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Notes: It is only just that one Malfoy should follow another, in all things. Warnings for child abuse and incest.
Draco is eleven when the Lord first asks for him. You know the hunger that glitters in those red eyes. You've seen it--directed at you, all those years ago, when your feet were smooth and you still carried the world, cupped like a glass chalice, in your belly. Voldemort had shattered it, pressing one hand there, holding your head down with another. And as He asks you, today, for your son--you feel it shatter again.
* * *
It doesn't occur to you to say no. You don't say no to the Dark Lord--you certainly don't ask why, and you bastard, and wasn't it enough before. You knew it, when you made this deal, when you became his servant. You knew very well the price of servitude.Instead you incline your head, and the pale rain of your hair falls to shield your face. 'Bring my son,' you say to the house elf. Your voice is calm. The rings on your fingers gleam; the Dark Lord smiles.
* * *
There is blood on your hands, and you realize that you've smashed the glass you held. Its fallen pieces glitter in the red carpet, uneven tears.
You don't wonder what Voldemort does to your son, the seven long days he is gone. You don't, because you can't, because you already know. On the third night you go to his bedroom--empty, satin sheets turned down, little shoes stacked neatly, in row after row of glistening pastel shades--delicate, arranged by colour and shade in his closet. You don't pick any of those shoes up; you don't kiss them.
That voice of his--frightened, but trying to hide it--how he looked askance at you as the cloaked figures led him out. But he had gone, complacent, knowing somehow that his father was allowing it, whatever it was, and it couldn't be bad. Draco was led out--pale and tender-boned as a lamb, smooth feet in those little slippers, chalice still untouched in his soul.
But the broken hollow in your stomach breathes cold, like an empty womb. Narcissa is, thankfully, dead--but the phantom womb aches within you. Here you are in your son's bedroom, a man-mother--drunk and half-naked in the middle of the night, staring at your son's shoes.
* * *
The seventh day. You don't floo to the headquarters--you don't ask when they will bring back your son. Instead you wait, impeccably dressed in folds of dark velvet, still as a statue in the foyer.
They will come. They will come.
You almost hope they won't bring Draco with them.
* * *
They bring Draco back, in the same little suit, blonde hair brushed perfectly, and they ask you for the best of your wine.
You don't take Draco in your arms immediately--you say nothing to him, in fact. You take your guests to the third dining room, the one edged with gilt and lined with smiling satyrs.
Your son's small head glistens like a gold coin in the light from the window. He is silent, and you don't look at him as you discuss the wine. When you turn your back, a house elf takes him up to his room.
* * *
For three weeks afterwards Draco refuses to speak.
* * *Draco doesn't cry, no. No Malfoy has ever cried. But he laughs--sudden, strange fits of laughter, that come and go for no reason, and leave his small face empty as a mask.
He doesn't flinch away when you hold him, so you clutch at him, like a doll, like the porcelain doll he has become, cold white face and dainty, slippered feet--you clutch at him day and night, murmuring to him, singing to him, saying things that make little sense even to you.
It is only after midnight, approximately two months before Hogwarts opens, that you discover the taste of salt in your mouth. Startled, you raise your forehead from Draco's shoulder. There is a wet warmth darkening his collar, a spreading stain that looks like rot.
After a long moment, you realize that they are yours.
* * *
Things recover. They always do. You're not so foolish as to think they're cured, of course, because this is one wound that will not cure, ever, no matter how many years pass. It used to be only yours, once. Now your son shares it too.
It is only just that one Malfoy should follow another, in all things.
You say this to him, but with a different meaning, with a forced pride, as you lead him down Diagon Alley. Hogwarts opens in six days, and Draco needs his school supplies. He has begun speaking again, much to your relief--although he still lapses into those empty silences. He vacillates between being excessively talkative and vacantly silent, but you know that for him there is little difference between the two--that, for now, neither speaking nor dying holds much meaning for him.
Still, you show him his books, you buy him his owl, you venture into Honeydukes to buy him glittering things, living things, that look beautiful before you eat them. But Draco does not smile--not until you buy him a chocolate butterfly, veined with gold leaf, which he takes and cradles in his hand.
He is in his emptily talkative mood again, as he is sent into the dressing room at Madam Malkin's.
