Numb Without You (Draco Malfoy)

04

It was late in the winter evening on Christmas Eve when I found myself running out of the Great Hall of Hogwarts amidst the jovial celebrations of the Yule Ball. I didn’t know where I was going as tears had completely blurred my vision. I was relying on muscle memory alone to maneuver through the corridor. The clicking of my heels echoed through the stone halls as I desperately searched for a quiet place to be alone. Most of the good spots to sit and cry were occupied by students who were all trying to get a quick snog in before a professor caught them.

I found a small alcove and wedged myself between the column and the wall so I was just out of sight, and I let out a wretched sob. I sat there alone for a few minutes crying my heart out until a voice spoke out to me.

“Aurora is that you? Are you alright?”

I quickly wiped my tears away, smearing my makeup across my face in the process, “Piss off, Scarhead, and leave me alone. Nobody asked you.”

Harry Potter knelt down to my level and looked straight into my eyes. He appeared like he was searching for something deep within them. It was probably what all the Gryffindor students were all taught too do to check if Slytherins like me could really have a soul somewhere deep down inside. I had never been this close to Potter’s face unless I was mocking him with some of my friends, and admittedly it made me feel really vulnerable and exposed seeing my own face reflected back at me in his green irises.

“You shouldn’t let Malfoy make you cry.” Hearing him have the audacity to say that to me made my blood boil. I don’t know where he got his assumptions from about me, or Malfoy for that matter. Harry stood up and walked away as quickly as he came, leaving me alone with nothing but my own thoughts and my tear-stained dress.

I stood to follow him. I wanted to scream and hex him for inserting himself into my personal business, but when I saw Potter again, Hermione Granger was already screaming in his face so I didn’t have to.

“Where have you been?” She demanded to know in a nagging sort of tone that the girl was often heard using in the presence of her two idiot friends. Harry looked back towards me with his mouth gaping open, but no words came out. He couldn’t explain himself, despite how much I was interested to know what he would have to say about our little exchange. However, Hermione had grown impatient with his silence. “Nevermind! Off to bed, the both of you.”

“They get scary when they get older.” Ron Weasley muttered loudly on purpose so others would easily hear him as the two boys walked up the staircase together leaving Hermione standing alone at the bottom.

“Ron, you spoiled everything!” Hermione screamed up at him. The air in the room stood still as everyone turned their attention to the girl. She was causing a scene and it was embarrassing to watch. Honestly, I quite enjoyed it. It made me feel better about my own problems with my own boyfriend. At least I wasn’t the girl screaming for the entire world to witness my mental breakdown. I was just the girl that the boy with no parents and a stupid scar felt sorry for, and I could live with that for the time being.

I stood there grinning and laughing to myself watching her cry in front of me and the rest of the student body when I felt a warm arm snake it’s way around my waist.

“Aurora.” Aidan Hastings smirked down at me completely impervious to the scene that had just unfolded. The smell of firewhisky was hot on his breath. “Want to get out of here?”

“Sure.” I muttered. I was thankful for any reason to leave this stupid excuse for a party. It was getting more and more lame by the second.

“Just one more thing.” He said. His voice got low and raspy and made my knees feel weak, “Rory. Wake up.”

My eyes fluttered open and Aidan’s blue eyes bore into my own. He didn’t look concerned at all, just curious. He had been trying to wake me for a few minutes now, it seemed.

“You were talking in your sleep. What were you dreaming about?” He asked me. I wrinkled my nose at the smell of his morning breath in my face. I much preferred the smell of firewhisky from my dreams. It was much less off-putting.

“The Yule Ball.” I told him without much of an explanation. I didn’t care to elaborate and I hoped that he would not interrogate me any further. Luckily for me, my boyfriend was not exactly the caring type.

Aidan leaned back and smiled softly. He closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh of content, “That was the first night we ever hooked up. I remember it well.”

