jacked up on cheap champagne (mizbean) wrote,
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Fic: The Fall of the World's Own Optimist

Fic: The Fall of the World's Own Optimist.
Author: mizBean
Pairings: Draco/OFC, Harry/Draco
Wordcount: 4,800
Rating: PG
Summary: A Death Eater's Lament, or the absurd, and sometimes sad, story of what really happened to Draco Malfoy.
A/N: Written for fourth_rose for her birthday. *sorry for the delay* And apologies to cutecoati for not finishing this in time for the big unveiling. Thank you to oddnari for her advice and beta.

The Fall of the World's Own Optimist
A Death Eater's Lament, or the absurd, and sometimes sad, story of what really happened to Draco Malfoy.


Draco isn’t really sure how he ended up in a laundrette in a seedy side of London, watching his underclothes spin around in the wash cycle.

Scratch that. He knows all too well how this happened. He just prefers to think this is merely a figment of his overwrought imagination or better yet, just a bad dream. That way Draco Malfoy wouldn’t have been a criminal and a traitor, an abomination unworthy of living in the Wizarding world. And he would even have a wand.

And then he wouldn’t be reduced to making illegal potions in his shithole kitchen for ridiculously reduced prices just because he’s desperate and there are far worse ways to make money. Besides he fears his mother’s wrath if he ever took a job working for Muggles. Even though his mother is dead and her ghost would probably never step foot in this side of London, he knows better then to tempt fate.

A buzzer sounds and he throws the paperback he wasn’t really reading onto the plastic chair beside him. He proceeds to scoop his wet clothes from the washing machine, checking twice to see if he left behind a stray sock, and throws them into the dryer.

It may surprise some who knew him, but Draco is very good at adapting to the curves that life threw him. Well, good enough to get by, that is, and he suspects Severus would be proud of him. Still, it’s the vulgarities of Muggle life that get to him: The noise and the filth, the washing and the cooking, and god help him, the fucking machines that don’t work like they’re supposed to.

He presses the start button to the dryer again and throws in another coin. Nothing happens. He presses the button five more times, swearing, loudly. And for the 2,085th time–once for every day of the last five years and twice on Sundays – he wants to kill Harry Potter.

“Sorry love, that dryer’s broken.”

Emma Summers, a round-faced girl who reminds him too much of Pansy, leans over Draco’s shoulder, pressing her ample breasts against his back.

“Yes, I can see that,” Draco replies.

“Here, let me.” She opens the dryer door and begins moving his clothes to dryer next to it. Draco lets her, still weirdly unaccustomed to doing things for himself and he doesn’t stop her from putting her own money into the machine. “My treat,” she says, winking at him.

“So,” she continues, regarding him with Pansy’s brown eyes. “Haven’t seen much of you lately.”

Draco shrugs, examining the chipped enamel on the face of dryer. “Been busy.”

“Busy?” She laughs. “With what? I’ve never known you to do anything, Draco Malfoy.”

Draco rolls his eyes. “That’s because it’s top secret.”

She moves closer. Her hair smells faintly of strawberry shampoo. “I see. A spy, are you?”

He snorts. “No, hardly. Look, I should—”

“Come out with me when your washing’s done.” She smiles again and Draco feels something else he has become all too used to: guilt. It’s not lost on him that if he weren’t Draco Malfoy and he liked girls a little more, he and Emma might make a great pair. He even stumbled into her bed one night, after downing too many drinks and spending too many days feeling sorry for himself, but then he woke up and saw something that reminded him too much of what he had to leave behind. He has tried to avoid her ever since.

“Emma I—“ he stops, realizing that she already knows what he’s going to say.

Emma’s face hardens. “One of these days, Draco Malfoy, you’ll be sorry.”

Funny, Draco thinks. That’s what the real Pansy had said to him the night Dumbledore died.

~*~

Is he sorry? Draco likes to think not, but reality is always a different matter.

It’s one of those balmy late summer nights that people talk of cherishing because one never knows when there will be another. It’s a minor consolation. Draco reckons he’d be in a foul mood even if there were a handsome stranger lying naked in the middle of the street. Guilt does that to a person.

