by zahra

He's going to stop shaking any second now. He's waiting for it to happen. He's going to open his eyes and be back in his room at the manor where house elves cater to his every whim, and his father is still alive. He's going to still be at Hogwarts, wondering when he'll receive his Dark Mark whilst Crabbe and Goyle bother him and he has another chance to practise his Silencio. Or. Or he's going to roll over and Neville's going to be curled up beside him hogging the bedclothes, and Draco will push him off the bed. Yes, that's it. That's where Draco chooses to be. He does not choose to be in a ramshackle toilet in an abandoned farmhouse in Surrey. He does not choose to be sitting in a cast-iron tub full of hot water, whilst Neville putters around him saying soothing things and trying not to make any sudden movements.

Draco's not going to be in shock anymore.

He's going to stop shaking right now.

Except he can't -- he really can't.

His hands are twitching, and he flinches when Neville whispers something soft in his ear. There's more hot water being poured into the bath, and Draco's still cold. Very, very cold. And there are scratches on his knees from where he's been clawing at himself. He can feel something cold and clammy on his face, and he's going to stop shaking.

Malfoys don't have nerves.

Malfoys are not afraid.

The clenching in Draco's jaw is giving him a migraine, and he can feel his hair clumping together with someone else's blood and gray matter. He can feel the itch starting in his toes and moving through his body at an alarming rate.

There's more water from somewhere and -- no more shaking. Right fucking now.

The effort it takes to stop shaking is for naught when Neville's hand closes around the nape of Draco's neck, and he flails about in the bath. There's shouting and water and noise, and it's Draco making these noises, and when he looks down at himself pressing against the side of the bath, he's appalled at what he sees. He's got scratches all over him. When did he become so thin? When did he get those bruises on his arms? Why is there blood on his hands? Why is he naked in the bath? The war. Right. The War.

Where's his wand?

Neville's voice seems very far away, but Draco can see him right there. "It's all right, it's just me, nothing's going to happen to you here. I'm not going to let anything happen. Promise."

Draco hates the war.

He hates this life.

He nods instead of answering Neville and he sighs from somewhere deep in his chest. His head itches and when he reaches up to push his hair out his eyes, his hand comes away pink and wet, with white bits of something sticking to his fingers.

He knows what it is, but it's only when he glances at Neville that it really begins to hit home. "He's really dead then," Draco says matter of factly.

Neville's eyes say everything.

Draco rubs the bone fragments between his thumb and forefinger and slumps further into the shallow bath.

"You need to get cleaned up," Neville says matter-of-factly, stepping closer. "I've got soap."

Draco bows his head and waits for several seconds; he can see Neville moving out the corner of his eye. He couldn't do this with anyone else, except he's already seen Neville lose his rag. They've done this before. Except it wasn't Draco's turn then, and now it is.

He holds out his hand for the soap, letting the weight of the tiny bar drag his hand underwater. He doesn't say anything when Neville kneels on the floor next to him.

"You've got... you've got stuff in your hair," Neville begins. "I could wash --"

"Cut it off."


Draco's head feels as though it's got huge weights pulling it down. It takes a lot for him to lift his head and look Neville in the eye. "My hair. Cut it off. Out. I want it gone."

"Draco -- "


Neville's eyes narrow for a second as Draco watches him, but eventually he nods his head. "I'll see what I can find."

Draco's eyes drag back down to the soap in his hand and the tepid water he's sitting in. The water is cooling off and he's beginning to get goose-pimples. His skin looks pasty underwater, and his dick is flaccid. He's got dirt between his toes and his hair. He's always been so proud of his hair. That doesn't really matter now. He works up a thin lather of soap and sets to work trying to get rid of the filth. He doubts there's enough soap left in the world for this.

There's a wooden creak, but Draco doesn't turn his head.

"This never would've happened if we'd gone to the other side," he says to his knees.

Neville drops down next to him holding something rusty in his hands. "You don't know that," he says reaching out slowly and giving Draco time to register his movement.

Draco turns his head where Neville's hand guides, refusing to look up and see any sort of sympathy. There's another flash of something metallic but he doesn't want to know quite what. Instead he goes back to his ministrations. He's never noticed how bony his own wrists are before, and his fingers are rough against his skin. He used to have the nicest hands.

"I don't think the Dark Lord would've tried out his latest exploding curse on my father if I'd stuck around and helped him sort out this mess, do you?" he says whilst washing underneath his arms.

"And what exactly do you think you could've done?" Neville's fingers tangle in Draco's hair as the first locks are sheared away. "It's not a seating arrangement for a party. It's a war. People die. That's what they do."

Draco makes a noncommittal noise as Neville tugs his hair slightly and more golden wisps fall into his bathwater. Except the wisps of Draco's hair aren't really golden anymore. They're black with dirt and soot. They're brown in the water. Draco's hair is red with blood.

It's hard for him to wash with Neville turning his head every which way so he can trim his hair. Eventually he just gives up.

"You're not washing," Neville's tone is flat and emotionless.

This is what Draco needs. He does not want pity. Malfoys deride all acts of kindness.


Except Draco is the last of his line now.

He's the one who decides what Malfoys do. The last Malfoy of a great line is sitting in cold bathwater, floating amongst bone fragments, dirt, cheap soap and pureblood. His Gryffindor lover is washing him, and he's stuck in the middle of a war he never believed in in the first place.

"I don't want to do this anymore," Draco says rolling a lock of his hair between his fingers.

Neville sighs as he kisses Draco's newly shorn hair. "I know."


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