* * *
Draco still has the golden butterfly when the two of you floo back home--has plucked it out of his robes, and is studying it intently.
'Shouldn't you eat it before it melts, Draco?'
He shrinks back as if slapped.
You are nonplussed--alarmed. Your tone was kind, and you can't see why--
Draco doesn't eat it. Instead his fingers trace its veins, tenderly, and it flutters in his palm. The Snitch, you think incongruously, but Draco has pressed his face against the window, and he isn't looking at you. His eyes are grey glass, glazed marbles--and it occurs to you, suddenly, how easy they would be to smash.
Night falls. For the first time since Narcissa's death, you don't have dinner with him.
* * *
Things recover. They always do. You're not so foolish as to think they're cured, of course...
* * *
When Draco is gone during the year, you are sometimes struck by a strange panic, and find yourself hurrying up to his room, staring at the empty bed, staring at his shoes. The pastel ones are still there. Draco wouldn't take the most delicate shoes to Hogwarts with him, the ones that fit his feet like petals--no, of course not. He's a man now, growing up to be a man. The pain in your belly grows as you see one velvet slipper--coloured in the delicate pink of a rose, and shaped to fit Draco's feet perfectly. To curve around the little round stones of his ankles, hug the warm heel underneath. You miss Draco's feet so. And this time you do pick up the shoe, and kiss it--but in your mind, sudden as lightning, flashes the image of your tongue running along Draco's mouth.
* * *
It is Draco's second year. He is gone from home again. Only a few days until Christmas, only a few days until he returns.
You meet with Voldemort today, and Pettigrew, who insists that Black is tracking him down courtesy of a Wizard's Bond. The Dark Lord finds his stuttering amusing--the rat-like twitch of his nose, the nervous tic in his eye. This corpulent freak repulses you, makes you want to crush him, to see the juice of blood or urine--to feel that same satisfaction one feels at the crushing of a bug.
'... Hogsmeade weekend, of course, my L-Lord, it should be relatively easy to follow young Weasley--he has a pet ra...'
Hogsmeade. You flinch at the sudden memory of Draco, in Honeydukes, cradling a chocolate butterfly. You glance up at Pettigrew, but feel only sickness where the urge to crush was before. Are we that different? Draco?
There are no answers. But Draco will be home soon.
* * *
It is Draco's third year. He comes home smirking, as usual--sneering farewell at his two hulking imbeciles before strolling over to you, calm and assured, every inch a Malfoy. His luggage levitates easily behind him, but you can't see his wand anywhere. He doesn't need a wand for these things. Clever boy. No doubt that he is the Malfoy heir.
You wait for him on the platform, hands clenched in your pockets, smile fixed on your face. He looks happy. He looks... open, somehow, bold, the way he hasn't for years. You wonder if someone's made him feel this way--wonder what could have given him this new assurance. He doesn't look weak anymore. He doesn't look like Daddy's little boy. And yes, when he speaks, his voice is low, is excited, is already deeper than it was at the beginning of the year.
'... Father, you won't believe those Hufflepuff gi--'
But you aren't listening to him. You're looking at him, the glow on his face, that heats it like a flame in a ceramic lamp--pale skin suffused with warmth, round features sharpened to a new maturity. His body is lithe, young, slender, as yet unformed--but his gait is smooth, his gestures are articulate, and his voice is loud.
Someone has given this to him. Someone who is not you. For the first time in decades you feel a slow, vicious burning in your chest. Distantly, you recognize it as jealousy.
* * *
It is Draco's fourth year. He's home for Christmas, and he's his own sweet, confident self. You've almost forgotten to hate it, this confidence--this appearance that all things are mended, that he wasn't broken just the way you were. And if you're hungry these days, for something--if you feel a flush of heat when Draco sits close to you, or if you notice the shift of muscles underneath his shirt, the sweat glistening on his slender neck after a bout of fencing, you make no comment.
A few days later, before the usual end-of-year feast, you receive a letter.
Voldemort is coming.
And you know, with a strange certainty, that he will ask for Draco again.
* * *
The feast is a success--not that it is ever less than one, but it is more so this year than most. Voldemort himself has favored you with his presence this time, and you feel the familiar poison of envy in every glance directed your way. You sweep through the crowd, the dark blue of your robe swirling, and kneel only once you reach your Lord.
