Warning that this story ( as well as this chapter ) contains substance use/abuse, harsh language, and sensitive themes. Read at your own risk, etc.
“Do you want to know why I did it?” Malfoy quickly blurted out as he escorted me to his guest bedroom.
“Don't worry about it,” I wasn't sure which incident he was referring to, but after the five glasses of firewhiskey he'd allowed me, I didn't much care.
“But I do worry about it. When people do something like this – attempt suicide – the people in their lives tend to lie. To spare their feelings. Being on the Administrative end, or what-have-you, one learns that lying usually hurts more. It can even annoy,” he began.
“Get to the point,” We had reached the guest bedroom and I was looking forward to a slightly uninterrupted sleep. Usually, I woke up at several points throughout the night, but I trusted Malfoy not to have sex above my bedroom like Ron, waking me rather more than was necessary. Especially because his bedroom was farther along the corridor, with at least one room separating his from mine.
“I didn't save your life for you. I saved it for me. Halfway through everything, at the battle, I realized we were losing. I thought you'd be so grateful about me saving your life that you'd testify on my behalf and I could get out of going to Azkaban. I killed all those Death Eaters to save my own ass,” he explained. It seemed like it was a struggle for him between getting the words out right and getting them out quickly. He stumbled over his words a few times, but I brushed it off as him matching me glass for glass. Most people didn't have my alcohol tolerance.
“Are you saying you still support Voldemort? Because that might be awkward in the long run.”
“Of course not. After the war was over, I noticed all the suffering he caused. I noticed all the lives and families he tore apart. And obviously, you didn't testify for me. But Harry did. And then I realized that Harry put aside his pride for me. And I knew it wasn't a sign of weakness. He took a chance. He was the strong one. It's why he won the war in the first place. And in that moment, I respected him more than I ever respected anyone. More than my father or Voldemort. That's when I switched sides,” Damn, Malfoy could talk. All I wanted to do was feel my head hit the pillow, and all he wanted to do was keep talking about his conversion to... Well, to I don't know what exactly.
“Are you coming out to me or something?” I had to be sure. I mean, I had no problem with him being gay. Or with anyone being gay. I just liked to know. I'm sure others would agree with me. It's good to know where you stand, and where others stand.
“No, Jesus. I'm just telling you, so you didn't think I did it out of like, kindness, or pity, or something. I know you'd hate that.” Nobody liked to be pitied. Thanks for the clarification.
“Well, congratulations, Malfoy. Looks like we're both selfish.” I looked him right in the eye as I said it, noting the look of hurt in his eyes. I knew he was telling me so I could be sure he was a changed man now. That he was on my side or something. But it just reaffirmed everything I already believed. That people are selfish. We are all out for our own gain.
I put my hand on the doorknob and twisted. I stepped inside, practically shape-shifting around the door as I always did, and closed the door softly between us. He still looked upset as the lock clicked into place.
Alone. I was finally, beautifully, alone. The silence poured through me and I relished the quiet. All I had wanted for the past two weeks was this. I had always been antisocial. Even before the first time I thought about killing myself, I preferred my own company. Of course, I could be around people. I was very good at human interaction. But I was better at being alone, and I liked it more.
I sank onto the bed, letting out a sigh that explained my state, but I was unwilling to interpret it. Even I was confused as shit about how I felt these days. Before, it was pretty clear. I wanted not to feel things. I wanted to stop existing. But now I'd broken up with Ron, there was one less pretence I had to keep. Everyone knowing my secret, my longing, there was another thing I could stop lying about. And then Malfoy. Knowing I wasn't actually in debt to him; knowing he didn't think I was in his debt. It was like tiny weights had been taken off the top of my lungs.
But of course, all my problems hadn't been solved. Yes, I could breathe with less of an aching, I could talk without worrying about my words. But I still hated being there, having to speak at all. Having to breathe, around other people who were breathing and happy and carefree. I hated them all. I tried hard to be them, for a while. I tried to fight through it. I just couldn't.
I woke up the next morning still tired, but undisturbed. Malfoy's house was quiet, warm, and more inviting than one tends to expect when thinking of the Malfoys. I supposed it had something to do with moving out of the Manor, the only dwelling I had ever connected to the family. Now, it was just Malfoy Jr., all alone in a large house. Well, the house by itself was large. In comparison to the Malfoy Manor, it was a dwarf.
I hated that I slept so well. I chalked it all up to exhaustion and the all-around quiet. If I had been at the Burrow, I still would have slept peacefully, if it had been quiet. It had nothing to do with the fact that this place felt more like home than the Burrow, with all its books and its silence. It felt more like my own flat than that of my ex-boyfriend's family's house.
Which was crazy, I'll admit. At one point, the Burrow felt like home. But I had that same feeling I used to get when I went on vacation. The feeling that while this new place was alright, I just wanted to be home. Where everything was familiar and I had my own things and my own space. I didn't want to be surrounded by people. People who were probably freaking out about the owl Malfoy sent over last night. I'm sure it contained a lot of administrative words to put their minds at ease; a simple explanation that had nothing to do with me wanting to get away from their family, but the necessity of it all.
Malfoy was a total douchebag, but sometimes I had the thought that he was kind of... okay.
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