Haedhea by Anaita
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Title: Haedhea
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Do not own anything nor claim to. Inspired by Poppy Z. Brite\'s \'Drawing Blood\'.
Summary: It’s Draco’s 18th birthday and Harry’s about to give him the present of his life, if only both can live long enough. MAJOR ANGST!! Birthday fic for aoi_shu!

~*~
Haedhea
~*~

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine why he stays with me, what with the hell I put him through. I wasn’t like that before “ before “ when Voldemort was around, at times it feels as if I’ve taken his place, that sometimes I’m the legacy he left behind, after all evil never really dies. And it’s at those times I don’t know who I am.

A hitched breath draws my attention; I look over at the pale body of my lover. It hurts me to see that even though he’s lying beside me, his body is titled away from me, afraid of contact. Why wouldn’t he be? The marks of our earlier struggle are still apparent on his body, mocking me.

I lean and brush strands of platinum blond away from his graceful neck, carefully so as not to wake him up. There as clear as day are purple bruise marks, my fingers fit perfectly against the bruises etched painfully in his skin. I press lightly, just to see his reaction and a whimper escapes his mouth. His breathing isn’t normal, that much is obvious as he struggles to draw in breath through his painful throat.

Why does he stay with me then? It’s a question that haunts me every night because every night I manage to break him even more. I don’t think he’s a person anymore, just a broken doll, so fragile and beautiful. His silver eyes remind me of those glass orbs fitted against beautifully carved faces, his hair as soft as feathers, his skin pale as marble, it’s hard to imagine anyone more perfect than him. But he’s not perfect anymore, now is he? I made sure of that. The bruises haven’t even completely faded before I inflict him with even more.

And all through my fury, he manages to gasp out, “I love you, Harry.” Why does he say that? He knows that’s not what I want to hear because that just makes me hit him more, I don’t deserve to be loved, not by some one as perfect as him, or is it flawed? I can’t tell the difference anymore.

The time before seems a lifetime away, actually it’s nothing more than a faded memory, of something that once was or could have been. The soft smiles, the love filled caresses, the whispered words…all just a memory, and it’s hard to believe that we were once like that. Like any other two individuals head over heels in love, making plans for the future, of the places we would visit, of the house we would live in. It had all seemed so important at that time, and now after I don’t think either of us remember those secret meetings in the unused classrooms of the castle or just those lazy afternoons at the edge of the lake when everyone had found out about us.

Us. We were together and nobody could say anything, and even if they did they could go fuck themselves for all we cared. When it seemed the whole world was against our love, we were there for each other, supporting each other because we knew this phase too would pass, and pass it did. Through obstacles an understanding was borne between the world and us, and now…now I think that same world lies between Draco and I. No matter how close we are, there’s a distance of a thousand universes between us and I don’t know how to breach it.

I never was a saint, I had no illusions, nor did I strive to be. When I used to get beaten up by bullies in the playground, I didn’t pray to God for their forgiveness nor ask for the redemption of their souls. When my aunt used to lock me under the cupboard, I didn’t think that maybe she’s a bit misguided and will soon find the path of righteousness. Actually the train of thought in my head ran along the lines of, ‘Die, burn, die.’ And that image has kept me going through a lot in life.

Maybe that was the flaw, the fact that I could never be the saint the Wizarding World wanted me to be and maybe the darkness that frightened them so much had existed in me all along.

On that fateful night, when there was no one in the world but me and Voldemort, I wasn’t a saint. I didn’t righteously strike him down there and then for tempting me over to the dark side, no I wasn’t a saint, but I was a human. A human who had a loved one somewhere in the world that was the battlefield, probably dying or already dead, and that’s what made me finally strike him down, and not because the idea of power repulsed me. I had a bit of Slytherin in me after all.

But like I said, he left his legacy behind, those words he managed to utter before his darkened soul departed, have since dwelt deep within me. Surfacing every now and again, making me question my existence.

“We hurt the ones we love, Harry. There’s no other way.”

