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Lazarus by Deine [Reviews - 4]


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As the cheerless towns pass my window
I can see a washed out moon through the fog
And then a voice inside my head, breaks the analogue
And says

"Follow me down to the valley below You know
Moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul"

I survived against the will of my twisted folk
But in the deafness of my world the silence broke
And said

"Follow me down to the valley below You know
Moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul"

"My David don't you worry
This cold world is not for you
So rest your head upon me
I have strength to carry you"

(Ghosts of the twenties rising Golden summers just holding you)

"Follow me down to the valley below You know
Moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul
Come to us, Lazarus
It's time for you to go"

-- Porcupine Tree






Final battle, they called it, because they were convinced that it would be the last one. They’ve been hoping for a final victory, something that does not exist. He doesn’t bother, though, because he was relieved of any duties the moment he was struck down. It is surprising that he is lucid enough to be so introspective – shouldn’t mortal wounds be accompanied by hallucinations? Life flashing before his eyes or some other such nonsense? Ah, here it comes, he adds as an afterthought. It’s so sad it’s funny. Or is it the other way around? Same difference.

-:-

It is long past midnight, but the light is on. The house is silent, now. They’ve left, no doubt gone back to headquarters, and he knows that he should not be far behind them if he values his life. Something possesses him to linger, though, freezing his feet to the floor, melting his knees. There is not a living soul around, no ghost of a whisper, and yet he is somehow not alone enough.

It is her broken body that draws his gaze back to the bathroom floor. There is nothing romantic about the way she lies under the dim, sickly light. Tangled, matted dark hair falls over a face that would have been pretty, if it weren’t for the bruises, the crushed throat, the pale, slender legs splayed at strange angles. Thin red lines roll down. They pool on the cracked white tiles, dissolving in the water that runs pink into the predatory mouths of drains.

She didn’t know. Didn’t know that they would come for her. Didn’t know who they were. Didn’t know what she was getting into. Didn’t know why. A futile question, that. Seldom answered.

-:-

He’s back in his seventh year. And she knows; he can see it in her eyes. He doesn’t have to look deeper.

“I know I can’t expect you to understand right now,” she says, “but I hope you will. I can’t lie. Not to myself, and not to you. It just wouldn’t be right.”

Liar. There’s not a bit of right in this.

“I know the real reason. You can tell me the truth and preserve your bright, shining integrity.”

“Believe what you want. But it has to end.”

It’s true. He knows it will, because it was never wholly there in the first place. She will not dirty her hands on him. She will not cut herself on the shards and jagged edges.

Something makes her features soften oh-so-slightly. He hates to think of what it may be.

“Nothing has changed, Severus. I think you’re making a big mistake, but…”

“Why?”

His breath has left him; his voice is small.

“Why do I think there’s hope for you yet? I don’t know. It’s foolish of me…You’re a good person, deep down. Someday you’ll find it in your heart to do the right thing.”

She smiles tightly, sadly, and turns away.

He wonders what it might be like to see things from the other side. Golden, the lot of them. On impulse, he calls after her.

“Run, Mudblood!”

All the anger in the world is useless.

-:-

“Sev?”

This time, he doesn’t bristle at the nickname – loathed not because of the informality, but the pretensions. Lucius would slit his throat in the night if it offered him the slightest gain. You live in a nest of snakes. The thought circles, like an insect. He crushes it, but the entrails are still smeared on the wall of his mind.

“Are you alright?”

The silence that follows rings in his ears. He makes an odd noise in his throat.

“Come on. I’m laying my arse down for you as it is.”

Always. You never let them forget.

He slams the shower door, leaving her for someone else to find and cry over.

-:-

Morning. Golden rays of sunlight flood the grey room, tinting the barren walls saffron. The sun is dismal here. The light raises specks of dust. They drift aimlessly in the stifling warmth, the warmth that is not for him.

Through a curtain of limp hair he stares into his coffee and stirs to erase his own reflection. He cannot help but notice that his mirror image has just done the same to him. He does not need to be reminded of the exhaustion that eats away at already frayed nerves. Caffeine doesn’t help. Better that than something else…like murder.

