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The Sickness and the Cure by DoubleCharms
Chapter 15 : Chapter 14 : You're the Blood in My Veins
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 41


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A/N: Alright back again. It’s been a wicked start to the semester, but fun! I'm sorry to everyone who I told this would be out last weekend. I got it back from Bats who had some major issues with it that required yet another rewrite. She was right to make me do it though, you guys would have hated it. Oh, and sorry for the strange messages I sent to everyone! If I missed someone, I'm really sorry too!! I have so much to say to you guys and I can’t think of any of it right now…

DISCLAIMER: I think you’ve got it by now… (And the title is from one of my favorite Brand New songs, The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot)
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You're the only thing that I love
Scares me more every day
snow patrol

Chapter 14: You’re the Blood in My Veins

His shoulder and arm burned with severe intensity as he stepped out of Gringotts Bank into the warm sunlight. Pausing for a quick moment, Draco inhaled to help erase the pain of his summoning before he continued through the streets of Diagon Alley.

Even in the noon sun, the once thriving shopping area was now rundown and almost completely deserted. Boards were attached over windows, ‘Closed Until Further Notice’ signs were fixed to doors and little piles of trash and junk piled in random corners of the street. It had been that way for years now since the war had started and it looked as if Diagon Alley had not regained business in the lull of fighting. A few places remained open, like Gringotts and Madame Malkins, and small groups of wizards and witches rushed in and out of the shops, their eyes darting nervously through the streets.

To him, it was a place that was not worth looking at, much less walking through, but it didn’t stop him from taking the long way out to Muggle London. It was the glances that he got from the witches and wizards who rushed by him that made the walk worth it. With their hoods up they cautiously pressed themselves against walls and windows as they passed, purposefully gripping their wand handles tighter beneath the sleeves of their robes. Most tried to ignore his presence, but there were always the brave ones who would dare a sideways look.

Their expressions never failed to amuse him. There was not one person scurrying by him that didn’t exude fear. He felt it radiate off them in waves, crashing into his senses as roughly as if he’d been punched.

He reveled in the feeling of power it gave him. It was an intense feeling of victory, however small, that reinforced his self-worth and identity. It was almost too unreal to believe how the world looked at him. They ‘knew’ who he was, yet were unable to do anything about it. He was more feared then his father, more feared than the Dark Lord himself, yet he was free to walk through public streets unthreatened.

But it wasn’t for him. If they only knew that the person they feared was Lucius, that he was the Devil’s Servant during the most vicious and bloody years of the war, they would probably rethink every encounter with the older man. Lucius did not forget; it was one of the most annoying and admirable traits Draco thought his father possessed. And he was cruel, that was one thing Draco could not forget.

Another surge of white hot pain sparked down his shoulder that was so brutal his arm trembled. Thoughts and surroundings forgotten, he made his way out into Muggle London where he could somewhat safely and discreetly Apparate without being followed. Turning into an alley just outside of Diagon Alley, he stood in the darkness for a moment, thinking.

He hadn’t expected this to happen, not in a million years. The owl he had gotten this morning from Snape had been his biggest shock since finding Ginny bleeding in the cellar. He was so adamant about knowing everything that went on in the Death Eaters, even the smallest whispers, that he couldn’t believe he hadn’t heard or expected this latest news.

When he had read that his father was to be tried in a Full Court that night, Draco’s first thought that it had to be a joke. Lucius prided himself on being the perfect Death Eater. What crimes Voldemort was accusing him of, Draco had no idea. He had seen Voldemort’s wrath when Emlyn the Aspect was discovered, but that was a problem that would have been easy to fix. Voldemort would not hear of it; to him Lucius’ actions had been heinous. But surely, not unforgivable.

The whole idea of calling a Full Court seemed ludicrous and unnecessary and after reading the letter, Draco easily decided that it was Voldemort’s way of punishing his father publicly before letting him return to his position. But the gravity of Snape’s words tugged at him all morning. Was something going on that he was not aware of? Draco thought back to previous meetings and conversations with the others of importance and nothing came to mind. Had he missed something, even something tiny, while he had been occupied with Ginny?

He frowned, the shadows of the alley hiding his grim face from the bright sunlight. It was time for him to intervene before it went further. Draco was confident that Voldemort wasn’t truly going to kill his father; he just needed to convince him of it. Either way, there was no use in letting this go on longer than it had too.

Hours later, Draco realized he couldn’t have been more wrong. Dusk had fallen over the silent graveyard and as he walked towards the enormous solitary headstone, little swirls of mist and dew floated around the hem of his robes. The temperature had dropped quickly and a cool breeze was quickly carrying away the summer heat. Though it was only a short distance away, the walk towards his father felt like the longest in his life. Looking towards him, he could see Lucius’ eyes narrow as he drew closer.

Lucius was standing pinned against an aged statue headstone, his upper body clenched tightly in the solid arms of the stone angel. His toes barely touched the ground. Draco imagined his father must be furious at being held in the exact spot where Harry Potter was imprisoned after the Triwizard Tournament. Though he had not been there, Draco had heard accounts from most of the Death Eaters that had been present. The day Potter had escaped had been extremely significant to Voldemort and he probably couldn’t resist the symbolism of imprisoning Lucius where he had once imprisoned his mortal enemy.

