Title: The Fear Is Just an IllusionAuthor: _melodic_Word Count:
Voldemort is dead but the war is far from over. Draco, once again, is torn between protecting his family and doing what is right. Secret meetings, conflicting loyalties, and grey morals bring Harry and him together but it’s also what could threaten to tear them apart.Author's Website: masterlist on AO3Why everyone should read this:
This fic was so good, OMG! It starts immediately after the final battle, and I just LOVED how it immediately dives into the aftermath. Just because Voldemort is dead doesn't mean the war is over, and I thought the author did a brilliant job bringing to life the remaining Death Eaters and their cause, as well as showing what can happen to the "good" side when grief and pain drives them to seeking vengeance over justice. I really loved Draco and Harry's voices here, and watching them come together, and seeing their relationship develop was lovely. The plot was absolutely captivating, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. SO. GOOD. Excerpt:
Draco had always imagined the Dark Lord’s death would be an instant balm to his frayed nerves. He was certain the final destruction of the monster who had terrorized him and his family for so many years would bring about a new, golden age. In his mind’s eye, the dark clouds would clear and bright, pure sunlight would shine upon a new day; a glorious and fearless future.
Instead, the sky continues to be grey, threatening clouds hanging low and menacing over Hogwarts. The air is thick and cloying, and Draco struggles to breathe as the familiar fear claws at his chest. He’s safe, he’s alive, but there’s less comfort to be found in this than he originally envisaged. His mother clings to him, her fingers pressing almost painfully into his arms. His father shivers, half-supported by the wall behind him as his wide eyes nervously flicker around.
It’s clear they don’t belong here, amongst the crying and wounded, sitting hidden in a dark corner and watching with anxious eyes. Streaks of dirt and blood cling to the survivors, their faces full of sorrow. Their desperate words are lost in the muffled chaos as they frantically search for their loved ones.
“We can’t stay here,” Lucius finally rasps, his voice hoarse and broken. Draco agrees but they have few other options at this point.
“There’s nowhere to go, Father.”
“We can’t stay here,” Lucius repeats, lacing his fingers together to stop them from trembling.
Narcissa opens her mouth, her expression a delicate combination of determination and hopelessness. The words of comfort or solution die on her lips as her gaze falls upon a young woman, openly sobbing as she holds a lifeless body in her arms.
“We’re alive,” Draco says, as if this fact will somehow bring peace to their fragile existence. He regrets the words immediately, his vision blurring as he quickly looks down, away from destruction surrounding them.
“Not for long,” Lucius mutters, climbing to his feet. His eyes are red-rimmed and wild. “We have to go.”
“Where?” Draco asks, but his question lands on deaf ears as Lucius stumbles away towards an open, broken door. “Father!”
Narcissa inhales sharply, then quickly stands up and pulls Draco to his feet. Their steps are hurried and clumsy as they follow Lucius outside into the grey and dismal morning light. Ahead, Lucius has broken into a run. Draco’s lungs ache as he sprints after his father, and he can hear his mother, not far behind him, calling after them with a strained and defeated cry.
Draco’s stomach twists with fear as Lucius leads them to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. The shadows of the trees look more menacing than ever. Draco hesitates for a moment, nearly losing sight of the back of his father's head, until his mother catches up. She grabs Draco’s wrist with firm, cold fingers and pulls him into the darkness.