fienabler (fienabler) wrote in dgficexchange,

derryere wrote "The Good People" for irisri 3/3 ♥

Title: The Good People 3/3
Possible Spoilers/Warnings: A teensy weensy bit of gore and a lot of language. I should apologise beforehand – I really do not how that happened, the language, but . . . I’m deeply, truly sorry for all the things Draco will be saying in this fic D:
Summary (if fic): This is a story about how to be happy. (In which Draco writes a lot of letters, Ginny confiscates people’s shoelaces and there’s also a trip to the beach.)

( The Good People 1/3 )
( The Good People 2/3 )
The Good People 3/3

34 – 36

So that’s the story of how Draco started chopping wood. Personally, I think he’s very lucky to have found something like that. I spent my entire life being a Marine Biologist, and I liked it okay. I mean, I loved sea life, but when you make what you love your life, you might accidentally come to the conclusion it’s not all you thought it was. The trick is – the trick is to find something you don’t hate, and accidentally find you love it.

That’s how it went with Draco and wood chopping. I mean, it didn’t go overnight. It didn’t even happen in a week, or two weeks. It took a lot of time, like the time you put in to growing a garden. You can do stuff to it, like water it and make sure weed won’t get to it, but there’s only so much a person can do without time. It’s like – there’s you, and you do what you have to do, and then there’s time, and what it does is pass. And that might not sound like a lot, but it’s the element for just about anything. Like lemonade powder mix. It needs the water, you can’t drink it without the water because then it’s just . . . powder with potential. Plus, it can’t be healthy, eating lemonade powder.

So the chopping took his mind off things. It took it off the things he wasn’t, the people he wasn’t with and the medicine he didn’t have. Sometimes Ginny was there with him, especially in the mornings, but a lot of times she had to work. Draco didn’t do the walks, but he did the chopping, and Penny the head nurse was okay with that. Once he really started hitting the logs, seriously cutting through them, he needed wood. What happened was that some days he’d chop, and some days he’d go looking for wood in the open parts of the forest where branches have the chance to reach the ground.

The time was early in the afternoon, and the month was that of May. Draco was stacking the chopped wood in a wall-like fashion against the moss covered wall of the clinic – for later, for the winter, for firewood – and Ginny was trying to chop some pieces herself. This was her third try, because she really couldn’t be bothered as much as Draco, so, well, she sucked. She managed to bring the axe down, but not smoothly. It whooshed past the surface of the trunk and almost sliced off her leg.

She cursed, ‘Holy shit!’ Dropping the axe immediately and stepping back, hands on her hips, she glared at the tool as if it tried to cut off her leg out of free will.

‘Don’t play with that thing,’ he remarked over his shoulder.

‘I wasn’t playing with it! I was bloody trying to – to make it – It’s stupid is what it is!’ she added as an argument. ‘And you’re doing it all the bloody time, which means you’re stupid too.’

He turned around this time, thoughtfully replying with a, ‘Yeees. I can see the logic in that.’

‘Shut up,’ she muttered, sitting down in the grass, leaning lack against the trunk.

It was somewhere between spring and summer, in that unidentified period where it could either rain or trample you with a heat wave. This particular day in question was neither. There was sun, there were fluffy white thingies in the air and a couple of yellow butterflies – those that always came out unnervingly soon, those that suddenly appear outside your window and make you go, ‘Whu?’, make you wonder whether you’ve mixed up the seasons.

Draco came to sit down next to Ginny. The trunk was uncomfortable, but the company was okay.

She said, ‘Stop being so smug.’

‘I’m not being smug,’ he replied. ‘I didn’t even say anything.’

‘You’re thinking it. I can feel it. You’re oozing smug thoughts, Draco, it’s like dripping out of your ear.’

‘Can you just, not, you know. The sun.’ He motioned to the big ball of fire in the sky. ‘You’re ruining the sun.’

‘What, with talking? I’m ruining the sun with talking?’

‘Well, yeah! I can’t concentrate on the sun when you’re going on about the axe trying to kill you.’

‘Concentrate on the sun?’ She snorted. ‘Does it hurt your brain, doing two things at once? Listening and being in the sun?’

Draco groaned, slinging his arm over his face, hiding in the crook of it. ‘Fuck me,’ he muttered, not knowing how to be any more frustrated with her without telling her how cool she was to him.

But she went quiet, so Draco didn’t have to mind any random blurtings. They sat there for a long while it seemed, enjoying the weather and the unspoken pact that twirled the air between them. We Shall Keep Each Other Sane In This Hellhole, the pact said. There was also something in the fine letters, but no one paid attention to that.

‘So tell me,’ Ginny said. ‘Why don’t you ever put your clothes in your closet? I mean, they’re always in your suitcase. Why?’

Draco slid his arm off his hand, and tucked it under his head – prepping it up on the surface of the trunk – to look at her. The sun was in his eyes, so he squinted as he said, ‘D’you want to know?’

‘Obviously. I just asked, didn’t I?’

He shrugged noncommittally and said, ‘In case I, you know. Need to leave. I just don’t think I’ll have the patience to pack it all up again.’

‘Oh.’ Ginny went quiet. She didn’t know what bothered her – the knowledge that he still thought of leaving after all this time, or the idea that he still thought of leaving after . . . well. She said, ‘You know you’ve been here for –‘

‘I know.’ He looked back up at the sky again. ‘But still. Oh, and, I can’t fold.’

And Ginny didn’t get that. She figured it must’ve been one of those compulsive things, like the wood chopping and the dirty-clothes wearing. Because all those things weren’t necessary, Draco could afford good clothes, and he could also stop it with the chopping already because his arm was sort of strong now and he could try writing or something like that. But he didn’t, he just kept on, just as he didn’t unpack his suitcase and always wore that dirty grey sweatshirt. Partially, she respected that. It was his deal, and he wasn’t really harming himself or anyone anymore. He was doing okay. But then again, on the other hand, it was just . . . kind of messed up. And what was the point of getting better, if you weren’t changing your person to go with it all?