“I’m glad that’s what you remember of that night.” I frowned and stood up to get dressed. Aidan didn’t question me, but I could tell he was put off by my attitude. “I’ve got to get to work. We have floo powder left, right?”

“There should be some.” Aidan shrugged. “Where are you going?”

“I told you. I’m going to work.” I informed him.

“And where would that be exactly?” Aidan pried. I looked back at him in total confusion. He never pried. He never asked follow-up questions. This was new territory for the both of us. Maybe it was a turning point for our relationship. Maybe we were getting more serious all of a sudden. That couldn’t be. He just didn’t like me keeping secrets and this had been gnawing at him ever since Hermione Granger came over. I hadn’t told him a thing.

“That’s on a need to know basis.” I said keeping my composure as I spoke, but I was beginning to get annoyed.

“And I don’t need to know?” He raised a brow and got out of bed. I could tell how tense he was by the tautness of his exposed muscles. “I’m your boyfriend, Rory. Or did you forget that?”

“You never cared before, so why do you care now?” I asked him as I pulled a jumper over my head. It messed up my hair in the process so I grabbed my brush to comb through it quickly, but it only caused it to frizz out from static caused by the polyester in my sweater.

“Because you were never keeping secrets before.” Aidan’s eyes narrowed at me suspiciously. “And now you are.”

“You’re being ridiculous.” I rolled my eyes and walked out of the room. I head straight towards the fireplace and looked in the floo powder bucket. There was barely enough for the one trip I needed to take. “Are you joking right now?” I asked angrily, “Why is there no floo powder left?”

“How should I know?” Aidan scoffed, “I don’t use it that often. Where are you going that you can’t just apparate?”

“To work.” I huffed in frustration. We had already been over this, “Hastings, If you see that we are out of something then you need to replace it. Take some responsibility for once! I’ve asked you to keep up with things like this, since you aren’t working right now. I don’t want to have to do everything anymore. Things need to change around here.”

“Will you two keep it down?” Camille groaned as she walked out of her own bedroom clutching her head with her hand. “You’re giving me a headache.”

“That’s not our fault, Camille. That’s a hangover. You should know the difference by now.” I sneered. I was tired of both of their bullshit. “One of you needs to buy more floo powder. Today. I don’t care who does it, but get it done.”

“You got it boss.” Camille said sarcastically as she saluted me. I knew as soon as I wasn’t looking she would be giving me the finger. She was such a child.

“Rory.” Aidan said with the slightest hint of anguish in his voice, “Why won’t you tell me what’s going on with you?”

I blinked back at him and thought about it for a moment. I didn’t have a good answer. I scooped up the remaining floo powder. Suddenly I was very glad we were out of the substance. I knew that he could not follow me this way, “Because you’ll just be angry and try to stop me.” I bowed my head to step into the fireplace and stood there staring at Camille and Aidan. I threw the floo powder down and spoke clearly, “Malfoy Manor.”

I could see Aidan and Camille’s shocked expressions between the green flames as they shot up around me, and in a flash they were gone. I was greeted by a new pair of faces when I slid into the hearth of the Malfoy fireplace.

“Salazar Slytherin! He wasn’t bloody lying to us. She really showed up.” Theodore Nott grinned at me excitedly next to an apathetic looking Blaise Zabini. I knew Blaise was simply pretending to be uninterested to keep up his blasé persona, otherwise he would not be standing here waiting for me.

“I can’t believe it.” Nott mused again, with a cocky grin on his face.

I rolled my eyes and shoved past them into the room, “I should have known you both would be lurking around here. Malfoy always had an inherent need for lackeys to follow him everywhere. Someone had to fill Crabbe and Goyle’s shoes and it might as well be you two.”

“Never compare me to those bumbling idiots if you know what’s good for you.” Zabini snapped as if he had never been more insulted in his entire life. I couldn’t blame him. Crabbe and Goyle were absolutely vile. “And to think I was going to say it was actually good to see you again, Aurora.”

