Title: Happily Forsworn
Pairing: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Rating: Mature, no warnings
Summary: Ten years have passed since Draco Malfoy took the Dark Mark. As he and several other Death Eaters start to feel it, they realise that for some unknown reason, it has awoken.
Notes: For alafaye, because I failed to fulfill her prompt. This was the closest I could get- which isn't really close at all. It's been a while since I wrote H/D. Apologies, hope this makes up for it - it'll be longer than a oneshot at least :)
Notes/warnings on story: It has been really long since I wrote HP, so my style might have changed. Be warned for a child character, shameless sympathy for Draco, and little regard for canon.
Extra note: The title is in reference to Shakespeare's sonnet # 66, which includes the line "And purest faith unhappily forsworn." Take what interpretations you will from it.
Chapter One: The Reawakening
'Another one?' Hermione asked as one of her medi-witches helped an elderly wizard down the corridor to one of the empty rooms. She frowned at the man, whose gaze was fixed on the floor, left hand clutching his right arm in pain. 'What's your name?' It frightened her that there were so few she recognised. Even after the round-up was declared finished, there were still so many unaccounted for.
'Gansum, Ma'am, Aurelius,' the man mumbled. He didn't seem the right sort, but then fewer and fewer did these days. People moved on, or served their time, or had not really been guilty in the first place.
'Give him a pain potion and take a sample,' she told the medi-witch as she wrote down his name on her scroll. She let go of it, letting it roll up magically and stuff itself into her robe pocket. She put her pen - she had stopped using quills during her first year at St. Mungo's - into her breast pocket.
She walked down the hallway, noting with distress how full the ward was getting. Ten years had passed since the height of Voldemort's power. About a year ago the first case had been identified in Azkaban. The guards had been reluctant to release their prisoner, but the nature of the affliction was of great concern.
The Dark Mark was painful. It had begun with a dull throbbing, and grown steadily in intensity until it was like Voldemort was holding down on a button connected to the Mark. They had been at a total loss since it was clear the Mark was not calling the follower anywhere. Voldemort was dead. Harry had never been in doubt of that, thank Merlin. But no one else was using it either. It was as if it had come alive on its own.
One month later and the man had died. He had been in great pain, then the Mark had glowed green, and he had simply died.
By that time, three more prisoners had started feeling the same. They all lived one month.
The Ministry wasn't too concerned, as usual, with Death Eater prisoners. But Hermione had been terrified of the implications. She knew, as all those who had been in the thick of things at the time, that not all of Voldemort's followers deserved punishment of any sort. The Ministry itself had granted more pardons than sentences, if they cared to remember. Thankfully, Harry had pressured them into letting him use Auror resources to track down those pardoned, and find those with painful Marks.
The most bizarre thing about it was that the affliction seemed to pick them out at random. Hermione was working day and night with samples from all of them, but Voldemort's magic had never been easy to unravel, even for someone like Dumbledore. She had specialized in healing magic after the war, as a way to deal with all the death. Most Dark Arts experts she tried to consult with were less that interested in researching a cure for dying Death Eaters. Even in the free society they had fought to create, prejudices lingered. Sometimes it made her so angry she wanted to scream and curse.
She stopped by the door to a young man, no older than herself. The child of a Death Eater, forced to take the Mark when barely a man. A Durmstang student, if she remembered correctly. Acquitted after the war with no objections, yet no one seem to want to help him now.
She spun to address the medi-witch, who was holding the hand of a small boy. He was a cute little thing, with platinum blond hair combed back neatly. He wore muggle clothes, brown corduroy trousers, matching shiny shoes, a button-down blue shirt and a yellow raincoat. He was barely ten, and seemed shy yet determined.
'Who is this?' she asked.
'He says his name is,' the medi-witch's voice dropped, 'Scorpius Malfoy.' Hermione's eyes widened to saucers as she looked down at the boy. He ducked his head.
Draco Malfoy had a son? A son who was almost ten? It didn't make sense. Who, not to mention when? Those questions were pushed to the side when Hermione realised what his presence meant.
The medi-witch nodded. She looked down at the boy and prompted him to tell Hermione what he had told her. He took a deep breath and looked up.
