понедельник, 8 октября 2007 г.

eustacia_vye28: Sanctuary 1/13. D/G. NC-17

Title: Sanctuary
Author: Eustacia Vye
Author's e-mail: eustacia_vye28@hotmail.com
Rating: NC-17. Very naughty. Dub con and various kinks abound.
Disclaimer: They're Jo's, and I'm borrowing without permission. I'll return her toys when I'm done with them.
Spoilers: I incorporate HBP, then take off running in a different direction. This story was completed two weeks prior to DH. Between my Real Life issues and my beta's, it's now about ready to be released upon the world.
Summary: A million shattered pieces/ Then let it be/ I'll tell you tales you won't believe/ I'll tell you anyway/ I'll be released. (BT - Lullaby for Gaia)
Sanctuary What's left of me now
My heart is a battleground
You show me how to see
That nothing is whole and nothing is broken
In you and I there's a new land
Angels in flight
My sanctuary, my sanctuary now
Where fears and lies melt away

Utada Hikaru, "Sanctuary"
The first time he had seen her was in Flourish and Botts, beside the Golden Trio. It was hard to mistake her for anyone other than who she was. Draco's first instinct was to lash out, to strike before others thought him weak. But of course his father intervened, and the awkward moment was cut short. He didn't think of her again until much later. Late night insomnia left him wandering down forgotten corridors. He heard sobbing from one of the bathrooms, a room no girl in his year had ever dared to use. Intrigued, he opened the door slightly. The red hair was unmistakable. Ginny Weasley, silent shadow to the Golden Trio, was sobbing in front of the mirrors. She was scrubbing at her hands, a bright red splotches of water were all around her. She didn't see his reflection in the mirror. She was too focused on scrubbing her hands, tears obscuring her vision. What is she doing at four thirty in the morning? he wondered. But he was a second year, and she was only an ickle firstie. The Heir of Slytherin stalked the halls, and he was infinitely more exciting than a sobbing Weasley. She didn't make much of an impact on him until fifth year. She was a pale thing, ghosting behind the Trio. She was a wraith without any substance, clinging to Neville Longbottom at the Yule Ball out of pity and lack of self-worth. She was a Weasley, beneath the notice of a Malfoy. She was nothing until fifth year. She caught him unawares, gloating in his newfound power. He hadn't thought her worth anything. He had laughed when she threatened him, pointing her wand at his face. He hadn't thought she was any threat, and had started to laugh at her. She was brittle. It was something he hadn't known then, something he hadn't understood. She was emotionally fragile, ready to break. Beneath the bluster and raucous laughter had been a gaping emptiness, a void yawning wide. She couldn't tolerate the ridicule, couldn't tolerate hopelessness or defeat. Ginny hexed him then, her famous Bat Bogey Hex. He had thought it a joke when he first heard of it. Bats were hardly a Gryffindor kind of animal. She was a sniveling slip of a girl when he had last seen her. But her hex was terrifying. The anger blazing in her eyes had been fearsome. Her jaw tight in fury, she had taken grim satisfaction in taking him down a peg. Draco wondered if any Weasley knew what their precious baby girl had become. He wondered if Ginny even knew herself, or if she was just as clueless as they were. He learned futility and hopelessness in the following year. He saw empty eyes in the mirror, dark smudges from lack of sleep. He broke down regularly in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, feeling almost unable to go on. The stress was making him crack apart at the seams. He almost welcomed the painful curse that Harry had thrown at him. There were great splashes of blood everywhere – he'd seen it before but couldn't place it – and he thought he was going to die. It would have been the answer to everything. No more hiding and trying to keep himself together. No more lying and pretending it was going to be all right. If he failed due to death, his mother would be safe. If he failed outright, her life was forfeit. But he lived. Madam Pomfrey made sure of that. Harry was somehow still the golden boy, invited to all the parties, seen with all the right people that Draco couldn't even touch. Even the Weasley girl for a month seemed to be just as charmed. The brittle edges seemed to recede, and her smiles almost seemed to be genuine. The shadows seemed to be