Fan Fiction - Harry Potter - Povídkové cykly
They say the Room of Requirement gives you what you need. Draco almost believes it.
Almost, because the dark corners, the random pieces of furniture covered in cobwebs, the air so thick with dust that breathing it hurts, the eerie bluish light that makes one think of nights in which you wake up drenched in cold sweat – these things make up the perfect hiding place for the Vanishing Cabinet, adding up to create a clutter so thorough and an atmosphere so unwelcoming that it is unlikely anyone would be willing to search for anything in there, let alone succeed at finding it.
Almost, because he hasn’t slept in three days; the constant what-ifs keep him awake, along with the thoughts of the dead bird he found in the cabinet the other day after attempting to bring it back from Borgin and Burkes. Because whenever he closes his eyes, it’s not dreams of the Death Eaters stepping out of the cabinet at Hogwarts, but nightmares of himself stepping into it. He always wakes up before he reappears in the counter piece, and never finds out whether it will become his coffin or his path to freedom.
The Room of Requirement gives him a hiding place that he needs. The different kind of a hidden place, the one Draco wants, doesn’t exist in the real world.
Malfoy needs help. Harry’s never thought he’d find himself in a position where he’d want to offer it, not to Malfoy, anyway. But blood is gushing out of the long slash across Malfoy’s chest, his life a growing pool of dark crimson on the floor at Harry’s feet .
Saving someone had always felt natural, something Harry had had to do, because it was right. He could let Malfoy bleed to death here on the filthy tiles, though, and it might even be the right thing to do, in the larger scheme of things. Because Malfoy is a Death Eater, or as close as one can be to it without actually carrying a Dark Mark. Because Malfoy is a murderer, or he would be if Harry hadn’t been there to save Katie and Ron.
But Harry’s not. He wants to save Malfoy to prove it, save that frail life mingling with a puddle of water at his feet, so that he can live with himself.
He doesn’t get the chance.
Potter needs him. Or rather, he needs him to lie. It feels easy to say the words and keep his face blank, looking at Potter as if he didn’t quite recognize him. It’s all Draco’s been doing all his life, after all. Reluctantly, he answers his father’s enthusiastic questions with maybes, not looking directly at Potter and his friends for fear Potter might tell that Draco is, in fact, absolutely certain that it’s them, afraid that Potter might realize that Draco wants him to stay alive just as much as, or even more than the rest of the wizarding world.
The Room of Requirement may give you what you need, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it. The sweltering heat is licking at Draco’s skin, the unquenchable flames of the Fiendfyre closing in on him, when Potter swoops down on his broom to grab his hand, pulling him up and out of the arms of death, saving his life before Draco even admits to himself that he needs it. Draco almost believes he’d have refused the hand if he’d had time to think about it, because he doesn’t need Harry Potter, or his help. Almost, because he had stretched out towards Potter’s hand long before Potter had come within reach. He wants to live.
Harry doesn’t need forgiveness; that’s what they all say. Harry almost believes it. Almost, because every time he sees the emptiness in George’s eyes he knows there’s so much to forgive. Almost, because even once he finally feels like the Weasleys have forgiven him, and all the others who had to suffer because he hadn’t been stronger, or faster, or smarter – even then the guilt doesn’t go away.
The Room of Requirement opens up into a murky boys’ bathroom when Harry walks in on one of his visits to Hogwarts. Harry doesn’t want to look at the floor for fear he might find blood.
“I don’t need your pity,” Malfoy hisses when Harry finds him in a bar, a row of empty glasses and a full ashtray on the table in front of him.
“I know,” Harry tells him and sits down. He doesn’t need an invitation; a bar is a bar. “I need you to forgive me.”
Malfoy stares at him. “What?”
“The spell. In sixth year. I’m sorry. I didn’t know what it would do. I didn’t mean to – “
“I don’t even remember,” Malfoy says even as his hand sneaks up to readjust his collar, to press the fabric closer to his throat where the scar Harry had given him stands out against his pale skin.
The silence grows long while Malfoy lights another cigarette and Harry stares at his hands, remembering how Malfoy clung on to him when they fled from the Fiendfyre. He shouldn’t need Malfoy’s forgiveness; he’d saved his life, after all. But he’d also almost taken it away first. He doesn’t want to live with that.
“Malfoy, I know you don’t like me but – ”
“You saved the world, I know,” Malfoy sneers and exhales a small cloud of smoke. Harry opens his mouth to snap back; he doesn’t need this. But Malfoy doesn’t let him. “You saved me,” he says, meeting Harry’s eyes through the smoky haze.
“Well, I couldn’t have left you there to die,” Harry mumbles, looking to the side.
“You could have,” Malfoy states. “You didn’t have to come back for me, but you did.”
Harry just shrugs. He knows Malfoy is right. Except not really, only almost. Because if he had left Malfoy to die, he’d crave forgiveness that would be impossible to get, even more impossible than this.
Malfoy’s voice almost startles Harry when he speaks again. “I forgive you.” He takes a breath. “And I’m sorry.”
Harry wants to ask what for, but then realizes that he already kind of knows. He just nods and reaches out his hand. Slowly, as if he was thinking it through before he moves, Draco takes it and squeezes it in a brief handshake.
Having your needs fulfilled is a relief. Having what you want, without the desperate fumbling of a need, is freedom.