I have this unexplainable love for vignettes. I don't know why, except that they're like poetry. There's so much meaning in them, but not many words. You can say so much in so little. So anyway, following up my Snape vignette and my Harry/Riddle vignette, here comes, you guessed it, Draco's. Enjoy.
His Father's Son
It wasn't true.
No! Shut up!
He didn't want to hear it.
Draco Malfoy slammed the copy of the Daily Prophet down on the table. His fingers clenched, tearing huge gashes into the thin paper. Gashes like the ones that ran down his arm, his left arm. Like the ones he had striping his back.
It wasn't true.
He pulled up the arm of his robe again, staring at the pale skin beneath it as if though he could somehow change it solely through the power of his gaze. It never worked. The black face jeered up at him, the twisted serpent emerging from its gaping mouth, jaws wide, fangs sharp. Like the fangs of his father, only less subtle.
It had been three days since the Mark had been emblazoned on his arm. The process had sent jolts of fire shooting up his arm as the dark ink sank into his skin, became part of him. But the pain of his arm was nothing compared to the pain in his heart.
His father had been no help. Affection makes a child weak, he said. Love makes him dependant. His mother was no different. She was too busy looking after herself, her next bedmate, to worry about her only child. He could expect no assistance from either of them. His father would laugh in his face, if he was lucky. If he wasn't, more stripes would join the ones already on his back as a lesson in learning where he belonged. The price for disobedience was a harsh one.
His mother hadn't even been there when he was Marked. Draco knew, although he would die before he let the information slip, that his mother had been in the house of a decadent wizard somewhere in Scotland for the night. The man would soon learn the price of toying with Malfoy goods, Lucius would see to that.
Draco wondered if it ever bothered his mother that all her lovers, her bedmates, her toys, were one time only, destroyed after a single night of pleasure. Probably not. Even if it did, she would never admit to it. To do so would be a sign of weakness, of defeat. She could not afford to lost face like that, even as his father could not lose face by letting a single one of her partners live through the night.
It was all about saving face. Always.
Draco had been weaned away from his mother's milk and reared on pride. He carried his head high, his back straight, though the pain of his raw skin against his robe was almost too much at times. The Malfoy line was dependant on it, for what would they have, if not for that? Draco had nothing but his name to rely on. But what good was a name that was whispered in back alleys and spat on in secret?
Because it was feared. Because people feared the name, the influence, the power behind it.
Draco knew the meaning of fear.
He had felt the effects himself, first hand. He knew fear's paralysing grip, how it held down the mind, invaded the brain until there was no room left for thinking. He knew the power that fear gave a person over others, how one would do anything under it's influence.
He knew, because he did it himself. He was trapped in his own fear like a rat in a cage of glass. The Mark on his arm proved that. And yet, it wasn't Voldemort that he feared, or the Aurors. It was hard to fear something or someone he had never encountered before. No, his fear was of a very real, very material person. His father.
Everything I've ever done was for you, Father, he thought to himself as he stared bitterly at the lines and scrapes on his arm. I've tried so hard to be everything you wanted me to be. I've done everything you've ever asked, and more. So why is it never enough? Why are you never satisfied, why do you never give me even a word of praise?
Why do you never love me?
It wasn't easy. It never was. And no one ever said it would be. But still, even now, he found it hard to live with the sheer force of hatred that churned inside him. Even now he couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like to have parents like any normal boy.
How ironic, he mused. I hate you for all the wrong reasons, Potter. You think I hate you more than anyone else. Well, you're wrong. I don't hate you, Potter. I envy you. Your parents loved you, once. Loved you enough to die for you. My father would throw me to the wolves and not think twice about it. Even having no parents would be better than this. Your parents are dead? You're more lucky than you know. At least you don't have to live in fear every waking moment. Even at Hogwarts, I was never safe. Not from him.
He had never known love. Not once in his as yet short life had anyone ever taken him aside, told him he had done well, that they were proud of him. Never once had anyone held him in pure, selfless love. No one had ever done something for him without expecting a return.
The closest he had ever come, he supposed, was at school. There, at least, he had the silent, unquestioning obedience of Crabbe and Goyle. At least there he had Snape.
