Author's Notes: (NOT A SONGFIC!) Not everything in the warning is in the first chapter, which is short... you'll have to wait.
Faint of Hearts
The air is thick- too thick. So many thoughts, so many observations, so much talking, and it's all running together, gathering in the hall and getting thicker, thicker... it's so humid now, so hot and sticky... I can't... can't breath...
"Draco?" called a voice. "Draco, are you there?"
Swinging my head to the right, I glared at Pansy, hiding my relief at being shaken from my trance. She glared right back, watching me.
"Are you sick?" she asked, raising an eyebrow. "Your sweating. Your face is red." She smirked. "Thinking about me again?"
I give her an exaggerated look, from her ankles to her eyes. I made an indistinguishable sound of disgust, deep in my throat. She giggled, hmphed, and turned back to her conversation with Blaise.
( Does he hate me why why does he am I just that ugly or is he just keeping face)
I am almost startled at the single phrase that jumped to me. Until now, I hadn't been aware that Parkinson actually gave a damn what I thought; of course, until now, I hadn't been able to read her mind... well, not exactly read her mind, just the important stuff she really focuses on. Especially when she's emotional... when people get emotional they're thoughts and feelings just seem to fly at me. Like I'm supposed to be a fucking empathy magnet or something; I still didn't even know how the hell I got this weird ability in the first place.
"Malfoy," Zabini said suddenly, elbowing my side. "What did Potter say to you? We saw him talk to you before Snape interrupted; was he challenging you to another duel?"
"Potter?" Pansy said, turning. "Challenge Draco? Ha! As if that's going to happen. Draco always makes the first move. Right?"
"Shut up." I ordered them both, turning my attention to the Gryffindor table. If I could just focus, maybe I could find Potter and catch what he's thinking... maybe I could figure out how he knew...
"What?" Pansy snapped indignantly, giving me a disbelieving look. "What the hell do you mean, 'Shut-'"
She watched him, her mouth open in surprise. After a moment, it snapped shut, and she narrowed her eyes, giving him a withering look. "My father was right." she seethed. "I should stay away from you. Do you think I'm just going to let you speak to me like that?"
"Could you just not speak at all?" I demanded, my voice louder than I intended it to be. Several heads turned to stare at us. I drew in a nervous breath. Damn.
"What are you staring at?" Zabini snarled, his face contorted in annoyance. "Eat your dinner!"
I didn't say anything. Swearing under my breath, I was well aware this was going to be a long night.
The conversation is none as we sit and force nutrients down our throats. Hermione won't make eye contact with anyone, and keeps shuffling through a textbooks in her lap. Seamus and Dean don't speak, well aware of Ron's condition. I don't have anything to say. The less, the better.
I wonder if he's taking it well. It's impossible to tell. He's so quiet- the polar opposite of who he had been. His face is pale, the freckles startlingly vivid against sallow skin. It only helps contrast to the dark circles under his eyes and the faraway, glazed look in his eyes. I wonder momentarily if he's remembering her. I hope he's not; it doesn't help.
Finally aware that the other students were filing out of the great hall and into their dormitories, I stand, relieved to see that the others follow my lead. Having to shake Ron out of a trance wasn't something I felt like doing at the moment.
"Mr. Potter," calls a voice. Reluctantly, recognizing the voice, I turn, keeping my expression passive as Snape watches the others file out. The hall is now almost eerily empty.
He watches me for a moment before speaking. "Have you had any dreams over the summer, Potter? Any at all?"
"No, sir." I said clearly. He's silent for a moment, and I keep my eyes on he floor, keeping my mind blank. The walls, the walls, the walls, think about the walls...
"Are you lying, Potter?"
The walls, the walls. "No, sir." The walls- the floor. The floor, the floor, footprints scattered in dried mud. "I haven't had any dreams involving..." I let the silence speak for itself.
Another minute of silence. "Fine." he snapped. "Get to your dormitory, Potter, it's almost curfew."
Leaving the hall, I know he's caught my lie. How could he not?
Everyone remains silent as we settle into bed. No one speaks. I am almost sure I could hear Dean sniffing from behind his bed curtains, but I say nothing. I don't think Ron- or anyone, for that matter, would appreciate it.
I close the curtains, turn over and close my eyes, praying sleep comes swiftly and mercifully. It is pitch black whether I open or close them. I let my mind wonder... the train ride, the great hall... the summer...
"Ron? Ron, what's wrong? Ron?"
"I thought she was sulking, Harry. We had a fight and she just huffed off... I thought she was just pouting... but she didn't come back..."
"Ron, what are you talking about?"