gone. Seemed to be. It's been years since he had seen her. Snape had pulled Draco into hiding after Dumbledore's death. Neither were safe, and Snape had a half dozen different hiding places all over England. "I promised your mother," he said, answering Draco's unspoken question. Draco had never been to this part of Wales before. "I took an Unbreakable Vow to protect you. But not to worry, she's safe. Malfoy Manor is charmed to security. Your mother is in Ireland now, in a safe place. She won't be found, and neither will you." When Snape turned to leave, Draco panicked. "Won't you stay with me?" He had given him a look that was almost a sad smile. "Your mother said the same thing. I can't. I've hidden you here, but someone should remain behind to lie for you. Shall I say that the great Harry Potter killed you? That his daft friend Weasley killed your mother?" Draco had merely nodded. So that was the way of it. They would be hidden; they would be dead in the eyes of all they knew, and they would scurry from notice like rats. Staying together would only increase their chances of getting caught and killed. The town was nice, at least. He obtained a menial job at the apothecary, keeping to the back rooms. He methodically ground items to powders, he made potions, he made tinctures and he kept the stock full. He did his shopping daily like the locals did; it gave him something to do. He wasn't a Malfoy here. It was a small coastal town near the Atlantic, a place that time forgot. He learned Welsh from his employer, a crusty old man that likely knew his name wasn't David Marsh, but let it go. Draco had said he was quiet since there had been a death in the family, and he wanted to grieve alone. They let it go, much like everything else he said. He was quiet and solitary. He gave no one grief, and he worked hard in the apothecary. He helped out at town festivals, and most of the younger folk soon forgot the gaunt, haunted look he had arrived with. Years spun by. He left his teens behind him, left the world of Draco Malfoy behind. Some days he forgot that his name wasn't David Marsh. Some days he forgot that Malfoys didn't work with their hands, that they didn't associate with anyone that wasn't a Pureblood. The town was full of Muggleborn and Muggles, all of whom lived side by side with magical folk. It was the last place a Malfoy would hide in. He had forgotten what Weasley red looked like, what a lightning bolt scar looked like, what bushy brown hair looked like. He forgot what their shadowy friends looked like. It was easy to forget, since it didn't matter anymore. There was the moon and the sun, the sand and the sea, potions and poultices. There was the market and handful of shops, the bookstores and tea shops, and the one strange temple just outside of town that refused to decay even though no one cared for it or visited anymore. The rugged hills had a breathtaking beauty, and he walked it for endless hours on the weekends. A flash of golden red hair in the market startled him one weekend when he was twenty-two. The elders were trying to push him to date one of the local girls. Settle down, they told him. You're one of us, and we'd like you to stay. "You're looking well," the redhead's companion stated, dreamy blue eyes lighting up. "I'm glad." The redhead seemed to shiver, and her jaw seemed to tighten. "No one goes near the temple," she said carelessly. "I'm all right." "I brought you some letters, some books... A few new things. Your brother wanted to include some cakes, but I thought it would ruin the clothes." The blonde woman gave her a small box wrapped in paper decorated with radishes and magnifying glasses, each hand drawn with painstaking detail. "Thanks, Luna," the redhead said, voice soft. There was an air of finality about her, the sense that things were simply in a holding pattern and would never change. The box fit neatly into her jacket pocket. "Why don't we get something to eat?" Luna hesitated, obviously torn. "Ginny, I..." "Never mind," Ginny muttered. "You can't stay, anyway." There was something in the finality of her tone that Draco was drawn to. He edged closer, almost close enough to touch her fiery hair. He didn't understand it, but he stayed close. "Ginny, I'd stay if I could," Luna said apologetically. "You know that. It won't be long, I'm sure." "You said that last month," Ginny murmured. "And once Trent is caught, it will be over," Luna said brightly, missing Ginny's remark. "I'm sure that Tonks and Remus will find him soon." "It