‘We’ll do it now,’ she said. ‘We’ll unpack now. Come on, we’re gonna unpack. Come on – get, yes, get up, on your feet, that’s right. Come on.’

‘Ginny, for fuck’s sake, I don’t want to—‘

‘I know you don’t want to. But that’s why I’m the one saying we’re gonna do it. It’s like with the chopping, remember? You thought it was sooo stupid at first, you didn’t even want to try. And now you’re like, married to it or something. So listen to me, okay? Just do it.’

And Draco made a noise, and he rolled his eyes. He made pretend like it was such a burden to comply, to come along and trudge up to his room and unpack his suitcase, because that’s the only way he could do anything she wanted – even if he thought it was a good idea. There was this balance, and if she won then that balance would go to the dogs and the two of them wouldn’t work anymore. And if he said, Oh man Ginny that’s such a brilliant idea!, then she’d win, and everything would be ruined. So he pretend to hate it, and she reprimanded him and pretended to mind his hating a lot.

This time, Draco didn’t really mind unpacking his suitcase. He was a little nervous, and why was beyond him. He knew so much as to identify the churning sensation in his belly as anxiousness, which was as far as his Emotional Sensors went.

And that was the thing that made him not dislike Ginny Weasley. She couldn’t help but tell him how to live his life, all the time. You should do this, do that, if you want to get better – do it like this. And what other people didn’t seem to entirely get, was that . . . that was just what he needed. He didn’t need to hear that he had to get happier, or stronger, or better – he knew it all, obviously, since it was his bloody life in the first place, wasn’t it? So he didn’t need to hear what he had to do. He just kind of wanted someone to tell him exactly how to do it, and he’d do it. Grudgingly, but still.

So together they unpacked his suitcase. She folded the clothing and he put it on the closet shelves. Then, after a moment or two, Ginny decided this was bullocks and he couldn’t rely on people folding his clothes for him all his life. Draco told her to bugger off, but she – to prove him wrong – put her right hand on her back and slowly began to fold with one hand. And it wasn’t really that hard at all, if you had a surface to work on. Once again Draco grumbled and made faces, but sat down beside her still, and the two of them began folding at an achingly slow pace.

Every now and then she commented on his clothing. It was hard not to.

‘This is amazingly awful,’ she’d say, holding up a dark blue cloth of no specific origin. ‘I mean, wow.’

‘Just fold it, Ginny,’ was his murmured reply, but there was no ignoring the fact that he was trying very hard not to smile.

Some gulls croaked outside the window, making feeling shadows pass over the room. They quietly worked to the bottom of the suitcase, two piles of clothes growing behind them. Draco grabbed the last piece of clothing before she could, and made a show out of it, as though he won something. Ginny quirked a brow, and left it at that. She was about to slide the suitcase under the bed when she noticed something forgotten under a supportive flap on the side of the case. She fidgeted a with it, and eventually freed loose a simple silver ring. It was the same one, Ginny remembered, from when she’d first been given the task to go through his stuff.

She looked more closely this time, read the inscription inside, twirled it between fingers.

‘Why d’you carry around someone else’s wedding ring?’ she offhandedly asked.

Draco looked up, put his messily folded shirt aside, and said something very correct: ‘I . . . dunno.’

‘What do you mean, you don’t know?’ She scrunched her nose, putting the ring on her index finger and holding it up as she inspected it. ‘Whose is it?’

‘It says on the inside.’

‘I could see that. But who were they?’

‘I don’t know who they were.’

‘What – Draco, come on. Cut it out with the mysterious shit and just tell me.’

Simple as she said it, “cut it out with the mysterious shit and just tell”, it sounded like the easiest thing in the world. And maybe it was, maybe it was supposed to be. What would happen if he told her? What would happen if he just presented her with the story as he remembered it, with the mind of a four-year-old? How much worse could she think of his family and the place he grew up?

He’d never told anyone about the ring-story, but – no one ever really asked, so. What else was there to do?

‘Okay,’ he then said, nervously scratching his eyebrow. ‘But you have to be cool about it.’

‘Who, me?’ She made an aloof gesture. ‘I am the epitome of cool, man. You can’t harsh my mellow.’

He stared at her, seriously. ‘This isn’t that kind of story,’ Draco said. ‘It’s not a happy story, Ginny.’

Slowly, Ginny’s joking diminished, and she was replying with a serious face of her own. And there they sat, schooled into graveness, Ginny Weasley holding my wedding ring and Draco Malfoy telling her the story of how I died.

Personally, I think they made it out to be way more earnest and solemn than it was. I did die, so much is true, but that doesn’t have to – in Ginny’s words – harsh the mellow of the story. Because this really is a happy story. It’s just a happy story that has death and addictions, sad people and armless ones. But that just means it’s a little different, not any less cheerful.

All right. I have to confess . . . I lied. Only a little! Or, well, I didn’t exactly lie so much as forgot to tell the entire truth. The entire truth being the reason of my being in the woods behind the Malfoy property all those years ago. Have you wondered yet, have you asked yourself ‘but what the hell was he doing there?’, because I was just a marine biologist and let me tell you – there is no marine in forests. So what could’ve been so important that day that made me not go to work and sneak around bushes?

Well. I’ll tell you what it was. It might be a little bit late, but . . . it’s kind of hard. It’s kind of hard to talk about, because when you do that you start thinking ‘what if’ and that’s a bad place, the what if place, because being dead doesn’t mean you get to regret any less.

So here. Three things I didn’t tell you before:

    34. A week before I died my son began to show signs of wayward magic. He was also asking questions like, why can’t other kids do it? Does this mean I’m weird? Do I have to hide it forever? All questions I had no bloody answer for.

