Chapter 1 : Stating my Independence
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“You will not be going” Lucius stated plainly to his son who stood defiantly in front of him.
“You can't stop me” Draco calmly replied, trying to maintain his cool even thoughts while the fire of hatred burned inside of him. “I'm old enough to make my own decisions”.
“While you live under my roof you are under my authority and I forbid it!” his father shouted back at him, anger etched across his sharp features.
Draco stared straight into his fathers eyes that were blazing with anger, managing to remain calm and determined as his father yelled at him in fury. Enough was enough. “Then I no longer live here” Draco said simply, and turned away from his father and walked up the stairs to his bedroom. His mother who had watched the whole confrontation from the sofa finally broke down and he could hear her sobbing as he walked away. His father didn't say a word but he could feel his wrath behind him.
Draco closed the door of his room quietly behind him, he would not make a scene. He hated his father but he still loved his mother. He knew what he was about to do would break her heart but his mind was set and he would not back down. He was going to go back to Hogwarts. His father had already ruined the first 17 years of his life, he wasn't going to ruin the rest. It was time to remove himself from all association with his father, his mother unfortunately was just collateral.
Draco proceeded to pack the few belongs that he had into a back pack and then surveyed his bare room, devoid of any care or love. Feeling nothing but relief at leaving this desolate place, Draco left the room.
'I will not break' Draco thought to himself solemnly as he looked down the stairs, his back pack thrown over his shoulder. It was now or never. If he wanted to make a new life for himself and leave the name of Malfoy behind forever, it had to be now. He looked down the stairs, willing himself to take the first step, but his feet held fast to the landing, his heart starting to break inside. 'No' he told himself stubbornly, 'you must do this, she will be okay.' Draco gazed out the window and sighed, reflecting on everything that had happened to bring him to this point.
The war had finally ended and Voldemort was gone. Draco had followed him blindly, unaware of the atrocities that he was capable of. Draco felt his heart constrict as he remembered watching the Hogwarts muggles studies teacher murdered in front of his eyes. 'I was so blind, I was so stupid.' He and his family had managed to escape together during the final battle at Hogwarts and narrowly avoided being sent to Azkaban. This was due mainly to his mothers lie that enabled Harry to live and to finally destroy the tyrant, sending him to the depths of hell where he deserved to be for all eternity. They could not go back to Malfoy Manor after everything that had occurred there last year, so his parents had found a small cottage in the middle of no where to call home, at least while the memories of the war faded and all connotations associated with the name Malfoy had time to disappear.
But for Draco, it didn't matter where they lived or how far removed from the wizarding world they remained. The memories of the war were on the forefront of his mind, and all the terrible things he had done throughout his life were a very close second. He had grown up in a household full of prejudice, where blood was gold and royalty. He had watched all his life, the respect his father received because of his name alone. People would bow at his feet and he could treat them like dirt, but they would keep coming back to serve him. Draco had always wanted to be just like his father and had tried so hard to match up to his legacy. But for the first time in Draco's life, he realised that people didn't look up to his father out of respect...it was out of fear.
From the day he was born, he had been fed the lie that those who didn't have pure magical blood were dirty and had no place amongst wizards who could trace their magical lineage back through generations. Draco scoffed to himself as he remember how he had been sucked in. Blood didn't matter one bit, Hermione for one was living proof that there was no correlation between magical ability and parentage. It had only taken a horrible war, a couple of near death experiences and a lucky escape from Azkaban to finally enlightened him to the truth. Believing the lie had gotten him absolutely nowhere and his current situation only highlighted his point.
The followers of the Dark Lord were now either in Azkaban or remaining elusive and out of Ministry detection. Draco had to wonder what they were thinking now, was following the Dark Lord really worth it, or had they just followed him out of fear, sensing that he would one day rise to power and when he did, they wanted to make sure that they were on his side. Fear. There that word was again. It had been the Dark Lord's ally. But it was also his downfall, his fear of death making him lay down the path that led to his final destruction.
Draco had been a fool, a stupid scared fool. From the day of his birth he had soaked up the lies that his father had told him, that he was superior and that the Dark lord would right the wrongs that Dumbledore and the Ministry had imposed on the wizarding world. He had questioned his father early in his life, but he learnt rather quickly the it was better to just nod and agree than to question his father. A sharp clip around the ears would be the result if he ever questioned the ways of the Dark Lord. So he had grown up to be just as malicious and bullying as his father, taunting everyone who wasn't a pure blood just because he thought he was superior. But also because he was afraid of what his father would do if he didn't. Fear was a powerful driving force and Draco was deathly afraid of his father.
But he had finally decided to break free from the shadow of his father and for once make his own decisions. The days of cowering in fear were gone. Since coming to this deserted little place, Draco had very little to do but think. As he reflected on his life, he knew he had made many mistakes, the first of which was allowing his father to rule him, the second, was joining the Dark Lord, although to be fair on himself, he didn't have much of an option if he wanted to live.
