Numb Without You (Draco Malfoy)

05

The apartment above Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes was never a place I imagined I would have found myself eating dinner when I was younger, but it was the only way Hermione could fit me into her tight schedule on such short notice. It was the night of the Weasley siblings’ weekly family dinner, where as many Weasleys and their significant others that could find the time would gather for a potluck style meal. Hermione told me it was ‘the more the merrier’ and that George would be delighted to have me join, especially since some of his siblings could not make it that night.

“What do you mean there’s nothing you can do?” I whined at Hermione across the table as I passed the salt shaker to Fleur who was sitting on my right. “He just gets to keep his wand no questions asked? That’s not fair.”

“My hands are tied on this I’m afraid, Rory.” Hermione frowned. “Draco negotiated his terms with the Minister of Magic himself.”

“You have to understand that both Malfoy and his Mum did help me out, and that’s gotten the Malfoy family pretty far since Voldemort’s defeat.” Harry tried his best to reason with me. “That’s why the Ministry has been so lenient with them compared to... well... you know.” His face turned red and he looked away from me bashfully and chose to look at Ginny instead. She gave him a quick kiss that mostly went unnoticed by the group.

“Yeah, compared to people like me.” I said as no one would meet my gaze. The sound of knives scraping against plates filled the silence as people continued to eat, “but I didn’t do anything that bad compared to everyone else I know. I even helped save Ginny from some werewolves during the Battle of Hogwarts. I still had to do my time for my father’s crimes and indiscretions because I have the mark.” I rolled up my sleeve and George who was sitting to my left moved away from me slightly out of reflex.

“Is eet getting darker?” Fleur asked. She was the only one who did not recoil from me and instead moved her head closer get a better look at the scar. “Your mark.” She pointed to it with her perfectly manicured finger hovering ever so slightly above my bare skin careful not to touch it.

My furrowed my brow and took a better look for myself. What had once been a faint pink, but painful scar reminding me every day of my past was now a deeper shade of red than it should have been. I hadn’t noticed much before, but now that it had been pointed out to me I couldn’t unsee it. I shook my head and pulled my sleeve back down over it. It was disconcerting, but I had no clue if it meant anything or not.

“I’m sure it’s nothing.” Ron said as if he was reading my mind. He tried to play it off, although the mood at the table had grown very tense all of a sudden. I felt a little guilty for being responsible for bringing the mood of dinner down considerably. It had actually been quite a nice evening before I brought up Malfoy.

“Definitely nothing.” Harry agreed with his best friend, “But keep an eye on it Rory, and let me know if it gets worse?”

I nodded and went back to pushing my food around my plate with my fork. I wasn’t very hungry anymore. Eventually conversation picked back up at the table and everything went back to normal. I got up with Ginny to help her with the dishes while the rest of the table continued talking. They were reminiscing about some memories about being in Gryffindor, so I didn’t have anything to add to the conversation unless they wanted to know more about how much I used to hate them when I was a teenager.

“You don’t have to help me.” Ginny told me as she began to pile dishes in the sink. “I was just going to use magic on them anyway.”

“I don’t mind. I found I kind of liked doing dishes the muggle way.” I shrugged, “but I won’t say no to a little magic.” Ginny and I giggled as we performed a few spells to have the dishes take care of themselves before rejoining the group. When we came back, someone had broken out a bottle of firewhisky.

“Hold on.” George said with a twinkle in his eye, “Let me go get something. It’s a new product.” He hurried away from the table and rummaged through a closet until he found a large box. Whatever was inside it clanged together loudly as he set it gently on the center of his table. He opened the flaps of the box and I peered inside to see what looked like normal drinking glasses. He took them out one by one and passed them around to everyone.

“What’s so special about these?” Harry asked as he held up the glass to the light to see if he could figure it out for himself.

“They are enchanted so you will never run out of whatever drink you pour inside them. Genius, right?” George explained his latest product with fervor.

“What about when you don’t want to drink anymore? Is it still going to stay full?” I asked him skeptically as Hermione filled up my glass. I took a sip of the burning liquid and set it back down on the table. It’s effects were almost immediate as a warming sensation filled my entire body.

George looked at me sheepishly, “That’s why they’re still in product development.”

“Sounds like fun to me.” Ron shrugged and downed his first glass of the firewhisky in two large gulps. He watched as it magically filled itself back up and he took another long swig.

