Author's Note: I started this story about a year and a half ago, and then got sidetracked with Law and Marriage instead. Now that Law and Marriage is over, I've come back to this one. I'm about 40 pages in so far and editing as I go. You may find some similar themes between this and it, though I'll do my best to keep it from being repetitive. This story is set just after the war. It is not set in the same universe as Law and Marriage. I'm trying to make this one only AU from the Epilogue on, but my memories of the seventh book are a little sketchy, so bear with me if I make an error.
Chapter 1: The Sentence
The head of the Wizengammot banged his gavel and called the assembly to order, looking across at the defendant with a scowl. The man had already been declared guilty last week. All that remained was for his sentence to be issued and carried out. He cleared his throat. "For crimes committed against the wizarding and Muggle world while underage, I hereby sentence you to one year without magic. You will surrender your wand immediately following this hearing. Before you leave, members of this court will place a binding on you-suppressing your magic and making it inaccessible to you for the duration of your sentence. Be advised that legally, you are of age now and could be sentenced to decades in Azkaban for crimes you committed after turning of age. This court has chosen to be lenient, on the belief that it is more important to learn cooperation and appreciation for the differences in others. However, I warn you, that should you chose to break the law or the limits of your probation, you will find yourself facing Azkaban after all. There will be no second chances."
Draco stood stiffly, his knees locked to help keep him upright. He refused to lean on anything that might be nearby enough to support him. Show no weakness. He looked around at the crowd. The members of the Wizengammot were mostly old and wrinkly. The spectator section held more Gryffindors than he would have liked. Potter and Granger were there, Weasel-less. Draco's father and mother were not present. They'd already been sentenced by the court that morning. Azkaban for him, one year exile for her.
He'd like to say the rest of the proceedings passed in a blur, that he couldn't really remember them. He'd be lying. He was certain he'd always remember how he felt when some barmy old codger with a gavel looked at him and ordered him to hand over his wand, how naked he felt, how vulnerable. Everyone else in the room had his or her wand and there he was without his. He'd hardly spent a day without his wand since he was eleven. If anyone from the audience chose to fire a curse at him right now, his only defense would be to duck, and quite frankly he doubted his reflexes were up to it today. Salazar knew most of them had ample reasons to despise him.
As difficult as it was to relinquish his wand to this stranger, it nowhere near prepared him for the binding he had to endure afterward. He stood still while a circle of twelve wizards and witches wrapped the essence of his magic in smothering spells until he couldn't feel it, couldn't find it. It was such an alien feeling. Empty. Wrong. He felt stricken. He could hardly be bothered to realize the man was talking again.
"You will be escorted to Malfoy Manor, where you may take charge of whatever possessions you feel necessary to bring with you. A furnished flat has been secured for you to reside in. Given the circumstances of this situation, the flat has been properly warded for you against intruders. It has not been and will not be connected to the Floo network. After you leave there today, Malfoy Manor will remain closed until Nracissa Malfoy returns from her exile. It is the hope of this court that without either of your parents actively influencing you, you will be able to move on and learn as much from this experience as possible. Do you have any questions?"
Draco stood there, numb.
"Do you have any further statements to make on your own behalf? Anything you'd like to say about the girl you cursed, the boy you poisoned, the hundreds of students' whose very lives you endangered by providing the means for Death Eaters to enter Hogwarts?"
His knees finally buckled and crumpled to the floor in a faint.
The head wizard looked a trifle uncomfortable and addressed the council briskly. "Well, that will be the end of these proceedings then. He has nothing to say on his own behalf. Aurors Caffrey and Burke will revive Mister Malfoy and escort him to gather his things and proceed to his new domicile."
Draco's eyes opened to two Aurors standing over him in an otherwise empty court room. He wasn't terribly inclined to get up. His head was throbbing.
"Are you going to lie there all day?"
He stared distrustfully at the Auror offering him a hand. The man shook his head and laughed. "Nobody stunned you. You fainted. You gonna get up?"
Glaring, Draco got to his feet warily. Everything felt wrong. There was no wand at his belt or in his hand; he couldn't find any sense of the magic he'd been born with. Strange how he'd never really been aware of it until it suddenly wasn't there anymore. He remained silent as they escorted him to the nearest authorized fireplace and the three of them Flooed to Malfoy Manor. It was probably the last time he'd Floo anywhere for a very long time.
He arrived with Burke in tow and tried to shake the man loose and proceed through the house on his own. Caffrey and Burke stuck with him. He glared at them.