'Please, Ma'am, my father is sick. I know it's magical cause he keeps touching his mark.' The boy pointed at his right forearm. 'He won't come to the hospital. He doesn't know I'm here.'
'How did you get here?' Hermione asked. A boy so young should not be floo'ing alone- then again, she didn't think Malfoy had a floo these days.
'The train, Ma'am,' the boy said. 'And the bus, then I walked the last bit.'
'The bus… the muggle bus?' The boy nodded.
Hermione had not felt so floored in a long time. She knew, of course, that Malfoy had not been acquitted after the war. This was not due to any action on his part, but his father's crimes. It was simply the Ministry unwilling to let a Malfoy go. Harry had been livid when they had announced Draco would be among those chosen for the alternative punishment. A ban on magic for the rest of his life. His wand was broken, and he was forbidden to use magical artefacts or even transportation. At least they hadn't taken his fortune, Hermione had thought at the time. He could live his life out comfortably at Malfoy Manor. But he had surprised them by levelling the whole place to rubble and selling the land. No one had seen or heard from him in over eight years.
Hermione kneeled in front of the boy so she could look at him levelly.
'How long has he been in pain, do you know?'
'At least a week,' the boy said. 'He takes, um, pain medicine, but it doesn't work for very long.'
'Do you know your address?'
'Of course,' the boy seemed offended that he didn't know, and that tiny moment when he raised his chin slightly proved without a doubt he was Draco's son. Hermione smiled.
'Good. My name is Hermione Weasley. I went to school with your father.'
'You went to Hogwarts?' the boy's eyes widened.
'Yes, indeed. I need you to take my hand. We're going to get a friend of mine, and then we are going to help you father, all right?' He took the proffered hand without hesitation, and Hermione gave the medi-witch a few instructions for the ward. They went upstairs to the lobby and floo'd directly to the Ministry Atrium.
Visitors weren't suppose to be able to just waltz into the Auror Department, but Hermione was friend and wife to the two top Aurors, and regularly had tea with the Head Auror. They waved her past the moment she said it was an emergency.
Harry was with several Aurors, including Ron, in his office. Both of them jumped up when Hermione knocked and entered without waiting.
'Hermione, what-' Ron spotted the boy. 'Who's this?'
'I'll introduce you, once we're alone.' Harry quickly cleared the room. Through all this, Scorpius simply observed his surroundings, seeming quite awed for the child of a wizard. The realisation made Hermione sad.
'This is Scorpius Malfoy,' she introduced, gratified that the two were just as shocked, but also not suspicious. They both greeted the boy the same as they would any ten-year-old.
'Oh, Merlin,' Harry made the connection first. 'Is Draco?'
'Yes, I think we should all go see him. According to Scorpius, he might not want to come to St. Mungo's.'
'Hardly surprising, considering,' Ron muttered.
Scorpius told them the address, and they all quickly headed for the Atrium.
'Are we going to Apparate?' Scorpius asked.
'Yes, have you done that before?' Hermione asked.
'No, best to take a breath in, right?'
'That's right.' Scorpius beamed and took a big breath. Hermione popped them away.
They arrived on a very charming little street somewhere not far from Canterbury. The lane was flanked by well-trimmed hedges and despite the rain, it was very pretty. The houses were semi-detached and made of brick. Two stories and fairly narrow. It was very muggle middle-class, though Hermione would deny thinking like that.
'It's this one,' Scorpius said, leading Hermione by the hand. They went through a small gate and up to a blue door. Scorpius took out a key and unlooked it. Inside was a small entrance hall with stone tiles and a shoe rack. Scorpius immediately hung up his wet raincoat in what looked like his "spot", putting away his shoes underneath in a small cubby. He gestured quickly with his hand for them to follow as he hurried silently down the hallway.
'Father?' he called softly. They passed the kitchen. It was small, but well-maintained. Hermione almost did a double take at the sight of all the muggle appliances, but reminded herself of why they were here.
They reached what had to be the sitting room. There was a door with glass panels, set ajar. Scorpius stuck his head in. 'Father?' He went inside.
Hermione followed first.