“Blimey, George. Fleur and I are getting too old to drink that much. We’ve got a baby at home.” Bill protested.

“Yes, and I think eet is time we go pick ’er up from Molly and Arthur.” Fleur agreed. She kissed me on both of my cheeks as she started making her rounds to say goodbye to everyone, “George. I like this girl. Even if she does ’ave the mark.” Fleur pointed to me, “Invite ’er to more dinners instead of Percy.”

“Gladly.” George winked at me. “Say no more. Percy is out of the family and Rory is in.”

“This doesn’t mean I have to dye my hair red, does it?” I frowned and took another long sip of my never-ending drink. That sounded worse than when George suggested I go blonde.

“You either dye your hair red or marry into the family. I don’t make the rules I just enforce them.” George grinned playfully. Bill and Fleur said their goodbyes one last time before they left and when the door shut behind them George clasped his hands together excitedly, “Great, now that Mum and Dad are gone we can have some actual fun.”

I was thankful that I lived right next door to George because there was absolutely no way I would have been able to get home otherwise. I was far too gone from all the drinking we had done and I barely remembered any of it. I stumbled into my building and clambered up the stairs as best I could. I froze intently when I heard screaming coming from my apartment and it sobered me up right away. I pulled out my wand to keep at the ready and opened up my front door anticipating the worst.

It was dark and quiet in the apartment. It looked like nobody was even home, which surprised me because Aidan or Camilla should have been around at the very least. Maybe I was mistaken. I did drink a lot of firewhisky.

No. There it was again. Another scream. This time I could tell that it was coming from my bedroom. They were getting louder and more frequent. It took me entirely too long to realize that they weren’t screams at all and they were moans. I wish I had realized this before I had opened the door and rushed inside to see what was the matter.

“What the fuck?” I shouted as Camille and Aidan scrambled to clothe themselves.

“Shit.” Aidan muttered as he pulled on his pants. I had already turned to leave. I was glad I was drunk because I couldn’t possibly handle this sober. “Rory wait! Come back.” I ran into the living room not sure what to do next. My mind was reeling, but I was too drunk to fully process everything. “Rory, let’s talk about this.” Aidan begged.

“No, don’t let me interrupt.” I said angrily as tears filled my eyes. I felt betrayed. Camille was leaning on the door frame smirking while she wore my boyfriends shirt and it was taking everything in me not to claw her eyes out. “I can see you’re busy.”

“Whoops.” Camille let out a laugh that made me absolutely lose it.

“What the hell is wrong with you Camille?” I shouted at her. She just grinned more malevolently at the sound of my voice growing more shrill. “What did I ever do to you?” I demanded to know.

“I can think of a few things.” She said cooly as she inspected her nails, “but honestly your boyfriend is just too hot for me to resist.”

“Rory let me explain.” Aidan tried to grab my hand, but I ripped it from his grasp.

“I don’t want to hear it. I want you both out of my apartment.” I seethed.

“We’re not leaving.” Camille said defiantly as she stepped forward to challenge me, “What are you going to do about it, Aurora? You’re too afraid to do anything that could really do any serious damage.” Aidan was too ashamed to say anything as he let Camille keep talking to me this way. He looked pathetic standing in the dark living room.

“Fine. I’ll leave then. I don’t give a shit as long as it means I’m away from you two.” I said as tears welled up in my eyes.

Camille laughed, “Merlin that’s pathetic. She’s crying.”

“Camille just... shut up.” Aidan said finally. But it was already too late for that. I walked out the door and practically flew down the steps and out of the building. I wished I had taken a moment to pack some of my things, but it was too late for that.

I hoped that George was still awake, because I was still too drunk to think of anywhere else to go. He was certainly the closest place I could think of to go considering he was right next door. My feet slapped across the pavement and I walked back through the doorway and up the stairwell I had left barely a half hour ago. I knocked on his door with fervor and waited while I heard shuffling on the other side.

A tall, beautiful woman opened the door and frowned at me. She was wearing an oversized t-shirt and not much else. I was so confused that I thought I had the wrong apartment, although I knew that was impossible. I was literally just here. “Can I help you?” She asked impatiently. When she realized I had been crying her features softened and she looked at me with concern, “Is everything alright?” I was still standing there like an idiot in my drunken stupor.

