Chapter 3 : Memento Mori
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Department of Magical Law Enforcement
Investigation Department, Tape #2
Interviewer: Hermione Jean Granger
Suspect: Draco Lucius Malfoy
Draco: Don’t you find it amusing, that even though the man is dead, he still makes you all so panicky?
Hermione: This has nothing to do with your father, Malfoy. He was in possession of numerous Dark artefacts, before and after his death, and this Object of yours is very suspicious.
D: So it’s done something to suss you out, then?
H: I ... No, not exactly.
D: I see. It’s just because it belonged to him, is it?
H: No!—I!—Ugh, it is because when you received it, your actions towards the Ministry were unsavoury, Malfoy!
D: Pfft! So, what are you going to do, Granger? Arrest me for saving the lives you Aurors couldn’t get to in time? You do realise all the hostages I rescued would have died, right? Or are you going to arrest me because of an inheritance?
H: There will be no need, if you just tell us what The Object does.
- End of Tape –
3. Memento Mori
9th of February
He dreamed of a time before his silver eyes could barely gaze over the top of his father’s desk. His tiny hands gripped the wooden edges, and his knuckles turned white from the effort of him pulling his small form up. He saw a mass of papers, books, quills and documents, but that wasn’t what he was looking for. Straining his neck, he pushed himself higher, smiling when he saw it—the Object. Swirling and humming quietly in the office, it looked just like his father’s Pensive.
Lucius Malfoy looked up from The Daily Prophet to see his son standing at the end of the desk. He smiled at the sight of him and laughed under his breath before turning back to the paper.
“Daddy, can I touch it?” Draco asked, trying his best to stretch out his arm. “It’s too far away.”
“You can’t touch it, Draco,” Lucius drawled. “We have spoken of this before.”
“But Dad! You can touch it! You love it!”
He looked up from the paper again, just in time to watch as his son lost his balance and fell. The five-year-old’s head slipped forward, smacking the bridge of his nose on the large mahogany table with a bang. The predictable tears immediately filled his eyes, and he gripped his face in his tiny hands, sobbing from the pain.
Lucius jumped up so fast, it was as if his robes were on fire. He swept down, taking his son into his arms and checking his face closely. A bruise was forming on his pale nose, but he was unharmed.
Minutes trickled by and after a little rocking, Draco had stopped crying. He felt warm and safe in his father’s muscular arms, and buried his face in his long blonde hair. The smell was familiar, secure, strong.
Wiping away his tears on his father’s expensive black robes, Lucius took Draco outside on the office balcony. They stayed huddled together for sometime before Lucius finally spoke.
He pointed up to the sky. “Draco, do you see those stars there?”
The young boy squinted up into the liquid black. “I see stars everywhere!”
“Here.” Lucius grabbed his tiny hand, guiding it across a small section of the sky. “There. Those stars make up the dragon. Or—” he dropped his son’s hand, smiling down at him “—Draco.”
“I’m a star?” His voice rose from the excitement, and Lucius laughed.
“You’re a lot of stars.” He looked down to see the young boy grinning from ear-to-ear. Sadness flickered across Lucius’ face briefly. “That Cube on my desk is not nearly as important to me as those stars are, Draco. Remember that.”
His eyes snapped open. The world around him still existed. Just. A sigh escaped his lips.
He was staring at a plain white ceiling, and in the distance he could hear the sounds of trolleys being pushed across tiled ground. Hurried footsteps echoed outside his door, voices drifting through the cracks—a structural weakness. He could hear everything.
He shivered. Though he was wrapped tight in a mix of sheets and blankets, he was still freezing cold. He did not know why. His heart had settled into a monotonic dread, and he was still, unmoving.
For what felt like an age, the twenty-two year old man just laid there, existing. If it was not for the tears that streamed freely down his face and onto the pillow, it would be easy to mistake him for a statue in the mess of a hospital bed.
But he was not a statue. He was not relieved of feeling. Underneath his skin, his muscle, and bone, his chest was aching. It was breaking in two, falling through the bed, the floor, the ground, right into the Earth’s core. Was he in Hell? He did not know. Was he still asleep? He didn’t have the answer to that either.
The memory was still fresh on his mind, and the dream played out before him like a picture in the Prophet.
“The cube on my desk is not nearly as important to me as those stars are, Draco...”
His father’s cool drawl repeated itself over and over in his head. Draco closed his eyes.
Dammit, father! Help me! You know I’m useless without your guidance—for Merlin’s sake, look at me! I almost died yesterday...
