Shades of Grey (1/?)
Title: Shades of Grey
Rating: PG-13 for some violence. Rating might go up.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Characters and backstories are owned by Joss Whedon and JK Rowling. No profit is being made.
Notes: Dawn for tth100_2 (Prompt: Blood), Slytherin House for crossovers100 (Prompt: Enemies)
Notes 2: Well, finally got it down. Might just do this in a series.
Blood was a sticky, warm and constant trickle that soaked his robes to his side. The blackness of it acted like camouflage against the black night; but his blond hair, no matter how dirty, acted like a halo that diffused a soft glow, announcing his presence to his pursuers.
He couldn’t run anymore.
One arm hung limply down his side, broken, blood dried and flaky from his nose, past his lips, down his chin. The metallic tang of blood was a ready aftertaste, but there were other worries. He was almost sure that he had a concussion, the broken arm wasn’t his only injury. Bruises, cuts, scrapes so completely covered him that it now seemed a natural aspect of his body. The pain was a constant companion now, singing in his blood, crashing in his ears, painting the world a hazy red. His feet never halted as he ran.
They were catching up. Ghosts in black robes and white masks, they moved like silent death, feet almost not touching the ground. Cold, cruel, sadistic, they were like the proverbial cats playing with the scared little mouse. Lunch. And he was well on the point of terrified. The dank darkness was sometimes broken up by bright flashes of light from spells that they threw carelessly, uncaring if they hit him. Blue. Yellow. Red. Even a flash of green dangerously close. He’d thrown up at that, hearing their chilling laughter in the air, letting him empty his stomach noisily on the grass covered ground.
He didn’t even know where he was.
Despair was bitter in his mouth, choking him. His sight was blurred now, salty tears stinging his cuts. He was eighteen and he was going to die. A bitter sob escaped him as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Bile was another bitter taste to keep him company. In the end, the one thing he had been brought up to believe, everything he had been taught to be proud of, everything he had been taught to care about…useless. He remembered a soft, murmuring female voice quote to him, “what’s in a name?”. What indeed. His name was burnt down, dust in the wind. Everything he was, everything he had was in that name. With that gone, he was broken. He was nothing.
It was a bitter pill to swallow.
But… There was another thing that he had been taught. His mother, this time, not the man rotting in Azkaban. Not his father. His hand holding the broken arm to his side, Draco Malfoy grimly and unsteadily climbed to his feet…because the Blacks didn’t stay down. They would get hit time and time again, but they would never take that lying down. Because the Blacks were taught to survive. But Merlin, it was difficult. Before this, he hadn’t been aware of pain like this, never been privy to it. Now it was his only companion in days that dawned darker. Tears prickled his eyes once more, but this time he didn’t let them fall. He wrapped himself in the tattered remains of an ill used dignity. His ribs ached, his legs weak, but he continued, stumbling. They were gaining on him, seven grown, trained and ruthless killers on the hunt…for him.
What he done to deserve this? But he knew. Inside, he knew. He hadn’t wanted the life of servitude that being a Death Eater gave. Didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of his father, of his father’s father. Malfoy…there was a hint of it in the name. Bad Blood. Before the taint, before Malfoy had truly turned into what their name had suggested, they had been a strong family, an independent family. Now his family was a family of followers, a family that kissed the hem of a madman who was free with his Avada Kedavras
and his Crucios
. A man who couldn’t even kill a baby…
But where had that not wanting gotten him? In a forest in the middle of nowhere, running for his life. And his arm, his useless, broken arm… Punishment both from not completing the duty that Voldemort had set upon him, but also with the uncanny knowledge that his heart wasn’t in it, that despite his father’s boasts of the perfect heir, Draco had been anything but
keen on the idea. He liked his skin smooth and ublemished, thank you. That was what you got for mixing Black and Malfoy blood, vanity. It ran on both sides. He couldn’t help that he was devastatingly good looking… A bark of rusty laughter burst out of his throat. He felt the confusion of his pursuers. Something else ran in both bloodlines, Insanity. He knew that they were thinking that he had succumbed to it. He didn’t blame them, he felt fairly near that edge, himself.
Then he made his first mistake. He stumbled.
Just a moment, but that moment was enough for a spell to hit him.
He felt his body seizing, that already familiar spell tracking its way through his body. Felt it start slow, almost teasing. Mocking. Taunting. The scream tickled at his throat, threatening to set loose. His jaw locked. His body arched, knees failed. Hands went to his face, cracked nails digging, digging into skin. Stinging, giving. A flood of warm stickiness. Then he screamed.
The Malfoy heir was lying on his side, curled into a foetal position with tears streaming down his face, a face that was bloodied from his own hands along with those others. A face with bruises, with scraped and cuts. A face with lips nearly bitten through. Blood flooded his mouth, stuck in his throat, turning his scream into a horrifying gurgling sound as pain ran through him, long agonising bursts of pain that fried every nerve ending, that felt like hot pokers pressing into his intestines, felt like nails puncturing and tearing his guts…
Then silence. No more. His eyes were closed but he still saw a haze of red. He felt so battered, like every single bone in his body had been crushed, then pieced together only to be crushed again. He hated this part after the torturing curse, that short period just after it. He felt so vulnerable, so fragile, like the smallest touch would shatter him into little pieces. He didn’t know how long he stayed that, how long he was lying down curled into a little ball, the silence around him broken by the occasional whimpers of pain he wasn’t even aware he was emitting. But he was getting used to this, now. He hadn’t pissed himself, not like he had the first time the curse had been used on him. Cracked, torn lips curled in more of a grimaced than a smile as he recalled that time. How brave. The strong Malfoy, almost getting the better of the torturing curse. Well done, Mr. Malfoy. Ten points to Slytherin.
