One year ago
Draco Lucius Malfoy had come to understand himself well enough in the now twenty six years he had been knocking around these many worlds to know that whenever he was comfortable, he was doing something, very, very, wrong.
At least he thought he was twenty six, after all the time and space travel he figured he could really be considered anywhere from twenty to thirty depending on how you figured these things. He knew he had once spent a year with Jim Morrison as his roadie and lover, he knew from another point of view that year had never really happened. Maybe. He knew that he had traveled with the crew of Moya, out beyond the known universes, running from everyone that wanted to crush their freedom and spirits. Time was strange to say the least out there, all that was sure was that he had been with them long enough to learn from them. He knew he had been with his Master, his Mistress, his lover for... a while.
But again, in a TARDIS, time ran strangely. The Master had once insisted that they had been fucking for a whole year once, then she claimed that they had been on Yisyw Six, a planet where all life had evolved from chinchillas-- for five years. But whatever he felt about his age, he was sure that being comfortable had led him right into the arms of evil.
He had been so comfortable during his childhood, his teen years. He had been so sure of his power, his place in the world. He had never before or since felt as safe as he had when he had been wrapped up cozy and warm, in the viewpoints of his parents. But after Lord Volvermort's defeat, a deep boredom, combined with lashings of rage that he would later come to know as the first signs of depression had set into his heart.
Maybe because as much as he liked knowing he was powerful, unlike most Deatheaters, Draco never really had the will to enforce his power on others. He could never get to the point where the screams of others made him anything but sick. He yearned for a powerful teacher, a mentor, someone who would see his worth, and reward it. Someone who would remove his weakness, recast him in their image. Someone who could understand him. His checks burned with shame, as he reflected on his former self, the sour, grim, deeply bigoted asshole he had been still made him want to cringe when he considered it without the proper emotional armor on. But the hike was a long one, so his mind seemed to want to re-cap things for him.
He squinted into the wind. It blew even more snow into his face. He had dropped off his TARIDS about a mile from the hotel. Suvretta House could only be found on foot after all. He admired that spell, it seemed smart to him, it kept out muggles while also making defense easy on the off chance anyone wanted to attack a fancy Swiss hotel for rich recluses. All was snow, all was pine trees, all was white, mountains, and cold.
He was looking forward to skiing, ice-skating and snowboarding until he was sore, cold and laughing like a loon. He had been dreaming of hot cocoa, good food, silk sheets, and staring into the flames of fireplaces. He was also looking forward to talking a cute snowboarder into bed. He wanted something causal with someone not very smart. It seemed like a good way to cleanse his pallet, after the life changing, mind blowing intensity that was being the Master's lover.
A load of snow fell off a pine tree, dragging him out of his mind for a moment. He wished he could see more of the landscape but he also tried to enjoy the mystery that the night brought to the world. He smiled as he began to pass by trees that had been decked out with angel toppers, lights, ornaments, and pop corn strings. He figured that the hotel had done it, but you never knew.
He wondered if Fey celebrated Christmas or something like it. Draco knew enough about mythology to understand that most Christmas traditions had been stolen from pagans, but he had never been clear about what the pagans had been marking. The end of the year, most likely. Somewhere in his still mostly jaded heart, he felt that Christmas and anything like it, had been invented to give people something to do during winter besides go stir crazy or homicidal.
People need feast days to convince them that there is something to care about. People need a trick to keep going on, a reason to wake up but in the end it always disappoints.
He blinked a bit as that idea skated over his mind. Whenever he felt like the monster was gone, there it was again, whispering about how false everything and everyone was. Whispering to not to trust, care or like anyone but himself. He inhaled the cold burning in his nose, rushing down his throat as he worked at the lump there, it still shocked him a bit that the hate, the depression, the dark place, whatever it was could still come back both so suddenly, and so strongly. He worried more then ever that he would never be whole, or good.
