Fan Fiction - Harry Potter - Povídkové cykly



Break The Charm
~by Estriel~


Need is necessary.
Want is liberating.
Desire is the sweetest torture.
Free will is…


Harry Potter has only ever seen one thing when he looked into the Mirror of Erised, with the only exception being the time when he glanced onto the smooth surface to find himself holding the Philosopher’s Stone. Or maybe it wasn’t really an exception, because even then, Harry’s reason for wanting to find the stone was to ensure that none of those he loved get hurt.

The one thing Harry Potter has always desired most was love.

He had love now, had had it even back when he stood in front of the mirror with Draco Malfoy by his side. Harry never doubted Ginny’s love, or that of his friends; he was sure Mrs Weasley loved him as if he was her son, despite the fact that one of her own sons had died because of him. Harry was loved. And yet it apparently wasn’t enough, because the mirror showed him more – unbearably more – than a simple reflection of himself the way he was.

At first, Harry felt guilty. He was already getting more than he could have asked for and it seemed licentious to desire more still. So many deaths because of him – and still people showered him with their affection. Harry often felt like he didn’t deserve it, since countless others had not even been lucky enough to stay alive for their loved ones. And now here he was, greedily craving even more, with the nature and object of his desires practically equaling a spit in the faces of all those he was closed to.

Harry felt even guiltier for acting upon those desires, even if it had been just one moment, one kiss. He had no right. He owed so much to Ginny, to Ron and Hermione and all the Weasleys… And in that one moment of weakness – insanity! – he’d betrayed them all. He may have forgiven Malfoy, but they had not. The name still rankled, even though Draco had never been tried. Of course, the lack of a tribunal against the Malfoys had been partly thanks to Harry and his testimony of how first Draco, and then his mother had lied to help him evade Voldemort’s wrath until he was ready to face it. Back when he had made those testimonies, Harry had assumed it had been pity, or maybe mercy, that led him to speak in favor of Draco. Now he was not so sure.

It sickened Harry to realize that he was this selfish, that he could forswear what probably would have been right – after all, Draco had played a role in the war’s events, even if his actions had hardly been based on free will. No, Harry had no moral high ground over Draco, because he, too, would do what was best for him. He kept Draco alive, because he wanted something from him, because he wanted… him?

Harry got obscenely drunk the night he forced himself to admit this, to no avail. The memory of the way Draco’s mouth had felt against his did not fade; the Firewhisky just put a tingle onto Harry’s lips and tongue and made images he did not want swirl inside his head.

It was preposterous, and yet – Harry realized while he was slurping the disgustingly bitter anti-hangover potion Ginny had concocted for him – it made perfect sense. He was loved as a son is loved by his family. He had friends who’d give their life for him out of love. And he had Ginny, who – he’d thought – loved him the way lovers do. But now he realized that he had been wrong about the latter. It was not him she was devoted to. Ginny loved the Boy Who Lived, the image of Harry Potter that was so well-known and common that even Harry had sometimes caught himself believing that that was really him. The Chosen One, the hero with a scar and a rumored lion tattoo on his chest, who had defied and defeated Lord Voldemort.

But, deep inside, Harry knew there was more to him than the lightning-shaped scar and the heroic reputation. Just like Voldemort had been, and remained, just Tom Riddle, a boy hungry for all those things denied to him when he was a child, deep inside, Harry was just Harry. Just human, imperfect the way humans tend to be, and desiring the kind of love he’d never experienced.

Ginny wanted Harry Potter, the legend. Draco despised that legend. Draco was the one who, as far as Harry could tell, wanted just him, just Harry, without the expectations and encumbrances that came with being the wizarding world’s savior. It was incredibly liberating… and incredibly painful, because Harry was aware he could never choose that freedom.

*

“What is he doing here?” Ron hissed, tossing his head towards someone somewhere behind Harry’s right shoulder.

Hermione kept her voice hushed and gave Ron a disapproving look. “He’s teaching at Hogwarts now. They invited him.”

Harry did not need to hear Hermione’s answer, or Ron’s affronted mutters about how ‘teacher or not, a former Death Eater should not be allowed to frequent ministry parties’, to know who had just arrived.

“He wasn’t,” he pointed out, which earned him puzzled looks from both his friends and Ginny, who was standing by his side in a beautiful green robe, the engagement ring sparkling on her finger. “He was never marked,” he explained, but that only got him more headshakes from Ron.

“Let’s not talk about Malfoy,” Ginny suggested and patted Harry’s forearm in a way that made Harry wonder if she had noticed anything. He felt hot, his whole body alert as if he was in the middle of the Quidditch pitch, waiting for the Snitch to appear. He even felt the same nervous flutter that he remembered from school matches, particularly those against Slytherin. Against Draco.

Harry could practically feel those gray eyes dig into the back of his skull. Did Draco still – it didn’t matter! It didn’t matter, because even if Malfoy still wanted him, Harry was not going to take advantage of it. He was not even going to go near Malfoy, just in case…

“I hope he doesn’t do anything stupid,” he mumbled, then nearly choked when he realized he’d spoken out loud.

“He’d be dead before he could cast a spell,” Ron smirked, patting the pocket Harry knew contained his wand. “No worries, mate.”

Harry nodded, though he was afraid it was not Draco’s spells that were the real danger. In fact, he was afraid it was not Draco’s actions he was most worried about.

*

The ministry’s annual party to commemorate the end of the war was like most ministry parties – incredibly boring. Fortunately, the speeches – delivered by people who had no idea what the war had really been like – were over now. Unfortunately, that meant the dancing would commence soon, and Ginny loved dancing. Harry hated it.