Draco decides that the best way to temper guilt lies at the bottom of a pint glass and he leaves Emma and his wet laundry behind for the pub on the corner. The pub is only stumbling distance to his flat, an inspired decision on his part.

You see, there are some things Muggles do do well. Drinking is one of them. (Muggle television being another, though he’d be loath to ever admit that to someone’s face). Draco has spent many a night squandering his hard-earned money getting completely and utterly drunk. This is something he knows Severus would never approve of (only a finger of brandy on a bad day for him), nor would his father, but Draco really doesn’t care.

It doesn’t take him long, however, to realize something is terribly, terribly wrong.

He may not have been able to practice magic in the last five years, but it’s not something one ever forgets. And he feels it, the slippery pull of Dark Magic swirling around him before it quickly passes him by.

A quick flash of light. A scream pierces the darkness. And then nothing, only silence.

Draco can only watch helplessly as a plume of dust slowly rises into the air from where his building once stood. His flat. Everything he owns is gone.

Perhaps this is what happens when you’re not sorry, he thinks, and an answer comes in the guise of a green serpent flying through the sky, twisting from the bony skull floating high above his head.

A woman runs screaming by and Draco is suddenly aware that there are people trapped in the rubble. Yet, he can’t move. It’s like his feet are horrifically rooted to the pavement. Around him sirens shriek in the distance and he only just hears a voice calling him from behind.

“Mr. Malfoy.”

Draco turns to see an unpleasant-looking man dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and a pair of satin pantaloons. The man smirks. “You’ll be coming with me now,” he says.

Draco’s eyes dart around the gathering crowds, seeing other Ministry officials and Obliviators have arrived and are already mingling among them. “No,” he says, lifting his chin. “I won’t go.”

An oily smile breaks across the man’s face. “No? Murdering Muggles is a capital offense, Mr. Malfoy. I’m sure you remember that from your trial.”

“I never killed anyone,” Draco hisses in return, and then despite thinking better of it, he adds quietly, “This isn’t my fault.”

“Not your fault?” the man parrots. “Dark Mark in the sky. A street full of dead Muggles. It hardly matters whose fault it is, does it?” A wand suddenly appears in the man’s hand. “It looks like you’re finally going to Azkaban after all.”

~*~

It’s true. Draco never killed anyone. He did some horrible things as a Death Eater, he’s not going to deny that, but Dumbledore was right about one thing: Draco is not a killer.

Unless his back is against the wall.

~*~

Suddenly, a siren screams, louder than the others and Draco only has a moment to react before an ambulance is thundering down on top of them. The man still has his wand drawn in front of him, but he seems powerless, not knowing how to react to the sight of a several ton machine heading straight for him. Draco, however, is not. He shoves the man hard, sending him pin wheeling to the ground and runs, ignoring the sickening thud of the ambulance rolling over the man’s body.

In spite of this, he doesn’t make it far and he finds himself sprawled face first onto the pavement with ropes twisting around his arms and legs. He tries in vain to break free, but the ropes only squeeze tighter until they bite into his skin, and finally he can’t move at all.

“It’s over,” a voice calls over him and he feels a boot roughly roll him over onto his back. In the darkness, he can barely make out the features of the man towering over him, except that the man wears glasses and his hair still looks like a kneazle had decided to bed in it for the winter.

“Potter.”

~*~

Pain tears through him, burning his limbs like fire, and he can only think about death, its sweet relief, and he screams. Peals of laughter, sharp like a blade, echo inside his head, yet the pain never stops.

~*~

He coughs, spitting blood into the dirt as he tries to rise to his knees. He must have bitten his tongue and he begins to gag on the copper-tasting liquid filling his mouth.

“Get up, boy,” a slippery voice calls.

He squeezes his eyes shut as painful spasms tear through his body. Aftershocks of the Cruciatus. “No,” he finally manages. “Just… just kill me,” he begs. “Please.” A woman behind him begins to wail and a sob rips through him. His mother. He hadn’t counted on the Dark Lord bringing her to see this.

“You think I should let you off so easily, Draco. My instructions were very explicit. Now, get up.” He is roughly flipped over onto his back and red eyes pierce down at him through the darkness. “You are still my servant, boy.”

