DISCLAIMER: All characters, settings, and magical occurrences were all conceived and created in the brilliant mind of J.K. Rowling. Nothing except the glorious plot is property of mine. No profits are being made from my writing.
ONE-TIME WARNING: This story will contain some SLASH as the main pairing will be Draco Malfoy and Remus Lupin. If this bothers, offends, or just grosses you out, you can save yourself a lot of pain and heartburn and just click the back button. If you are intrigued (as I am by this rather rare pairing), stick around. I can see great things from this story.
Sometimes even in a place like Hogwarts one can feel entirely alone. As he wandered through the hallowed building, it was hard for him not to feel like the walls were closing in as he waded through the deafening silence. For Draco, his rounds usually weren't something that caused such mental anguish but since his induction, there was little that didn't.
He could still clearly see that evening in his mind. He felt deeply that the images had been forever burned into his brain forcing him to relive everything that happened. All of the blood that had been shed and his innocence which had been ripped away as that hateful mark marred his skin. He had no other option at the time. If he ran, he'd only be captured and then his punishment wouldn't be just the mark, it'd be death. Even if things were becoming harder and harder to keep a hold of, death wasn't an option he wanted to pursue. He was many things but he wouldn't be a coward about this.
Most of the school was quiet. It was the main reason he chose the late night shifts of patrol. He had a lot of time to himself and not many distractions. Lately, he needed that more than anything. He felt so alone as he sat in his common room begging no one to ask where he'd been. Pleading no one to question anything because he wasn't sure he could provide the answers they wanted to hear. He was more afraid that he didn't have the answers anymore.
As he rounded a corner, he caught sight of something unexpected. It seemed even as he lost himself in the endless corridors, he wasn't out alone that night. The figure wasn't easily identified at first but as he approached rather slowly, it became clear who it was.
"Professor?" His voice asked rather shakily.
"Mr. Malfoy. I take it you're out patrolling this evening?" There was just a nod given in response. "I don't blame you for choosing such hours. No better time to clear ones head." He seemed rather nervous and didn't look much better. Draco realized the full moon had just passed and that was enough to explain it.
"You don't look so well, Professor."
"Nor do I feel well. I'm sure you can easily figure out why. I must be getting back to my quarters. I'm afraid I'm more than a little exhausted this evening." As he turned to leave, he realized something was very off in the student. There was no hint of a snide remark anywhere nor a sneer or smirk to be seen. "Is something troubling you, Mr. Malfoy?"
"No sir." He shook his head but it was none too effective.
"Well if you indeed do find something to be bothering you, my door is always open to someone in need." They exchanged a look before the older man left the corridor en route to his own quarters.
Draco sighed softly. He wished he could've just told the man. He felt the need to tell someone. Severus already knew and it wasn't doing him any good. He couldn't help for fear of his own life, let alone that of the blonde's. His father had basically shooed him from the Manor and told him to deal as best he could on his own. He didn't know how one was supposed to deal with such a thing but he was determined to try.
So he trudged on, exploring more unseen corridors of the castle that night than ever before. It was quite late before he even had the energy to drag himself back into bed and even then nothing but nightmares haunted his sleep.
The first time he'd felt that burning digging deep into his flesh, he'd been alone. It was a thing to be considered thankful as well for he'd have hated to explain that. It was only over a week since his induction and it seemed his duties were already started. He felt like a traitor. He despised everything he'd grown to support and his life held a different meaning. Or maybe it was closer to no meaning at all.
The meeting thankfully didn't last long and he wasn't called alone. That was a rather good thing because after several bouts of the Cruciatus, The Dark Lord had moved on to other followers who'd actually committed crimes against him. His apparation back to the school had been a thankful one but the long walk to the castle and then through it's corridors proved to be too much.
That was when the second meeting with the Werewolf occurred. He knew he was getting closer to his destination but the blood and the pain were detouring his path. He nearly collapsed onto the ground if not for the set of arms that grabbed him, catching him before the ground could race up to meet him.
"Mr. Malfoy, you really ought to have Poppy take a look at you." He warned steadying the blonde once more.
"I don't think that is a very good idea."
"At least visit Severus for a draught."
"I've already done so. It should be waiting in my quarters for me." If only getting there was as easy as it had originally seemed. Instead of stumbling the remainder of the way to his dorm alone, Remus braced the blonde against himself and helped him through the corridor to his destination.
There was no more conversation for the pair but a silent understanding that Draco wasn't alone any longer in his knowledge. He wasn't sure it was a good thing considering who was the other person that knew his secret but someone knew and that was enough for him. The unlikely pair stopped outside of the Slytherin Common Room.
"Does anyone know?" By anyone, Draco knew he meant Dumbledore.
"No. I don't know how to approach him."
"You want him to know?"
"I didn't choose this path, Professor, it was laid out for me." With that he whispered the password and limped alone the entire way to his bed. He wasted no time stripping himself of his school uniform, just closed the bed curtains tightly and drifted into another rather fitful sleep.
Remus however found it much harder to sleep that evening. He knew there was a large threat at the school and its students but he didn't think that the trouble would begin now. Even the older students were only seventeen, hardly any age where they should have to be subjected to such treatment.
