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Whispers in the Silence

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Whispers in the silence
Pressing close behind me
Pressing close behind
-The Cure

***

“…since last night and I’m not sure…” Draco hesitated, desperately hating how pathetic and weak he sounded, hating that he was begging the Weasleys, of all people, for information. These were not his Weasleys, of course, these were not the people who knew him. At least, not the part of him who stumbled into this world and relived an entire childhood in order to erase what had been. All the same, he couldn’t erase the wrongness of having to ask where his lover had gone because he was stupid enough to be busy now, of all dates.

“I’m sure he’s fine. Does he…do this a lot?” Fred was asking.

Draco’s jaw clenched. “That’s not exactly your business, is it?” He was being defensive and they knew it. He took a breath and calmed himself. “I’ll just…I’ll check in with his parents.”

And then it hit him, and he felt like a fool because he should have known. He didn’t bother telling Thing One about his discovery, instead grabbing his wand and deciding he gave exactly zero shits about who might see him appear randomly in the middle of a suburban street.

It looked the same. Draco had only seen Little Whinging once or twice, flying round it for patrols in the short time he’d been forced to participate. By then the entire world was in disarray and he really didn’t register much of what was going on apart from doing what he could to survive. But yes, it looked the same. Well-manicured and put together and so, so muggle.

He could feel the magic, and hoped Potter had a damned good excuse for when someone came to investigate why the bloody hell so much magic had been used in one little area. Draco was not surprised to find the door to Number Twelve half open, or that the magic was coming from there. He didn’t need to be an expert to feel the charm Harry’d used to knock them all out.

He was there, too, just inside. The door to the cupboard under the stairs half open with Harry’s too-large body crammed in front of it. He had his back to the jamb and his knees to his chest, head tipped forward. His glasses were clutched in his right hand, cracked from the strain, and Draco had a feeling Harry didn’t realise they’d broken. There was a slight tremble in his fingers, but that was normal.

“I forgot it was Halloween,” Draco said.

He knew some. He didn’t know a lot—didn’t know everything. He knew what he’d been told in his first life, during his first childhood. He knew the attack had come on Halloween because it had always been a strange, sombre day in his home growing up—sort of anxious, like his father was anticipating the Dark Lord to pop round the corner, slinking out of the shadows to demand why Lucius hadn’t ever done anything during his absence.

Draco hadn’t understood it when he was little, but by sixteen well…

Harry let out a tiny puff of air. “I didn’t hurt them.”

Draco blinked, then sat against the open door. It thudded against the wall, probably leaving a mark, but he didn’t really care. His legs stretched out in front of him from under his robes, and he briefly wished he’d bothered with some muggle trousers because the breeze felt a little awkward. His hand twitched, a sort of unfamiliar burst of sympathy and want to pull Harry close and make all the pain stop. But no amount of shagging or even—merlin forbid—cuddling, was going to stop it.

Harry lifted his head, his eyes squinted, his myopic vision no-doubt trying to focus on Draco’s face. He did it in the mornings, too, trying to see Draco as clearly as he could without dislodging himself to reach for his glasses. Speccy git. Fuck. He loved him, and he was profoundly grateful he didn’t need to say it, that Potter was at least adept enough to understand him. “The muggles didn’t fight back when I turned up. I wanted to know what was here. I wanted to know if it would still hurt.”

“Did you expect it to? Have you talked to your parents about them at all? Your relatives who…”

Harry let out a dark laugh. “When mum came to visit, I told her everything. She wasn’t surprised by any of it. My dad wanted to…” Harry’s voice cracked from disuse, and he swallowed against it. It looked painful. “Dad wanted to kill them and everyone they’d ever known, or at least hex them stupid, but mum was able to talk him down and remind him they weren’t the same people. Or well, that they were, only they had never put their hands on me. I never actually slept here.” Harry turned away from Draco to run his hand along the wall. His fingers caught in a cobweb, but he just kept going. “I did though. I can’t forget.”

