December 16th, 2008
|11:11 pm - Fic: "If You're So Inclined", Draco Malfoy/Remus Lupin|
Title: If You’re So Inclined
Pairing: Draco Malfoy/Remus Lupin
Rating: I think I’ve gone and written a G fic. Now how did that happen? ;)
Summary: A few years after the war, an unlikely pair of lonely souls find each other on Christmas Eve.
Word Count: ~2,750
Disclaimer: I hope no one is actually “labouring under the delusion” that I am in any way affiliated with J.K. Rowling. I just like to play with her naked characters *grin*.
Notes: This is a response to the remus_draco Christmas challenge: You are to write a holiday themed Remus/Draco fanfiction. There are no limits on rating, or anything of the sort. Although, some how you have to include mistletoe, one of the characters (Remus or Draco) has to be referred to as Scrooge (name calling etc.) and well, hot chocolate.
I ended up "winning" the challenge (no one else entered ;)) and the prize was the gorgeous illustration by the wonderful and extremely talented atratuslupin that can be found at the end of the story.
Thank you so much again, Atratus =)
If You’re So Inclined
It was a miracle that Remus even noticed the dark haired youth sitting slouched in the corner of Molly’s overcrowded kitchen. A long black ponytail curled over one shoulder and almost touched his knees, reminding Remus poignantly of someone from the past. His forearms rested in two perfect lines along his thighs. Remus admired the round curve of his back, beautiful even in his apparent sorrow. His heart went out to the young man, radiating unhappiness and apparently uninterested in interacting with anyone. At the same time, a kind of interest that Remus had not felt in several years stirred in him. He knew it was probably inappropriate, but no one had ever accused Remus of being particularly smooth, especially not after several helpings too many of Molly’s splendid eggnog, so he couldn’t really hold himself accountable for his behaviour when he decided it would be a good idea to plunk himself down in a wooden chair directly opposite the young man with a hearty, “Don’t be a Scrooge now! Where’s your festive spirit?” He forced a mug of hot chocolate into the startled youth’s hands and grinned.
“I think I left it in Azkaban.”
All sense of frivolity fled from Remus as the flat voice wrung him like a damp cloth.
“Draco,” he said softly, scarcely believing it.
The face that stared back at him was hard, and far more lined than it had once been. Draco would have to be the same age as Harry, Ron and Hermione, so barely twenty years old if that. Remus had thought the stranger he was approaching was closer to thirty. A small blessing still that Draco had only been sent to Azkaban for two years. His eyes were cold and hostile, but at least held none of the haunted quality that had lingered in Sirius’ for the few years of freedom before his death. Most startling of all was the long black hair that Draco now wore, the contrast making his skin glow paler even than it once had.
“You look like Severus,” Remus blurted out before he could stop himself.
And what a dramatically stupid comment that had been. Remus fought the urge to slap himself as Draco looked away, blinking rapidly.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
Draco shook his head and focused back on him. For a moment Remus thought Draco was going to snap at him, and wondered if maybe that would be for the best. At least proof that there was a shadow of his former self remaining, but then his eyes dropped. “As long as I don’t look like me,” was all he said.
Remus nodded slowly, unable to find the right words. The aftermath of the war had been swift and merciless for the Malfoys. The wizarding community had needed someone to blame for their loss, and without Voldemort or Bellatrix around, the bulk of the unpleasantness fell upon the Malfoy family. Not that Remus could necessarily blame the people. He certainly wouldn’t have argued against Lucius’ life sentence in Azkaban. Fortunately Harry’s testimony on behalf of Draco had limited his own sentence to two years, and had kept Narcissa free entirely.
“How is your mother?” he asked after a moment, feeling intensely awkward, but not wanting to leave Draco sitting there by himself again.
“How do you think she is?” Draco snorted, but then he stared down at the mug in his hands. “She wears her hair dark now too,” he said quietly.
Remus ground his teeth together in frustration. “It’s not right. Why pardon either of you at all if the community won’t let you live in peace.”
