Miri (mieronna) wrote in riddle_gifts,

Ficathon FIC: Rage Against The Dying Of The Light by Starkiller

Author: by_starkiller.
Title: Rage Against The Dying Of The Light.
Pairing: Tom Riddle/Blaise Zabini.
Rating: PG13.
Warnings: Swearing.
Summary: Having travelled back in time to be with the boy he fell in love with, Blaise wants to know what it is that made Tom so terrified of death.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or locations of the HPverse. They remain the sole property of JKR and her associates. No money is made here, I'm just a fangirl peon who likes to write.
Author's notes: The poem quoted is 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night' by Dylan Thomas. This could not have been written without the help of Teresadivincenzo and my brilliant beta, rian219. Information on 50-60's Soho comes from Teresadivincenzo, the Beer in the Evening page, the History of Soho page and Rate Beer page.

Written for prompt #138:
Tom's experience that made him greatly fear death. (suggested by arbor_vitae)


It's 1958 and Elvis Presley is number one in the British music charts with 'Jailhouse Rock.' Blaise is wearing his hair long now, falling into his face, and girls who see him stop and point and blush when he winks at them. He's the picture of the bad, bad boy of the late 1950's, and he knows it.

He's living in Soho in London, sharing a room with Tom Riddle, the boy who might become Voldemort, although not if Blaise has anything to do with it. Blaise has used time travel magic, you see, to go back to the past after a photograph of Tom Riddle caught his eye. One photograph, and Blaise made it his goal to go back in time and try to save Tom from himself.

They've been together since 1943, and it's been a good fifteen years for the both of them. Tom has grown more relaxed around his companion from the future, has found himself relying on Blaise more and more. It helps that Blaise doesn't want anything from him, that Blaise likes Tom for himself, and that Blaise loves him. Love is such an alien thing to Tom that it's taken him nearly all of those fifteen years to realise that he feels it too. Every day he thanks his lucky stars that Blaise took such a huge risk with such volatile magic and went fifty years into his past. Every day when Blaise kisses him goodbye in the mornings before going to work, Tom has to pinch himself to make sure that this is real and not a dream.

The fifteen years have been busy ones, productive too. They've been full of magic, of sex, of acquiring things that no young wizard should even consider. They've stolen the Philosopher's Stone, used it to keep themselves young and healthy, they've travelled the world, enjoying the culture of post war Europe. They've watched – at Blaise's insistence – some of the Nuremburg Trials, as Blaise felt it would help Tom to cope psychologically with some of his memories of the war years. Blaise had been right, but not in the way he might have hoped. Tom was vindictive after all, and if a thread of an Imperio snaked its way into the judges determining the fates of those war criminals, well, who would blame him?

Tom knows that Blaise knows, but they don't talk about it. They don't have to. Blaise might not agree, but he understands, and that, Tom thinks, is more important in the long run. They argue, and some nights they're so heated that their landlords, an Italian family who own the fruit and veg shop they all live above, pound on their door and yell at them to shut up, they'll wake the baby, they'll wake the neighbours, they're young hellions, shut up!

Blaise works at the Fitzroy Tavern, where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death and gave away poetry scrawled on bar mats. He pulls beer and serves vodka with good-natured humour, smokes his Russian cigarettes and jokes with the men and women who come into the pub. The transvestites sit in one corner, sharing a smoke and drinking cheap whiskey while reading Dylan Thomas' drunken scribbles on the walls of the pub, and the bored looking prostitutes sit at the bar and joke with him until they get a job. It's the depth of depravity, some would say, but Blaise likes it.

So does Tom. Tom likes going into the pub around midday and sitting at a table, reading and nursing his beer. He likes watching Blaise and listening to the conversations of those around him, knowing that in the London outside Soho, these people would be considered freaks, and unwelcome. Doesn't stop the rich men from slinking in and picking up a girl, though; doesn't stop the coppers from taking bribes so they'll look the other way. Poets and writers, artists and dreamers, London's discontented and dispossessed come here and relax, comfortable in the warmth of the pub and the company of like-minded souls.