“It’s Rory.” I corrected him quickly without thinking about it, “I’ll admit it is a lot better seeing you than I thought it would be.” I took Blaise’s tall frame in. He looked like a model right off of the runway, but I knew he would consider something like that beneath him, so I didn’t bother trying to compliment him.

“Thanks.” Theo grinned.

“Not you.” I looked at the boy with disgust, “You can choke.”

Theo’s jaw slacked at he looked at me incredulously, “Wait a minute. What did I do?”

Blaise looked at his friend up and down and shrugged, “I get it.” Theo’s face flushed and he grumbled something inaudible under his breath. I smirked and was about to tell him I was joking to cushion his ego when we were interrupted.

“Oi! What are you two still doing here?” Draco sneered as he sauntered into the room. He was adjusting the buttons on the sleeve of his shirt. “I told you to leave a half hour ago.”

“I know you did, but we wanted to see Rory with our own eyes.” Theo frowned, “Why should you get all the fun?”

“I would hardly call all this fun.” I scowled and motioned in Malfoy’s general direction and it made Theo laugh heartily while Draco glared at me. He didn’t like being made to look like a fool in front of people he considered beneath him.

“Will you two just go already?” Draco demanded. The two boys looked at Draco impassively. He didn’t have the same authority over them that he once had with Crabbe and Goyle. You could tell it was frustrating to him. I glared at them and they finally got the hint that I agreed with Malfoy. With one last mocking smile from Theo the two boys left.

I was now alone with Draco Malfoy for the second time this week. That was enough to last a lifetime.

“The manor looks good.” I said as I looked around admiring the place. I was struggling with finding the words to say. “It’s very.... clean.” I winced and blinked quickly to try to shake off the awkwardness as my eyes watered with embarrassment.

Draco tilted his head back in annoyance and groaned, “Can we skip the small talk? What are we doing today?”

I was secretly glad. I hated exchanging pleasantries and trying to make conversation was excruciating. I couldn’t just talk to Draco Malfoy about the weather. There was too much history between us to make something like that work. “Right.” I cleared my throat and looked at him, “I figured we would start small. Maybe try riding the Tube and getting a cup of coffee like a muggle.”

Draco rolled his eyes, “So you’re just going to burn through Granger’s suggestions for things to do right away. Can’t you just write down that we did all those things and we call it a day?”

“Is that why you requested me to be your sponsor?” I asked him, “You really thought after all this time I would just vouch for you and you wouldn’t have to do anything?”

Draco shrugged and gave me a wry smirk, “Among other things, sure.”

I scowled, “I’ll have you know I don’t cheat like that anymore, Malfoy. This isn’t Hogwarts. It’s the real world and there are real consequences for our actions.”

“Granger really sucked all the fun out of you.” Draco sounded less than enthused by me.

“No, that would be Azkaban’s doing, actually.” I snapped right back, “I had them obliviate most of the memories of my time there, but the feelings... they never go away.” A cold chill ran through my body as if a dementor was nearby and I rubbed my arms out of instinct to try and warm myself back up.

Draco looked at me stoically for a moment as he processed what I was saying before sighing in concession, “So... this tube you keep speaking about... I’m not going to get dirty sliding down it am I? This is a nice suit.”

I laughed out loud at the absurdity of his comment, but he had no idea why so I explained quickly, “It’s not a tube that you slide down. It’s like a train. Think of it kind of like the Hogwarts Express. But you are right about one thing, you might still get dirty.”

Draco’s eyes widened and he fidgeted with his cuff links nervously. I smirked to myself and grabbed hold of his arm and we disapparated only to appear in the London Underground seconds later. I let go of Draco and fixed my hair before leading us towards the train. Draco was very hesitant. He was clearly uncomfortable with all the attention he was getting from Muggles who were beginning to stare. I circled back and grabbed him by the arm and forced him into the train car. Draco looked at me desperately for some sort of direction or instruction and I motioned for him to take a seat.

