Draco Malfoy and his Unknown Fate:

Author's Notes: This story is going to be somewhat of an epic, so if you don't like long reads you may not want to read this story. However, I have almost all of it already written, so it will be finished. I usually don't post WIP's, but this one's so big you'll have quite enough to keep you occupied while the last few chapters are written. It will have romance in later chapters (H/D), but it mainly explores Draco's life as a Slytherin and how he deals with being his own person.

Warnings for this chapter: Homosexuality is discussed in this chapter. The views of Lucius Malfoy are not in any way my own. I hope I don't offend anyone, and if I do you have my sincere apologies. It's merely a plot device and without it, the story wouldn't work. And there is the tiniest bit of angst here. But don't worry; it will get better. I'm a fan of happy endings. ^_^

Disclaimer: The characters in this story belong to J.K. Rowling. I'm merely borrowing them for the time being. This will be slash (eventually). Don't like it? Don't read it. Otherwise, enjoy.

The silence was all-pervading. It had a weight of its own, and it settled heavily on the length of gleaming wood that had served many a Malfoy as a dining table for countless centuries. So heavy was it, that Draco expected the chandeliers (monstrosities of diamond, crystal, and gold that acted as fountains of light) to creak under its ponderous weight and perhaps even tumble onto the cold stone floor to shatter into a million sharp, deadly pieces. He could almost feel the slivers lodging into his skin as he waited for the silence to be broken.

Narcissa sat at one end of the table, studying the crystal goblet in front of her critically as she waited for her husband to arrive. Lucius' place was at the head of the table, of course, and aptly enough there seemed to be miles of table between the two. There was almost as much distance physically between husband and wife as there was emotionally with their son, seated between them in the middle by himself on the left side. Draco had never questioned whether their way was normal or whether it could be anything else until his father had let him tag along with him to the Ministry at the tender age of seven.

During his lunch hour, Lucius had taken him out to eat, and on the way to the restaurant they had seen a family eating out of an old battered picnic basket in a grassy park. Draco had spotted the family of laughing redheads surrounding two figures, one tall and plain and the other round and short, kissing briefly amidst the chaos in greeting. The Weasleys had a warmth that was as foreign to Draco as the Malfoys' cold distance was foreign to everyone else. In that instant, Draco had come to hate the redheaded boy who was having his head knuckled lightly by an older brother. They were the same age, but by some trick of fate the other boy had become so very lucky; never mind the worn shoddy clothes he wore. Sometimes Draco thought Lucius hated Arthur Weasley for the same reason he hated Ron Weasley, before he remembered that Lucius had been frozen from the inside out long ago. Even his hatred dripped icicles.

"Do your new robes meet with your approval?" came Narcissa's lovely, detached voice. It brought Draco out of his reverie, and he forced a polite smile.

"Of course, Mother. The gray is especially flattering."

Narcissa nodded her agreement. The sound of footsteps echoed through the halls, heralding Lucius Malfoy's appearance. The man was tired, though it only showed because the lines around his mouth were more prominent and his eyes were harder than usual. He took his seat silently, and the food appeared, a banquet fit to feed a king. Lucius Malfoy was not a king, but he had enough money and arrogance to pass as one.

The first words out of his mouth were bitter complaints. "That damned Fudge is ruining everything. You'd think he'd be happy with a few bribes, but he keeps running back to Dumbledore every time the Dark Lord so much as sneezes. I had to practically hold his hand to keep him from ruining things." The sneering tone was familiar, as Draco had adopted it himself to use on those who annoyed him. His own jeering pitch was a mere shallow echo of the true malicious distaste that flavored his father's voice.

Draco didn't know how to reply and thus didn't, letting his mother steer the conversation towards less provoking topics. He was glad he hadn't when he remembered his father's "children are to be seen and not heard" approach to formal meals. Hogwarts had spoiled him badly. It was only two weeks into summer, and he was still busy adjusting to the Manor once more. Their voices flowed past his ears, and he let only half his attention linger on their words while he contemplated the stuffed quail beneath his fork. Three courses passed that way, and if it wasn't quite pleasant, it wasn't much of a trial either. Suddenly, the conversation turned interesting, and he looked up from his silver plate to study the elder Malfoy.

Lucius was gesturing with his fork, which still had a bit of sauce clinging to its gleaming tines, as he spoke. "…of course. It was a disgrace. Weasley's son should keep such things behind closed doors. Bad enough to have a male lover," at this a truly ugly sneer transformed his usually handsome features, "but to parade it around so crudely? I was absolutely disgusted. Men, kissing in public. What's this world coming to, nowadays?"

"Which Weasel was it?" Draco blurted out and looked down at his plate submissively when his father reprimanded him with a stern look. He did deign to answer though.

