Many thanks to Lilliputian722 and Bruce's Girl for beta work and title work. As always, J K Rowling owes the boys... I just play with them.
I sit on my cot in my cell here in the depths of Azkaban. The cold damp walls stealing what little warmth is left in me. I watch as the small puddle of water in the corner opposite the door grows steadily larger. It's grown larger every night that I've been down here.
My previous cell was in the tower, and I could see the icy grey seas that would, on occasion crash against the walls outside the buildings that comprised this prison.
It was freezing cold in my tower cell, the wind whistling as it forced its way past the wards on the bars of my window. I had no way to pass the time other than to stare out that small barred window to watch the ocean swirl with undisguised violence against the base of the prison walls. Sometimes I think I could almost feel the building shiver from their force.
In the darkness, they dragged me from my cold cell to force me into this small damp cell. I have only the light from the one small torch burning outside my cell door. Its flickering light illuminates only one small corner of my dank, little room. Perhaps, this is a good thing.
Tonight is no different than any other. I eat my meal and wait for the plate to vanish as it does every night after I finish. My meal is minimal, a smattering of some sort of stew with meat that I dare not even think about, mushy vegetables and a chunk of bread. At least the bread is decent, nothing like the warm crusty loaves that would come with my meals at the manor. I can only assume that I'm given enough food to survive, but not to grow strong or offer resistance to my jailers.
He comes to check on me. I hear his footsteps grow louder as he comes closer to my cell. He stops every ten paces, and I can only assume that he's checking the condition of the other poor souls in this horrid dungeon. I've heard no one speak in the week that I've been in this place.
"Yer still alive there, Malfoy," he shouts through the barred window of my door.
"Yes," I whisper. His very presence offends me. He's a vile man who has few wizarding skills. I know that because his magical signature is just a faint glimmer. I could hex him into tomorrow with one flick of my little finger if I were free of the prison's magical restraints.
He laughs and then I hear the sneer in his voice as he walks away. "It's wet out there tonight. Be glad yer inside mate."
Mate. I'm not his mate. I would rather rot in this hell hole than be his "mate."
I settle myself down for a long night. It wasn't that long ago that I had a home, a wife, a son, and Merlin… a life!
Then everything changed in a blink of an eye. Family name and money meant nothing. My wife exiled, my son under scrutiny, but free, and myself… well, I was sentenced to Azkaban for the remainder of my natural life. For once, hereditary longevity has become a curse.
I hear the slam of the door at the end of the hallway. It's eerily quiet down here. I hear nothing from my cellmates. Either a ward has been placed to prevent me from communicating with them, or to prevent me from hearing them.
I rise from my cot. I cannot place what causes my unease. The Dementors no longer guard Azkaban, so I do not fear the kiss. The wards are strong; I feel them vibrating against my inner core. I cannot say that this is the reason I'm so unsettled tonight. I should be used to them by now. It has been five long years now.
I pace the cell's length. Ten paces to the wall, and then ten paces back to the other. I do this ten times every night before I curl under the thin blankets and attempt to sleep. I avoid the puddle in the corner, but I misjudge and my foot slips on the slime-slickened floor and I stumble.
I place my hand against the wall and draw back in shock. The walls are weeping! No...I am only imagining that. I imagine many things now. But, this is real; water is seeping through the stones that make up the walls to my cell. I circle my small room, letting my fingers roam across their rough surface. It's cold and slick and soon, I feel the water seeping into my ragged boots; the cold, cold water making my feet tingle.
I sit down on my cot and pull my boots off carefully. Before I set them upon the small table that sits next to my cot, I pour the water out into the rising maelstrom inching higher as I watch. My feet are like ice and I pull them up underneath my tattered black robes. The water sounds louder now, and by the faint torchlight, I see the water swirling on the floor. If I were to move to the door, my feet would be covered by the freezing cold water steadily flooding my cell.
I wonder if the other prisoners are facing the same problem. I hear no sound from the cells lining the hallway. If their cells are filling with water as mine is, they suffer in silence as I do.
The water stops before it reaches my mattress. If I were to reach out, I would be able to touch the cold dark water filling my cell.
I sit in the faint light and wait for morning, hoping against hope that this is only a dream.
"Yer have visitors, Malfoy," the jailer yells. I startle from my half-sleep; jerking up from the metal bar of my cot that I have been leaning against. I stare groggily around my cell and suddenly it hits me… the water is gone! One small puddle in the corner remains from my night of cold, wet misery.
The door opens slowly and my son enters the room. He looks worried. I can see that he has lost weight, and his beautiful blond hair lies limply against his face. I fight the urge to run to him and pull him into my arms and hold him, as tight as I can, to feel his youth and warmth against my old weary body.
I have ruined every chance that I had with my boy.
I freeze, and not from the cold. Another man enters my cell. Harry Potter.
"What do you want?" I growl. I rise to face my enemy. He is the half-blood spawn that put me here. My lord would have ruled the world if not for this dark-haired demon.
He smiles at me and slips an arm around my son's waist. I rush him, wanting to pull him away from my boy, my beautiful, beautiful boy. My fingers are ready to rip his hands away from my son, to tear his smirking, hateful face into shreds.
"Father no!" my son, my beautiful Draco cries and steps in front of Potter. "Father," he whispers as he pulls me into a fierce hug. "He's with me. He said he would help you, help me, have you released."