"Then Dumbledore came and told us that she was gone. They took her, Harry... the Death Eaters... they just... took her, kidnapped her, whatever you want to say, she's gone!"
"Ron, calm down!"
"I can't calm down! She's been kidnapped by You-Know-Who, and you want me to calm down? What if they torture her? What if- what if-"
"Ron, shut up! Calm down!"
"Mrs. Weasley! Ron's getting violent- please- someone- calm him down-"
Harry jerked awake, cold sweat spread across his body in a thin, damp layer. His breath was chillingly calm, however, and as he glanced at the clock and saw that he'd been sleeping for less than an hour, he couldn't help but give a long, audible groan.
He kicked off his sheets and grabbed his school robes (he had carelessly thrown them off shortly before) slipping into them and leaving the dorm, wiping his forehead with one clammy hand.
He knew he wasn't going to be able to get her face- her voice- out of his mind anytime soon.
"Get off, you sick bastard!"
"What do you think your doing?"
"Get off of me!"
"What the hell are you crying for?"
"Do not apologize to that little-"
The scream rang out in the Slytherin dungeons, bouncing off of the stone walls and echoing in the cavernous room. Draco immediately silenced himself, wiping the cold sweat hastily from his forehead. Sick, sick, he was going to be...
Sick, all over the dark green couches. Disgusting.
Convinced that no one had heard him, (or if they had, they didn't care) he stood awkwardly, one leg asleep and his hair sticking up in the back. Trying and failing to straighten it himself, he pulled out his wand and removed the sticky substance with a wave of his wand. His hair immediately fell into his eyes. He frowned at it, as though it were the cause of his problems.
He started, hearing slow footsteps descending the stairs to the girl's dorms. "Malfoy?" someone yawned questioningly. "is that you?"
He turned, opening and closing the stone entrance quick enough to lose whomever it was. Might have been Pansy... well, didn't matter anyway.
The hallway was cold. Taking a few steps, he frowned when he felt a strange, warm gush of air- like a hot breath- settle calmly onto his body, feeling damp, humid, and overall uncomfortable. It lasted only a few seconds, before a foreign, uninvited surge of sadness- of complete hopelessness, of guilt, of terror- rose up in him, making him drop the wand he had drawn from his pocket only a moment before.
He fell to his knees, a sob escaping his lips. His body shook when he tried to suppress another, and after a moment he was crying, sobbing, gasping for air and choking on it. His hands, which were on his knees as he sat quietly back on his ankles, began to tremble, and he choked again, bitter tears dripping down his face.
"Malfoy? What the hell?"
The dungeons were colder than usual.
Not to be mistaken, the dungeons are always cold; there is always a chill, always that lack of warmth because of the depth, the lack of sunshine; perhaps even due to the chilling looks the Potions Master sent his students. But today, it was more than cold, at least to the Potions Master. The air was like ice.
His face had a slight tinge to it, a shallow, pink hue; his senses were sharp, his thoughts clear; he was shivering beneath the layers of cotton he always wore. He stared at the parchment in front of him.
Looking into it's blank depths, the room got colder.
He dipped the tall, peacock quill (a gift) into his ink and was numbly surprised it wasn't frozen. He stared at the tip a moment longer before writing.
No, he thought, that isn't right. He crossed it out.
No, no, no. A line through that one.
I'm so sorry, Michael;
No, he cried silently. That- I can't write that right now...
That sounds like a birthday gift. Crossing it out and frowning, Severus picked up the parchment and tore it in half, something like a shudder going through him as he did so. He couldn't clear his thoughts. Why, he seethed to himself, can't I just calm myself down?
Because you know what you did, a voice told him. He frowned at his own conscience and tried to shrug it off. He couldn't let his emotions get in the way- he couldn't lose control. That's what started this whole ordeal, after all.
He placed the quill gently into the ink bottle, pulling open a drawer in his desk few knew of. The first thing he pulled out- the small, half-empty bottle of American Firewhisky Michael had gotten him for his last birthday- was downed almost immediately. He slammed the drawer before he decided to drink anymore. The dizzy feeling would hit him in a moment, though it wasn't near enough for a hangover.
He closed the door to his room and collapsed onto his bed. He could feel the sharp, hot warning in his throat. He swallowed it back. Now was not the time to cry over his own stupid mistakes. He closed his eyes and pushed the feeling away, finding it surprisingly easy.
He blinked a few times, turning onto his side. He usually had to use Dumbledore's Pensieve to let go of something that quickly. What had...
He groaned, the light-headedness finally kicking in. He closed his eyes. "In the morning." he murmured aloud, settling into a light sleep.
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