The morning after Christmas, the house elves were still raving about the night before. As a thank you, they remembered Draco's favorite breakfast as a child and served it to him with delight.
"Chocolate chip pancakes, hot cocoa, all loaded with whipped cream! What an awesome breakfast." He made over the enormous stack, knowing it was their gift to him.
"We're going to miss you around here." Trinket said. "I had such a wonderful time with Master Draco. And it was so nice to see Dobby again."
With that remark, Lucius abruptly flipped down the newest copy of The Daily Prophet. "Dobby was in this house?" He practically shouted.
Narcissa brought her hand up to quiet him down and let the remark be.
Trinket went into a bit of a shock and started hurting herself. "I... shouldn't have...said..." Draco managed to stop her by giving her a gentle shove with the length of his arm. "You can go now, Trinket. Thank you."
Lucius sat there with tight lips until he couldn't take it anymore.
"They love you now." He remarked as if that were a bad thing.
"That just means they'll do anything for me now." Draco commented with a smile.
"They would do anything for you anyway, as they are house elves and that is what they are supposed to do."
"Yes, but don't you think they are more pleasant when they are happy?"
Narcissa remained quiet as she sipped her morning tea.
"I own them. I'm not here to entertain them." Lucius said swiftly. "They have jobs to do and that is their place. You might not see them, but even Hogwarts has a small army of them to feed everyone, do laundry, and clean up after all of you heathens."
"Heathens, Father, really? Have you seen your Death Eater friends lately?"
Lucius looked at him with a fatherly scold.
"Where are they now anyway?" Draco asked. He hated Death Eaters at the Manor. They were invaders. "It's been nice not having them lurking about. Are you going to tell me they are all enjoying Christmas with their mummies?"
"A little less sarcasm, please, as you eat your sickening sweet chocolate breakfast. And for your information they've been at Crabbe's."
With that piece of information, Draco finished his nostalgic breakfast and excused himself. "Well I guess this is goodbye. I'm heading upstairs to get my trunk and then I'm off to Goyle's." He said standing and pushing in his chair.
"Draco," his father stopped him. "Before you leave, how is the mission coming? You're half way until time is up and I wouldn't want you to waste too much time partying and playing Quidditch when lives are on the line." He gave him a serious look.
Draco didn't like this reminder or his father's tone. "I'm fully aware of my duties and my deadline, Father. No need to remind me." He said walking away, fully finished with the conversation.
It was a tradition started as First Years. Draco Malfoy and Vincent Crabbe would only spend two days of Christmas break at home… Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The rest of the time, the two would meet up at Gregory Goyle’s family estate. A tradition that Draco refused to break, even if he and Lucius were getting along.
Draco had everything ready to leave. He only needed the trunk. But just as he was about to go, he found himself staring at the opening of his door-less bedroom closet.
It's amazing what things you ignore as time passes. But the dream brought up the memory and made him take pause.
He slowly made his way to it and when he got close enough, he placed a hand on the mahogany door frame, examining it.
He ran his fingers down the evidence, the deep gashes from where the hinges had been blasted off. A sadness came over him then, thinking of the blond child that was once trapped in it. He had a bit of a flashback, remembering his hands hitting the door and seeing the flash of light blow the door to splinters. He remembered hiding under his bed being afraid of the consequences for breaking the door. But he was never reprimanded for it. Instead, the house elves cleaned up the mess and it was never mentioned… as if it hadn’t happened at all.
Draco whispered his thoughts, “I forgave you for killing my dog yesterday. Will I ever be able to forgive you for the rest?” He breathed.
The gashes in the door reminded him of the concealed gashes on his shoulders and back.
“Draco.” A small voice said.
He looked up from his examination. “Mother.” He acknowledged with a solemn voice.
She had stepped into his room and saw him staring at the door frame.
“I’d hoped you were too young to remember what happened to the door.” She said sadly, slowly making her way in and gracefully sitting on the black cashmere blanket perfectly draped over his bed.
Draco stood quiet for moment. “Did you… know what he was doing?” He asked calmly and without blame.
“No. I didn’t. Not until you destroyed the door. I made sure it didn’t get replaced though.”
“I remember many things that he did to me, Mother. Locking me in the closet… the Cruciatus for forgetting my table manners and using the wrong fork at dinner… my favorite things tossed out if he felt they were in his way. The constant terrorizing in the dark as he actually thought it would build my character and make me stronger… which only backfired and made me afraid of my own shadow. He even had me running scared at someone throwing snowballs at me… because they were cloaked and I couldn’t see them.”
He said all of that with an eerie calm, as if there were no fight in him… but it was there… like the hot coals of a quiet campfire.
“He reared you into a tidy, well groomed, respectful, proper gentleman. I didn’t say I ever approved of his parenting techniques.” She said with her head held high.
“Techniques? Hmm.” He nodded his head slowly in fake agreement while she sat silent.
“You Obliviated me, didn’t you… when I was thirteen?” His voice remained calm. “That summer was when father started limping and walking with a cane.”
His mother’s only response to that was her clasping her hands together and placing them on her lap.
“I put two and two together when I went back to Hogwarts. I had pulled off my shirt to go to bed and Crabbe asked me what happened to my back. The wounds had healed, but they left scars, and I didn’t know how they got there.”
He thought it best to leave out Crabbe’s offer… “Want me to kill him for you?” His friend had offered.
Draco’s mother looked worried then and he saw a hint of shame on her features.
