Summary: Draco wished fervently for those days when lack of visitors his own age was his only concern.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Character(s): Draco Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy, Severus Snape
Disclaimer: This story is based on a story based on the bestselling behemoth created and owned by J.K. Rowling, various publishers and Warner Bros., Inc. No Unforgivables were cast during the making of this fic.
Original story: The Waterbaby by gunderpants
Notes: Section headings are lifted from the original story. A few phrases are reworded/lifted from the original story. DH canon is irrelevant. Not a linear story.
The Sounds of Water (The Unfathomable Depths Remix)
Draco did not remember this, but when he was four he almost fell into the lake.
Mr Nott had some business to take care of with his father, and his parents had allowed him to play with Theodore in the gardens.
He was coaxing his new friend to ‘come and feed the fishies’ when he slipped off his perch on the smooth black stone. Before he could scarcely touch his mirrored face on the lake surface, a house-elf had apparated him to the drawing room and into his mother’s arms.
His mother immediately bundled him up in thick towels, even though he pointed out he wasn’t even wet. He didn’t protest the big mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows though.
Mr Nott still visited his father from time to time, but Theodore never did come back to play.
Three days after the almost fall, Draco started his swimming lessons.
“Draco, do you know what makes us different from those mudbloods?”
The eight-year-old scrunched up his nose. “Our blood isn’t dirty like theirs.”
“Yes, of course, but why is this important?”
He paused. ‘Dilution of magic’ was too obvious an answer.
“They are different,” Lucius said, “because they don’t know how to dream.”
Draco frowned. “So when they go to sleep at night, mudbloods dream of nothing?”
“Even Muggles dream at night, Draco. I was not referring to that sort of dreams.”
Wide grey eyes looked at him expectantly.
“True dreaming,” he said, “is the ability to see your purpose in the abstract and bring it into reality. Mudbloods may memorize all the spells in existence, but in the end they still won’t be able to grasp what it means to truly dream.”
“Even if they take away our wands and cut out our tongues—” His father’s words rang clear in the study. “In our blood and bones we always know that magic never left us. We are magic.”
Propelling himself across the still green water, Draco maintained his precise strokes and imagined what it would be like to swim with a Selkie.
They could catch Plimpies and tie their legs in knots. Maybe his Selkie friend would teach him how to ride a hippocampus!
Sometimes he wished Pureblood families don’t disinherit so many people. It would be nice to have cousins his age to play with.
He made a tumble-turn at the end of the pool.
That night, Draco and his friend rode their handsome mounts and fought a gigantic sea serpent that was terrorizing his friend’s village.
Safe in his dorm, Draco pressed his cheek against the stone wall and closed his eyes. The cold made him feel alive; it brought to mind green lake water and the childhood friend who shared his dream adventures.
In the Common Room, Prefects were plying distraught First and Second Years with hot chocolate.
Faint in his bones, he could still feel the despairing cold left behind by the Dementors. Rubbing his hot eyes with tremulous fingers, he released a sigh.
At least he had not pulled a Harry Potter and fainted on the Hogwarts Express.
Draco’s strokes disturbed the dead leaves floating on the surface of the pool.
Even if he closed his eyes from the cracked cement and the ugly blue liner, the tepid water made it impossible for him to pretend that he was in his lovely indoor pool back home, swimming away long summer hours with idle daydreams.
He wished fervently for those days when lack of visitors his own age was his only concern.
The punishing sun was on the other side of the pool now. In one single breath, he pushed himself from one length of pool to the other.
“Do not set a foot outside this room. Do you understand me?” Snape asked after placing an Anti-Disapparation Jinx on him.
Face pale with shock, Draco only nodded in reply.
The moment Snape left the room, his knees immediately hit the dirty bathroom floor. He spent what felt like an eternity throwing up until there was nothing left but bile.
With tear streaks down his dusty face and vomit in the corners of his cracked lips, he looked as civilized as werewolves in the wilderness.
“Magic never left us,” he whispered desperately at his wild-eyed reflection in the mirror.
Except—what does it mean, really? It was all and good when he thought they were bringing an ideal into reality, but he had since discovered that there was nothing more real than the cracking of bones and the rupturing of flesh that occur when a body falls from a height.
Sometimes, he dreamt of a lake inside a cave.
Sunlight barely skimmed the water surface, and in the depths of darkness lived creatures that made the merpeople look downright friendly.
Tonight, one of the creatures wore the headmaster’s face. Feeling the slimy water closing around him, he frantically kicked his legs to get away from the vision.
His panicked thrashing woke him up. Eyes wide in terror, he took deep breaths to slow down his heartbeat. Pushing himself up on his elbows, he noticed that he was not alone.
In the corner, Snape sat watching him with a shadowed expression.
When Draco next woke up, Snape was arranging jars of various sizes on the kitchen table.
“Do you know what it means to bear the Dark Mark?” Snape asked offhandedly—as if he was asking what Draco would like for breakfast.
“It is to signify our allegiance to the Dark Lord, sir.” The last word was added belatedly.
“Yes, Mr Malfoy, but why not a ring? It could be hexed to always stay on your person.”
“The Dark Mark,” Snape said, “is not only skin-deep.”
Placing a hand on his left forearm, he continued, “Its magic is so deeply intertwined with your being, that soon enough you could not picture yourself as complete without it. No spell, charm or potion could scratch its surface. Not even Muggle cosmetic surgery,” Snape said dryly.
Draco’s eyes fell on his pale forearms.
Words so soft that he was not sure he did not imagine them—
“You are still unmarked, Draco.”