Draco reached out, plucking Harry’s hand down by the wrist and made a disgusted, tutting sound as he used the edge of his robe to clean the muck from his fingertips. “It’s a paradox you need to stop trying to wrap your head round, Potter. It’ll only drive you more mad than you already are.”

Harry snorted, putting his glasses on—lenses still cracked—and he blinked at the broken-mirror images of Draco through them. “You keep me anchored, Malfoy. Ten points to Slytherin.”

“You’re an idiot.” Draco leant forward, curling his hand round Harry’s neck, and he pushed their foreheads together. “Go and see them, Potter. That Halloween never happened. There’s not another universe out there where they’re still dead. That was erased, re-written. It’s them.”

Harry nodded. “I know it is. I know they’re…” He stopped and turned his face away from Draco. “I can’t mourn it forever, you know? Bloody hell, my first Halloween at Hogwarts, after I knew about them, but before any of it made sense, I fought a troll.”

Draco snorted. “Yeah, I recall. I was sort of hoping it would crush you to death.”

Harry let out a tiny chuckle, pulling away from Draco’s hand completely to let his head fall back against the doorframe. “I’m sure. I remember people watching me—teachers, mostly. I think they thought maybe I should have known, that the date should have meant something. Shit I…I just went about my day for ten bloody years without knowing I was meant to be in so much pain it felt like my insides were being ripped out.”

Draco drew his bottom lip between his teeth. He’d known. He’d been watching, too. Watching for some sort of weakness or tears. He’d wanted to use it to humiliate the Boy-Who-Lived, to show that for all the pomp and glory that was undeserved yet heaped upon him, he was nothing but a scared little boy.

Instead Harry had barged into a girl’s toilet and had defeated a sodding mountain troll with first-year spells and well…

Draco never made that assumption again, even if he’d never stopped poking at Harry to find out where it hurt.

He knew all the places now, secretly, in the quiet, dark bits of his mind. He’d never outgrown himself enough to let those go, to know he would take self-preservation over love in the end. But Harry loved him in spite of that, in spite of knowing Draco would take the cheap road instead of the high road. He’d hit where it hurt, and Harry would let him.

So really, he was a fool. But then again, after meeting most of the Potters, there was no surprise in it.

“Do you want to go home and get spectacularly drunk?” Draco offered. He was on his feet now. The muggles were in the other room, waking slowly. He could feel the charm wearing off, and he really wanted to get out of here before a disgruntled team of Aurors showed up wondering what the fuck Harry Potter was doing half-crammed in a muggle cupboard under the stairs. The last thing they needed was for Harry to make the front page of the Prophet for acting like a nutter.

There was a long beat of silence before Harry held out a hand, and Draco gracelessly eased him to his feet. He could hear the muggles stirring more, and he reached past Potter to pull the door closed with a firm click.

“You can turn up at your dad’s with a hangover. He’s always got some cure or another. He’ll understand.” Draco pulled him close, a gesture he didn’t often use unless he was trying to get Potter into bed. Which he was, in a way, but he let it be something else for the moment. He pushed his face into Potter’s neck, breathed him in, kissed him there on the soft, warm skin beating gently with his pulse.

“I think that sounds pretty fucking good. Part of me thinks it’s penance, that I should be wallowing.”

“You were always such a fucking martyr,” Draco groaned, pulling his face back. He pushed Harry against the wall just this side of too rough, and kissed him with a lot of teeth. He nipped at his bottom lip when he pulled away, then sighed. “Get over it. It happened, and then it didn’t. And here we are.”

“You should become a poet, Malfoy,” Harry said, really smiling for the first time since Draco arrived. “You could fill up books with it.”

“Fuck off,” he murmured, and yanked Harry’s hand toward the door.

“Fuck you, is more like,” Harry quipped. "You wish, Potter." Draco decided it was only fair that he turned on the spot, and left Harry stood in the middle of the doorway to get home on his own.

He was very much unsurprised when he found himself tackled to the bed, not two seconds later, Harry’s mouth on his own, laughing into his kisses.