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Title: With Each Year, Another Day
Author: [livejournal.com profile] obliviateamores
Rating: G
Word Count: ~1000
Summary: Draco's birthdays, good and bad.
Notes: A little thing to celebrate Draco's birthday. Also, the first art I have ever posted (I am a little nervous but thought I would jump into the breach)

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.

When he was very young, Draco loved his birthdays. It was a whole day, especially dedicated to him. He supposed now that he had been an extremely egocentric child, but that was the way of the world. He expected that most children were.

He loved receiving presents, piles of them, all for him. It was better than Christmas, because all the presents were for him. And what mattered wasn’t so much that he was the only one getting presents, and he didn’t want anyone else to, but that he was the one that people were thinking about. Frankly, he loved being the centre of attention.

His birthday meant that his father couldn’t go and shut himself in his study, and his mother couldn’t disappear into her gardens, leaving him alone with the house elves. It meant that he got to see his friends – who were of course only made up of children from good families – when often he otherwise wouldn’t see them for weeks at a time. Though, Draco realised now, of course ‘good’ families meant only old pureblood Slytherin ones. And they were there to pay attention to him.

Of course, as he got older, he began to realise that though his parents had to pay attention to him on his birthday, that mainly meant that they had to stay around him. It didn’t mean that they were mentally any more engaged. So he began to try to find ways to make them talk to him, pay attention to him, be proud of him, like parents were supposed to.

He quickly realised that the fastest way to his father’s heart was to listen to him. All Draco had to do was ask him a question, and if it was the right kind of question, Lucius would talk and talk. All Draco had to do was nod and agree with him, and Lucius would give him a rare look of pride and happiness. So to find the right questions, Draco started reading. Questions like, ‘Why were Muggleborns not kicked out of our world after the witch burnings?’ were good. Questions like ‘Why did the Dark Lord die, if he was so powerful?’ were not.

His mother was more difficult. She didn’t want to hear him espouse his father’s ideology over and over again. Draco found it impossible to tell what she wanted, but she seemed happy when he simply came to sit with her, or walked in the gardens with her.

But the birthdays had begun to lose their power.

Once he went to Hogwarts, of course, his parents were no longer even present on the day of his birthday. He had to put up with extravagant gifts, and the adulation of his peers. Which was all very well, and did help, but was not quite the same as having his parents’ full and undivided attention, as he had when he was very young. Instead, they gave him a party on the day after his return from Hogwarts. His mother always seemed genuinely happy to see him again, but

Draco began to see an impatience with proceedings in his father’s eyes.

That ritual changed in Draco’s fourth year. Though he had received the usual messages carrying felicitations and gifts, when he returned home, his father remained locked in his study, and when he came out was brusque and dismissive. His mother was more distant than ever, and when he asked her what was wrong, what had happened, merely smiled, stroked his hair, and told him all was well, but his father would explain it soon. Of course, when it was explained to him, he had to appear joyful at the return of the Dark Lord, but in his heart he merely wished that it did not mean that his father became more distant.

And fifth year, when he came home, his father was gone.

He hardly celebrated with his mother. She had become more distant than ever, and though she appeared to make more than the usual effort to be affectionate, he could tell that while the sentiments were genuine, her thoughts were elsewhere.

Sixth Year for Draco was a time best forgotten. On his birthday, he was so deeply involved with his plans for Dumbledore that he almost forgot what day it was.

He received a scant acknowledgement from his friends and a single letter from his mother.

Less than four weeks later Dumbledore was dead and Draco had fled to a dark Manor, where his family clung to life and to each other, and where uncelebrated birthdays had no place to be recognised.

But by the next year, it was all over.

And Draco never wanted his birthday to be acknowledged again.

Celebration had no place in the life he now led. It was dull and grey, with no space for the luxuries of presents. His former friends no longer spoke to him much, if at all, his father was in a Ministry holding cell, and his mother walked her gardens like a ghost.

And that was the pattern for the next few years. Life gradually got better, of course, but his birthdays remained neglected. Generally, that was what he wanted, but the occasional pang ran through him on these days – nostalgia for a time and a boy long gone.

Harry Potter was the one who had showed him how to enjoy his birthdays again.

On the morning of his thirty-fifth birthday, Draco turned away from the window overlooking the Manor gardens, in which he could see his mother, and looked at Harry, who was sat in an armchair across the room. He smiled as Draco caught his gaze, and jumped up from the chair to join him at the window.

Harry’s arms snaked round Draco’s waist from behind as he turned back to the gardens, and Draco leaned his head against Harry’s.

He remembered the first time Harry had intervened on his birthday.Shortly after they had first started talking to each other civilly, Harry had somehow found out from Pansy when his birthday was. He had surprised him with a small gathering of friends, a few gifts, and an enormous cake.

The cake was not really his style, but Draco smiled at the memory anyway. Since then, he and Harry had spent each of his birthdays together, this year (because Harry seemed to think thirty-five was an important year) celebrating with a dinner at the Manor. It was in some ways similar to Draco’s childhood parties, but now… Now it was more genuine, more relaxed. He did not have to seek attention from anyone, and the people there were his true friends, not a gathering of parentally-approved children.

Perhaps his birthdays in the past had not been perfect, but making new memories was better than dwelling on the old.
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