The sitting room was almost disturbingly normal. A big flatscreen television stood against the wall, beside a large cabinet full of frozen pictures and knick-knacks. The far wall was a large window with a door out to the back garden. There was a desk in one corner with a computer of all things. In the middle of the room, facing the television, was squashed sideways a large comfortable sofa. On it lay Draco Malfoy, his right arm hanging limply to his side. A small side-table held several bottles. Potion bottles. Medicine indeed. Hermione was relieved to be honest. An utterly muggle-dwelling Draco Malfoy would have been too much.
'Father?' the boy was nudging his Dad- Draco Malfoy was a dad, Hermione just fully realised. They couldn't see anything except his arm from where they stood behind the sofa. Scorpius' face was becoming increasingly sad and guilty.
'Scorpius?' Draco's voice sounded so old! Well, no older than theirs, she was certain, but there was just something strange hearing that usually high-pitched whine sound so manly, almost.
'I'm really sorry, Father,' Scorpius said. 'But I had to bring someone. You're in so much pain, and I- I'm so afraid. I went to St. Mungo's. I found someone to help you. Please, I'm sorry.' He was close to tears, and Hermione almost spoke up to tell him it was all right, and if Draco said anything to the contrary she would punch him again.
'Shhh, it's fine, come on, crook,' Draco mumbled. Scorpius immediately climbed up on the sofa and lay down on Draco's left side, squishing himself in between his father and the back of the sofa. Hermione slowly rounded the side of it. Scorpius was laying with his head on Draco's chest, and Draco stroked his hair with his good arm. 'It's OK,' he whispered. 'Just don't run off into the city ever, ever, ever again, all right?'
'I promise,' Scorpius said.
Draco looked horrible. He was pale and shaking ever-so-slightly, probably due to too many pain potions. Hermione tried to see past the sickness and saw a man grown into himself. He was almost broad, but still slim enough to be closer to Harry than Ron in shape. He wore dark slacks and a white button down, the sleeve rolled up to reveal an angry Dark Mark.
'Malfoy,' she said as softly as she could. He slowly raised his gaze to them. 'Scorpius was concerned about you.'
'And you came?'
'Of course we did,' she told him a bit sternly. 'Malfoy, how long has this been going on?'
'A week,' he said. 'It was just a tingling at first, but now it's like a headache that never goes away. The worst headache I've ever had.'
'You need to come with us to St. Mungo's.'
'No, thank you.'
'You aren't the only one affected.' This was a surprise to Draco, who frowned down at his Mark.
'And you don't know how to fix it?'
'Then I reiterate, no thank you.'
'Malfoy, we'll drag you there if we have to,' Ron said.
'Ronald, honestly,' Hermione said.
'He's right, we will,' Harry said quietly.
'Look, your son is worried. I'm sure he would feel much better if you were in our care. You're going to run out of pain potions eventually, and you aren't in a fit state to brew more.'
'Going to turn me in, Granger?'
'It's Weasley these days, and of course not. Now stop being silly. Do you need help getting up?'
'No,' Draco sighed. 'Just give me a moment. Scorpius, would you run upstairs and fetch… some things.'
'I'll pack a bag,' Scorpius said, gently climbing over his father and hurrying upstairs at a speed known only to ten-year-olds.
'Tell me honestly,' Draco said. 'The others, how long?'
'A month,' Hermione admitted.
'We're doing everything we can,' she lied.
'I have to ask,' Ron said suddenly. 'Who is his mother?'
'None of your business, Weasley,' Draco grumbled, but with only half of the usual strength.
'No, it's not,' Harry said. 'But we do need to know if the worst happens.'
'I'm afraid it won't help. She's gone, and she made it clear she never wanted to see or hear from either of us again.'
'How could a mother do that?' Hermione asked.
'A mother, perhaps not, a teenager? I don't blame her. She left him on my doorstep when he was two, with a note that said she was off to see the world and never coming back.'
'Who?' Ron asked.
Scorpius came running back with a small overnight bag with some sort of sports logo on it.
'I should call Mr. Keller and tell him we'll be gone.'
'Give me the phone,' Draco said.
'No, I'll do it.' Scorpius went to the television table and picked up a cordless phone. He quickly dialled the number.
'Who is Mr. Keller?' Hermione asked.
'Neighbour,' Draco said. 'He feeds the cat whenever we're gone. Gets the mail.'