I hurt Draco, over and over again but I love him so much. I love him so fucking much that sometimes I can’t breathe and other times my fingers are wrapped so tightly around his throat that he can’t breath. Is it wrong of me to want to keep him by my side?

Draco stirs and I look down at him to find dull grey eyes staring back at me. He’s scared, I can feel the fear emanated from him, something twists in my hand and I realize that I had unconsciously gripped his thin wrist. When I let go there are another set of marks encircling his pale skin, another bruise I have unknowingly inflicted upon him.

“Harry?” His whisper is unsure, his eyes darting between my face and hands. He looks like a scared animal, I wonder if he sees any trace of the lover he had once known.

I want to kiss his fears away press my lips against his swollen ones, they look so inviting, like a bruised flower. Pink and purple, so very pretty. I remember the feeling of my knuckles connecting with the soft flesh of his lips, how tears of pain had sprung in his eyes, making them sparkle, how the look of hurt and betrayal had slipped on his beautiful face.

“Happy birthday, Draco.” I say in a manner that I hope sounds remotely comforting. Of course I remember this day and also the memories that go along. I should feel ashamed of bestowing him with bruises instead of presents on one of the most important days of his life, but that thought repeats itself in my head, ‘We hurt the ones we love,’ and I love him so much, does that mean I have to hurt him that much as well?

I can feel his body lose some of its stiffness in relief. He wraps his frail arms around my neck and cuddles against me, contentedly.

“I’m surprised you remember,” he murmurs against my skin.

“Of course I would.” I kiss him on his head and hug him against my chest. “Draco?”

“Hmm?”

“You know I love you right?”

He stiffens again and I think that hurt more than the last Cruciatus Curse Voldemort had thrown my way. I rub his back in comforting circles, trying to soothe his muscles, slowly but surely he relaxes again. I feel his hot tears on my skin and oh how much it hurts to hurt him.

“I know,” he whispered. There’s a long pause in which the air hangs with expectancy. Of course, how stupid of me, how can I expect him to reciprocate those words. And then, “I love you too, Harry.”

I pull him away from me to look at his face, the raw emotion on his face takes my breath away. How could I ever want to hurt that? I have no idea. I lightly brush my fingers across his bruised lips.

“You should go to the infirmary.”

He shook his head, “Pomfrey asks to much questions,” he said. “I’ve run out of excuses.”

“Why don’t you just leave?”

“Because I want to be with you, Harry. No matter what, I love you and I know that you love me too. We’ve been through so much,” he looked at me imploringly. “And I can’t bear to leave you now. Everything will be alright, love.”

“You promise?”

“I wish I could,” he whispered.

And at that moment I knew nothing could ever be all right, because the events had already started to unfurl, like the domino effect, and one by one we will all be swept away. I don’t think I’ve felt more frightened in my whole life, to love someone, to be able to hold their lives in your hands, to feel the rush of power it gave you; it was all very frightening.

~*~

The Great Hall wasn’t crowded thank God, but in a way also depressing, the loss of numbers seemed more pronounce, well it was a Sunday so maybe that was the reason but regardless, the war had taken quite a lot of people with it.

There was no segregation of houses anymore except for in Quidditch and in classes, it’s hard to carry on as before when half of your housemates were dead and the other half, including you had been saved by people from other houses.

I appreciate Dumbledore’s efforts to carry on as usual, especially so because he made me Head Boy alongside Hermione Granger as Head Girl, that bit of information must be making Lucius curl in his grave, not that I care after all I was the one who put him there.

The smell of breakfast wafts across the big room as I make my way towards the Gryffindor table with Harry, no one minds me sitting there anymore, when one goes through a war, childish rivalries just seem that, childish. Granger and Weasley are already seated, I almost pity Weasley, being dragged out of bed with an annoyingly punctual girlfriend, but I adore her anyway, not that I would ever let her find out though I suspect she knows already.

“Happy Birthday, Draco,” she said without looking up from the tome in front of her that she called light reading. She elbowed the half asleep, half drooling Weasley in the ribs, he too grunted and managed some sort of greeting though in which language I wasn’t sure.