doesn't matter," Ginny replied, looking away. "None of it does. I've been here long enough to know that." Draco was fascinated by the dead notes in Ginny's voice. Luna didn't seem to hear them, but he could. She was broken into pieces, glued back together all wrong, and now the shattered edges grated against each other. Her entire demeanor spoke of deep pain, yet her friend couldn't even see it. Who was this Trent fellow, and what had he done to her? Luna's eyes sharpened, and they seemed to bore straight into Ginny's soul. "None of that, now. This isn't like before. I'm not ignoring it. Everything happened, but justice is slow and methodical. We can't rush this." Luna's gaze shifted, and her eyes seemed to soften and glaze over again. "I'll bring you more special things next time." "Of course," Ginny replied. She carried the air of repetition with her, as if they had done this many times before. They probably have; Ginny had implied that they met monthly. They hugged, and Draco faded back slightly. He purchased two candied treats at a nearby booth and returned to Ginny's side. She was standing there, looking for all the world as if she were lost. Luna was nowhere to be seen. He handed over one of the treats. "Here. You look like you need this right now." Startled, Ginny looked up. "Malfoy?" she gasped. "David Marsh," Draco supplied helpfully. He watched as Ginny reluctantly took the treat. "I've been living here a while." "I haven't seen you before," Ginny said accusingly. She made no move to eat the candy yet, and watched him closely. Draco shrugged and nibbled on his candy. "I'm not particularly social. Ask anyone." Her eyes narrowed. "So why now?" He shrugged again, rather negligently. "Why not? Maybe you can tell me what I've missed." "How long have you been gone?" Ginny asked curiously. "Since the end of sixth year." She nibbled at the candy delicately, testing it. "You've missed a lot." "I guess so." He watched her eat the candy. "Can we talk at the café? I'd like to know some of it." Ginny bit her lip almost uncertainly. "Um..." "I'll walk you wherever you need to go afterward." Her eyes narrowed. "Why are you doing this?" she asked, suspicious. "I don't know. I didn't leave much behind when I left, but I still want to hear about it." "You tried to ruin it all, Malfoy." Her jaw tightened in anger and it was fascinating for him to watch. The fractured, brittle edges of her were grinding against each other. "What's there to be curious about?" "I've been here a long time," Draco murmured. "This is the place that time forgot." She finished the candy and backed away. "Forget me, too, Malfoy. You never saw me here." Draco watched her face into the crowd. He let her go, a ghost of a smile on his face. There hadn't been much to do in the past few years other than work and forget. It had been easy to forget the past, to let it all fade away. No here was something to focus on, something to puzzle out. Here was something to do. He knew where she lived. He could afford to take his time. Draco didn't stop to question his interest in the youngest Weasley. He knew she would have more recent information about Wizarding Britain. She might know what happened to Snape, if his mother had ever been found, if any of his friends survived. It would be some kind of comfortable to speak with someone that knew him as Draco Malfoy and not David Marsh. It wasn't a lack of magic that was getting to him; there was plenty of magic used openly in town. Muggle and magic items seemed to blend well. He supposed that Wales had that air of mystery and magic to begin with. Muggles in Wales already believed in magic, and protected it fiercely. It had been one of those strangely endearing traits the town had, one that had to grow on him. By now, Draco felt just as protective. No, this was different. He couldn't put it into words, exactly. There was something about her that called to him. There was darkness in her, splinters of pain, abject misery hidden deep within the core of her soul. How could a Gryffindor get that way? They were the golden children, lofted high above all others. They were brave and good, loved by all. Something big must have happened. Perhaps this Trent character did something. Draco knew by now to trust his instincts. He let her be for a week. He went through his usual routine. He brewed Mrs. Welkin's arthritis potion. He measured out Mr. Davies' strengthening herbs. He kept supplies of teas on hand, and began tinctures for the shop. He did his shopping