I pull away, horrified that my son would throw his lot in with this bastard. Potter is nothing.
"I would…" and I stop, momentarily lost for words. Would I prefer to stay here in this damnable place? Or can I put aside my pride and let this man help my son, and help me? It's not hard to decide what to do, but it is oh so painful.
"Leave," I order, for I am the ruler of this small cell. "You are no longer my son. Leave me!" I scream, my voice cracking, my throat burning from lack of use. I glare at him, wishing that I could reach into his mind and tell him that I love him and I hate him all at the same time.
"Father, please…" Draco begs, throwing his arms around my shoulders. I feel the worry emanating from him, the fear that no Malfoy should ever show. My cheek is pressed against his neck. When has he gotten so tall?
Coldly, I push him away, already missing the smell of his youth and beauty. It is for the best. I would only taint the world and what life he has manufactured with that misbegotten bastard Potter, as he would taint me with his foolishness. How can it be that Potter is with him? Potter and my family have no love for each other. I faced this man in battle, throwing hexes and spells, waiting for my chance to take him for my lord and master.
He turns to Potter, who pulls him into a tight embrace. Potter's face is a hard mask, betraying none of his thoughts. I cannot see Draco's face; his lank hair covers what is working across his face. I want him to leave. I want him to have no part of my life now. The choices I've made would only befoul him. He is still my sweet innocent boy and though I have no power now, I will protect him as best I can.
Potter whispers to him, soft words that I cannot hear, but their meanings are clear. Soft words of comfort are what he murmurs into my son's ear. His hands move across my son's back and I can't help but cringe. What else has he done to my boy? Has he violated him? Turned him into his little fucktoy that he can use in all the perverted ways that men like him do? Is that what my beautiful boy has become? A spoil of war?
I turn away: my back my only armor against them. I only turn when I hear the locks on my door snick shut. I heave a deep sigh and rest my arm against the wall and lean upon it. I am so very, very tired. Draco is all I have left. I have no money, no home, no friends, and I feel that I'm losing my son. Potter is using him to get to me. I don't know why, but he isn't what he seems. I cannot delve into his mind, my magic is nothing now. I must warn my son. I owe him that. I must gather my thoughts and plan.
I don't know how many hours have passed, but I am stiff and cold. I straighten and begin my nightly ritual. Ten paces to the wall and ten paces back. I do this ritual ten times every night; it comforts me in some odd way. In mid-stride I stop, realizing that my feet are drenched. I hardly noticed because I need to find a way to warn Draco without alerting Potter.
Shivering, I pull off my boots and place them on the table beside my bed. They will be dry by morning. I curl up on my cot and decide that I must stay awake tonight. The water seems to rise faster tonight; it's already up to my mattress and I feel the cold dampness seeping through the thin material. I crawl atop the table next to my bed and place my boots on the shelf above my bed.
The water keeps rising; it laps against the edge of the table. Finally, it begins to slide over the table top. I stand and brace my hands against the ceiling. The darkness in my room is complete, except for the one small spot illuminated by the torchlight coming through the barred window of my cell. It rises higher, rising above the water mark from the night before. My teeth start to chatter. The water laps at my ankles and my robes are sodden against my legs. I can only steady myself between the ceiling and the table. I cannot feel my feet.
I wait, and I wait, and slowly after what seems an eternity of freezing blackness, the water starts to recede. Finally, I am able to climb down from my perch and stand upon the cold, slick floor of my cell. I twist my tattered robes to force the water from them. My feet are blue-white with cold. I step carefully with the hope of pushing the blood pounding in my legs back into my feet. The icy cold starts to fade only to be replaced with pain that I can't remember ever having before. I stagger; my feet are nothing but needles and stabbing pains.
My mattress is a sodden mess, so I sit on my bed table. My back rests against the cold, damp stone walls of my cell. Perhaps I can sleep for a bit. I am so very, very tired. Then it returns to me. The image of Harry Potter with his arm around my son. I will have to act soon, but I will have to be sly and cunning. Two things that I have never been in short supply. I will have the guard send an owl to Potter. I will tell him that I wish to talk to them. I listen to Potter's foolish words and that is all I will do. Listen. Keeping Draco safe is my only priority now. He is the last of the line and it must be continued or everything I have done will be for naught.
I despise Potter. I would kill him if I could. I should have done it years ago when he stole my house elf. But, I acted too slowly, not thinking that the elf would protect him. Ha. An elf protecting a wizard. Unthinkable. Unheard of. But, Potter is the god of all the lower creatures of the magical world. The hate inside me warms me; its fire burns bright within me, filling me. I would burst into flames for the intensity of my hate.
The cold water touches my foot. I jump from its frigid spell. I wait and watch. It only reaches to the middle of the top drawer of my bed table. I sigh and pull my clammy robes around me, tucking my feet up next to my body. Wrapping my arms around my knees, I rest my head on knees and pray that I live until morning for I am too exhausted to think about the water and how much I hate Harry Potter.
"Why are yer on sitting on yer bed table Malfoy?" my guard asks. He places clean robes upon my cot and gazes around my cell. I know he is looking for any evidence that I can perform magic. But, the wards are complete and steady. I can do nothing, but wallow in my own grief and hate.
I say nothing, but I clamber down from my perch and pick up my new robes. They are plain, grey sackcloth; nothing that I would have ever imagined wearing, but they are clean and most importantly, dry. I turn my back to my jailer though I feel his eyes upon me. I pull off my cold, clammy robes, pitching them as far away from me as I can. I almost feel warm with my new robes covering my body.