“Thank you.” I smiled as I took my seat beside Harry.

Granger finally closed the book and looked up, her smile stopped halfway through as I felt her eyes scrutinise my face. I’m quite good with concealing charms so there was no fear of her finding questioning bruises on my face but still I found her gaze just a little disconcerting “ ok, fine a lot disconcerting.

“What?”

“What happened to your face?”

So maybe my skills in concealment were lacking, I roamed my hand over my face and barely stopped my self from wincing as my fingers pressed against a sore spot.

“It looks like someone punched your lips.” She narrowed her eyes.

I laughed, “Are you sure you want the details?” I said in a teasing tone though my stomach was doing all sort of jumps. She narrowed her eyes at me even further, obviously not buying my excuse. She was Harry’s best friend after all and was well aware of his explosive temper especially after an incident that I’d rather not remember where she had found me in a not so comfortable state, though I had covered that up magnificently, if I say so myself. “Well see Harry here gets a bit excited when we’re you know…and I can’t help being my devastatingly delicious self, so don’t worry my lips haven’t been punched though we did wrestle around for a bit, with our tongues.”

By now Weasley was wide awake, his eyes looked as if they would pop out any moment and his face had taken a sickly green pallor, very unattractive with his carrot red hair. I always fail to understand what Granger sees in him, but I suppose that’s what you call love.

He made a strangled noise before getting up and bolting out of the Great Hall, followed by amused and confused stares, oh well, can’t blame me for his low metabolism. Granger just rolled her eyes and got up to follow, I looked at Harry and found him staring into space, a vacant expression on his face that made a chill run down the length of my spine. I shook him cautiously before he looked at me blankly, as if not recognising who I am, I can’t stand to look at him when he’s like this, it’s like watching my worst fear come to life that one day Harry will wake up and he won’t recognise me, won’t recognise our love.

I swallowed the growing nausea and looked up at Granger who once again was studying us carefully. I didn’t meet her eyes but got up too, suddenly the smell of food was making me feel sick.

“Harry walk with me?” she asked him. I knew that she wanted to talk to him in private and I bet I know about what therefore I lingered back a bit though with enough distance that if I strained my ears, I could make out their words.

She glanced back at me before leaning in and saying something in his ear. Harry stopped and I watched with dread as the familiar anger blossomed on his face, so maybe I didn’t want to hear this after all. Granger placed her hands on his shoulder; probably trying to pacify him but he shrugged her off.

“Just mind your own fucking business, will you?” Well that wasn’t hard to miss as Harry stormed away, his shoulders shaking with repressed fury.

Granger looked at me helplessly as I approached her. Suddenly I couldn’t help getting angry at her for provoking Harry like that, I knew what she was talking to him about and honestly, she should pay more attention to her own relationship rather than butting in to others.

“What did you say to him?”

“Look, Draco,” she started cautiously, biting her lip as if wondering what to say. “I don’t know what’s going on between you two, but please if you guys’ are having problems you need to talk to someone about it.”

I sighed, “Hermione “ ”

“I know Harry’s not the same since “ well “ since you know what and though he acts as if he’s dealing with it fine, I know he’s hurting and…” she trailed off. “…and possibly hurting you too.”

I looked away from her, not wanting her to see the hurt in my eyes. “He’s going to be fine, he just needs some time.”

“Draco “ ”

“I trust him,” I said firmly. Granger looked as if she was going to say something but then though better. She just sighed and gave me a hug before walking off.

“Oh and don’t forget the party tonight, it’s not everyday you turn eighteen.” She grinned at me before turning around a corner.

I wondered whether I should go and find Harry, though upon reflection that might not be a great idea knowing how his temper can get out of control. I sighed and decided to walk outside, clear my head a bit though I doubt it would work as it was pounding with pain and going to Madam Pomfrey was out of the question like I said to Harry because of her inquisitive nature.

It was a beautiful spring day outside, the surface of the lake rippling due to the breeze, the trees casting cool shades, the flowers letting out sweet fragrances, everything seemed so disconnected from the world, from my world.

