Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. Not making any money, just having fun.
Note: I'm running out of ways to thank my beta, Eilonwy, for being awesome. Seriously! Chapter title comes from a song I've actually never heard, but I read the words. It's called "Father" by Yellowcard. I think it's probably pretty awesome.
General Reminder: These are deleted scenes from the story "We Learned the Sea." If you haven't read it, these won't make any sense. You can find that story under my profile page. Also, these scenes weren't actually deleted from the story; they're more like extra scenes. Enjoy!
Tower Over Me
Father I will always be
That same boy that stood by the sea
And watched you tower over me
"M-Malfoy," came a startled voice.
Draco smirked. "Rogerson." They clasped hands, though Draco's companion appeared nervous.
"What brings you to Lancaster?"
"Business, of course," Draco replied, sounding bored. He glanced around the room taking in the dustiness, dinginess, and general disorder. "You received my message, did you not?"
The other man's eyes widened. "I, uh, er, well, no, I got no message from you."
Draco frowned. "Who was here two days ago?"
Draco nodded. "The letter was due to arrive then. It would seem he did not pass its contents on to you."
Rogerson looked both relieved—the fault did not lie on his shoulders—and more concerned. There was no telling what Draco wanted.
"I am expecting my father here any day," Draco said, picking up a bottle of firewhiskey. "Have you heard from him?" It was generally frowned upon to drink while on duty for the Dark Lord and Draco saw Rogerson's eyes dart to the bottle.
"L-Lucius?" he stuttered.
Draco stared hard at the man. "Yes," he hissed, slamming the bottle back onto the table. "My father. Are you having difficulty hearing, Rogerson?" He quirked an eyebrow. "Well?"
"N-no, sir. Lucius was here just yesterday, but he's gone by now."
Draco huffed, annoyed. "Bugger. Where did he go?"
"You do know, Rogerson," said Draco, dangerously calm. "And it would do you well to remember."
"I'm under strict orders not to reveal that—"
"And I," said Draco angrily, his eyes blazing, "am under strict orders to find him. Do you question me?"
"No, not at all, sir, of course not. I—"
"Good. Now. Where did my father go?"
"I don't know—"
Draco growled and grabbed the man around the neck, throwing him against the wall.
"B-but he's due in Dorchester tomorrow," said Rogerson, trying to pry Draco's hands from around his neck.
"The usual place."
"The Stone Inn?" Draco spat, tightening the clamp around Rogerson's throat."
"Yes," he choked out.
"Forty-seven. Th-The usual wards and passcode."
Draco squeezed tighter, glaring daggers at the man for a few seconds before letting him go. Rogerson fell to the floor, whimpering and gasping deep breaths.
"Good. Your Master will be pleased."
Draco turned and swept toward the door.
"Wait," called Rogerson in a strained voice.
Draco stopped and spun around. "What?" he asked impatiently. "I haven't got all day."
"He's looking for you," said Rogerson, a dark gleam in his eye.
"Lucius. He's gone a bit mad, they say. Unstable. The talk is he wants you dead."
Draco paused and narrowed his eyes. "Who is talking?"
Rogerson stood and shrugged. "People talk, is all. I know you're one of the Dark Lord's favorites. If it was found out I had knowledge I didn't share, and you ended up dead, I'd be in a lot of trouble." Slowly a grin spread across his face.
Draco scowled. "Your loyalty appears…highly situational. I assure you, he will not be the one to kill me, and he knows it."
"But he's got more strength and skill than anyone I've ever seen! Save the Dark Lord, of course."
"My father's…predicament may provide him strength, but it cannot give him knowledge and skill he did not already possess. However, your concern for me will not be forgotten." With that Draco stormed out of the room.
He Apparated to the abandoned shack where he and Harry were staying.
"Well?" Harry asked, standing from the fire when Draco appeared.
Draco took off his outer robe and slung it over the back of a chair. "He's going to Dorchester. He'll be there tomorrow, at six in the evening."