His cheeks flushed again, but this time from anger, and fear. He had left his Master a year ago now, his batty, darling, teacher and Time Lord. It had been a lifetime since as a nineteen year old ego driven manic he had cast a spell to bring him to his teacher. He remembered how he had trembled as he stared into the silvery hole that appeared in his bedroom. Driven by a dreamy, almost mesmerized detachment he had flung himself ass over tea kettle into it.
He had come out the other side, hard onto a lawn. Draco sighed his breathe puffing into the air, a smile gracing his lips as he remembered that late night meeting with Dr Hannibal Lector. He had been lying limbs akimbo, hair in his eyes, the stars distracting him and then, a pair of loafers, shined to a inch of someone's life had appeared in the corner of his eye. “Hello, Draco. I have been expecting you. I prepared dinner, it's no one you know I assure you. We have many things to talk about. And....” Draco looked up then, up and up into the pale blue eyes of someone whom he had only known as a fictional person until this moment. “You should clean up for dinner, we would not want the other apprentices to think less of you, would we?”
A small cheeky smile graced the formerly icy face of the good doctor. Draco's heart had sang then because this man must be the one, his teacher, his leader. He whispered as he studied the apex predator in the five hundred dollar suit that loomed over him, “All I am is... for you. Make me in your image.” And like any true apex predator, Lector both heard, and was pleased by his offer. Suvretta House started to loom over the next hill.
It was a heart stopping old wonderful pile of hotel. The many pine trees around it all glowed with lights, the hills nestled the hotel, everything seemed so peaceful and safe Darco wondered how he ever even felt that all the world was nothing but suffering. This place seemed pure.He had never really understood the idea of a winter wonderland until then. His heart lifted a bit.
Draco closed his eyes, ran his fingers down his arm, mind and body needed to work together. Draco whispered the mantra John Crichton had taught him in those days after the Master had ditched him, those lost days as he feverishly posed on the brink of death. “I am part of the grand experiment, I am one part of a whole. I am loved. I will rebuild myself. Self pity is addiction, contentment is made not found.” He felt as he always did when he participated in his meditations. A bit foolish, but mostly solidly sure that this was health, this was goodness.
He passed by a frozen lake about a half mile from the hotel, it glinted so sliver, so perfect that he wondered down to it. He stood on it's store taking in the sight, staring again at the inky blackness of the night, relishing the cold air in his lungs. The trees around the lake were covered in lights, ornaments, and garlands almost just like the ones in the woods, but he noted that the decorations on the trees over here had a water based subtext to them, smiling mermaids in Santa hats winked at him, sailors dressed in white and red chased them around the tree. He felt like he could fall right into the night sky, the stars blazed, twinkled, shone, and gleamed, he smiled whenever he saw even the faintest stars now because, night was space, space meant Moya, and Moya meant home.
Because now, home was people, not a place, home was fighting side by side, working together, making quips, stealing food, begging on strange planets, trading spells for spare parts or ransom for the hapless crew member who was currently getting boned by one of their many antagonists, so on. A ghost of the smile that had split his face after the Master had tossed him the keys to his own TARDIS slipped into his lips. He chuckled thinking about the looks on John and Arein's faces when they met up on Gurcu'2'0. The idea that he had found not just one but many people who could not only put up, but enjoy him spread warmth all over his chest. He held on to that glow for a second. He knew now that he was learning, just not without some hard knocks.
His knee choose that exact moment to twinge on him as if reminding him of his scars, he snorted at the melodramatic idea. His knee was just his knee. His past was just his past. He longed for the quiet, the contentment of not wanting, or needing anything. He felt like a puppet to himself. It pissed him off. He sighed, his breathe blew out in fine mist, he tugged at the straps of his pack. He had packed up What he really wanted was...to have a problem to solve. He looked up, picked a star, and made a wish.
I need someone... closer. I need to...learn how to be human. I need to learn how to become someone who serves instead of demands, or takes.
He closed his eyes as he wished, a shiver swept over his spine.
