i signed up for the 'trick or treat' on tgs and ended up with dracokingsley. i ship drarry too much for this to be a romantic relationship so i went for father/son

school: hogwarts

house: slytherin

points: 25 (10 for the challenge itself with 15 for the extra prompts i used)

prompts: Draco/Kingsley; (word) exotic; (word) pristine; (word) obvious

a/n: no one's actually celebrating halloween in this but the significance is symbolic, a catalyst for both of the characters — if it's not centered around the holiday enough let me know and i'll edit.

. . .

The first time Kingsley Shacklebolt meets Draco Malfoy, it's in Azkaban.

"Hello, Mr. Malfoy."

"Draco," he replies. "Call me Draco."

The boy in question is looking rather haggard; his face is gaunt and the blond hair on his head is matted; dark circles rim gray eyes, and put quite simply, Draco Malfoy looks like death.

Kingsley coughs a little bit. He doesn't want to call a Death Eater by his first name. But he's polite when he says, "Well, Draco, let me be blunt. Your trial is coming up in a few weeks. We need a plea from you —"

"I acted under duress," interrupts Malfoy. "If I didn't become a Death Eater, my mother and I were going to die. There's your plea."

"Very well, Draco," says Kingsley, slightly surprised. He'd always assumed Malfoy had been ecstatic to join up. Always he'd assumed Malfoy had been eager to prove himself to his master.

Perhaps not, but what was done was done, and there was nothing left that could change the past.

. . .

The day of the trial, Harry Potter is there. Draco doesn't like it.

Then again, there's not much about anything he likes these days. Everything's a blur, and really he's only known Dementors for a few months. It feels good to be out in the open where everything is wonderful and Draco can't feel weights on his being, but Draco can't think of anything happy, and the feeling of wholeness makes him nauseous.

Draco is obvious, conspicuous, here. He tries to sink into his seat, blend in — maybe they won't see him anymore — but that's impossible, of course. They're here to see him. Here to watch him burn.

The Minister, Kingsley Shacklebolt, is there, too. Draco doesn't know if he likes that. Draco doesn't like that feeling of not knowing.

The Ministry is too bright. Plain black robes are too bright. The atmosphere is too tight. Draco feels like he's falling apart.

Lawyers toss back and forth — if he concentrated enough he'd be able to understand what they meant, but at this point, Draco doesn't care. He's screwed, anyway, no matter what he does — he's going back to Azkaban, and soon the weights will return to his soul — Draco figures he might as well enjoy the pseudo-freedom while he has it.

"The accused, Draco Lucius Malfoy, is hereby charged with crimes against the people. However, the Wizengamot acknowledges these actions were committed under duress, so the accused will therefore be sentenced to two years of community service, six months of house arrest, and the indefinite placement of a probation officer." When Draco hears the words from the Wizengamot's spokesperson, he doesn't comprehend at first. He's been charged with crimes — Azkaban, then? But he hears the sentencing. Azkaban isn't mentioned. Dementors aren't mentioned.

What's happening? he wonders, but then decides that he doesn't care as long as he doesn't have to go to Azkaban.

If the weights will be gone for the rest of his life, Draco doesn't care — this sentencing, he likes it.

. . .

Kingsley drops by Malfoy Manor to check up on Draco Malfoy and receive a report from the probation officer. He's apparently supposed to do this every two weeks to ensure that he's interacting with his staff.

The manor, he remembers, had been a gray and white thing, tall and imposing, pristine, with exotic albino peacocks. It is a lot less so, now. The manor is now almost completely white; the hedges are still precisely trimmed, but the ostentatious peacocks are gone and the unnecessary decorations are gone, too — the manor is now modest.

"How is he doing?" Kingsley asks Dawlish, who answers the door.

"Quiet," the aforementioned replies.

Kingsley nods.

Malfoy walks down the stairs, slowly, every step calculated, measured.

"What can I do for you, Minister? A glass of water, perhaps?" asks Draco formally.

"No need," he answers. "I'm just here for a routine check-up."

"I see," Draco says. "Shall I put on the kettle?"

Malfoy might be a Death Eater, but Kingsley doubts he'd poison tea. Besides, he wouldn't say no to a warm cup of tea — it's cold outside, anyway.

