I never actually wrote commentary on this fic, because I'm conflicted about it. But, eh, what the hell.
This is another angsty story of doom-- but without the sentence fragments. First person, present tense, lots and lots of angst. Also more BDSM, which is also not particularly uncommon for me.
It's obviously less complex than "Take These Lies" and certainly less happy.
So, I believe this was during the time when I was watching hd_prophet
. I saw the dracotops_harry fest and read through the various prompts. vaysh
interested me, and I went back and forth about whether to write it. Once again, the issue was that I had some really detailed ideas of what I wanted to write, but it wasn't what I intended to work on at the time.
I always have the best of intentions of working on the Snape/Black epic; the problem with doing so is that the draft of part 4 is so emotionally wrenching that I cannot finish it and start shaking when I get to the end of reading it. I can fix everything in part 5, but I need to tone down part 4 so it's bearable to read. I have an outline that will do that and still preserve much of the current content. And yet I do not want to do that, because all of the other parts exist for part 4. Round and round and round we go...
As you can imagine, an angsty BDSM fic is lightweight and happy by comparison!
I had some specific scenes in mind when I read the prompt; all of them made it in with the exception of Draco stumbling over the umbrella stand in Grimmauld Place after leaving Harry's room; I think he also talked to the portrait in that scene. In order to do that, I needed to alternate Harry and Draco viewpoint, and I decided that Draco's viewpoint didn't add enough to the story. It's obvious how Draco feels; Harry knows it and refuses to acknowledge it. Specific elements I wanted to include:
- "Oh, and Potter? As for taking it up the arse: I don't." Very specific line; part of original vision of scene in pub.
- "Maybe I do. Fancy you."
- Draco waking up shocked and horrified at what he's done. [Actually, only part of this scene makes it in, because the rest is Draco viewpoint and involves tripping over the umbrella stand.]
- The follow-up scene in the elevator.
- Everyone knows; no one cares.
- Draco doesn't fly anymore.
- Draco bringing Goyle to the Quidditch game, because Goyle's his friend.
- The scene where Draco tries to force Harry to see what he's doing.
So, yeah, pretty much everything that's in the story sprang to mind when I saw the prompt, except a way to end it.
I went back and forth about whether to use "Closer" or "Hurt" (which is also on The Downward Spiral, and is perhaps better known for Johnny Cash's cover). The problem with "Hurt" is I couldn't come up with a good excerpt to use as a title. "Liar's Brow"? "Empire of Dirt"? Nothing really good there. "Closer" is one of my favorite songs*
, so, despite the fact I can easily think of two HP fics offhand that used it (one H/D, one SS/RL), I went ahead and used that one. "You can have my isolation/You can have the hate that it brings/You can have my absence of faith/You can have my everything"-- so, this grouping of lines defines the events in the story, though of course the rest fits in as well ("You let me violate you/You let me desecrate you/You let me penetrate you/You let me complicate you.") Also the scene breaks are -@- because the @ looks like a spiral.
Now, there are two major issues with this fic: (1) Harry's characterization and (2) not enough editing. I'll start with (2).
(2). I finished the first draft of this story well on schedule. And then I spent a month and a half suffering from debilitating morning sickness. Now, when they call it morning sickness, this gives you the impression that it only appears in the morning. Not so! I felt miserable all of the time, except when I was exercising. I also felt so hot that I was running outside in a t-shirt and shorts in February in an attempt to cool off. I am not joking. Basically, I spent a month and a half feeling so miserable that there was no way I could work on this story. In fact, I completely missed the fest deadline. Felt very bad about this when I realized, apologized to Vaysh (who was one of the fest mods). She gave me an extension, and I typed it in from the original draft, did some minimal editing, and submitted it. I said I'd write it; I did write it. Entirely my fault if it doesn't meet my standards. Much could be improved with more editing; biggest of those issues is choppiness. [Oh, and also the Americanisms, which I didn't address. Again: not enough editing.]
(1). You'll note that I don't complain about Draco, Hermione, Ginny, or Ron in this story. They're fine. Draco's not the same as in "Take These Lies", but it's a perfectly viable way for Draco to go given the time in Azkaban which was called for in the prompt. Harry... I don't see Harry going this way, to be honest. Harry, here, is a more extreme version of Book 5 Harry. He feels deeply trapped by other people's expectations of him (or at least what he perceives as their expectations of him), and yet he's unwilling to let himself appear as anything but
a hero. This leads into a downward spiral (see?) of self-loathing. And he's bitter.
The self-loathing is the main reason for the craving for pain in an unsafe way
, and his desire to be the hero everyone thinks he is is the reason that he kind of loathes Draco for giving it to him. Harry doesn't have boundaries, and that's not a safe path. The only thing protecting him in this story is that Draco doesn't really want to hurt him anymore.
Like I said, I have a hard time believing Harry would go in this direction after book 7. It's not entirely implausible, but Harry's pretty resilient in the face of many horrible things.
In this story, Harry has all of the power. (This was something I wanted to get in; the focus on who tops in these relationships seems to be related to power dynamics. Whatever. Draco's on top; Harry has the power.) He whines and gripes about how the world doesn't work the way he wants it to, but ultimately he's controlling everything. It's deeply unsettling for him when things get out of control-- when Ron goes around him to invite Draco to the Quidditch game, when he realizes he can't control what Draco tells his friends, when he realizes everyone knows anyway. He needs to acknowledge he can't control everything and cede a little of that power: to Ron, to Draco. He also needs to choose which way he's going to go with his "others' expectations" issue: is he going to circumscribe his world based on how he thinks others will respond (which hasn't brought him much happiness), or is he going to let go and take the consequences?
This is the point of the ending of the story: Harry makes a deliberate choice to let go. For Ron, he doesn't have to reach so far. For Draco, he needs to make a huge
gesture because of the degree to which he's screwed up. On the face of it, it may not seem like a huge gesture to kiss someone in public-- but, for this
Harry, it is. (Wrapped up in this is the faint mention that Harry learns to exist in the moment he's in rather than in thinking about what has happened/what will happen. Not sure I emphasized this enough.)
Where would this relationship go in the future? I would have a better idea if I'd finished writing the alternating scenes from Draco's point of view. This Harry's going to still be into pain, but in a safer way. Whether this would work long-term is dependent on whether Draco's getting enough out of it.
Anyway, like I said, I'm conflicted about this story because I'm not sure Harry's characterization works.*
Some may note that my taste in music is either eclectic or nonexistent.