The door of his hospital lodging was pushed forward, flooding him with the loud ruckus of the infirmary outside. His eyes opened, and he tilted his head to watch as a small, stout woman backed in through the archway, towing a trolley full of potions. She paused to close the door, smiling when she saw him looking at her.
“You’re awake, dear,” she said, surprised. “I hope you had an alright sleep?”
Draco grunted some form of agreement before rolling over and squeezing his eyes shut, mind racing with thoughts.
Am I going crazy? I can’t be. That was not just a dream. I was definitely there.
A vision, perhaps?
No, no, I have to be going crazy.
... But, it was all so vivid—the Object, the sky... Father.
Dammit you insufferable old man, tell me what it means! Why did you die? Why do I have this... Thing?
The old lady continued to hurry around the room, before finally sighing and resting her hands on her rounded hips. Her blue eyes smiled when Draco opened his eyes to look at her.
“You’re fine to go, doll. A few bruises are still on your chest and back, but for the most part, you’re alright.”
Draco cocked his head towards her. “Thank you.”
The woman then left the room without closing the door, instantly lost in the sea of patients, Healers and visitors that streamed by. Draco couldn’t help but feel the pang of annoyance.
This is obviously my subtle invitation to leave immediately. Probably for the best.
The man sighed loudly, readying himself to leave the safety of the hospital bed, when a small knock sounded on the open door. Draco looked up to see Michael Corner standing in the archway, hands shoved deep in his pockets and a small smile shadowing the corners of his mouth.
He bowed slightly at Draco, taking the bowler hat off his head and walking up to the blonde. “Glad to see you’re up,” he said cheerfully.
“Yes.” Draco stood, trying his best to not make eye-contact with the Auror who had saved his life. He was not a man who liked to be in debt, especially to a Ministry official. “I suppose you’re here to ask more questions, Corner? I’ve already told Potter and Granger there’s nothing more they need to know.”
Michael blinked slowly in response to this, watching Draco as he marched over to the door. The blonde knew what the Auror was staring at; much to his displeasure (could people not be more considerate?). Nevertheless, he tried his best to not draw attention to it, however hard it was. The damn thing was right there.
With a sigh, he grabbed a common white robe off the hook on the wall, shrugging it over his shoulders effortlessly. The mysterious and haunting Dark Mark disappeared beneath the fabric, hiding his buried past once more. He remembered seeing his father repeat the same process many times before in his youth.
Michael cleared his throat loudly then, and Draco turned to face him. The blonde could instantly tell from his awed expression he had never actually seen a Dark Mark before; but auspiciously, the topic was not to be discussed.
“Actually... I came here to say sorry, Malfoy.”
Draco raised his eyebrows. “Come again?” he asked coolly.
The Auror scratched his shoulder, looking slightly uncomfortable. “Yeah, well ... Let’s just say I feel pretty bad for not telling you that I was going to chain you up back at ... ah... shit this is awkward.”
Before then, Draco had forgotten all about the betrayal of Michael Corner in Yaxley Manor. He rubbed his wrists, bitterly remembering the tight chains that had held him captive.
Ah, yes. My ‘saviour’ imprisoned me... Well, I guess we’re even then, Corner...
Huh. That makes me a lot happier than it really should.
Running a hand through his hair, Draco attempted to shrug nonchalantly. “You were just doing your job.”
Something flashed across Michael’s features, and he scoffed loudly, turning around and walking to the small window. The morning sun was struggling to break through the heavy cloud coverage, bathing London in its usual depressing, grey shroud. Snowflakes fell slowly from the heavens, and Draco watched from his position at the door as Michael bowed his head and sighed.
“Turns out I didn’t do it properly enough—one of the fellas with me told the boss I didn’t cuff you straight away. I’m suspended for two weeks... Shit. I can never just follow the fucking rules.”
He continued to murmur under his breath, the sadness evident in his voice. Draco stood awkwardly to the side, pulling his robes tight over his bare chest and folding his arms.
Damn, not sure where to go with this one. Is it my fault? Wait, no, how could it be! I don’t even know the protocol on all this red tape crap! It’s in no way my fault.
Ugh. Then why the hell am I feeling so guilty?
Uncomfortably, Draco cleared his throat, and Michael spun around with a jump, eyes widening.
“Shit, sorry Malfoy, I was just talking to myself, never mind.”
Michael shoved his hat on his head, walking forwards to head out the door. Before he left however, he paused, eyes drifting to the bedside table. He wandered over to it casually, picking something up and taking it over to Draco.
He held out his hand, and Draco looked down to see the Object resting on his palm.