and greeted neighbors. He did his laundry, took his walks and observed the countryside. He perused the market and made small talk. He plotted what to say to Ginny at night, but was never really sure. He went to Eselda's bookshop to read; since she liked him, he was always allowed to bring in tea and a crumpet from the bakery next door. Draco never got fingerprints on the books or grew careless enough to spill the tea. All of Eselda's favored customers could snack in her shop when they wished, and he had been flattered at the offer. Draco made his customary weekend walk. He picked a few flowers that were snow white at the edges with a heart of crimson. He felt rather silly doing it, but one never went to another's home empty handed. That was rude. Draco knocked on the temple door. Various conversations had filtered through his mind during the week, but his mind had been curiously free of any stray thoughts during his walk. Years of avoiding serious thoughts on his walks now served to clear his mind. "Hullo, Weasley," he murmured, extending the flowers when she opened the door. He angled himself so that she would have to shove him into the deck in order to shut the door. She realized this as well, and her eyes narrowed a fraction. "What do you want, Malfoy?" "Can't I come in?" he asked. "What for?" Ginny countered. "To talk, Weasley. Surely you don't get enough of that out here." "How did you find me?" she hissed. She startled Draco with her ferocity. She's acting like a caged thing, Draco realized. "I saw you at the market, remember? You and Lovegood both." "I told you to forget me," Ginny replied. Her jaw tightened a fraction, and her entire posture thrummed with energy. She was in a defensive stance, ready for any strike. Something happened to her, all right. "I forgot about that," Draco replied, voice droll. He gave his flowers a gentle shake. "These are for you. I call them snow drops. I don't know what they're really called." Reluctantly, she took them from Draco, but made no move otherwise. Her face carried no expression. "You can go now, Malfoy." "I go by Marsh now. What's the name you use?" It was surreal, trading names as if everyone had a second identity in this tiny Welsh town. Draco thought he was being pleasant enough, but her lips thinned. "Go away, Malfoy. Leave me alone. You've done enough damage already." She tried to shove his foot away with hers. Something like anger flashed through Draco. "I was sixteen bloody years old, Weasley. Do you even know why? Did anyone ever stop to ask why?" "You're a Death Eater," she replied, voice limp and dull. "What's to ask? You'll just lie anyway." "Ask me," Draco spat through grit teeth. "Ask me, and listen to the answer. Then, if you really want me to, I'll leave." She pursed her lips, considering. After a long moment, she nodded briskly. "Why did you do it, Malfoy? Why did you let them all into Hogwarts six years ago?" "He would have killed my parents if I didn't," Draco replied, voice numbed and empty. "I didn't care what happened to me at that point, if your precious Potter's curse killed me or not." "He didn't..." "Yes, he did. The curse cut me to ribbons. I nearly bled to death." The finality in his voice stopped any further protest. She knew that sound; she heard it in her voice all the time. "What happened?" she asked instead. "Nothing. Absolutely nothing." He inclined his head to the interior of the temple. "Shouldn't we talk inside, rather than at the door?" She thought for a moment, brow furrowed. When her features smoothed into a mask, Draco had no idea what she was going to say to him. "Come in," she said finally, opening the door wide. The inside of the ramshackle temple looked like a country home. It reminded him of Adrian Rhys' home, when his mother had taken pity on Draco in his early days. Adrian was probably the closest thing Draco had to a friend, and if he was honest about it, Adrian was his best friend. The windows let in a lot of light, though the floral curtains muted it. The walls were covered with wallpaper featuring cabbage roses and blue forget-me-nots. The furniture in the kitchen was time worn oak, covered with pink cushions on the seats that matched the cabbage roses on the walls. The sink was old fashioned, with porcelain handles on the faucet. The Muggle stove and refrigerator were ancient white enamel that was chipping off in the corners. The dish rack by the sink was full of porcelain plates decorated with autumn leaves or cabbage roses. It was the kitchen of