Snape was quite possibly the closest thing Draco had ever had to a true father. The dour Potions Master was harsh and unyielding, never settling for anything less that perfection, but he wasn't Lucius. Distant and often silent, Snape was still a comforting presence to Draco whenever he was around. Although he was unfair, curt, and never one to offer a word of comfort, Snape did give credit where credit was due. And at least Snape had never hit him.
Draco's eyes stung with tears as he gently probed his back with his fingertips. The long welts were still fresh and a few stained his robe with thin lines of red. Dark bruises outlined the welts, making it difficult to walk, lie down, or even slouch. Not two hours ago, his father had taken a cane to his back for letting slip his desire to return to London.
They had been on the run since the Aurors, against all odds, managed to gather enough proof to convict Lucius of Death Eater involvement and murder. There were a few witnesses that Lucius had not gotten to in time, either to bribe or silence in some other way. The Aurors had gotten to all of them. Now, wanted by the Ministry of Magic, Lucius had packed up his family and run to France.
That had been almost three months ago, one week after Draco had been Marked. It had been all over the papers, headlines screamed accusations, rumors flew faster than owls. It was whispered that this was the beginning of the end to the Dark Lord's followers.
"No," he whispered, staring at the Prophet. "No. It's not true. They don't know anything. Damn them."
Malfoy Legacy Continued, the headline read. Lucius on the Run, Son Joins Him in Legions of Evil! Draco Proving Himself the Same as Father!
"Damn them, it's not true! They don't know anything!" Blinded by impotent fury, Draco tore the paper to shreds and threw the scraps away, not caring where they fell. He clamored to his feet, ignoring the sharp pains the movement sent searing into his back. Eyes tightly shut, Draco started to run.
I'm not, I'm not, I'm not, he repeated over and over in his mind. I'm not! I swear it, I will never be like him! Never! I am nothing like him, I never will be, I won't let it happen! Damn them all, it's not true!
He continued to run, uncaring of where his feet took him. His heels pounded into the dirt track, branches tore at his face and eyes, but he did not slow. He ran from a history that he had no choice in, he ran from a name that cursed him the day he was born. He ran from fear, from power, from control. He ran from a life of intrigue and deceit that he just now realized he could never be a part of. Draco Malfoy ran from his father as he would run from the Hounds of Hell.
He screamed the word, denying everything and everyone that he had ever known.
He screamed as if though the sheer force of his voice could cancel out the past seventeen years.
He screamed as if though somewhere, back in the forests of France, his father could hear him.
He screamed until his throat was raw and no sound would come.
Utterly spent, Draco fell to his knees on the cold dirt. Somewhere along the way, he must have Apparated, because he was no longer surrounded by trees and moss. His father was back, several hundred miles away, gone, gone from his life forever.
It took a moment for the realization to set it. He had done it. Draco had made the chance to go, to leave forever and never go back. He could be on his own now, away from his father, his family, his name. He could go back to Hogwarts, find Dumbledore, tell him everything. He could see his father in Azkaban for all eternity. He had the power, now, it was his. He could do anything.
Draco looked at the peaceful farmland around him, calm and quiet in the night's silence. The half moon turned everything silver and blue, creating a world of ice around him. This was it. He never had to go back ever again.
Draco's eyes filled with tears as he took in the beauty of the world around him, the silence, the tranquility. He let them fall freely as he tasted the cool, crisp air. And yet, as he did, his heart ached. It was too much. Every breath was laborious, every sight, every touch brought agony. All this, the night, the peace, the beauty, all of it. It was not for him.
As Draco climbed to his feet and prepared the words in his mind, he knew that all that about freedom, about finally shedding his father's name and legacy, all of it was just an illusion. An idle fantasy that would never become real. Could never become real.
His name was Draco Malfoy, the Dragon of Bad Faith. He mouthed the syllables to himself as he readied the words that would take him back to France, back to the man who took his dignity and his pride, but also taught him everything he knew about power and fear.
As he spoke the words of apparation, Draco took one last look around, knowing that he may never see a night such as this again. But it didn't matter. Regardless of how many times he may run, no matter how far he might get, he would always go back.
After all, he was his father's son.