makes me wonder if I'm not bleeding there too.
Is this it?
Am I to die here, just a few scant feet from my redemption?
I pull my arm up and try to drag myself forward, but my strength has completely left me. I've failed.
It's no great surprise though. That's what Draco Malfoy does. He fails... and in spectacular fashion.
The world is pain ... and then the world is gone.
I think I hate him now. He chose me over a girl, and on our Saturday. I drop onto the bed in our dorm and let out a heavy sigh. So loud that Erin Finnigan chuckles, 'What happened mate? Peeves caught you at it and shoved the bomb down the rear of your pants?'
'No,' I don't want to talk, so I snap the word.
He's unbothered. Erin is a good guy, and if not for the fact that Harris and I are joined at the hip I'd probably spend more time with him. It's just that Harris is the only person I want to be around. He's the only one I want to talk with, and I know that probably is kind of weird, but he's my best friend. It's okay to have a favorite friend, isn't it?
'Harris was by a few minutes back, he was looking for you.'
I sit straight up, eyes darting to Erin. I search his face, looking for a glimmer of truth, 'What did he say?'
Erin shrugged, 'Said if you came by I should tell you to go up to the Astronomy Tower. He really wants to catch up with you. What happened? You guys have to secure your getaway story?'
I slid off the bed quickly, 'No. I gotta' go.'
Erin raises an eyebrow but he doesn't say anything else as I dart out of the room.
Harris wants to see me. Everything will be okay then. We'll still be friends and he'll promise that Saturday's are mine. I don't care if he has to snog a girl, but can't he do it on Sunday?
'How is he?' Hermione asks as I step into the room.
I pull off my scarf, folding it carefully before setting it on the table, 'No change.' I avoid looking at her. Somehow looking at her makes my chest hurt more than it does already.
My outer cloak is covered in snow. I shake it off before folding it over the back of the chair. I run my hands through my hair to shake out the last of the snow. I used to visit him monthly, but it's getting harder and harder to do. He hasn't improved. He just lays there, staring at the ceiling, a vacant look in his eyes that makes my stomach knot. What she did to him ... I can never forgive what she did to him.
Hermione touchs my arm, and leans her head on my shoulder, 'Oh Ron, I'm sorry.'
'Why don't you visit him, Hermione?' It's been bothering me. I used to see him every day and that tapered to every week, and finally every month. But her... she only went to see him once and not since.
'I just... I'm not strong like you Ron. I can't stand to see him like that.' She whispers, and there is so much guilt in her voice that I feel like a cad.
I turn and tug her into a tight hug. She's such a good person. I love her, I really do. The problem is ... I love her like a sister, and it's taken me a damn long time to figure it out. What's worse is that there's nothing I can do about it now. We have kids together, we have a life together. It's too late to back out of this relationship.
'It's okay. He'd understand,' maybe he would. I don't know anymore. The Harry I knew as a teenager, and the Harry I knew after the war were different people. He drifted away from us during those last years before the accident. He was a different person, a person with haunted eyes. A person who never wanted to spend time with his 'friends'..
We stand there hugging for some time. We don't speak, words aren't needed. I know what's in her heart, a great sadness for a lost friend. I know her well enough to know that she needs this, so I don't let go.
'Harris?' It's cold, and I lift my hands to cover my cheeks before I step further out onto the tower.
He's standing near the edge. He looks back at me, and I hesitate because he has a strange look in his eyes. Hatred? No. I must be seeing it wrong. He'd never look at me with hatred, even after what happened this morning. It was just a little fight. No reason to be angry.
'Look... it just surprised me to see you kissing some chick on -our- day.' I move closer to him, something like dread washes over me. I don't know, I don't understand it at all. 'Harris? Are you angry?'
'Move closer,' he looks away, staring down.
I do, because he's my friend and I want to figure out what's wrong with him because something is wrong with him. He's acting so strangely. 'I'm still a little angry with you,' I admitted, 'but... we're friends, we've always been friends... so it's okay to be angry now and then. Right?'
'Do it, do it now,' a soft high pitched voice whispers behind me.
I try to turn to see who spoke, but before I can Harris has lunged forward. He hits me so hard I stumble sideways and then he pushes me. I have no time to regain my balance. I'm falling. I'm too shocked to scream, and gravity is too strong for me to dig out my wand. Above me I can see Harris staring down at me, watching as I fall to my death.
I also see another figure, a smaller figure come up beside him.
A soft gasp escapes me.
The world comes rushing back in a symphony of pain and noise. I can hear voices all around me. For a moment I just lay, but then the cold against my back and the urgency in my memories forces me to open my eyes. I have to move. Why did I stop?
I try to push myself into a sitting position but my entire body protests the movement and I end up falling right back down. The voices hush. Somehow the silence is unnerving. What are they plotting? I managed to roll onto my side, wincing as my back and stomach protest the movement. 'I...'
