The attacks on both Filch's cat and Colleen Creevy proved to have their consequences. Not only was Hogwarts put on alert, but the 'Dark' Forest as well was being barred. No one objected of course, except Severus. He was supposed to bring Cherise home and now he couldn't.
Both Cherise and Draco had walked to the kitchens to get some food. Severus was wary to allow it. Draco was still healing. Severus looked up at the clock in his quarters; perhaps he could go check up on them, given the circumstances. He walked out of the portrait and hit into a young girl.
Draco and Cherise walked silently and slowly. Draco was still recovering from his earlier injuries, but had convinced his father to allow him to go to the kitchens. They walked around the corner and bumped into someone. Draco looked up to meet pale blue eyes...Lucius
"Well now, what a pleasant surprise. Little girl, why don't you give me a moment with my son?" Lucius said as he looked over at Cherise.
"He is not your son." Cherise blurted out. Lucius looked shocked for only a second.
"Well why don't you find his real father and leave us alone?" Lucius growled as he pushed Cherise away. She looked at Draco who gave a slight nod. She ran back down the corridor they had come from.
"Now that that is taken care of; who was that charming young lady? A friend maybe or love interest perhaps?”
Draco remained quiet. He wasn't going to let Lucius get to him, at least not with Cherise. Lucius began to circle around Draco. "I have been looking for you all over the place, did you know that? I was at the match today. Perhaps you saw me; probably not though, you were busy making a fool of yourself and getting hurt like an imbecile."
Lucius grabbed onto Draco's right shoulder. He had fallen hard on it and nearly dislocated it. "I suppose this hurts, then?" Lucius pressed down harder on the bruise that was already there. "Yes, I bet it does." Draco finally backed away from him.
Lucius slapped him across the face, as he was backing up. "Next time that I give you the win with new brooms, I expect you to win.”
"There won't be a next time.”
Cherise looked up into Severus's eyes, she was only disoriented for a minute.
"Sir! You have to come with me. There's a man and...."
"Cherise, slow down. Where is Draco?" Severus asked worried that maybe his son was still too tired and injured to have been walking about.
Cherise took a breath and began slower this time. "You have to come. There is a man who said that Draco was his son..."
"Oh no." Severus stated, again interrupting Cherise, who looked ready to begin to yell. "Where are they?"
She looked relieved as they ran to where Lucius and Draco were, right when Lucius slapped Draco.
"There won't be a next time." Lucius turned abruptly to see Severus standing there with his fists clenched. The young girl from earlier was standing behind him. Damn her!
Draco began to walk over to his father when Lucius grabbed onto him. Severus's eyes, if possible, grew darker. "Is that so, Severus? I believe I will be the judge of that."
"Let him go."
Lucius rolled his eyes. "Not this again. What will you do to me this time? Send me to Azkaban? We both know what little good that would do."
"I won't send you to Azkaban, Lucius. I will send you someplace far worse. Now release him and go or I swear you will regret this."
Lucius looked at Severus, seeing his look of pure hatred and seriousness, before tossing Draco over to him. "Fine, have him. He's no good at anything anyway." With that he turned and walked toward the entrance.
Severus caught Draco in his arms. "Cherise, do you remember how to get to the Headmaster's Office?"
"I want you to go tell him what happened and that I will be up shortly." Cherise nodded slowly before taking off toward the Headmaster's Office.
Severus looked back down at Draco. He was beginning to tremble. "I need to get you to Poppy."
"No, no." Draco replied shakily.
"Draco, you need to get medical attention. Besides, you are trembling. Draco?" Severus lightly shook Draco, which was a mistake as Draco cried out. He backed away from his father and slid down the wall.
"What's wrong?" Severus said as he kneeled down next to Draco. He pulled his son's chin up to look into dull gray eyes. What was once dark, shining gray was now murky and unfocused.
He looked over to see his son holding his right shoulder. He tried to move his son's arm, but Draco pulled away sharply as pain shot across their bond. "No, it's ok." Severus gently rubbed Draco's back, sending a calming charm that would hopefully calm Draco down enough. He slowly began to take Draco's hand from his shoulder as the boy whimpered softly.
"Hush, Little Dragon. Calm down. You know I won't hurt you." Severus laid his son's head across his chest as he spoke softly and calmly. Severus pulled down his son's shirt to reveal a large black and blue mark where he had fallen earlier. He closed his eyes briefly and gently placed Draco back against the wall.
“When did he do that to you?” Draco looked up about to answer when he sat up abruptly, an ill look on his face. Severus saw it and bent Draco over as he threw up. Severus vanished the mess and placed his hand over Draco’s forehead. There was a slight fever, but his recent sickness was mostly because of the bruise. “Come on, we are going to the Headmaster’s Office.”
“You’ll find out.” Severus gently picked Draco up in his arms. The boy tried to get out of them. “Draco, stop moving around!”