As he recalled his miserable past, he realised that his whole reputation was built on his name and those who saw past it knew that deep down, he was nothing like his father. Crabbe and Goyle were only his friends because they knew that by hanging out with a Malfoy, they would be cool by association. Pansy only liked him so she could brag that she was dating the Prince of Slytherin. Dumbledore had known that he would never kill him and had instead made provisions to save him. But most of all, Harry, Ron and Hermione never feared him. To them, he was more of a nuisance that wouldn't go away. They had stuck up for themselves at every opportunity, and they had the final say. But to cap it all off, after everything that Draco had done to them, Harry had found it in himself to save his life. If nothing else, that was the pivotal moment where Draco realised that blood did not make the wizard, it was his heart.
Draco had no idea what would become of him now that his family was disgraced, he was simply waiting for the solution to come. And today it had. Much to his surprise a letter had come from Hogwarts informing him about the start of term and how last year would be repeated for all students. Draco never thought he would return to Hogwarts after what he had done in 6th year, but as he had looked at the crest that sealed his letter he knew that he wanted to go back. He didn't care what people thought of him, he wanted to finish his education and hopefully make something of himself. He didn't want to live in fear any more. His father however, had different plans and there was no way that he wanted Draco to return to Hogwarts and associate himself with those 'muggle lovers'. It was then that Draco accepted the truth that his father would never change. The time had come for him to state his independence.
Draco was about to start down the stairs when his fathers angry voiced reached him.
“I will not let him leave Narcissa. Stop that insufferable sobbing.” Lucius snapped at his wife.
“It's no use Lucius, he doesn't want to be here with us any more. He is old enough to do what he pleases.” Naccissa managed to gasp between sobs.
“No son of mine is going to be seen in that establishment again.” Lucius spat. “I loved him and he is still me son, and I will not see him ruin his future by fraternizing with those sort of people.”
'Loved'. The words blazed a hole right through Draco's soul but he wasn't really surprised. He had always felt like a disappointment in the eyes of his father. Draco had made his opinions quite clear of late and he knew that it had only solidified in his fathers mind that he was not going to follow in his carefully placed footsteps. Draco proceeded down the steps into the lounge where his mother was sobbing and his father was staring out the window angrily. Both turned to face him as he entered.
“I'm leaving” Draco announced to his parents. “I'm going back to Hogwarts.”
“No you are not” Lucius hissed at his son. “Return to your room. Now!”
“No” Draco said icily to his father. “This is it, I'm done, I'm through with you, I'm leaving and you can do nothing about it. I am going to start a new life, away from you and away from all the crap that you have made me believe. I hate you and from this moment on I am no longer your son.”
Narcissa started to cry uncontrollably, her face streaked in tears and her eyes red and puffy. Lucius matched his sons ice cold stare with his own. “Do you actually think I am going to just let you walk out of here?” Lucius asked his son, whipping out his wand and pointing it at Draco.
“What are you going to do” Draco mocked his father, “Kill me. Go ahead, its not like anyone is going to miss me.” Draco stared back at his father, willing himself to stay strong and not let go of his convictions. All his life he had been under his fathers thumb, doing anything he said, but most of all, he believed all the lies that his father had fed him. Finally, Draco had seen the truth and it was time for him to turn away from the lies and the brutality of his father.
“You are still my son and I love you and I care for you and the world is not safe for a Malfoy at the moment,” Lucius said, trying to stay calm and put some sense into his son.
Draco just scoffed at his father, “No you don't. Just before you said love in the past tense.” Draco looked at his father, sadness crossed his face for a split second and then was gone. “I heard.”
“So then,” Lucius spat at his son, “after everything that myself and your mother have done for you, this is how you show us your thanks, by leaving us at our darkest hour.”
“You brought this upon yourself, and me,” Draco shot back at his father, the volume of his voice starting to increase for the first time. “You and your silly delusions, that just because of our pure blood we were superior to everyone else. But finally I am brave enough to say you are wrong and I am not going to play your subordinate son any longer. I'm not afraid of you anymore, I am not going to live in fear.”
Lucius still had his wand pointed at Draco, but he stood his ground. He didn't care anymore about life or death, in some ways he probably deserved death, all he wanted was to be away from his father and his ridiculous air of superiority.
Lucius's hand was starting to shake and his resolve was cracking. His son had always done exactly as he was told, followed him without question. But not anymore. For the first time, Lucius could see that his son was no longer intimidated by him and his fear had turned into resentment and hate. Draco had now formed his own opinions and much to Lucius' disgust, they did not align with his own. His own son, of pure blood, no longer believed that blood was important and now thought that muggle borns had every right to become a wizard. The thought disgusted Lucius.
As much as he felt betrayed and sickened by Draco's new found compassion for muggle borns, he still loved his son, no matter what he had said earlier in his state of rage. He could not allow himself to show any weakness though, he had an image to uphold and his family name to maintain. Unfortunately, if Draco didn't want to respect his pure blood lineage, then he wasn't welcome any more. However, he had to try one last time to get him to stay, he would be disgraced if his only child turned his back on him.
