Character: Draco Malfoy
Warning(s): Minor character death
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Length: 630 words
Summary: Draco sits on a rock by the side of a road that leads nowhere.
Notes: Originally written for a contest at hogsmeade_elite.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
There's a fire in the sky.
It burns bright against the horizon, drowning in Draco's chest as he sits and waits for something -- anything -- to change. He sits on a rock by the side of a road that leads nowhere, and he doesn't know where he came from. All he has is time, and even that is running out, slipping away towards the crimson sunrise.
Draco closes his eyes. The fire fills his mind like a melody that plays on as an abandoned carousel creaks round and round. So it is with time. Draco thinks he's found something here at the roadside, something to hold on to, or something to believe in, but it's all a trick of the light, a simulacrum that exists only in his mind.
He doesn't know why he's here, but out of the fire, his mind builds a past.
There is green light piercing through darkness and an enemy's kindness. There are eyes, a hook-nosed teacher's eyes, narrowed to slits, burning with a kind of hatred Draco's never known. There is jeering, echoing laughter -- laughter that's Draco's own, though it tastes like someone else's -- and a boy with messy dark hair, walking past, head held high despite the taunting. A voice in his head shouts, "SLYTHERIN!" and Draco feels absurdly pleased with himself. There are missed opportunities and a lightning-bolt scar and a handshake that never happened, and shouldn't have.
The carousel turns and turns, steel groaning discordant against the music. The sad, haunting melody plays on, building to a rousing crescendo until it fills Draco's entire being, rivalled only by "I'll always be here for you," whispered louder than Armageddon, as only a mother can. Draco sees a little boy of about three straddling one of the sad-looking wooden horses. The horse is painted bright blue and it makes the boy's skin look paler than it really is. His silver-white hair is messy in the autumn breeze, but he laughs and laughs.
In a rush of warm air and rose petals, time sweeps around the carousel, dulling the music, causing paint to chip away bit by bit from the wooden horses. The bright blue one looks careworn and faded now, and the boy runs his finger down its dead spine. The boy is older now, smarter now, and he looks serious as he listens to the calm voice tell him about blood and history and tradition. He looks just like his father.
Draco's chest fills with a screaming ache only known to children who have lost their parents. He shuts his eyes tighter -- so tight that he can see stars dancing in front of him -- and tries not to think about how his father must have died, alone and helpless on the stone floor of a frigid prison cell.
"I'll always be here for you," whispers his mother again, but Draco knows it's not true. He saw her, eyes defying the sky to be as blue, glassy and unseeing. She wouldn't be there, not anymore. "You lied to me, Mother," he whispers into the dawn.
Then he screams; he knows no one will hear him, because no one wants to.
Draco is not the same when he rises from the stone by the roadside. The fire burns bright in his mind's eye, though the sun has risen and the grass is no longer wet with the morning's tears. There is a Before and there's an After for him now.
Before, he always had someone to hide behind.
After, he has no one but himself -- but the Sorting Hat was not wrong when it put him in Slytherin.
Eternity smells like pine needles scattered over a field of forget-me-nots.
Draco walks north.