Author's Note: This is really an experiment. I've been toying with the idea for quite a while, and I've decided to really get to work on it. I hope you enjoy it, this is my first real HP fic, so please give me plenty of feedback, especially on characterization. Thanks!
Disclaimer: I do not own any places or characters from the Harry Potter books, but I do own this plot and any new characters that might pop in from time to time.
Afternoon sunlight filtered through the tall glass windows of the library. Thick green drapes hung on either side. They were usually drawn across, blocking all light that attempted the sneak in, but on such a wonderful day….he couldn't resist a little sunshine.
Draco brushed some stray hair away from his eyes. He was focused intently on the book in his lap, but he was still alert to any sounds that would alert him to anyone approaching the library door. It hadn't happened yet, and wasn't very likely. The library in the Malfoy manor was seldom used. The tall shelves were covered equally in books and dust. He hadn't even known they had a library until one quiet day he had gone exploring for some form of entertainment and come upon a door he had never opened before.
He smirked at the words on the page, and quietly marveled. If no one had told him otherwise, he would never have expected this 'William Shakespeare' was a muggle. His amazing stories and biting wit were worthy of, dare he imagine it, a Malfoy. The library had certainly been a source of many surprises. His guess was that the books had been purchased as mere decoration, and not carefully checked before being shelved. If Lucius ever found out he had books written by muggles in his own home…
Yes, many thoughts had been formed during these long afternoons in the library. Draco had found himself questioning his previously unshakeable beliefs. If all muggles were as mud-brained as he had always thought, how could one create such, for lack of a better term, magical writings? They were still certainly below himself and his pureblood family, to be sure…but perhaps there were one or two muggles who might be worth notice. He smirked again with a bittersweet sigh, imagining the wrath he would suffer if he ever voiced any of these opinions to his parents.
Reluctantly, he glanced out at the waning light and closed his book. He shut his eyes, fingers roaming over the deliciously firm leather binding. The only time he was really happy these days was when he was alone in here with a good book. He had never gone into a profession after Hogwarts. It had been assumed in his family he would simply follow in his father's illustrious and dark footsteps. Then the Dark Lord was destroyed. That pretty much shattered all plans for a powerful future. His family, along with the rest of the Death Eaters, basically withdrew from society.
He seldom left the manor, and only for short times. His mother was becoming increasingly paranoid that someone might try and hurt him, which wasn't really very wild a theory. Lucius was still pressuring him to join the Death Eaters, but he had been able to make himself scarce enough that the issue was never pressed. He disappeared to the library every afternoon, and no one really seemed to miss him. As long as he was on time for dinner, his parents never questioned him on what he did all day long.
He set the book on the shelf closest to his chair and the windows, so he could find it easily tomorrow and, straightening his robe, exited the room. He walked down the long, silent hallways, past portraits of his ancestors. Half of them were asleep, the other half apparently did not find him worthy of words, and merely stared imperiously down at him. He ignored them. When he was very young, he had been frightened by several of the somewhat-mad looking men and women, but they didn't bother him anymore.
A cold draft blew past him and he shivered slightly, but continued walking. The manor wasn't in the best state. It was far from disrepair, and always would be, but it didn't have the same grandeur it had had while he was growing up. Malfoy Manor had always commanded attention and respect…now it gained only vaguely interested glances from those who passed by the gates.
He reached the dining room doors and glanced quickly at his reflection in the mirror next to them. He adjusted his robe again, and smoothed his hair. Then he pulled the heavy door open, and entered the room.
It was very dark, lit only by a few candelabras. The long mahogany table had only two chairs…one at each end. At almost the other end of the room, Draco saw Lucius sitting in one of the chairs, head rested pensively on his hands. Narcissa was standing next to him, but she was turned partially away, her face in shadows. Draco slid into the empty chair and gazed down the table at his parents. Something was different. Lucius' face was as stony as ever, but though Narcissa stood erect, her head drooped. It was almost as though she was trying to avoid his eyes.
"Good evening, Father."
"I have important news for you tonight, Draco."
