Chapter 1 : Mockingbird
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The rich black velvet slid easily through his fingers as he lifted the heavy robes from the box in which they had been delivered. He didn’t really need new ones, but nevertheless he was fully aware of the importance that, regardless of need, he have them. And the soft fabric of these definitely far exceeded that of his old robes. After all, it was his first official Ball, and he knew his mother would never have let such an occasion pass by less than perfect. Of course there had been gatherings at the Manor, and as the only son he had been required to attend; it had been his duty to attend. But they had been largely dull affairs in which Draco had been noticeably the youngest present, only there at the insistence of his father in spite of his mothers protestations. He was more than used to the uncomfortable and restrictive nature of the dress robes, something that no longer mattered to him at all. After all, they were the best money could buy; comfort ranked only a close second.
But this was different, although at first he hadn’t seen how. But his mother had smiled and run her fingers through his fine, blonde hair, an act that still annoyed him in spite of its growing infrequency.
‘My fine young man is growing up,’ she said wistfully.
‘Yes mother,’ he couldn’t keep the tension from his voice, not that it mattered since she rarely heard it anyway. ‘We established this quite some time ago.’
‘You look so much like your father when he was young,’ Draco rolled his eyes with boredom, stretching out along the plush seat, ‘although he wore his hair much longer, something I really think you should consider.’
‘I am fine with my hair just the way it is.’
‘Oh, don’t get me wrong dear,’ there was nothing apologetic about her tone however, ‘I have no doubt the girls are falling over themselves to get to you.’
‘I really don’t see how it’s relevant.’
She stood slowly, a regretful smile on her face as she leant down to place a soft kiss on his pale cheek. ‘Well, you cannot invite them all to the Ball, now can you.’ She had walked away after that, humming under her breath, soft as a gentle breeze that floated around him.
‘Hush little baby don't say a word,
Mother's going to buy you a Mockingbird.’
It hadn’t been a marriage of love, at least not to begin with. There had been desire, most certainly and on both parts, as well as respect. But love had not come until later, if at all.
Still, it wasn’t an arranged marriage, not in the traditional sense. But it was nevertheless regarded to have been a perfect match. The unity of the two most powerful Wizarding houses. And they made an attractive and striking couple, his blonde, almost white hair and regal manner combined with her own softer graces and alluring style. He was lucky she had ever consented. She was lucky he had been determined enough to ignore her innumerable refusals.
But love had never been mentioned. She had never particularly considered it to bear any importance until she discovered what it truly meant. And she had loved Lucius Malfoy at one point, was fairly certain he had loved her. But then again there was a thin line between love and worship, and eventually another had come along and offered him things she could never have hoped to rival. She was, after all, merely his wife.
He had quickly become her husbands Lord and Master.
And with a devotion so strong and unwavering to his new Lord, the brief flicker of love he had held for her had quickly diminished. The desire remained, but it was mingled with a Malfoy’s cold indifference, with his thirst for greater things.
Her love for him had not been so easily dismissed.
Then, when she bore his child she had almost believed he could love her again, that he could remember the spark of emotion that had made him truly formidable, truly alive. He thrived at the prospect of being a father, he prided himself that she carried something so unequivocally his. A son and heir was to be his greatest achievement yet, and for his child he would change the world to something more fitting for all he had planned for him.
And his Lord found in his most faithful a new fervour, a new reason that secured his loyalty more completely. And whilst I believed our son drew us closer, I was unaware that it had all ready begun to push us further apart.
His Lord fell before his dragon had uttered his first word.
And with the loss so died his passion. His beliefs remained, but without the fuel that had lit them so furiously, that had allowed them to burn and consume. His hopes faded, slowly and surely, taking with them what little I had reclaimed of the man I loved.
Taking with them all the dreams I had for his son.
‘And if that Mockingbird won't sing,
Mother's going to buy you a Snitch with wings.’
The pale light of the early morning streamed through the windows, the elaborate paintings that covered the nursery walls responding to its presence. On one side a small lamb yawned widely, stretching its fluffy legs before prancing eagerly across the room towards the crib, looking down to see if the occupant had yet woken and trying to stir the figure with soft bleating.
It scrambled backwards slightly when a tall, aristocratic man entered, casting a scowl of absolute disapproval and loathing in its direction. His gaze took in the entire wall with distaste, the rich green of the rippling grass and the clouds that floated slowly across the ceiling, curling the corner of his lips as he reached for the elegant snake-headed cane.
‘I am certain I instructed that this monstrosity be removed,’ the small animal was cowering behind a painted fence now as the woman stepped forward, her own hair a mass of gleaming curls as she placed a calming hand on her husbands arm. She extended an elegant finger and coaxed the tiny lamb forward, much to the delight of her newly woken son.
‘Draco adores it.’
‘It is not…suitable,’ the lamb made its way cautiously back towards the crib, from which faint gurgling sounds were emitting. Small, pudgy hands shot towards it as the lamb danced playfully just out of range, resulting in a stream of garbled nonsense and intermittent giggles. ‘Really Narcissa, what were you thinking?’
