Chapter 1 : Draco
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DISCLAIMER: Still not a published author, and still wishing magic was real. I would love to live in the UK, truly I would. After studying abroad in London, I have been trying to convince my husband to move there for the past 5 years... but alas, my flag remains a different array of red, white and blue. I am not, nor shall I ever claim to be, the beautiful and talented JKR. I only play in her world… and this time I bring some of Shakespeare’s poetry and Coldplay’s lyrics with me…
A oneshot in five parts: Dismal, Racing, Acceptance, Courage and Onward
And ruin'd love, when it is built anew,
Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater. - Shakespeare
Dass Liebe, die aus Trümmern auferstand,
Reicher als einst an Größe ist und Kraft!
It was a blustery day in Berlin’s shopping district. A man with a coat of the finest deep-grey wool stepped through a tall metal door of a seemingly abandoned department store, turned up his collar and pushed through the day with his head down and his gloveless, shivering hands thrust into deep pockets.
The October wind swept up his flaxen hair, which brushed against his high cheekbones in a seeming kiss, soft as though spun of the richest silk. He stared at the sidewalk as he rushed on his way, noticing nothing but the meticulous act of putting one Italian-leather clad foot in front of the other as fast as his mind allowed.
He counted his steps, automatically dodging pedestrians and traffic posts alike – one… twenty… forty… fifty – stopping when he reached precisely eighty-one steps. He turned to his left without looking up and climbed the seven steps that led to the heavy wooden front door of his modest two-story flat. Too tired to pull out his Muggle key to unlock the door, he quietly muttered “alohomora,” and heard the locks unbind.
He stepped into the dimly-lit flat and then locked the door behind himself. As he dragged his body into the elegant living room, all he wanted to do was collapse onto the plush velvet sofa and sleep. Tomorrow would be here all too soon, another sodding day to remind him of all he had once lost.
He took off his overcoat and draped it over an armchair. He sat on the couch, and something moving caught his eye, reflected in the Muggle television that she had made him purchase. He leaped up and quickly pulled his wand, turning on the intruder.
It was merely a ruffled-looking tawny owl. He sighed. He was getting more paranoid each day. The owl held out his right leg unceremoniously and gave an angry hoot. He slowly untied the letter from the impatient bird’s foot. The owl bit his hand and quickly flew out of the still-open window. He did not have the energy to even silently curse the barmy bird.
Glancing at the letter in his hand, he frowned. He recognized the handwriting, but it did not make sense. Why would she be writing him now? He had not spoken to her in over 3 years! His eyes skimmed the words on the quick, unsigned note:
Malfoy. You are a cad. Once again, you have stolen my heart. Stomped upon it until what once felt light, airy, cherished and whole is a twisted, broken, bloody shell of a thing that dangles unattached and utterly useless. I hope you are happy.
Well. That was certainly… pleasant. Though not entirely unexpected. Pansy was known for being overly dramatic. The only trouble was, why send him anything at all? And why now?
Draco placed the letter on his cluttered mahogany desk, too tired to even think about what might be going on in Parkinson’s sordid mind. He would focus on that tomorrow.
Or perhaps not. It depended on whether he would dream of her again.
He resigned himself to the high-backed armchair in the darkest corner of the room. With a lazy flick of his wand, he switched on the Muggle stereo, intent on drowning out the noise of his thoughts.
I don’t know which way I’m going; I don’t know which way I’ve come
Hold my head inside your hands; I need someone who understands
I need someone, someone who hears; For you I’ve waited all these years—
BOOM! Remnants of the silver stereo fell upon the floor, having met the business end of Draco’s wand. No rest for the weary, and even my bloody stereo has it in for me.
It was going to be another long night.
*** Several too-short hours later ***
“Malfoy, mate! You insufferable git! Wake up! Potter will not be pleased if I tell him that you are ignoring his orders and instead drooling all over your French-silk pillow!,” a deep lightly-accented voice woke Draco from his recurring nightmare.
Draco started. He sat up and immediately drew his wand from underneath the pillow, his Auror reflexes kicking in. He looked in the direction of the fire, and after seeing the face in the flames he marginally relaxed.
“Zabini. To what do I owe this unfortunate… intrusion?”