A morbid part of him wondered whether he really would
win if house points were awarded for ability to withstand the cruciatus
curse. Maybe for once he’d beat that damn Mudblood Granger at something. He started laughing, a rough, almost desperate sound that got longer, higher, louder. He couldn’t stop. He couldn’t stop laughing and then the laughing turned to choking and coughing but still he couldn’t stop, still the sound poured out of him. The lessons of life are the hardest ones to learn, Mr. Malfoy. One day you will have to learn that. And Merlin hope that you will get the easy way of it.
Damn Snape. Damn Snape for his help, for his snidely uttered advice. Damn him for his coldness. Damn him… The laughing turned to racking sobs. Damn Snape. Damn Snape for getting his only way out killed. Damn Snape for going through with Voldemort’s order. His
order. Damn him.
Who was Draco to turn to after that? Who could he run to? No one but Dumbledore would have trusted him, would have helped him. Damn Snape for taking that way from him. If you can’t carry this out, I will, boy. I have made a promise to your mother. And an order from the Dark Lord is an order. It’s best that you remember that.
The rustling of leaves, the snap of a twig told him of the presence of the Death Eaters, but for once he didn’t move. Didn’t do anything. He just stayed where he was, laughing, crying, coughing. Blood foamed at his mouth, trickled down his chin, its stain invisible against the black of his robes. Maybe he had black blood… Black Blood. Bad Blood. Black Blood. Black blood. Black Blood. Bad Blood. Black blood Black Blood Bad Blood black blood black blood bad bloodblack bloodblack blood bad bloodblackbloodblackbloodbadblood –
Then a miracle happen. A miracle that snapped him from the insane ramblings his torn-apart mind had taken him. The miracle came from the form of two teenaged muggles, both his age or around it. One was a tall blonde girl in jeans and a red t-shirt, the other was a tall, slim brunette with shoulder length hair and big blue eyes. They walked into the clearing he was in, arguing heatedly.
“ – salt and vinegar mixed in water is the only
way you can get N’gth’arl blood out from your clothes!” the brunette insisted.
“No way, babe. I tried
the salt and vinegar thing and it didn’t do shit. You have to use baking soda and mix it with salt and a lot
of lemon juice.”
“Please, where did you learn that
trick from? Bill Nye the Science Guy?” the brunette snorted. The blonde was about to launch into another counter argument when he managed to push himself up. The action made the two girls suddenly aware of his presence. The blonde sucked in a breath at his appearance, and the brunette looked horrified. Then anger flashed in her eyes. He didn’t care what they felt, didn’t care if they might be horrified, he had to get them out of here. Damn it, they were muggles and he was supposed to hate them… but he had found a conscience somewhere along the line. A conscience that came free of charge along with the “survive the cruciatus
free” card he’d acquired. With that in mind, he stumbled to his feet, just
managing to push them away before a stunner hit them. He cried out in pain as his fall aggravated his wounds. Gasping for breath, he forced himself to get on his knees, forced himself not to lie down because that was when they always got you, when you were down and helpless.
Roughly pulling the two girls up, he shoved them forward. They looked at him in incomprehension and he actually snarled in his impatience. The blonde’s eyes widened, but the brunette’s narrowed. Her mouth pursed. He knew that look, knew it because he’d seen it on his Cousin Tonk’s face when she was about to argue. This wasn’t
“Move,” he rasped, thickly. “Run. GET OUT OF HERE!”
“That him?” The blonde asked, seemingly inconsequential. The brunette nodded grimly, and to his shock, the two girls grabbed him and pulled him between them just as seven robed and masked figures burst out around them. Shit. Draco’s eyes screwed shut in defeat. They were surrounded.
“Don’t you dare give up,” the brunette hissed. “We didn’t come out as the decoy/cavalry group just for you to fall on your ass wailing like little girl. Now suck it up and get one of these assholes for what they did to you.”
Draco’s eyes narrowed at her, but for once he didn’t do the stupid thing. For once he accepted an order and turned with slow, grim deliberation to a slight, robed figure. His hand didn’t shake as he lifted his wand, the curse too quick, too savage, too fueled by anger and desperation for any of the Death Eaters to stop it. He screamed the curse, the curse Potter had used on him this year; saw the rendering of clothes, saw the gashes on flesh, so the splurt of blood, heard a terrible scream before feeling an almost familiar tugging sensation at his navel as both girls clamped their hands on his person…disappearing just before the killing curse hit them.
His mind was hazing. Stumbling, Draco would have thrown up if he had anything in his stomach to regurgitate. Instead, he swayed on his feet and would have dropped like a ton of bricks were it not for the surprisingly strong slender arms that pulled him up. It didn’t help, though. His dead weight pulled both of the down and he heard her startled shout and then the feel of her female softness under him as she cushioned his fall. His eyesight swam, greyed at the edges. He heard the shouts of others, one name called out.
Then Draco Malfoy knew no more.