Harry nodded. "So what now?"
"We go to Dorchester. Now."
They found a run-down Muggle place to stay for the night. Draco paid for the room without a word to Harry. They deposited their few belongings in the room and went to find food, stopping in a seedy diner. They'd eaten whatever they could find quickly on their journey, doing their best to eat a healthful meal in order to keep up their strength. On occasion, however, they'd had to settle for less than he would have liked. Draco decided he would never complain about Harry's cooking again, should the opportunity arise.
Draco led Harry to a dimly lit corner booth. Once they'd ordered, Harry could wait no longer.
"What did you find out?" he blurted out.
"I told you," Draco replied tersely.
"Well, then what else happened? Surely the conversation comprised more than exchanging that little information." He sipped his water. "Besides, you're awfully edgy."
Draco shut his eyes and rubbed his forehead. "It seems as though my father wants me dead. So while we are looking for him, he is looking for me. To kill me. The irony is simply delicious," he spat.
"Why does he want to kill you?" Harry asked.
"I have no idea. I think—Rogerson believed—he's slightly mad. No one truly knows the effects of a Horcrux being housed in a human being. Based on what happened with Ginny in second year—the diary changed its objective and went after you—it is reasonable to believe that the piece of the Dark Lord's soul residing within Lucius has affected him. Changed him.
"Lucius likely feels as though he is the Dark Lord, in part. And so he feels he can make his own rules, make his own demands. And if Lucius doubted me, even for an instant before taking on the Horcrux, then perhaps his paranoia was amplified and he now fully believes I have turned. If he has mistrusted me for months, as I now believe, the Horcrux likely intensified that distrust and emboldened him at the same time."
Draco sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Maybe. It's all just speculation, isn't it. Though I do not doubt that he would attempt to kill me without permission from the Dark Lord."
Harry let out a sharp breath. "What do we do?"
Draco looked at him and frowned. "About what?"
"Well, how does this change things? How does this affect our plans?"
"But—he could kill you."
"He can try. But he knows I have the upper hand."
"Draco, he's got Voldemort's soul in him."
"Yes, and as I told Rogerson, it doesn't automatically endow him with all of the Dark Lord's skills and knowledge. He will likely be stronger, but that is it. More reckless then usual, and therefore very likely more prone to mistakes as well. And I am still better than he is."
Harry shook his head. "If you're sure you want to continue…"
"Yes," Draco replied firmly. "Hurry and eat. We must rest; tomorrow is an important day."
"Yeah…about that," said Harry, avoiding looking at Draco. "Uhm…how is all that working? For you…" he trailed off as Draco's eyes became angry.
Draco said nothing, but he couldn't eat either. He stared at his plate, silently seething, not really knowing why he was so upset. He was being irrational, he knew, but…
"I mean, I just want to say…I know he's your dad and all, so…if you, you know, wanted to—"
Draco glared at Harry, and set his fork down hard on his plate. Then he looked for the waitress and signaled her over. "Here," he said, handing her a hundred-pound note. "Keep the change."
Her eyes widened, but she only nodded and left the table. Draco stood and left the diner, Harry hurrying after him.
When they arrived at the hotel, Draco said nothing, just stormed up the stairs toward their room. He slammed the door behind him and strode angrily into the room. Harry came in after him.
"Malfoy, will you wait a second?"
He glared at Harry, but said nothing.
"Draco – "
"What? What do you want?"
"I – well, if you want to talk about it…" Harry's voice trailed off at the look of violence in Draco's eyes.
"Do I have a bloody lion on my forehead or something? Something to make you think I'm one of you lot? I don't talk. I don't want to open up, tell you how I'm feeling." He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "None of that rubbish. I – I want to be left alone."
"Okay, okay, I get it. You don't want to talk to me."
Draco sat on the edge of the bed and let his head drop into his hands. Harry stood awkwardly near the door still, looking at Draco's back.
"But would you talk to Hermione? If she were here?"