That, and Voldemort was very fond of the graveyard. It was quiet, private, and held history for the Dark Lord. If it weren’t for the need of adequate space and vantage points, Draco figured Voldemort would even hold Fight Night here along with all their meetings.

But none of that mattered to Draco. For the first time in a long time, his stomach rolled with sickness. It was because he was about to tell his father he was to die.

Draco stopped in front of the statue and listened to the eerie silence around them for a moment. “Father,” he greeted Lucius finally.

Lucius nodded his head calmly, “Son,” he answered. Draco felt his throat tighten strangely for a quick moment. Would this be the last time Lucius would call him that? Quiet descended again and Draco felt as if someone has placed a silencing charm on everything except their voices.

Lucius watched him with an oddly pleased look on his face. Draco wondered if he knew what he had tried to do. For almost eight hours, Draco had discussed his father’s fate with Voldemort. He had tried everything he could think of, yet Draco was no closer to knowing why the Dark Lord was so angry with his father or why he wouldn’t change his mind. The conversation had been so closed and cryptic, it was a wonder anything had been said at all. But the outcome had been clear. Voldemort was immovable in his decision and no amount of Draco’s careful manipulative words could change the Dark Lord’s mind. They were only met with clipped, annoyed statements of denial.

When Draco had finally realized there was nothing he could do, he walked away feeling as if no conversation had taken place, only a pleading for his fathers’ life. The realization had gritted against him, knowing that he had lowered himself to such a vulnerable position for his father. But, he had to try… it was his father, the man who had supported him, the man who had given him this life.

“The Dark Lord has requested your death,” Draco broke the silence. “I spoke with him…”

“Stop it,” Lucius hissed. “You’ve done enough already.”

His eyes immediately darkened and Draco stood silently before him trying to decide how he felt about that statement. They stared at each other in a moment Draco could only describe as awkward. Lucius was about to die and Draco couldn’t take control of himself long enough to settle on any one feeling. Pity, resentment, helplessness… nothing felt acceptable or natural, as if he would never be able to escape from this surreal meeting. The only thing that was constant were questions about what had led up to this moment and there seemed no better time to ask them.

“What is this really about?” He watched his father’s face lighten with amusement, but he was silent. Draco had understood early that this hadn’t been brought about by Lucius’ mistake with the Aspect, and now Lucius realized he was aware of it. “The Dark Lord wants you gone, what is the reason?”

Lucius laughed quietly. “His reasons are good enough.”

“I want the truth,” Draco said. “Even my influence wouldn’t change his opinion and I want to know why.”

Lucius laughed again, this time hard enough to wheeze slightly. Draco automatically felt annoyance start to build but checked it quickly. Though the realization had not set in yet, he knew this was going to be the last time he saw his father. Summoning every ounce of pity and patience he contained, which amounted to practically nothing, he watched his father regain his composure.

“Your ‘influence?’” Lucius trembled violently with anger. “Your ‘influence’ was what put me in this situation!”

Irritation flared within him and again he pushed it aside for his father’s sake. “I don’t understand.”

“Of course you wouldn’t,” Lucius snarled, “Because I never let you understand it.”

Draco was stunned into silence for a moment and before he could question him again, Lucius continued.

“Everything I did was for the good of the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord, and look at where it has gotten me!” he laughed, gesturing with his head to the statue arms wrapped around his chest. “But,” he said with quiet conviction, “I realize mistakes when I make them.”

As his father spoke, Draco could hear the resentment in his voice. He felt the cold enter his body like a reflex, steeling himself to what he knew was coming. This time he wouldn’t care, he knew who he was, he told himself. He could feel his father’s hate for him even before he asked the question, “What was your mistake?”

“You.” The word was spoken softly but it hit Draco like Cruciatus Curse. The pain he felt was not new, he had experienced it so many times during his youth. It was one thing he had hoped was gone forever because disappointing his father never seemed to get easier, and this time was no different.

Lucius bowed his head slightly, his nostrils flaring. “You are not worthy to wear those robes,” he said, looking up at the white snake wrapping around the sleeve of Draco’s robes.

“I'm the one with the Mark,” Draco reminded him harshly, trying to repress the constricting feeling in his throat. His fingers itched with the Power as if to remind him that he was the superior being, even though he didn’t feel it.

“I shouldn’t have ever let you get it,” Lucius glared at him, jealous and irate. Draco didn’t care.

“It wasn’t your choice,” he defended. “It was never your choice.” Somewhere in the back of his mind, Draco tried to remember how much influence his father had had over him when he left Hogwarts. How much had his father controlled him? Would he have left Hogwarts…

“Oh, how little you know,” Lucius sneered. “Of course I made the decision. You were my son; I would not have volunteered you if I didn’t think it would lead somewhere.”

“So I was only a means to an end?”

“That and more,” Lucius said, “if only you weren’t so… disappointing.”

The spark that had been lit roared to life and Draco let his anger flow. “I’ve done everything you’ve ever asked. Look at what I’ve become,” he held up his hands but withheld the Power that was aching to get out of him. “How could I disappoint you?”

Lucius looked unimpressed with Draco’s anger. “You were supposed to be a force and you became another pawn for me to use. And don’t lie to me; you’ve always done as you wanted,” he sneered, clearly offended.