Snape steps into his field of vision, his face a study of obedience. Draco nods. He has to do this. It’s the only way to save his mum. He stumbles to his feet and sees her, flanked by two beefy Death Eaters. He recognizes one of them as Fenrir Greyback. That bastard. He swallows thickly and looks away.

“I think we understand each other,” the Dark Lord hisses into his ear. “Take her to the dungeons.”

Draco opens his mouth and nothing comes out.

~*~

Draco gasps and his eyes fly open. A torch is burning high above his head, casting harsh shadows against the rough stone walls and it takes him a moment to remember where he is.

He runs a shaking hand through his sweat-drenched hair and sits up, tearing the meager blanket from his body. The cell is small, barely large enough to contain the slab he had been sleeping on, a dirty sink and a toilet that is crammed into the corner.

This isn’t the first time he’s been locked in the jails hidden deep below the Ministry of Magic. Draco spent four months here after the war and he only narrowly avoided Azkaban because of the testimony of Hermione Granger, of all people, who he had been sent to kill, but failed spectacularly. Just like he had failed to keep his mother alive. Only his father remains alive, fodder for the Dementors that stalk Azkaban’s corridors.

Draco will be joining him, the guard had hissed, before he was locked in this cell two days prior, and perhaps, Draco thinks, that isn’t such a terrible thing after all. He would like to see his father again and maybe Pansy was right after all.

Maybe he really is sorry.

A bitter sound hiccups out of his mouth and he lets the tears stream down his face unhindered. Draco likes to pride himself that above all else, he survived. Even when the worst had happened – when his mother was found dead and Severus was killed, and he was shunned from the Magical world, he went on purely because of spite. It’s a notion that he clutches to when he has nothing else to hold on to, that Potter and the Ministry, and all those other self-righteous pricks have to live with the fact that Draco Malfoy is still out there in the world.

But what good is surviving if you can’t live with yourself?

Just then, the door scrapes open and Draco exhales with something that feels like relief. If Azkaban is where he belongs, so be it. Then he notices that it’s not a guard standing in the doorway, but a woman, dressed in a smart set of business robes, barely older than he.

“Come with me,” she says, and she coolly waits for Draco to wipe his eyes and get to his feet.

“Where are we going?” he asks noting that despite her studied indifference, her eyes tell a different story.

“Mr. Potter has asked for you,” she replies curtly. After a brief, withering glance she turns, leaving Draco standing unguarded in the doorway.

Potter? His first reaction is disgust and then curiosity, and then he notices that the elevator is opening to take her back to the upper floors. “Wait,” he cries.

~*~

“Shut up! Just shut…” Draco tightens his grip on his already wavering wand and wipes his forehead with his other arm. “I’m not going to kill you, all right?” he tells Granger who nods back at him between terrified sobs.

“How did you get in here?” she finally manages to ask from the corner she has cowered herself into. Draco had found her alone, as he expected when he broke into the cottage that she and Potter are sharing. It’s supposed to be protected by the Fidelius, except the Order’s secrets aren’t as airtight as they are supposed to be when anyone can be bought, and it didn’t take long for Draco to procure the password necessary to enter the cottage. Except Draco has a price as well, which is why he’s here.

“Let’s just say everyone has a price,” he tells her, peering out the window again. “When is Potter going to be back?”

Granger doesn’t answer. Draco knew she wouldn’t, but it was worth a try anyway.

“Look, I’m not going to hurt you,” he explains. “I— I just need your help.”

A look of disgust crosses Granger’s face. “What? Why should I help you?”

“I know you must hate me, but please listen to me.“

“Hate you?” Granger spits out these words like they were made of spoilt milk. “You’re not even worthy of my hatred.”

“I didn’t kill Weasley, if that’s what you think,” Draco replies, perhaps a little too hastily. “I wasn’t even there.”

Granger looks away. Fresh tears spill down her cheeks. “It doesn’t matter if you weren’t there,” she says. “You’re still one of them.”