You are aware of Draco standing against the hall's door, lovely in the silk shirt and trousers that cling to his form.
'Lucius.' The sibilant voice is both affectionate and commanding, and you don't raise your eyes until a sharp-nailed hand curves under your chin.
'My Lord.' That familiar scent of rotting skin. Those red, red eyes that glitter down at you.
'My Lucius.' You don't flinch as the cold palm strokes your face, parchment-thin and hateful. It moves again to smooth through your hair gently, and comes to a rest on your shoulder. Like a friend's hand.
No. Like a lover's.
The silence in the room is palpable--but you fancy you can hear, pressed against the vast hall's door, the frantic heartbeat of a pale-eyed, trembling, solitary boy.
You wonder if finally, although you've never talked of it... You wonder if Draco finally understands.
* * *
Nine days. Nine days this time. You have taken to sitting in Draco's room, stroking the warm, skin-like satin of his bed. You only venture into your own room at dawn, to stare uncomprehendingly at the Ministry reports you have to sign. And then you only end up drinking. Drinking and drinking until you can't think at all, until you can't feel, until you're no longer hoping that they won't bring Draco back.
* * *
The Dark Lord calls for Draco often after that. Whenever Draco comes home to visit--sometimes even at school, so that you have to give Dumbledore some feeble excuse, and come to take Draco home.
You don't like the way Albus looks at you. You've always hated this man--hated that veneer of manufactured kindliness, because this man did nothing to save you. Nothing all those years ago, when you needed it. Nothing when...
Draco doesn't even bother to ask you anymore. Doesn't say anything when you stand, hand clasped possessively on his shoulder, in front of the cluttered desk in Dumbledore's office. Albus' eyes move back and forth between you, and there is a peculiar sharpness in those blue eyes that makes your palms sweat.
Draco's shoulder is damp again --rot, tears, skin-- when you pull your hand away. You grip his elbow instead. He makes no protest--face pale, turned away from yours, features translucent in the firelight. An old hunger crowds your stomach.
'We'll bid you goodbye, then, Albus.'
The firelight flickers--you take one step towards the door.
Draco's elbow feels small, birdlike under your hand. You realize you're holding it too tight.
You turn around slowly. 'Yes?'
Dumbledore's eyes are cold--so cold it shocks you. If they were red you might almost find them familiar. 'Do you know what pensieves are, Mister Malfoy?'
There is a beat of silence.
--And suddenly Draco is trying to struggle away from you, trying to rip his arm out of your grasp. It appears he's sobbing something. You try to hear him over the thunder of your pulse, but all you can catch is words like sorry and Daddy and I didn't mean to.
There is a peculiar certainty in you now, and you release him. Draco scuttles away from you, behind the Headmaster's chair. It is ironic that your own son should take shelter behind Albus Dumbledore, when the same man had failed to protect you so many years ago.
'I believe I do.'
Draco is still sobbing, forehead pressed into the back of Dumbledore's chair, and he's not looking at you.
The Headmaster looks uncannily calm.
'Then you will know, Mister Malfoy, that they reveal even those thoughts and memories one tries to hide. Especially those ones.'
You sit down in one of the old, worn chairs, because you know this will take time.
Dumbledore strokes his beard as he studies you. 'There was an accident in Draco's Divinations class last week. The students were meant to be scrying with their pensieves--nothing advanced, nothing technical. However, it appears that someone tried to play a prank on Draco, and sabotaged his pensieve to function at its full capacity. Undoubtedly to reveal some of Draco's more embarrassing thoughts.'
You're shaking now--you know it--but your posture is impeccable, and you manage keep your face calm. 'What of it?'
'Professor Trelawney was supervising the scryings. Needless to say, she had to extract Draco from his class almost immediately. Do you know why she had to remove Draco, Mister Malfoy?'
The cane you grasp is slick with sweat. 'I'm afraid I don't.'
The Headmaster's mouth curls in what you would, if you were able to believe it, call a snarl. 'Draco's pensieve revealed some interesting thoughts about his home-life, Mister Malfoy. Images no child his age usually imagines--is capable of imagining. While I was tempted to summon you immediately, it became clear to me that you would be... likely to escape if you were informed beforehand.' Draco has stopped sobbing behind the chair, as though he's listening. 'I decided that it would be wisest to wait until you came to visit Draco, as you have been...', and here he does snarl, '... so wont to do.'