Draco turns around and gives him the look of death. "She… she's out of this time, she's… not here, she… no, I wouldn't talk to her." He paused. "I – I might. No. I wouldn't. I mean, what am I supposed to say?"
"He's your father."
"Yeah, I know. That's why you're asking me if I want to talk about it."
"It's not like he's some random person."
"I know what tomorrow is, Harry. I get it. But I don't need to talk, all right?" Draco said with extreme annoyance. He turned back around to face the wall, face away from Harry.
"You'd talk to her," Harry said.
"I don't know," Draco said. "It – it's not likely. She's in another world, she doesn't exist here. I have to do this, I can't think about her."
"I understand that."
"So it's pointless to ask if I would talk to her. I haven't ever before, even though she's offered. I could, I know I could. I might, I don't know. Okay? I…"
"Do you love her?"
He paused a long time before answering. "Ask me tomorrow."
Draco's eyes popped open and focused on what was directly in front of them: the ceiling. It was off-white, dirty, and it looked as though there had been some water damage above his bed. It took him a brief moment to remember where he was.
He shut his eyes tight and rubbed them, pushing them until it was almost painful and he saw nothing but bright flashes of color.
Today they would try and kill Lucius. His father. Draco knew it had to be done; they'd confirmed that he was indeed the Horcrux a few days ago, but… It didn't make it easy. It was…complicated.
Draco had never had a good relationship with his father. He'd once believed the man perfect, incapable of error, as most young boys think of their fathers. His father had demanded perfection from Draco, which he'd always tried his best to give.
He got the highest scores he possibly could, studying late into the night when his roommates thought he was asleep—he had a certain image to uphold as well. Hermione always bested him, except in Potions, but Draco knew that Snape had been terribly unfair in the class. Had things been truly equal, she likely would have scored higher than he in that class as well.
He'd joined the Quidditch team because his father thought 'a healthy dose of competition' would be good for him. He bought into his father's lies because he knew it was the easiest way. It took Draco a long time and a lot of pain to reach a point where he felt he could stand up for himself and when he finally had, Lucius had backpedaled so fast Draco almost laughed out loud. Lucius truly had never stood on his own either, Draco realized, and when he finally told his father he didn't need him, Lucius wasn't sure how to take it. So he'd sneered, and berated Draco, and tried to make him feel worthless again. But Draco had caught on to his act and refused to let Lucius' tactics work ever again.
Steve had told him that sometimes courage meant standing and fighting in a huge army, and that sometimes it meant standing and fighting alone. Draco had always felt very alone, but after meeting the Grangers, he felt as though a hole inside of him had been filled. The past two years had been the hardest yet most rewarding years of his life—he'd gained a true family. And Lucius barely noticed that his son was different.
Once, near the beginning, he'd seemed to notice a change.
"Draco," he'd said one evening after dinner.
"Our Master seems to believe you have been working to improve yourself as of late."
Draco merely nodded. "Is there something wrong with working to make myself more useful to my Lord?"
Lucius' lip curled. "Of course not," he said, his voice dripping with acid. "You've just never shown any interest in being anything but a bottom feeder before."
"I suppose you could say I have now fully embraced my choice. I'm no longer here because I am your son—I am here because I choose this. This is my life."
Lucius had said no more, and the meal resumed in silence.
The next day Draco had been promoted into the same rank as his father. Lucius always looked at him with suspicion from that moment on.
Narcissa had told him that Lucius was jealous, insecure. He was older and slower, and he knew it, though he would never admit it. Draco had the ability and the intelligence to surpass him one day, and Lucius feared that day would come soon.
Five months later, Lucius once again interrupted the silence at dinner. All through the meal, Draco had watched his father silently work himself into a rage and he'd made bets with himself on how long it would take for him to explode. He was so angry he was almost spitting his words, his face red and the veins on his neck throbbing.
"So," he snarled, setting his silverware on his plate loudly.
Narcissa calmly set hers down as well and folded her hands in her lap.
Draco continued eating and quirked an eyebrow.
