Tomorrow is dead to me

BY : Prototype_UP77
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Draco
Dragon prints: 414
Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling and I do not own Harry Potter. This is a fanfiction, no profit has been made with writing and publishing - it's all just for fun.

Reluctantly, Draco stood on the faded bricks of the clinker stairs, his hand on the tarnished doorknob, the other trembling, clenched into a fist, encircling the warm, smooth brass of the key. To prevent his nervous eyes from falling on the outside wall of the house, causing a constant panic, he held it firmly to the floor, as if the moss on the stones was covering up a secret that would only reveal itself to him over time.

It wasn't that Draco hated the old Malfoy family townhouse, although he would have had every reason to, because he had always hated anything that exuded that mediocre ugliness of rich people, which was one thing above all: befitting of status and therefore completely ordinary. This place, crammed with dignified, tastelessly harmless art treasures that could bore the viewer to death, was in Draco's memory the sad center of senseless elegance that was good for nothing other than creating an intentional appearance.

In truth - and it took some strength to allow the thought at all - he had feared the house since he first had to enter it.

That day, too, his hair buckled when he put the key in the lock. He took a deep breath, paused without gasping, and at that withered moment between two seconds the house seemed to hold its breath too. With an audible thump in his stomach, Draco turned the key and the world fell silent as the click broke through the old lock. He imagined that there was a loud echo through the empty rooms.

Then he pushed open the door and stared into a narrow, dark hallway. Dust whirled up in the cold glow of light that the dying day squared past its outline onto the floor. He quickly held the cool sleeve of his shirt in front of his nose and blinked until he saw the outline of an ancient chest of drawers, steeped in history, that stood on the wall between two passages into the parlor. A marble bust stood on top of it, appearing unreal in the half-light. He remembered this piece because it scared him as a child. It looked at him from its smooth, dead eyes, a lazy, knowing smile on its lips. Draco grimaced and wondered why such a person should be immortalized in marble because he had to suppress the need to blow it up with a spell.

He didn't have to go in to know that this house wasn't just deserted - it had long since died. His last visit was barely eight years ago (he had managed to escape the social obligations of a Malfoy in London after enrolling at Hogwarts), but it seemed like a century. Even though Draco's body trembled from the cold and his hands were red and numb, he couldn't move to close the door. Wouldn't it be as if he was closing the heavy lid of a stone sarcophagus over himself, with no way to ever free himself?

He paused again, leaving space and time for the pressing question to expand until it filled it. And what if he didn't; what if he stumbled out and went back home? He traced the subtle swing of his mother's satisfied smile, which would embrace and kiss him, whether he wanted to or not, glad to postpone his unruly attitude towards her plans.

And his father?

The cold voice bubbled over his mind and penetrated his chest with a grim determination. "As I expected, Draco. You don't want to meet your parents' expectations, but the price of your rebelliousness is just too high for you. A weakling through and through, you are and will remain. It is hideous, I am ashamed of you. Get into your room!"

As soon as he became aware of the silence around him again, he faced rotten loneliness and closed the door behind him.

"From now on I'm no longer your problem, father", he whispered into the darkness and groped for the wand in the silk breast pocket of the shirt. His pounding heartbeat interweaved with the emptiness, making it seem as if the rotten corpse of the house had started to rumble around him.

Draco smiled hollowly. Perhaps he was wrong (that could not be ruled out), but pervasive unrest flowed into him, nourished by everything he feared about this house. Not long and it would finally come to life.

Even before he had completed the swing of his wand, which ignited the flames in the blind glass balls on the walls, he felt that he was no longer alone.

The numbness in Draco's stomach had spread and caught his thoughts.

Gratefully, he accepted this condition and put the key in a small shell that had been attached to the wall like a holder, revealing a precious pearly shimmer in the flickering light of the flames. A mermaid lolling around the edge of the bowl smiled cheerfully and indicated a bow.

The bowl also looked like one of those works of art that he despised. The mermaid's breast, normally bare in the real world, was covered with green fish scales, so as not to hurt any feeling of shame. In the world of his parents, there was a principle that deeply offended Draco's off-tastes anyway: the more prudish the art, the greater the demand, and the more expensive it was to be traded. But in the middle of a dark hallway, heavily hung with immobile portraits of grim old people from another time, it looked like cheapest junk.

As was typical of such old-magic places that had served to approach the fine Victorian Muggle society, the kitchen was only accessible through the servants' dormitory; an old, draughty chamber at the end of the dark hallway, which gave the impression of having housed several generations of poor people at the same time.

Draco tried not to let his eyes wander, for his thoughts had melted into an imperceptible hum. Letting them swell again by allowing himself to become aware of the misery could quickly end fatally. It was enough for him to remember the possessions of foreign Muggles that were still scattered here as if the residents had left in undue haste. Linen hanging over bare nails and dusting, open suitcases, half-covered by wooden bed frames, that seemed to spew their contents on the floor.