People really had begun to take notice of the two of us, and it was even making me uncomfortable. Women were staring at Draco with desire clouding their eyes, while the men looked on with confusion and jealousy. “Why are all the muggles staring?” Draco whispered in my ear. A few women shot me angry glances that I was the one Draco was choosing to pay attention to.

I shrugged, “You sort of stand out.” I pointed to his clothes, “Nobody else is wearing an £8,000 suit. You’re very overdressed, Not to mention the hair.”

“I’m not overdressed, you’re simply underdressed. You could have worn something nicer.” Draco sneered as he reached up to touch his tendril locks subconsciously. “What’s wrong with my hair?”

“Nothing... except it’s quite an unusual color to muggles.” I explained as the train slowed to a stop. I chose to ignore his complaints about my choice in clothing, “Come on, this is our stop.” Draco eagerly leapt at the opportunity to leave. I led us out of the station and we walked down a few streets until I stopped in front of a coffee shop with a familiar green logo of a mermaid on the sign.

Draco looked less than impressed as he read the name aloud, “Starbucks?”

“It’s good to know that you can read. Now go inside.” I instructed him as I gave him a slight push forward. He reluctantly shuffled his feet and entered the establishment.

“Merpeople don’t even look like that. What are muggles even thinking?” Draco complained about the logo even more as we approached the counter.

I laughed hysterically as Draco fumbled through the process and finally managed to order us two black coffees after quite the argument with the barista. He had given up on even trying to learn any of the specialty drinks, and the sizing system nearly made him lose his mind. Trying to pay with muggle money was another challenge, and I ended up having to step in to help which made him even more frustrated. I made up some lie about him having lived in America for a while so he wasn’t used to the money here. Despite Draco still having a very recognizable British accent, I think she bought the lie. That, or the barista was so ready for Draco to leave the counter that she didn’t care what I said or did.

“That went well.” I chuckled as I sat down and took a long sip of my coffee.

“For whom?” Draco glared at me. He took one sip of the coffee and nearly spit it out in disgust. He shoved the cup as far away from himself as he could without knocking it off the table entirely. The name written on his cup was Drake, and I knew that probably annoyed him even more.

“Mostly for me.” I shrugged, “Definitely not the barista. You almost made her cry.”

“She was incompetent.” Draco rolled his eyes, “This is all so bloody stupid.”

“Welcome to the program.” I smirked. “It’s going to be a long year for you without magic.”

“What are you on about?” Draco questioned, “I didn’t give up magic, Aurora.”

“It’s not voluntary.” I said, “They took your wand, didn’t they?”

“Absolutely not.” Draco tensed up and reached into the inner pocket of his jacket to touch his own wand to make sure that it was still there. He let out a sigh of relief when he felt it. “I would never agree to that.”

I scoffed and crossed my arms angrily as I leaned back in my chair, “Of course you got special treatment. I should have known better than to assume otherwise.”

“I think you forget sometimes. I’m Draco Malfoy, love.” He smirked proudly at me about the fact that despite everything, his family name still meant something in the wizarding world.

“You know what? I think I’ve had enough for one day.” I snarled as I stood up abruptly, “And don’t think about calling me love again if you know what’s good for you, Draco Malfoy.” I added emphasis to his name, just as he had moments ago except mine held a different connotation that was much less flattering.

“You’re making a habit of this. You can’t run away from me, Aurora. You’re stuck, just like I am.”

“Yeah, well you made sure of that, didn’t you?” I glowered at him menacingly. “Thanks for the coffee. Figure out your own way home.”

“I think I’ll just apparate there.” Draco said smugly, “The Ministry still lets me do that too, you know.”

“Not if I have anything to say about it.” I threatened him before storming out of the shop. Where was Hermione Granger when I needed her most?

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