lacewood: (Default)
Pei Yi ([personal profile] lacewood) wrote in [community profile] toxicskyremix2005-12-03 04:46 pm

harry potter - dead man's mercy

For [livejournal.com profile] serendip.
Post-Half Blood Prince AU, spoilers accordingly.



Draco wakes to the murmur of rain and a room that smells like boiled cabbage. He's lying in a bed, on sheets that feel slightly damp and smell - probably of mildew, he thinks with distaste, wrinkling his nose, before waking up, properly this time, and trying to sit up.

He doesn't make it past the attempt to move his right arm - he gasps and hisses and rolls over. Broken. He'd forgotten that. He has, in fact, forgotten that it's a miracle he's still alive at all. It's not something he feels very grateful for right now, lying here in a strange room, at God knows whose mercy, nursing a broken arm and a cracked rib and he doesn't want to know what else.

"Awake, I see," a girl's voice observes.

He knows that voice. He thinks, for a minute, of how very much he'd rather be dead, and manages to sit up this time, using his left arm.

Curled in a chair by the fireplace, Ginny Weasley looks at him. She's wearing nondescript dark robes, her red hair pulled back. Her face is pale and thin, with shadows under the eyes and a deep, red cut on her lip. She's holding her wand and he doesn't need to look at the light in her eyes to know she'll use it; last night was enough.

"You," he manages, wit being past him this fine morning.

"You were expecting someone else?" she asks.

The question makes him pause and realise he doesn't have an answer. He scowls. "You look terrible, Weasley."

"You," she points out, "look worse."

He tries to sneer and fails. A Malfoy lies here at the mercy of a Weasley; he can imagine the hissy fit the gallery full of ancestors back home is going to throw already when they get wind of this. Father will never forgive him. It's Wormtail's fault, he thinks, the beginnings of a grudge rooting in his gut and seeping into his blood. But first, he has to deal with Weasley.

"What do you want?" He supposes it's too much to hope that she just wants money for saving his life.

Ginny frowns. "Other than your death and a decent breakfast?"

"Well, you should have left me to die then. What d'you want?"

Last night is beginning to stand out in stark, unrelenting relief; he'd walked straight into Wormtail's trap. If Wormtail couldn't get at Snape, not now when Snape was the Master's favourite, what with killing Dumbledore and all, then at least he could get at Draco, couldn't he?

He hisses to himself, hands beginning to shake. They still think he's too young, even after everything he's fought so hard for, and they were almost right. He'd be dead now, if it weren't for Ginny bloody Weasley, coming in at the last moment, just when they'd left him for dead, and - he can't really remember what happened after that. He doesn't /want to remember.

"Should've left me to die," he mutters.

"Very grateful of you. It's a good thing I didn't do this to be thanked," she says, standing up and shaking out her robes out.

"Going to finish the job yourself?" he asks, when she comes to stand by the foot of the bed and glare down at him.

"I wished," she says. "but no."

"what were you doing there anyway? Don't tell me you Phoenixes were in on the great plan to off Draco Malfoy. They wouldn't have sent you."

"They don't know I'm here," she says. "I've been searching for you myself."

This time, he does manage a sneer. "I'm amazed. If this is your way of trying to tell me something, Weasley, I don't take anyone's seconds, especially not Po-"

He stops to a wand pointed right between his eyes, so close he has to go cross-eyed to look at it. Ginny's hand is stiff with anger, but steady. Too steady. She's going to snap any minute and it's going to be Draco's guts all over the room, and he's not sure he cares. He doesn't want to care. He's not going to beg his life from a damned Weasley.

"You still haven't told me what you want from me. Or don't you know?" he demands, drawing back from her wand. He wonders where his wand is; he hopes it isn't broken.

Her eyes are hard. "As a matter of fact, I do. I need you."

Draco could think of something cutting to say, he's sure. But he's starting to want to live after all, and anyway, he'd rather not be scarred between the eyes, exactly how Harry Potter didn't die, because then he'd really have to kill himself.