He was just beginning to mentally prepare himself for the fiasco that would inevitably ensue by downing a shot of Firewhisky at the bar, when Ginny decided to take mercy on him.

“You don’t have to dance,” she said, a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips. Harry suspected she only said it to spare herself the embarrassment, but he was not about to complain. He would take any excuse to avoid dancing. Though maybe she expected at least a little hesitation on his part; she might get offended if he appeared too eager to escape…

“I thought you wanted to, though?” he said, pulling his face into a suitably surprised grimace.

She smiled. “It’s okay. Neville’s here. He promised he’d be my partner.”

Harry breathed out in relief. “Thanks, Gin,” he muttered and let her peck him on the lips. “Have fun,” he told her and watched her float off towards the dancefloor, just in time for the first dance.

*

Harry was not sure if it was mere chance, or if his subconscious had betrayed him, but after watching Neville twirl Ginny around for a moment, Harry found himself wandering up a floor to one of the mansion’s terraces. There, gazing into the night over the darkened gardens that were part of the estate, stood Draco.

“It reminds me of the Manor,” he said without turning around the moment Harry got into earshot. Harry started – he hadn’t been planning to stay – but then he steeled himself and crossed the remaining space to join Draco by the balustrade. “Before Voldemort took residence in it, of course,” Draco continued, eyes fixed on the dark shapes of decorative greenery somewhere in the distance. “The stupid snake killed most of my father’s albino peacocks.” He sighed and rocked back on his heels. “I had them all named.”

Harry stayed silent, hands balled inside his pockets. The soft breeze was ruffling Draco’s hair and several strands were in his face. Harry wanted to brush them away.

“How did you know it was me? Just now, I mean,” he asked after a moment.

Draco shrugged. “It was my wand. It twitched. Does that whenever you come near. I never won it back from you.” He turned his head to glance at Harry. “Technically, I’m still at your mercy.” He looked pale, ghost-like almost, in his silvery robe and with the moonlight casting his sharp features in bluish light.

“I don’t want – “ Harry began, trying to struggle against the flood those words – soft, genuine and undemanding – had released in him. I don’t want you, he had been going to say. But the memories won over, those of how complete it had made him feel to claim those lips, this man, the previous time, and quench the thirst he’d seen reflected in the Mirror of Erised.

He grabbed the front of Draco’s robe to pull him forward until their bodies were aligned from knee to chest, and their faces so close he could feel Draco’s warm breath on his lips. One last coherent thought, a warning that he ignored, flitted through his mind, and then he was drowning himself in Draco, forgetting to breathe as their tongues met and tangled. It was so real, more real than anything Harry had experienced with Ginny, each of his senses razor-sharp and teasing his body and brain with sensations more intense than they had any right to be. He felt alive, more so than he had in a long time. The thrill of being, just being without any room for pretense or even thought, was intoxicating, and so scary it made Harry’s stomach flip.

Draco broke the kiss to take off his glasses and look at him, right into his naked eyes, and Harry felt completely bare, open, and… free. He craved – needed – this. He wanted more. But when he stumbled forward to sate that craving, Draco pushed him back, tossing him the glasses. Harry barely caught them and put them on in time to see the vicious glare.

“You’re such a hypocrite, Potter,” Draco spat.

Harry just gaped and tried to comprehend what was going on. Unfortunately, his brain still hadn’t made it back from where it had wandered to. Draco wasn’t going to give him time to recuperate, though.

“Just because you’re a goddamn hero doesn’t mean you can have everything for free,” he told him with an angry shake of his head and then Disapparated with a faint pop, leaving Harry alone with his unfulfilled desires.

*

Ron and Hermione loved Harry, their friend. Mrs Weasley loved her surrogate son, and her son-in-law. Ginny Potter loved Harry, her hero and husband. James Sirius, Albus Severus, and Lily Luna loved Daddy.

Harry Potter was loved and happy, but there was still a piece missing to the puzzle, an aching gap Harry had long learned to ignore, but could never quite forget. Like a splinter of a mirror stuck inside his heart, the memory of Erised and the what if were always there, not causing too much pain, but never allowing him to feel completely free of it. It was the type of injury that kills slowly, but surely.

*

Coming to Hogwarts as a father felt strange.
Listening to Professor Malfoy recount your son’s abysmal performance in Potions felt surreal.
Leaving Draco’s office with nothing but a sober Goodbye, Mr Potter felt wrong. Which was why Harry closed the door again, and, leaning against it, faced Draco with the courage he’d been collecting for years.

Draco quirked an eyebrow.

“Is it still here, at Hogwarts?” Harry asked quietly.

Draco kept his face blank. “What do you mean?”

Harry sighed. “Draco. Please.”

Draco studied his face for a moment before speaking. “The Mirror of Erised was found to be too dangerous to remain in the castle,” he told Harry. Then he shook his head and his voice dropped almost to a whisper. “I asked them to take it away. I don’t know where they put it. I don’t want to know.” He averted his eyes.

Harry nodded. “I don’t really need it,” he said and waited for Draco to look back up, at him. “I see you – us – every time I close my eyes.”

Draco’s eyes widened, the gray flickering into life, but he didn’t say anything. Harry felt his heart palpitate in his chest like a frightened bird.

Eventually, he reached out to touch Draco’s face. “I’m afraid I’ll go insane,” he admitted and traced the line of Draco’s jaw with a hesitant finger, feeling more vulnerable than when he had lain defenseless at Voldemort’s feet.

Draco closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then met Harry’s look. “I won’t let you,” he whispered calmly and leaned in for a kiss.

*

Free will is heavier than any burden.

~fin~




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