somebody's grandmother, not for a twenty-one year old young woman on the run. "Not your style, Malfoy?" Ginny asked, a rude twist to her words. "Actually, I was thinking it wasn't your style." Her lips compressed into a thin line. "What did you want to talk about?" "Tell me what happened afterward. I was gone by then," he replied, sitting at the table. Her lips still thin, Ginny put the flowers into a vase of water. "Everything fell apart. More people died. The war took over everything and everyone." "What happened to Snape?" Draco asked, mouth dry. "That slimy git died," Ginny said. There was no vitriol in the insult, as if she was merely repeating the opinion of others. As such, Draco didn't touch the comment. "How?" "He was a spy, you know. After killing Dumbledore, he wasn't welcome with us. And none of yours ever really liked him, either. They killed him in one of their raids rather than take him with them." There was no dark pleasure in her voice, at least. Draco didn't think he could take it if there had been. "When?" he croaked. He tried to swallow down the painful lump that was forming in his throat. "When did it happen?" "About a year ago, something like that." Draco's stomach bottomed out from under him. Now he would never know where Narcissa Malfoy had gone. Ireland was a big place to hide someone, even if the country looked small on the map. The land was full of soft places and magical items, castles and fey. She could be anywhere, and he had no clues where to begin to look. "You don't look terribly surprised," Ginny remarked. "They do that," Draco replied dully. "So no one knows anything he might have known," Draco murmured softly. "He'd mentioned safe towns to Tonks before. That's how they thought of this place." Her voice was reluctant, as if the words had been dragged out of her. Draco closed his eyes, feeling drained. "But nobody knows for sure. Nobody will ever know." "What are you on about?" "He killed the Headmaster because I couldn't. I would've been tortured, maybe killed. My mother would have been in danger. He hid us both in separate places." "Your father's dead. They think he was Kissed without permission," Ginny added. Draco shook his head. "A potion hidden in a letter that Snape sent him. I asked him to." Ginny blinked. "You asked him to kill your father?" "Better than the Kiss. Better than to slowly go insane." Draco looked at the crimson centers of the flowers. "He was still my father, no matter what his faults." Her eyes hardened at his words. "He had so many, didn't he?" Her voice was bitter, laced with a poisonous hate. "What happened to you?" "What do you mean?" she asked, her face sliding into a mask of pure innocense. Gryffindors must have been fooled for years. "You're not a golden Gryffindor, are you? How many people know what you're really like?" Her face had gone pure white at his words, and her lips thinned in panic. "Get out." Draco stood, shadows falling over him. "And if I don't?" Her drawn face shattered into terror suddenly, as if a switch had been flipped. He could hear the fearful whimpers rising in her throat. They were the sounds of a frightened animal, one that happened to have been tortured before and now expecting the same. He watched her shrink into herself, making a smaller target. "Weasley," he whispered. Suddenly her darkness was ugly, and his interest in it was petty. He was ashamed. He was going to exploit her secrets to stave off his boredom, then cast her aside. He would have been no better than any of the dangerous people they were hiding from. She backed away from him, knocking over her chair. She skittered backward on the floor, surprisingly fast. Draco moved forward, shadows behind him darkening his features. He had no idea what she was seeing when she looked at him. She scuttled back faster, until her back was to the wall. He knelt in front of her, shadows shifting again. "Weasley?" "Go away," she whispered in a plaintive, childlike voice. "What just happened?" "Go away. It's your fault, not mine. I didn't do it." She didn't see him, he suddenly realized. She was seeing whatever terrified her. He looked around the kitchen, hoping he could see something that would help him jolt her out of her state. He caught his reflection in the ancient glass of the stove. He looked like he had gaunt hollows for eyes, dark hair and a shadow that appeared like a ghastly grin where his mouth should be. But he didn't look like a fearsome thing, just a mean dark-haired boy. "Weasley," Draco said firmly, reaching for her. She shrank away from him. "I won't do it. I won't." What in Merlin's name happened? Draco thought. Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she desperately rubbed her hands together. Suddenly Draco remembered her in his second year, scrubbing her hands, red splashes all around her. Blood. She had been just a first year then. "Weasley! Snap out of it!" Her eyes cleared, and she shoved Draco backward almost viciously. "You! Get out of here! You don't belong here!" He recognized this temper, actually. It was the same brittle anger he had seen in her eyes at school. It was the source of her frantic attempts to be everything that everyone else wanted her to be. There was nothing in her left. Whatever happened to her first year had burned her spirit away, leaving an empty shell behind. "You're stuck alone here, Weasley. There's no one else here." Her eyes were deep pools of loathing. He doubted that anyone else had seen her this vulnerable. "You don't belong here, Malfoy. Go away. Forget you ever saw me." Her voice was icy cold, and Draco was sure that it usually helped her get her own way. He grabbed her by the wrists swiftly and pushed her up against the wall. His legs were nestled between hers, and he held her arms above her head. Their bodies were flush against each other. Draco had never realized that her bulky clothing hid such lush curves. Her eyes screamed murder, though. Her jaw was set tight, her shoulders as locked as they could be. "Someone hurt you first year. Why didn't anyone see it?" She reacted violently, struggling against him and screaming that her family members were good people. Ah, he'd struck a nerve there, a sharp pain that never healed. Something terrible had happened to her first year, and none of her precious family had even noticed. That was all right. His family had often not noticed him, either. His face inches from hers, he smiled a genuine smile. "It's all right, Weasley. There's no need to lie or pretend. It's just me and you. You don't have to pretend for my sake. But I do appreciate the effort." "You're vile," she hissed, baring her teeth. "Let go of me!" "You don't have anyone else to talk to. Why not talk to me?" She struggled against him. "Get out," she hissed, eyes narrowing dangerously. "Get out before you regret it." Draco didn't rise to the bait. He pressed himself tighter against her. "You can't tell Lovegood, can you? You haven't ever told anyone, have you? Why not tell me? I haven't got anyone to tell. I haven't anyone else to talk to." His lips were right next to her ear, his voice almost like a caress. "It doesn't have to be here. I have a flat in town. I work at the apothecary. Get out of this place, or you'll never let go of it." "You don't have a bloody clue, Malfoy," Ginny hissed. "Let go of me and get the hell out." "You've made a temple of your darkness. It's only a matter of time before it consumes you." She managed to shake him off. "It already has."
Her eyes were empty hollows, endless pools of hopelessness. Her shoulders slumped forward, her chin ducked down. Her entire posture bespoke of pain, of warding him away from her. Draco shrugged. "Oh, well, then. So much for Gryffindor bravery. You know where to find me if you find it again." She watched him leave in silence. Her eyes fell on the pale white petals on the table as he shut the door. The scarlet centers were starkly brilliant in the gloomy kitchen. Ginny slowly sank down to the floor. She covered her face with her hands and began to cry. Leaning just outside the kitchen door, Draco could hear her sobs. Somehow, she had fallen beyond the limit of light and into a deep shadow. It coated her soul and left her outlook bleak. She despaired of ever being whole again. It was all right. Draco knew what it was like to live in pieces. It was something Slytherins did very well. Every part of him was compartmentalized and separate. He didn't know what it was like to live completely in the moment, to move as one concerted mind. He was fractured and always had been. When she was ready, she would find him. He had more than enough time to waste here. If Snape was well and truly dead, no one knew he was alive but his mother. She was hidden away herself, never to be found without Snape's help. Draco was truly isolated, with no responsibilities whatsoever. He was free to do whatever he wished. He could be patient for what he wanted. Right now, he wanted to know Ginny's secret.

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