Draco looked up, surprised. They stared at each other for a moment. Draco’s brow furrowed. “You lost someone in the war,” he stated.
The change in topic was lost on Remus for a moment before it dawned on him.
“Do you think I would blame you for that?”
“Why not? You need to blame someone.”
Remus shook his head. He thought of Tonks and a fist tightened in his chest. Hours after the battle was over, he had awoken to a healer kneeling over him.
“Few people here understand the mechanics of werewolf healing,” she had said to him. “They thought you were dead too.”
He smiled slightly, knowing that the presence of this woman meant that it was over, and that they had won. But then the last word sunk in and his head spun around wildly, looking for the others. The healer placed a firm hand on his chest and pushed him back down. “Rest now,” she said, but the sorrow in her eyes had told him what he needed to know.
Now he thought of Teddy, contentedly rolling around at Andromeda’s feet in the sitting room. Happy now, but soon he would be old enough to realize that what he had lost. Taking the pain out on someone only vaguely responsible at most could not possibly compensate for that.
Remus shook his head again. “I don’t need to blame anyone,” he said. “Only two people are to blame for Dora’s murder and they’re both dead.”
“Well that’s refreshing,” Draco sighed, resting his forehead on one palm, his eyes closed, the mug still full in his hand. Remus hated to see this. Azkaban had left many wizards broken, but he wouldn’t have expected this change in Draco Malfoy. How had this cocky youth become so vacant and soft spoken? He once would have accepted blame for nothing, including his own errors, and now was willing to take responsibility for the sorrow of the whole wizarding world? The mere fact of his presence at the Weasley family Christmas party was baffling and perhaps a sign of desperation for human contact on his part. Then again, as far as Remus could tell he was the only person Draco had spoken to all night.
People bustled about them in the kitchen, either oblivious or ignoring the two of him. He could see Ron and Hermione, newly engaged, having an intense conversation in the doorway. Beyond them, he could see the edges of the Christmas tree in the sitting room, lights blinking merrily. He knew from the squeals of glee that Teddy and the other children were delightedly ripping into the first of their many gifts, but was surprised to feel no pull to join them.
“Don’t feel obligated to keep me company, Lupin,” Draco said suddenly, obviously following Remus’ gaze. There was the outline of what could have been a smirk forming on his lips, which was reassuring in itself. “You should be with your son.”
Remus shrugged. “I’ll have him all to myself tomorrow morning,” he said. “Molly and Andromeda should feel free to fuss over him tonight.”
“How generous of you,” Draco snorted, and then actually took a sip of his hot chocolate. He winkled his nose and held the mug out to Remus. “Heating charm?”
Remus pulled out his wand and performed one almost unconsciously.
“Don’t tell me the Ministry has...”
“Restricted my use of magic? Oh yes,” Draco said. “I have to be a good boy for four more years before I can have my wand back.”
Remus boggled at him. “Four years?”
“You know, you’re the first person to find that piece of information unsettling.”
“Even with Harry’s testimony?” Remus asked, still attempting to wrap his head around what he had just learned. He focused on the roots of Draco’s hair and could see blonde coming in. What he had previously assumed to be a charm was in fact Muggle dye.
“Potter seemed to feel that keeping my time in prison to a minimum fulfilled his duty as saviour,” Draco said. “Can’t said I blame him,” he added softly.
“Why not?” Remus asked sharply, although he knew the answer.
“I did try to kill his mentor,” Draco said, his tone implying that Remus was a bit slow.
“No you didn’t, not really.”
“Oh, I tried!” Draco said with a dry little laugh. “Believe me, I tried. And I wanted to. Right up until that night on top of the tower, I wanted to. Severus was the only thing that saved me from that path. And from life in Azkaban if not worse I’d imagine.”
Draco was staring at the floor now, but Remus could see the outline of that haunted quality that had so terrified him in Sirius. He reached out and grabbed Draco’s hand in both of his. Draco looked up, startled.