“Since I’m in the mood to forgive… Do you mind filling in the blanks?”
She took in a deep breath. “Draco, honestly… You will not fully realize how much your father loves you, until you have a child of your own one day.”
Her comment briefly had him recalling an image from his dream…. The image of Hermione ‘with child.’
“He loves you more than anyone in this world, including me.”
“Does he?” Draco said as if the notion sounded ridiculous.
“I’m sure that you are aware by now, that you have the power to hurt people with your tongue. You know precisely what to say to inflict the most damage. Frankly, your skills are quite remarkable… to inflict pain without a wand.”
“I’ve been told that before.” He acknowledged.
“Yes… well. When you were thirteen, your father threw a Cruciatus blow at you for something… I can’t even remember how it started. But it was the ‘last straw’ for you, so to speak. You had all that you could take and so you crushed him the only way you knew best… attacking him viciously with your foul teenage mouth.”
She took in a deep breath, choosing her words carefully. “You must understand that when you were born, you were your father’s pride and joy… You still are. He would beam and say… ‘I’m going to make him the greatest Malfoy that ever lived.’” She recalled with pride.
“But that summer night, you didn’t hold back your opinion of him. You made absolutely certain that he was clear about your feelings as you stood up for yourself and spoke your mind. You said if there was something worse than the word ‘hate’ then that was what you felt for him. You called him all kinds of creative nasty things that I’ve never heard of before. You went on a raging rant spitting so much venom, that it left us both stunned as if we’d been Stupified. And when you were done… you wanted to hurt him as much emotionally as he had hurt you physically. So… you proceeded to tell him the most disrespectful, hurtful thing you could possibly say… and Draco, you hit the bull’s-eye dead center.”
“Just after you told him that he was 'lower than a flea-infested Muggle' and that you were no longer going to call him ‘Father’… You said, ‘It should have been you instead. It should’ve been you that the Dark Lord killed and not James Potter.’”
Draco’s eyes grew wide as he took in a desperate gasp of air. “I actually said that?” He was nothing short of shocked at his thirteen year-old boldness.
“You didn’t say it. You screamed it. And as soon as you did, you both took out your wands and began dueling in the house.”
“Seriously? Oh, I wish I could remember.” He said a bit excited.
“No… you don’t. It was a violent ordeal. Snakes flew out of your wand at him. It was the worst day of our lives as a family. I’m sorry that I didn’t interrupt you two sooner than I did, Draco. Honestly, I was trying to get out of the way of all the curses that were flying about, shattering everything in their path. You dueled bravely, but you were no match for your father, as you were only thirteen.”
She swallowed hard as she continued. “He attempted to Stupify you, but you ducked and it hit a large mirror behind you. It shattered and sent glass shards into your back.”
She shuttered at the memory. “It was an accident. He didn’t mean to hurt you. But when I saw you lying there with all that blood… Well… Let’s just say… That this old house had never seen a witch’s fury until that day. I magically slammed your father around the room like a rag doll and I broke his hip on purpose. I knew that it would never fully heal and I wanted it to be a constant reminder of the pain he caused you. I told him if he ever pointed his wand in an ill manner at you again, that I would have him begging for death. I’m not proud of it, but I am the reason he walks with a cane.”
Draco could taste the blood from his lip as he bit down hard on it, trying not to smile at his mother’s revenge. He eventually had to put a hand to his mouth, covering it. He wanted to run and hug her for what she’d done on his behalf. But the feeling quickly faded as he thought of why the hell it took her so long to finally do something.
“After that, your father was worried sick about your recovery. Healers came and removed the mirrored shards of glass from your back. It was dreadful. They said we were lucky you weren’t paralyzed. Your father didn’t eat for days, he was so worried. You refused to see him. And when he tried to enter your room, you were magically throwing things at him, slinging your mud and venom continually.”
She stood then. “I am the one that Obliviated you. So you can be mad at me if you want to… But I needed to have order in my house. He’s done nothing but spoil you since and you haven’t needed to tell him how you really feel.”
She stepped up to him, fussing with his jacket, smoothing out his shoulders like a mother would.
“Forgive him for being a terrible parent, Draco. He’s only truly wanted the best for you and he expects the best from you.”
“Perhaps he expects too much.”
“Look at you. You are perfection. You were a leader of Slytherin House as soon as you set foot at Hogwarts. Aside from one unfortunate episode… you have respect for your elders. You take care of yourself. You are trustworthy and most importantly… loyal. One day, the Manor will be yours. You will have a beautiful witch by your side and you will give me grandchildren. I don’t care who you pick, son… so long as she has pure blood running through her veins.”
“Time for me to go, Mother.” He said flatly, not wanting yet another lecture on blood status, especially with Granger constantly on his mind.
“So soon? I really came up here to thank you for making amends with your father last night. I do hope I didn’t spoil it with the things I said today.”
“You didn’t.” He said as he swiftly grabbed the handle of his trunk, in a hurry to get to get out of there and get to Goyle’s.
“One last thing... don’t ever… under any circumstances Obliviate me again. It’s not good for me to have a chunk of my life missing, believing father must’ve done something unspeakable.”
As he stepped into the nearest fireplace to floo to Goyle's, he was wishing he could fast forward time to get back to Hogwarts. He never thought he would ever think such a thing. Unfortunately, there was a lot of time between now and then and a New Year's Eve party to get to before he would see his Granger again.
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