“I deserve to do what I want now. But I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you and your expectations.” As soon as he asked the question, Lucius eyes lit up and for the first time Draco actually considered that his father might be right about him. He tried to answer his own question, but found that all he could think about was why his father looked so pleased.

“It’s a pity the Dark Lord isn’t here to witness first hand why you are so unworthy,” Lucius snarled at him, smiling incredulously.

“Because you think you had to force me into being the Dark Lord’s Servant?”

“No, because you didn’t want it on your own! You would have never become who you are without my help.”

“You’re wrong!” Draco shook his head, stunned. “This is what I’ve wanted. This is what I’ve worked for. I did this, not you!”

“No! You don’t think I noticed that you threw yourself into training and fighting but when it came to becoming the Devil’s Servant you only tolerated it, but I did. Why is the world scared of you? What have you done to deserve where you are?! NOTHING! I DID IT ALL!” Lucius screamed, his voice ringing across the headstones and his chest heaving below the thick stone arms. “All you’ve done is learn some nancy way of fighting and have you used it for anything? No! You could have become the most powerful wizard and yet you are no more of a Death Eater than your mother was. I was the one who killed for the Dark Lord. I was the one who did his bidding why you stood by his side and took the credit.”

“No one commanded you to wear the Devil’s Servant robes when you worked for the Dark Lord; you made that choice on your own.”

“Correct. But only after I realized that you were never going to become the son that I wanted… the son I hoped you would become.” Lucius looked directly into his eyes, “I gave you everything, every chance to become great. And you fucked it all up.”

“You think I'm a failure?”

Lucius nodded slowly, “And I’ve been trying to correct my mistake ever since I realized it.” He looked mutinous. “But you… you inherited the Malfoy talent of manipulating things to your advantage without even trying. I couldn’t believe the situations you were able to get yourself out of, all because of your perfect little Power.”

Draco’s stomach dropped. “What situations?” He tried to sound detached, but his words echoed demandingly.

“I am in constant awe of your stupidity and trust,” Lucius eyes lit. “Wasn’t that one of your precious rules? ‘Trust no one?’ Why trust me, Draco? I’ve never done anything to earn your loyalty, and you to me.”

“You are my father,” Draco said it and the sudden realization that he didn’t mean it, nor had ever meant it, made him want to destroy every headstone in the cemetery.

“That never mattered to me, and it shouldn’t have mattered to you,” Lucius snapped. “Once I realized you had the potential to disgrace our family name, I went to work figuring out how I could bring you down. It had to be something I could completely separate myself from because I only wanted you gone without having the respect of our family perish with you.” A sickening smile spread over his face, “Then I found the picture you kept in the back of your closet.”

Draco had no idea what picture he was talking about, but as soon as he saw his father’s excitement he could feel his muscles begin to rage. Ginny. He was responsible for Ginny. “What picture is that?”

“Of that girl, the Muggle-lover,” Lucius spat. “So I decided to test you. That was the day I suggested to the Dark Lord that the eldest Weasley child should die. And that you should be the one to kill him.”

“And I did it,” Draco said immediately, his face blank.

Lucius looked pensive at that, “I was so sure that you would protest though, at least at first. But in the end, it didn’t matter. I could see how you felt about it, even if you completed it without one complaint. The way you did it… fire, destroying the house… you actually made me think for a moment that I could be wrong, that you still had the promise of a great Death Eater inside you. But then I realized that it would take something more to break you.”

“So you captured her,” Draco provided. “You were the one who hid her and blamed me.”

“I had to do something and it would have worked perfectly; I knew you would never allow her to die,” Lucius said, his voice suddenly sick with rage. “But you managed to keep her alive without disgracing yourself.”

“And you never cared about me getting married?” His insides twisted with hate as he watched his father’s maniacal smile. How had he never realized what Lucius was doing?

“I still can’t think of how you knew to choose that Parkinson whore,” he said, his lip curling as he said her name. Draco didn’t care. His mind was reeling with his miscalculations and shattered realities.

“Did it occur to you that you are wrong about me?” he questioned. Lucius only smiled wider.

“I'm not wrong, Draco, you have no need to pretend with me anymore. I know all your secrets already.”

Draco just nodded his head noncommittally. “And yesterday?” he asked, referring to Lucius’ nighttime visit to Ginny’s room.

“I’m not completely senile. I knew what was going to happen the moment I heard the Aspect had almost been captured. I thought if I could get more proof that you were unable to hold your position that I would be granted my life.”

“But why would you even try? You know that the Dark Lord values me.” He knew his father was devious, but trying to undermine him while he was at his most powerful was a completely foolish idea.

“If you can risk disgrace for that traitor, you can betray the Dark Lord. He should realize what you are,” Lucius’ eyes flared, “before you actually do it.”

“And that’s why I'm the one about to die for betrayal,” Draco spat out sardonically.

“You forget that there was a time when I was his most trusted,” Lucius reminded him, his voice thick with jealousy again. “You might have surpassed me now, but you will never be the man that I am.”

Draco was silent, unable to complete any comprehensible thoughts in his head.

“Is there… is there anything that needs my signature? For business purposes,” Lucius asked and when Draco looked back at him, he had returned to looking like his father: smart, proud, and composed.