“At your age Severus would have tried too, Draco. He would have tried, and he would have wanted to, and in all likelihood he would have succeeded because he was a far more talented wizard than most. And he grew up to be the saviour of the wizarding world to almost the same degree as Harry, so don’t think you’re not worthy of a second chance.”
They stared at each other, and Remus was shocked to see Draco’s eyes fill. He looked away. “You should really go be with your son.”
Remus squeezed his hand, feeling the warmth of it. A feeling that was totally inappropriate stirred inside him and he forced it down. “I’m fine here. But if you would like to come to the sitting room, I’d be happy to accompany you.”
A vague smirk. “Nice try Lupin. You’re as bad as Potter, trying to save everyone.”
“You’re not the first person to suggest that,” Remus said with a smile.
They were silent for a moment and then Remus said, “Why come tonight at all, if you’re just going to sit in the corner?”
Draco’s brow furrowed. “I’ve been asking myself that all night to tell the truth,” he said. “I suppose because she invited me,” he nodded toward Molly who was now carrying a truly astonishing collection of baked goods past Ron and Hermione, who were still locked in conversation. “This is in fact the first and only social gathering that I have been invited to since my release from Azkaban,” Draco said with a dry laugh. “My mother was invited as well, but of course she looks down her nose at acts of blatant charity. I suppose I felt the need to be included in something again. Of course I shouldn’t have been surprised by the icy reception I’ve received from everyone here, except yourself,” Draco looked up at him and gave a crooked smile. “Draco Malfoy is lonely and seeking out human contact at the Weasley family Christmas gathering. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Can you think of anything more pathetic?”
There was a long pause as Remus took in the pain in Draco’s eyes and found that it truly broke his heart. And then before he could stop himself blurted out, “I was coming over here to hit on you.”
Draco stared at him for what felt like years, and then without any warning, burst out laughing. Remus followed seconds later until there were tears streaming from his eyes.
“You’re right,” Draco wheezed when he had the breath. “That’s definitely worse. You win. You’re also doing a bloody awful job if that’s still your intention I might add.”
Remus nodded and put his face in his hands, still unable to speak.
“I still think I should tell him to get the Hell out,” Ron was saying for the umpteenth time.
Hermione sighed. “Your mother invited him, Ronald. He is as much a guest here as I am.”
“But it’s Draco goddamn Malfoy!”
“Yes, you’ve shared that revelation a few times already. Shall we go eat?”
Even the promise of food wasn’t enough to stop Ron mid-rant. “And what the Hell does Remus think he’s playing at? Talking to him like that??”
“I know,” Hermione sighed. “Talking is very much frowned upon these days.”
Ron gave her a look that just begged her to understand. She sighed. Over the course of what felt like the longest circular conversation she had ever been involved in, she had attempted to explain to Ron that Remus was friendly, he held no grudges toward Draco, and was trying to make someone who clearly felt uncomfortable feel welcome on Christmas Eve. It was not exactly out of character. But she looked over at that moment and what she saw was a broken young man, curled up inside his sorrow, and then suddenly Lupin reached out and grabbed his hand. He spoke to Draco, looking right into his eyes, and she saw Draco understand something.
“He’s lonely, Ron.”
Her fiance looked at her in confusion.
“He lost his wife a few years ago, and he’s lonely,” she continued. “It’s Christmas and he’s managed to find the one person here who’s lonelier than he is.”
Ron blinked at her. “How can he be lonely? He’s got all of us!”
She stared at him for a moment and then said, “Ronald, do you remember the conversation that we once had about a teaspoon?”
His forehead wrinkled in confusion. She sighed and shoved him through the doorway with a firm hand, ignoring his yelp of protest. “Let’s leave them alone now.”
But when she glanced back, the sight made her stop in her tracks. Remus had said something that had made Draco laugh. Really laugh. It was an expression that she had never seen on his face before, even during their school years. A genuine laugh, free of any malice or sarcasm, his head thrown back and his eyes squeezed shut with no thought to his appearance. He was, in that moment, truly beautiful.
