Basiphobia: Fear of Falling
It has been ten years now since she met Draco Malfoy at the boardinghouse, and she is almost embarrassed by how little she has changed. She’s just as shy and as awkward as ever. Just as sheltered; after Draco had convinced her to return to her family, she had done so and was painfully relieved to realize that she would not even have to fight. Her life has been embarrassingly bloodless, and every funeral she goes to for a member of the Order makes her want to scream.
Ginny went to Narcissa Malfoy’s funeral too, five years ago, but she’s almost certain that he doesn’t know that. Which means he also doesn’t know that she saw his father at his worst, saw Lucius throw his head back as Narcissa’s body was lowered into the earth and start shrieking, “Cissy’s dead, Cissy’s dead!” And it was that moment, more than anything that made her leap to his defense when his trial came around just a year later. After all, she reasoned to her father, how much damage could he have done if he had to take care of Lucius all the time?
But in the end her argument was ignored and it was only his lawyer (and money—some things never changed) that kept Draco out of Azkaban.
Nevertheless, Ginny still has a sneaking suspicion that her family won’t forget how instinctively she defended him. And she knows that Hermione, at least, knew that Ginny was sneaking into the back of the Wizengamot to watch Draco’s trial and not shopping, as she had claimed. And so she is forced to walk a tightrope between what she thinks her family knows and what she’s almost certain they don’t.
“Check.” Lucius’ voice is painfully excited, as high and wispy as that of a child. Barely able to contain his excitement, he rocks back and forth in his chair as Draco pretends to contemplate his move. Finally, he moves his king squarely in front of his father’s rook. “And mate!” his father shouts, pumping his fist.
Draco smiles and offers his hand. Grinning, his father takes it and begins to shake furiously. “Well played, my son, well played. Perhaps another match?” Draco shakes his head. “Perhaps that’s for the best. After all, I do have business to conduct; business that concerns your mother as well. Fetch her for me, will you?”
Resisting the almost constant urge to grab his father’s shoulders and literally shake reality into him, Draco nods and exits the room. Entering the bathroom, he splashes cold water into his face and stares into the mirror.
It has been ten years since he met young Ginevra Weasley at the boardinghouse and it shows. No, that’s not quite right; it has been five years since his mother died and that is what shows. Without Narcissa to pester him to take care himself, he has started to let himself slide. Draco has not, of course, become uncouth, for he is still a Malfoy, and some things will never change. But his shoulders are stooped in a way they never used to be and the bags under his eyes are more pronounced. His robes are as expensive as ever, but now the green accents no longer ‘complement those silver eyes’ as Narcissa would have said; instead, they serve only to showcase the green tinge in his skin.
His father, fortunately, is blissfully unaware of anything that has happened for the past eleven years. Yet Lucius has changed as well; he can no longer remember anything for more than a few minutes and just a few nights ago, Draco caught him wandering through the gardens in the middle of the night. When he had shouted at his father and asked the older man why, exactly, he had felt the sudden urge for a midnight stroll, Lucius had started to cry like a silver haired, colicky baby.
So he is now in much the same position that he was when he first met Ginevra. True, his mother is no longer there to both comfort and be comforted; and Voldemort is gone. But he feels the same insecurity that he did ten years ago, the same feeling of hopelessness whenever he looks at his father.
His father was his symbol of everything worth having; of expensive robes, of money, of purity and more than anything else, of power. As was expected, Draco has taken his father’s place in the world; indeed, he has already nearly doubled Lucius’ fortune. Yet everyday, the evidence of what can happen to a man with such power and wealth is shoved into his face. Such a man can be rendered incapable of feeding himself, forced to depend on his son and servants for survival. Such a man can fall.
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