I turn, gesturing toward my damp clothing, "They're wet." It sounds stupid even to me. But the look my guard gives me is even more stupid. He looks confused, but then he just smiles at me. A smug, smarmy smile that makes me want to turn him into a spider and squash him beneath my bare foot and grind him into the stones that make up my floor.
"Breakfast will be along shortly," my guard says. I don't know why he pretends that he has to make civil, polite conversation with me. I don't care what he says to me. The only thing that matters right now is food and these pitiful robes. I have much to do; much to think about. The one thing that I know about Potter, the one thing that I'm most sure of is the simple fact that the bastard doesn't know when to give up. He will be back today. Perhaps Draco will be with him, perhaps not. In the cold dark night, where sleep was fleeting and fitful, I realized why Potter was there, why he was helping my son.
The pride I feel for my son makes my heart swell with joy. He has found a way to coerce Potter into freeing me from Azkaban. Perhaps, he has promised Potter something that he desires. Perhaps, it is Draco himself. I know he will find a way to free me and not give himself over. Draco is well versed in deception and turning events to his favor. Potter will be here soon; I will eat and then greet my well-known visitor.
"It's happening again Mr. Potter," the jailer said, the worry making his voice quiver. Harry watched his animated gestures and half-listened to the jailer's convoluted explanations regarding Draco's father.
Harry stole a look over his shoulder at Malfoy's cell door. Draco should be arriving any minute; his final exam for Potions Master certification was this morning. Harry smiled; the thought of Draco and his determination to become something other than a Malfoy heir had made Harry love him even more. After the war, after the dust had settled, after the Wizarding world had returned to some sort of peace, Draco had owled him wanting to talk. And talk he had. So many things that Harry had taken as sheer hate and spitefulness had had an explanation; and everything had led back to Draco's father. The tall, blond-haired man had suffered from the post war fall out, and his talk with Harry had been the beginning of Draco's rebirth. And that one hug of friendship had led to so much more.
But, that was the past, and this was the present. If helping Lucius would make Draco happy, Harry was willing to do it. Harry couldn't begrudge Draco this. Narcissa's death abroad had nearly destroyed him, and Harry had waited, and loved, and cried with Draco until the dark clouds of mourning had lifted. Now if nothing was done, Lucius would die, and the thought of Draco falling into the depths of despair again torn at Harry's heart. He would spare Draco this, if he could.
Yesterday had been painful. More than Harry ever wanted to admit. Watching Draco beg, watching Draco start to fall apart, and watching him draw himself together had been agonizing.
After leaving Azkaban, Draco had been quiet, too quiet. From the set of his jaw, Harry could see that he was battling to keep his feelings inside. His visit with his father had upset him more than he had let on. Yes, he had been rejected by Lucius, but only Harry had seen the look on Draco's face; the one of such misery and pain and horror. It had been there for only a brief moment, but Harry had seen it. And he would never speak of it to anyone, much less Draco. There were some things that could only be known by one's lover, but never spoken of.
Draco hadn't spoken about the visit. He had pulled off his cloak and gone to his books to study. Potions Master was something Draco had been steadily working toward. It hadn't been easy being accepted as an apprentice. Many established Masters were reluctant to have him on because of his father, but in the end, a Slytherin alumni had allowed him to study with him. Long nights of poring over musty old texts, watching Draco's pale fingers become ink-stained from the quantity of notes he had taken, watching a broken man become whole again.
And he was Harry's.
"Mr. Potter?" the jailer asked a bit louder, pulling Harry from his thoughts.
"So, you've seen signs of magic?" Harry asked.
"Well… it's hard to tell. But he says things that aren't so. Like the robes," the man said, nervously fiddling with his keys. "He said they were wet, but they were as dry as can be."
"Anything else?" Harry asked.
"Other than what happened when he was in the tower cell," the jailer replied. "I've heard of such things happening, but what," he said with a jerk of his thumb, "I saw up there was incredible. Pieces of stone flying about, him trying to wedge himself between the bars. And the bars… the bars, Mr. Potter! They were trying to let him through!" the small flat-faced man exclaimed.
"Hmmm. Well, you were wise to move him down here. The wards are just as strong, but with the absence of a window it gives him less reason to go amuck," Harry said thoughtfully.
"Well, sir, he's still talking about it being too damp down here."
"I only saw that small puddle in the corner of his room when we went in there yesterday. Otherwise, it seems fairly dry down here," Harry said, looking around, studying the stonework for any trace of damp or mold.
"It tis, but Malfoy, he keeps saying it's seeping in through the walls."
Harry pulled his hand away from the wall. The stone had been cold, but not damp. Just a bone-chillingly cold as all of Akzaban seemed to him. "How far down are we? From the surface, I mean," Harry asked.
"Only six feet or so, sir. This corner faces the North Sea, but it's sound. No water gets in here. It stays a constant temperature, too," the jailer replied, his fingers trailing over where Harry's hand had been just a minute before. He turned, smiling, "This is the oldest part of Azkaban, yer see. It's seen many a criminal in its time."
Harry nodded, wishing Draco would appear. Almost like magic, Harry heard the faint sounds of footsteps. A snick of a key being placed in the lock, and a rattle, and the door at the far end of the corridor swung open. Draco passed through, his long black cloak flowing behind him like a black shadow strode down the hall; the heels of his boots clicking against the stone floor until he reached Harry.
