A/N: Yeah, so this is a sequel to Akasha the Kitty's Master. Absolutely freaking awesome story, go read it (/s/3789532/1/Master) or else you won't understand Redemption until much later in the story. The story is going to be as clean as I can make it and that includes adult themes and swearing.
I don't own the previous plot or the characters Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger and the entire wizarding world etc, you get the idea. I occasionally quote from Master. Oh, and I borrowed a little mirror with permission from Mazakai, the author of the other Master sequel (Heir). I own… you'll have to wait for later chapters to find that out. I'm not going to ask you to read and review, since if you like the story you'll do that and if you don't, well, if I fill the rest of the page with "PLEASE R&R!" you won't do it anyway. Of course, reviews and constructive criticism are always appreciated. X) Enjoy!
EDIT on 6 Oct 2013: I've addressed a couple of criticisms in what is Chapter 13, take a look if you have any issues.
He missed her. He missed her badly.
He wasn't supposed to.
Merlin, he wasn't even supposed to have her around in the first place. He should have given her straight to the Dark Lord. It would have restored his family's credit; the Malfoys had fallen out of favour in recent times. But he hadn't. She was mine to save.
Having her in his villa had been exquisite torture. Perhaps it was just as well he had made her leave when he did. If she had stayed on any longer, he wouldn't have been answerable for his behaviour. Even before she had left, he'd lost control for one blessed time. One undeserved taste of paradise.
He was grateful she'd gone. He knew all too well that her hatred for him was the only thing that held him back. That day… it had proved it. She did understand some of it. It seemed that something had changed between them. And he couldn't risk a change in their relationship, because it would mean both their lives would be in danger.
He wasn't willing to risk her life. She was mine to save.
And perhaps, by saving her, he could save a little piece of himself.
After she'd left, the villa had been empty, empty and cold and dead. He'd hoped that maybe he'd become too used to having other people around him constantly. He bought another slave to replace that Elvira girl, but she had been terrified of him. At least she eventually managed to stop flinching every time they unexpectedly found themselves in the same room.
Every now and then, he had to return for another party, another sick ritual that he had to go through to prove that he enjoyed their twisted idea of entertainment. He saw her every time he stepped into the room – lying on the table, eyes huge with a curious intermingling of terror and disgust; the tears trickling down when he… when he did what he had to do; the dead expression that was somehow both easier and harder to deal with; horror blanching her face when she was told that he would be her new master…
There were times when he wondered if he were going mad.
It became harder and harder to deal with what he had to see and do. When it finally became too much, he went back to the villa and got drunk. In his moment of weakness, he succumbed to what he had been fighting against ever since she left.
He went to her room. What had been her room.
He had given strict orders that it was to remain untouched. He hadn't been inside since she'd left. It looked as though she had just stepped out and would return at any moment. A robe of hers was hanging on the back of the chair at her dressing table – a robe that he remembered clearly. She had been wearing it the day before she left, they had-
He didn't finish his thought.
Swaying slightly, he walked around the room, his hand running lightly along the cupboard, the dressing table, anything she might have touched. He could have sworn her scent still lingered in the room, faint and tantalising.
When he reached the mirror hanging above the dressing table, he stopped. His reflection stared back at him with haunted eyes. He whispered, "Revelio."
The image of a woman with brown eyes and bushy hair swam to the surface. She was brushing her hair in front of a mirror – the very mirror he was standing in front of. She was frowning, her thoughts obviously elsewhere.
He didn't know how long he stood there just staring at her, his face expressionless. He knew it was just a ghost, an echo of the past, but he didn't care; he needed it. He needed it.
After that night, he couldn't resist anymore. The Dark Lord had need of him – at least, he said so. He sometimes wondered if he was chosen particularly for the worse jobs, just to test if he was truly as indifferent to others' suffering as befitted a true Death Eater. When he was sick, sick to his stomach, he would return to her room. It didn't matter if she was laughing, frowning or crying; she was a reminder that there were better things in this world.