"So," Lucius repeated, angrier and louder.
Draco sighed and dabbed the corner of his mouth with his napkin. "Was there something you wanted, Father?"
"If you were close enough, I would smack you for being so insolent!" Lucius hissed.
Draco leaned back in his chair and said nothing.
"So. The Dark Lord thinks you are the future. That you are worthy to be his second."
Draco merely shrugged and took a sip of his wine.
Lucius banged the table with his fist. "He is wrong!"
Draco looked at him then, piercingly. "I shall pass along your…opinion…to him first thing, Father."
Lucius stood and Narcissa let out a squeak. "You are a boy. I have been in his service for most of my life. I deserve that position more than you ever will."
Draco glanced at his mother who was staring straight ahead of her at the wall. "Apparently, the Dark Lord disagrees."
Lucius drew his wand.
"No!" cried Narcissa, now standing herself. She went to Lucius. "Please, don't do this. He's your son!"
"Perhaps you should remind him of that, Narcissa. He needs to learn to respect his superiors; he needs to be reminded of his place."
Draco slowly stood, feeling as though he had been moving toward this moment all of his life. He thought of Hermione—the last time he'd seen her, she'd been arranging a bouquet of brightly colored flowers from Harry in her flat. He thought of Steve and Jane—the three of them were supposed to install the hammock that weekend. And he was supposed to be watching over their daughter. He could not do something stupid.
Still, this moment had been long in coming, and despite his promise, despite all of his best intentions, this had to be done. And Draco was fairly certain he would come out the victor.
"Draco, sit down," said Narcissa firmly, eyes blazing.
"The usual rules?" Draco said.
Lucius sneered. "Of course. Only…I won't kill you."
"Likewise," Draco replied. Lucius swept from the room and Draco made to follow, but his mother stopped him.
"Draco, do not do this."
"Why not, Mother?" he asked, frustrated. "He is the one who needs to know who's better. Not me."
Draco scowled. "I won't hurt him," he said, and left the room without waiting for a response.
After it was over, Lucius grew more and more distant from his family. He tried to study too, to learn what Draco had learned, so he could defeat him.
Meals were long, silent staring contests; Draco never saw his father outside of Death Eater meetings. The tension at home became more than Draco felt he should have to bear, and he moved out, to Narcissa's dismay.
"But where will you go? Whatever will you do?" she'd asked him.
"I'll manage," he'd said. She had no idea that he'd been practically living at his small house at the Edge for over eight months; he only came around the Manor for meals because it meant something to her. And so without a word to his father, he completely moved into the house he'd build near the edge of a cliff.
Draco sighed and rolled onto his side. The wallpaper was peeling along the edges, revealing yellowed walls.
He wouldn't miss his father, but he still had a hard time knowing he would be responsible in some part for his death. Whatever Lucius had been, whatever their relationship, he was still his father, the man who had given him life, taught him to ride a broom, gave him his first wand. Those were the few truly good memories of his father he had. He'd also taught him about blood, and fear, and hate, and had spent far more time and energy on instilling in Draco the need for power and never letting someone control him.
A strong desire to see Hermione flooded through him and he tried to picture her in his mind. An image materialized of her sitting on the porch swing with Harry, laughing and talking.
She was what kept him going in the moments he thought about giving up. She would never understand why he didn't do everything possible to complete his mission, to rid the world of the most evil creature in recent memory. The thought of telling her, of seeing her face, so precious to him, when he told her he'd failed was what he drew on when he was at his breaking point.
He wanted to be strong for her. He'd come so far since the beginning, but in the end, it had become really hard. He'd been tempted in his moments closest to despair to simply take her away and hide with her, to keep her safe forever. But he knew she'd never forgive him for it.
Today—today—his father would die. And Draco missed Hermione more than he ever had at that moment. He wanted to envelop her, to wrap himself up in her, to get lost in her.