“Almost forgot it,” Michael said with a small smile.
Draco took it, shoving it deep into his robe pocket. “Thanks.”
“I’ll see you around, mate.”
Michael walked past him with another nod.
That’s it; just let the problem walk away. You’re too busy to deal with emotions, aren’t you, Malf? You’re just here to save lives—then you can go home and wash your hands of it all. Just like what everybody expects of an ex-Death Eater.
“Wait,” Draco resigned, holding out his arm and stopping Michael from leaving.
Ah, the conscious has appeared yet again.
The Auror paused, looking over at him in puzzlement. Draco swept to the bed, reaching under the sheet and retrieving his wand from its hiding place. Opening his hand, he tapped the tip of the stick on his palm. A small, white card appeared, fine black writing scribbling itself on the surface.
Board of Directors
Fireplace 4, Lucius Malfoy’s office, Wiltshire
“I could use people who don’t listen to the rules,” he said, walking over and handing the card to Michael.
The man stared at the black and emerald crest on the business card, the large ‘M’ catching in the light and shining in his eyes. He frowned slightly. “In an Apothecary?”
Annoyance flicked over Draco’s face, but it was gone as quick as it came. “You know what I really do, Corner. Deliberate on it. You know where to find me when you’re done.”
Without another word, Draco left the man standing in the small hospital room. Michael did not move as Healers spilled through the door, bustling about to change the sheets for the next patient. Running his thumb across the card, he felt the fine bumps of the dragons and snakes that twined around the elaborate Malfoy family crest, his mind wandering far, far away from St. Mungo’s.
His repetitive knocks on the door sounded heavily around the whole manor, and for good reason. The snowflakes that had begun falling to the ground innocently when he had left the hospital had now started an army, and the snowstorm was unrelenting in its force. Gritting his teeth, Draco shivered, pulling the robe tight around his bare torso for some warmth. There was none, and he cursed under his breath.
Salazar, this is ridiculous. I’m pretty sure my limbs are going to fall off soon. Of course, out of all the robes the hospital leaves for patients, they get the cheapest one’s they can find. Thank you, St. Mungo’s.
A small squeak behind the closed doors had him looking up with relief. He watched as a thin shadow passed over the light that leaked through the cracks.
“Mister Malfoy must give Pokey the password, sir!” came a shrill, sentient voice.
All relief drained out of him fast. Draco growled, not taking his eyes off the giant ‘M’ that adjourned the door. “Pokey, it is fucking freezing out here. Open the door.”
“The password, sir!” the house-elf repeated.
“It’s my manor!”
“Missus Greengrass Astoria said that Pokey must not open the door to Masters that do not knows the passwords, Sir,” explained the elf.
Usually Draco would have found the whole situation slightly comical, but he was sure that his fingers weren’t meant to be turning that colour of purple. He was also quite worried about the fact he couldn’t feel his toes in his shoes, or the numbness of the tip of his newly repaired nose.
“Other people, Pokey! Not Draco: others!” he snapped, banging on the door loudly again. When he heard no movement on the other side, he let out a sigh of begrudging acceptance. “I don’t know the password, Pokey... How—damn, this is so stupid. It’s my house.”
“Yes. It looks cold out there, Sir.”
“I will kill—Look, okay, I don’t have the password. How about you ask me something that only I would know?”
“Like what, Sir?” came the squeak.
“I ... I don’t know. Something.”
There was a small silence, then: “What were the last words Masters Lucius Malfoy says to Master Draco?”
The change he felt was remarkable. It was as if the whole world had just landed itself on Draco’s shoulders. He staggered slightly to the side, holding his arm out and catching the wall to steady himself. The ‘M’ on the door glinted in the slither of light from the windows around, taunting and teasing him as his brain emptied itself of all thought. The hollow emotions he had woken up with flooded back, and he struggled for a breath.
Draco shuddered at the sound of his name, and closed his eyes. Underneath his robes, he was still shivering, but it was no longer from the cold outside. He leaned forward, touching his forehead on the door and sighing.
“Pokey I ... I don’t remember.”
I don’t remember. I. Don’t. Remember.
When had this all happened to him? Had he really grown so distant from his father before his death that he only had memories from his childhood—one’s that he actually dreamed about? He sneered. Dreams were flights of fancy—dreams were not fit for a Malfoy. It was in no way his fault that he did not remember his father’s last words; if anything, surely it was Lucius’. It was his fault they became estranged before his death. It was his fault Draco had fixated on redemption and salvation and revenge.
... But was it?