"Potter," Draco said by way of greeting. The worry lines on his face changing him into someone that Harry barely recognized. He looked older, harder, less the young man he loved, but someone weighted down with too many worries, too many fears.
A genial-faced man followed him in; his rosy round cheeks belying his stern continence. He is the warden of Azkaban. Placing a large ring of keys into an inner pocket of his cloak, he offered a quick nod to Harry.
"When the prison's magic gets out of balance, it's safer to use the keys," the warden said, patting his cloak. "
"What do you mean?" Draco asked, puzzled.
"The prison has seen many prisoners, some great and powerful wizards, some almost Squibs, but all of them reeking of their own dark magic. Do you not think that these walls haven't absorbed some of that?" The warden grimaced, his hand tracing the stonework, "Can't you feel it?"
"What the fuck are you talking about?," Draco exploded, "And what does it have to do with my father?"
"Draco…" Harry said warningly, reaching to sooth Draco's anger.
"And what haven't you been telling me? You said that you could get him out of here. You said that there was a way. That he wouldn't have to spend the rest of his life in this fucking miserable place," Draco demanded, his face flushed, his hand balling into fists: his wand tucked safely away in the visitor's safe area or else it would have been pointed under someone's nose until he had the answers he needed.
"Listen," Harry said firmly, pulling Draco away from the others, "I didn't want to worry you. You've had so much on your mind lately…" Harry faltered; there was no good explanation of why he hadn't told Draco yet on what would have to be done to free his father. It was almost worse than death, at least to someone who had lived with magic their whole life.
"That's not good enough," Draco said angrily, trembling. "I'm not some little pansy that you have to coddle," Draco sneered. He drew himself up to his full height and glared at Harry, "Tell me what's happening to my father."
"It's what the warden was talking about, Draco. He explained it to me before I brought you here the first time this week. The prison is... God, I don't know how to explain it," Harry said resignedly, running a hand through his hair. "It's like the prison is trying to grant some death wish of your father's. "
"That's rubbish, there's no such thing as a building reading your mind. What other lies have they told you?" Draco asked, his face a hard mask of controlled anger and the odd hint of fear
"I don't think they're lying. What about Hogwarts? How do you explain doors appearing at will, the staircases moving about and what about Grimmauld Place?" Harry asked, completely dumbfounded by Draco's rejection of what seemed to be the truth.
"Potter, Hogwarts was enchanted by its founders. It never took upon itself to do things for you. You had to ask it and I'm quite sure that my father hasn't asked Azkaban to do him in, even if it were enchanted. He'd be more apt to demand that it let him out," Draco said tersely. "So, what do they propose to do about this so-called attack upon my father?"
This was the Draco that he knew. Beneath those cold, sneering words and his projected calm, was a man who was on edge, worried about a parent who didn't deserve his smallest regard, yet willing to help the old bastard.
"Er…well," Harry said. "As I was saying, I had talked to the warden about what was happening here and we both decided that Lucius needed to be released. But you and I both know that the Wizengamot wouldn't just let him loose as he is… so there is a condition of his release."
"And that is?" Draco asked.
"You would have to convince him to drink a potion to remove his magic permanently," Harry said flatly.
"No! He'd never agree to it and I'd never ask it of him," Draco snarled.
"It's his only chance, Draco. If he doesn't do this soon, he's going to die here," Harry replied.
"Is there any proof?"
Harry glanced at the warden and the jailer waiting patiently at Lucius' cell door. "One of the jailers found your father trapped between the bars of his window when he was in the tower cell. They think he was trying to commit suicide. The wards are too strong to permit apparition, and honestly, I don't think he's strong enough to do it anyway. "
"So, he tried to escape. Wouldn't you want to if you were here?"
Harry ignored the question and continued, "But, that's not all. His jailer reports that he's been seen perched atop his night table, muttering about water in his cell," Harry said.
"Oh Gods, he's gone insane," Draco whispered, his eyes widening, then quickly glancing toward his father's cell.
"Draco, you have to convince him. You know I don't like him, never have, never will, but I don't want him to die. I know what it's like not to have parents and even though I think he's …." Harry stopped, rethinking his words, "It doesn't matter what I think about him. I just don't want you to be hurt."
"Potter, regardless of what you think, I am not some china doll that breaks at from the smallest stress," Draco said, and yet Harry knew this was just a bit of Draco bravado. Harry had seen, Harry had held, and Harry had comforted him many a night because of the many hurts inflicted upon him by his father. Draco clenched his fists and closed his eyes, thinking and Harry knew he was running all the possibilities through his mind, weighing the consequences and every last ramification of what needed to be done. He wasn't a china doll, he was strong, stronger than Harry had ever imagined and because of that he waited and didn't go to him, although the need to comfort him was strong.
"I'll… I'll talk to him. I can't guarantee that I can make him see reason, but I'll talk to him."
"I thought you would," Harry said, a faint smile twitching his lips. He leaned in close and whispered so only Draco could hear him, "If he loves you half of what I love you, he'll do what you ask."
"Draco nodded, but as Harry turned to inform the warden that Draco would attempt to reason with his father said in a voice too low for anyone but the ghosts of Azkaban to hear, "That's the crux of the problem, he doesn't love me."