    35. The day before I died my wife and I had a conversation. I said maybe it’d be a good idea to have him play with another magic kid, maybe a kid of one of her old school friends. She wasn’t very enthusiastic, and the argument got a little out of hand. Then the Malfoys came up. She said that you can’t just fix up any two random kids and hope they’ll hit off, that they’re just people and people don’t work like that, and that if I thought they did I might just as well send our son off to the Malfoys. And I said, WHO? So. It turned out that after living in our lovely little village for ten years, she never once felt the urge to tell me we were living less than a mile away from a wizarding family. She said that they don’t count, because they’re really really awful. I didn’t exactly listen, I’m sorry to say. I asked, do they have children? And I could already see she was regretting having mentioned them. But I got it out of her, the name, Draco Malfoy. He was younger than our kid, four years younger, but he was a wizarding kid. So close to us! No travel costs, no horribly long explanations, no smooching with the parents. Just have the two come meet each other in the way all kids meet: accidentally, in a sandbox on the playground.

    36. The day I died I went up to the Malfoy mansion to see for myself. Just some snooping, I thought. Maybe their kid would be playing outside. Maybe I would bring my son when he came back from school and the two would hit it off. But that didn’t happen.

37 – 39

June came hindered and exciting. Like the king of the carnival, wearing colourful hats with feathers and other unnecessary things that just made people smile. It was warm and bright, whooshing over the land with greens and rainbows, pulling the laughter out of people’s throats whether they wanted to be amused or not. It was just that kind of summer. The kind where the happiness strikes you so suddenly, it hurts and you’re not sure what to do next.

And Draco and Ginny, both people who had gotten very used to being annoyed and displeased, were at an absolute loss of what the hell was going on. Everyone wants to smile, but no one wants to be the one laughing at a bad joke. Yet that was what it felt like, when they were hanging out together and didn’t feel like doing anything else in particular. They felt like the two dorks laughing at the worst joke Fate has ever told.

Fate, in his own defence, thought it was a pretty good one. Either way, he’d come up with worse in the past.

It was one late afternoon when Draco sat outside, smoking, thinking about trying to write. Ginny, halfway through her sheet-changing rounds, stuck her head out the door and told him there was going to be a trip to the beach and that he was coming. When hell freezes over, was his reply. Okay, she said, then don’t forget to bring your skates, buddy.

The annual trip to the beach was something to be dreaded and anticipated. Once they were there, everyone had a pretty good time – but the moment they were back at the clinic, the afterthought was unanimous: I’m not going again. It was a mystery why it had to be like that. Like with children who have to go to daycare, who cry and shout and shriek and hold on to the gates while the caretaker pulls at their legs trying to get them inside. And once they’re inside, they’re okay, they’re good. They have a good time, play games and do finger painting, but the experience doesn’t stick. The next day it’s the same thing all over again, and all they seem to remember is that being away from home means not being at home – something to be avoided at all costs.

Draco, as you’d have it, did not swim. In all fairness, he didn’t swim when he had both his arms to help him, so it wasn’t extra weird or anything that he refused to treat the waters and remained perched on the beach – on his towel, with his sunglasses, wearing a long-sleeved shirt that was still dirty from wood chopping. From a safe distance he watched the group run along the waves, kick water in each other’s faces and shout randomly at just about anything. Lying down, he could see nothing but the sky. There were a lot of military airplanes practicing that day and the sky was criss-cross painted with white trails that either spiralled down toward the horizon or raced up to get as far away from it as they could.

Several times Ginny tried to get him in the water. Draco refused. Exasperatedly, she walked back to the shoreline on her own. He watched as she squatted by a small kid building something with mud, watched as she borrowed his bucket, and sat there horrified as she filled it with water and marched back in Draco’s direction. Not really believing she’d do it, he remained in his spot, but started to squirm a little as she advanced. The realisation that there was no reason for her not to do it struck him too late, and he just scrambled to get to his feet when she squarely dumped the bucket of water over his head – entirely.

‘So pretty,’ she said, looking down at his soaking wet appearance – hair sticking to his face and all.

For a long while after that, Draco refused to speak to her. He moved his towel elsewhere, ignored her, and pretended to fall asleep when she talked to him. But eventually he dried up, and it was hard to deny that it wasn’t maybe just a little funny. She bought him a popsicle, and he forgave her, and she got mad because ‘what do you mean, you “forgive” me? I didn’t do anything bloody wrong!’

But it was okay, because they really were at their best when faking to be angry at each other. Sitting on the beach towel, leaning back on three elbows, they had meaningless conversations. She asked him what his favourite word was, and he didn’t know. He asked her why her brother had stayed at Gulliver’s, and she said because he was sad over Fred. Then, after a short silence, Ginny asked why he always wore long-sleeved things. Draco then looked at her, in the close proximity he was, and gave her that deadpan look that stated the obvious. And Ginny, being unusually happy and comfortable around this sad badboy, went and asked him, ‘Can I see your arm?’


‘Let me see your arm.’

‘No, it’s . . . no, you’ll throw up on me or something, forget it.’

‘I won’t throw up on you. Draco, let me see your arm.’

Draco looked away, and with the shadow of the sun on the side of his face the clenching of his jaw was more visible than ever. It was all the invitation she was ever going to get, so slowly, tentatively, trying not to piss him off too much, she hooked a finger on the hem of his shirt and lifted bit by bit. She bunched it up, all the way up, the heels of her hands skimming his chest until she could push the fabric on his shoulder.

And there it was. The no-arm. It wasn’t much, just . . . no arm.

Ginny looked up at his face, and saw that he was grimacing at the sea. Waiting, almost, for her to say something. So he decided to not say anything, and gently pulled his shirt back down. But he was still grimacing. The lines of his face, the ones dipping from his forehead to his eyebrows, from his mouth to his cheeks, were so harsh – locked up in a defensive stance, ready to attack any joke or comment.