"And what makes you think I'll help?" he asks. "I should have guessed. Trying to save your boyfriend Potter, aren't you? Where is he? Why don't you just ask him to come here and do his own dirty work?"

He watches her face twist, tighten. "I don't know where Harry is," she says, very quiet. "He hasn't been seen for weeks."

"Off playing noble hero again? How like him. Not much of a boyfriend, is he?," he says, and smirks.

"Shut up."

"Well, what do you want me for? We haven't seen him either and I wouldn't tell you even if we had."

Her eyes narrow. "You realise I could kill you."

"What, no Crucio? But of course not, not from a good little Gryffindor like you," he snarls. "What would Potter say to hear you talk like this?"

Her knuckles are white around her wand, but if she hasn't killed him yet - she probably won't. He hopes. The thought reminds him of Dumbledore again (over and over and over again); he clenches his teeth and swallows, hard. Damn Weasley.

"This isn't about Harry. Maybe the Order is standing outside waiting for me to give them the word," she says.

"You said no one knew you were here."

"I could be lying."

He stiffens. "Maybe the Sorting Hat put you in the wrong house after all," he finally mutters, because she's right. He doesn't think she's lying, but she could be; stupid of him to forget. Even Weasleys, it seems, shouldn't be underestimated. "There's no way they'd send you," he adds. They must have more than enough noble-hearted idiots without having to resort to brats, and surely Potter would never hear of sending his precious girlfriend to do what she did last night.

"Maybe they would," she says, even. "But that's not what I need you for."

"I wait with bated breath, Weasley," he snaps.

"I need to become a Death Eater," she says.

For a full five minutes, he gapes at her. Then he doubles over with a snigger, shoulders shaking so hard he hurts all over, arm and all, but he can't stop and he hasn't laughed this hard in, what, months now?

"Malfoy!" she snaps and he has to choke back a howl of mirth.

"You? A Death Eater?" he says, and he still can't stop sniggering. "I knew you Weasleys were insane, but I didn't know you were this stupid too."

"No more stupid than you, Malfoy. If you could do it, it can't be so hard, can it?" she says sweetly.

He scowls. "And I'd like to see you do what I did, Weasley. It fooled you all, didn't it? We won!"

Her grip on her wand tightens. "Tell that to the Death Eaters who never left Hogwarts alive," she says shortly.

"Casualties. The Dark Lord was prepared for that." With Dumbledore on the scale, Voldemort would've forgiven any number of losses. The trick was making sure you weren't one of them.

"You didn't fool Harry. It'd never have worked if we hadn't underestimated you."

Yes, he'd taught everyone better now, hadn't he? Harry Potter could say all he liked - Malfoy had won that one anyway.

"So you want to become a Death Eater. What makes you think I'll help? We can't all be as stupid as you lot."

"I could use the Imperius on you. Don't think I won't, Malfoy," she says. "I'm only bothering to ask you anything because I don't have the Veritaserum."

He'd be thankful for small mercies if he was in any position to appreciate them. "It doesn't matter how much I tell you. You'd never do it, Weasley, not in a million years. You think you're the first one to think of this? The Dark Lord has ways of of making sure he can't be betrayed. I'd be more than happy to see you die in screaming agony, but it's not worth my skin to help you do it."

"It'll be worth your skin to help because if you're no use to me I'll hand you over to the Order. And they're not going to be as kind," she says, glaring at him.

He laughs, and the noise is a little too high, too thin, too shrill. "Go ahead, Weasley! You think your precious Order can do anything I haven't seen yet? It won't be any worse what the Dark Lord can do to my mother! Or me!"

She looks at him for a long moment, and her laugh is short and sharp. "You're scared of him," she says. "You're too scared to even think straight. So much for the great things you were dreaming of, Malfoy."

He grips the sheets in his clenched fists. "Shut up," he hisses. "You have no idea, you haven't even begun to see what he can do, you're not laughing at me--"

"I have a family too," she snaps. "Ron left with Harry and we haven't sen him for weeks either! Or Hermione! And Greyback almost killed Bill! And that's not counting my mum or dad or - you're not the only one with things to lose in this war, Malfoy!"