Harry stirred and, not ready to deal with the world, Draco got up and went for a shower. The hot water felt good on his tight muscles; he'd been in a constant state of tension for nearly three days straight.
When he got out, Harry was looking at a drawing of the layout of the Stone Inn.
"Room forty-seven, you said?" Harry asked, not looking up.
Good, Draco thought. Harry wasn't going to try to make him talk.
"What is the usual protocol for these meetings?"
Draco joined Harry at the table. "Room forty-seven is a suite. There is an outer room and a bedroom with an office in it. Lucius will likely take one person into the actual meeting room with him. He's been keeping a steady contingent of three to four Death Eaters with him. That means two or three will be in the room just outside of the bedroom."
"Right. Those are for me."
Draco nodded. "We'll go over there now. The man my father is meeting should already be in his room. We'll get the information we need about the meeting, and adjust our plans accordingly."
Room forty-seven was indeed occupied. Draco knocked and after exchanging the passcodes, the door opened.
It was Blaise Zabini. Draco blinked but made no further reaction.
"Draco!" Blaise said, grinning brightly.
"Blaise," he returned flatly. He sighed heavily.
"What brings you to the Stone Inn?" Blaise asked. Draco noticed that the other man wasn't opening the door for him.
"Business, of course," he replied. "May I?"
"Oh, well, actually Draco, this isn't a good time."
Draco smirked and made to peek around Blaise. Then he leaned in to whisper. "Have you got, uh, company?"
"Because you know how the Dark Lord feels about using his time for…other pursuits."
Blaise quickly shook his head and opened wide the door. "No, of course not. I—I'm just…getting ready for something."
Draco walked into the room and glanced around. "Are you alone?" he asked.
"Yeah," said Blaise, settling into a large chair. "I've got a meeting tonight."
"That's too bad," said Draco. He turned to one side and quickly drew his wand. "Stupefy!" Blaise slumped over in the chair.
Draco went to the door and sent out a few green sparks. Harry appeared a moment later and Draco let him into the room.
Without a word, they went to the chair where Blaise sat. Harry pulled a vial of colorless liquid from his robes while Draco moved Blaise and tilted his head back, opening his mouth. Harry then took a few drops and placed them on Blaise's tongue, and stowed the bottle back in his robe.
"Ready?" Draco asked. Harry nodded. "Ennervate."
Blaise's eyes popped open, but they were hazy; a side effect of the Truth serum.
"What is your name?" Draco asked. Harry settled onto the sofa.
"What are you doing here?"
"Waiting for a meet."
"When is the meet to take place?"
"Tonight. Five o'clock."
Draco looked at Harry, whose eyes had gone wide. Roberson had told them six. "Whom are you meeting?"
"Where are the details of the meeting?"
"In the desk in the bedroom, top drawer on the right, behind a false drawer back."
Harry stood and went to retrieve the papers.
"What is the meeting about?" Draco continued.
"Lucius is looking for someone. He believes he has found him finally and is seeking for people to help him kill the man."
Draco's breath hitched and his heart started pounding. What did it mean? Was it possible his father had found him? How? Draco broke into a sweat. Was Hermione in danger?
Harry returned then, carrying a few sheets of parchment. "It's all in code, of course," he said, sifting through the pages as he walked further into the room. When Draco made no response, he looked up. "Um, Draco? You okay? You're looking significantly paler than usual, which is saying something."
Draco glared at Harry briefly then turned back to Blaise. "Where does Lucius think his son is?"
"He believes he's tracked him to a safehouse in Glasgow."
Draco shut his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. He looked at Harry. "Lucius thinks he's found me."
"Zabini. Is there anything besides what is in the papers that pertains to the meeting later today?"
"Lucius is bringing his closest advisor."
"And…who is that?" Draco asked.
Draco chuckled. It must have been a sign of his father's increasing retreat from sanity that made him select Crabbe as an advisor.
"Why does Lucius want Draco dead?" Harry asked.
"He thinks he's a traitor to the Dark Lord."
