mirabella: (HP Seeker)
mirabella ([personal profile] mirabella) wrote in [community profile] mirabellafic2013-02-01 05:49 pm
Entry tags:

Kailash, When it Rises, HP, Harry/Draco, PG.

Title: Kailash, When it Rises
Fandom: HP, H/D, PG.
Summary: Harry can't sleep.

7:30 P.M.

It won't be over for hours yet. It doesn't do any good to look at the clock. And even if it were over, Harry reminds himself, Draco wouldn't come to Grimmauld Place because (a) making straight for an unknown location right after a Death Eater ritual is probably suicide and Draco is cannier than that, and (b) he has, as much as it hurts Harry to think it, no reason to come here.

Snape, unwittingly kind, has written out a report on the details of the rite. Harry has read it over and over until his eyes blurred. Now he makes another pot of coffee, taking his time, and reads it again.

The gathering started half an hour ago. There will be no stragglers still drifting in. The fear of Voldemort will have ensured that scores of people reached the meeting point at precisely 7:00 P.M., not a minute later or earlier. Only dictators seem to be able to make things run on time. Harry thinks he might spend a while pondering what that says about human nature, but in the end he just takes another drink of his coffee and looks back down at the report.

Right now Draco is on his knees on a stone floor, icy water being poured over his head by terrified house elves, a ritual cleansing. The Dark Lord is a great believer in purity. Purity of mind and soul are clearly negotiable; purity of blood and body are not. Of course, if Voldemort had his eye on Draco's virginity, Harry suspects that he's several years too late, but one can't have everything – and thus, this part of the ritual.

Draco is, in this minute, soaking wet and chilled to the bone, and Harry adds pneumonia to his mental list of ways in which this could end badly. He thinks about pneumonia because he can't think about what might happen that would be worse, and thinks about Draco kneeling on stone, cold and miserable as a wet cat, because he can't think about what it would mean if he weren't.

The coffee in his mug is almost gone, and he doesn't know how long he's been staring at the same paragraph.

8:30 P.M.

The kitchen is eight and a half paces across and fifteen paces wide. There are seventy panels in the old-fashioned wainscot. On the upper left-hand corner of the counter by the sink is a dark circular stain. Harry decides to have tea instead of coffee, and sets about making it.

He doesn't know why Draco joined the Order, and that makes him uneasy. He thinks he knows, but he's not sure. He thinks it all comes down to blood in the end; that what's driving Malfoy's unmistakable hatred of Voldemort is his blazing, righteous wrath at the fact that an insignificant half-blood without money, land, or lineage, no one and nothing, has managed to turn the elite of the pureblood families into cowering dogs. Draco has very definite ideas about what it means to be a Malfoy, and crawling on his belly in front of a Muggle-raised half-blood does not factor into those ideas anywhere.

Unless, of course, crawling will get him close enough to put a knife in Voldemort's back. If that's the case, then Draco, who has proved to be surprisingly pragmatic in many ways, can crawl with the best of them. Harry doesn't think he could do that, couldn't grovel in front of Voldemort no matter what was in it for him. He wonders which of those strengths, his or Draco's, will in the end prove more useful.

Harry watches the kettle until it boils. He'll take all the small victories over the universe that he can get tonight.

He stuffs a teabag into a cup, pours the water over it, and spoons in sugar, stirring until the water goes dark enough to reasonably be called tea. He doesn't need to look at the report again – he has it more or less memorized by now – but he does anyway. By this time Draco will have been dried off and dressed in plain black robes, and is kneeling on the stone again, probably hoping that he isn't left there until his knees bleed. What he's supposed to be doing is clearing his mind, centering himself, opening himself to receive without resistance the dark magic contained in the Mark. What he's probably actually doing, he and everyone else who's supposed to take the Mark tonight, is sulking and nursing his injured dignity. Death Eaters, Harry has noticed, are a rather whiny lot.

No. Harry wants to think that, but he knows better. What Draco will be doing is remembering every Occlumency lesson Snape has ever given him, making sure his mental shields are strong enough to hide what they need to and subtle enough to pass for the reflexive resistance that accompanies fear. Emptying his mind as Snape taught him; what was nearly impossible for Harry comes easily to Draco, whose mind, Harry has learned, is a far more organized place than it appears. At the core, though, Draco is doing, at this moment, the same thing Harry is doing: waiting.

