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20 June 2007 @ 08:03 am
Happy H/D Holidays verisimilitant  
Author: noticeably
Recipient: verisimilitant
Title: Counting the Stars
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco
Summary: A long time ago, he promised you the world.
Rating: R
Warnings: Angst, blood, darkfic, dystopia, postwar, second-person narration, slightly-crazy!Draco, slightly-dark!Harry.
Word Count: 1130
Author's Notes: for verisimilitant. I'm not sure if this is really what you were looking for, but I hope that you like it nonetheless! I tried to fit as many of your requests in as I could. Many thanks to A for all of her encouragement and hand holding, as well as the fast and speedy beta! This never would have gotten finished without her help. ♥

Counting the Stars

All the lessons of history in four sentences:
Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power.
The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small.
The bee fertilizes the flower it robs.
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

- Charles A. Beard.

i. It's early when you wake, the morning sky just beginning to bleed from black to blue. You roll out of bed, wincing as you catch sight of a dark pattern of bruises running up the length of your arms. You stare at them for what seems like an eternity, twisting your arm around and around and studying them with a detached sort of curiosity. A hiss escapes your lips as you run your fingertips across them, fingers tracing small designs over your flesh.

These ones will last.

You tilt your head towards him just slightly, eyes searching for any sign of movement. Convinced that he’s still asleep, you move away from the bed and sneak quietquietquietly outside to watch the sunrise.

ii. Sometimes when you're reading he'll sit at the table and watch you through empty eyes, fingers drumming a soft tune of hmm hum hmm against the table.

He always watches you. He's always watched you.


iii. You can still remember the first time you saw him. Thinking back, you flex your fingers lazily, ignoring the half-healed scratches that cover them, and wonder if things would have been any different had he taken your hand.

iv. "Do you ever wonder if they'll try to find you?" you ask one evening, staring lazily at the ceiling and counting the dots. Six-hundred and twenty-five.

"No," he says, taking a long drag of his cigarette and glancing at you out of the corner of his eye.

"Why not?" Six-hundred and thirty-four.

"Because they just won't," he murmurs.

You snort. "That's not an answer." Six-hundred and thirty-nine.

He gives a long sigh. "They think I'm dead," he says flatly, "and they're afraid of me. They wouldn't want me to come back even if they knew I was alive."

"Oh," you say, because there's really not much else you can say to that. Not when he's right. Six-hundred and forty-eight.

v. It always begins as a fight.

Sometimes, he'll make a sly comment about your father. Other times, you'll casually turn your head towards him and ask how Black's doing. Sometimes it works right away. Other times, the two of you will spend an entire evening baiting each other, waiting for one of you to snap.

Tonight, it's him.

You can't help but feel somewhat victorious when he gives an angry snarl and shoves you across the room, fingers digging pressing into your shoulders as he pins you against the wall, lips pressed against yours in a bruising, biting kiss.

When he pulls back, you taste blood.

vi. There's a crack in the wall.

It's not a particularly large crack, you decide after long hours of observation, nor a very interesting one at that. But it's there, and you can't help but wonder why it took you so long to notice.

vii. The first time he kisses you, he tastes vaguely of apple.

viii. Your wand feels heavy in your grasp and you force back bile at the sound of your father's body hitting the ground with a sickening thud. You stare at him for a long moment and feel as though you should say something along the lines of I'm sorry. But you aren't sorry, not really, and the only words that will come out of your mouth are, I didn't have a choice.

There's a crack somewhere behind you, like the sound of someone stepping on a twig, and your head snaps back. Your gaze moves over the endless string of bodies, but you don't see anyone. It's only when you're just about to let down your guard and move on that you hear the sound again.

You don't take any chances, and instead of waiting to see who it is, you turn to flee. You only make it a few steps before a hand shoots out of nowhere and grabs your wrist, strong fingers digging ripping into your flesh. Looking up, you see him staring down at you through eyes blazing black with power.

"Come on," he snaps, "they'll be here soon."

He pulls you into the forest and as the two of you stumble down the path, you want to ask him just which side he's fighting for, but one glance at him gives you your answer.

ix. A long time ago, he promised you the world.

x. Sometimes when it's raining, a steady litany of dripdripdrip, you'll curl up beside the window and lean your head against the glass and wonder if this is love.

xi. "Do you think it's permanent?" he asks one morning.

You shift your gaze away from your coffee. "Is what permanent?" you reply, tilting your head towards the door. When he walks into the kitchen he's pulling on a shirt, but you manage to catch a glimpse of a rather nasty-looking bruise coloring his hips before the shirt covers it. He winces as he sits down across from you, and you can't help but smirk.

He catches the look on your face and scowls briefly before giving a vague wave of his hand. "This," he says, motioning towards his face. "My eyes."

You frown suddenly, unsure of how to answer that, unsure of what he wants to hear. "I doubt it," you say finally, lowering your own eyes to study the table. What you really mean is, Yes.

He moves fast, faster than you've ever seen him move before, and you don't have time to try and save your coffee before he throws it against the wall. "I'm not like him," he gasps, eyes wide frantic and dark. "I'm not. I'm not. I'm not."

(Not yet.)

xii. It's a Thursday evening when you finish counting the ceiling. One-thousand and forty-five.

xiii. The two of you were always more alike than you'd let yourselves believe.

xiv. It's early when you wake, the feather-light touch of fingertips tracing your arms the catalyst that pulls you out of your slumber. You roll over and look at him with a confused look on your face. He's never awake before you are. Never.

As if he knows what you're thinking, he shrugs. "I couldn't sleep."