"Oh?" Draco fought to keep his expression blank. Whatever it was his father had to say, he was fairly certain he was not going to like it. But Lucius could not know that.
"I have spoken with some of my colleagues, and we have decided you will be initiated this coming weekend."
He couldn't help it. His hand shot to grasp his forearm, as of yet pale and unmarked. The way he wanted it to be. Lucius observed this reaction and though his voice stayed calm, his eyes flashed with fury.
"You do not seem pleased," he whispered, deadly and cold. Draco swallowed hard.
"I wasn't expecting-"
"What were you expecting?" Lucius exclaimed, losing control of his building rage. Draco winced as though his Father had physically assaulted him. "What have you been doing all this time? You should have been marked when you were eighteen! I allowed you your foolish whim to wait, and I can see that was a mistake. What do you suppose the others think?" His voice dropped from it's shout, and he was, if possible, even more furious as he hissed at his son. "Lucius Malfoy's own son, twenty years old and not yet a member of the Dark Order!"
"Father, I," Draco trailed off, looking down at his chest and biting his lip to try and summon his courage. He could face untold danger…but stand up to his father? "I am not going to be initiated this weekend."
"Oh no?" Lucius asked. The ice in his voice made Draco shudder inside, but he forced himself to stay impassive. "When do you plan to be then?"
Draco took a long steadying breath. This was without question the most terrifying moment of his entire life. This was the thing he had been building up to ever since he left Hogwarts, got a glimpse of the world outside his parents' bubble. "I don't."
"You…don't…what?" Lucius Malfoy ground out from between clenched teeth. Draco shut his eyes to keep the tears of nervousness and pure fright from spilling out. It would be so much easier to follow along and do whatever his father said. But he had thought and had come to an unhappy conclusion. He could not just follow his father's lead for his entire life. At some point, he would have to make a choice on what he wanted his life to be. And surely it would be easier sooner than later.
"I don't plan to be initiated. Ever. That's not the life I want. I don't want to be a Death Eater."
Narcissa let out a choked sob and turned further away. Lucius didn't move. His hard eyes bore into his son's, until Draco couldn't bear it any longer and had to look away.
"I see I will not be able to change your mind," he said quietly.
"No," Draco agreed. He silently prayed that this would be the end, that something, anything, would happen. Would he be disowned? Banished from the house? Anything would be better than this terrible battle of wills between father and son.
"That's too bad. But…you never did measure up to my expectations of you." Lucius reached down beneath the table and produced his wand. He pointed it at Draco.
Draco couldn't move. His eyes were wide as he stared down the table. His father…his own father…pointing his wand at him. A wand that had killed and tortured so many people…now turned on the only heir to the Malfoy family. He wouldn't be disowned, or kicked out, or any of the things he had been imagining. It was worse, so much worse. His father was going to kill him.
They stood in the deadlock for a few moments, then Lucius raised his wand. He began the familiar motion and saying. "Avada Ke-"
"NO!" It was too much for Narcissa Malfoy. She could no longer stand by like the good pureblood wife she had been groomed to be. Her son's life was in imminent danger, and she could not control her maternal instincts. The terrible green light was just emerging from her husband's wand, but she produced her own wand quickly. "Cessero!"
Clear blue sparkles flowed from her wand, covering the vicious curse as it collided with her son.
Draco was knocked backward by the dual impact and found himself in a haze as he lay on the floor. He could vaguely hear things around him, a shout of "Damn it, woman!", a slap, a scream, sobbing, but it was distorted as though his head was underwater. In the same way, his eyes blurred until he could no longer see the long green dragon painted on the ceiling. He drifted slowly out of consciousness, blissfully unaware of the row that continued at the other end of the dining room.
Light displaced by fog shone lightly on Draco's closed eyes. The loud sound of a car speeding by woke him. He sat up quickly and looked around in a mad panic. He was lying next to a tall brick building, and there was no one else as far as he could see. He blinked a few times in confusion, then realized there was something in his hand. He held up his clenched fist and, with some effort, unclenched it. It was a scrap of paper. There was an address written on it.