Prompt: # 44
Summary: In that brief moment before I speak, I stop and reflect on how far we've come.
Pairing(s): Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter
Warning(s): very brief mention of mpreg
Word Count: 1,173 words
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of JK Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic/Warner Bros., Inc. No profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended. The Way You Look Tonight is the property of Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern in association with Capitol Records.
Author's Notes: Thank you seerstella for leaving a very open-ended prompt, which took a life of its own. The song I chose was The Way You Look Tonight as sung by Frank Sinatra. Thank you to R. for the beta; all remaining mistakes are my own. Also, thanks to the mods for hosting this fest.
There is nothing for me but to love you,
And the way you look tonight.
In that brief moment before I speak, I stop and reflect on how far we've come.
You once told me that you never considered yourself beautiful. The old adage stated that first impressions are crucial. You saw yourself as a short, bespectacled boy with knobby knees, unruly hair, and scrawny, the result of a childhood spent malnourished and mistreated. A thin lightning bolt scar on your forehead betrayed your legacy. I never saw that; I was too enchanted by your brilliant green eyes.
From our small conversation and the confused look on your face when I mentioned Quidditch and Slytherin, you clearly didn't know anything about the wizarding world, and I wanted to take advantage. I left the shop not knowing your name, but already I knew I would guide you, teach you everything about being a proper wizard. I spent the entire summer planning, so that when we became best friends, we would be the envy of everyone at Hogwarts.
On the day I offered friendship, trying to sound as important and dignified as Father, you declined. For the first time in my life, I failed and it hurt. I didn’t get what I wanted. Rather than show weakness, I retaliated the only way I knew how.
Those six years, well, let's not rehash the past. I was cruel and vindictive, flaunting Malfoy wealth, prestige, and power in front of you. Petty, I realise now, but could you really blame me if that's all I ever knew? You challenged me, never backed down, and I watched as you and your friends surpassed expectations and became legendary in your own right. So I turned to the only other person I ever sought approval from.
The path to becoming a Death Eater is not easy, even under Voldemort’s second-in-command. Father trained me well and soon had me casting all three Unforgivables on the Muggles that were chained in the dungeons. Did you know that my soul is in tatters? It must be, for I felt hollow inside every time my wand cast a green light.
Before sixth year, I was rewarded with the Dark Mark and given a chance to redeem the Malfoy name. I ignored you and spent countless hours plotting the murder of Albus Dumbledore, but even then I knew I wouldn’t succeed. In sleep-deprived moments, I stared at the Mark, trying to decide what it meant to me. I no longer believed in the megalomaniac, so the best option would be to escape with Mother and put this madness behind me. I never had a chance; you marked me in a way that ensured I would never forget you.
When the war came, we played our parts perfectly, and in the end, you killed him. History is written by the victors, and I would have become another war statistic, to be remembered only for my many failures. I deserved it, having caused so much death and destruction to innocent children that sometimes I wondered if that was all I was good for.
You changed that. You saw something that I couldn't see for myself, something beyond the Dark Mark forever engraved on my left forearm. Your testimony on behalf of Mother and I granted us freedom, and for that, I thank you. You should have walked away, your obligation fulfilled, but you never do anything by halves, do you? Returning my wand in front of everyone at the Wizengamot shocked everyone into silence, letting us hear that this was the wand used to defeat Voldemort. We both know it was much more than that.
I never expected to see you again. You were the hero; it was your duty to claim your fairy-tale ending after defeating the villain. I was trapped in the Manor, trying to atone for my mistakes by establishing an orphanage for war victims without success. You knocked on my door one morning, shoved legal documents in my hands, and by that afternoon, we were business partners. I questioned your motives to the point of exhaustion, not believing the excuse of helping Mother. “I’ll show you one day,” you promised.
If I thought sixth year was bad when you followed me, then the next year you stalked me. Work, lunches, and business meetings quickly progressed to Quidditch matches, dinners, and Ministry events – I was even there when you were awarded your Order of Merlin, First Class. You grew on me and I, slowly but surely, fell in lust. Not quite love, because let’s be honest, I don’t think anyone ever falls in love that fast, unless they’re under the influence of a love potion.
Despite evidence to the contrary, I convinced myself that you couldn’t possibly return my affections, and like a true Slytherin, I retreated, trying to save myself. I hid, I ran, I was a coward, until one day, when the leaves turned gold and red, you dismantled the wards on my flat and held a wand over my heart.
Everyone remembered the day you defeated Voldemort at Hogwarts, the pure energy that washed across the battlefield. To have that same power directed at me as you stood inches from my face was terrifying, and before you could say or do anything, I kissed you. I expected death, but when you kissed back, I took my chance and Apparated us to my bed.
It took three dates before you finally forced the L-word from me. Might I remind you that I was in post-coital bliss when that word slipped out, but when you looked at me with those green eyes in wonder and that stupid grin on your face, I knew that it was true.
We never kept anything hidden; you dragged me, in exchange for sexual favours of course, to the next Weasley breakfast and proudly introduced me as your boyfriend and kissed me. I was not surprised when the Weasel, best friend and the person you chose over me, walked out.
I fully expected you to go to him, just like the first time, but you didn't. You were unhappy for those two hundred and eighty-seven days when you two didn’t speak, yet you never complained. Granger told me that it wasn’t the first time he had done this. He came back at three in the morning, asking for forgiveness, holding an object in his hands that I later learned was a Deluminator. His face turned as red as that ridiculous hair as you stared at each other, until he finally turned to me and apologised. Only then did you smile.
So here we stand, in front of this small group of family and friends, promising forever. I’m looking at you, because you’ve always had my attention, but now I finally know that I have yours. You are beautiful, carrying our child, and a far cry from the young boy I first saw so many years ago.
There’s nothing left to do but open my mouth and say, “I do.”