"Exposure," he hears. His whole body pulses with pain, and Draco wonders how long it's been since the last Cruciatus. Not long enough. Even his teeth are throbbing. Without opening his eyes, he tentatively slides his tongue into what should be the sacred space of his mouth. He meets wriggling and cracked front teeth.
Overwhelmed by nausea, bright with his jostling joints, as he's hauled away from the frigid surf in someone's arms, Draco passes out. But not before something registers in his mind.
"I'm not your charity case, Potter!" Draco is several degrees beyond furious, well on to livid. "I'm a turncoat to my family, and after this investigation I don't ever want to hear from you again. I'm sick of seeing you like this, acting like some bloody Muggle saint."
Potter looks at him, a twinge of pity in his gaze.
"Oh fucking Merlin," Draco seethes. "You do think you're a saint. You fulfilled your prophecy and now you can save all of the cursed pieces of flotsam still bobbing after the War, and assuage yourself."
He runs his tongue across the back of his magically replaced teeth, knowing them as foreigners. "You didn't find me, anyway. It was a Weasley, unless you were in disguise."
Draco pours wine down his throat and straightens his spine, wincing a bit. The damage inflicted on him will remain for some time to come. Forever, most likely. He glares at Potter, who exhales heavily through his nose, as though his very breath is language.
Seconds later Draco throws up his hands as a blinding aura bursts from across the room, vibrant scarlet pouring from Potter, a demonstration of- something. Draco forces his hands down from his eyes, squinting at the young man who has willed himself to become what the wizarding world asked of him: He has become their Saviour.
"Okay. Impressed. Please turn it off," Draco chokes out.
The room is instantly dim, and cold.
"Why'd you care, anyway?" Draco asks.
"I didn't," Potter replies, absently adjusting his glasses. "George found you. He was part of the reconnaissance group investigating different Malfoy estates and enterprises. He and Snape were as shocked to find you at Port Ness as you were to be found, I reckon."
Draco allows the barrage of words to stick, nettle-like, into his consciousness. They prickle there for a bit.
"So it wasn't you-" he begins.
"Nope," Potter says cheerfully. "George Weasley and Severus Snape. Snape's dead now, as you know, but George's still around. Care to see him?"
"No," Draco grouses, then extends his arm. "More wine?"
He doesn't feel trapped, exactly, when Potter's fingers massage into his upper back, the digits dripping with pine-scented oil. Yet another gesture of piety. The trial is going on and on. Lucius would never have allowed for such a travesty, but he, too, is dead. Draco is an orphan. Though that word is reserved for children, he decides. He's an adult. He is simply alone in this New Post-Voldemort World, with no parents, no siblings, and no friends, since Vincent and Gregory were both summarily executed for being loyal to him.
He flinches at the memory.
"Sorry, Draco," he hears, and feels the sense of red vibrating around him. "Did I hurt you?"
"No, it wasn't you."
He shivers a bit under the intimate proximity when Potter leans over him and breathes into his ear, "Good. I couldn't bear that."
Unacceptable arousal centers in his groin and Draco admonishes himself to relax.
He is relatively unsurprised when he wakes up with the prickling sensation of being watched.
"Bored, Potter?" Draco drawls before his brain manages to catch up to his mouth. It's early, pre-dawn, and he's in Potter's bed. He's rather unwilling to move and find out whether or not he's clothed.
Draco closes one eye and looks at Potter through the other. His aura is dim now, but pulsing as though synchronised with his heartbeat.
"Did you slip something into that oil and fuck me while I was asleep?"
Potter grins wickedly. "D'you wish I had?"
Running his hand through his long fringe, Draco considers the question.
"Yes, but I'd rather be awake. If it's all the same to you, of course."
The room is suddenly sanguine-drenched.
There are no shortage of gasps and titters at the funeral when Draco reads his poem, but he pays them no heed. Afterwards he meets George Weasley and Remus Lupin at some bar called the Selkie's Swim and joins them in their misery.
"Bloody fucking Death Eaters," George slurs, then bats at Draco's hand. "Not you, of course."
"Yes, fucking me, of course!" Draco spits back. "Why'd you and Snape go all the way out to Lewis to retrieve my body, anyway?"
"Had to," George says plainly. "Can't say as I was especially looking forward to it; seemed nasty business and we'd just lost MacLeod to illness a few days before and it all seemed bollocky stupid."
Draco sits in dumbfounded silence, taking a long pull of his pint. He's quite sure he's never heard George Weasley say so much at once in his life. It's unsettling.
"I'm so sorry about Harry," Lupin says, eyes bright with sorrow and regret.
"Not half as much as I am," Draco replies. "Then again," he continues, the hearty brew chorusing in his veins, "seeing as I'm so fucking sorry, I wish you hadn't rescued me," he gestures at the befuddled freckle-covered face, "and I'd been left, exposed to wind and rain and fucking midges. Pain and death. Not a problem. Now heartache- nobody taught me how to deal with that."
In his most dignified manner, he drains his glass.
"George, I'm sorry about Fred. Lupin, I'm sorry about whatever."
"Black," Weasley offers. "And being a bloody werewolf."
"Fine, fine," Draco says magnanimously. "And now, as much I've enjoyed your company, this pity party must come to an end. There's something Potter would have wanted me to do."
Draco gets up from the table and streamlines through the crowd in the bar and out the door. In the alleyway, he takes several deep breaths, then Apparates to his small flat.
There, waiting for him, are several cans of crimson paint, and a roller brush. This is to be done by hand, at a slow, deliberate pace as he sinks into solitary mourning. He places the one picture Harry allowed them to get during their brief time together on the table next to his bed, then puts on some less-haughty clothes from his successful win at the War Trials.
He begins painting.
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