So, when he noticed the lone ice skater, out there at one AM, he was not even sure if he had seen it at first. But yes, there was someone out there. He could not tell from this distance anything beyond that the person was most likely an adult because they seemed to be about six foot tall. Draco blinked a few times as the skater drew closer, there was a thing trailing after the person. Draco was sure he had gone nutters because a small saber toothed tiger about the size of a ten pound dog had come bounding over the ice at him, then lost control, went into a tail spin and lastly crashed into his feet kicking up snow as it did. “Oi, little help?!” Came a voice, most likely the skater who was drawing ever closer. “Chow Mien, where does my tiger go?” The voice seemed amused, but annoyed a touch as well.
The tiger shook all the snow off itself, opened it's mouth super wide, yawned, then flopped down at Draco's feet. In more snow, where it rolled over on it's back, wiggling around as if the cold felt awesome. This thing was waaay tooo into snow. It's tongue was hanging out, it's mouth lolled open, fangs, claws and a goofy face flashed all over the shop.
It looked smug, he felt. Draco squinted at the small tiger feeling a sneaky feeling is dislike growing as he stared at it. Mostly he hated it because he was sure it was very, very, used to be loved just for existing. No one had ever loved him for just existing, he had to jump hoops. Fuck this tiger.
“Chow Mien! I asked you, where does my tiger go!” The figure became a person then. A person with dyed red hair, a rich wine shade, green eyes, and a concealed scar. A person with a lanky body, long fingers, full lips. It had been awhile, and considering all that plus, the eyebrow piercing in the shape of a barbell, the tight fitting jeans, plaid shirt that was just the right amount of battered to be cool, well. Harry was...different now. He moved a lot differently now, in very sure strokes, it was like he knew all of his limits, but also all of his power.
It was fuckin...weird.
The glasses had been ditched too. He wondered what he looked like to Harry, his face had gotten a bit softer over the years, but he felt that was a good thing because he had been made of angles when he was a teenager. His hair was half way down his back, dyed white from the crown of his head to his chin, then from there to the ends it was a deep, rich, dark blue. The white hair made his eyes stand out he knew, he had always been vain about his lovely blue eyes. The Master had told him once that he had the same shape and shade of eyes as Lord Byron had once possessed.
He was wearing a pair of tight black pants that were made out of something that reminded him of leather, but he knew it was not. His boots, his hoodie, all looked human made. All black. His sweater was light weight, it was sliver shot with blue and white threads. It was capable of feeding him, giving him oxygen and keeping him warm in sub zero temps. He loved alien tech so much sometimes. It looked and felt like wool. They stared at each taking a moment that they would both deny they even needed.
And like all moments, someone broke it wide open. It was Draco, and his contempt for small dogs, and now, small cats it seemed. Because for real. Fuck this tiger. He bared his teeth as he said it. The blow was coming so he might as well make the opening shot, and set the terms. “I have been far and wide, I have seen wonders but I never expected this to be one! You found a way to be more of a prat. You have a tiny predator on a leash. I bet you tote it around, talk to it, treat it like it's a child instead of something you bribe to love you.”
His tone was cheerful, mild even. He was not sure why he was doing this, but it felt comfortable. Wait. Comfortable. That was bad but-- Harry barked out a harsh laugh. “Oh come on. Power struggles with someone who you barely knew? Are you still that stuck up your own ass?” He smirked as he said it, there was almost something playful in Harry's eyes. Or he was lying to himself. Chow Mien jumped out of Harry's arms, and on to the ground then. Draco squinted at it, wondering if he was too reformed to kick a small annoying animal or not.
The tiny saber toothed tiger took that moment to take a dump on Draco's shoes. He was staring at it, in pure shock, he guessed the look on his face must have been priceless because Harry began to laugh, laugh, and laugh. Snow had started falling, and some of it clumped in his eye lashes. His eyes glowed green set off by the wine shaded hair. “Why are we even doing this?” Harry asked, his tone even. His face gave away nothing, he picked up the TSTT (tiny saber toothed tiger). It snuggled into his arms, giving him a look of pure adoration. Draco felt at a loss for an answer, he had never...asked himself that question before. Well, he had...and he had not. He had done a bunch of work becoming, well, first not a bigot.