As intimidating as first years and even seventh years had generally found his glare when he was growing up, it did nothing to faze these men. They'd been Aurors for a long time and stared down plenty of things more alarming than a petulant teenager. "Head Wizard's orders. We're here to see that you don't walk off with anything dangerous or magical."
Draco grit his teeth. His head was still throbbing from his fall, but he wasn't going to admit it in front of these imbeciles. They'd revived him without bothering to check for injuries. What sort of amateurs were they? Or were they just spiteful? He moved through the house. He pulled his old school trunk out of the back of his closet and began to put his clothes in it, loosely folding them and piling them on top of one another. He placed several pairs of shoes on top. He looked around the room, wondering what else he might need to take with him. What parts of civilization could you keep when you were about to exiled among savages who labored for everything the hard way?
He looked at his large bed, covered in green silk sheets and a black, down filled comforter. His books were neatly on a shelf on the wall where a house-elf had put them Merlin knew how long ago. He strode over to his desk, picking up a bottle of ink and his favorite quill. Surely there had to be other things he'd need if he wasn't going to be here for a year, if he could only think of what they were. Attempting to pack for a year's exile from his home while having a pounding headache was certainly not ideal. He ought to be lying down somewhere relaxing while someone brought him a cool drink.
"Are you done yet?"
Draco turned a scathing look on the man. "Do I appear to be finished? Do you think I have everything I need?"
The man looked nonplussed. "I don't know what you need and I don't care. I'm just waiting on you to be done." He was leaning against one of the walls. Draco noticed the other man was looking curiously at a shelf that held some of Draco's childhood belongings-his ticket from the World Quidditch Cup, his wizards' chess set, the Tales of Beedle the Bard his mother used to read him, a picture of himself with his parents.
He closed his eyes and attempted to calm himself. He didn't want these men in his home or anywhere near him. He wished his head would stop throbbing. He snapped. "Heal this lump on the back of my head so I can think straight."
Caffrey looked over at him, surprised. "Hadn't realized you hit it that hard. Let me see." He healed the young Malfoy without any fuss, checking out his head, finding no other cause for medical concern.
The young Malfoy heir looked around the room again, not sure what else he needed. "Have you seen the place they're sending me?"
Burke nodded. "I was part of the team that set the wards on it. Wouldn't want anyone coming after you there."
"Is there a bed there or am I expected to sleep on the floor?" he asked.
Burke's nose twitched while he tried to remember. "I believe the place was furnished-bed, night table, couch, kitchen table. The basics. You might want your own bedclothes." He sat down on Draco's bed and Draco tried not to cringe. He needed these men out of his house now. He motioned for the man to get up, and stripped the bedding from the mattress, attempting to stuff it into his trunk. He growled quietly as it all refused to fit without a shrinking charm.
Caffrey was watching him with amusement. "I suppose we could shrink your bed down for you and transport it. Probably more comfortable than the one in the flat."
Burke nodded in agreement. "I don't see any problem with that. The desk too if you want it," he offered.
While one of the men was shrinking the bed, and the other his chair, Draco quietly stuffed a potions book or two into the desk drawer. Burke caught him.
"Did you think we're amateurs? No desk for you now. The chair stays too. Another stunt like that and you can sleep on the floor or in the bathtub or anywhere else in your flat."
Draco said nothing. He had to try, didn't he? He watched the men shrink down his luxurious bed and bedding and reached for his childhood mementos from the shelf-the ticket, the photo, the book, the chess set. He started to put them in his trunk.
"You can only take the chess set if we put a freeze spell on it to stop them from moving around."
His patience had worn excessively thin. "Fine. Do that." He stalked off to the bathroom for his supply of hair potions.
Auror Caffrey had followed him. "No potions."
Draco stared at the man, his mouth slightly agape, his lower lip jutting out. It was a petulant look, but his ability to remain composed throughout this ordeal was just about gone. He wouldn't see his mother for a year and Merlin only knew if he'd ever see his father again. And he'd been stripped of his magic. Well, not stripped. It couldn't be removed-it was innate. But it had been sufficiently smothered as to be utterly unusable by him. As if that wasn't bad enough, his wand was taken-a symbol of the fact that he was now magicless. That he could do no more for himself than a...a Muggle. He grit his teeth. "It's not like I can make more of them. Why not let me use the last of what I have? You can see for yourself they're not dangerous."
Caffrey examined the bottles. There wasn't terribly much in any of them. Clearly the young man hadn't had time to stock up recently. He uncorked the bottles and sniffed each in turn. One to get his hair clean, another for shininess and smoothness. Fairly basic stuff, and there wasn't enough to last him more than a week. "You can keep these."