“Draco, this is madness” Lucius appealed to his son, lowering his wand. “think of your mother. She will be distraught if you leave.”
Draco stared back at his father who was now trying so desperately to get him to stay, but Draco wasn't going to buy this last lie. Yes, it was true that his mother would be consumed with grief, but this was not why his father wanted him to stay. He was only thinking about himself and his reputation.
“No!” Draco said it loud and clear. “I am finally taking a stand and I am declaring my independence. I am no longer connected to this family or the name, or to the memories. From this moment I am claiming back all the love I ever wasted on you, all the affection I gave you, and I am breaking away.”
“How dare you” Lucius yelled as he raised his wand, anger once again coursing through his blood.
Draco was not phased. “I used to believe everything you said to me, how I was better than everyone else. But it was a lie, a persons blood doesn't make the man, it is his choices, and by following you I made a terrible mistake.” Draco could see his father shaking with rage but he continued on regardless. “You mean nothing to me now father, I no longer have any respect for you. I used to care about you and this family, but I cannot live with you now. As long as you believe what you do then I do not want to be associated with you. So the time has come for me to disassociate myself from you and to leave the tarnished name of Malfoy behind.”
The silence in the room was deafening, broken only by the small sobs of Narcissa as Draco and Lucius, his wand still raised, stared at each other with absolute hatred. The stalemate continued with neither one moving or losing their eye contact. Slowly, Lucius lowered his wand and hung his head in defeat. His son hated him, and it was better to let him go, than keep him here against his will.
“Go” Lucius whispered quietly. He could feel tears starting to well behind his eyes, but he could not let his only child see the pain he felt inside, knowing that he had failed him. Draco had not moved and anger got the better of Lucius. “Go” he shouted, pointing at the door.
“Bye mother” Draco said causing her to sob even harder. He shot his father one more icy stare and then turned his back on his past and walked out the door and into the unknown.
Draco calmly walked out the front gate of the small cottage the Malfoys had been living in since the war ended. Once out of sight, he broke into a run. He had no plan in mind, but he didn't care, he just had to get away from his past as fast as possible. He ran as fast as he could, his pain and hopelessness fueling his body and spurring him past the point of exhaustion.
As his body reached its breaking point, Draco collapsed onto the closest tree and he slid to the ground, allowing the tears that had been threatening to spill since he said he was leaving to run in a torrent down his face. He hugged his knees and let the tears flow, glad that in the middle of nowhere, there was nobody to see him cry.
Slowly the tears began to cease and Draco picked himself up off the ground and continued his walk out of town. Relief started to flow over him and his realised that finally he was free of his fathers dominance. He hated himself for leaving his mother but he could always write to her. His defiance was towards his father, not his mother. The road ahead was going to be hard, it would not be easy to leave the name of Malfoy behind, and his past would always be etched on his left forearm. People hated him and they had every right to. He regretted his past and it sickened his soul when the unwanted memories of his past entered his mind. But hopefully people would eventually see that he no longer cared about blood lines, heritage and prestige. He cared about life, and about a future where he could live without fear and without prejudice.
Draco didn't quite know what to do now. He no longer had any friends and was hated by the wizarding world for supporting he who must not be named. He couldn't show his face anywhere without a million curses flying his way. But there was one place where he was welcome, that wanted him back, and that was Hogwarts. School didn't start for another few weeks, but maybe, just maybe, they would let him stay there until school began.
Without further thought Draco apparated to the outskirts of Hogsmead and looked up at Hogwarts, now returned to its former glory. Pangs of guilt fluttered through Draco's heart as all the terrible events that had occurred within the grounds flashed rapidly through his mind, creating a slide show of horrific proportions. Feeling his grief starting to overcome him, Draco took a deep breath and steadied himself against a nearby tree. 'I'm not that person anymore' he told himself, calming his troubled heart, 'and I will let the world know it, even if it kills me'.
Draco caught movement out of the corner of his eye and looked up to see the familiar shape of Professor McGonagall walking towards him across the grounds. He watched her approach, slightly apprehensive, maybe the letter had been a mistake, maybe he wasn't welcome at all. As she got closer, Draco saw that she was smiling and he relaxed and returned her smile.
“Welcome back to school Draco” Professor McGonagall said kindly. “Professor Dumbledore told me I would find you here.” Professor McGonagall opened the gates and Draco entered the sanctuary of the Hogwarts grounds.
“Thanks for allowing me to return” Draco said with embarrassment.
Professor McGonagall took him by the shoulders and turned him to face her so Draco was forced to look directly into her eyes. “We believe in second chances here Draco. Just prove to us that you deserve it.” Draco nodded somberly, if there was one thing he was going to do for the rest of his life, it was prove that he deserved this second chance.
A/N This is the prologue to longer story about Draco's quest for independence. If you would like to read further, his jouney continues in the story 'Defining my Independence'.
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