“I can walk.” Came the weak reply.
“I’m sure that you can.” Severus said sarcastically as he continued to carry Draco up to the Headmaster’s Office.
“What happened, Severus?” Albus said as Severus walked into the room. Albus conjured a couch, which Severus placed Draco on. “I’m not entirely sure, Albus. Didn’t Cherise tell you?”
“She refused to say anything until she knew that Draco was alright.” Severus looked to see Cherise standing next to couch.
“Well? He is alright, is he not?” Cherise looked up at Severus and nodded.
“Why don’t you tell us what happened, Draco?” Albus asked calmly. Severus knew what Albus was doing. He was trying to get Draco to talk about it.
Draco looked over at his father. Albus saw the exchange. He turned to Cherise and spoke softly. “Why don’t we give them some time alone? Have you ever seen a Phoenix?”
“Yes, Artemis has one.”
“Right she does…” Albus and Cherise continued to talk as they walked through a door to the side.
Severus pulled up a chair next to the couch. “What happened, Draco?”
Draco took a slow breath before answering. “We were walking to the kitchens like you said to, when I bumped into someone. I thought it was a teacher. He…He tried to make Cherise leave. She told him that I wasn’t his son. He looked at her and said to go find my real father. I don’t think he meant it literally…”
“Draco, how did you get that bruise?”
“He pressed on it. He must have seen it from the match.”
“No.” Severus said scathingly. Draco looked up curiously at his father, who looked away from him. He spoke softly and quietly. “He saw it in the Hospital Wing.”
“Draco, calm down.”
“No, I won’t! You let that man in the same room as me and you didn’t tell me. You’re no better than he his!”
“Draco!” Severus said as he grabbed onto Draco’s hands forcefully. He held them in place as Draco struggled against him. “You will calm down this minute or I will be forced to punish you and I don’t mean grounding either. If you continue to act in this childish manner, then you will be treated as a child. I will not hesitate in spanking you!”
Draco calmed down somewhat after hearing the finalization in his father’s voice. He tried to take his hands away from Severus how continued to hold them. Grudgingly he looked away from his father.
“Draco, look at me.” Severus said as he sighed. The boy still refused to look at him. “I didn’t see any reason to tell you, Draco. You were unconscious. Besides, he came in with the Minister. What was I supposed to do? What was Albus supposed to do? Just say no to the Minister of Magic, that I wouldn’t allow him to see you. Draco, look at me!”
Draco looked over suddenly at his father’s outburst. “I’m sorry, Draco. I have been making so many mistakes about this matter from the start. I never meant to hurt you like this. Please forgive me?”
Draco looked down before leaning his head against his father’s chest. “I take it that this means that you forgive me?” Draco simply nodded as Severus held him.
“Is that really why you brought me down to the dungeons?” Draco asked after a moment’s silence.
“I had a teacher’s meeting. I wasn’t about to let you stay there where he could just come in at any time.” Severus paused. “I should have gone with you.”
Draco got up and his eyes went wide for only a second, before a haunted look came over them. “He was right I can’t do anything right.”
“Draco, you know that is not true.”
“Do I? He gave us all new brooms and yet I couldn’t catch a lousy snitch.”
Severus took Draco’s face in his hands. “As you found out earlier, he did not give you a broom.”
“I don’t want to play anymore.”
Severus looked shocked at Draco before he replied. “What are you talking about, Draco? You love playing.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Doesn’t matter? Will you listen to what you are saying?”
“It doesn’t matter because he is right. I know I didn’t get picked because of any talent I possess. It was just because of a bribe.”
Severus shook his head. How could he make Draco see that he was an exceptional player? “Draco, we have been through this before-”
“I know! Potter has a year of experience…”
“No. The part where I said I was proud of you.”
“There is nothing to be proud of.”
“Yes, there is.”
“No, there isn’t. Why can’t you see that?”
“Why don’t I tell you what I did see? I saw a boy today who was smiling,” Draco tried to look away, but Severus wouldn’t allow him to. “Who was happy. Do not shake you head, Draco. I felt your happiness and joy. Even after the match. You can’t tell me you weren’t happy, so don’t even try. As I already said Draco, I am proud of you.”
“If I may,” Both Severus and Draco turned to see Albus and Cherise standing next to the couch. “I believe it is you who is wrong. There are so many things to be proud of.”
“Like what?” Draco asked unconvinced.
“You’re smart and clever.” Cherise said as she came from behind the older wizard; her earlier timidness finally fading.
“Not to mention ambitious and cunning.” His father said quietly. Their eyes meet before Albus began talking again.
“You are one of the top students in the whole school, my boy. You are excelling at all of your classes, much like another student I once knew.” Albus looked directly at Severus. “You are the seeker for your house’s Quidditch team. You have a loving mother…and father who you mean the world to. What is there not to be proud of? Now, about that shoulder…”
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