“Fuck, Granger. Just listen to me, all right?” he shouts. In an act of pure frustration he kicks one of the kitchen chairs over, sending it skidding across the floor, landing near Granger’s feet. “The Dark Lord wants me to kill you. You realize that’s why I’m here, but I haven’t, have I?”

If possible Granger looks at him with even more loathing. “You really must be desperate, then. What’s another Mudblood to the likes of you,” she spits.

Yes, he’s desperate. He already knows this. If for some reason the Ministry doesn’t arrest him after this, he’ll be dead before the night is over. Either way his life is over.

“This is about your mother, isn’t it?” she asks softly.

~*~

In the end, his appeal to Granger hardly matters. He is captured and sent to the Ministry as he expected. Two weeks later the Dark Lord is defeated. While his trial is a media sensation, hardly anyone notices the news that Narcissa Malfoy was found murdered in the Dark Lord’s dungeons.

Granger sends him an owl, sending her regrets and explaining that the Order had tried to find her in time, but the enchantments surrounding her were too strong.

~*~

The simple answer would be for Draco to blame Potter for all his troubles. There is Potter the prick who rejected his friendship first year, Potter the bully who humiliated him throughout Hogwarts, Potter the self-righteous who helped send his father to Azkaban or even Potter who didn’t keep his promises and rescue his mother in time. And Draco does.

He spends days locked in his jail cell before his trial plotting Potter’s demise. His first few weeks living in the Muggle world are spent locked in his flat scheming for ways to make him pay. He obsesses about him so much that Emma turns to him one night between shots of whisky and asks if he is in love with Harry Potter.

Draco sputters his drink across the top of the bar. That’s when he decides the best revenge is not thinking about that person at all.

~*~

Potter’s office is tucked into the corner of the second floor. As he walks by, the Aurors glare at him from their cubicles, but they seem unwilling to say or do anything else. Potter’s word is still gold, apparently. Why is he not surprised? As for the woman escorting him who (Draco guesses now) is Potter’s assistant, she seems completely unconcerned. As if she leads dangerous prisoners through potentially explosive situations everyday.

She shows him in and shuts the door behind her, leaving him standing alone in Potter’s office. He stands there for a whole minute, astonished. He’s a dangerous war criminal. He could rifle through classified documents and steal State secrets. He could set fire to Potter’s office. If only he had a match.

Instead he slumps down into the plush leather chair behind Potter’s desk and stares dully out the window. Minutes crawl by and Potter still hasn’t come. Draco curses Potter’s punctuality and decides everything on Potter’s desk is fair game. Only, after reading several rolls of parchment containing nothing more interesting than ghoul sightings in Yorkshire and yesterday’s Daily Prophet, Draco is completely bored. Potter really is as dull as he always suspected.

His eyes eventually fall on a small silver frame and he picks it up. Inside there’s photograph of a little girl with brilliant red hair and bright green eyes. So Potter did marry that Weasley after all, he thinks, watching the girl twirl around in circles in her pink dress.

There’s a sudden burst of green light and Potter finally appears, stumbling out of the fireplace on the opposite wall. A flurry of ash falls to the carpet as he shakes out his hair and removes his cloak, and Draco is finally able to watch him with unguarded eyes.

He’s distressed to find out that Potter is one of those people who seem to have grown into their skin and he is distressed by something else. His heart is fluttering inside his chest and for first time Draco finds himself nervous in Potter’s presence.

“That’s my daughter.”

“What?” Potter points to the picture frame still clutched in Draco’s hands.

“Oh.” He fumbles with the frame, trying to put it back where he found it. “She’s cute,” he admits grudgingly, wiping the palms of his hands on his jeans.

Potter smiles. “Yes, she is, isn’t she? Smart too. I wish I saw her more,” he adds, his smile dropping a bit. “She lives with her Mum,” he adds.

“Oh,” Draco says again and he frowns, confused by his utter lack of delight in Potter’s misfortune. He briefly wonders if watching too many talk shows has some how made him soft.

Potter also ignores the fact that Draco is sitting in his chair and pulls a wooden one up to his desk instead. “Well,” he says, “I suppose you want to know why you’re here.”

“It’d be nice.”