My ear is pressed to the keyhole of my door. What nonsense Potter babbles. A death wish? Ha. I only wish for his death. I frown. My son would ask me to give up my magic to be free? I may be wasting away in this cesspool, but my hearing is fine. Yet, I can hardly believe my ears. He would rather I be a Squib than be what I am? No, I cannot agree to that. Better to battle the leaking walls of Azkaban than to be a mere man.
The door rattles and I backpeddle stumbling back onto my cot. I was lost in my thoughts and did not hear them key the lock
I watch as they usher themselves into my home. I watch them enter, somber and serious. I compose myself as a Malfoy should. I find myself nervously brushing my hair from my face and I stop. This is not how I should be. I am in Azkaban, why should I be nervous. I'm already in one of the lower depths of hell.
"Mr. Malfoy, your son and Mr. Potter wish to speak to you. I wish you to seriously consider what they have to say," the man I know to be the Warden says. He is an obese pig-faced man; probably hit by a hex as a child. I smile inwardly imagining a curly pink tail beneath his nondescript robes.
Rising, I move toward the three men who're waiting for my response. I turn to my son and hold out my arms, willing him to come to me.
He looks puzzled, but he moves to meet me and I hold my son, my beautiful son, in my arms. I feel his warmth through my ragged robes, his breath against my neck as he bends over me. I hold him tighter until he begins to pull away.
"Father," he says. The look in his eyes... Merlin, I've never seen him look at me that way. I see pity… disgust… fear. Am I that frightful? I know that my appearance has changed since my incarceration, but I'm only thinner, paler, and unkempt. It's not like Azkaban has adequate facilities to keep oneself proper.
"We need to talk," he whispers urgently, his hand on my elbow trying to guide me further away from Potter and the warden. I pull away from his grasp, his fingers scrabbling to maintain their hold on me.
"No. I want to talk to him," I say, pointing to Potter. "Alone."
"Father, please?" my son says. I hear the whining, almost unbearable plaintive plea in his voice. I cringe. This is no way my son should be. Potter has made him this way. He's made him into a pathetic, sniveling excuse of a man.
"Draco," I say patiently. I know this tone irritates him; I see it in his face. "I wish to speak to Potter."
"Harry?" he says, his shoulders slumping as he turns from me. If it was that important to him, he would have fought to talk to me. Mere words should not have stopped him.
Potter steps forward motioning Draco and the warden to leave. He is as I remember him; shorter than my son, same messy hair, same unremarkable features, and same horrid smirk. Although years have passed, he hasn't changed. Nor, have I.
"Harry," I drawl. "How sweet."
"Mr. Malfoy," Potter starts, his resolve to talk to me faltering.
"There is nothing you need to ask of me, Potter. I know what you want to ask and before you even bother to ask me, the answer is no."
"You were listening at the door." He says it as a fact not a question. Apparently, he is somewhat smarter than I thought.
I ignore him. "I wish to know what you're relationship to my son is. Has the ministry given him to you?"
"Whaaat?" Potter asks. His fake confusion amuses me. He knows that I know that he has my son under his power. Perhaps he's been given permission to use the Imperious curse.
Smirking, I state the obvious. "It's quite obvious that you are using him. He allows you to use him for your needs."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Potter yells. His fists are clenched, but I know no fear because he cannot sully his reputation. He won't hit a prisoner in Azkaban and he certainly can't hex me. The wards are that strong.
"Listen Potter, and listen well. I will escape from here." I pause, watching for signs of weakness, of fear. Seeing his eyes widen, I continue. "My son doesn't belong with you and whatever crude sexual perversions you've enticed him into, I will punish you one hundredfold for each and every act."
To my utter astonishment, Potter laughs. A deep, warm belly laugh that rolls into my small, cold cell.
He eventually stops; removing his glasses to wipe away the tears in his eyes. I can't tear my eyes away from him. He should be afraid, fearful of what I can and will do.
"You're in Azkaban," Potter says. Like I don't know this.
"You can't escape."
"I can." I say, knowing that I'm lying. I have been trying every minute that I've spent here. I have tried every spell that I know, every hex, every charm and no matter how much will or force I put into them, nothing happens.
"I can get you released," Potter says suddenly.
"Yes, and I would have to lose my magic. I know the rules, Potter. I have been deemed too dangerous to be allowed out of here. Do not insult my intelligence by thinking that I do not know what the requirements are to leave."
"Draco loves you," Potter says simply. His unspoken question echos in my small cell. Will you do it? Will you take the potion to remove every last trace of magic? For your son?
"He is my son," I reply.
Potter leans back against the wall, arms folded comfortably across his chest. He waits patiently, my answer the only reason for his being in Azkaban.
"I will take your potion," I say after a suitable amount of time has elapsed. "But, only under one condition."
"There aren't any conditions, Malfoy. None at all. Either you do this or you'll spend the rest of your miserable life here, in this tiny cell," Harry sneers. "But go ahead, tell me what you want. I need a good laugh."
I chuckle. "You are pathetic. How you mock me, but no matter. " I walk the six paces to my cell door and peer through the bars to where Draco stands. He is chatting idly with the pig-faced warden. I turn back to Potter. "He is my condition." Potter looks puzzled, but I have his interest.
"Oh?" Potter asks.
"You will leave him. Never speak to him again, never again use him for your deviant desires, or contact him in any way," I reply. Potter looks nonplussed. I smile at him, knowing that I can win this one small favor.