Just to make a change, Harry slides down to sit on the kitchen floor with his back against the counter. The floor underneath him isn't stone, and his tea is nearly cool enough to drink.

9:30 P.M.

Whenever Harry walks into one of the dusty bedrooms, he feels like a ghost, or a burglar, trespassing somewhere he has no right or business being. He's made a game of trying to figure out which bedroom was Sirius' and has more or less decided that it's the second-smallest one on the first floor. Furniture in the bedrooms, in all the rooms, sits under white dustcloths, sheltered from the cobwebs that have collected in ceiling corners and on light fixtures now that there are no more house elves in residence. The furniture looks abandoned, as if it had waited for years for the family to return and then given up hope, and Harry is struck by the realization that no one lives in this house. There is no more family to come back to it; not unless you count Draco, whose mother was a Black.

Draco is, now or shortly, with Voldemort – the royal audience granted to all new recruits. Voldemort fancies himself a master of questioning, cross-examining, getting people to slip and betray themselves, and he might have considerably more success if it were Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs he was recruiting instead of the jesuitical Slytherins. If Draco's Occlumency is up to the task, if he doesn't slip, if his cover hasn't been blown as the Order has begun to fear, he'll be able to hold his own. Harry wishes that he thought Lucius Malfoy's son would be able to get by with a minimum of questioning.

He goes back downstairs, makes more tea, and sits down at the table without looking at the report; without looking, really, at anything. When the cup in his hand splatters droplets of hot tea on his hand and the table, he doesn't notice.

10:30 P.M.

If everything has gone well – if it's gone well – Draco is, right now, hoarse from screaming as the Mark burns into him. Everyone screams, Snape says; partly because it hurts like a very focused Cruciatus and partly because Voldemort doesn't stop until he's had his fill of the sound of pain.

Harry sits on the edge of Sirius' bed with his head buried in his hands for a long time.

11:30 P.M.

It's over by now, and Harry thought the tightness in his gut would go away when it was over but it hasn't. It's got worse, because he doesn't know, because there is a very real possibility that Draco is dead and Harry doesn't know and has no way to find out.

He doesn't know if anyone in the Order does have a way to find out. After Snape's cover was blown they lost their main source of information within the Death Eaters, which is why Draco volunteered to take the Mark in spite of rumoured suspicions about his loyalty. Harry said no and was immediately overruled. He argued, reasoned, bargained, pleaded, until Remus took him aside and told him that Draco was their best prospect as a new source of information; and that it was a risk, but one the Order could not afford not to take. It was then that the cold settled into the pit of Harry's stomach, and now it's all he can feel.

Remus was right. Harry sees that. It doesn't mean he has to like it, or that he can forget the look in Draco's eyes as he made the offer.

12:30 A.M.

Harry switches back to coffee and sits down at the table, pushing the report away from him. Rubbing a hand over his face, he tries to figure out if anyone knows, if anyone's likely to realize that he's sitting in this empty house going slowly insane.

Ron and Hermione don't know, a fact for which, until now, Harry has given thanks on a daily basis – Draco still can't be in the same room with Hermione without grinding his teeth, and he's so coldly, flawlessly civil to the Weasleys that he might as well be rude and get it over with. Remus might have his suspicions; he knows Harry, and his interactions with Draco are surprisingly amiable on both sides. Dumbledore has never been in the same room as Harry and Draco, so he might not realize. Snape doesn't know.

Draco doesn't know.

Harry swallows his pride and writes to Remus, asking him to send Hedwig back when there's news.

1:30 A.M.

For reasons that Harry doesn't care to examine too closely, it's suddenly very important that he remember the words to that old nursery rhyme about the bells of London town. He doesn't even remember all the bells – there's Shoreditch, he remembers that, and… St. Mary le Bon? And the Old Bailey, and it starts with St. Clement's.

Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement's.

He's sitting at the top of the stairs, forearms propped on his knees and his legs splayed out in front of him, with a mug of tea steaming beside him. Below him is the hallway where Mrs. Black's portrait used to reign before Remus finally figured out how to get the sticking charm off and banished her to the attic. Harry wonders how she likes it up there.