"What evidence does he have against his son?" Harry continued, despite Draco's questioning looks.
"Nothing specific, just a feeling. And he believes he'd been Obliviated; he's had a few flashes of a night he cannot remember."
Draco peered into Zabini's eyes—they were still glassy, still unfocused. "When did he start having these…flashes?" Draco asked.
"I don't know."
Draco nodded and looked at Harry. "Probably after being inhabited by the Dark Lord's soul. It is simply not possible my Obliviation spell failed."
"Are you sure?" Harry asked, handing Draco the parchments.
He accepted them. "Yes. If he'd had these flashes earlier, he would have gone to the Dark Lord straightaway. The Horcrux has…affected him, in more ways than one. He's more arrogant, more foolhardy. He's decided to take this matter—me—into his own hands. Because it's personal. Before, he never would have acted with the Dark Lord's consent."
Draco muttered a password and words began to appear on the parchment. He read through them and handed them off to Harry when he finished.
"Now it would seem we wait."
At quarter to four, Draco and Harry moved Blaise into the bedroom and put him in the bathroom. Then Harry left the hotel room completely; he would come in behind the Death Eaters and wait until Lucius and his advisor went into the second room.
Draco waited, alternating between fear, resignation, and anxiety for the entire hour until five approached. At ten to five, he went through a mental check of all the things that might go wrong. He'd cast a spell strong enough to stun all five of the people expected, just in case Lucius brings them all in with him. Then he would revive his father and have a little chat while they waited for Harry.
With three minutes remaining until five, Draco heard the outer door open and people filed into the room. He counted a total of six, his father and Crabbe Senior included. With the aid of an Extendable Ear, he listened as orders were barked; Lucius and Crabbe would speak with Zabini, the others would remain in the sitting room.
A moment later there was a knock.
"Enter," said Draco, feeling his stomach churning. He was tucked in a corner of the room so as not to be seen immediately by those who entered; he had a full view of the door.
Lucius entered first, followed by Crabbe. Lucius looked around the room.
"Zabini," he called, while Crabbe closed the door.
"Stupefy," Draco whispered. Crabbe and Lucius started to fall, but Draco stopped them so as not to alarm those in the other room. Gently he lowered them to the floor and then moved Crabbe into the bathroom with Zabini, removing his wand.
When he had finished he went to retrieve his father's wand, only to find Lucius stirring. Draco muttered a quick Disarming spell and Lucius' wand flew into his hand.
Draco approached his father, wand drawn.
Without opening his eyes, Lucius slowly smiled. "Draco, Draco," he said in a superior tone. "I might have guessed I'd find you here." Quick as a flash, Lucius rolled away and stood up, glaring at Draco.
Lucius checked his pockets and found his wand missing. "So. Here we are at last."
"I heard you're trying to kill me."
Lucius shrugged. "I may be, I may not be…"
"When will you learn, Father, that I am—"
"Better than I? Is that what you would say?" Lucius laughed maniacally. It scared Draco slightly. "Oh, son! At one time, that may have been true, but now…now I am so much more than you."
"I know exactly what you are," Draco said evenly.
Lucius quirked an eyebrow. "Is that so? Tell me how you think this is going to go, Draco. Who do you believe will walk out of this room alive?"
He was trying to bait him and Draco knew it. "Anything you'd like me to tell Mother?"
Lucius laughed again. "You're going to kill me? You? You don't have it in you, boy. You are so weak. You've got everyone fooled, even the Dark Lord, but I know the truth. I know you're pathetic, and insignificant, and weak."
"I'm stronger than you," Draco said, annoyed that he was letting himself get angry. "Do I need to prove it again?"
That seemed to be exactly what Lucius wanted. His eyes flashed and he sneered. "I would like nothing more."
Draco refused to let his father get to him. He forced himself to think about Hermione.
"Tell me, son. Whom are you working for? Surely not the Ministry; my guess is you've gone rogue. You still pretend to work for your Master, but you've got something going on the side."