I sat down with my back against our tree, Harry’s and mine; somehow it felt wrong sitting here alone. If I close my eyes and concentrate I like to believe that I can still hear the ghost of a laugh, a whisper, a sound of passion, all the things that now seemed to lack in our life.

Harry didn’t used to be like this before, it’s as if he’s a different person altogether, I don’t think I know him anymore. And when he’s hurting me, his eyes turn dark and his face screws up as if he’s fighting with himself, there’s the hurt and guilt that he really doesn’t want to be doing this yet there’s also this perverse pleasure that frightens me beyond anything. I love him so much, I love him like I’ve loved no other, I love him more than life itself and when I die, I would like to in his arms but not by his arms and preferably in the next thirty or forty years.

I remember Harry used to be so shy about everything; even a little sexual innuendo would make him blush like a schoolgirl. He used to be so sweet, so loving and yet so confident, I remember we used to sit under this tree and imagine what would we be doing in a couple of years time. He told me he wanted two sets of twins, two girls and two boys and that he wanted to open his own orphanage. He told me he was sick of fighting the bad guys and that for once he wanted a peaceful life, a life involving a family that included me and anyone else that came along, I remember once he told me he wanted to open up a little book shop and maybe write a book or two.

I don’t know what happened between Harry and Voldemort other than what I read in the papers, he refuses to talk about it, if only he would, then maybe I’d know what’s haunting him, maybe then I can help. But he seems to have shut himself off from his friends and it makes me wonder what could have been so terrifying, maybe I’m selfish or even weak but I’m afraid to ask. Afraid that this fragile cocoon we’ve built around us would shatter and we’ll find the world beyond is nothing but a deserted wasteland.

I couldn’t find Harry the rest of the day, well that’s a lie because technically I could have if I looked hard enough but I think both of us need some alone time. I spent most of my time under the tree and then in the library, there was something oddly comfortable about sitting amongst ancient books. I suppose the musky smell of age and decay reminded me that some day we too will grow and maybe it’s strange but these books give me some sort of assurance that I too have a life ahead of me.

The time of the party had arrived, I went in my Head Boy suite to change and get ready but Harry still was nowhere to be found. I thought he would have come back by now but apparently not. I calmed myself, no need to panic, he will be here, and he couldn’t have just left. Could he?

The party was held in our common room, it was decorated in Slytherin colours with crepe paper and fairy lights. I was really touched by Granger’s efforts, it was obvious by the unevenness of some decorations that they were done by hand and that meant more to me than the lavish balls held in Malfoy Manor with their perfect visage.

“Hey everyone, the birthday boy is here,” someone shouted.

Everyone turned to me and cheered as I climbed down the stairs, I knew a blush was staining my face and though there was a time when I enjoyed the attention, now wasn’t it.

My eyes searched for a raven head in the crowd but I couldn’t find Harry anywhere, again the cold dread seeped back in and with it a sense of betrayal, how could he abandon me on my birthday?

I was sitting on the couch in front of the fire probably drinking more than I should yet not feeling remotely drunk when I felt hands cover my eyes.

“Happy Birthday, baby.”

The husky voice sent pleasant shivers all over my body, I couldn’t help the grin on my face, and here I was sulking that my boyfriend had left me on my birthday.

“Come on,” he whispered.

His hands were still covering my eyes as he led me towards the centre of the room; at least I think that’s where he was taking me. Suddenly it was all quiet and when I was released, I saw a huge snitch shaped cake in front of me with eighteen candles lined on its wings.

“Cut it already, Malfoy, some of us actually want to eat it,” Ron said. “Hurry up and make a wish.”

I closed my eyes and though this was a stupid tradition, I felt it was necessary to wish for something really important.

Everyone clapped as I cut a piece and held it to Harry’s mouth before taking a bite myself. I had just bitten into the cake when Harry crushed his lips against mine and oblivious to the whistles and catcalls he pushed his tongue inside my mouth, I responded enthusiastically not caring who saw, as I tasted chocolate and mint in Harry’s mouth.

