Disclaimer: These characters are not mine, they belong to J.K. Rowling and those she chooses to share them with. Im just borrowing them for a short time.
Notes: This is technically a songfic, but I wont admit which song is structuring it until the end, cause Im a tease like that. I hope its clear, we have a rendez-vous with a whole series of chronologically ordered flashbacks.
By Ivy Blossom
Draco Malfoy sat at a table at Three Broomsticks with a warm glass of butterbeer between his hands. He had chosen a table at the back against the long, low, windowless wall. It had been almost three years since he had been anywhere near Hogwarts, but he wasnt keen on being recognized by anyone. Not that anyone would necessarily know him to see him these days; it had been some time since his name was being whispered in the dark corners of this place, and his picture hadnt been glaring angrily up at readers of the Daily Prophet in ages. And he had grown up, grown broader, more tired-looking. His hair, once so finely kept, was overgrown and scraggly around the edges. He doubted anyone would note his presence in the slightest. All the same, he preferred to take his respite seriously and kept a low profile, even here. He rubbed the spot on his arm where the Dark Mark lay under his woolen robes and shivered from the cold November draught from the door.
The wind was whipping around the windows, which rattled in their casings. Winter was on its way, in no uncertain terms, and the wizarding folk were positively giddy. When it was first widely known that Voldemort had returned, the general mood even here in Hogsmede had been glum; but in the last good year and a half the Death Eaters had been silent, and even before then all that had been heard were vague rumours and movements of negligible importance. What had promised to be the beginning of another long and difficult war had dissipated into nothing. He watched jolly-looking wizards and witches bustling in and out of Three Broomsticks, talking loudly and unconcernedly, slapping each other on the back and laughing out loud. One plump witch waddled inside with her arms laden with packages; the holidays were beginning rather earlier than normal.
Draco pulled out a slim book, folded its cover back, and settled in for the evening, unnoticed and unremarked upon. His appointment in Hogsmeade was still several days from now; he intended to enjoy this little holiday, even if it all felt bittersweet and empty. It was nice, for once, to be surrounded by people who didnt know what he knew.
Draco was seven chapters in, and halfway through his third butterbeer, when he felt a set of eyes on him. He tensed slightly but didnt move. After a moment, he knew whose eyes they were. He tipped his book down and sighed. It had been a long time, and Draco had no idea what to say.
He turned slightly, and met those green eyes. He expected to see anger, disgust, horror, disappointment, hatred, accusation, judgment in those eyes. He had expected at least a decent I told you so look. Perhaps so, youre knocked off your high horse now, arent you? look. Surely a How dare you show up in here. But those eyes said none of these things. They were unreadable.
That was something that had certainly changed. Harrys eyes had always shown exactly how he felt. In their Hogwarts days, Draco could always tell when he had pushed Harrys buttons; he even knew when the teachers were wrongly accusing him of not paying attention, or when he was protecting someone, when he was hiding something. But now, with a space of three years and twelve feet between them, Draco had no idea what Harry was thinking. He was sitting alone a table over from Draco, butterbeer in hand, muddy boots leaving prints under the table, looking intently at him, unabashedly.
Draco couldnt look away, not even if he had wanted to. He knew he was facing a duty he had neglected far too long. There were words he had to say to Harry. Words that terrified him, chilled his bones. His face was impassive, though he knew the range of emotions he felt were visible to those unreadable green eyes. He knew it like he knew the taste of butterbeer. He knew that Harry was witnessing his fear, shame, dread, his hope, sadness, anger, and a few other emotions he preferred to not name to himself.
Courage was not a quality that Draco regularly identified with himself. He knew he was strong, he knew he could endure untold horrors without tears and without complaint. But facing his own mistakes, his own failures and missteps, took a form of strength that was foreign to him. And yet, for the past three years had had been contemplating this reunion, and he knew he couldnt turn away from those eyes without acknowledging what had passed between himself and this equally tired-looking, rain-dampened man.
He smiled caustically, dropping his book and grabbing his butterbeer, standing up and walking the few feet over to Harrys table. Harrys eyes followed his movements. Draco sat down next to him, breaking eye contact and staring sadly into his hands folded on his lap.
"Hello, Harry." He said, attempting to sound jovial. Harry said nothing. Draco glanced up at him. His face remained unreadable. What have I done? "Harry " he started. He reached over and touched his hand. Harry didnt move, didnt tense or flinch. He didnt react at all. What have I done?
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