There was no point, really, in not telling the truth. Part of Draco wanted to tell his father everything, tell him that he knew all about his role in the Dark Lord's plans, that he was smarter than all of them. He wanted Lucius to know just what his son had done, what he would do, to bring down the Dark Lord.
But such thoughts were counter-productive. He needed to stay focused, something he'd always had trouble with where his father was concerned. Where was Harry, anyway?
Draco approached Lucius, wand still trained on him. "Guess what, Father? I'm not going to kill you."
Lucius smirked. "Oh? What, pray tell, do you have in mind then?"
"Oh, you're going to die today. Just not by my hand."
Lucius laughed again. "You're such a bloody coward,Draco. Ever since the beginning. You were never truly cut out for this life."
"And yet you wanted me here more than anything," Draco hissed. "You bred me for this, conditioned me for this life. When I fail, you call me a coward. When I prove to be better than you, you resent me and plot to kill me. It's a no-win; how could I ever have hoped to please you?"
"You should have pleased yourself," Lucius snarled.
"Selfish to the end, aren't you?" Draco said, the anger dissipated. His father, this man, was truly someone he'd never known. Their characters had diverged long ago, the similarities ending. At the same age, they'd both been given a choice. Lucius chose the Dark side, and embraced it with all he had. Draco had reluctantly taken the only way out that he saw, which happened to be the same side as his father. Only while Lucius thrived, learning Dark magic, hurting, torturing, killing people, it had had the opposite affect on Draco.
"I want you to kill me," Lucius said, his eyes blazing. "I want you to have to live with what you've done for the rest of your life."
Draco shook his head. "No. I promised her. I have done enough already to haunt me the rest of my life. I don't need to add your blood to my hands."
His father narrowed his eyes. "You promised her? Who, Draco? Your mother? If I find out she has betrayed me…"
"No, not Mother." Draco chuckled, amused at his train of thought. "Guess what, Father. I'm in love."
Lucius eyes widened and Draco relished in knowing he'd taken his father by surprise. Then his eyes narrowed even further. "Who—or should I say what—would ever have you?"
"Hermione Granger, actually. You remember her, right Father?"
Lucius was livid. "That—that Mud—"
"No!" Draco yelled. "You will not call her that."
"Mudblood!" Lucius screamed. Draco heard sounds coming from the outer room and could only hope it was Harry. He kept his wand pointed at Lucius' heart.
"I love her, Father. I only wish you were going to be around to see it."
He clenched his jaw. "No. You will not…ever…be with a Mudblood."
"There's nothing you can do about it." Someone pounded on the door.
"Get in here, you fools!" shouted Lucius.
The door opened and Draco risked a glance—it was Harry.
Lucius' eyes widened. "P-Potter?"
Draco grinned. "Good of you to join us, Harry."
"Sorry, got caught up out there."
Lucius looked between them and then finally—finally—looked shaken. He stared at Draco. "You—you went to the Order?" he asked, incredulous. Apparently the idea that Draco had completely turned had never occurred to him.
"No. Just Potter."
Lucius didn't remain flustered for long. He sneered. "So. Potter is going to do your dirty work now? Really, son. I expected…better from you."
"Merlin, he's annoying," said Harry. "Shall we get this over with then?"
"I—" started Lucius.
"Sounds good to me," said Draco. "Seriously, Father. Anything you wish to say to Mum?"
"This isn't over, Draco."
"That's true. It is over for you, however."
"You know, Draco. I've never done this before."
"That's true," he replied. "Think you can handle it?"
"I dunno. Any pointers?"
"You're got to really want it."
Harry chuckled. "Yes, I think we've covered that part." He turned to Lucius. "Not kidding. Last change for last words." Harry lifted his wand and pointed it at the man.
Lucius was afraid then and Draco felt sad and triumphant at the same time. It was a sick kind of triumph—that Lucius was afraid to die, where Draco had never really been. He didn't want to die, but every time he'd faced another wandpoint, every time he thought he'd finally been caught by the Ministry, he'd never been afraid. Regretful, yes; scared, no.