“Get a room, you two!”

Without breaking apart Harry manoeuvred us towards the stairs leading to my rooms, of course we had to let go of each other albeit unwillingly to quickly climb the stairs. Once in my room, clothes were ripped and strewn across the floor and though I should be worried about my new silk shirt, I’d sacrifice it and many more just to have Harry’s hands all over my body.

“What do you want, Draco?” he asked.

I looked in his eyes and there was no trace of violence, the alien emotion I had come to abhor. Instead standing in front of me was a man I loved, a man I had promised to spend the rest of my existence with and a man I’m sure despite our differences loved me back.

“Just you, Harry,” I said. “I just want you.”

Harry looked away and my heart sank, maybe I had spoken too soon, maybe there were a lot of things we needed to sort out. He moved away from me and the rush of cold air on my bare skin was like a slap on the face.

I turned away and hugged myself, willing not to cry, I refused to cry, refused to give in to the Fates who were so adamant in keeping Harry away from me. So lost I was in my despair that I didn’t feel Harry holding me by my shoulders and turning me around. He placed something in my hands, I looked at him in confusion before looking down at the green wrapped parcel with a silver bow on top.

“Harry?”

“I hadn’t given you your birthday present.”

I moved to sit on the bed and carefully started unwrapping the gift. It was a simple white, cardboard box, I looked at him again and he nodded encouragingly. I don’t know why I was feeling so anxious, I mean it’s only a gift, I just didn’t want it to be absolution and that’s what it felt like.

Inside the box was a frame wrapped in bubble wrap for protection, I tore at the plastic with shaking hands and in the frame was an oil painting, unmoving. It was of me and Harry sitting beside the lake, underneath our tree.

“It was the last thing I painted before…” he trailed off.

I remember he had said his art had died the moment Voldemort did. An artist’s job is to create, not destroy and when he destroyed Voldemort, he destroyed his talent too. I knew this was more than just a thoughtful birthday present; it was hope that maybe things could go back to the way they were.

“Harry…I “ I…thank you. Thank you so much, you don’t know how much this means to me,” I said.

He smiled, “That’s not all.” He took the painting from me and placed it on the bedside table gently. Then he turned to me and pushed me back on the bed. “There’s one more gift I have to give you.”

His lips were once again acquainted to mine as he lay down on top of me. My bare chest was pressed against his, my hips locked with his as if they were made for each other and his hands were slowly worshipping my body as if I was a sculpture he was painting, as if I was his art and he my creator.

I don’t know when we discarded our pants and boxers except that our bodies were connected intimately as any lovers’ could be. His kisses became urgent, his tongue more demanding and his hands desperate as he pushed inside me.

I saw stars dancing in front of my eyes due to the sudden intrusion but I held on to him, waiting for the tides of pleasure to sweep me away. As sappy as this sounds it was like our first time again: the red staining his cheeks, his head thrown back, his green eyes shut and his mouth opened wantonly, if only it could have been the first time, if only we could go back to that time.

But my thoughts soon disintegrated as I was overwhelmed by the sheer sensations of Harry inside me, his hands working my hardness, his mouth moving against mine as if he belonged there, which in my opinion he did.

He came soon after I did, his heaving body slumped over me and he buried his head in my shoulder. I stroked his hair, relishing the feel of its softness against my fingers.

For a moment I thought Harry had gone to sleep, I gently shook his shoulder but he didn’t raise his head.

“Harry?” I whispered.

Suddenly his body went completely rigid, was it because of my voice I didn’t know. I could feel his muscles tensing against my body; it was as if he was struggling against something as he lay there.

I felt something sharp and cold slide down my left shoulder followed by a stinging pain. I hissed as Harry pressed whatever he was holding, probably a knife, even deeper into my flesh.

“Harry!” I cried out.

He raised himself on his elbows and I got to see the knife I had cut my cake with now tainted with my blood. His face was unreadable, as if Harry wasn’t in there at all; his pupils were just black pinpoints in the sea of green. I raised my uninjured hand and caressed his face.