"I forgot his name. The wild one with the earring who breaks curses for Gringotts. He was prancing about with some quidditch player. It was revolting. Put me right off my lunch. Faggots should be grouped with mudbloods and muggles in my opinion. Fit to be trod upon and not much else."

Draco was appalled. He blinked for a moment, absorbing the fact that his father was obviously oblivious to his son's sexual preferences and that for once in his life, his father's prejudices were not his own. Somehow, the subject had never come up before, but considering how rarely his father discussed things with him, it wasn't all that surprising. That realization, that their opinions differed so wildly, made him question things that, for the sake of his family and his own peace of mind, he knew he shouldn't question. "That's a little harsh, isn't it?" he finally ventured, poking at some bit of green on his plate as his appetite suddenly vanished. His father's head snapped up, and a tired glare was thrown his way.

"Of course not. It's unnatural. If men were meant to be with men that way there wouldn't be women. And it's sick. The whole concept is just…." The older man shuddered in revulsion. "Don't tell me you can condone that sort of deviant behavior."

Draco frowned at his kelp rolls. When he finally spoke it was slowly, in the way he had of talking when he was uncertain of his footing. "It's just that - you sound remarkably puritanical." Something that was not a compliment when you wielded a wand and your cultural history was sprinkled liberally with burning pyres and drownings. He finally fell back on arguing his point with precedent. He knew he was treading a dangerous line, but his father had to understand. If he could change his father's mind, then he wouldn't have to question the other opinions he had taken as his own from the older man. Once one flaw was discovered, the rest of his beliefs would be under suspicion, and if Draco wanted to succeed as the man his father wanted him to be, he couldn't have those doubts lingering and festering in the back of his skull. "The ancient Greeks not only condoned such relations, but expected it of their young men. And Spartans encouraged their warriors to take their comrades as lovers so they'd fight with more ferocity when defending one another."

Lucius leaned forward, propping one elbow up on the table, which made Narcissa frown at the lack of etiquette. He smiled, the expression as sharp and pointed as a blade. "And yet, both the cultures you speak of and those particular foibles have been all but eradicated, and they are now relegated to dusty books. It's unusual and freakish. Not something noble or common as those people mistakenly believed."

Draco shifted in his seat irritably, feeling his ire swell as Lucius' oily smile widened. He replied without thinking, his anger taking away his Slytherin caution. "It's not necessarily freakish. No, it's not all that common, but it's not unheard-of." His mother murmured his name in warning, but Draco ignored her.

"Oh? Do tell. Perhaps one of your little friends has inclinations that lie that way? Loyalty is admirable in a Hufflepuff, Draco. Need I remind you it does not become a Slytherin? You needn't defend your allies' flaws to me when they aren't even present." Lucius Malfoy, secure in his son's "perfect" bloodline, didn't even consider that Draco might be defending himself. Draco set out to disabuse him of the notion immediately, not even pausing to consider his words.

"Defend my allies?" He exhaled briefly in pique. "Why would I? It's yours truly who fancies boys, though it hardly matters." Draco shrugged one shoulder dismissively. He took a bite of meat and glanced up casually. He froze when he saw the look on his father's face. Draco realized too late that he had blundered enormously, letting his mouth run on despite the fact that he knew it always got him into trouble.

After seeing that look, so cold as to rival absolute zero, he wasn't altogether surprised by the ensuing argument, blows, and subsequent falling-out. Draco had been given fifteen minutes to pack, during which the house elves rushed about frantically using their own brand of magic to pack his new clothes and favorite personal possessions before shrinking them down, lightening them, and shoving them in his robe pockets. His Eurasian eagle owl, hooting its objections loudly, had been shoved in its cage and tossed into Draco's waiting hands.

There were many lines Draco could, as his father's heir, cross without consequence, but sullying the Malfoy blood with homosexuality was apparently not one of them. Narcissa had watched expressionlessly, her lips tightened into a thin white line with disapproval of the entire situation. Then when he finally came down the main stairs, Lucius had grabbed him by the ear in a painful grip and twisted viciously, before flooing them both to a store on Knockturn Alley and dragging him out into the street. A vendor selling what looked to be poisons watched with a sort of morbid curiosity as the scene unfolded right there in the middle of everything. Lucius left his son with a parting backhand, the best (or worst, depending on your point of view) blow in his arsenal, before he stepped back. His last words, probably meant to be some sort of consolation, were the most bitter to swallow of all.

"You could have been a great Malfoy, if you'd been even a bit of a man." And then he was gone in a wink of an eye, like all of Draco's prospects and expectations. Draco gazed in despair at where his father had apparated away. It seemed fitting when it started to drizzle, turning the dark pavement an oil-slick black and a yellowy butter color under the various circles of lantern light from the shops. He stared blankly in shock at nothing in particular while the bruise on his cheekbone slowly became visible.

To be Continued

Comments and constructive criticism are more than welcome.