When Blaise finishes his shift, they walk home, stopping at Bar Italia for coffee and food. Blaise gets a trance-like expression on his face when the scent of freshly ground Italian coffee wafts down the street as they walk, and Tom can't help but laugh as his lover quickens his step to reach the shop and its coffee. They talk as they drink, then walk home, close together. Blaise helps Old Maria with closing up the fruit and veg shop and Tom holds the baby as Angela smiles gratefully and barters with customers who refuse to pay a pound for a pound of bananas.

Those were typical days in Soho; the sounds of laughter and conversation in a mishmash of Italian and English, and Blaise in the middle of it all, chatting easily in both languages, winking and smiling at Tom. Blaise is Tom's shining star, his guiding light, his protector, and even when Blaise is the centre of attention, Tom never feels excluded. He is not as gregarious as Blaise and is content to sit in a corner and watch, listen, and later, wrap himself in Blaise's embrace, feel the heat of mutual need and desire as they tumble quietly together onto their bed, kissing, stroking, touching, loving. It's a good life.

Except for the nightmares.

Every night, Tom has nightmares. Every night, he wakes, sweat covered and clinging to Blaise as his lover strokes his hair and the sounds of Elvis Presley clash with freeform jazz from the pubs across the road. Voices of prostitutes from the house next door come through the walls as they peddle their wares to those with money to buy. Tom trembles violently in his lover's arms, inhaling deeply of the scent of him, that mixture of cheap soap, Russian cigarettes and vodka that is Blaise. He goes limp in Blaise's arms as his lover whispers to him, soothes him. But every night, it's the same, the nightmares, the terrors, and tonight, Blaise has decided that enough is enough and he's going to do whatever he can to fix it.

He's told Old Maria and Stefano that they'll be going to their room when he gets home from the pub, and Old Maria nods wisely. She's a Muggle, but she's Italian, and she knows the power of magic, of witch lore, of the striga. She believes in a curious mixture of the old ways and Roman Catholicism, and she knows that Tom and Blaise are more than what they seem. Stefano, her son, widowed and tired, world weary after fighting in a war and now supporting his family, doesn't object. It's been a long day and he wants to rest. Angela, Stefano's sister, smiles at Blaise and whispers to Tom, Good luck, and Blaise steers his lover into their room, closes the door and casts silencing charms and protection spells so that they won't be overheard or disturbed.

Tom's looking at him in confusion. The window is open, the breeze blowing in ruffling his dark hair and carrying with it the scent of pastry and stale wine, coffee and cigarettes. Blaise lights a cigarette of his own and sits on the bed cross-legged and pats the mattress with his free hand. Tom, slowly joins him sitting down facing him.

"I want to take away your fear, baby," Blaise says softly around the cigarette, and Tom starts in surprise. "I want you to enjoy going to sleep at night."

Tom opens his mouth then closes it again, words failing him. Blaise gently caresses his cheek. "Do you trust me, my Tom?"

That's the only constant in Tom's life, the only thing that he knows for certain will never, ever change. His answer is instant, automatic and heartfelt. "Yes," he whispers.

Blaise smiles. "Let me into your mind, dear one," he murmurs, taking Tom's hands in his own and whispering, "Legilimens."

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

The air raid siren was loud, and children sat bolt upright in their beds, terror written on their faces. The whine of the siren grew in volume and the younger children started to cry, clinging to their threadbare blankets and huddling into themselves. The dormitory was crowded with so many children, the youngest of them barely three years old.

The door crashed open and two of the younger girls screamed. A candle flame flickered in the breeze caused by the opening of the door and the matron called in a hoarse whisper, "Come on, we have to go, we have to go now!"

As one, the children scampered from their beds, many of them crying openly, several of them with tears staining their cheeks but stubbornly refusing to make a sound. Tom was among them, his face pale and his eyes wide. Life was fleeting and the sound of the air raid siren was a constant reminder that death was always just around the corner. The children, still in their pyjamas, followed the matron out of the dormitory and down into the shelter, huddled together as they were joined by others – small families, the local butcher and his wife, the greengrocer, the paper boy and his family. In the daylight hours, they would not give the time of day to the orphans, but in the air raid shelter everyone was made equal. Death did not distinguish between a lord and an orphan.