Maids in white aprons, say the bells of St. Katherine's.

Sometimes Harry wishes that he'd taken up smoking. It seems like a useful thing to do with hands, mouth, and attention. There would, he thinks, be a certain sordid satisfaction in seeing clouds of blue smoke drifting through Mrs. Black's hallway, wreathing around the chandeliers and curling into the carvings along the tops of the walls, and also in watching a pile of cigarette butts growing slowly but steadily in the ashtray. He wonders briefly where he can get cigarettes at this time of night, and knows he won't leave the house.

When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey.

Fred and George accidentally knocked Ginny down these stairs years ago. That had been an object lesson to Harry in watching where he used Accio, because if wizards weren't so sturdy it might have killed her. If he tilts his head a little he can see through the banisters to where she would have landed, crumpled like a doll, neck bent at some unnatural angle. He thinks he'd probably better think about something else.

When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch.

Harry wonders if that nursery rhyme has a purpose of some sort. He remembers being small and wondering idly if the bells were marking out a path; wondering, if he followed them one to the next, if he would come to some magical land at the end. He doesn't think the bells lead to Diagon Alley, but he could be wrong.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

Hedwig isn't back yet.

2:30 A.M.

Harry has, he notes with grim humor, now reached the bargaining stage.

He's exhausted and his thoughts are swimming in circles, an endless dull litany of Please, please, please just let him be all right and I'll never ask for anything again, I promise, I swear. It's too soon for him to hear word. It is. Even if Draco had contacted the Order right after the ritual – and even if Draco were shot in the head and emerged from the brain damage with a completely different personality he still wouldn't be stupid enough to take a risk like that – the fact of the matter is that it's no one's job to drop everything and make sure Harry knows that Draco is all right. Even though, and fuck it, it's two-thirty in the bloody morning and he'll be unreasonable if he damn pleases, even though it ought to be someone's job to. He's Harry Potter, Saviour-in-training of the Wizarding World, and all he bloody asks is that someone tell him that Draco's okay. Harry shoulders the responsibility for saving the world from a bloody-minded, evil, resurrected wizard, and in return someone lets him know that Draco Malfoy isn't lying dead on some fucking altar with his liver in Voldemort's communion cup. Harry doesn't think that's unreasonable.

All he wants is word. One way or the other. He just wants a letter, that's all.

No. That isn't all he wants. He wants to know that it's not too late. But he'll settle for the letter.

That and some more coffee.

3:30 A.M.

Harry finds a red rubber ball in the corner of one of the bedrooms, dust-covered and about the size of his fist. He wipes the dust off and begins bouncing it off the walls of the long hallway from which portraits and house elf heads were removed years ago. The ball makes a dull thunk as it hits the carpet, a sharper one as it banks off the walls, a smack as Harry catches it out of the air, breaking the heavy silence of the house. He can do fairly complicated shots, angling the ball between floor and walls, walls and ceiling, and still have it return to his hand.

There's a possibility, it occurs to him, that he's actually died and gone to Hell. He doesn't know when he would have died, exactly, but this whole night has been one long smear of pain, dread, and caffeine, so theoretically it's possible that it could have happened at any time. It would be just his bloody luck to spend eternity not even knowing he was dead, walking through Number 12, Grimmauld Place without ever doing more than dimly sensing the presence of others, waiting for a letter that will never arrive, waiting for light that will never come. It also occurs to him that it's a christless hour of the morning, he has now ingested enough coffee and tea to keep a Quidditch team flying through a minefield of Somnolus spells, and it's possible he's not thinking straight.

He doesn't care. He wants Draco. Everything else in the world will be all right if Draco's safe, and that's such a stupid thing to think that he hates himself a little for it, and he doesn't care about that either. He also reserves the right to be maudlin at this hour.

Maybe all that's actually left of him is the sound of this ball bouncing endlessly off the walls. He doesn't feel like there's much else left, at the moment – the sound of the ball and a vast fear-sick emptiness that he needs Draco to fill. He wonders, letting himself slip out of reality a little more, if there are other people in the house, if that sound is bothering them, keeping them awake, setting their nerves on edge. If so, tough on them; they should have sent him word about Draco before he, Harry, died, because Harry is apparently not only dead but also eight years old and has no compunctions about taking out his misery on people he can't even see.