You're out of your chair in the blink of an eye, but the moment you whip the door open a wand is trained at your forehead, and an Auror's badge glints before your eyes.
'Surrender your wand, Malfoy,' a voice growls, and you see that there is a whole group of Aurors crowding the entrance to Dumbledore's office--enough that you can't see the floor.
Slowly, slowly, you back into the office again, the Auror still following you with his wand pointed between your eyes. He pushes you back into the chair after pulling out your wand.
You turn to look at Draco, and he's collapsed on the floor, arms wrapped around himself, rocking and crying as if with a wound. One of the Aurors steps forward and picks him up gently, almost tenderly, before leaving the room.
The velvet of your cloak feels coarse in your fists. Draco. Gone. You suddenly feel ridiculously alone here, with Dumbledore's cold eyes on you and the expressions of hatred and horror on these faces that should give you some measure of vengeful satisfaction, but really, they don't.
Another Auror steps forward with a scroll as thick as your wrist. Glancing from you to the Headmaster and back, he unrolls it carefully and begins to read the formal charges. 'Lucius Aurelius Malfoy, owner of the Malfoy estate and descendant of that line, is hereby charged with the use of unauthorized Dark Arts, treason in alliance with the Dark Lord and...', here the Auror's face curls in disgust, '... the repeated sexual abuse, over a period of four years, of his only son and ward, Draco Malfoy, heir to the Malfoy estate and most recent of that line.'
It takes you a moment to process what the last clause says--and you surge to your feet in a disbelieving rage. 'WHAT!? I nev--' You manage to shout, before the Auror in front you smirks, a look of hatred so fierce it almost stops you, and spits: 'Stupefy.'
* * *
Your fine clothes are stained with dirt. No one believes you. It hardly matters to you what else they think, about your work and Voldemort--they can't even say His name--but you can't... you can't... have them thinking that about Draco. No. No. You didn't... You never...
You want to see Draco, to ask your son why everyone thinks you've hurt him, but the Auror outside your cell laughs incredulously at your request. You're slowly going mad at not seeing Draco here. The food is sickening--not the delicate crepes and salads you're used to, and your body stinks, and your tongue thirsts for the taste of clean water. Sometimes, in the cold of the cell, you think you hear a child's wild laughter. Images flash through your mind--Draco at the train station, Draco's clean skin after a bath, Draco's little ankles, the pale rose of Draco's shoes.
The trial's in a few days. You know they'll allow you to have a bath before then, and the thought consoles you. You try to think of arguments, of things to say that'll get you out of this, or will at least lessen your sentence. Voldemort always considered you the most intelligent of his servants, after all. You try to think of ways to make them believe you about Draco--you even consider taking Veritaserum to prove to them that you didn't lay a hand on him. You try, you try, but all you can think of is that Draco will be there.
* * *
Draco isn't there. The shock of this hits you like a fist, in your stomach, and you nearly bend over with the pain of it. Instead you're pushed into the stand before a long table, in this dingy hall where your trial begins.
There is no one here but the handful of figures at the table. Your jurors. A closed case, you think silently. No wonder. The Ministry doesn't want this heard.
There is a spare lamp, just one, and it shines on your face. You can't see the faces that look at you. There is a dank smell here, and you realize that even this trial is being held underground.
Am I such a rat to them? Or do they think me so dangerous?
A woman among the jurors starts talking, but at the same moment you notice your wand at the edge of their table--two broken pieces aligned carefully, exactly parallel with each other. The lamplight shines off their dark, gleaming wood.
* * *
[Cornelius Fudge shudders as he reads over the trial transcripts again. He can scarcely believe what he reads--the sickness of it, the perversity of it. He had hoped the trial would be simple--and, in a sense, it was. Voldemort's presence is still easily denied, because the only charge the Ministry allows to be publicly known is that of child abuse. It's still enough to keep Malfoy jailed, and enough to keep people from questioning further reasons for his imprisonment. Fudge remembers the vicious argument he'd had with Dumbledore about this ( Draco's just a child you fool you can't make this public it'll break him you can't ) but of course, that hardly matters now. What's done is done.