At that moment, I can tell you, there was nothing so strong on that beach as Ginny’s urge to kiss him. Not the waves, not the wind, not the entire ocean pushing and pulling at the earth.

She didn’t kiss him, not that day on the beach. She was too scared and too overwhelmed, it was an impossible combination that couldn’t co-exist. So what happened was that Ginny settled for something else: she gently pushed him back so that he was lying, and then lied next to him, using his chest as pillow. His heart was beating incredibly loud, and she wondered if it was always like that or just now. They fell asleep like that and got a horrible sunburn. On the way back to the clinic, Ginny told Draco that she hated working there. ‘Then quit,’ was his reply. She smiled to herself, that hapless, ironic smile and said, ‘Yeah.’

A week after that, and a few days after Draco’s latest appointment with Monowitz, there came good news. Ginny was the one the one to deliver it. She ran into the garden where he was chopping away and started shouting something that he couldn’t make out. He told her to calm down, he couldn’t understand fuck all, and she grabbed his axe and threw it away and held his shoulders and went –

‘You’re good, you’re good you’re good you’re good you’re good!’

Baffled, Draco could only managed, ‘Uhh . . . thank you? What?’

‘You’re good, you’re almost done!’

‘Wh – What?’

‘I just heard! I only just heard, I swear, they had these – these monthly stats and stuff, and they were discussing the progress of the patients bla bla bla, but you’re GOOD, Draco! I mean like, two weeks tops, two weeks!’

Draco laughed once, like a bark, throwing his head back and then looking at her again. Then he laughed once more, and more, and the laughed was genuine and it came from a big place from inside of him. He was happy. He was so happy he could . . . he could . . .

Draco slung his arm around Ginny’s waist and pulled her up, hugging her, spinning the both of them around. She laughed too, holding onto his neck and holding him close and trying not to show the sad on her face. Draco started singing some tune or the other, moving them around to an invisible Waltz until they got to the trunk. He put her down on the cut down tree so that she was a little bit taller than him and said, as if impressed by his own genius, ‘You have to quit!’


‘Quit! Quit! Just . . . quit!’


‘No, just do it! It’s perfect, because I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do with my life either! And I’m pretty bloody sure that whatever the case, it’ll still be better if I get to figure it out with someone else who has no fucking idea. I mean, you don’t, right?’

Ginny laughed on a breath. He was talking crazy. ‘No, you’re right, I don’t have a fucking a idea.’

‘Great!’ he exclaimed, shouting out an honest, ‘HA HA!’

‘This might just be the biggest mistake of my life,’ she said.

Draco, with his hand still on her hip, looked up hopefully. ‘So you’ll do it?’

‘Uhm . . .’ She shrugged, blowing some air into her cheeks. ‘I guess. Yeah, sure, why not. Yes!’

Looking at her, Draco thought she was insane, listening to him. And that knowledge travelled forth from his head to his other limbs and brought on a feeling that was as foreign to him as Siberia. It was a horrible feeling, bad kind that he knew would rot at the back of his heart for the rest of your life. It was also the best he’d ever felt.

Back in his room, Draco couldn’t sit still. He tried to think ahead, like . . . next month, next year, next decade kind of ahead. He couldn’t help but imagining all sorts of things, things like a good life and trips to the beach, eating leftovers in the kitchen at 3 AM and lying on the couch at home. It was all kinds of amazing, because he hadn’t done that in so long – thinking ahead. He hadn’t been able to see anything that could be very interesting in tomorrow, or the day after that. And suddenly everything was way interesting: the view of the grasslands, the winds, the closet and his desk and his bed, his hair in the mirror and his face that wasn’t all that ugly at all anymore. The sounds on the outside, the faint drum of someone banging their head against the wall somewhere down the hall and the knock on the door, the way he could just open it with a turn of a knob, and stare into the friendly face of a –

‘Hey,’ said a guy Draco had never seen before. ‘Um, this may sound a little weird, but d’you have any shoelaces? Someone . . . someone just took my shoelaces.’

‘You’re new,’ Draco stated, frowning at the guy.

‘Yup.’ He offered a weak smile, but it faltered on his face. ‘And you’re Draco Malfoy.’ The guy extended his left hand, and that was when Draco noticed that he didn’t have a right arm. Just like him.

Draco laughed, shaking his hand and saying, ‘This is the first time that’s worked.’

The guy nodded and said, ‘I’m Matthew.’

He was older than Draco, give or take a year or four. He was good looking, dark air and a boyish stubble, and a smile that stretched out his face and folded his cheeks. He was also my son.

Hold on tight, said Fate, sitting on top of the closet. There’s a bump in the road ahead.

Draco let Matthew in, and jokingly explained about the shoelaces and how he’ll get them back after a while. Matthew, my Matthew, a good, good man, listened and nodded and wondered what someone as bright and seemingly happy as Draco did at Gulliver’s. It distracted him, the sight of Draco Malfoy, and he couldn’t help but blurt out in the middle of the shoelace story—

‘I used to live, like, right next to you.’

Draco went quiet, taken aback a bit. ‘What?’

‘My mum and I, we used to live in this town behind your . . . property, house, giant . . .’ He was at a loss for words, not knowing what to call all the ground the Malfoys owned. ‘But we moved when I was nine. I remember though, right before we moved I used to . . . to come to that wooded area behind your property, you know what I’m talking about, that place by the creek?’

Draco nodded, and his frown felt like it reached all the way to the pit of his stomach.

Matthew continued, ‘I went there a lot that last year, and I used to see you play by your own. You were five or something, I think.’

‘And I . . . I never said anything?’ Draco asked, weary of anything he might’ve blurted out as a kid.

‘Nah, you didn’t come close enough to see me. You didn’t really like that creek, did you?’

‘Are you sure we didn’t . . . I mean, a wizarding family in the village, my parents would’ve . . .’