“Nothing,” Draco said after a moment. He resisted pointing out that he hadn’t needed anything from Lucius for years.

“Then leave me,” Lucius commanded, “to contemplate my fate.”

“You have nothing left to say…?” Draco asked just before he was about to turn away. His words came out bitter and harsh. Lucius smiled, this time almost sadly, though Draco told himself he was imagining it.

“Yes, in fact I do,” Lucius said contemptuously, eyeing Draco who stood straight and powerful in front of him. “My only regret in life is that I didn’t make your mother drink all of her tea.”

“What,” Draco said quietly, “does that mean?”

“It means that when I poisoned your mother’s tea, she didn’t finish the whole cup,” Lucius snarled quietly. “It was supposed to kill her straight off, but because she only drank half of it she drew out the process much longer than it had to be. It was her fault she suffered.”

“You poisoned her?” Draco barely got the words out. His beautiful, proud mother had been poisoned and left to slowly die… by his father. In only moments, his body shook with unbelievable rage and confusion. His life was tipping over in front of him without one stable point for him to cling to. There was no truth, nothing solid… nothing at all.

“Yes, and I'm still shocked that she never told you it was me. I mean, she had the time, you know,” Lucius said, almost conversationally. “She knew what you were destined to become and she knew she could have her vengeance through you, but she stayed quiet.”

Draco ignored him. “Why would you do it?” he said, unable to keep the trembling anger from his voice. Lucius immediately glared at him.

“Because she knew things,” he mocked. “And she no longer agreed with me about how you should be raised. She wanted you to make your own decisions and I knew you weren’t ready to make the correct ones.”

Draco felt like he couldn’t breathe, there wasn’t enough oxygen for his lungs in the graveyard. “But you poisoned her after I had already gotten the Mark. I had started training; I was doing everything you wanted…”

Lucius sighed with annoyance. “She had her own plans for you and they were misguided. I did not want you to know of them.”

“She loved you.” He hadn’t meant to say it. It was of no consequence to his father and he knew it. He lived it. He knew Lucius wouldn’t have cared if his mother loved him or not.

Lucius looked at him condescendingly. “You know my answer to that.”

It was as if someone uncorked him. Power exhaled from him swept through the grass and headstones, leaving swirls of mist in its wake. Still, his body trembled with rage. His fingers flexed and he could feel the Power straining at his insides. His body felt like it was going to explode. He turned his face away from his father’s and studied the nearest grave.

Lies. His life was lies. How long had he ignored it? He had to have seen the signs. But why would this change anything for him? He had never felt revenge for his mother’s death before, only sadness that she was taken from him. He had been told she died from a long sickness, maybe his father was wrong.

Lucius had no reason to lie, Draco realized, his strength slowly reentering his body. And now, he didn’t have a reason to lie either. The promise of his father’s death suddenly gave him a new feeling of control. Though he knew that even with all of his father’s attempts at his life, he had never been in danger. But now he knew the truth. And so should his father, Draco thought, his lips curving into a genuine smile.

He looked up at his father, smirking as his hand flexed. Lucius’ eyes went wide as Draco used his Power to melt his lips together so that he looked as if his mouth was glued shut. Draco looked at the surprise on his father’s face and felt a tiny thread of satisfaction and revenge begin to flow through him.

“How does it feel to know that I am your legacy, Lucius? It must kill you to know that I am all you have left to carry on our illustrious family name,” Draco said as his father strained against the spell. “Don’t try to talk, Lucius, you’ll only hurt yourself,” he chided.

Lucius immediately stilled, his grey eyes showing his confusion and fury.

“You believe I'm not ruthless? That I'm not enjoying this right now?” Draco sneered at him. Lucius squirmed again against the arms of the angel, now clearly irate. “You obviously don’t know me very well, even though you claim to know all my secrets.” He paused, reveling in the look on his father’s face. “Oh yes, you know nothing about me. Because if you did, I would be the one pinned to that headstone about to die.”

Draco waited, soaking in the moment. The disappointment his father had felt for him was no longer apparent on his gaunt face. Instead, Lucius watched him with worry and awe and anger as if he just noticed that he was trapped to a giant stone with his mouth charmed shut by a very powerful wizard and couldn’t do anything about it.

Draco smiled again. “Are you ready to listen?”

Lucius didn’t move, but his eyes narrowed. Draco started.

“If you had asked me to give you these robes,” he looked down at the white snake that covered his sleeve, “I would have given them to you. I don’t want them because I don’t need them. You might have thought they gave you power, Lucius, but I am what is powerful about these robes.”

Lucius’ face went blank as he watched him. Draco smirked at him.

“Have I changed your opinion of me yet? Are you proud to leave me behind or do you need more?” Draco asked mockingly. “Here’s another secret: I would have chosen this life for myself because this is all that I know. I run MI because I'm capable and good at it, but this… this life of being a servant to the Dark Lord and being feared and hated is what I learned from you.”

Draco watched as Lucius’ face tightened.

“Now that must make you proud,” his voice dripped with sarcasm as he sneered at his father, “And we haven’t even gotten to the best part.”