"We have a lead. Potter and Weasley are currently on the trail. We are to meet with Thomas and Nott at the London office in exactly fifteen minutes to be briefed. I suggest you wipe off the drool and get your arse in here. And bring some coffee, would you? I believe it is your turn to buy.” And with that the call was ended.
Fantastic. Not even five in the morning and Potter is already ruining my day. I cannot believe that oaf of a Minister made him Head Auror.
Draco sighed loudly and stood, scratching the stubble on his chin as he stumbled up the stairs and into the master bedroom. He walked over to the floor-length mirror and stared at the reflection of a deeply troubled man. Bloody hell. That cannot be me.
Indeed. Draco Malfoy’s life, once bright and full of promise, had taken a turn for the worst.
As he silently cast the glamour that had been a part of his life for the past five years, Draco sighed. Good thing, then, that I am technically already ‘dead’ to anyone who matters. At least life cannot suddenly complicate itself any further.
Famous last words, he was sure.
Even if things do not technically get worse, in Draco's life it was nearly inevitable that they will become complicated.
Sitting on a stiff-backed chair inside the new Head Auror’s cluttered office, Draco picked absentmindedly at the fraying upholstery and glanced distastefully into his weak cup of tea with a grimace. Potter apparently needs a good house elf to show that dowdy secretary of his a thing or two about preparing a proper British tea.
A lesson on cleaning charms would not hurt, either.
The door flew open with a bang, and Draco immediately dropped his tea with a clatter and drew his wand out of habit. Or paranoia, came a bitter afterthought.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist, Malfoy, you git. Harry sent me to fill you in. He is otherwise detained, as you should know. Nott and Zabini should be here soon,” Auror Dean Thomas stated whilst settling into Potter’s chair, glaring at Draco with obvious loathing.
“How is Potter handling being the new Head Auror and The-Boy-Who-Lived-to-have-a-Boy, eh?” Malfoy sneered. Secretly, he was quite jealous of Potter and the Weaslette for being able to have careers they loved and a family that cared for them. And their new son was the most beautiful baby boy Draco had ever seen, not that I’d EVER admit it. I'd rather be fed to a hormonal hippogryff.
Draco frowned. He had barely any contact with his own parents these days, what with his father rotting away in Azkaban and his mother flitting about the world, chasing one humanitarian cause after the other in an effort to ease her guilty conscience.
“Is that jealousy I hear, Malfoy? Tsk, tsk. Don’t go getting all soft now, people might actually think you have a heart buried somewhere in there after all,” came the deep, jubilant voice of Draco’s partner Blaise Zabini from the doorway.
"Zabini. Nott. Sit, we have exactly one hour to debrief, and then Harry and Ron expect the four of us to head out together on our new assignment. I, for one, would like to know what exactly that entails," Thomas interjected before Draco could speak the insult that was forming on his tongue.
Draco shot Blaise a glare. Blaise just grinned and sat on the stool at Draco’s left, crossing his ankles and laying his hands, palms up, on his knees.
After sealing the wards on the door, Dean began. “Alright. Harry and Ron have infiltrated a group of renegade Death Eaters somewhere in the Republic of Georgia. That’s all that I know. In exactly ten seconds, Harry should be joining us via floo to fill us in.”
The four men in the room immediately angled themselves to face the jade-lined fireplace, which suddenly filled with green flame and the scarred face of Head Auror Harry Potter.
Without preamble, the disembodied war veteran began. “We’ve got them. All of them. We could not believe it – all of the former Death Eaters in one camp! They have let down their guard considerably. I am certain Rabastan Lestrange never thought the Ministry would find them after all this time, but we have. The only one we have not physically spotted is his deranged brother, Rodolphus, but we suspect he is out recruiting. This is of little consequence right now, however. We have frozen their funding and many of them appear to no longer carry wands. We have yet to announce our presence at their little meet and greet, but I have warded this field and the surrounding structures so heavily that no one would be able to escape alive. Now we await backup. You four will be joined by an elite Russian Auror force. You have one hour. There is a portkey waiting on the border of the Russian Federation that will bring you to the camp. We will be waiting.”
Without waiting for a response from any of his aurors, the floo connection closed.
Draco stood, nodded at his companions, and silently headed for the lifts. One hour. I will need to tell her goodbye, then.
