Numb Without You (Draco Malfoy)

06

Waking up in a bed that isn’t your own after a night of drinking is disconcerting no matter the circumstances. In the brief moments between deep sleep and fully waking up you have to process all of the events that led you here and it is completely disorientating piecing it all back together. I pushed my hair out of my face and took in my surroundings as morning light filled the room as my eyes tried to adjust. The other side of the bed was cold and empty, but there was a hot cup of tea on the bedside table waiting for me that let me know I hadn’t been left alone for very long.

I stood up and the blood rushed to my head making me sit back down almost immediately. I pressed my cool hand to my head to try and alleviate the throbbing that had started in my temples and was radiating outwards. I reached for the tea and took a sip, suddenly realizing just how dry my mouth was. As soon as the tea touched my lips my hangover disappeared. Leave it to Malfoy to make me the perfect hangover remedy. He was always a master of potions. It’s the very reason I sat next to him during our OWL examinations back in year five. He always let me peak over his shoulder to see what the answers were.

Now that I was feeling better, I walked into the bathroom and took a quick shower. I couldn’t find my clothes from yesterday anywhere, but I did find some women’s clothes in one of the dresser drawers, and when I put them on I realized that they fit me perfectly. Once I was fully dressed, I could hear people talking downstairs and decided to investigate for myself. The voices got louder and more clear the closer I got to the kitchen. I hesitated in the doorway as I listened in on the conversation the mother and son were having.

“Draco Lucius Malfoy I don’t care how old you are now, you do not sneak women into this house.” I heard the familiar dulcet tones of Narcissa Malfoy fill the air. Her sweet voice could always be deceiving. She could be just as shrill as her sister if she really wanted to be, and you did not want to have to learn that the hard way.

“I didn’t sneak her in. She came of her own volition, Mother.” Draco retorted defensively.

“Someone had to let the protective charms on the house down for her to get inside. It wasn’t me, and it wasn’t your father. There’s no one else it could have been.” She argued with her son. “Who is this girl, anyway? Why are you hiding her? She’s not a mudblood is she?” The disgust was evident in her voice. It appeared that Narcissa’s prejudices had not gone away with time. She still had the same disdain for anyone that wasn’t pureblooded.

“No, she’s not.” Draco sighed in frustration at his mum and the two let silence resume. I took the sudden lull in conversation as my invitation to step into the room from where I had been lingering right out of view.

“Hi Mrs Malfoy.” I said awkwardly as I shuffled forward. The two of them looked at me with matching expressions of surprise. I don’t think Draco expected me up so early after last night. “Sorry for the intrusion.” I bowed my head out of politeness as was customary for many pure blooded families to do when greeting one another. She seemed satisfied by my gesture and relaxed.

“Draco.” She scowled bringing her attention back to her son, “Why didn’t you just say it was just Aurora? She’s your sponsor! That reminds me, we need to add her to the list of people allowed to apparate directly into the house. That way we won’t be having any more of this sneaking around.” She looked pointedly between the two of us in a way that was very judgmental. That wasn’t the first time this week someone had referred to me as just Aurora. I was beginning to feel even lower about myself, and I didn’t think that was at all possible.

“Yeah... uhhh... I was just doing a late night check-in. It’s a new thing they’re trying within the program where we do overnight visits. I’m terribly sorry for the imposition I’ve caused.” I lied through my teeth with ease. Draco was trying not to laugh as his mum bought every word of it.

“I’ll just leave you two alone then. I’ll go find that enchanted parchment and write your name on it. Then you should be welcome to come and go here freely. No more need for the floo network or apparatung outside windows.” She gave me her classic red-lipped smile and grabbed her cup of tea off of the table. She sauntered out of the room leaving me standing there thinking of what to say next.

“Where are my clothes?” I asked him. I tugged at the shirt that fit tightly to my torso.

“I threw them out because they were disgusting and old.” Draco sneered with disgust at the very thought of what I had been wearing yesterday, “You’ve had that same jumper since we were kids. Your new clothes look much better.” His eyes trailed up and down my petite frame as he admired what I was wearing with a look of approval.

“I liked that jumper.” I said, “Why get rid of something that still fits? And what do you mean my new clothes. These were in your drawer.”

Draco raised a brow, “They fit you, don’t they?”

I shrugged and avoided his piercing gaze. I always felt like his eyes saw right through me, “I really just assumed they were clothes a girl left here after a disappointing evening.”

“Look, Aurora, I don’t mind late night visits... but that was just weird last night.” Draco frowned at me. He had grown tired of our conversation that was devolving into quips and jabs and wanted to get straight to the point, “What’s going on?”

I sighed and squeezed my eyes shut in frustration. I knew I couldn’t keep this private from him. I was essentially homeless at the moment and there was no way of hiding it. “I caught Aidan cheating on me with Camille. In my flat that I pay for. And then Camille essentially kicked me out, so now I’ve got nowhere to go. Believe me, you weren’t exactly my first choice.”

“Merlin, that’s terrible. I’m sorry.” Draco was saying the right things, but his facial expressions betrayed him as his mouth curled upwards hinting at a smirk.

I narrowed my eyes and glared at him, “You find my misery funny, do you?”

Draco shook his head, “No, it’s just that...” he paused and a quiet laugh escaped his lips, “I’m sorry, but you have known Camille for years. How does this surprise you at all?”