He took his wand out of his robe and Lucius’ eyes went wide. Draco looked from his face to the wand in his hand, and smiled. “You think I'm going to kill you? Right now? That’s stupid of you Lucius, though here is another secret: if the Dark Lord allowed me to be the one to kill you tonight, I would. And I would do everything to make sure that it would be extremely painful.” Draco looked down at the wand in his hand. “But don’t worry, I wouldn’t kill you now; I want to know that when you are being led into the circle to die you will be thinking only of how right you are about me. I am nothing like you.

“And I want you to remember that I am innocent of your death,” Draco told him. “And I don’t care that you blame me.”

He watched Lucius’ eyes narrow and he knew that if his father could speak, Lucius would be screaming with fury. Off in the distance, Draco could hear the sharp cracks of other Death Eaters arriving and he knew his time with his father had ended. Slowly turning, he started to walk away then stopped and looked back at his father.

“I almost forgot the best part, and I know you’ll love this. Bill Weasley,” Draco said calmly, “isn’t dead.”

Lucius stilled, and if he hadn’t blinked a few times, Draco would have thought the news had killed him. Temporarily satisfied, but still crawling with hate and confusion, Draco looked at his father once more, willing himself to forget his existence.

Draco said, turning away, “See you in hell.”

-

It was over in a matter of seconds, but to Draco, it felt like it had taken hours. The circle of Death Eaters around the headstone was huge and he stood among them, his eyes fixed on the scene before him. He was sure they made a menacing group, their hoods shading their faces against the moonlight as they watched his father being released from the stone grip. The white snake embroidered on his sleeve made him stand out among the sea of black masks and robes, but he was sure that he would have been noticed anyway.

He felt empty… completely robbed of being able to feel anything. His eyes took in every detail but he saw nothing. He listened to Voldemort’s rant as his father knelt as his feet but Draco barely listened. The quiet surrounding him was more deafening and uncomfortable. The cool breeze felt like a cold hurricane against his face. The smell of the damp grass and dirt made his stomach turn. He felt Pansy’s hand touch his at one point and he jerked away. His body felt cold and defenseless and the thought of being touched by her made his skin crawl.

And when the green light flashed before him, he thought he could feel the heat of the spell rush over him. The Unforgivable Curse illuminated the circle with its eerie radiance and as if it was the moment of his own death, his life flashed before his eyes.

-

For what seemed like the millionth time that night, Ginny pinched her arm to keep herself awake. The pain faded quickly and she watched the spot on her skin tinge pink for a moment but it didn’t help her tired eyes stay open. The concern and worry she felt for Draco had long since exhausted her tired mind and now her body was telling her to sleep. But she knew she had to be awake when he got back, especially since falling asleep on his bed would be completely unacceptable. So she instead focused on looking around his room again.

When she had first arrived in the Manor, Draco had forbidden her to go three places: the upper attic, the basement, and his room. At the time, she hadn’t cared about the restrictions, especially since she had no intention of returning to the basement dungeons or venturing into the creepy attic. But, she had thought it was strange that he had specifically included his bedroom, mostly because he mentioned it like he was pointing out a tourist attraction.

“That’s my room. Right there, that closed door,” he had said stiffly. “You are to never go in there.”

Ginny expected to find it password protected, much like his Head Boy room at Hogwarts, but the door had opened easily. It reminded her of the bare, unfriendly patient rooms at St. Mungo’s upon first glance, with its stark white comforter and window shades. But the room seemed to echo him the longer Ginny sat in it. It was richly decorated of course; he had to have only the best. But it was too empty and too severe. She couldn’t help but smile, however, when she saw the full length mirror leaning against the wall near his closet doors. From her seat in the middle of the bed, the lush comforter pulled over her shoulders to combat the cool summer night, she waited for him.

In all, it was a bold move to camp out in his bedroom, especially since he had specifically forbidden her. But it was the only place she could think of that he would definitely go when he returned. And for some reason, she knew she had to see him tonight.

Xavi had scared her more than she admitted to him. She had pressed him for more information about Full Court and what happened there. It was his lack of answers that worried her more than what he was able to tell her. Xavi knew the meeting was called for Lucius straight away and that Draco was in no danger. But Ginny couldn’t fully accept that answer.

Xavi said the purpose of Full Court was death, and she would not believe that Voldemort would want to kill his most loyal Death Eater. So as far as she knew, Draco wouldn’t be safe until he arrived home. She told herself that he didn’t deserve her vigil and probably wouldn’t care that she was up waiting for him. But she couldn’t imagine getting any sleep until she knew he was back.

It didn’t help that the comforter she was wrapped up in smelled like him, or that worrying for him was draining. As the night crawled on, it got worse. A few pinches and a bad decision later, Ginny was curled up in the middle of his bed, fast asleep.

When she opened her exhausted eyes, the pristine room had been completely trashed. Slowly sitting up, Ginny eyed the open closet doors warily and the trail of things leading from it. Clothes, robes, shoes, and coats were all scattered across the floor. Jewelry boxes were smashed and rings, claps and cufflinks sparkled against the hardwood panels. It looked like the deep closet had expelled all its contents into the room. Even the beautiful mirror that rested next to the closet doors was smashed into pieces on the floor.

How long had she been asleep? Why didn’t she wake up? Where was Draco?

Breathing slowly and softly, she looked around the room with sleepy eyes. He wasn’t in the room. Deciding he was still in the closet, Ginny got up and moved across the bed intending to find him. His voice stopped her cold.

