Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark violation is intended.
Added note/disclaimer: I also use quotes from other places. If you find a quote that wasn't cited, please notify me. Especially in this story as it has lot of the quotes, and I can't remember who said them or where I found them…
"What if you slept?
And what if in your sleep, you dreamed?
And what if in your dream, you went to heaven
and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower?
And what if, when you woke, you had the flower in your hand?"
The Road Back
"The Wizengammot has decided to sentence Lucius Malfoy to Azkaban for exactly thirteen years. After thirteen years, he will be sentenced for life in the psychiatric ward for the criminally insane at St. Mungo's hospital," Hermione announced. "It is a compromise between those of us who believe that Lucius Malfoy deserves the sentence in Azkaban for coolly plotting the demise of several of high standing members of our society and those who support the plea made on the behalf of Lucius Malfoy as a criminally insane man."
Hermione could see the mixed reactions. The psychiatric ward was a new thing, which she herself had planted in St. Mungo's, saying that the Wizarding world needed more than just the ability to heal the physical wounds of its world – it also needed to understand the minds (and the mental state) of its members. She built it with the hope that it would prevent another Voldemort from rising to power, as she had passed the laws that clearly stated that the educational system needed to have their private counselor, a trained psychologist. Hermione wondered briefly if Draco would like to go back to Hogwarts to help it heal the minds of those who were mentally disturbed. She could recommend him herself as she'd seen him fix Harry.
"Is there anything anyone would like to say on Lucius Malfoy's behalf?"
Lucius Malfoy himself looked up.
Hermione nodded, wondering what he would say.
"I do not know anyone who would plead on my behalf," Lucius Malfoy said slowly. "I am aware that many, if not all here either hate me or pity me and I do not make the mistake in thinking they would go so far to have me committed to the insanity ward instead of Azkaban. Tell me, who in this world would make such a plea?"
"The same person who gave us the evidence against you," Hermione said simply.
"And who was that?" Lucius asked.
Ron looked surprised. "Why, your son, of course."
"I have no son," said Lucius Malfoy. Hermione and Ron looked at each other. Ron began to ask what he meant, but he did not have to because Lucius Malfoy continued, "I remember a young boy, with hair so fine, it resembled threads of silver. He had eyes that matched my own – except they had stolen some of the moon's light. He called himself my son. Narcissa called him Draco. I thought him my son, but he was not my son."
The whole of the hall fell silent, hushed in its shock.
Lucius continued, almost talking to himself, "No… he was my son, but he is no longer my son. My son is dead. He died nine years ago. He died on some idiotic thought that he could save Harry Potter. So, no, my son could not have pleaded on my behalf – he could not have given you the evidence… although…" Lucius paused. "There was always something strange about that child Draco. Something odd in the way he could touch a bird's broken wing and only to have it unbroken when he opened his hands to let it fly away. I remember he put his hands on a House-elf once, it was dying from an 'unnecessary vicious kick', he claimed, glaring at me with those self-righteous eyes. It healed under his hands. Draco had the strangest eyes, they were the same color as mine, yet he seemed to have stolen the light of heaven and would glare with it, passing judgment on us, weary, petty mortals." Lucius laughed, suddenly. "Narcissa once claimed that Draco's friend had the strangest notion that Draco was hiding a pair of angel's wings. Perhaps he was. Nonetheless, he died for that idiot Harry Potter." Lucius looked up at Hermione. "I killed him, you see. He stood in front of me and glared at me with those damnable eyes. He claimed I had lost all reason, to at least claim some of it – to be logical. The Dark Lord Voldemort would fall – killing Potter would not make any difference. He was in my way. I killed him. I remember – he is dead. He must be dead…" Lucius frowned. "And yet… he watches me still. Those eyes of his – I know them. He judges all of us mortals, so petty and finds us unworthy…"
Hermione was staring at Lucius Malfoy. And now – now she remembered that night.
"Harry!" she screamed, trying to reach him before Lucius Malfoy could utter that curse.
"No, you can't!" Ron yelled at her, running next to her. He was crying, but he didn't seem to notice it.
She ran, as fast as she could – but suddenly – suddenly Draco Malfoy was standing in front of his father, his wand blazing in his hand like a fallen star he'd caught from the sky before it hit the ground
"No," she heard him say. "You can't do this, Father. Mother didn't want this world! She wanted him to win!"