“Harry…” I said in a trembling voice. “Where did you get that knife?” But he just looked at me as if he didn’t know who I was and I felt as if a cold hand had gripped my heart, I tried not to cry, to stop the waver in my voice. “Harry you’re scaring me.”

His mouth moved wordlessly as he continued to stare down at me, to say I was terrified is the biggest understatement yet. Even through his violence he had never seen so…so soulless

“What?” I managed to croak out.

“We hurt the ones we love,” he murmured. He leaned down and placed his unmoving lips against mine while his hand continued to stroke my arm with the flat side of the knife, spreading the blood over my skin.

“I know you love me Harry, you don’t have to prove it,” I said trying to delay the inevitable.

He shook his head, “I do, I do.”

Making a sudden move was probably a bad idea as Harry pulled me back with such force that my head banged against the head board making me see stars, ones I didn’t want to be seeing.

“Harry?” My voice was as thin as paper, barely there. “If you’re going to kill me, please tell me why, why would you rather kill me for a stupid reason than try to build a new life with me.”

Something flickered across Harry’s face, his eyes looked around wildly as if not recognizing where he was. His green orbs stopped over my face again and I could see the anguish in them, I know the last thing he wanted was to hurt me but it was also something he had to do.

“Because,” he said. “Because I will hurt you, I don’t want to hurt you and…and if you’re not here anymore, I won’t hurt you.”

He brought the knife over my chest and made a deep cut over my collar, licking the blood as it gushed out, I was dying and he was sucking in my life and all I could do was lie there waiting for the white light to appear.

Suddenly he grabbed me by the shoulders and shoved me hard against the headboard, the pain made me dizzy and I felt my life drift from me. I was going to die and Harry would never know how much I love him…he would kill himself I know that from the pain of it all and I realized I didn’t want him to suffer.

I opened my eyes and looked at him, his face was now twisted in an ugly mask of anguish.

“Harry promise me you won’t die, promise me you would live.”

He had tears running down his face mixing with my blood that was smeared around his mouth.

“I can’t fight you, Harry,” I laughed though it hurt my chest. “I’m dying you know and whatever you want to do it’s up to you but…but I love you Harry and I want to make sure you know that.”

“Draco,” he whispered. “You’re dying.”

I nodded and another jolt of pain rushed through my head. “I forgive you.”

My eyes closed, unconsciousness was so warm and pleasant, and I know I was drifting. I felt arms come around me; I opened my eyes and saw that blood was running in copious amounts down Harry’s chest, I managed to gasp as I saw he had cut his jugular vein.

I held on to him as tightly as I could though it was hard as our bodies were slick with blood, sweat, tears and semen that we hadn’t bothered to clean away.

“You know my wish came true,” I said in his ear. “I wished that we would always be together.”

His arms tightened around me if it was at all possible.

“Happy Birthday, Draco.”

~*~

“Come on you two, wakey wakey.” Hermione’s voice echoed in the silent room. Her brows furrowed at the absolute silence of the room. She turned the lights on and took tentative steps towards the bed.

There were clothes strewn all over the floor leading to the bed, she grinned as her mind came up with images of what had gone on in the room the previous night. She stepped on something sharp as she drew closer to the bed.

Hermione bent down and picked up the frame and saw the painting, her eyes filled with tears at the happy expressions in the picture. Hope was rekindled inside her just by staring at the painting, maybe now things could be as they were before.

She gently placed the painting on the bedside table and pulled the drapes apart.

“I know it was your birthday Draco but you have to attend…” she trailed off.

Her eyes widened and bile rose in her throat as the smell hit her. Harry and Draco were lying dead in each other’s arms, covered in blood.

She screamed.


~*~

The End

AN: To those curious, Haedhea is an Arabic word, it’s hard to explain but the general meaning is something along the lines of: a gift/sacrifice/ransome…basically something that has to be given to the person demanding it or face consequences. If that made any sense. Anyways: feedback!