He could hear the words that Draco Malfoy had spoken to him repeating themselves over and over in his head. There had to be something he could do to help the boy. If not, it would be easy for him to be a lost when he only needed a little guidance to make the right decisions. Instead, he could be cast off and basically handed over to Voldemort without a second thought. Most, himself included, saw the blonde walking head first into the situation, banner waving. The look on his face when he wandered into the school that evening shown how false those accusations had been from the beginning.
But what was there that he could honestly do for the boy? There was always the possibility that he joined Snape in the ranks as a spy. It was one of the most dangerous things he could get himself into but cutting ties with the Dark Lord could easily be classified suicide. He knew that there was one simple solution to relieve himself of such stress. He could tell Dumbledore and allow him to handle it. Somehow that felt as though he was breaking his trust with Draco. The two of them had never been close, even in a teacher, student way and certainly not the way he was with Harry, Ron, or Hermione. He'd been given entry into his life and he didn't think betraying that first thing was the best way to go about it. He'd definitely need to talk to him. There was no other course of action. He needed to know where the blonde actually stood and not just what was insinuated.
Draco was feeling rather fidgety as he sat silently in the office of his professor. He wasn't shocked when Lupin had asked him to stay after class for a few brief words. He doubted the conversation would be very brief at all and could possibly end with him being led out of class in chains and off to spend an eternity in Azkaban. The thought had at least crossed his mind. He strongly doubted it however. All the years he'd been forced to endure Gryffindor company helped him come to the realization that they wouldn't persecute you without just cause. But after his late night arrival, there was enough cause to convict Neville Longbottom let alone himself.
His eyes darted nervously about the room. He tried to make it a point to avoid any of his teacher's offices. It would only lead to punishment later at home as his father would most certainly be informed. He didn't think this would be one of those meetings.
Finally, the silence was broken as Lupin entered the office himself, placing several stacks of parchment upon his desk. "Sometimes I think I should've just declined Dumbledore and his teaching offer." Draco knew he was trying to lighten the mood before anything too heavy was discussed and he just faintly smiled, uncertainly looming like a dark cloud above him. "Right." Lupin inserted just giving himself enough time to gather his own thoughts before continuing.
"Sir, I know why you've called me here so we needn't beat around the bush as the saying goes."
"You're very right. I'm sure you know of my suspicions but before you say anything more I want you to know that I've yet to tell a soul of what has happened. Nor will I if you don't wish it so. Where were you last night, Mr. Malfoy?"
"I'm sure I will be confirming all suspicions you may have. Last night, I was summoned by the Dark Lord and I was just returning when you helped me in the hall."
"It is as I suspected. How long ago were you marked?"
"Ten days ago." Ten days of pure agony and thus far already one night where death seemed like a brilliant alternative to the pain he had been forced to experience.
Lupin stood and took to pacing a little throughout the office. He wasn't sure where the conversation should go from there. Deep down, although he knew how foolish it was, he was hoping that he had been wrong about Draco having the Mark. It would've left things much less complicated.
"You plan on telling Dumbledore now don't you? Having me expelled?"
"Mr. Malfoy, do you want to be expelled?" There was a certain shake of his head. "Do you want to be a Death Eater." He looked away before another shake followed. "That was what I'd originally thought. You shall not be expelled for being forced into something such as this. Albus would very easily understand. Especially in such a life or death situation. What do you intend to do about all of this?"
"I haven't had much time to really think about it. I know that Professor Snape has been spying. When I expressed my feelings to him about not wanting to join he confided that information in me. I don't know how much help I could possibly be to the cause but I'd like to help. It's just hard…" He could feel himself about to let go of so many now oppressed emotions and he wasn't about to do that sitting here in front of his professor.
"That is a rather dangerous option to pursue."
"But what other option do I have?"
"Sadly, it is the truth. I take it you're going to go see Dumbledore."
"If it's all the same, I think for now I need a little time to come to grips with what I'm about to apply myself to do. Last night was my first summoning and I don't know how much I can take."
"You can have as much time as you need, Mr. Malfoy but keep in mind. If others are too learn of this new development in your life they might not be so kind as to give you the time you need. Please be aware of that. You may go."
Draco stood and nodded in response to the final remark his professor had made. "Thank you, sir."
"And Draco, my offer still remains true. My door is always open and I'm always willing to lend an ear to those in need. Keep that in mind."
"I will, thank you again, sir." The blonde hurried out of there faster than he thought he could even move. The man seemed to know everything and what made the situation even more disturbing was that he genuinely seemed to care about his fate. He hadn't had that feeling very often in his life and it was very welcomed. He'd never held the Werewolf in high regard but as he trudged along towards his dorms, he saw him in different light.
A/N: It was rather strange. I'd been reading this story that was mostly SS/HG but it included a pairing I had never actually thought about. HP/DM is pretty much my OTP but the more I read about them the more I liked the prospect. So this is the result. I'm actually pretty proud of this chapter. I'm not sure what will exactly become of it. I've got so many ideas swarming in my head. What do you think so far? Come on, REVIEW! You know you want to :-D