‘That it would give him something to amuse himself with, not to mention provide at least a vague imitation of company and friendship.’
The man did not look convinced, and was staring at the animal again as though it were some sort of demon. ‘But of all the things you could have chosen,’ he sneered, revulsion evident in every word that passed his lips, polluting the air around so that even the child took notice, attention distracted from the lamb that hopped nervously in the perfectly constructed field.
‘He has barely even passed one,’ the woman finally snapped. The shape of her face did not suit well to anger as her eyes flashed surreally in a countenance too beautiful to ever truly convey how she felt. ‘And all ready you insist on forcing your ideals down his throat.’
‘He will not grow up soft.’
‘No, if you have your way he will grow up hard and emotionless,’ there was a touch of hatred in her tone now. ‘Just like his father.’ The words hit their intended target as the man softened slightly, the briefest flash of apology gracing his features as he raised his hand to caress his wife’s cheek and planted a kiss on her smooth forehead.
‘My apologies, love’ the words were soft and pleasant in contrast to their prior harshness. ‘I did not realise I had been so distant, to you or our son,’ he reached out with his free hand to ruffle the silky soft hair of the child, who mumbled appreciatively, attention momentarily distracted from the walls scenery. Smiling faintly Lucius leant over the crib and reached into the folds of his robe, ignoring the small animal that backed away slowly and producing a tiny golden snitch.
‘That is not an appropriate toy for a child,’ Narcissa scolded gently, but Lucius did not respond, instead drawing his wand and muttering a number of charms. The fluttering wings slowed instantly, the feathers lengthening and softening so they tickled the palm of his hand. A few moments later and a soft tune rang across the room as he released the small ball, which hovered just above the crib. Draco reached out instantly, following the lazy movements of the object as it swam easy above him with delighted glee.
‘I will endeavour to spend more time with him,’ Lucius said softly, his gaze not moving from his son’s antics. ‘And with you,’ Narcissa nodded silently, a small smile on her lips as she made for the door.
‘This evening,’ she suggested. ‘We have not dined together in a number of days.’ Lucius bowed slightly in agreement, watching as her back disappeared down the long corridor. Next to him his son reached between the bars of his cot to snag the edge of his robes, catching them in an iron grip and tugging insistently. Behind his small head the lamb was watching the snitch with delight, following its progress along the wall, leaping to gain height when it soared above its head. It didn’t notice as Lucius drew his wand, the scorching hex leaving an ugly brown mark where it hit the wall, narrowly missing the animal that bounded fearfully out of its path.
‘I have not the time to spend chasing you,’ he informed the wall as the animal fled for safety. ‘Be sure I do not see you again.’ By the time he had finished the creature was no more than a speck on the distant horizon, the smallest dot of white. The small boy remained oblivious to its missing presence though, still enthralled by the new toy that flickered and swept around him.
He never noticed the lamb was even missing.
‘And if that Golden Snitch won’t zoom,
Mother's going to buy you a Racing Broom.’
‘You coddle him far too much,’ Lucius sounded only faintly annoyed as he watched his son running happily round the endless fields surrounding the manor, a brand new broom clutched tightly in his hand.
‘Oh leave him be, he’s happy,’ Narcissa gazed out across the grounds, following the progress of her son lovingly.
‘You cannot continue to give in so easily to his every whim.’
‘It is only a broom.’
‘A broom he does not need.’
‘His old one was falling apart.’
‘His old one is perfectly serviceable,’ his scowl deepened as he watched his son leave the ground gracefully, zooming only feet above the soft grass, but going much faster than he was accustomed to. ‘However it is getting to the stage where he believes all he need do to get what he wants is threaten you with tears and tantrums.’
‘If you feel this strongly about it then I shall leave the purchase of his next broom to you, my love,’ she left the large window and excited whoops of her son, walking gracefully through the library and not pausing to see if her husband would follow, as she knew he would.
‘It is not just about the broom and you know it,’ Lucius’ irritation was rising, although his voice remained calm and level. ‘New robes when there is no occasion and he has a wardrobe full of the most expensive ones money can buy, extravagant gifts that are tossed aside and barely used.’
‘Do not make this about the cost,’ Narcissa’s voice contained a warning tone that hadn’t been there previously. ‘I see no reason why our son should not have the best when the best is so easily within our grasp.’
‘I will not have him turn into someone unable to achieve anything that is not handed to him on a silver plate,’ Lucius stopped suddenly, arms crossed as Narcissa turned and arched a single, elegant eyebrow at him. ‘He must learn there are some things in life you have to fight for.’
‘I know what it is you would have him fight for,’ her tone was clipped and icy. ‘However he is my son too, and since you seem so loathe to giving him the one thing he desires, I will ensure he has only the best of everything else. He deserves no less.’
‘He must learn to earn it.’