"Whatever makes you think I'll give into such a thing? We live together, he's my boyfriend, and I love him. Why should I give him up?" Potter laughs again.
I turn to the small window and watch my son again. He is everything that I should have been. I hear the soft footfall of Potter moving to stand beside me.
"He is beautiful, isn't he?" I say softly.
"More than you'll ever know," Potter replies.
"Would you see him hurt again? I was told what he went through with my imprisonment. He, I point to my jailer, was ever so kind to inform me of every little thing written in the Prophet. He was quite descriptive, you know."
Potter is scrutinizing me. He knows that every word I speak is true. I know that I won't survive much longer in Azkaban. Something is happening to me and I feel less and less every day. That soon I will vanish. If I can save myself and my son in one go, this is it.
I watch as he slides down the door, his fingers threading through his dark unruly hair. He knows what will happen to Draco should his heart be broken again. He knows.
I have him.
"Draco will be fine. I'll take care of him," Potter whispers. He doesn't believe himself. I smirk inwardly.
"He will eat himself up with guilt when I die and I will soon, Potter. And your guilt for not preventing it will tear you apart. So, why not make it easy on yourself? Make it easier for him? Or is this "love" you speak about too selfish?" I sneer.
Potter's head drops lower. I have won! He doesn't have to speak; defeat is written in his posture.
"So what will it be?" I ask.
"Fine," Potter says, resigned. "I'll be back tomorrow to watch you drink the damned stuff. While they're readying you for release, I'll move out and vanish from his life." Potter levers himself forward and rises. His glare would cut me to ribbons if I cared. I don't. I have what I want.
What I want. A chance, one chance to destroy Potter, one chance at freedom, a chance to be with my son. I have so much to make up to him, so many wrongs to right, so much time to regain. I silently watch Potter leave my cell, the door shutting with a heavy sigh. Almost as heavy as the sigh upon Potter's lips. I laugh to myself at my wit. I spread my arms wide in triumph.
I watch through the bars as Potter speaks with my son, his voice too low for me to hear, an occasional gesture punctuating his words. I see my son's face harden, then he nods. He believes that I, Lucius Malfoy, would actually allow my magic to be stripped from me. Perhaps, I should teach him after I escape how harsh and damaging I can be. My dear, foolish son has only tasted the smallest punishment I could dole out to him and still be effective. I have many, many arcane and painful curses that I can use. And… the best part of it all is that Draco would think they were his fault.
I see Potter put an arm around my son and escort him from the corridor outside my cell and through the door at the end. It shuts heavily behind them and I am left alone again with my thoughts and plans. I will allow him this small comforting action. It is for Draco's benefit, not Potter's, that I will not punish him when I am free.
I pace my cell as my custom, ten paces from the far wall to the door, ten paces back, and repeat it ten more times. My excitement quickens my step and before I realize it, I have walked more than my custom. My heart pounds in my chest like a beating drum. I will its tempo to slow as I slide onto my cot. Morning cannot come soon enough.
I have decided my plan of action. I will bargain with Potter. He may stay with my son, but he must sample the potion too. I will have him drink first and then I will find a way to knock him unconscious. How easy it will be to lie and say he fainted. I will pour the rest of the potion in the puddle in the corner of my cell. No one but the mice and vermin that infest this place will ever know. I gaze about my room, wondering what I can use. Perhaps I can work a bit of my bed apart, a hidden piece from my night table perhaps? No matter, I can and I will find what I need. I will not fail as I have failed before.
I wrap my arms around my thin legs and begin to daydream of the meals I will have, the women I will have, the life I will have when I'm free of this place. I lay my head back against the cold, damp wall and dream.
The sound of water awakens me. Cold and stiff, my feet hit freezing water; it swirls around my ankles wetting the hem of my robes. I can see with the faint light from the hallway how it rises, lapping at my cot's legs, rising higher, faster than ever before. I see it is going to be one of those nights and crawl atop my night table. It is good that I've rested; I will need to vigilant to survive this latest flood. The water has covered my cot and the dingy sheets and blankets float away from my bed. I watch in horror as it rises to cover the top of my night table, licking cold fingers at my toes and feet. It… it has never been like this before. It rises steadily higher.
I scream my throat raw, begging for help, begging for mercy, begging for someone to get me out of this goddamn place. I pray to Merlin and all the Gods and any higher being to save me from this water. It has risen to my chest and laps at my throat. My hair floats around me like a wraith set free. I look toward the door and somehow, some way, it has risen above the barred window of my door. I look down and see the faint light from the corridor shining through the dark, gritty water.
I find myself on my tip toes to keep the water from my nose. I tilt my head back and scream, but the sound is muffled by the rushing of the water. Is this how it will end? I only want to see my son again. Dear merciful god in whatever heaven there is, please save me!
And suddenly, I am dry. Warm. How very odd. I am not in my cell in Azkaban. I am in a bedroom. I know it is a bedroom because I see a bathroom through an open door and hear the sound of water streaming from a shower. It looks plain, simple, a single man's room, perhaps. How very utilitarian it seems. I look around and see a dresser, closet, men's trousers tossed over a chair, and a door that I suppose leads out into the house or flat.
The doorknob turns and my son, my beautiful son enters the room. He has on a white, fluffy robe, his hair is slicked back from his face and I'm reminded of how serious he looked when he began school. He carries a large mug of tea into the room; the scent of cloves, spices, and hot Earl Grey tickle my nose. I move toward him. I only want to touch him, to believe that this is all real.