'Oh.' The level of surreality just kept rising. Draco made it seem like they went away, like a family, on a holiday or something. She was quickly realising she was full of preconceptions about Draco's life after the war. She had been picturing bitterness and illegal wands, but instead he had, in a word, adapted. Draco Malfoy had adapted to the muggle world.
'Hello, Mr. Keller, it's Scorpius. Father needs to go to the hospital for a bit. No, there's a- a nurse here to help us. It's nothing serious. Yes, could you? Thank you, Mr. Keller, I'll call as soon as we're back.' Scorpius hung up and smiled at them. 'We can go now.'
Draco sat up at that and slowly rose to his feet. He was weak, and Hermione could tell Ron wanted to take him by the arm.
'End of the garden is unwarded. Best to leave unseen.'
They slowly escorted Draco to the edge of a well trimmed garden, complete with tiny duck pond. Scorpius took Hermione's hand again, the bag in the other, and Harry took a gentle hold of Draco's left arm. 'Are you ready?'
'You don't-' Ron coughed. 'You don't have a wand on you? Because someone at-'
'No, I haven't used a wand since they broke mine.' Finally, a little bitterness, but not nearly as much as Hermione had expected. The comment was far more subdued than that. Scorpius did not seem at all surprised by the comment.
They apparated to St. Mungo's. Hermione and Scorpius led the way. A medi-witch greeted them in the Death Eater ward.
'Is that him?' she asked.
'Yes, register him in room 3421,' she said. 'This way,' she told the others.
Scorpius hovered uncertainly while they helped Draco into bed. He refused to take off his clothes, so that would have to wait. Once settled, Scorpius set the bag down and sat on the chair provided for visitors. He looked more worried than ever before. Seeing his father in an actual hospital bed must have made it all the more serious.
'Crook,' Draco said suddenly, and Scorpius sat up straight. 'Left side,' Draco said, and Scorpius hurried round the bed and climbed up, laying down with Draco's left arm around him, head on his father's chest.
'Oh, crook of the arm,' Ron said. 'Just got it.'
'I will be back to do some tests,' Hermione said. 'Do you need any pain potion right now?'
'No, it's tolerable at the moment.'
'Ring the bell if you need anything.'
'Thank you.' The last was mumbled as the three of them left the room. Hermione glanced back as she closed the door. Father and son were almost asleep already.
She sighed as she turned to her husband and friend. Both of them were sporting sad and confused looks.
'I thought when they sentenced him to no magic, he would either wither away or stupidly defy them until they threw him in Azkaban,' Harry admitted.
'I thought he'd just move to France or something,' Ron said.
'I think we always underestimated his strength,' Hermione said.
'I can't believe Malfoy's a dad,' Ron said. 'And a good one.'
'Just do the exact opposite of Lucius Malfoy,' Harry muttered, 'a recipe for success, that.'
'Let's put all that aside,' Hermione said. 'Focus on the task at hand.'
'Do you have the list of patients?' Harry asked.
'Yes, I have a copy of all, dead and alive,' she fished out the list and gave it to him. Harry scanned the names, his frown growing steadily more grim.
'Karkaroff isn't on here,' he said.
'No, he's still in Azkaban, but he is dying of old age and poor conditions,' the last bit was said reproachfully, though the Ministry would never bother to hear it.
'And no Nott senior,' he said. 'Or Goyle… or Crabbe.'
'None of the father's of Death Eaters?' Ron asked.
'No, there are others here with sons. Both Kopytoffs, for example.'
'Well, it's no discerner of age,' Ron said.
'Right, Shanche was eighty when he died,' Hermione said.
'But when did he join?' Harry asked. 'He wasn't with the original Death Eaters. He joined after Voldemort's second coming. I remember his trial.'
'You think it's affecting everyone who took the Mark the second time?'
'It would explain why Lucius Malfoy isn't on this list.'
'It's the only thing that connects them all.'
'Are you sure?' Ron asked, scrutinizing the list in Harry's hand. 'What about Jasinski?'
'I don't remember.'
'But it's worth checking,' Hermione said, feeling like they might finally be getting somewhere. 'You take the list and double check every name. I'll start on Draco's tests.' They all went into their new tasks with slightly renewed optimism.