“Get out,” he snarled from behind her. “I don’t want you here.”

Ginny whipped around, the anger and ache in his voice making her stomach clench in distress. She spotted him sitting on the floor, his back against the bed as he stared out the giant windows that lined the wall. How long had he been sitting there?

What had happened?

She watched him for a few seconds, unable to move. She hadn’t been prepared to suffer another heart wrenching dismissal from him. They had been distant, but … okay with each other. She thought.

Draco turned back to look at her when he sensed her hesitancy, his arm coming up to rest on the bed. He looked ready to explode with anger but it all dissipated when he saw her.

They were silent for a moment until he said, “I thought you were Parkinson.”

“Pansy got back hours ago and went straight to bed,” Ginny said, but she could hear the strangeness to her voice as she tried to hide her true opinion of Draco’s fiancée.

“You should be sleeping too,” he commented darkly. His fingers picked at the fabric of the comforter. Ginny resisted reading into his comment and instead worried about how awful he looked. His eyes were rimmed in darkness and the moonlight made his face look harsh and unhealthy. The intense worry she had been experiencing all night returned instantly.

“I couldn’t,” she told him, sighing slightly, “not without you back.”

“Well, I'm here now,” he said, turning towards the windows. Her eyes flicked to his hands when he quickly folded up a small piece of paper he had been holding and clenched it tightly. His head bent and his shoulders rolled forward slightly.

Silence descended in the room and Ginny realized he was waiting to see if she’d leave. A faint smile graced her lips and before she could think about what she was doing, she crawled towards the end of the bed then slid off next to him with the comforter around her.

As soon as he realized what she was doing, he stiffened. Glancing sideways at him, Ginny couldn’t tell if he was angry, or sad, or… something else.

“I'm sorry I was in here,” she said quickly, “You said I wasn’t ever allowed and…”

“I wouldn’t have told you where my room was unless I wanted you in it,” Draco said blandly, his fingers running over the edges of the folded over paper he had in his hands. “I always hoped you’d break my rules anyways.” He sounded distant and untouchable.

“How long have you been back?”

“An hour maybe,” he answered her, shrugging slightly.

“I'm sorry I wasn’t awake,” she told him.

“Stop apologizing,” he snapped harshly. They both lapsed into silence. After a few tense moments, Draco turned and pulled the comforter all the way off the bed. He reached around her and grabbed the ends, wrapping it around the both of them. Using the blanket, he pulled her close so that she was curled up at his side. His arm wrapped around her tucked up knees, holding her tightly.

It made her throat hurt. It wasn’t because of the physical contact; it was just because of him. She missed him. Being close felt painful and good and real. But she could tell he wasn’t himself and suddenly it worried her more than anything.

“You destroy things when you’re angry… but you’re not angry, are you?” She knew she was right and her question came out more like a statement of fact. Tonight was different for him, she could feel it. Draco turned his head slightly, his eyes flicking towards the windows again.

“I'm not angry, no.” he confirmed softly.

His fingers were curved around her knees; her head was against his shoulder. Ginny could feel her breathing steady as she leaned against him but her heart felt at if it would never slow down. He turned his head slightly so that his jaw rested against the top of her head. Contentment swept over her, and for a few seconds she let herself enjoy the quiet moment with him. It might be her last with him. Ever. His wedding was in three days.

“I don’t know what to say to you,” he whispered, sounding deeply regretful and frustrated.

“I never asked for an explanation.”

Her mind was filled with questions but she knew he wasn’t ready to give answers and she wasn’t ready to hear them. She wanted to know what was wrong. She wanted to know what happened tonight to put him in such a strange mood. He was something entirely different tonight. His withdrawn and intense manner had not disappeared but she could tell he was lost in thought. For someone who had as much power and influence as he did, Ginny had never seen him so indecisive and hesitant before.

It made her feel helpless and even more of a burden. She knew she had no power to fix his problems, especially when she felt like the biggest one of all. But she had nothing to offer, however small. It wasn’t her place to love him either, but even if she could, she knew it wouldn’t matter to him. Draco had knocked that belief out of her months ago… years ago. The power of love was no power at all; it was the hope of a naive little girl and she would never be that stupid again. But silently sitting next to him wasn’t love. She knew she was nothing but something to hold on to and curiously didn’t care.

Their silence continued as the dark blue of the sky turned slowly into light purples and oranges. The moon, which had dropped low in the sky, was now invisible in the early morning light. Draco’s eyes never left the windows and Ginny pretended to watch the sky with him but was unable to concentrate on anything except the way his chest rose and fell with hers.

“I saw you once,” Draco said suddenly, startling her. His thumb absentmindedly rubbed over her knees. “It was about six years ago at St. Mungos.”

“I never saw you…” she frowned, trying to remember why she would have forgotten seeing him, but becoming increasingly distracted by his hand. Draco didn’t seem to hear her.

“You were wearing those hideous grey intern robes and you didn’t have on matching socks,” he said in his typical, disdainful voice.

She blushed then, wondering how and why he had noticed her socks. “I was… busy.”