He scowls at you. "I -," he stops himself suddenly and stares at you for a long moment. "What do you do when you can't sleep?" he says finally, staring at your shoulder with an intense sort of concentration.

"I count the dots on the ceiling."

You expect him to make some obnoxious comment about you being insane, but instead he curls up next to you and leans his head back towards the ceiling. "Where do I start?" he asks quietly.

"Anywhere," you murmur, resting your head on his shoulder. You're close enough that you can hear him muttering under his breath, One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

This might not be love, you think to yourself, but at least it's something.
Snarky Journalist from Heck: perfectlire_casander on June 19th, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
I don't know where to start. It's so... perfect! that's the word! I'm saving it under my memories, waiting for the reveal to come!
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed this! :)
zahavahzahavah on June 19th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
oh. oh. this is fabulous. ohohoh.
zahavahzahavah on June 19th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
oh (haha), i forgot one thing - 2nd person POV really works wonderfully here, in a very quiet and unexpected way.
(no subject) - noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
conscious, deliberate mistakes.: .rubber ducky you're the oneel_em_en_oh_pee on June 19th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
oh. oh. oh my god. this is fantastic. this is amazing. this is absolutely everything i love in a fic. the counting of the ceiling and the eyes and the triplewords and the counting and the way you described the sky...

sjdhslkfhslfkjgh this is going in my memories and i am definitely going to rec it, too. ♥
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
oh, thank you so much! i am really, really glad that you liked this one so much! :)) i was ridiculously nervous about this one, so it's nice to know that it was liked!

and thank you so much for the rec (i actually saw it on the recs page they made for the fest)! it really made me smile when i saw that. :D
bewarethesmirkbewarethesmirk on June 19th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
Holy shit. I'm in awe. Just bursting with emotion and so fucking raw it hurts. GOD.
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
:">!! I am really glad that you liked this! I was so worried it wouldn't come across the way I had hoped, so it's nice to know that the effect I wanted worked. :D :D :D
snottygrrl on June 19th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
i almost didn't read this because i don't like most of the things you warned for (with the exception of pov's which i never care about if the author can write), but it was shortish so i went ahead.

this is gorgeous. and, i think, slightly hopeful. but maybe i`m just delusional that the boys will find their way. [*grins*]
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
i am so glad that you gave this a try! :)) and thank you so much! i'm really glad that you enjoyed it!
Alyssa The Not So Braveverisimilitant on June 19th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
This so wonderfully amazing! I love it! Thank you so much! I'm saving it to my memories and then rereading it a billion more times. There're just so many things I loved about this, thank you again.
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
This one gave me a ton of problems, so I'm way relieved that you liked the end result! :D :D :D And thank you for giving me such a great request to work with! :))
featherofeelingfeatherofeeling on June 19th, 2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
I liked this a lot, and so I read it again. I was surprised to notice the second time through that no names were mentioned, because I felt Harry and Draco in it so strongly. I clicked on this link not registering that it was for this community (here through bewarethesmirk), and even if I had found a printout of this on the bus with no context at all, I'd still say it was them, postwar, from the beginning. I like that. ^_^
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
I was surprised to notice the second time through that no names were mentioned, because I felt Harry and Draco in it so strongly.

I think you are actually the only person who noticed that! Or, well, the only one who mentioned it. XD But I am so glad that you thought it worked in this! And thank you so much for reading this! :)))
Offbeat and upbeat: manip by star_dancer54luci0logy on June 20th, 2007 01:12 am (UTC)
Ditto the above. I really enjoyed this: the depth to the barely hinted at back story, what is going on told so sparingly, the raw intensity, the... well I was going to say symbiotic relationship, but that's incorrect when they are so similar. Bravo! and I think I know who you are, or certainly who you remind me of.
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :D I'm really glad that you enjoyed this!
rurounihime on June 20th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
A beauty of a story. Short and quick and sharp, cutting deep and leaving its mark. Excellent portrayal of darkish!Harry; just tiny details, and just enough of them to tell us what we need to know.
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad that you liked this! :)
jacked up on cheap champagne: angstmizbean on June 20th, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
I love how sparse this is, and despite that (or maybe because of it) there is still enough to tell an affecting story. Beautiful fic, really. Excellent work with the 2nd person POV too.
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm so glad that you liked this! :D
(Deleted comment)
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)
Tales from the Looking-glass Houseshiny_crystal on June 20th, 2007 08:43 am (UTC)
Wow, what a fantastic ficlet! This is definitely going to be one of my favourites of the entire fest. I adore 2nd person PoV to begin with and yours in here is masterly done. The description, pacing, everything fits, the atmosphere is brilliant and oh wow, it's just amazing. How you tell the reader so much without actually showing it. I'm in total awe.
This is certainly going to my reclist after the reveal ;)
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad that the second-person POV worked for you here, and I am really, really glad that you liked it! :)))
Emma Grantemmagrant01 on June 20th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Ooooh. This was really interesting! I usually don't like second person voice, but it really worked here. It gave the fic a layer of disconnect, oddly, as if it was really in first person, but Draco was trying to distance himself from his own story by telling it in second. Great job!
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed this! :D
lackofmendacity (Diana): red liplackofmendacity on June 20th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
Wow, this was a fantastic read. ♥

I love how you've maintained a detached tone throughout, and the way you've carefully chosen specific moments to present a tapestry of their relationship. *hugs*
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! ♥ I am so flattered that you liked this! :D Also, I'm glad that the detached feeling worked here. I was so nervous that it would fall flat. :S So it is nice to know it worked in the end!
E McGeemelusinahp on June 20th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
Nice, dark and poetic and I love the structure. You have a knack for revealing so much information very subtly and with very few words.
noticeably on July 14th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it! :D