Potter sighs and rubs his hands together, looking vaguely uncomfortable. “All right. I’ve been thinking a lot…” Potter trails off and laughs uneasily. “I even had this rehearsed,” he admits.

Draco rolls his eyes. “Just spill it, Potter. I’m missing my meager ration of dinner down in gaol.”

Potter’s eyes flash and Draco is relieved that they are back on common ground. “Fine. If the situation was reversed, what would you have done?”

Draco frowns. “What sort of question is that?”

“An honest one.”

Draco snorts. Potter is still staring at him. “You’re serious.”

“All right. How about this? Would you send someone in your present situation to Azkaban?”

“Yes,” he says without hesitation. “I’d be stupid not to.”

This is the uncomfortable truth. His father schooled him enough in politics to know that he, Draco Malfoy, is expendable. Without capital, he is nothing, and now that he has become a target for disgruntled Death Eaters, or otherwise, he is worth even less.

“Is that what you want?” Potter asks, interrupting his thoughts.

“What?”

“Even though we both know you had nothing to do with destroying that building. Other than simply occupying it, I suppose.”

“Fuck you, Potter. I feel guilty enough as it is.”

Potter raises an eyebrow. “Do you?”

“Potter, what the hell is this all about? Or are you just trying to drive me mad so I’ll jump out this window right here and be put out of my misery.”

Potter’s mouth quirks. “Those windows aren’t real,” he points out.

Draco balls his fists at his sides. Visions of Potter Avada Kedavra’ed on the floor dance in his head. “Potter, I swear,” he hisses, “if you don’t tell me what the fuck I’m doing here, so help me—“

“Okay, okay.” Potter stands, holding out his hands. “I think about you, probably more than I should and…” he trails off, looking helplessly out the window. “I’d like to do something for you… help you.”

Draco crosses his arms. “Help me? Whatever for?” His eyes narrow and for a short moment he marvels how easy it is for them to slip into their old roles. “Why Potty?” he snits. “Have a guilty conscience all of the sudden?”

Potter laughs. “I’m not the one who took the Dark Mark.”

“I didn’t have a choice,” Draco replies, gritting his teeth.

Potter takes a step forward. “Didn’t you?” Potter’s eyes are disturbingly bright and Draco is surprised to realize that he has stopped paying attention to whatever it is that Potter is saying to him. In fact, Draco still can’t stop staring and Potter finally stops speaking and stares back.

“You’re not even listening to me, are you?” Potter’s face has turned a nice shade of puce.

Draco sighs, and runs a tired hand through his hair. He’s sure he looks something like awful and he’s starting to think that the stress is causing him to hallucinate because Potter is not attractive and some hero in shining armor, he reminds himself. Potter is speccy and still wears scuffed trainers and really ought think about getting a decent haircut. And above all, Potter is a sanctimonious prick.

“Malfoy. Malf— Draco.”

Draco blinks.

“Forget it.” Potter walks over to his desk and picks up one the parchment scrolls Draco had been reading earlier. He mutters a quick string of words and grainy photo of Draco appears at the top of the page.

“What are you doing?”

Potter ignores him, pulling a quill out of his inkpot and signing his name at the bottom with large angry letters. “Here. You may go,” he says, holding out the scroll in his hand. “Give this to security guard in the lobby.”

Go? He grabs the parchment out of Potter’s hands and quickly scans the copy. It’s his entire criminal record, up to and including the charges of murder against innocent Muggles from the bombing of his flat two days ago. “What—“ he says, and then he stops cold. "'I, Harry Potter, chief Auror and Member of the Order of Merlin, First Class, authorize the release of Draco Malfoy from criminal custody for lack of evidence… Furthermore, I authorize that Mr. Malfoy’s have full return of his magical powers up to and including owning a wand. Co-signed by Rufus Scrimgeour, Minister of Magic.'" He puts down the scroll and stares at Potter who is doing his best to ignore him. “What’s this about?”

The color on Potter’s cheeks is now a brilliant shade of red. “You can obviously read, Malfoy. Figure it out for yourself. Now if you’ll excuse me…”

“But…” Potter ignores him, sitting down and shuffling the parchment scrolls atop his desk. “I don’t get you at all,” Draco finally says, before stalking out the door.