He walks past me to the bed, placing the mug and its fragrant contents upon the night table. He sits and buries his hands in his hair. His shoulders shake and I wonder, is he crying? Surely not. That is not what he's been taught to do. Perhaps Potter has told him he is leaving. I can only hope.
The sound of running water stops and moments later Potter walks into the room, clothed only in a towel wrapped around his waist. He looks so boyish that for one brief moment I am befuddled. I remind myself that he is an evil, scheming tool of the Ministry and Dumbledore, then he seems as he was before, back in my cell in Azkaban.
I lean back against the wall and watch. It is too fatiguing to move. I feel drained, as if I am not really here, wraith-like. If Potter defiles my son in any way, I will kill him now. The gods that I prayed to granted me my wish. Which one I'm not sure, but if this is how I can escape the prison, or see my son, or kill that half-blood bastard, so be it.
Potter reaches back into the bathroom and grabs a towel and begins to dry his hair. Although his hands are busy, his eyes never leave Draco. It seems that either Draco is ignoring him or unaware of his presence in the room.
"Draco," Potter says quietly. I hear the question in his voice and I will my son not to answer, not to give him the pleasure of any sort of knowledge.
Raising his head, I can see Draco's reddened eyes, the blotches across his pale face, his almost dry hair sticking to his face. Gods… he's been crying. I almost feel ashamed of him. He always was his mother's boy, full of emotions that he couldn't control. Narcissa was like that in her youth too. She said as much to me many times.
Potter has moved to stand before my son. Draco has lowered his face again, but his hands are wrapped tightly across his chest. He raises Draco's chin with his hand, slowly as if my son might break from his touch. I'm amazed that he is that gentle with a prize of war.
"Draco," Potter says even more softly. I barely hear him, his lips moving imperceptibly. He cups Draco's face with his hands, his thumbs rubbing across his blotchy cheeks.
I sneer to myself. How very touching. Poor, pathetic, Potter. He is to lose his little plaything and I will torture him a hundredfold for everything that he has done to my son. This pretend concern of his does not fool me. I have seen others use this tool for their own benefit.
"My god, you're tense," Harry says, one hand finding its way to the nape of Draco's neck. His fingers caress the pale skin there, pausing to fondle the pale strands of hair. His fingers knead the tight muscles while his other arm draws Draco closer until he is embraced in Harry's arms.
I watch this sad little seduction. The small kernel of disgust that I hold for my son, his weakness, begins to grow until I feel my stomach knotting. What disgusting acts will Potter perform upon my son, or require him to perform upon him?
Potter moves onto the bed and behind Draco. He pauses, then tugs my son's robe until his arms are trapped by the sleeves at his waist, his torso now bare. Potter's hands trail down my son's back, his fingers probing, feeling the pale skin before him. He opens his mouth as if to speak and then presses an open-mouthed kiss over a tense shoulder blade. My son sighs, and Potter's hands begin to knead the taut flesh, moving up and down, over and around, steadily unknotting his muscles.
My son whimpers and I inwardly curse his weakness. Whatever Potter does to him should be ignored as if a gnat were upon him. No notice should be warranted by one such as Potter.
I watch Draco's face relax, growing slacker and less lined. Potter has stopped, but his hands have moved around Draco until they are caressing his chest, his fingers rolling Draco's nipples. I want to turn away, but it is like watching a side show and my pathetic son is one of the main attractions.
Draco's head falls back and Potter kisses him. My son… my son…
Slipping off the bed, Potter kneels before Draco. He flashes him a predatory smile and then reaches for Draco's robe belt. He unknots the belt, then pushes the robe further down Draco's arms until they are free. Potter flips the robe ends off my son's legs and he is exposed.
Instead of doing what I think will happen next, Potter, grasps my son's hands. He kisses them, and then looks up into Draco's eyes. "Your father is being set free. Everything is going to be alright," he says quietly, hopefully.
I watch them together. My son doesn't speak, but only shakes his head, his drying blond hair falling into his eyes. Potter brushes it back behind his ear, his hand trailing back to rest upon Draco's cheek. It is a touchingly tender moment, but I knew it is only so that Potter can get what he wants.
It's hard to move, but I do. I somehow edge nearer to Potter and my son. My son is whispering, almost too quietly for me to hear, but I finally make out his words. "… not going to be alright. He's going to hurt you. It's his way of punishing me. No matter what I do, it won't matter. He'll never stop, Harry. Never." The last word is hard, flat, and I smile at the truth of his words. He knows me all too well. After I destroy Potter, I will teach Draco the proper way to be a Malfoy; not to be this weakling who cries before my enemy. The bile rises up in my throat, sour and bitter.
Potter kisses him deeply, and this misbegotten kiss seems to go on forever. I want to turn away, but I can't move. I am stuck next to this freak show. Their mouths finally part and Draco reaches for the towel that covers Potter and tugs it free, dropping it to the floor. Draco's eyes glint and he moves onto his knees and waits for Potter to join him on the bed. Laughing, Potter flips Draco on his back and shoves his legs apart. I know what he will do next; he will defile my son. My eyes widen as Potter takes my son into his mouth, sucking, and stroking my son's manhood. I try to shut my eyes, but they are frozen upon this unnatural scene. Potter licks, his mouth moving up and down slowly, as if he prefers this over anything else in the world. My son's head is pressed back into the mattress, his back arched in pleasure. I hear his moaning, and gasping as Potter's mouth covers him again. Dear Gods, please stop, I pray to myself.