He knew that no one in his family had ever touched these things and that the picture in his memory would be the same that he was now fading out; his parents thought to employ human servants was a risky practice that opened the door to thieves.

Although he walked slowly and moved almost noiselessly, he couldn't hear anything unusual. The old house lay still amid the wind blowing against the outside walls. Shouldn't the rotten wood he was standing on creak? Shouldn't the wind whistle and shake the windows?

He gritted his teeth. Don't think now. There can be nothing. You just can't think.

The pressure hurt his jaw, but Draco didn't allow himself to relax. Not even when his fingertips touched the gnarled wooden door he leaned against before opening it.

In contrast to the rest of the house, where the gradual aging was seen in a rather reserved way, the kitchen was in a state that defied description. The dust had settled on all surfaces like an inch deep woolen covering and damp stains on the wallpaper shimmered black in the light of his wand. There was a foul smell in the air.

Of course, he had known that his grandfather Abraxas Malfoy, the former owner of the house, had not used this room. There had been enough ways, wizard or not, to get fresh, cooked food without ever letting yourself down making it. Even long after his grandmother passed away, long after the entire servants were released. But letting a good room deteriorate appeared shameful to him now that he would have to deal with it himself.

Suppressing the disgusting shudder, Draco took generous steps around the massive stove, which was filthy and immense, almost half the wall, and reached for the wall cupboards above the counter, where he suspected the dishes. A few dusty cups could still be found. He quickly took them out and closed the closet again, because the musty smell that had escaped made his stomach lurch.

He looked doubtfully at a free-standing washbasin next to the work surface, which had seen better days, but looked pleasantly usable compared to the rest of the room, except for the greenish coating in the stone basin. He twisted a rusted gear on a wide, curved tube and grimaced as brownish water gushed into the basin.

Was it only a year since his parents last stayed in this house? Draco wondered. What did they drink?

As the muddy water thundered on the stone, Draco felt paralyzed with discouragement. He watched it foam and bubble through the rusted metal grate into the drain as he went through his options. As small as their number was, one thing was certain: he would not be able to stay here!

He could apparate home and endure his father's disgust at him, accept that his mother would stand protectively in front of him, giving Lucius even more reasons for his contempt. But at some point, he would forgive him and grant him his inheritance again, and Draco would never have to think again about where he could get clean water - or anything to eat.

For a couple of weeks, he could certainly stand it with his friends. Nott would not be that bad, because he was quiet and reserved and certainly not reluctant to rise in the favor of a Malfoy (Draco would only have to hide from him that he now had none of it). Pansy would take him in without any social ulterior motives, but he dreaded what she could ask of him in return (there was a secret she knew existed - she certainly wouldn't let go until he told her). The only thing worse than Pansy would be Blaise Zabini, who lived in good conditions but was not one to whom Draco would entrust anything (he carefully avoided the thought of what Zabini had done to him). Finally, there would be Gregory Goyle. He would surely have him live with him as long as Draco wanted to, but he wasn't the same after the terrible night Vincent Crabbe had died in the fiendfyre.

Each of them was certainly a possible alternative to this haunted house - but Draco couldn't bring himself to choose one.

By now the water had become clear. So at least Draco still had some time to make a decision. Instead of cleaning the cups in the water and washing off the sticky dust film, he put the wand on the counter so that the shining tip was pointing at the basin, held the still cleaner hands and let the water run in, then drank in hasty tips.

Carelessly wiping his hands on his pants, he turned. Behind him stood three chairs grouped around a narrow table. They may have shone in fresh gray ages ago, but that could only be guessed at, in places where the dirt had not yet stuck.

It didn't matter to Draco now. He thought of the fine furniture that stood in one of the salons, protected from dust and dirt under white sheets, smiled mockingly, and then simply dropped onto one of the chairs.

Wasn't it what he wanted when he defended himself against his parents? An entirely different experience, a different life than the one that had always been before him. "Blame yourself", he said aloud, wiping his wet eyes until they burned.

Suddenly it creaked as if something had moved in the shadows of the house. The wind began to whistle the windows and Draco, whose hands were frozen on his cheeks in the movement, suppressed the urge to jump up and snap his wand.

There is nothing. You mustn't think. Do not talk. Don't breath. Then there is nothing.

The shadows in front of the kitchen door contracted as if a dark shape were forming out of them.

You just imagine that. The house is just a house. Nothing was ever found, no matter what you wanted to see -

A loud click that made Draco wince, and suddenly a wave of cold light swept across the room, pushing the shadows out of Draco's field of vision and the ghosts out of his thoughts.

Reaching out for a yellowed switch on the wall, Harry Potter stood in front of the door.

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