‘My dad was a muggle,’ my son said quickly, to rectify the mistake – the lapse of judgement. ‘But my mother . . . Muriel Peasegood. Now it’s Burgess, though. That’s me, Matthew Burgess,’ Matthew spoke his last name, my last name, my father’s father’s father last name. ‘Ring any bells?’

For bells to be ringing in Draco’s head would be the understatement of the century. The bells were not ringing. The bells were fucking well having a rock concert hooked up to a million amplifiers.

On the desk behind Matthew, just on its surface in broad daylight was my wedding ring. Inside it read the inscription: Muriel Peasegood ♥ Tobias Burgess, around and around and around. I admit, it was a bit cheesy, but in all honestly – we knew no better way to put our feelings into words. Muriel loves Tobias, Tobias loves Muriel. It was as simple as that.

Allow me to tell you yet three more things about my son:

    37. After my death, his mother could not bring herself to part with our son and so declined the invitation from Hogwarts when he was ten. He went to a normal high school, and was home schooled when it came to everything else.

    38. Matt regularly went up to the creek after that day when I didn’t come home. He was afraid of the killer boars, but yet couldn’t stay away. He just sat there and wondered what had made his dad not go to work that day and come up there.

    39. He grew up and became a mechanic. He does magic, sometimes, but not so much. More than anything he would like to be a painter, but knows there’s no chance he can make money off that. How he ended up in the Gulliver Clinic: he read in the paper that D Malfoy was there because he tried to kill himself, and thought it would maybe be a good idea to sign himself in too before he felt like topping himself also. How he lost his right arm: he went swimming during a storm, and got swept away by a massive wave. He was slammed into the rocks, where his arm got wedged. That was two years ago.

40 – 50

For all the swings he’d taken with the axe, for all the muscle aches and pain, for all the tries that had failed and all the splintered hands, nothing seemed to work well enough. His fingers didn’t work with his mind, his hand didn’t move with his face, and no matter how quickly he tried to work or how much effort he put into it, everything fell and raffled and failed.

The suitcase he’d yanked from under his bed had a tear in it now because of how hard he attempted to open with no patience. He tried to throw clothes into it, but they fell elsewhere. He tried to fold at least a few, but it wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t work. Nothing worked, all these ideas about getting better because of that stupid wood chopping – what was he thinking? That one stupid little thing like that could change years of a person’s lifetime? That a stupid girl could – could just come up with an idea and if they willed it to work, eventually everyone would believe it?

It was obvious now it was all built on paper walls. It took one memory – one, not even the worst one – to bring it all down. He was panicking, he was scared. He was scared of Matthew, of what would happen if he found out what Draco knew. He was scared of the memory of what his family meant to the people in this world, of what that made him, and that he’d never be able to change no matter what. It was clear now that the past would never leave him alone, that there were bridges crossing from him to the rest of the world no matter where he went. Anyone could walk the distance any time, anyone could knock on his door and ask for an explanation.

‘Hey, Malfoy, I was wondering – why did your dad torture my baby brother? I mean, just askin’, yaknow.’

Anyone could do that.

He had to get out of there, he had to get away as far as he could and . . . lock himself up in a box in a desert somewhere, or something. And fuck, fuck fuck, the stupid suitcase just – wouldn’t – fucking –

If there was any time to not walk into Draco Malfoy’s room, this was it. If there was any time not to be happy and smile at him, to try and touch him and hug him, this was it. But Ginny Weasley didn’t know this. Ginny Weasley wasn’t dead and she didn’t have my knowledge of the world in general. Her advantage was that she was alive and could do something about it, mine was that I was the only one who knew how. But I couldn’t reach her, she couldn’t hear me, and so a scene took place that was awkwardly painful to say the least.

I shall spare you the heart-wrenching details. What happened was that Ginny came to tell Draco she’d just given her two-week notice, and that Draco didn’t listen. And after he didn’t listen, he started shouting. Amongst many things that were said, he blamed her of his inability to pack. His inability to write, to do magic, to be deal with anything slightly important. He said she gave him false hope, and that she was full of shit. And that if she wanted a list of ten things of how he could get better, then fine. Fucking fine, he’ll give it to her. Are you sitting tight, Ginny? Here goes, ten fucking things that would make me feel a whole lot better!

    40. Not having one stupid arm anymore
    41. Not having a stupid history anymore
    42. Not having a stupid family anymore
    43. Not having stupid insane friends anymore
    44. Not having to have someone else shave my face for me
    45. Not having to learn to do to the simplest things like fucking folding clothes
    44. Not having to be in this stupid place anymore
    46. Not having to keep on making idiotic lists that don’t mean anything
    47. Not having to – to, fuck, you know what? Not having to talk to you,
    48. Not having to pretend to stand you, Ginny Weasley,
    49. Not having you in this room right fucking now.

    Happy now, Ginny? HAPPY?

He couldn’t really help it. Draco didn’t know that it wasn’t his ideas that were built with paper walls, but his person. This is how he’s always been, this is what he did. And if he accidentally did things the right way, Ginny might’ve mistaken him for one of the good guys. And he wasn’t, he wasn’t. She had to know that, and he wasn’t certain she did. Draco was full of bad things, bad thoughts and bad moods and tempers. Bad language and bad knowledge of how to treat people who cared about him.

Ginny had slammed the door behind her. She didn’t have as much to say as Draco, but the words that made their way out of her mouth – sailed the stormy air between them – and reached the bay of him, were more than enough.

‘You are the worst person I’ve ever fooled myself into liking.’

A. More Than One Way To Grow Up

That night, there was no love in Gulliver Clinic. The love stopped cold in everyone’s hearts. No one thought of their parents, no one looked at the picture of their boy or girlfriends back at home. The secret pairs of patients and staff didn’t meet up in the dark nooks of the building. No kisses were exchanged, no hugs or words that come from that place inside where it’s warm.