*** Somewhere in London ***
As Draco Malfoy prepared to enter the upscale brick building that contained his penthouse flat, he paused at the glass-front doors and took a deep, calming breath. He smiled to himself sadly. He could still hear her voice. ‘Calm down, take a deeeeeep breath in. It is HEALING, you git! That’s why. Honestly!’
Bossy little bint.
He nodded to the elderly doorman who held the doors open for him, and stepped across the foyer and into the waiting velvet-lined lift. He much preferred this flat to his rented residence in Berlin.
He closed his eyes and leaned against the emerald green velvet, reminiscing about how he, Muggle-loathing Draco Malfoy, came to call such a place ‘home.’
*** Flashback ***
It was a Muggle building, which he had stumbled upon one day while out wandering around London looking for a decent place to hang his hat. The Manor would no longer do. Too many memories, not more than a handful of them what one would call ‘good.’
As he stubbed his toe on a curb, scuffing his expensive shoes, he silently cursed and glanced up at a rather impressive corner property. It happened to be for sale. He eyed it appraisingly. Eight floors. Solid brick. Clean street. Reasonable price. It appeared abandoned. He glanced around before apparating inside. The lobby clearly needed work, though the rich mahogany floors and marble accents had potential. This had once been a fine residence. He eyed the maroon carpets with distaste. Obviously, the color scheme needs improvement. He spent nearly a full hour exploring and found that the building housed only two rather large flats on each floor, designated ‘A’ and ‘B,’ though the top floor held only one opulent residence and what appeared to be a managerial office and a small maintenance room.
He had been merely looking for a flat… he did not really need the entire building. Then again... It might be nice to have somewhere to finally call ‘home.’
I feel my time, my time has come
Let me in, unlock the door
I never felt this way before
His mind seemed to be paying devil’s advocate against his common sense. And she would love it. Look – there is even a bookshoppe across the street.
That had settled it. The devil won.
*** End Flashback ***
Draco sighed as the lift dinged to indicate his floor. He slowly walked toward the door simply marked ‘7.’ Looking toward his property manager’s office before drawing his wand, he muttered “alohamora” and entered his flat.
He put his hat, cloak and wand in their designated spots near the door before crossing over to the black leather couch and collapsing. No. Must not fall asleep, Malfoy. You came here for a reason, remember? Get it over with, then leave. They are waiting.
He struggled to stand, and then headed toward the larger of the two bedrooms.
The door was ajar. He knocked once, and then entered.
The bed was empty. It was a large elegant four-poster, with carved dragons at the headboard. It had been his bed for as long as he could remember. It was the only piece of his old life he held on to.
“Draco? Is that you? I was not expecting you home until tomorrow at the earliest,” a soft voice spoke from the en-suite. He sighed and sank into an emerald chair near the wardrobe.
“Yes. I have not returned for long. I have come to say goodbye. Don’t worry – I will not be gone as long this time. We seem to be nearing the end of this particular mission.” He closed his eyes as he heard footsteps approach.
“Darling, please promise me you will try to rest a bit, and that you will eat. You look positively peaky.”
He opened his eyes and smiled. Her kind brown gaze was wrought with concern. It felt wonderful to have someone care for him again. Especially when he knew her concern was in fact genuine!
Feeling the race against fatigue, he stood and headed for the fireplace. After activating the floo and preparing for the journey to come, he turned and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. “I’d promise anything for you, Jane. As always.”
It had been mere moments since the Russian Aurors and Draco’s own compatriots had grabbed onto the glowing rusty pipe. The portkey had landed them in the midst of a camp in chaos, green and red lights flashing all around. There were four battered-looking magical tents scattered along the line of trees, with shouting to be heard from inside each.
Seriously? No one thought to force my uncles’ minions out into the open? I guess Granger really was the brains of the operation. Ah, well. Lucky they have me. He smirked before muttering a well-aimed “Incendio!”
Draco quickly ducked behind a tree as bodies began to emerge scrambling from the now flame-engulfed tents and spellfire from the left shot over his head. He looked behind him and caught Blaise’s eye. “Zabini! Take care of these worthless shites! I am going to see if I can’t find the sodding Boy-Who-Lived,” he shouted as he disillusioned himself and ran toward a small shed in the center of the largest tree cluster.
