Lonely Reign, Part 9
Her eyes widened more, somehow, and fat tears began to course down her face. “Please, Draco,” she begged. “They’re my friends now, don’t keep them from me.” Her lips were pink and swollen from his voracious kisses, and it took everything within him to keep from tasting her tears, from licking them off her cheeks and trembling chin.
“You’ve always laughed at me for being the Slytherin prince,” he said at last, hands gripping fistfuls of his robes to keep from touching her. “Always mocked something you never understood. But whether you understand it or not doesn’t matter. That’s just how it is. And here’s a royal decree: you’re now banished from the kingdom. Don’t come back.”
“Draco,” Laura whispered, and fell to her knees, sobbing into her hands. The portrait opened and Hannah poked her head out, eyes growing comically wide and mouth falling open in shock at the scene before her.
“Susan!” Hannah called, scrambling out and falling to the floor beside her friend. Susan appeared moments later and placed herself between the girls on the floor and Draco.
“What the bloody hell have you done to her?” she demanded, hands on hips, eyes flashing with anger.
Draco felt his emotions detach from the situation as his father had taught him. His mind grew cool and numb, and he almost sighed in relief at the recession of fury and yearning and betrayal. “Nothing she didn’t deserve.”
Laura moaned, soaking the blonde shepherdess curls with tears, shuddering rhythmically against Hannah’s shoulder as she wept. “You sodding bastard,” Hannah spat. The insult quite lost something when spoken in a breathy little-girl voice by a tiny figure in shortie pajamas, but the wealth of loathing behind it was impressive, nonetheless. “How can you hurt someone who loves you so much?”
Draco jerked in surprise before he could control himself. “Love?” he muttered, his gaze drawn to Laura, huddled and miserable on the floor against Hannah. His heart thumped once, twice, hard enough to wrench itself from his chest before the numbness returned to him, and it was as if a mask descended over his face. “Love.” He said the word as if it tasted very bad indeed. “I’m sure she ‘loves’ Potter, too. As often as they can find a spare broom closet.” His lip curled as he stared down at them. “How many others has she ‘loved’? And should I hie myself to Pomfrey for a test, be sure I haven’t caught anything from her?”
Susan slapped him then, very hard right in the mouth, and made his hair fly as his head snapped around. He flexed his neck experimentally and darted his tongue out to taste the blood that spilled from his split lip. “Not bad, Bones,” he told her. “Good wrist action, nice speed.” She fumed and raised her hand for another blow. “But I wouldn’t, if I were you. Forewarned is forearmed, and I will hit you back next time.” Susan looked like she’d take her chances anyway, but before she decided, a quavery little voice came from the heap on the floor.
“Go away, Draco,” Laura said. She sounded exhausted, and so sad. Once more he felt his anger begin to melt away, and was furious at his weakness. “Please, just go.”
He forced himself to smirk. “The minion dismisses the prince, hm?”
She pulled away from Hannah and gazed up at him. Her eyes were shockingly empty, their hazel depths dull and dead. “Just go.”
Draco’s awareness pulled back and it was as if he could see the entire scene from the ceiling. There he was, standing in the middle of the corridor, shoulders square and stiff, hands hidden in the folds of his robes as he stared down. And facing him, the troika, a picture of solidarity. Laura, crumpled and discarded; Hannah, comforting and outraged; Susan, furious and volatile. The stone walls seemed to loom around them, to crowd inward, and he felt… a vague sense of panic, and… other things. Guilt. Regret. Sorrow. Pain.
His heart twisted within him as he realized how he’d hurt her, debased her, mocked her. How he’d taken her kisses, and thrown them back at her, and despair filled him. “Laura…” he whispered at last, reaching out to her.
“Don’t touch her,” Susan snapped, slapping his hand back.
Did she think he’d hurt Laura? He’d never… Draco blinked as he realized that he had hurt her, hurt her terribly. He struggled to regain the detachment of before, and felt it close around him like a thick cloak on a winter’s day. Turning, he walked away, concentrating on putting one foot on the ground, then the other, as Hannah’s and Susan’s anxious voices faded in the distance.
He blinked and looked up, realizing that those feet of his had carried him back to the dungeons, and he’d been standing before the portrait for an unknown period of time. He wondered how long it had been.
“Draco?” repeated the voice, and he blinked again, recognizing Blaise’s swarthy, concerned face.
“Blaise,” he replied calmly, and stepped inside. His face betrayed no emotion at all, like a slate wiped perfectly, utterly clean.
“Did you find Laura?” Blaise inquired, concern plain in his voice. Draco was dimly aware of others coming to join them, of Millicent and Greg and Vince and even Pansy as she cautiously sidled up, careful to stay on the other side of him, away from Goyle.
“Yes.” He didn’t elaborate. How could he, when he still felt like he was floating near the ceiling? He tried not to stare at the floor, but couldn’t seem to focus his gaze. He settled instead for staring at Crabbe’s crooked school tie. It had a mustard spot on it, bright yellow and irregularly shaped. If Draco squinted, he thought it might vaguely resemble a tear-drop. Tears… Laura had cried so many tears, and because of him. This time, not only his heart convulsed, but his stomach as well. The entire contents of his torso seemed to be writhing inside him, struggling to be free of him, to escape an owner who would behave so cruelly.
“Is everything… are you alright?” Pansy asked.
“No,” Draco heard himself say clearly. He broke away from Millicent’s hand on his arm and walked toward the doorway to the dormitories. “No, not at all.” He walked calmly to his room, and knowing they’d follow, into the bathroom, and locked the door with a more obscure charm he knew they wouldn’t be able to alohomora open.
Inside, he methodically brushed his teeth- spitting out blood from his busted lip—and combed his hair, then removed his robes, shoes, and tie. Then he lay on his side in the bathtub and pulled his robes over him as a sort of blanket, and pressed his face against the cool porcelain, hoping it would chill his fevered brain. There were tiny cracks in the enamel, and he traced them with his fingertip, followed them like you would a road on a map, but there was no destination for him.
He lay there a long time, ignoring their pleas to come out, their thumpings on the door, and eventually fell asleep.