Then not a worshiper of sickness, as Zhaan, his blue monk friend had once referred to it. But, he had asked it in the context of 'Why do I do this?” when it meant, why did he keep giving up his life, his choices to others? He had asked himself, 'Why do I do this?' when it came to seeing his own bigoted ideas mirrored but turned on him in the Peacekeepers. It had been such a shock to him to find that he could possibility be considered somehow inferior. Oh, the fucking arrogance. But... “Why do I do this?” to mean... why fight with Harry?
Yeah, this was new. He had kind of forgotten about Potter after high school. He had found new people to fight with, to compete with, to belittle. His side ached where Abby had put a knife between his ribs. As Doctor Lecter had explained after he had awoken in a hospital bed, covered in stitches, not every villain was suited to field work. He had never used the word villain, but he had used the term field work. He had noted that some villains, again, never using the term, wanted minions, that term was careful avoided too, coded as 'assistants' that could hang back, plot the plans, then let their mentor go wild on the targets. He had trained his mind to be quick in battle therefor so quick he sometimes felt like a mind reader.
Harry shifted in place, planted his feet getting ready to take a blow if needed. Draco made a list of all the weapons he had, magic, cunning, the element of shock, Harry was taller then he was now, maybe take a knee out... He wondered if he had been wrong to have never learned much about combat, both in spell work, and fists. He just liked making plans so much better, being a puppet master trilled him. Let others make the plan happen... it was more then enough for Draco to know that his will was being done. Like... hard on so rigid it hurt, more then enough. Just saying. A whisper niggled at him, it sounded like what he sometimes called his higher self. It does not have to be like this. You could set down your defenses, you could try something new. You could do and be more then just mirroring all those other assholes... But new can be terrifying, so Draco gave Harry his best sneer.
“Why do you think I should give you any answers? Besides who cares why it is. It just is.” His cheeks felt flushed, and the look on Potter's face, one of careful blankness mixed with dismay, maybe pity... Well. That was it, was it not? Harry had always mirrored him, or at least a part. They... were the same kind of smug, self righteous ass. But.. he had grown out of it. Potter still reeked with disdain, at least for him. We're so quick to point out our own flaws in others, right? He winced at himself, his shame nagged at him once again. Would it never stop? Once upon a time he had told his mentor, his teacher that he felt a worm inside a suit of armor. Doctor Lecter had nodded slightly, then asked him why a worm. He had bared his teeth, not smiled, and said. “Because we all live in the dirt, and we're all blind.”
Around Harry, he had always felt more worm then armor. He knew now that when he felt like that it meant, he wanted to explore the person's viewpoint more. This impulse had led him to some odd places, but, he had started to trust it. One of the few times he liked himself was when he was trying as hard as he could to see how, and why, people saw him as they did. Empathy is enlightening in the worst possible way sometimes.
Harry was clutching Chow Mien to his chest, his eyes narrowed, shivering in the cold, face tight then...it hit Draco all at once. Harry was sacred of him, and not just a little. His body was tense, he was drumming his fingers on his thigh. He kept panting, almost shallowly his eyes trained in Draco's face. He wants to run, but he does not want to pass by me, Draco thought with a feeling of serene disassociation. He breathed in and out slowly. He did not want to make this worse. After all, he did have amends to make. Sort of. He smiled, trying to put Harry at ease.
He spread his hands wide, palms up. Time to backpedal. Time to show Harry there was more to him, time to... make a new mistake. “Maybe we do this because we're both addicted to conflict?” He puffed out a weak chuckle after the joke, but the look on the other man's face made it clear that humor was going over like a lead balloon. Harry smirked then, one side of his face lifting upwards, eyes cast to the side. He muttered something, and his ice skates turned into hiking boots. Chow Mien yawned widely, then glared at Draco it's orange fur bristling, heckles raised, eyes wide, feral. It made him feel both sad and tried that the maybe fifteen pound cat was ready to do anything to keep Harry safe, safe from him if we were being honest.