“I could tell. You looked awful. Your hair was barely brushed; you had this frantic, panicked look on your face…” he trailed off and Ginny looked up at him. He was staring at his fingers as the traced over her knees. “You were beautiful, I couldn’t stop watching you. That was the day I learned you were going to be a Healer.”

An indecipherable feeling floated through her. “Why were you there?” she asked, trying not to sound pushy though she was dying of curiosity.

He didn’t answer her right away and Ginny could tell that he was still thinking about other things. “I was proud of you; I knew medical school was what you had wanted. But I couldn’t help thinking how fitting it was for us. I was to become a killer and you were going to be a Healer.”

For a few moments, she was shocked to realize that Draco had come to the same conclusion she had so many years ago. It was something she had immediately decided never to dwell on. To him though, it seemed like an awful realization. “Our lives just led us different ways,” she said softly, still unsure if she believed it.

Draco didn’t seem to care. “I saw a Healer yell you that day,” he went on. “I don’t remember what for but I do remember that you stood there and took it. I should have realized that you couldn’t have yelled back but I so mad that you didn’t. I wanted to see your face light up like it used to when you would yell at me. Just for that moment... that's what I wanted, just to see you mad… probably because I needed to be angry myself but I couldn’t feel it.”

He paused, shifting his gaze out the window again. He was silent for a long while after that and Ginny stayed quiet too.

“I was there because that was the day my mother died,” he said finally. “Xavi wanted her to be in the hospital near the end… just in case something could be done, but it didn’t matter. Some little Healer almost shit his pants when he told me; he was afraid of what I would do when I found out. But I just walked away and somehow got down to where you were. When I saw you… I don’t know how long I stood and watched you…”

Silence filled the room again until he said, “I knew that you weren’t aware she had died, but… it helped that you were there.”

Her chest felt tight with regret and anger, “Why didn’t you say something?”

“I couldn’t, not to you,” he said, then barely smiled. “But I did threaten the Healer who yelled at you. He was completely terrified, but I remember a mediwitch caught me in the middle of my lecture then didn’t stop glaring at me until I left.”

Helea popped into Ginny’s head, clearly remembering how cold and nasty the old mediwitch was until she finally proved herself. She smiled dryly against his shoulder. Draco had been missing from her life for seven years, but had never really failed to leave it.

“I found out who murdered her tonight.” He said it so quietly she thought she had heard him wrong. He had found out. Xavi had told her it would crush him, but she didn’t expect the sudden vengeful and hostile tone to his voice.

She pushed herself so that she was sitting upright. Her first thought was to ask who it was, but she couldn’t. “I’m sorry…” Ginny hesitated, unable to control the sudden tears that brimmed in her eyes.

“Fuck all, Ginny! Stop apologizing; when did you become so timid?! You shouldn’t ever be sorry, Malfoy’s have no regrets,” Draco lectured harshly. The bite in his voice made her draw back a little, but she wasn’t slighted. His face was dark and mutinous and he seemed completely oblivious to the fact that he had just referred to her as a Malfoy. Ginny let it slide too, already distracted by his complete attitude change.

“It was Lucius,” he said, his voice breaking with anger. “He played me perfect… waiting until the last moment when he knew I couldn’t touch him for what he’d done.” Ginny tried to regain some of her composure so she could try to calm him down, but Draco was seething. “He knew I would want to do it, but wouldn’t be able to. He knew.”

“He knew what?”

“That I’d be powerless. Even in the end, he got what he wanted,” Draco was breathing heavily now, his eyes focused on his clenched hands. His whole body was shivering in anger. “And the Dark Lord killed him.”

She reached for him automatically, grabbing his fingers. “I'm not sorry for that,” she told him. The anger and conviction in her voice made him look up and he stared at her for a moment. His face was expressionless as he pulled her hand to his face, pressing her knuckles to his cheek. The blankness of his eyes made her throat ache.

Draco felt his anger release has her hand slid open on his face. Her thumb traced the planes of his cheek and suddenly he felt intensely guilty and almost grateful. She was concerned and distressed… because of him. He couldn’t ignore the satisfaction in realizing that she cared enough to worry about him.

It was something he hadn’t expected to feel. Not today, at least.

After Voldemort’s spell had been cast, he didn’t know how long he had stood in the graveyard staring over the headstones at the low rising moon. When he finally broke out of his trance he had been alone. Voldemort had left immediately, refusing to look at or speak to Draco after it was over. The rest of the Death Eaters, unwilling to displease their Master and scared or generally unmoved by what had happened, left in the same fashion. He didn’t know when Pansy had left and he didn’t care.

The feelings of emptiness and aloneness were never stronger in him than at that moment as he stared blankly at the scene in front of him. He felt invincible. He felt capable of destruction. True destruction.

It wasn’t anger that drove him, or revenge for his father’s death. He could care less about his father. This was something completely different and unlike anything else that had previously driven him. It wasn’t ambition or desire or responsibility.

It was pure indifference. He could destroy for the sake of destruction. He could kill for the sake of death. There was nothing left. His life seemed to be explained by mistakes that were unexpectedly rectified in one night. And suddenly he realized that he had learned what it felt to experience the rules that had been ingrained into him.