He turned at the sound of his own name, surprised to see Astoria standing at the foot of the patio, smiling at him. Her usually pale cheeks were coloured pink from the cold, as was her small button nose, and she glowed with radiant beauty, as always. The sight of her shed all thoughts of his father from his mind, and he was filled with a much more familiar, comforting and out-of-place emotion.
“You look cold,” she said.
Draco pointed at her, sweeping forward and jabbing a finger in her chest. She displayed no fear and did not flinch, but her smile had quickly vanished.
“You,” he seethed. “Where. Were. You.”
Her baby-blue eyes flashed menacingly as she looked up to his towering form, and she bat his hand away from her. “I should be asking the same of you!”
He sneered. “I was right in front of you.”
“Clearly not,” she scoffed. “You were there, but as soon as you rounded the corner, you disappeared on me!”
Draco swallowed, trying his best to think back to the time before Isobel and Artemis caught him. All he could remember however was being extremely cold as he walked down the damp London alleyway, and then ... nothing. It was like he had lost his memory.
Maybe they took it from me.
He sighed, suddenly loosing all his will to fight. He ran a hand through his hair. The whole topic was still too fresh a wound, and he was starting to feel slightly uncomfortable.
“I... don’t remember what happened.”
“I was really worried about you, Draco.” Her hostile tone had dropped, and she looked down to her feet briefly. “We all were. You’re looking miserable. Are you okay?”
“It’s fine,” he replied. “You can make it up to me by opening this goddamn door.”
She frowned. “What do you mean? And”—a smile danced on her pink lips—“why don’t you have a shirt?”
He grunted, looking down at his naked torso. “Turns out the hospital doesn’t get enough tax to lend their patients t-shirts.”
Astoria’s frown deepened at this, and she extended a hand out towards him. Her fingers hesitated, a hair’s breadth from his chest before she brushed the hem of his robe aside. The white gown slipped off one shoulder, revealing the whole of his black-and-blue torso.
A small gasp escaped her lips. “Draco...” Her voice was barely a whisper. “What... what happened?”
He caught her wrist, stopping her hands from going further and finding the ghastly bruises that covered his back.
She looked up at him, her blue eyes swimming with doubt. For an age, there was no sound from the man or woman, other than the steady, comforting rhythm of their breathing. Draco did not let go of her wrist. He was not sure why he held it there or what he was doing—perhaps he just loved the softness of her skin, or its incredible warmth beneath his touch.
But whatever it was, it had him entranced in those moments. Her chest grazed his torso as he moved closer, and Draco was sure that if he had not had a hold of her, he would have lost all spatial awareness. He could slowly feel himself sinking down—slipping, sliding, melting—into her blue eyes, and he did not want to stop.
A sigh escaped, and he leant down, connecting his lips with hers like he had always done. Draco’s limbs immediately erupted with a fire, searing his skin with the warmth. She was glorious, familiar, beautiful, and soft—oh, so soft. He was caught in a blissful and amazing state of happiness—one he was sure he had not encountered in months. Draco was prepared to stand on that patio with her forever—through the snow, the rain, the sun and wind. He was prepared to conquer the world with her.
He was ready for it all, until, she pulled away.
Astoria’s cheeks were burning, and she buried her face behind her golden locks. “Draco...”
Oh, Merlin, what did I just do.
Shame compounded, and all elation was quickly gone. He opened and closed his mouth, but nothing, nothing, could even begin to explain how disgraceful he felt in those moments.
“Tori...” he started.
He watched the top of his ex-girlfriend’s head, wishing beyond everything he could just melt into the wall behind him and never come out. The words he wanted to say to her weren’t coming, and he just stood there numbly, mouth agape.
Finally, he managed to rasp: “I’m so sorry.”
She cleared her throat nervously, before brushing past him lightly and knocking on the door.
“Memento Mori, Pokey,” she said quietly. She was inside before another word could be spoken.
Shit. What is wrong with me today?
He had done it. He had wrecked the only thing the two previous lovers had agreed on during their break up. A secretive contract—vow, if you will—to never, ever reopen that old wound. And he had just opened it with renewed vigour.
And it had been incredible.
Draco continued to face away from the house, watching as the snowstorm retreated across the countryside beyond the Manor grounds. With a defeated sigh, he squeezed his eyes shut, not even remembering why he had been standing out there in the first place.
The old rose bush stretched out beyond the window, disappearing into the forest of trees ahead. Daphne Greengrass paused in her work to overlook the enormous back garden of the Manor, illuminated by the fan of sunlight that had broken through the clouds above. The snowstorm had eased now, and she smiled to herself.