“Listen, I have better things to do then swap verbal barbs in the snow with my old high school bully. Come at me bro, or I'm leaving. I would prefer to leave in peace but, I could also end you so. Pick one, and let me get back to my life.” Draco put his nose in the air, his best holier then thou accent, and spat out. “I doubt you could end me, but I don't want to bury any bodies tonight, go in peace, Potter.” He tried as his best to sound as snotty as he could when he sneered out Harry's last name. Harry began to hike away after one last side eyed pitying glance.
“You're not staying at Suvretta House, are you?” Draco called at Harry's back, he was now cooing at the dammed lap cat in his arms, he seemed to be singing some kind of silly ass song to the dammed thing. “Go eat steel, and shit nails, you serial killing bigot!” came the reply, along with one middle finger raised. Huh. Maybe Potter had been to the USA since they had last met. Serial killing... oh shit.
What had she done now the batty, batty, slice of chaos that once called herself his lover? Had she gone killing with his face on again? Or was Potter just referring to the last time? And... did Potter know where to find The Doctor? He knew The Doctor could help him clear his name. He was a lot of things but... he had not murdered his parents. Or those other people. His parents...he blinked back tears then.
His throat was clogged with guilt, he had owed them better then this. He remembered so clearly the night before it had happened, the moment he had overlooked then, but now knew was her testing out the idea. They had been lying on the floor of the command room because he had been flying, and she had come up behind him, cooing, her hands wondered around and then... So she had rolled over to cuddle him close because it was getting chilly. “It pains you that my name is feared and yours unknown.” Her eyes stared unblinking into his. It was a statement. And it was true.
He had laughed then, an uneasy lying laugh. “I don't mind. You are the villain, the leader, the Master. I am the minion, the follower, the slave. I love my role. I love hiding, I love being the knife in the dark. I adore it when you tell me about how my plan drove the Doctor to comprise himself.” “Heroes never seem to notice that all we need is for them to engage us. Every time they do, we chip away at them, every person who dies that they might have saved, every time they choose the 'better of two evils, every single time they fight us they are becoming more like us. It is the way of things. ” He had sighed with contentment then, buried his face in the crook of her neck. “All they ever need to do is what they always do... fight us.”
She had laughed then, loud and joyful. She had kissed him all over the face over and over as she did. “You're just the most clever thing ever!” The Master had exclaimed as she nibbled, kissed and licked a trail down to his cock. Draco brought his hand up and slapped himself across the face, hard. He squared his shoulders, picked up his pack from the shore of the lake where he had put down, it seeped icy water into his sweater. His sweater made a noise, and turned the water into steam that it spread around to warm him. He started hiking towards the hotel again, as he did his clothes shifted around seeking out where he was loosing heat and then hey presto! He had thicker gloves and long johns on now.
Gotta love alien tech, Draco had found so many wonders being sold on the cheap out in the Forbidden Zones, he had once stumbled over a world where they had no concept of music, but had mastered bio-cloth tech, so his bad ass shape shifting pretty much a space suit if need be outfit he was wearing had been bought for a Nickleback CD. The seller seemed to think he had gotten the much, much better end of the deal, he had smirked at the 'foolish alien' the whole time.
It had amused Draco to see in action projection, and smug self assurance. Flaws, flaws, everywhere --all over the universe. When he had told John this, John had cringed, yelling at him. “How dare you let NICKLEBACK be the first rock music anyone hears, let alone an whole planet!? Have you no shame?! Have you no morals?! Have you no ear drums?!” He had punched John playfully in the arm and assured him that he was planning to come back there with good music to trade for some more wonder cloth. It was a sweet deal for everyone he felt. He made a note to get his hands on a Balance and Composure CD before he went there again. Some Rise Against, too.