hp_drizzle: (pic#)
hp_drizzle ([personal profile] hp_drizzle) wrote in [community profile] hpdrizzle2016-09-30 10:01 am

FIC: Drinking, fucking, and rain [Draco/Charlie]

Title: Drinking, fucking, and rain
Author/Artist: [livejournal.com profile] woldy
Prompt: #116 They meet in front of a cafe in the pouring rain. by [livejournal.com profile] reeby10
Pairing(s): Charlie/Draco
Word Count/Art Medium: c. 1700 words
Rating: PG-13
Warning(s): mention of alcohol abuse
Disclaimer:Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] semisilence for betaing.
Summary: Draco has been celibate for ten months and sober for three when he risks a trip to Diagon Alley.

The thing about Charlie Weasley is that he’s always fucking: fucking gorgeous, fucking hilarious, fucking filthyminded, and fucking absent. After two glasses of scotch, his fingers clenched tight around the tumbler, Draco will admit another quality: fucking heart-breaking. Perhaps that is Draco’s fault, not Charlie’s. But how is anyone supposed to resist that grin, that swagger, that way his hips move when he…

No. He can’t think about that.

Another drink is what he needs. Drinks upon drinks upon drinks until the walls of the manor start to blur and sway around him, until it doesn’t hurt any more, until he forgets.

__________


Draco has been celibate for ten months and sober for three when he risks a trip to Diagon Alley. Avoid people and places that tempt you to drink is one of the first things they tell recovering alcoholics. Well, it’s one of the first things they told him, anyway, when he woke up in St Mungo’s with Pansy white-faced by the bedside.

"I’m fine," he said, through lips that felt numb.

"You were blue and barely breathing," Pansy snapped. "You almost died."

He didn’t have a response to that. He didn’t have a response to the Mediwizards, either, when they described removing a litre of scotch from his stomach and pumping potions into his veins. Then came the addiction counsellor bearing sympathy and leaflets, which took him to the detox ward, to a therapist, and eventually to the life of a recovering alcoholic.

Avoid people and places that tempt you to drink, they tell him, but also Build your support network and Develop new activities and interests.

Diagon Alley may have pubs and potential drinking companions, but it’s also the heart of the magical community in England. If Draco is going to have any kind of a normal life then he needs to be able to walk down Diagon Alley.

He’s planned it out carefully: Apparate to outside of Flourish and Blotts, buy a book from their bestsellers stand, and then walk down Diagon Alley to get coffee at Rosa Lee Teabag. The route doesn’t take him past any bars. At this time of day the bars are deserted anyway, because only alcoholics drink at 3pm on a weekday. His old drinking companions won’t be there: Blaise is in Zurich, Pansy and Theo are at work, and Charlie — well, who the fuck ever knew where Charlie was.

He can do this.

Draco takes a deep breath, Apparates, and lands neatly on the cobbles outside the bookshop. A couple of shoppers glance at him and then continue on their way, unconcerned. He lets out the breath he’s been holding and goes inside.

The offerings on the bestsellers stand are surprisingly appealing. Eventually Draco chooses a trendy new potions book that he can discuss with Theo and an implausible novel about a wizard traveling through Asia. The novel will take at most three hours to read and he’ll have to hide it to avoid being mocked by visitors, but Draco can live with that. If he’s going to have an embarrassing secret vice then reading trashy books is better than drinking oneself to death.

Books in hand, Draco steps out of the shop and into the rain. Ducking under shop awnings and hopping through puddles weren’t in his plan for today, and for a moment Draco considers going home. Then Draco reminds himself that he has survived living with the Dark Lord, six years at Hogwarts with Harry Potter, and acute alcohol poisoning. A bit of rain won’t hurt.

He pulls up his hood, tucks the books under his cloak, and sets off down Diagon Alley.

Draco is determined not to think about pubs, so he distracts himself with people-watching. Rain, he realises, changes the character of the street. In nice weather the shoppers stroll slowly, pausing to greet each other and inspect the window displays. Now the shoppers are walking fast, heads down and shoulders hunched, their parcels clutched tightly. Draco supposes he looks like that himself.

Florean Fortescue’s is empty, unsurprisingly, but Draco sees a queue in the post office. He glances quickly at the new brooms in the window of Quality Quidditch Supplies, but the rain is soaking through his cloak so he postpones a full inspection for another day.

In the damp, grey street, Rosa’s cafe is beacon of light and warmth. Irritatingly, it also seems to be defended by a moat — a huge, deep puddle that blocks the entrances to several shopfronts. Draco pauses, scowls, decides that it would be pathetic to Apparate across a puddle, and chooses the point where the puddle is narrowest. He grips his books firmly, takes a final glance across the puddle to judge his distance, and sees Charlie Weasley.