Turning back to her workbench, Daphne’s hands moved across the table in familiar and sure movements. She held her wand in her right hand, tapping miscellaneous items with a murmur and nodding to herself. Minutes passed, and a humming escaped her lips. She danced across the room to a pile of boxes in the back corner, every movement as fluid and confident as the last.
Draco watched her from the open door, arms folded and leaning leisurely against the archway. His silver gaze snaked around the room, taking in the haphazard boxes and bookshelves with disdain. There was barely any room to walk across the area, but Daphne paid it no mind, skipping through the piles of papers, and Muggle ornaments from Cho, to jump on her bed in the corner.
She looked at him, smile dancing in her blue eyes. “You’re looking better,” she complimented.
“Yes, it’s amazing what a shower can do.”
And it was amazing. The black Muggle suit he wore was by no means the best in his cupboard, but it might as well have been made from the world’s finest silk after his scratchy hospital robes. He had even donned a tie for the evening, just to complete the set and give himself a little confidence. He was sure part of his spirit was still residing in Yaxley Manor.
Draco strolled casually over to Daphne’s workshop in the middle of the room. “Chang said you had been working on something.”
Daphne jumped off the bed, blonde curls bouncing merrily out of her messy ponytail. He couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm as she walked over.
“Well, we were so worried when you disappeared on Astoria in that alleyway,” Daphne said with all the tone as if she were talking of the weather outside. “So, I made this.”
She waved her wand and the mess of papers on her desk shot up in the air, before all zooming to the corner and stacking neatly in a pile. Miscellaneous items were revealed underneath it all—things Draco was sure Daphne had not seen in a few weeks. Smile growing wider, she then picked up a little ear bud-shaped object off the surface of the oak workbench.
She held it out to Draco.
“What is it?” he asked, taking it from her and examining it in the candlelight. It was unimpressive by sight; definitely an ear bud, bright orange and soft to hold. He squished it between his thumb and forefinger.
“‘What are they?’” she corrected, giving her wand another wave.
The box at the end of her bed lifted off the ground and soared towards them. He was about to grab it out of the air when it tipped upside down, spilling more and more of the tiny objects all over the desk. They collided with one another, bouncing and rolling across the surface of the bench and scattering across the ground.
Draco blinked in surprise, and Daphne frowned.
“Huh. Probably didn’t need to make so many,” she said. Noticing Draco’s frown, she took the ear bud from his hand, slipping it into her ear. “Cho and I named them MCRs—Magical Communication Receivers. They’re based off this thing Muggles use—radios, I think Cho called them. Theirs are much more complex though, I just took the end off them and performed a little enchantment.” She tapped the thing in her ear, beaming. “Anyone who wears them will be able to talk to anyone else who wears them, etcetera. I’m still working on it to make it group exclusive—though I doubt anyone else will have them...”
She picked another one off the desk and passed it over to Draco. He looked at it suspiciously.
“They’re a Muggle invention?”
Daphne rolled her eyes at his blatant Muggle-phobia, but reassured him, “Trust me, Muggle ones have many more wires—er, strings. If they saw something like this, they would only throw it away.”
Satisfied with her reply, he took it from her, putting it in his ear. Daphne then spoke, but it wasn’t like normal; her voice was right there, inside of his head. He could her every inflection perfectly.
“Now if you ever go missing again,” her voice said through the receiver, “we can constantly stay in communication and know where you are.”
Draco blinked, a slow, radiant smile making its way across his face. He took the bud out of his ear, bringing the tiny witch into a hug. It wasn’t the most subtle way to express his gratitude, but he wasn’t sure what else to do. He was certain Daphne had just saved all their lives—the effect these things would have on all their futures would be crucial to their work.
“You always know how to make things better. You are brilliant,” he said into her hair.
She giggled, but her voice was filled with sadness when she spoke. “Yeah, well ... We really thought we lost you back there, Malf. I had to do something.”
They pulled apart, Draco’s eyes drifting across all the buds on the desk. She watched him as his hand hovered over the little pieces, brain obviously thinking overtime as he stood there.
“I need six of them,” he said eventually.
“Already?” she asked. She grabbed a small handful and passed them over. “You’re sure you don’t want to ... y’know... relax first?”
Draco’s features darkened as he took the buds from her. “I think I'm close to knowing where another one is,” he said.
It was all he needed to say.
A/N: Memento Mori (Remember Death; remember that you are mortal), is a tribute to the amazing fanfiction of the same name by coffeecupcakegirl.
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