“Who is it, Angelina?” My eyes moved to George who was standing in only his boxers. I felt so incredibly foolish for clearly interrupting them. “Rory, are you alright?”

“You know this girl?” Angelina asked him. Her voice hinted at jealousy. She probably assumed we were sleeping together or something, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Of course I do. You do too, Ang.” George scoffed, “It’s Aurora Dolohov. From school.” Angelina and I both had a moment of recognition as soon as George mentioned Hogwarts. She was Angelina Johnson from the Gryffindor Quidditch team. I hardly realized it was her outside of her uniform.

“Blimey I didn’t recognize you at all.” Angelina said and I immediately felt like I was being examined under a magnifying glass as she searched my features to see how they’d changed.

“Do you need to come in?” George asked. He was still very concerned about the fact that I had been crying. “I can make tea.”

I shook my head and wiped my tears from my eyes, “No. I- I didn’t mean to intrude. I had no idea you would be having company. Please - err, uhh - enjoy yourselves!” I cringed at how stupid I sounded and hurried back down the stairs. I knew George would follow me after he put some more clothes on because that’s just the kind of nice guy he was, so I disapparated to the first place I could think of, even if it was the last place I wanted to be.

There was a sound of a loud crack as I apparated into the garden, and then the air stood still. I stared up at the Malfoy Manor. It’s tall and looming stature always made me feel small and insignificant. I took a deep sigh and trudged to the east wing of the house and stared up at the third floor window where a dim light was still on.

“I really didn’t think this through.” I muttered to myself. I looked around on the ground until I found a few pebbles and held them in the palm of my hand. I threw one and missed the window completely. The second stone was closer, but didn’t quite make it. The third one hit the window, but I was afraid that the noise was not loud enough. I scoured the ground for more stones, but I think that was the last of them.

“Aurora?” A voice called out to me from above. I lifted my head up to see Draco looking down at me curiously. The glow of light from his bedroom framed his head like a halo. “What are you doing?”

“Shut up and let me in.” I demanded. I waited impatiently as he used his wand to create a ladder the I used to climb up to his window.

“This brings back memories.” Draco smirked.

“I thought I told you to shut up.” I hissed as I hopped down from his windowsill and into his room.

“What are you doing here?” He asked me. It was a reasonable question. I had just snuck into his bedroom like a bloody teenager coming around for a quick hookup. Something that we were both all too familiar with, but I wasn’t about to remind him of that. I know it was already on his mind.

Still, I didn’t want to get into the reasons that led me to his home. This was the longest, most exhausting day of my life in a very long time. I just wanted to sleep. I ignored him and walked straight over to his bed and turned down the covers. “No, absolutely not.” Draco grabbed me by my wrist and pulled me back towards him.

“Can we save sparring with one another until the morning?” I whined like a petulant child, “I really don’t want to do this right now.”

“You’re not wearing your filthy street clothes in my bed, Aurora.” Draco frowned, “I would ask who raised you, but I already know the answer to that. Wait here.” He pointed at me in the way that you would to train a dog. I half expected him to tell me to roll over or play dead. He began to rummage through his wardrobe until he pulled out a pair of green satin pajamas. I looked at the set when he handed them to me and let my fingers trace the monogrammed pocket that had his initials embroidered in gold. “You know where the bathroom is.” Draco said as he cleared his throat.

I nodded and walked through the adjacent door into his bathroom and stripped down. I put on the pajamas that swallowed me whole and stared at myself in the mirror. I looked insane. My hair was matted from crying into it and makeup was smeared everywhere. My eyes were puffy and my face was blotchy and red from the firewhisky. I couldn’t believe I had been wandering around looking like this for the past few hours. I washed my face and ran a comb through my tangled hair. It was the best I could do for now. I wandered out of the bathroom and Draco was sitting on his bed reading a book.

I said nothing as I slid into the empty space next to him. He shut his book and looked at me expectantly. “Don’t look at me like that, Draco.” I groaned. “And don’t get too close.”

“You have to give me some sort of explanation.” Draco chided me, “You owe me that much.”

“I didn’t know where else to go.” I admitted in a whisper. My eyes stung as I blinked back tears. I turned over on my side so he couldn’t see my face, but I could still feel his eyes on me. He accepted that answer for now, but I knew he wouldn’t in the morning.

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