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01 February 2017 @ 06:15 pm
[Fic] Still Life  
Title: Still Life
Author: Belladonna
Pairings: Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter, mentions of Scorpius Malfoy/Albus Potter
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter and its characters are not mine.
Summary: The weeping willow on the grounds of Malfoy Manor is Harry's favourite haunt.

A/N: This is an expansion of the drabble I wrote for last year's HP Halloween Fest.

Still Life
by Belladonna

In a field of withering green, a weeping willow stood alone beneath the leaden sky. Riddled with thin golden leaves, lithe branches hung down from the tree, swaying to and fro in the wind. The meeting place lay beyond the drooping tree limbs, but it posed no problem to Harry. With ease he bypassed the barrier and arrived at his favourite haunt.

Even though the sun had yet to set, dusk had descended upon this corner of the grounds. The willow tree stood dormant at the centre of its domain, shielding everything within its reach from the hazy light. Dead leaves shrouded the ground as though for a burial; the rustling of foliage resembled the sound of rain from another lifetime.

"Hi. It's been a while, hasn't it?" Harry said casually, hands in his pockets as always. "I saw Scorpius and Albus the other day. They had just finished decorating the manor garden in time for their wedding. I know you don't like white flowers, but the garden looks beautiful. Wish you could see it too.

"To tell the truth, I'm jealous of them. Of course I'm happy for them, but when I see them..." A vision of the young couple walking side by side in the morning mist intruded upon Harry's mind, and it burnt like a fresh wound. No matter how many years had passed him by, it still burnt.

"I wish you and I hadn't spent all those years hating each other," he confessed. "I wish we hadn't spent so much time fighting and arguing. I wish we had more time together. I wish..."

Stumbling over his words, Harry faltered before a wry smile appeared on his pallid face. "I know. I shouldn't be greedy," he continued in a milder tone as he beheld the white gravestone before him. "We were fortunate, weren't we?"

There was no answer. Drops of tree sap formed tear streaks upon the headstone; a yellow leaf fluttered downwards and joined its fallen brethren atop the grave. Everything that was Draco Malfoy had been reduced to two dates, a name on a slab of stone, fragments of malleable memories, and ashes buried beneath the earth. There was nothing for him here, Harry knew, but he could not resist the pull.

"By the way, how are you? Did you meet someone? I hope you didn't, but that would be selfish of me. You know me. I'm not good at letting go." Harry flashed the headstone a crooked grin. "I'm still on my own. You know how it is. There is no going back or moving on from here. That's just the way it is."

As soon as those words left Harry's mouth, a scene from the past flickered before his eyes: Draco's head resting on his lap, pale eyelids quivering ever so slightly, and lips forming words he did not want to hear. A fit of temper struck him like a curse, and for one irrational moment, he had an urge to break something.

Looking up at the weeping willow, he counted to ten and waited for the anger to retreat to its dark corner in his mind, subdued but not forgotten. By the time he gazed upon the headstone once more, he had regained his composure.

"You said I'm not good at keeping promises," Harry said quietly. "I've kept my promise this time. I've watched over Scorpius for you. Now that he has Albus, he'll be all right—or at least better than he had been before. The children don't need me anymore."

Without a sound Harry approached the headstone and crouched down before it. When he reached out to trace Draco's name, his transparent finger sank into the stone, and he felt nothing. In the space between memories and reality, he heard the sound of rain: cold night rain washing away his blood, his warmth and his life.

"Hey, Draco," the ghost murmured. "Are you lonely? Can I come find you now?"

The wind sighed and the leaves whispered, but no answer came to him. His prayer went unheard; he had lost the right when he rejected death a long time ago. After giving Draco's grave an incorporeal kiss, Harry straightened up, blood-stained hands in his pockets and a ghost of a smile upon his lips.

"I'll come by again. See you later."

With that Harry turned around and passed through the barrier, leaving behind the sleeping willow and the haven where Draco was no longer there. Beyond the curtain separating the living and the dead, all was silent.

* * * * * * *


A/N: I was listening to DIR EN GREY's "undecided" (2008 ver.) when I wrote this. This piece is inspired by J. K. Rowling's writing regarding ghosts in the world of Harry Potter. Her writing can be found on Pottermore. Thank you very much for reading.

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: DIR EN GREY - Dozing Green (Before Construction ver.)
~ eurydike ~: dracoforthewistful on February 2nd, 2017 07:34 am (UTC)
I've already left you a comment on ff.net, but feel like writing another one here. This short story is truly such a beautiful piece of writing. If I could draw or even paint, I would make this still life real. As it is, I only have my own imagination to make do with.
Thanks again for writing and for taking me to the world of Harry and Draco again. ♥
Belladonna Leelee_bella on February 2nd, 2017 02:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much. It's good to hear from you. I've read the comment you left on FF.net. Thank you once again for the many kind words.

I've always liked "undecided", but it didn't occur to me to use this song as the backdrop of a story till now. It's really a matter of listening to the right song at the right time for me.
Jae: Sniffleenchanted_jae on February 3rd, 2017 05:25 pm (UTC)

Sad, but quite lovely.
Belladonna Leelee_bella on February 3rd, 2017 10:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much.