Ignoring the curses flying all around him, Draco approached the shed from the south side, his eyes never leaving the ivy-laden, half-hidden door and its rusty hinges. He halted a yard from the threshold, his senses telling him there was dark magic behind those walls. He tentatively reached his hand in the empty air in front of him and almost screamed out loud at the burning sensation instantly coursing through his body.
He bit his tongue against the pain as he pressed forward. Once he crossed the magical barrier, the pain suddenly vanished as the shed door swung open. Draco nearly gave away his position and relaxed the disillusionment spell due to shock. Not 5 inches away from his face, looking right at him, was Pansy! She seemed to freeze for half a second – does she see me?, Draco panicked? – and then narrowed her eyes before calling over her shoulder, “I do not see anything, Marcus – it must have been another squirrel.” Then she looked right at Draco again and mouthed, “help me please, ” before shutting the door.
Draco was thoroughly confused. Pansy? Here? In a renegade camp? But that letter from her! She did not mention anything…
Suddenly, a disembodied hand reached toward him and latched onto his wrist. Draco’s heart nearly stopped. “Relax Ferret, it’s only me. Don’t wet yourself. Harry has just slipped inside, we did surveillance last night and nearly twenty death eaters went in. It’s apparently a hell of a lot bigger inside than out – I’ll wager that shed is a maze of dark magic booby traps; should be right up your alley,” Ron’s voice whispered inches from Draco’s right ear.
“Weaselby, you nearly found yourself paying my dear Aunt Bella a visit a moment ago when you scared the shite out of me. Now, release my wrist and tell me why in the world PANSY of all people is in a shack full of Death Eater scum? And why aren’t we storming in there after Potter?,” Draco whispered angrily.
“Well, I was about to, but then I thought I should really come up with a bit of a plan first… Harry is counting on me and I don’t want to ruin this mission, you know?,” Ron’s voice whispered back.
“Since when do you think first and act later? Isn’t that against a Gryffindor’s code of law?”
“Shut up, Snake-boy, and let’s figure out how we get in there before alerting your insane friends to our presence? And I am honestly not sure why your old girlfriend is here. I saw the plea, though… I am thinking she would rather be elsewhere, so why don’t we help her with that, eh?”
Draco took one look at the hand that was seemingly floating in midair for him to shake and thought, she would be pleased to see me getting along with him. After the briefest of pauses, he grasped the hand. Upon releasing it, Draco whispered, “follow me. Be silent.”
He closed his eyes, focusing his mind on the hinges on the door in front of him. The door rattled slightly. Before the hinges could fall to the ground, Draco vanished them and motioned for Ron to help him move the now un-hinged door to the side. “I have used magic. Now they know we are here, so we will have to be fast.”
Draco quickly wandered further into the dark, dank cabin room, which indeed was as large as a warehouse on the inside. Apparently, though, the morons were so sure of their safety in their little camp that they did not see fit to add any "booby traps," as Weasley had expected. He could see dark shapes moving at the far corner of the room, so, hoping Weasley understood to follow him, he quickly cast a cushioning charm around his feet to muffle the sound and strode across the floor.
Pansy stood with Marcus Flint, former Slytherin and apparently now Pansy’s current beau, if the large emerald ring on her finger said anything about it. In front of the pair sat nearly a dozen of Lucius’ former cronies, as well as Greg Goyle.
He dropped the disillusionment charm and stepped up behind Marcus. “Pansy, darling, are you having a celebration and you forgot to invite me? Tsk, tsk, Mother will be so sad to hear that you are apparently off the pureblood market. I must say this is a rather musty location for an engagement party, but there is no accounting for taste, is there? Oh, hello there, Flint,” he drawled.
“Malfoy! I was not aware that you were still… among us… but now, perhaps, you are here to make your father proud after all?” Flint’s eyes glinted dangerously as Goyle pulled Pansy closer to himself and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, his eyes nervously darting from Marcus to his former friend. Interesting, Malfoy thought.
He smirked at Flint as if in agreement. As part of his mind contemplated Pansy and Goyle, Draco’s eye briefly landed on Harry Potter, who was crouching behind a crate, ready to spring. Subtlety is not his strong suit. He blinked at Potter, hoping he would get the signal to remain hidden. Weasley, you had better have my back, he thought before flourishing his wand, silently and swiftly shoving Pansy toward Potter and simultaneously binding the Death Eaters before they even realized they were being attacked.