It wasn’t that Draco and Ginny’s fight did it, or that the presence of Matthew triggered a domino reaction of anger and confusion throughout the clinic. It was just one of those rare moments in the year where all the feelings come to a slow stop, and for one night no one takes rash decisions like getting married in Vegas or sleeping with their best friend’s partner.

It was hot outside, it was hot inside, and Draco sat in the desk chair and stared at his packed suitcase. It was once a lovely suitcase, brown with little red sparrows covering it like a pattern. It used to be his father’s, but now it was his, and he went ahead and tore it. In his mind, he made a map of the building. A few doors down, past the silvery lines on the blue paper that indicated walls and passages, was a sign and it read: Dead Guy’s Son. Then, following the lines back past corners and straight paths, on the other far end of the map was another room with a sign and it read: Ginny Weasley. Zooming out, what would be seen was the two rooms with his in the middle, a sign that read “Me”, and he was trapped.

It took him a long time, sitting there with his heart in his shoes, before coming to a decision he thought he could live with. He got up and didn’t take his suitcase with him, but walked down the halls and around corners, he followed the patterns of the cold tiles until he came to the door he needed. He knocked and knocked and knocked, he said, ‘Please open up, please, please, please.’ But no one opened up. It wasn’t personal, it was just that there was no one listening on the other side.

After five minutes some other doors opened, but not the one he wanted. There were a pair of hands on his shoulders, and the voice of one of the staff members that said, ‘She’s gone home, Draco. I don’t know why. She just took her things and left earlier this evening, okay? So could you please go back to your room now, we’re . . . for fuck’s sake, it’s 5 AM, we’d really really like to sleep, okay?’

And that’s how it goes. That’s just how life usually goes, after you have your filler moments and your commercial breaks and something truly amazing finally happens – you do something impossibly stupid and ruin it. It doesn’t happen on purpose, really, and you can call it a form of performance anxiety, but the point is . . . the point is . . . to just hold on. And as hope flees you just have to go, ‘fuck it’, and throw probability to the wind and clamp onto the ankle of your hope and just not let go. It might kick and tell you to give it, that it’s over, that you’ll never change and you just have to take life as it is. Don’t listen, just hold on. Close your eyes as tight as you can, clench your teeth and hold on. Because it’s never too late, and you know that feeling? That horrible rotting feeling in the back of your heart? It’s worth it. It’s worth everything. It’s worth the indignity of being dragged down the street holding onto someone’s leg, it’s worth the miserable sensation you get when you screw it up, it’s worth taking the chance that someone might trust you in ways you can’t live up to.

I would love to tell you that Draco went after Ginny that night. I would love to tell you that he ran outside and kept on running until he couldn’t anymore, and then he still ran on. But that’s not what happened, and to be fair to all the people in the world that have once in their life had to make a tough decision, there’s more than one way to grow up and do the right thing. The way Draco chose to grow up came in the form of two letters written slowly with the penmanship of a kid – or that of someone who has no choice but to use his not-right side, his wrong side, for everything. This was one of them:


    I don’t know when you’ll get this. I’m going to give this to one of the people who know you later, and it’ll be anyone’s guess how long it takes to get to you. Anyway, just so you know, this is the night after I shouted at you and you left. I guess I should explain that.

    But here’s the thing: I can’t. I can’t explain, I don’t have an excuse, and I don’t even have a really good reason. Sometimes things don’t go the way I want them to and I’ll act like an asshole. Then people will leave and I don’t have the chance to explain to apologise or make an excuse, and I guess that’s the best excuse I can’t come up with. That no one ever really sticks around and I just never learn. But that’s pretty much bullshit, isn’t it? Because I can go after them. I can go after them and stop them and just go, ‘listen . . . I’m sorry.’, and then hope for the best. But I don’t do that either, since doing that would mean that there’s always the chance it won’t work, and that’s . . . you know. Fuck all scary.

    I’m just not a great person, you know. I do horrible things all the time. I don’t even notice half of them. But even horrible people can care a lot about someone, and even horrible people need a person to tell them what they need to do in order for the world to bear with them.

    I . . . don’t know what else to say. I can’t put it into words. I’m not, you know, fancy with the expressions and stuff. Just . . . don’t think too badly of me. Don’t tell everyone how mean I still am. We were friends, I think, or something like friends. It’d be really fucking stupid at this point to say that I won’t miss you, I think. And that’s as close as I’ll ever get to saying it.

    (PS, check it out! I think my penmanship’s getting better. You can actually distinct the t’s from the f’s!)

    - Draco

This was the other one:

    M. Burgess,

    This is Draco from a few doors down. Remember, the one who freaked out earlier this evening? That’s me.

    I put a ring in the envelope. It’s your father’s. I didn’t know him, I found it on our property when I was four. I want to tell you how, and why, but maybe it’s been too long now and telling you this will just ruin things that can’t use ruining.

    We might be very much alike. I mean, beside the arm deal. I grew up thinking a lot about your father, and . . . obviously, so did you. And now we’re both grown ups and we’re both here because something once made us unhappy. I know that for me, holding on to this ring didn’t make me better because it didn’t mean anything to me. It didn’t tell me who your father was, what he did for a living or what kind of life he had before he died. It’ll mean more for you, so maybe . . . I don’t know. It won’t make you better forever, but maybe it’ll make you a bit happier for a day. And if you’re happy for a day then you know you that it’s not impossible, and you’re a little more hopeful again. But maybe I’m overestimating the worth of this all, what it all means. I don’t know what I’m talking about, you know? I’m just twenty-four.

    I’m not sure how to say this. Somehow, it feels like the end of a story.

    I hope you’ll do a better at getting happy than I did. Try wood chopping.

    - D. Malfoy

At seven AM that morning, Draco slid two letters under two doors, took his suitcase by the handle, and left.