There is an instant when Draco could run, but he’s frozen. Then Charlie’s eyes widen in recognition, and he darts forward, straight through the puddle.

"Draco," Charlie says, standing ankle deep in water. He reaches out a hand, but pauses when he sees Draco’s expression.

With piercing clarity Draco realises that there are three ways this could go.

One, he can fall back into the old habits: drinks together at the Leaky, sex, and then inevitably Charlie will leave and he’ll be left alone at the manor roaring at the elves to bring him scotch. It would be easy and familiar. For a few hours he’d feel good. He’d get to fuck Charlie again.

Two, he can leave. But Blaise is in Zurich, and both Pansy and Theo are at work. If he walks away then he’ll fall through the door of a bar before he ever makes it home. If he Apparates directly home then he’ll still end up alone in the manor roaring at the elves for scotch.

Three, he can stick with his original plan.

"I’m going for coffee," Draco announces, stepping away from Charlie’s outstretched hand.

"You could come for a drink with me instead," says Charlie. The rain has turned his hair brown and plastered it to his skull. Draco watches a raindrop trickle down his chiselled jaw.

Breathe in, breathe out. His brain seems to be paralyzed, but slogans from the leaflets come back to him: You are not your past and Practice saying no to alcohol.

"No," Draco says, too quietly and then makes himself say it louder. "No. I don’t drink any more. I… I was an alcoholic."

Charlie’s hand drops, but he doesn’t speak.

"I need coffee," Draco insists, and it takes all of his remaining composure to jump across the puddle instead of blundering through it.

He bursts through the door to the cafe, orders the first coffee on the menu, and collapses into a chair by the fire. The fire is hot enough that Draco’s robes start steaming, but somehow he still feels cold.

"You could have told me," Charlie says, from behind him.

Pointedly, Draco takes out his new book, opens it, and pretends to read. His hands are shaking.

"I would have come," Charlie says. "You could have Flooed or owled."

Draco continues hiding behind the book. It’s upside down, he realises.

"I would have come if you said you needed me."

"You were never there!" Draco spits, dropping the book.

At this auspicious moment, Rosa arrives with the coffee. "Good morning Mister Malfoy! Haven’t seen you for a while, and it’s always lovely to catch up with old…" She sees their faces and her voice trails off. "I’ll leave you to it."

"I would have come back," Charlie insists.

"And left again! You always leave," Draco says, voice shaking. He picks up the coffee mug, and takes a sip. It’s horrible: black, burnt, and bitter.

Charlie watches him in silence.

To distract himself, Draco takes another sip, and grimaces. He puts the cup down, and forces himself to look at Charlie. "All we ever did was drink and fuck. And I don’t drink anymore."

"I don’t have to be drunk to want you," Charlie says, lowering his voice.

"I had to drink to deal with you fucking and then fucking off. I’m not doing that again."

"I see," Charlie says softly. He stands up, and moves away.

He’s gone. Draco thinks. Again.

He picks up the book, turns it the right way up, and tries to focus on the words.

A minute later there is a blur in his peripheral vision and a creak from the chair opposite. Charlie has come back.

"What are you doing?"

"I’m having coffee." Charlie says quietly. "I’ll have coffee with you if you’ll let me."

Stick with the plan, Draco tells himself firmly.

"I can’t stop you from sitting there," he says, trying to keep his voice cool, and raises his book again.

Rosa bustles back over, deposits two mugs, and makes a quick exit. A tantalizing scent of chocolate fills the air.

Draco peeks over his book. The huge mug sitting nearest him contains a monstrosity of whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and a chocolate flake: the triple chocolate riddikulus. It’s been his favorite non-alcoholic drink since he was six. He narrows his eyes at Charlie.

"It was never about the alcohol," says Charlie.

This is not forgiveness, Draco tells himself as he reaches for the drink. He licks off a blob of whipped cream, takes a sip, and the warmth floods through him: sweet, rich, and familiar.

"I need to go once I finish this drink." Draco says, with as much dignity as he can muster.

"Then perhaps we can do this again?"

Draco looks at the rakish stubble, muscled body, and easy swagger, all promising heartbreak. But there’s also concern in Charlie’s eyes.

Uncertain, he fiddles with the mug and bites the top off the chocolate flake.

"I’ll think about it."

That night Draco eats two bars of chocolate and discovers that the trashy novel is even worse than he feared, but he stays sober.

In the morning he sips his tea and watches the rain fall on the manor’s garden. Rain brings new growth Draco reminds himself. From the right angle, it even brings clichéd fucking rainbows. Amidst the worry, uncertainty, and puddles, there’s a sense of possibility. You could even call it hope.

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