She smiled, flicked her wand toward the pair and then hurriedly left the kitchen.
Remus caught the movement out of the corner of his eye and looked over just in time to see Hermione’s back as she left the room. He was suddenly aware that they were alone, and the room seemed dimmer. He wiped the remaining tears from his cheeks and then looked at Draco, and was surprised to find him staring up.
“Someone’s having a laugh at your expense, Lupin.”
Remus followed his gaze. The light on the ceiling directly above them had been transfigured into a sprig of mistletoe.
Draco was suddenly standing and pulling his traveling cloak around his shoulders. “I should go, I’ve overstayed what little welcome I had.”
Lupin jumped up as well, nearly knocking the chair over behind him. “I don’t think Hermione was poking fun at anyone,” he sputtered.
Perhaps it was the awkwardness in his voice that did it, but Draco paused, and then smirked, suddenly looking a bit like himself despite the black hair. He glanced up. “Well, now’s your last chance to hit on me properly.”
Remus didn’t feel in control of his own movements as he reached out and took Draco’s face in both his hands. Any sense of the foolishness of this act, of his own broken emotional state that almost rivaled Draco’s and of the difference in their ages departed, along with any other shred of reason he might have had minutes before, and he pulled Draco close and kissed him. Draco’s mouth was soft, and he kissed him back slowly and tentatively. Arms tightened around Remus’ back. It had been so long since he had held another person like this, and Draco tasted delicious, like the one sip of hot chocolate he might have swallowed.
When the kiss finally ended, Draco stepped back and picked up a rusty can that had been sitting on the table beside him. “Portkey,” he explained. “My movements are limited without a wand. It activates at midnight”.
Remus glanced at the clock. 11:59.
“You don’t have to go,” he found himself saying. “I can get you home safely.”
Draco shook his head. “I do have to go. But thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He paused and blurted, “Can I see you again?”
Draco gave him a little smile. “I’m not hard to find if you’re so inclined. Ask around for the broken boy who looks like Severus. Happy Christmas, Remus.”
Draco was gone before he could reply. Remus stared at the empty space where he had stood for a moment before turning around and finally joining his son and the others in the sitting room. He was not surprised when no one commented on the light in his eyes, nor asked where Draco had gone, but then he caught Hermione looking at him from the other side of the room, a smile toying around the corners of her mouth and threatening to break into a wide grin.
“Merry Christmas,” she mouthed at him.
He flushed slightly and smiled to himself. Merry Christmas indeed.
I'm glad you enjoyed it =)
Very, very lovely. Real, and tentative, and something I would love to see a sequel to. Broken!Draco is gorgeous.
Thank you very much! I hadn't planned to write a sequel, but you never know what could happen.
That was wonderful! And angst is certainly fine. :)
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed =)
Ooh, I love this pairing, and you've done it beautifully here! I like the way you've shown two broken people coming together. And three cheers for Hermione. ♥
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!
I was a bit afraid of the pairing, but it came out wonderfully! Has won my attention and been made my editors pick for the night.
Oh wow, thanks very much!! =)
Also, I'd never seen the remus news community before. What a fantastic idea! I joined right away.
It's a great way to keep up with stories and such. There's news letters out there for all sorts of pairings and such, greatness! lol
This was marvelous, simply marvelous. Excellent characterization!
~~ applauds ~~
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it =)
You know... One day... Someday.... In the distant future... Ron WILL grow the fuck up! :D
I loved the thing you did with having Draco wear his hair black. And Remus... *smushes him* Trust him to home in on someone who's been outcast. He knows how if feels.
The only thing I didn't like about this fic was that it was short :P~~~
Hehe thank you =)
I'll do my best to write something longer next time! :P
I really loved this fic! you portrayed the pairing beatifully *-* and the end was perfect!