B. Viva El Amor!


    My dad was a good person. He was a marine biologist, which means he studied sea-life. Only we didn’t live at sea, so he mostly worked with books and papers (I don’t know for sure what it was he did exactly, I was too young to ask I think). He had a good life, I think he had a good life. He loved my mum a lot, and my mum still loves him a lot. He was a great dad, he was really good with kids and stuff and while most of the time he said exactly the wrong thing when you needed him to say something that would solve everything . . . I still think I was a lucky kid.

    That’s about all I can tell you about him. Wait, no, I have one more thing that might help. He used to tell me all sorts of stories about the sea-life, and man, I wish I remembered at least half but it seems I can only recall about two. I’ll tell you one, because it always cheers me up when I’m down. I don’t know why, but it can’t hurt to pass it on, right? Well. Anyway, here goes:

    Did you know that when dolphins are born they pick out their own name? That’s the first thing they do. They have an actual name, and they say it when they get lost or want someone’s attention, they just go – ‘Draco! Draco! Draco!’ – if their name is Draco. And when they die, they cry their own name, over and over and over again, that’s all they cry, and then the last sound they make is identical to their first. As if to make sure no one forgets them, as if to make sure everyone knows that they – right there – are what is happening, and it’s for real, and they’re dying.

    Ha ha, okay, that’s not exactly how my dad used to tell it, but that’s what it basically comes down to. He told that whenever I felt like the world was not going the way I wanted to and that something needed to change, to just keep on saying my own name over and over again until someone heard it and came to help. Look, I’m still not really sure what that means – if it means anything at all – but it sounds like good advice, right? So I’m giving it to you, and if you find something in that to help you, then great.

    Anyway. I tried the wood chopping – I suck. But thanks anyway, and thanks for the ring.

    - Matthew

Draco folded the paper and stuffed it into his back pocket. It started to rain as he was reading the last sentence, and a few drizzling drops smudged out the ink. August had began greyish and unfriendly, so the rain wasn’t that big of a surprise. They all had it coming, Draco figured, with so much nice weather so early on the summer.

He leaned back against the tree, trying to keep himself from getting wet by staying under the canopy. But the trees were tall and their branches short, and he still felt the drops trickle down his head. The slow drizzle soon turned into a full shower, the kind that resounds off the ground with the sound of pans falling on a kitchen floor. But the dry grass that hopefully reached up the slope greeted the water happily, and the creek that ran before his feet quietly roared at the unexpectedness of it all. The rain on the water surface blurred the pebbled bedding, blurred the tiny fish and everything. Draco considered going back inside, but figured he’d be soaking wet either way. So he stayed and thought about that dolphin thing and whether or not it was true.

Maybe it was the suggestion of it – like when people say that when your hand’s smaller than your face you’re gay or something, and you try it out right away, and then they hit your face – that made him do it. Maybe he wanted it to work despite not believing in it. Quietly, really quietly, he murmured to himself, ‘Draco . . . Draco, Draco?’

He looked up, glancing around at nature and everything else. Nothing particularly exciting happened. Nothing but rain and birds.

‘Dracoooo . . .’ he kept on. ‘Draaaayco, Draaaay . . . coooo . . .’


He went quiet. That was not his own voice that echoed.

‘Draco, idiot, what the hell are you doing there!’

A soaking wet out of breath Ginny appeared downstream, huffing her way up the slope towards the wooded area. He went pale. His heart went pale, his legs and belly went pale. Everything paled.

‘I’ve been looking for you for a fucking hour,’ she breathed as she reached him, leaning against a tree for support. ‘Oh. Fuck. I’m . . . really out of shape . . .’

Draco wasn’t as eloquent. His mind still scrambled to comprehend this. This being Ginny, here, after half a summer – no explanation, no announcement, just climbing up a slope and going ‘fuck’ a lot.

‘What . . .’ He had no words. ‘What are you doing here?’

Ginny swallowed as she straightened. Her fringe stuck to her forehead, and her hair was a dark shade of red or brown now that it was wet. She was flushed and still breathing heavily, rain was dripping from her eyelashes but still she managed to look at him as though he said something really odd. ‘Well, you wrote me a letter, didn’t you?’ She shrugged. ‘So I came.’

In a second’s time, Draco madly tried to remember what he’d wrote in that letter. Did he offer her a sum of money of she’d come? Did he say he kidnapped her family and wouldn’t give it back unless she showed up? . . . None of those came to mind, but who knew, stranger things have happened.

‘I . . . I don’t . . .’ He frowned, awkwardly touching the wrinkled patch of skin above it. ‘I don’t understand.’

‘What is there to understand?’ She seemed genuinely puzzled. ‘You, well, you . . . said those things, and, you know. It sounded like you wanted me to come. So I came.’

Draco was perplexed. Of course he’d wanted her to come, of course he’d hoped to see her walk up to his door every single day since he came back home – hoped, sure, but never really expected it. There was a catch, there had to be a catch. ‘But what about . . .’ He chewed his tongue for a small, hesitating moment before continuing, ‘About that day.’

She didn’t pull a face or brushed her hands against the side of her legs like she did when she was nervous, but he could still see that the memory made her uneasy. She shrugged. ‘I don’t know. It’s like, it’s always so complicated, you know?’

Draco asked, ‘What is?’

‘Everything. Just, people, all that. Everything has to always be so complicated. And I was reading your letter and I found myself wondering, why can’t it just be simple? I mean, we’re the ones making the rules, so why not make it as simple as me just showing up and you just accepting a good thing for what it is? Why not just do that?’

For a moment Draco tried to imagine what it would be like, if he just took a good thing for what it was. If he’d just be okay with Ginny shrugging off the things he’d said that day and how he acted, and they’d just start over.

What was it again, that thing we said about ruining amazing things because we are too overwhelmed that they actually show up every now and then?

‘We should go back inside,’ Draco said, looking down. ‘It’s raining.’