~*~

Draco’s solicitor, a wizened old witch with a severe case of warts sits at the table opposite him. They are sitting in a cell-like conference room deep within the Ministry of Magic. There are no windows, of course. Draco hasn’t seen the sun or the moon in almost four months. “The Ministry is willing to make a deal,” she finally says looking up from the scroll she had been reading.

Draco squirms. The shackles binding him to the chair chafe into his skin and he desperately needs to relieve himself. “No deal. We’ve talked about this already.”

“Mr. Malfoy. I can’t help you if you won’t let me. They’re going to send you to Azkaban.”

“Then let them,” Draco hisses.

The solicitor sighs and starts collecting her scrolls. “I’ve done all I can, then.” She slides a narrow slip of paper across the table. “This is a list of my charges. I trust there is still money in the Malfoy account at Gringotts?”

Draco sighs. He had hoped it wouldn’t come to this. “My Aunt Andromeda offered to pay your fee.”

“Good. Good. Oh, that’s good to hear,” the solicitor claps her jeweled hands together. “It was a pleasure doing business with you.” She stands and signals to the guard that she is finished.

“Wait!” Draco shouts. “You said Granger was willing to testify as a character witness.”

“Well, yes. Ms. Granger agreed to talk to Wizengamot on your behalf, but… Mr. Malfoy, if I may be frank?”

Draco nods.

“Without the testimony of certain persons, you will not be let off the hook.”

“Potter,” Draco seethes.

“He’s quite intent on sending you to Azkaban, as are the other Aurors assigned to your case. He’s got quite a burr up his backside about you,” she giggles.

Draco looks away. Every conversation he’s ever had with Potter flashes through his mind. “I wasn’t responsible for Weasley’s death,” he says finally.

“No one said you were, dear.”

“Right,” Draco murmurs under his breath. “Tell me about the Ministry’s offer.”

~*~

Of course, the day Draco finally wins back the right to carry a wand is the day Ollivander shutters his shop early. It’s also the day that Diagon Alley records the most rainfall in two decades, and as such, Draco is soaked through to the skin.

So he meanders around Diagon Alley, cursing Harry Potter while witches and wizards hurry past protected by anti-rain charms and thick cloaks. He also has no money, just a set of keys to a flat that no longer exists.

It’s a bit of a shock when he realizes this. He had almost reached the entrance to Muggle London when he stopped in his tracks and turned around.

So what does a former Death Eater, black market potions maker, and embarrassment to the Wizarding world do in a situation like this? He begins to laugh because it really is quite absurd. Never in his wildest dreams would he have expected that this is what would have become of him. And then he laughs harder because he sees Harry Potter walking toward him with a large black umbrella like some heroic knight after all.

“I’d like to buy you dinner” he says, holding the umbrella over Draco’s head. “I feel I owe—"

“Don’t worry about it, Potter," Draco replies so quickly, he surprises even himself. He shrugs. “I’m tired of thinking about the past.”

~*~

“C’mon, dance with me.” Emma yanks Draco’s hand, pulling him off the barstool. Draco tries to protest. He hates to dance, especially in a crowded pub, but his objections are useless in the face of such an exuberant display of persuasion. “Pleeeeaaase,” she giggles, shamelessly twirling around under his hand.

He can’t help it and he starts to laugh. It feels foreign to his body, despite that he pulls her close, spinning her around. She’s singing along with the song playing on the jukebox, her throaty voice tickling his ear.


'You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you might find
You get what you need.'


~*~


Emma Summers was good for a few things, Draco thinks as he stands beneath Potter’s giant umbrella. She knew how to mix a drink, for example and she patiently helped him navigate Muggle London without ever asking why. And somehow without even trying she gave Draco a clue to where he might belong.

“Dinner, then?” Potter repeats after he painstakingly dries Draco’s hair and clothes with his wand.

Draco considers that for a moment because one shouldn’t be too hasty to agree to eat with someone you’ve hated for over half your life. “All right," he replies.



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Tags: character: draco malfoy, character: harry potter, fic, fic: harry potter, pairing: harry/draco
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