He whirls and slams the ball down into the entry hall, and hears something break.

4:30 A.M.

Harry is proud of himself for not actually having got into the shower with his clothes on. He realizes this is something that normal people do not as a rule consider an accomplishment to be lauded, but he'll take what he can get at the moment, and at least his head's clearer now.

One day he and Draco are going to laugh about his, about Harry spending all damn night pacing around Grimmauld Place becoming less and less rational as the night wears on. Or maybe not; he doesn't think Draco would laugh at him for it, not anymore. Of course, he probably wouldn't slide his arms around Harry and kiss him until neither of them remembers that Grimmauld Place exists either, and Harry can't think about what he wants Draco to do because he really will cry if he does.

Harry braces his hands on the wall and tilts his head down into the shower spray, rivulets of water streaming from his hair into his eyes and down over his face, and doesn't notice when the water starts to go cold.

5:30 A.M.

Harry finds himself back at the kitchen table, rereading Snape's report as if it had anything new to tell him, as if he couldn't quote it in his sleep.

It'll be light soon. Until it gets light, Harry tells himself, Draco's not dead. When daybreak comes he's going to have to really sit down and face the prospect that Draco is currently occupying an unmarked grave and maybe has been for hours now. But until then, he's going to let himself believe that hoping can still do some good; that there's some way he can, by sheer willpower, undercut Voldemort's Legilimency, quiet Blaise Zabini's persistent suspicions, hold on to Draco's life.

It's five-thirty. Harry has another couple of hours to pretend that wishing will make it so, and to try to figure out some way he could have kept this from happening. If he'd out-argued Remus, if he'd managed to kill Voldemort in the graveyard during his fourth year, if he'd met Draco on the train before he met Ron and then somehow managed to keep them from killing each other…

Harry reaches for a what-if that doesn't end like this, telling the hours in this empty house, and can't find one.

6:30 A.M.

It's strange that standing in the middle of the Black family attic, surrounded by things that are eerily old-fashioned at best and redolent of bloodshed, viciousness, and dark magic at worst, should make him think of his parents.

Harry takes an absent-minded drink of his tea, scalding his tongue, and looks around. He has no right to be here. He's probably one of the few people in the wizarding world who's not related to the Blacks, or not that he knows of. He wonders, though, if his parents ever came here, and what they thought of it if they did. He wishes that he knew them well enough to guess, but he gave up making pronouncements about what his parents did or said or were during his fifth year.

Draco, though, last scion of the ancient and most noble House of Black – Draco he knows. Draco is canny, brave, and utterly without scruples, and has a very useful reputation for being a cowardly, ineffectual whiner. Of everyone in the Order, possibly including Snape, Draco has the best chance of being able to fool Voldemort. Harry wants to believe that he's still alive. What he really believes is that the sun is about to rise on the last day of Voldemort's life, or the last day of his own.

Mrs. Black begins to fume from the corner in which Remus put her. Harry tells her, very quietly, to shut up, and she does.

7:30 A.M.

Harry feels as if he should have dozed off standing up long ago; he isn't falling asleep, but the world feels clouded and unreal, and he can't find his way out of his own thoughts. He's sitting at the table with his head in his hands, wondering if he should go try to sleep and knowing he won't be able to, when the front door opens and closes and Remus calls his name.

He shoots out of the chair, sending it flying, and slams into the kitchen doorway where he can see into the hall. Remus starts to say something and then stares open-mouthed at him, looking horrified, and behind Remus…

Harry's knees give and he slides down the wall to sit with a thump on the floor, and he knows he looks like death on toast but he's all right, he is, and he's going to make tea as soon as he stops shaking.

There's a moment of silence, and it doesn't really matter because Harry's never going to ask for anything else again as long as he lives anyway. Then Draco kneels down beside him and whispers his name, not Potter but Harry, and Harry leans his head against the nearest available part of Draco's body, which feels like a knee but he doesn't want to open his eyes to look, and there's a hand stroking his hair.

He thinks he can sleep now.

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