The night was full of noise – the sound of bricks and stones as they crashed violently to the ground, the whistle of the bomb as it dropped through the sky to smash everything to smithereens. Shouts of soldiers, the rat-tat-tat of gun fire and the continued wail of the siren combined into a confusing morass of noise. Panic-stricken, there was nothing they could do, huddling together in the shelter. Tom's knuckles turned white as he clenched his fists, terror warring with anger.

I could stop this. I could save us. I could save our soldiers. I could kill the invaders!

Righteous anger at being denied the right to use his talent to end this turned into frustration as he remembered the wise old face of Albus Dumbledore and the headmaster Armando Dippet when he suggested he could help the war effort when he went back to the orphanage for the holidays. He could not stop the sneer that crossed his face at the memory of it even he wanted to.

"No, my boy, we cannot interfere in the affairs of Muggles," said Dumbledore.

"This is not our war, Tom," Dippet was gentle and kind, and Tom sighed.

"But we all live in the same world," he protested, even though he knew it would be futile.

"The strong will survive," Dumbledore said benevolently, and Tom hated him then, hated him with everything he had.

The ground shook and the sound of concrete blocks upon the steel roof of the shelter made everyone scream. This is it, Tom thought, and terror took hold of him, rendering him impotent to act, to think. I'm going to die.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Blaise gently withdraws from his lover's mind, his eyes wide. He'd suspected something like this, but suspicion isn't the same as knowing without a doubt. Tom is shaking in front of him, hands gripping Blaise's own hard enough to bruise, and Blaise makes a soft 'oh' of compassion and tugs his lover to him.

Tom collapses into Blaise's lap and sobs, deep, gut-wrenching sobs that shake his entire body. Blaise doesn't know what else to do, doesn't know what to say. He does the only thing he can do, and that's hold Tom, stroke his hair, murmur soft things about how he loves him, how he'll never hurt him, how he'll never leave him. Tom clings and sobs and it's late into the night when he's run out of tears and is sniffling and trembling in Blaise's arms.

Blaise feels like the biggest bastard who ever lived for having gone into his lover's mind and seen those experiences. Tom has taught him Occlumency so they could talk to each other without being overheard, and Blaise now feels he's violated the trust his lover has put in him. "I'm sorry," he whispers, holding Tom close. "God, Tom, I'm so fucking sorry!"

Tom doesn't speak for a long while, and the sounds of Soho at night come through the walls and open window of their room. Usually, those sounds are comforting, but right now they're harsh and unwelcome. There's the soft thump-thump-thump against the wall of their room that adjoins the house next door and Blaise knows that the resident prostitute has gotten a customer for the night. He mutters in Russian to himself, casting another silencing charm so he doesn't have to hear it. In his arms, Tom stirs, looks up at him, and Blaise sighs sadly.

"Not your fault," Tom says, his voice quiet and ragged. "I could have shoved you out, but…I trust you, Blaise. I need you and I love you. I can't…I couldn't cope without your help."

Blaise shakes his head. "I shouldn't have been so fucking pushy," he protests, but Tom smiles a sad little smile and presses a finger to his lips.

"I wanted you to see. It's…easier to show you than to talk about it. Do you understand?"

Blaise nods slowly, kisses the tip of his lover's finger. "I get it now, dear one, I do. I see now why you're so scared of dying and why…god, that's so fucked up!"

"You see why Stefano and I get along so well," Tom says and Blaise's eyes grow round as saucers.

"Oh god…" he crushes Tom to him now, the weight of understanding crashing down on him. Tom, the child victim of wartime and Stefano the adult soldier gone to fight, share a bond of trauma that neither can discuss, that both keep so deep inside that they will each never be free of it. "I love you," Blaise whispers helplessly, thinking, What have I done?

Tom snuggles close and kisses Blaise's cheek, answering his lover's thought with one of his own. You saved me from myself.

Blaise gulps and reaches for his cigarettes, lights one and holds Tom tightly as he smokes. Out loud, his voice full of conviction, he declares, "I'll never let you go into the dark, my Tom. Never."

For the first time in a very long time, Tom smiles – a real smile without the shadows of fear, anger or hate. "I know, my Blaise. Thank you."

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Tags: 2007_ficathon_fic

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