‘As he must he also learn to earn his fathers love?’ Narcissa said pointedly, rounding on her husband furiously. ‘Every day he fights to please you, and every day you dismiss it as inadequate.’ It was not the first time the accusation had been thrown, and every time her husband seemed less concerned by it.
‘He must know what it means to be a Malfoy.’
‘And if that broom won’t go faster,
Father’s going to find you a Lord and Master.’
‘You will work hard, Draco,’ Lucius said firmly, pacing the length of his study. ‘I will not have you embarrassing us, especially not in front of Severus,’ Draco nodded in response, his new robes immaculately pressed and his polished trunk resting at his feet. Neither bore a house crest, although it was merely a formality. Both knew he would be sorted into Slytherin. It was where he belonged.
‘Will Uncle Severus,’ Draco corrected himself at a pointed cough from his father, ‘Professor Snape be meeting me at the station?’
‘No,’ Lucius said coldly. ‘He will be at the feast though,’ Draco perked up at the comment, loosing his sullen expression at the thought of seeing his godfather. ‘You will, however, accord yourself in a way that is befitting to a Malfoy,’ the words soured the mood somewhat. His Uncle, by pet name only, had always shown a fondness for Draco. And whilst he was as unforgiving as his father in many ways, he was not as distant. ‘I believe your Mother is waiting for you by the floo,’ Lucius instructed. ‘Do not forget my words, and we shall see you at Christmas.’
The door was shut firmly behind him as he left the room, a House Elf appearing at his side in an instant.
‘Shall Dobby be fetching Masters trunk?’
‘Yes,’ Draco replied curtly as the Elf bowed and scraped. ‘And be quick,’ he added as an afterthought.
His mother swooped down upon him as he entered the extravagant hallway, the large fireplace sitting ornately behind her as she enveloped him in a tight hug. ‘Mother,’ he complained, trying to free himself without messing up his hair and smoothing down his robes.
‘You are not too old to hug your Mother goodbye,’ she said sternly, holding him at arms length and looking him up and down proudly. ‘To think your father wanted to send you to Durmstrang.’
Draco squirmed uncomfortably. ‘Mother,’ he whined, looking embarrassed even though there was no one else around.
‘Be quiet,’ she scolded. ‘Do you have everything?’
‘Yes Mother,’ he replied dutifully, rolling his eyes as she pressed a number of galleons into his hand.
‘For the train, but do not just fill yourself full of treats,’ she smiled widely, her eyes lighting up as she did so. ‘And be sure to buy something for young Master Crabbe, and Goyle.’ Draco looked vaguely disgusted.
‘Why, surely they can get their own?’
‘It is irrelevant,’ Narcissa said smoothly. ‘They are your friends, and you should treat them accordingly.’ Draco scoffed in imitation of his father, missing the pained look that passed across his mothers face. ‘Be sure to say hello to Severus for me also, and remind him that it has been far too long.’
‘Yes,’ his mother looked down on him, her face set as she sighed quietly. ‘You should not listen to everything your father says,’ Draco looked shocked as she continued, words soft yet full of purpose in the still surrounding them. ‘Be a Malfoy, but do not sacrifice others for the sake of it. You will just wind up alone. There is more to life than public appearance, and it does well to know that in private there will always be love.’ Her face fell though when Draco just laughed derisively, lifting the pot of floo powder from the mantelpiece as he shook his head in disagreement.
‘I will make father proud,’ he said with more determination than she was accustomed to hearing in his small voice.
And then he was gone, in a flash of green flame that reminded her of the fields that had once adorned his bedroom wall, leaving the slowly burning ashes in the fireplace. Lucius had been wrong. Their son was only too aware of what it meant to fight for the thing he truly wanted, his father’s approval. And in his mind having the best had somehow turned on him, and become more a need to have only what his father wanted for him. Or was it what he wanted of him.
‘He should be proud all ready.’
‘And if that Master fails you now,
Mother simply hopes you can find love somehow.’
He deserved only the best. It was something he knew without a doubt, not needing to ever give it even the briefest of a second thought. For him everything should be perfect, he expected no less, would settle for no less.
A gentle knock at the door pulled him out of his reverie.
‘Draco, are you ready yet?’ the soft tones drifted through the closed door.
‘Almost, you may come in,’ the door swung inwards smoothly as Pansy stood gracefully, not quite entering as though waiting for something. Draco couldn’t help but smile slightly. She reminded him somewhat of his Aunt Bella, before she had lost her mind. Portraits of her hung throughout the mansion, her black hair framing a face that although soft and feminine, had always been hardened by her sharp gaze. Pansy too had that same look, the look of someone who knows what they want and is used to getting it. But that was so often the case as the richest of the old pureblood families were rarely denied anything, rarely made to settle.
‘How do I look?’ her eyes sparkled in the candle light as she turned gracefully, her pale pink robes swishing slightly as Draco approached her, grasping her small hand in his and meeting her determined gaze. He leant forwards slowly and brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
‘Perfect,’ he whispered as Pansy blushed and smiled. ‘My father would approve.’
And he knew it was the closest to love he would ever get.