"Always were too many Weasleys around. Can't hurt to cut the numbers down to size-" he mutters. Her fist hits him smack on the nose and he yells. She grips him by the collar, her wand at his throat.

"I said I'd use the Imperius if I had to and I will," she says through gritted teeth. "Make up your mind, Malfoy."

"You might as well kill me, Weasley," he hisses back. "Or can't you do it? You'd never cut it as a Death Eater with those Gryffindor morals of yours-"

"Shut up," she snaps, and shakes him. "You should talk. You couldn't kill Dumbledore either. Why do you think I'm even bothering? I'd have let you die otherwise!"

"Well, you should have!" he yells and manages to shove her off - his arm screams in pain and he doubles over it, swearing, tears pricking the corners of his eyes. Goddamn Weasley. Goddamn Dumbledore, he's going to haunt him as long as he lives, never mind that he's dead, he's not going to let Draco forget standing on that tower and not moving and then watching Snape steal his glory, that should have been his but he couldn't do it and he still doesn't think he can do it and - He doesn't need a bloody Weasley to rub his face in it.

He chokes and curses but he doesn't cry, because he can feel her watching. He glares up to see her looking down at him and if that's pity on her face he's going to strangle himself with his own collar.

"Bit too late for that, isn't it?" she says.

It's a bit too late for everything. He's lost already, and God, how he's lost. "I hate you," he mutters. "All of you and your stupid Order and your bloody Potter thinking he's got to save the bleeding world and you lot thinking you're so wonderful--"

"Go cry to someone who cares," she says. "Will you help me or will I have to call the Order down?"

She hasn't mentioned that he owes her his life and that's wizard's debt. Draco doesn't want to think about that either, so he doesn't. One Ginny Weasley has to be easier to shake off than a whole Order - and her plan, if you could call it that at all, is so phenomenally deranged, there's no way it's going to work.

"What makes you so sure I won't tell on you?" he says.

"That's for me to worry about, isn't it?" she says.

"And what if I did say yes?"

"Then I won't have to kill you or cast an Imperius curse before breakfast," she says. He'll admit, she has an edge to her stare, a good one. Pity it's more than Potter would ever be able to appreciate.

"I'd like my wand back, then," he says, just to see how easy she'll be. Assuming she's even got it - it'd be a world of trouble if he had to get a new one now, with Wormtail trying to get him killed and a lunatic Weasley in the same room. She reaches into her pocket and he blinks, but that comes much too soon. The wand she drops on the bed is in two pieces.

"What is this, Weasley?"

"I'm not the one who broke it," she tells him, annoyed. "You should be glad I stopped to pick it up at all."

"Some good it's going to do me in two pieces!"

"Well that's your problem, isn't it? You can put it back together with sticky tape. Ron's still worked like that."

Yes, and then it'd made him puke slugs. Oh, just his cursed, cursed luck. He glares at the pieces, picks them up (has to remember not clench so hard he snaps them again). "Of all the bloody -" he's muttering, when a robe hits him in the face. It's navy blue velvet cut in no fashion he's ever seen, and reeks of dust and mothballs. Ginny probably got them from the same place she got the hideous ones she's wearing now.

"Your other robes are covered in mud and blood. Put these on, if you want to go down and look for breakfast."

"In case you hadn't noticed, my arm is broken and there are people trying to kill me out there," he points out, scathing.

"Well, if you'd rather stay in bed and quiver all day, you'll just have to starve then," Ginny tells him. The door slams shut behind her.

He stares after it, spluttering, and throws the robe off the bed onto the floor. His arm aches - whatever Weasley is good at, it's certainly not healing, and Draco's not trying anything on himself while his wand's in two bits. He's so hungry he could eat the bedstead. Muttering under his breath, he climbs out of the bed and begins to pull the robe on.

end

November/December 2005