"She will be proud of me – the one who killed the boy who would kill the Dark Lord!"
"She would be ashamed," Draco said fiercely. "She was a spy for them! How do you think they knew where to go? Are you so blind! See reason, Father – please, find the logic left in your mind! Mother wouldn't want you to do this."
Hermione watched, open-mouthed, amazed. She turned to Ron, but Ron had seen his sister and gone running to her side. Ginny was dead, lying fallen against the floor, her bright red hair clashing against the black-green of the grass.
She turned back to the two Malfoys.
"Father, I'm begging you, please, don't do this!"
"I must, Draco. It is for your own good. Now, move out of the way, you foolish boy!"
"No!" Draco said fiercely. In his hands, the wand became even brighter. He was casting a spell – an ancient one, but she didn't know it. She had to reach them, Hermione thought frantically.
"Your sacrifice will be for naught! They will never honor you for falling."
"I don't care! I knew what I was doing when I agreed to become their spy, Father. Maybe they will never know what I have done, but I will know. That's all that matters."
"They will remember the way you betrayed your own friends, how you allowed the war to enter your school."
"I know what I'm doing," Draco said.
"Move!" said Lucius yet again.
He doesn't want to kill him, Hermione thought as she watched Lucius shoving Draco out of the way. Yet, Draco moved in front of his father as those fatal words left his mouth. Draco cried out, and his wand – his wand lit up so brightly it resembled a sun. In for a moment, she saw him – he was suspended, and then, he crumpled to the floor – no, he was just… gone…
She looked there, and realized that he was not gone, he had crumpled to the floor, a broken angel, his pale blonde hair visible against the darkness.
"Draco!" Lucius said, dropping to his knees, reaching out to touch his son. She stared, watching as Lucius Malfoy's mind shattered completely. She turned away, running to help Harry – he'd fallen – and Voldemort – Voldemort was dead. When she came back, there was nothing left, but a broken wand…
"Oh my God," Hermione breathed. "But how – no one except – I need to go."
"Hermione!" Ron said, but she was already out the door, moving so quickly, no one had the time to stop her.
She ran out of the Ministry building, heading – hoping to find Draco.
"Draco!" she cried, when she spotted that hair. He turned and several other people did. They parted until she reached him.
"Lovers, perhaps," someone said, looking at them.
"Lucky her… did you see him? What a face!"
But she ignored the comments.
"Hermione," he said, simply. Draco's gray eyes looked into hers, searching her face. "Come, walk with me," he said.
They walked in silence until finally Hermione said, "How?"
"I was wondering when my father would mention that he killed me," Draco said.
"That's all you can say?" Hermione asked him. "I don't understand!"
"You have a brilliant mind, Hermione. I know you watched as my father killed me," Draco said.
"How can this be?" Hermione asked him. "You're real – other people see you – you have a history – and yet… how can you be… dead?"
"Am I?" asked Draco. "Am I really dead, or am I alive and a madman claims that I am dead."
"I saw you die!"
"So I've been told," said Draco. "But people only see what they want to see, Hermione."
Hermione opened her mouth to speak, but Draco shook his head. He stopped and she stopped. "I was hoping you would find me," he said finally. "I'm leaving."
"What do you mean?" Hermione asked.
"My time's up," Draco said simply. "I've given all I have; I've done all that I could do. It's time for me to move on. I have wondered what it is like to gain peace. Ginevra never feared death, you know. She claimed it was just another stage of being." He smiled gently at her. "I have something. I want you to give this to Harry."
Hermione watched as Draco lifted his right hand and pulled off the heavy onyx ring from his hand.
"It's the Malfoy ring. This is ancient magick," Draco said. "Because not all Malfoys were male and so, the ring could only be passed on willingly to the heir or the heiress, as it was. The magick of it is that it grants whoever holds it, provided it was given freely or taken by blood and conquest, gains the Malfoy estates and magick. They will become the new Malfoy."
"What does this have anything to do with –?"
Draco smiled at Hermione. "I want you to give to Harry." He pressed the warm ring into the palm of hand, closing her fingers around it. "And take this. My life – from the day I was given this journal, to the day Voldemort fell."
She watched numbly as he slipped the book into her purse.
"Take care of him for me," Draco said.