Merlin, what a freak Lucius Malfoy was. Fudge feels oddly uncomfortable, and not just afraid, as he reads the reports.
The pensieve transcripts are the worst. Fudge plays them over and over, in his cool office--with the potted plants stirring gently in a magical breeze. Fudge doesn't ask himself why he is so fascinated, why he can't stop watching them, why, days after Malfoy's trial, he still sits here and strokes his leather armchair, watching the pensieve transcripts play on the opposite wall. The pensieve, with its images of a child's smooth skin. Of an adult's larger hands taking off the most delicious little sandals, a man's tongue licking those fragile ankles, a small cock jumping under the caress of a pale, warm palm.
Fudge watches these images hungrily, every day after lunch--that triangle of light appearing on the child's floor, and a long silhouette walking in, on shoes that slide on the carpet like snakes--gleaming black and of the finest leather. Fudge almost imagines the spicy, grassy scent of this man, as he leans over his son's satin bed--a presence made larger and more looming from a child's point of view. It's all so easy, to pretend that it's scholarly interest. To pretend that the pale glitter of the man's eyes doesn't excite him, as the child's soft pajamas are smoothed off by hot hands, and a voice that begins deep and controlled slowly deteriorates to a panting hunger. To pretend that his own cock doesn't harden as the rhythm builds on the wall, as the child cries out and warmth flushes his face, as the father holds him close and comforts him afterwards, for hours, perhaps for days, murmuring ridiculously maudlin words. It's pathetically obvious how the child's mind dwells on these moments of comfort, so that they appear to extend for much longer than they possibly could have--playing over and over, the father's kind, pleased words and those repetitive motions cradling the child's small back.
But Fudge stops the transcripts after this, every time, because he doesn't want to see the rest of the trial. The jurors had been split between granting Malfoy treatment in St Mungo's and sending him to Azkaban--but Fudge had, ever so softly, tipped the vote in favor of Azkaban. If anyone knew that Cornelius had muddled the vote numbers with a distortion charm, they stayed silent. Fudge feels no guilt about this, no matter how sick Malfoy was. It wouldn't do for the staff of St Mungo's to hear Malfoy screaming about Voldemort, as he did in the trial--screaming that it was Voldemort's hands that had sullied his boy's body, not his--that Voldemort did this to all the children, and, years ago, even to him--
Malfoy's own pensieve transcripts were forced from him during the trial. They have been deleted now, of course. These were the transcripts that Cornelius had foolishly allowed the jurors to see, that caused them to think St Mungo's might be a better option than Azkaban. Malfoy's transcripts from his own childhood seemed an almost unholy reflection of his son's, except the man who stroked him and held him and comforted him had deep red eyes, and skin not smooth but roughened with scales. There were odd, almost washed-out memories of Malfoy's own father whispering something, closing the door; as the tall, red-eyed figure breathed heavily, smiling down at the boy's bed.
Malfoy seemed to be unable to comprehend his son's transcripts when he was shown them--refused to accept that it was he who had cloistered his son away for days at a time, before Draco's first year at school, and then almost regularly throughout his fourth year. He gesticulated wildly, claimed to have seen dark cloaked figures come and take Draco away. He didn't even seem concerned with the other charges about Dark magic, when they were brought against him--only kept repeating, with a pathetic sort of rage, I didn't do this I didn't do this to my son, I didn't -- and his pensieve seemed to be unable to focus clearly on his own abuse of Draco, almost as if Malfoy's mind had simply stopped functioning for those periods of time. The man's indignant screams still haunt Fudge's mind--Malfoy saying that he'd drunk himself into a stupor over every time Voldemort abused Draco--that he'd waited, waited and waited and waited for days, each time his son was taken from him.
It is this refusal which frightens Fudge the most, for some inexplicable reason. He tries to forget it, forget the insanity in that voice, the desperate grief, as he refiles the transcripts and pushes them back into his safe. He tries to forget the curve of a small, pale thigh and a belly trembling in terror--he tries to forget blonde curls at the nape of a delicate neck, darkened with sweat and tears.
But sometimes, when Fudge returns home to his happy family and his wife's warm, generous breasts, the sound of that trembling voice pleading 'Daddy? Daddy?' still scratches at his ears. Fudge smiles and helps his own son with homework, but refuses to take him out for a swim.]