'Draco Malfoy,' A quiet, familiar voice murmurs. Where do I know that voice from? I turn my head, watching with some surprise as a middle aged man with light brown hair and soft hazel eyes kneels beside me. He looks weary, pale and thin, and no wonder. The full moon was just a few days back. He is Remus Lupin, my Defense Against the Dark Arts professor in the third year.
'They're coming... Lupin,' it's difficult to get the words out, simple as they may be. It's difficult to breathe, to think, to be.
'We have to move. They're coming for the vil-'
But before I can finish a loud scream interrupts me. I hear murmurs of concern, Lupin turns sharply to look towards the scream, 'Too late,' I whisper.
'Who are they?' Lupin looks back at me, his gaze sharp.
'Too late ... they're all going to die.'
'Died?' I run my fingers down my pants to wipe the excrement off. A moment earlier I had been elbow deep in dragon crap, looking for some clue as to why Anise, a lovely Hungarian Horntail, was so ill. So far I'd found a swing, what looked like the skull of a large mammal, and the jacket I'd lost several days ago. My favorite jacket. I'd have to remember to clean it up so I could wear it again.
'That's right, still born.' Eric Jenning has been working with me for a few years now, and he knows his business. He's a good kid.
'Still born? That's not possible,' I get to my feet, frowning.
'It's not only possible, it happened.'
'That's the third time this week,' I run my hand over my forehead, noticing Eric's grimace. I smirk, 'It washes off.'
'So what do you think's going on?'
'They must be sick, we just have to figure out what with.' I respond with a heavy sigh, 'So far, I haven't found anything in here that shouldn't be here,' I wave my hand at the pile of dung I'd been buried in a moment earlier.
'Maybe we need an expert.'
'A shit expert?'
'That's not what I meant,' Eric murmurs, frowning, 'I meant-'
'I am the expert, Eric. I know dragons better than anyone. You know that. There's no one to call in, I'm it.'
Eric shrugs a bit, 'Yeah...'
'You don't sound convinced.'
'Because I'm not.'
'Check on the others, I got work to do.'
'It's okay Eric. We're all frustrated, all right? We all want to figure this out. It's been weeks since this started and I don't have answers. I get that this makes you uncomfortable, but you need to get that if I can't find the solution no one can. I'm not blowing my own horn, it's just the truth. Now check on the others.'
Eric hesitates, but then he nodded and walked away.
With a heavy sigh I crouch back down and bury my arm back into the shit. I'm going to smell putrid for several days. Fleur would complain bitterly if she was around, but she's off on business. Maybe by the time she gets back I'll be smelling human again.
He doesn't sleep well. Not since the accident. I lay beside him, watching his brow furrow, his lips drawing into a straight line. I don't wake him from whatever dream he's having, because if I did he'd never sleep. This is every night. I reach out, lightly touching his brow and trying to rub the line out from between his eyebrows. He's beautiful, and he doesn't realize just how much.
He barely stirs at my touch, except to turn somewhat away from me.
He's losing weight, he barely eats anymore. I'm worried that he's sick, but I haven't said anything. He works too hard, and too long. He worries too much. But what can I do if he refuses to see it himself? I lean in to press my lips to his forehead.
I love him.
I really do.
I sit up and slide my legs off the bed. The floor is cold. I hurry across it and slip out of the room. She's already in the living room. She looks up with a brilliant smile, 'He's asleep?' she whispers.
I nod and move to stand directly in front of her. We stare at each other. I want to do nothing more than grab her... but I hold back. It's so risky what we're doing, but he won't wake up. He never does. His dreams trap him as surely as any spell.
She closes the distance between us and our lips are pressed together in a desperate kiss.
I love him...
It's just that I love her more.
'Why... why did you...'
'Quiet.' I press my hand over his lips, pulling his body tightly to my own. He stiffens a little, but makes no further protests.
The screaming has stopped outside. A moment earlier I grabbed Draco and pulled him into this little cave. Whoever these wizards were, they were more powerful than anything I'd seen in my life, even the Death Eaters. We were powerless against them when they arrived. People dropped dead as they passed. I'd never seen anything like it in my life and it was only luck that spared our lives.
I wonder if anyone else is alive out there. How many survived this?
One moment we were having an Order meeting, discussing the future of the Order now that Voldemort was gone. The next moment someone started yelling about having found a boy, and then we were gathered around Draco Malfoy. He awoke, and murmured something about 'them coming', and then they came... and I've never seen anything like this.
The blond in my arms is breathing so fast he might be hyperventalating. I don't have time to worry about it though. The silence is ominous. I lean sideways, peeking outside the cave. I don't dare use magic, they may be able to track magic use. I don't want to take any chances.
It looks clear outside the cave, but I can't see the clearing where we were gathered so I have no idea if they are still there or not.
Draco's lips open, his tongue sliding against my fingers and I reflexively jerk my hand back. He turns his head up to look at me. 'They're gone,' he whispers.
'Oh?' I wonder how he could possibly know that.
'How did you know they were coming, who are they?'
'Didn't you notice, Lupin?'
'They're dead, Lupin. And so am I.'