Hermione opened her mouth to demand answers – to tell him that he couldn't just leave like that.
But Draco stepped off the curb and Hermione saw the car, speeding toward him. It wasn't going to stop in time. She opened her mouth to scream a warning, as the people around her realized what would happen and several people cried out a warning. She would always remember the smell of the tires – the sound of the brakes suddenly being slammed. Yet, when they looked, Draco was not there. There was no sign of his having ever been there. She stared at the place where Draco should be – where he had to have been, because there had been no crack to signal his leaving, never noticing the single white feather that floated to land at her feet – she was far too busy staring, trying to comprehend how Draco could have disappeared.
"Avada Kedavra," Lucius Malfoy said and Draco crumpled to the floor.
Hermione stared, uncomprehending at the empty space where the car should have hit Draco and killed him. But it hadn't because Draco was already dead… or was he alive?
She suddenly felt the warming ring in the palm of her hand, the only proof that – that what? What had she been thinking – she had known something… someone… She looked down at the ring in her hand, and felt a shiver because the ring was familiar… almost as if from a dream.
She frowned. Draco – no why would Malfoy be there? He was dead, wasn't he?
Hermione put a hand to her head, trying to clear it – trying to remember – something about Draco Malfoy...The ring warming in her hand was proof that he had been there and it wasn't a dream… or was it? She could not remember and she had no proof. Yet, for a moment, she almost heard – or perhaps she remembered in a long since forgotten dream, the echo of Draco Malfoy's voice in the wind, whispering to the world, "Goodbye."
A tortured soul
A wound unhealing
No regrets or promises
The past is gone
But you can still be free
If time will set you free
Time now to spread your wings
To take to flight
The life endeavor
Aim for the burning sun
You're trapped inside
But you can still be free
If time will set you free
But it's a long long way to go
Keep moving way up high
You see the light
It shines forever
Sail through the crimson skies
The purest light
The light that sets you free…
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge
A/N: As usual, this is my ending notes – and my explanation as to why I wrote the story to begin with. The question you should ask at the end of this is – was Draco an angel, a ghost, or was he a living and mortal (or immortal) human? Anyway, let me know what you think in a review. As for this story, I never planned for this story to have a sequel, and thus there will be no sequel. Usually, I allow people to convince me otherwise, but for this story, there can be no sequel. As for the quote, I don't know if makes sense. I knew what I was writing when I picked it. I wanted something else, but anything else gives too much away. Another thing, I guess I generally write what I think of a story at the end. This story was a challenge because it didn't follow my plan for it… at all…. For one thing, I don't think I got all the stages of grief – denial, anger, sorrow, acceptance, and that last one I can't remember now – the bargaining part, I think it was. Of course, it doesn't really matter, because ultimately, grief makes no sense to anyone but itself. Grief is something that cannot be touched or explained – it can only be felt. I hope that in this story I managed to catch some of it with Harry. Harry, as far as Draco was concerned, was stable enough to survive without him – it's why he left. The question, though – was he there and did he leave them behind with a spell that left no memory of him or was he never really there.
When I first sat down and plotted out this story, (this was, really, my third story, because, if you'll notice, I'm quite new in the world of fanfiction – compared to some who have been around since the very beginning), I wanted to write a ghost story in part. It was to be part love story, part ghost story, part tragedy, and I've long since forgotten what the last part was meant to be – something whimsical, I imagine. It did not end the way I had planned – in fact, I can safely say this story developed a life of its own and literally told itself. Despite what I wanted, in the end, it became more of a psychological story than it is an emotional story – than the story I wanted it to be... because you have to wonder if Draco was really there to begin with...
1. At the end, a part of Savage Garden's "You Can Still Be Free" – I don't know if it makes sense, but… I hope you understand why I chose it…
Shining Bright Eyes
Thank you for your reviews, for your patience, and for some of the encouraging things you said. Like I said, I'm relatively new in the world of fanfiction writing. This one was my third story. Honestly, I'm surprised at the amount of reviews I got for it. I certainly didn't expect to get this many. It's a lot less than my stories seem to get by the time I finish them, but I thought there'd be even less. For that, I'm grateful. You're welcomed to look around. Some of the grammar, especially in the stories from when I was first beginning to write, is awful in my opinion.
Keir Raizel the evil genius