Draco's voice was dripping with sarcasm. "You're so kind."
As they made their way back to his bedroom, Draco decided he couldn't handle dealing with this situation anymore. Whatever he'd forgotten about would just have to be forgotten. "Let's go."
"What do you want us to do with your owl? Leave it with the house-elves?" asked Burke.
"He can't come with me?"
Caffrey looked at the young Malfoy and couldn't help but start to laugh.
Draco's eyes narrowed at the man. Nothing about this situation was the least bit amusing. Couldn't they have sent someone with a little sympathy? Or at least basic empathy? Wasn't that what these bastards wanted to teach him? He asked coldly, "What is so funny?"
"I'm just imagining you cleaning out your Owl's cage without magic. It seems like it'd be a bit beneath your dignity to touch excrement."
He hadn't really considered that.
Burke looked at Draco. "According to the court, you can have your Owl, but can't use him to send messages or order anything by mail. A very small living stipend will be paid to you in Muggle money-not much more than it'd cost to keep you at Azkaban. And you won't be allowed to withdraw gold from Gringotts."
Draco seethed. "Apparently they must have said that whilst I was unconscious."
Burke held up a roll of parchment. "It's all here, along with all of the other limitations of your probation. Shall I read them to you?"
Draco put his hand out to take the parchment. "I can read them myself." His fingers curled around the roll of parchment and he tucked it into his trunk. He'd read it later. Preferably after a large bottle of wine. "So apparently it's not enough to make me live like a Muggle, but I must be an impoverished one as well?"
The Auror shrugged. "You could be spending your days in Azkaban. If I were you, I'd be grateful for what you've got."
The Malfoy heir seethed. He did not want to be grateful. He wanted to hex these men until they didn't recognize their front ends from their back. Then he wanted to hex that idiot with the gavel. And then...then he'd like a three hour massage, a large bottle of wine, and just possibly a steaming bath. He needed to leave the manor and get rid of these imbeciles now. "I'll get my Owl and then we can be gone." He headed for the door without sparing them a glance.
"Aren't you going to carry your trunk out?" asked Caffrey.
Draco didn't answer. He went to find his Owl in the small Owlery at the top of the house where until recently his owl Xavier had been living with his mother and father's owls. His father's owl was still there. Presumably the house-elf who hadn't gone with his mother would deal with it. His mother's owl was gone. He put out his wrist and Xavier hopped on, blinking sleepily at him. Draco took a minute to stroke Xavier's feathers and drop a few owl treats in his pocket for the bird. He turned to and found Burke waiting for him.
In almost no time, Draco found himself at his new flat with his unwanted company. He detested it. The walls were white and utterly unadorned except for a framed print of a seaside picture that he was sure was supposed to seem cheery and only managed to look cheesy. The kitchen was small and rather confusing to Draco, not that he'd let the men know that. The living room had a beige sofa with a few stains, and there was a slightly battered table and four chairs between the kitchen and living room. There was some sort of metal and glass box across from the sofa. There was no fireplace. What sort of barbaric place didn't have a fireplace?
There was a bathroom with rather sad looking pale blue tiled walls, a sink, a toilet, a tub that certainly wasn't large enough for Draco to stretch out in, and a shower head that he was unsure was high enough for him to stand under. The bedroom wasn't much better. White walls, a nightstand, a dresser, a closet, and a rather plain bed. He sat on it experimentally and grimaced. Thank Merlin he'd brought his own bed.
The Auror's obligingly shrunk down the bed the flat came with and stored it in the closet at it's reduced size of about a foot. They returned Draco's own bed to it's normal size, leaving him to deal with putting the bedding on it. Draco set Xavier's cage on the dresser. Despite his disgust at the thought of cleaning up after the bird, he figured it was better to have at least one friend in exile with him.
There was nothing else to be done.
Burke and Caffrey looked around the flat. It was a far cry from the luxury of Malfoy Manor. "Do you have any questions about your probation or about how anything in the flat works?"
Draco tried to keep his face neutral. "No. I'll manage fine on my own."
Burke shrugged. It was no skin off their backs if he blew himself up trying to light the stove. "Alright then. We're going to set the final wards in place before we go. Anti-apparation wards. The general defensive enchantments should be enough, but this will go the extra distance to make sure you don't have any unwelcome visitors. Here's your keys and this month's money. Someone will be in once a month to check in and give you next month's allowance." With the final setting of the wards, the two men stepped outside the flat and disapparated.
Draco was alone and without magic.