He shakes his head. Silly thoughts, they’ve taken her voice. But who is he trying to fool? The thoughts are silly because they can get him killed. This does not alarm him as much as it should, but there is a part of him that screams Idiot! just as it did in that split second when he realized that this was forever –

The smoldering of the flesh, the inky, poisonous fire sinking through to the bone, tainting him forever – as if he was clean to begin with…He looks up at bloodshot snake eyes framed by an otherwise flawless face and hates them, and knows that he has just made the worst decision of his life – that this can never be fixed, that as long as he lives he will never be his own person –

Stupid. So much for all that ambition. So much for life – if his was ever worth a damn, he must have thrown it away. Somewhere along the way, he must have gotten tangled in the web of lies he spun.

And for what? He could have been someone. He could have been Good. Instead, all he has is grey mornings – mournings? – and muted colours, muffled sounds. It is standing outside the circle of light, where the warmth cannot reach, where the music is out of earshot, where the words are not addressed to him. It is the other side of the invisible wall. Spinner’s End.

-:-

It is her – Lily, not Alice Longbottom. Lily is the unfortunate mother, and he knows that she will die to protect the brat. The truth has finally sunken in as he broods over this while his friends enjoy a drink after a job well done – one that he avoids reflecting on.

He has not touched his drink, although inebriation would have been welcome, and slouches miserably in a dark corner of the pub. The smell of booze is making him ill. The voices resound. They are all the same.

It’s too difficult to pretend anymore. These are not his people. He was a fool to believe they were. He should turn himself in. Maybe he can save her. The Dementor’s Kiss is painless, they say.

-:-


“Look, I don’t care about the mark. I’ll do what you did. But I’m not leaving you.”

“No, you listen to me. I made a promise to your mother, and I intend to keep it. I’ll be damned if you try to stop me.”

The boy opens his mouth to protest, but he holds up his hand to silence him. She has heard their last few sentences. He is very aware of her presence – because he always keeps an ear out and because subterfuge is not her strong suit.

“There is someone at the door. I think I shall go deter them.”

Draco’s eyes widen in alarm. The fact that someone has been listening in is reason enough to be very afraid. Severus smirks and decides to put him out of his misery.

“It’s just Granger. Nosy but harmless.”

Draco catches on.

“She knows?”

He nods, opens the door and steps out. She is crouched on the floor and has obviously been peeping through they keyhole. Another pair of wide eyes stares up at him. He squats next to her, so that they can see eye to eye.

“If I hadn’t known it was you, you would have been long dead.”

“If it weren’t me but one of your friends, you’d be worse than dead, sir.”

Typical of her to address him formally when speaking of his possible demise. In trademark fashion, he raises his eyebrow.

“If they could find me here, yes. But there is a reason for my continued existence.”

“And some existence that is.”

Don’t look at me like that.

Rising, “What do you want, Miss Granger?”

“Nothing. I’m here because I want you to be alright.”

He wants it to be true with all his heart. For how many times has he wished that someone, anyone, would look right through him? These are things no one understands. They don’t want to.

“And listening at doors is going to accomplish that how?”

She just shakes her head.

“You are wasting your time.”

“You may think so.”

“Find someone who appreciates your efforts.”

“I’m not so foolish as to seek appreciation from you. Rest assured, I don’t need it.”

He sighs.

“I’ve killed bright young things like you.”

This said, he turns away.

“Come on, Draco, we’re leaving.”

The last he sees of her are her eyes resting on the fine trickle of blood that rolls down his sleeve.

-:-

The bliss of delirium has lifted. The vanilla-white sky is bright again. He can feel the wind on his fiery skin, the grass brushing painfully against the side of his face. His scars are itching. The thin emerald blades of grass are slick with scarlet...Scarlet and emerald, ha-ha. The real pain is coming back, though.

His blood is acid. It hurts, but his body will not stop tensing up and convulsing. Permanent damage. Some might mistake it for a description of his life. He cannot scream, the hold is so tight. Like being between glass walls shattering from the heat.

I am going to die soon.

There is something moving and euphoric about that simple thought. A thought too good for a cowardly deserter. Suddenly, everything is frigid. This is what an icy cold grave feels like. This is hell. This is where he belongs.

There, there, says the voice, and he feels the cold fade. He will not be around for further regret.






Lazarus by Deine [Reviews - 4]


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