That last bit of magic drained quite a bit of his energy, and he felt himself slumping toward the floor. Father would indeed be proud of that – I hope Potter does not mind when a little Dark magic comes in handy. He was so exhausted, he did not even register when Potter, Weasley and some of their other comrades rushed about clearing the scene and transporting their captives as cheering ensued. Draco vaguely recalled Weasley patting him on the back with a large grin on his face.
It was over.
*** Aftermath ***
It had been a harsh six days since he had last left his flat in London; he almost longed to be in the midst of battle again. At least while fighting, he could feel. Anything was better than the emptiness that now encased him.
The evening had always been rather harsh to Draco. The darkness filled him. He loathed it. It reminded him of the days wherein That Thing had forced itself upon his family home and destroyed any happy memories the manor had once held for him.
An hour ago – had it only been an hour? – Draco had stumbled out of the floo into his Berlin residence intending to have a bit to eat, and promptly collapsed at his table. He awoke now, groggy, and found himself with his head propped up on top of a rather uncomfortable butter dish.
“That’ll leave a mark, you know, Malfoy.”
Without bothering to raise his head, he groaned. Then again… Annoying Sir Predictable is still my favorite pastime. Would not want to disappoint. Draco sat up and smirked. “Potter. Be a good enemy, eh, and let a doomed man sleep in peace? I was having a rather enjoyable dream involving myself, Hermione and a jar of Honeyduke’s Finest Melted Chocolate. It was more of a memory than a dream, really. She always was a saucy little minx, Mione, and quite flexible. In fact, there was this one time…”
Draco trailed off suggestively, glancing up and noticing with satisfaction that the Boy Wonder had paled quite considerably and was looking rather like he was about to lose his breakfast.
I hear you laugh, I heard you sing
I wouldn’t change a single thing
“Shut it, Malfoy, I came here to talk. Your biting sarcasm can wait,” Harry stated as he pulled out the chair across from Draco and sat.
“Remind me why, again, I set my wards to grant you entrance?,” Draco stated dryly as he sat up fully and turned his attention to his former enemy.
“Because it is always me that ends up saving your stubborn arse when you do something reckless,” Harry bit back with a smirk much like the one Draco wore.
“Touche, Scarhead. Now, what is it? And do please get to the point, I am rather exhausted and could use a decade or so of sleep,” Draco replied, slouching back in his seat again and watching Harry through half-lidded eyes.
Harry’s green gaze softened a bit as he sat more comfortably in his chair. “Other than discuss your brilliant albeit reckless wandwork on the field today – and I will be needing a written report describing the nature of that last binding spell, by the way – I wanted to discuss what it is you plan to do now. 3 hours ago, we shoved your uncle and his renegade comrades behind bars, Mafoy. I debriefed Pansy and discovered she really fancies herself in love with that oaf Goyle, believe it or not – she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, though she insists she sent you a spelled letter which told you of her predicament. But never mind. That’s it, then. Mission accomplished. I can go home to my wife and our child. And you can…” he trailed off at the rather tortured look on the blonde man’s face.
“I can what? What options does Draco bloody Malfoy have? What exactly can a dead man do, Potter?” Draco, suddenly furious, jumped from his seat and threw the butter dish across the room, where it shattered against his stainless steel Muggle refrigerator.
Harry stood up and calmly muttered a reparo at the butter dish.
“Well, Malfoy, to me it seems rather obvious what you can do now. The question I would ask myself, however, is what will you do?”
And with that, Harry grabbed a large shiny apple off of the table and turned on the spot, leaving Draco to marvel at the smallest sense of true freedom for the first time in his life.
Draco awoke in his London residence with a terrible crick in his neck. He rolled to his side and opened one silver eye, peering at the too-bright sunlight shining through the window. He had fallen asleep on the couch again, and had apparently forgotten to pull the drapes closed.
Potter had insisted he take some time to sort his priorities. To that end, Draco had been back and forth between his residences deep in thought for over two weeks and no longer knew which way was up, let alone what to do with his newfound choices. He was so confused.
He loved her, so much that it ached. This was one fact that never changed.