Trust no one, befriend no one, love no one. All the trust was gone from his life. He had never realized that he blindly trusted his father only because he was his father. That was mistake number one. He had thought of Voldemort as someone able to be manipulated easily and he had failed. Mistake number two. He had loved his mother and for her own reasons she deprived him of exacting revenge on her murderer. And now he would never have the satisfaction and the rage he felt because of it was destroying him. Mistake number three.

He could feel the Power tingle through him, aching to be used. He wondered if this euphoria of indifference and power was what drove Voldemort. And it had taken the death of his father for him to realize this true potential. He could do it; he could become what his father wanted. Not to prove his father wrong, but to completely eclipse anything that his father was. Draco wanted his father forgotten, and he had the power and the ability to do it.

But then Ginny had rolled off the bed next to him and everything changed in the space of a few seconds. Her body pressed against his anchored him in a way he never thought possible.

The isolation, the training, the loneliness… it all seemed completely insignificant and ridiculous next to what she offered. But it was only then that he truly understood the importance of the Voldemort’s rules. Trust no one, Love no one, Befriend no one. They were perfect… perfect because they created exactly the person the Dark Lord wanted: someone with nothing to lose. They were perfect because he would never know how it felt to be the complete opposite. He would have never known… except that he had met Ginny. And he had loved her. It had never seemed to be a question in his mind, even through the years that he told himself to forget and ignore her.

As he sat and watched the sky, he realized that his future now solely belonged to him. Lucius was gone and with him went Draco’s worries about betrayal and secrets. There was nothing in his way now. He was free of his father and all the influences and manipulations that came with him. He was smart and talented enough to become anything he wanted. There was nothing in his way anymore. And since he already had the power, he wanted the girl who was currently curled up next to him.

In what felt like one fluid moment, all his scattered feelings and intentions gathered in to one solid realization: he would have both. He would have his power. This life of power and prestige was what he wanted. He bled and sacrificed for it; there was no way he would give it up now.

But he had Ginny and there was no way he was going to give her up either.

The confidence of his decision was consuming, though he couldn’t ignore how strange it felt to let himself admit that he wanted her to stay. He had based so much of his life on being someone who was immovable and focused. But when it came to her, everything seemed to be different. His manipulations and intimidations didn’t work on her. Every one of his skills was of no use to him when it came to knowing what he wanted. She was everything he didn’t understand. But it didn’t matter. He wasn’t about to let her go again.

It was hard to realize that his father had played an influential role in his life, at least early in his training. It had been even harder for him to admit to himself that he wasn’t strong enough to fight for Ginny when he left Hogwarts. He was too caught up in the offer of being the Devil’s Servant to realize that she was the reason he could do it. But he had sprinted away from Hogwarts and from her without a second thought. Training to be the Apprentice and the Devil’s Servant was what he wanted, but pleasing his father played a huge silent role in the decision.

But now, it was all on him. Draco watched Ginny, now asleep with her head pressed into his shoulder and her body curled against his chest. Dark eyelashes brushed against her cheeks, casting shadows in the morning sunlight now streaming in the windows. Her hand was still tightly wrapped in his, as if she was afraid to let go.

Protectiveness shot through him as he tightened his arm around her. When he referred to her as a Malfoy tonight, he hadn’t been lying. The comment had come out accidentally but as soon as he said it, he knew there was no other way.

Plans began forming in his head. Perfect plans. He knew he had to act quickly; there were too many things that he had to make sure went smoothly. And if he managed to carry this out, Ginny would be safe. More importantly, she would be with him.

Draco knew Lucius had tried hard to turn Voldemort and he was aware that this could’ve instilled a bit of doubt. But he was confident that the Dark Lord never suspected him in the first place and the reasons Lucius distrusted Draco would be ignored. The watch on Ginny and her progress would stop. And only two people knew the truth about Bill Weasley’s death: his father had died with it and Xavi would do the same before revealing what he knew. He no longer had his father to stand in his way and there was no one else brave enough or stupid enough to try. He realized the danger of what he wanted to do, but Draco had never felt more powerful and untouchable than he did at that moment and he wasn’t about to let anyone take it away.

Now he just had to tell Ginny she was about to become a Malfoy.
<hr>
A/N: Hmm… so, good? Bad? Major developments! Hate me for taking so long to write something? Don't worry, I hate me too. It took me a long while to actually get to the point where I could post because I went through so many rewrites. Nothing seemed right when it came to Draco and Ginny, probably because I love them too much. But I hope you guys liked it! As for the next chapter… I think you guys know what’s going to happen :D Oh, and I do know that Ginny has brown eyes, thank you to whoever pointed it out again though.

I promise promise promise that I will finish this story. I know I tell people when chapters are coming out and usually miss the date by weeks, but I'm serious about getting this done.

So on that note, I want to thank everyone who patiently waits for updates! I know I personally have gotten super frustrated and lose interest when stories I read don’t update all the time, so for those of you who are still hanging out with me THANK YOU! I would love to know that at least one person still is around.

Again, thanks to all my reviewers from last chapter! And a special thank you to the new readers! I'm always amazed that this story is good enough to read straight through, so thanks for leaving your thoughts! And to you silent lurkers out there… thanks for upping the hits page, it makes me feel wonderful as well!

Alright, over and out… time for bed for me! Happy Valentine’s Day! Xoxo -DC


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The Sickness and the Cure: Chapter 14 : You're the Blood in My Veins

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