Draco tangles his fingers in Potter's hair and tugs. Potter lifts his head, a smear of pre-come across his lips. "Fuck me, make me forget," he whispers before Potter slithers up his body to capture his mouth. They kiss; their hands moving over their bodies, stroking, grasping, until my son rolls Potter onto his back. Draco kicks his robe from the bed and I watch in revulsion as he positions himself above Potter's erection. Suddenly, I hear the sound of water. It is nowhere to be seen, but I hear it all the same. Thunder rattles the windows in this dim bedroom where I am trapped.
"It's raining," my son whispers before lowering himself. I cringe as it enters him. If this is the price he has paid to be free, to free me. I will torture Potter until he begs for death, until he would kill himself to escape my wrath.
I watch as he raises and lowers himself, riding the man below him; Potter's hands on his hips steadying him. "God, I love you," I hear my son pant as he grinds downward. Potter is fucking him back and it is disgusting. My son… that man. I break free of whatever has been holding me back and wrap my cold fingers around Draco's neck and begin to squeeze. Horrors! My finger drift through his neck and suddenly I cannot breathe; the sound of water is growing louder, pounding. The crash of thunder drowns out my scream of rage.
Draco slowed his steady rocking and Harry opened his eyes to see Draco trembling as if the cold finger of death had run down his spine. Harry placed his palm against the smooth chest of the man he loved, who he would give up everything for and felt the strong thud of his heart beating in time with his own.
"Did you hear something?" Draco asked, covering Harry's hand with his own, his beautiful eyes dark with an emotion Harry didn't understand. Not lust, or desire, or even fear, but something else.
"No, only the rain," Harry replied, pulling Draco down into a kiss and away from whatever had gripped him.
The owl had been waiting for them when they had awoken in a tangle of arms and legs; Draco protectively encircled by Harry's arms, pulled against his chest and groin. It was one of the great owls of Azkaban, a great silver brute with strong wings to fight his way across the fierce ocean winds that kept guard around the island prison.
The note had been terse and to the point. "Lucius Malfoy has died. Please come at your earliest convenience to make arrangements for the disposition of the body." It had been signed by the warden of Azkaban.
The news hadn't been unexpected to some extent, but neither had it been welcomed. Harry had held Draco, ignoring the tears that he tried to hide, ignoring the quiet snuffling that came from the vicinity of his chest where Draco had rested his head. Harry had held him until he quieted, and then had continued to hold him until he sat up, composed, calm; now able to present to the wizarding world the face of a man now able to accept his birthright, but not to continue the legacy of his father.
The floo to Azkaban had been uneventful and Draco had squeezed Harry's hand after they had stepped from the fireplace. He flashed a faint smile at Harry, then turned and walked toward the warden's office. The jailer who had taken them to Lucius yesterday emerged from the great wooden and iron door and passed Draco. He stopped when he reached Harry.
Harry watched as Draco entered the office of the warden; his face betraying no emotion, only his concern for a quiet, respectful funeral for his father. Draco was a mystery at times, but Harry knew that when he was ready, he would answer any questions Harry might ask. But, Harry knew better than to ask anyway.
After the door closed, the jailer nodded and said, "Come with me, Mr. Potter." He turned and motioned for Harry to fall into step with him.
Following the jailer to Lucius' cell, Harry wondered what had caused his death. Lucius had seemed reasonably healthy yesterday. He was perhaps paler, a bit thinner than Harry remembered, and a bit mentally unstable, but healthy enough for someone who'd been in Azkaban for five years.
Down the steps, he followed, deeper into the bowels of the prison. Finally, they reached the cell Lucius had lived in for the past week. Perhaps it was a omen that he had been placed so far underground, almost as if it were a sign that he was to be underground from that point on.
The jailer opened the cell door and pushed it open. Lucius lay upon his cot. His hair was fanned across his pillow, his hands clenched in fists, and one leg drooped off the edge of the cot. But it was his face that drew Harry's attention. His eyes were wide open, and his mouth was in the rictus of a scream.
Harry bent and pulled the thin blanket from the foot of the bed up until it covered Draco's father. He stood silently beside the mean cot and its burden, giving a moment for the dead.
Turning, he beckoned the jailer closer. "How did he die?" Harry asked.
"Healer said his heart gave out," the jailer replied tersely, as if his words would anger the dead.
"Oh," Harry said, nodding. He reached for the bed table drawer. He had told Draco he would gather any mementoes that his father had in his cell, not that he expected there to be any. The drawer refused to open and Harry tugged harder.
The drawer opened and water spilled over its sides. A photo of Narcissa and Draco floated on the small waves. Their faces on the ruined photo changed from sternness to playful smiles over and over and over again.
Harry pocketed the wet photo. He looked at the jailer questioningly. The cell was dry, as were the cot.
"What… why?" Harry asked.
"I can't explain it. I can only tell you what the healer said. It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks," the jailer said quietly.
"Well, what do you think?" Harry asked, the sodden photo making a wet spot in his trouser pocket.
"I think he drowned in his own hate, but, I just work here, so it really doesn't matter what I think."
Harry nodded. It really didn't matter.
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