“She has been my best friend since we were seven years old.” I reminded him, “I thought I could trust her more than I thought I could trust Aidan.”

“Aurora, be real for a second.” Draco rolled his eyes in annoyance, “This is like Hogwarts all over again. Camille always wanted what you had, and by any means necessary she was going to steal it from you.” He was right, but I didn’t like hearing it. Our relationship had always been a rather tempestuous one. With our parents being locked away in Azkaban, the loose threads that held us together had been quicker to unravel. A

I raised a brow and smirked at Draco, “She didn’t ever try to steal you from me.”

“As far as you know.” Draco shrugged and smirked right back at me confidently.

“No, I think I remember that much. That was Pansy Parkinson who wanted to steal you.” I snapped as my anger overtook me. “And you let her.” The memory still stung more than I thought it would, and bringing it up made all of the confidence drain out of Draco’s features.

Draco groaned and rubbed his eyes with his hands, “You can’t still be mad about that. We were teenagers.”

“I can be mad about a lot of things at the same time.” I scoffed. “For instance, I am still quite upset about the fact that I’m currently homeless. We can circle back to the mistakes of our teenage years another time.”

Draco sighed and shook his head, “Look... If that’s what you are so worried about... There’s an extra room at my place. You can stay there.”

I looked around the manor as I thought about it. The cold interior of this house held too many dark memories. I’m not sure I could even go into the dining room. I might have a breakdown. “Thanks, but I don’t really want to live under the same roof as Lucius. I’ll have to figure something else out.”

Draco snorted with laughter. It was a sound you didn’t hear out of him very often, “I don’t live here. I live in London.”

I furrowed my brow in confusion and leaned back on the cool, marble kitchen counter. “Then why have you been here?”

“Because you were too stubborn to let me tell you otherwise and you needed to be able to find me.” Draco said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “I think I recall you saying you know where Malfoy Manor is and not letting me push the matter any further. So... do you want to get out of here?”

I stood there mulling it over in my head. The offer was tempting, mostly because my situation was so dire. Draco grew impatient with me deliberating and grabbed my arm and we disapparated in the middle of his parents kitchen. The next thing I knew we were standing in front of a high rise building in Chelsea. It looked like a typical muggle building on the outside, but looks can be deceiving. As soon as we passed through the revolving door everything changed.

The lobby was ornate, and embellished in gold. It was extravagant and over the top, even for a Malfoy. A Phoenix was perched in the center of the room and it squawked at me when we walked past. The room was bustling with wizards and witches who were going about their day heading to and fro. Draco dragged me towards the lift and we got in. It worked very much like the lifts at the Ministry of magic, going not only up and down, but left and right as well. When the doors reopened we were standing in the foyer of a lavish looking apartment.

“This is where you live?” I marveled at the space, but my tone was a mix of both adoration and disgust. It was far too extravagant for my taste, but it made sense considering just how much money the Malfoys had to throw around. I had never met someone more rich in my entire life, and before the war I was part of a pretty well off and well-connected family.

“You don’t have to say it like that.” Draco frowned. “The extra bedroom is down the hall to the left.” He pointed lazily towards the other side of the room where there was a doorway. I nodded and walked down the hall while Draco rifled through his mail. I opened the door at the end of the corridor and nearly screamed when I saw a half-naked Theodore Nott. I rushed to close my eyes so I wouldn’t see anything and his roaring laughter filled my ears.

“Relax Rory, I’m just shirtless.” He assured me. I peeked through my fingers and saw that he was right and put my arms back down by my sides. My face went flush.

“I said to your left. Do you have no sense of direction or do you just not listen?” Draco asked, not hiding his contempt for me one bit as he sauntered up to my side.

“Is Theo your roommate?” I asked as I ignored him. I was taking a look at the very lived-in space that Theo was occupying. Clothes were strewn everywhere, and books lay haphazard and half-open on various surfaces throughout the room.

“And Zabini.” Theo smirked at me before pulling his shirt over his head, finally finishing to dress himself. He tousled his hair to fix it after pulling his arms through the sleeves. “You got a problem?”

I pursed my lips and shook my head, “Not at all. It’s just the three of you, correct?” I wasn’t enthused by the prospect of living with three boys that I had not seen or spoken to since I was seventeen, but beggars cannot be choosers.

“More or less.” Theo shrugged and Draco shot him a look. I ignored it and turned to leave as I headed to the room across the hall. My room. The four poster bed was reminiscent of the one I used to have back at Hogwarts. It made me instantly feel at home. I immediately sank into the bed and the satin sheets swallowed me up into a sea of comfort. I could hear Draco and Theo talking on the other side of the door in hushed tones. But if they didn’t want me to hear, then surely they would have used muffliato.

“She’s going to kill you, mate.” Theo warned him. His words piqued my interest and I got out of the bed to linger near the door so I could hear more clearly.

“She’s never going to know. This is all... temporary.”

“Temporary my arse. No, I’ve changed my mind. They’re both going to kill you.”

“She’s not going to be here for another two months. That’s plenty of time for Aurora to get things figured out.”

“For Aurora to get things figured out, or for you?” Theo asked pointedly. I could see his face clearly in my mind. He was definitely judging Malfoy for something. There was a long pause between them before Theo spoke again, “It doesn’t matter. Pansy is coming back early. She cut her trip short.”

“How early?” Draco asked nervously.

“Today.”

“Fuck.”

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