‘Yeah,’ she laughed. ‘I noticed.’

‘We should . . .’ Draco choked on words, choked on them like he hadn’t had since adolescence. ‘Go . . . inside . . .’

When he looked up, she was staring at him, frowning. Like she was trying to figure out which part of his brain was damaged that made him say things like this, things like ‘we should go back inside bla bla bla’, when she was standing in front of him telling him in so many words that she missed him, too. That she came because of him. That there was nothing by that creek that meant anything to her beside him.

He could feel something lumpy and uncomfortable rising up his throat, and quickly decided the talking and not-talking had gone on for long enough and that someone had to move. So he made to walk past her, meaning to lead them back down the slope and back toward the property. His shoulder didn’t brush hers, he was careful enough to not do that, but he was just a step farther when a small hand twisted in the back of his shirt held him back.

He stopped. Ginny held onto the fabric, standing close behind him. It was wet from the rain and clung to his back, making it sticky and difficult. He stood frozen and unable to fathom a moment that would follow this one, because what else could happen? They were stuck it seemed, stuck in the complicated ruled and laws he made up in a drunk fit of control.

These rules didn’t apply to Ginny. Ginny was a different country, and her people were in the middle of a revolution. Viva el amor! They shouted in unison. Viva el amor!

And amongst the ruckus inside of her, Ginny hooked a hand on the hem of his wet and sticky shirt and slipped it under the cloth. Over his nervous skin it travelled up, past his spine and shoulder blades, to the sleeve that housed no arm. She let her hand show the way, standing on her tiptoes to be able to make her fingers peek out on the other end of the sleeve.

‘Look,’ she said, showing Draco his brand new arm. ‘Now you can do anything you want.’

Draco looked at his two arms, two mismatched hands. Then he grimaced and pulled his chin to his chest with a painful expression, because when you’re a boy the tears really fucking burn.

Ginny wrapped their arm around him, and then her other arm, and hugged him with her head resting on his back. She held him like she’d always wanted to hold a guy: like she wasn’t afraid he’d pull away or think she was clinging. She could hold on for as long as she wanted now because her arm was also his, which meant that he couldn’t judge it no matter what.

When Draco spoke again, his voice was thick and hoarse, but despite the gravity of it it was lighter in his chest, lighter of sound. ‘You have to not leave now,’ he said.

‘What d’you mean?’ she asked into his wet shirt.

‘I mean you have to say.’

Slowly, Ginny pulled back her head. She unwrapped her arms, and slipped her right one out of their sleeve. Her hands were flat on his back when she said it back as a question, ‘I have to stay?’

Draco was unmoving. ‘Yes.’

‘Is that right? For how long?’

He laughed hoarsely and said, ‘For as long as it takes you to fall madly in love with me.’

‘With a pillock like you?’

‘Yeah. With a pillock like me.’

In the time that it took her to think of an answer, Draco turned around to face her. They were both hurting, dying, living and scared shitless of all the bad decisions they might be about to take.

‘Okay,’ she said. If we were any other people, people who haven’t read this story and who have never heard of Draco Malfoy or Ginny Weasley, we might’ve gotten the idea that she was agreeing to having scrambled eggs for breakfast rather than agreeing to putting her heart in the shaky hand of a pretty bad boy.

‘Okay,’ he replied a fraction before he grabbed the back of her head, weaved his fingers into her wet hair, and pulled her up in that brutal, bad boy fashion. There would be a kiss, there was no doubt of that, but he took the moment to hover about her lips – making some point or another – and he smiled, he smiled.

Ginny didn’t have this kind of patience. She wrapped two arms around his neck and made sure they didn’t have the time to ruin this one as well, making them crash, making them walk through each other like brick walls. They kissed with lips and raindrops, and when that stopped being enough they kissed with tongues – the kinds that brush and curl in that way that somehow remind you of the way snow powder gets blown off roofs, even though the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

It was brilliant. It was so brilliant, so obviously brilliant, neither could figure out why they hadn’t done it ages ago. ‘Well,’ was the common thought between them, ‘at least we won’t make the same mistake again.’

The kiss meandered forth in that way kisses do, and Ginny was pressed against a tree with Draco’s teeth tugging her earlobe, following the line of her jaw and down her neck. And that, too, took on new heights as Draco groaned and pulled at her shirt as Ginny tried to make use of the button of his pants and undo it.

Despite the rain, despite the arm that wasn’t there and the history that wouldn’t let them go, they still found each other on that stormy August day. And on the ground, by the creek where my story ended and this story began, something else entirely happened.

Viva el amor!, cheered Fate from a nearby branch, unable to blush at the bare human sight on the earth because after all, it was all his fault.



  • Dirty rugger poem borrowed from Philip Larkin
  • All kinds of information from the Gods of Wikipedia. Especially the axe stuff (<- who knew, huh?)
  • A BILLION thanks to my amazing darling beta who did this at a super short notice. The love, let me show you it!
  • Thank you so much for reading :D Happy Ides of March!

What would you like to receive?
The tone/mood of the fic:
Anything. Except extreme fluff. Mystery would definitely be good, and wit. Humor is awesome. And angst is fine :D
An element/line of dialogue/object you would like in your fic: Um.... Draco or Ginny woodworking. XD Either is great. And if you involve something real that's great too. :D Like Draco picking Ginny up and saying she's heavy XD. Also, Dancing in the rain, or seeing one of them wet from rain? I'm a goddamn romantic. I can't help it.
Preferred rating of the the fic you want: Because PG-13 is all I can do, that's what I'll go with.
Canon or AU? I'd like Canon minus Epilogue of Book 7, but if you want AU that's fine too, so long as you don't have them OC.
Deal Breakers (what don't you want?): Ah... Fluff. And if you would be so kind as to not have boy-boy pairings.... If you can't resist, that's fine though. :D
Tags: exchange 2008, fics

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