Lucius looked at his son. "Draco. We can talk about this. I—I'm sorry I wanted to kill you. I—"
"Save it," said Draco. And the moment had finally come. Dread rushed through him and he felt slightly weak. He'd seen people killed countless times, but seeing his own father—no matter their history, no matter the angry feelings between them—it was going to hurt, he knew it. He could tell.
And he was angry. "What do you want me to tell Mum?" he spat, eyes narrowed.
Lucius seemed to consider the question for a moment. "Tell her…tell her we failed. That her son was useless after all. That he didn't appreciate the things we did for him, the things we gave him. He is ungrateful, spiteful, and arrogant." He looked into Draco's eyes. "You have always been her greatest source of pain."
Draco said nothing. He knew it wasn't true, he knew it wasn't true. It couldn't be. He was just trying to hurt him any way he could. Casting one final glare at his father, Draco stormed from the room.
He slammed the door behind him and immediately crumpled to the ground in a heap. Leaning his head against the door, he listened. There was movement, and Lucius pleading with Harry.
After only a few moments that stretched for eternity in Draco's mind, he heard Harry mutter "Aveda Kedavra." Softly, too softly to be effective, Draco thought. His mind screamed. No, Harry, you've messed it up, you have to really mean it!
The door opened and Draco had to catch himself to keep from falling into the room.
"It's done," said Harry quietly.
Draco stood, feeling as though at any moment he would collapse, his knees too weak to support him, and cautiously entered the room. Lucius was dead.
Draco shut his eyes tight and squeezed until he saw stars. When he opened them, his father was still dead. He fell to his knees, tears welling in his eyes. He refused to cry over his father! He had told himself over and over he would never cry on account of him, but there it was. There they were, hot tears of regret and relief.
Harry put a hand on Draco's shoulder. "Let's go, mate. We've got work to do."
Draco stood in a daze. He and Harry had agreed to make it appear as though the Order had raided and taken Lucius prisoner. The other Death Eaters would be Obliviated and their memories modified; they would remember Lucius going into the second room, but nothing beyond that. Crabbe wouldn't remember Draco.
Harry would leave behind a message from the Order regarding Lucius. It was very important that the Dark Lord believe Lucius still alive, or he might create a new Horcrux before Harry and Draco could get to him.
Draco didn't realize he'd been staring at nothing, completely zoned out, until Harry called his name.
"Malfoy! Hey, I need your help. Hold together just a bit longer."
Draco shook his head. "Sorry."
They set about their task, each working silently and efficiently. As he worked, Draco's head cleared. He knew that Lucius had had to die, he'd known it for weeks. He'd told himself from the very beginning that his father's death was a possibility.
He missed Hermione, he realized suddenly. The hardest part of the mission was over for him, emotionally, at least. All that remained was the physical act of finding the Dark Lord and getting Harry in front of him. Part of him wanted to collapse into Hermione's strength, to let her hold him up for even just a moment. He'd never wanted to lean on her before, thinking he would crush her, but right then, he knew he needed her.
He would keep going, of that there was no doubt. But he relished seeing her again. As the weeks passed since she had confronted him and then kissed him, his desire to return to her had grown enormously.
Harry came out of the other room. "All done," he said.
Draco nodded. "Me too."
Their eyes met. "Let's go."
A/N: Well, that's all of them! I truly hoped you liked them, that they added something to the story. Background. Insight. Something. A few of the scenes were challenging to write – this one and the Office scene – but I'm glad I did.
Thank you, again, for all the wonderful reviews and comments about We Learned the Sea. It's been an amazing ride, and I'm sad to see it end. But at the same time, I'm excited about moving on to other things. In the Harry Potter fanfiction world, I mean. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon – for good or ill!
I am truly thankful to those who've taken the time to review. Before I started posting, I didn't fully understand and appreciate the value of reviewing. I most certainly do now! With that, I bid you all happy reading!