"That will be most welcome."

. . .

Malfoy Manor is quiet.

Draco is quiet, too. Who is there to talk to? He tries to find ways to occupy himself. Mostly, Draco ends up in the family library — cleansed of Dark Arts books — and reads through some novel for the day. He can never remember what they're about. He finds himself craving the Minister's visits — not in a way like I have to see him, more in the way of I have to see someone.

Sometimes, he finds himself in the hallway, in front of the paintings. They're his ancestors.

Abraxas Malfoy, reads the plaque on his grandfather's portrait. Draco talks to the portraits some days, when it's lonely. Abraxas looks at Draco in a peculiar way, but he never replies.

"I wonder sometimes," Draco tells Abraxas one day, "do you know what's happened to your family?"

The portrait's eyes sharpen, Draco notes, and all the others do as well.

When Draco speaks, it's bitter; he can't stop it, and he can't help himself. "Lucius is dead. He died in Azkaban, with Mother. They were Death Eaters. They followed the Dark Lord — the one who wanted to kill me and kill Mother, and kill everyone —"

Draco coughs. He can't speak very much these days. All the screaming he did in Azkaban has run his throat very dry.

He clears his throat, and continues, "I think that's because of what you taught him, Grandfather. You knew he'd" — another cough escapes from Draco's lips — "join, didn't — didn't you?"

His grandfather gives Draco a haughty look, but the answer Draco needs in in his eyes. Abraxas does not speak.

. . .

Kingsley finishes signing some paperwork with a flourish and a sigh. There's more, of course, but that's something for later — Death Eater prison terms.

How many did that loon even have? he wonders.

He checks his watch. Half past six. He has maybe a half-hour of down time. He's due for another visit to Malfoy, tomorrow, and one for Pansy Parkinson. On Halloween. Halloween is practically a national holiday in the wizarding world. And he has to spend his Halloween with former Death Eaters. An odd thing, really, but it makes Kingsley more sad than anything else.

It's sad, thinks Kingsley. It's sad to see how many kids Voldemort corrupted; sad to see how many lives he ruined.

How did Fudge and Scrimgeour do this? Live in this place and do the paperwork and not die from it all? Did they not feel pain — is that why they had been so nonchalant? Or did they simply not care?

What kind of a Minister is Kingsley, if he can't even think about his tasks without a deep depression settling in his bones?

A bad one, he answers himself. So do your work.

Kingsley picks up the paperwork again — resolutely not thinking about any of those kids, those kids who died — those kids who survived.

. . .

Draco picks up his cup of Earl Grey and takes a sip to moisten his larynx; it's going dry from the speaking.

It's Halloween. It feels peaceful, not scary.

Neither he nor the Minister knows what to do during these visits. It's mandatory, and they don't quite have anything to say to each other. They make small talk.

"Tell me about Azkaban," Kingsley says abruptly. Draco freezes.

"What?"

"Azkaban. I — I've always wanted to know what it's like. And, well, it's Halloween. Regale me with scary tales."

"You shouldn't," replies Draco. Of course, the Minister would be curious. The Minister would have fought with the Light side, and he would never have had a reason to be imprisoned. On the other hand, it's Halloween. What better day to start something than the day — the day it all started?

"I understand, if you don't want to —"

"— It's something to say," Draco interrupts. "I never know what to do with myself here, so — well, I suppose...well, if you have particularly bad memories, the Dementors like you more...they like to take turns, feeding off the sorrow —"

The Minister's slight frown contorts into a grimace. Draco pushes on.

"— Eventually, they run you dry and there's a bit of time for you to collect yourself, and then you've got to huddle away when they get near...there are no Patronuses, see, not that it matters, no one in Azkaban can make them anyway —"

"You can't make a Patronus?" asks the Minister in surprise.

"No," Draco says simply. "My parents didn't see any purpose in the charm."

"Hmm..." Shacklebolt trails off, musing. "I can teach you."

"Wh" — Draco coughs more — "what?"

"It's light magic, and I am therefore authorized to teach you."

"But why?" asks Draco.

"Do we have anything better to do? And, well, like I said. It's Halloween. Good omens," he replies.

"I suppose we could try."

It is a start. It is enough, for now.