He was no good for her. This remained constant as well.
Draco wearily stood to begin his morning routine: Shower; shave (when he remembered – more often than not, his hands were too shaky and he ended up nicking his face these days); prepare tea and toast (the queasiness he felt would allow for nothing more substantial); sit and stare out the window, and replay the events of the last few weeks.
The new development that surprised him the most was not that his old pal Greg Goyle had been arrested and would likely remain in Azkaban till the end of his days, but the reason why Goyle was behind bars. Pansy, who had willingly submitted to further interrogation, had sealed Greg’s fate when it was revealed that he had been using a dark love-binding spell to control her. Apparently in his insecurity, while she did in fact claim to love him and had agreed to marry him of her own volition, he felt that she was far too… popular… to stay with someone like him… so, his brilliant idea was to administer a hybrid love potion/dark spell daily to ensure her loyalty.
Frankly, Draco had not known his once-friend possessed the brains to perform such a task, but apparently it was born out of necessity.
Pansy, upon learning of Greg’s deceit, promptly broke the engagement and tearfully told Goyle she would have loved him had he simply trusted her. Draco knew it would take Pansy some time to heal her heart and learn to trust again, but she was strong and fiery. This would not break her spirits for long.
Pansy always reminded me of her with that ability to bounce back and always make the best of things...
Suddenly, Draco knew. It was time.
Setting his cup into the sink and casting a quick scourgify on his plate, Draco walked over to the Muggle ice-box standing in his kitchen and penned a hasty note on one of Jane’s ubiquitous neon post-its.
Satisfied that Jane would not worry over his whereabouts when she awoke, Draco walked over to the fireplace and flooed to the Ministry. He had some things to finalize in his office, but after he was through he expected he would not be welcome as an auror much longer.
And the wheels just keep on turning
The drummers begin to drum
*** Malfoy Manor, midnight ***
Narcissa Malfoy was not quite asleep when she heard a noise down the hall from her room. Knowing the house elves would never make such a clatter at this time of night, she quietly reached for her wand which she kept on her bed-side table and listened as the sound came closer. The wards on the manor were secure, and she knew that only a select few would be able to enter her home, so she was not terribly worried.
But still, footsteps! Who on earth –!?
The door to her room opened slowly and light poured in from the hallway, a dark silhouette framed in the doorway. “Mother? Are you awake?”
Narcissa sat up. “Draco, darling, whatever is the matter? Has something happened? Is it your father? Have you heard from him? Is he…,” she trailed off, unwilling to finish the sentence that might bring her current worst nightmares to the front of her mind.
Draco stepped into the room, flicking his wand to light the lamp at Narcissa’s bedside. He walked over and perched next to her on the ebony duvet.
“No, Mother. As far as I am aware, Father is still rotting merrily in prison. I came to tell you that I am leaving England. We both know I have not really been myself since I left my post at Hogwarts. I have… resigned… my position with the Aurors. I am uncertain as to where I will end up, but I will stay in touch. I will visit. I just wanted you to be aware,” Draco explained, gently touching his mother’s arm.
Narcissa did not argue. She just looked at her son, and for the first time in years, saw a fire burning deep within. It warmed her soul. It was a healthy passion that meant he would be alright.
Draco saw her look of acceptance. He gave a small smile, patted her hand and then stood and walked to the door.
He left his childhood home and walked to the apparition point just outside the manor gates, turning on the spot and silently accepting whatever future awaited him.
He would always love her. He would always want her. He would work to make her proud. But he would live his life on his own terms. This would be his promise to himself.
Perhaps, someday, he would be able to tell her that she had set him free.
And say you'll come and set me free
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me
A/N: Hello again, Lovelies. I had originally started this story as five separate chapters… but it was not flowing to my liking. So, almost two years later, I give you this reworked oneshot. This is loosely linked to Confessions: it is a sort of companion piece that explains a bit of what happened to Malfoy in those lost years. It was also written in response to the “Coldplay Challenge” on the HPFF Forums. Hope that you enjoyed it! FYI, “Schatzi” is German for “treasure,” or “treasured one.” Now that this is (finally!) posted, I would like to have a fresh start of sorts for my writing. Maybe work on a Hugo/OC loosly tied to my ScoRose story. We shall see. Happy reading!