It took him a while to notice that her image became fainter and fainter as time wore on. He knew it would happen, but he didn't expect it so quickly. He hoped that by the time it completely disappeared, he would have become immune to whatever filthy, inhumane jobs he had to do. He remembered what he had once told her. Don't think of her as human, and don't allow yourself to feel pity. It had once worked for him, but her response had completely destroyed it. No pity? Then what makes me human?
It is the way of things. It is the only way we – I – can survive. It is the only way I can go on.
But she would never understand that. Would she?
Time passed, and the war began to seem as though it had no ending. At least the jobs he was chosen for became no worse – perhaps because they couldn't get worse. There were occasions where he was ordered to get rid of a bunch of Muggles because their houses were wanted for headquarters of a new branch of Death Eaters. Whenever he was working alone, he did his best to spirit them away to a place far away. Each time he succeeded, he felt a little more alive, a little more human – a feeling that would last until the next outrage he was forced to commit. But the occasions were few and far between. He only saved them if he was certain he could get away with it. He did not have the strength or the courage to go against the Dark Lord. But this I can do.
He had yet another reason for his surreptitious role as a saviour of Muggles aside from saving his own humanity. Despite himself, he caught himself wondering if she knew, would she think better of him? Stop hating him? Forgive him? Lo-
Always, at that point, he would crush the thought ruthlessly.
One dark day, he was summoned. They had caught one of the Weasleys.
It was one of the older ones. What was his name – Frank or Francis or perhaps the other one, he couldn't remember; one of the Weasley twins, anyway. Famous for their practical jokes – he hadn't forgotten the day they flew out of Hogwarts with Umbridge screaming impotent threats at them. Whoever it was didn't look half as happy now. His face was bruised and his nose was clearly broken, but the look he shot at him was sharp with hatred.
"You filthy bas-" He was cut off by a blow to his stomach from Bates, and he doubled up, gasping for breath.
"For your own sake, Weasley, I would suggest you not insult anyone in this room," he said lazily, the indifference in his voice as clear as he could make it.
Weasley managed to spit out, "Like it matters to you." Another casual blow knocked him to the floor.
Bellatrix was watching, her face alight with savage delight. "This isn't Hogwarts anymore, boy. You'd better give us what we want. Dumbledore's not around to save you…"
The Dark Lord held up a hand and she fell silent instantly. His high, cold voice cut across the heavy breathing of the man lying on the floor. "This is your last chance. Will you reveal Potter's whereabouts?"
"Burn in hell," he whispered.
He turned. "Yes, my Lord?"
"Torture him. If he does not disclose Potter's location within the next few hours, kill him."
There was nothing he could do. Nothing.
"Yes, my Lord. With pleasure."
And it began.
It seemed like the worst thing he had ever done, even including what he'd had to do during the parties. Perhaps it was because he knew the man he was torturing. But he couldn't have a moment of pity; couldn't even show any emotion because his master was sitting there, watching coldly as Fred Weasley writhed and screamed under his wand.
Weasley didn't say anything – anything of use, that is. He said plenty, but it only earned him more punishment. Not a word about Potter crossed his lips.
Finally, at long last Voldemort rose. He looked down coldly at the man gasping on the floor. "You have wasted Lord Voldemort's time, Weasley." He turned to leave the room. "Kill him." The Dark Lord swept from the room, but others remained behind.
There is nothing I can do. He saw Weasley's eyes grow wide even as he raised his wand. As the words left his mouth, he watched those same eyes go blank and felt another little part of his soul dissolve into nothingness.
That night, he went to her room again and locked the door behind him, just as he had many times before. But something was different this time. He took another long draught out of the wine glass he held and whispered the spell.
He repeated it, this time more carefully. Perhaps he had slurred – the wine was rather stronger than what he was used to.
He shouted it.
No image appeared; no flash of long hair or soft brown eyes, no sight of her that he so desperately needed.
He remained motionless for a second. Suddenly, without warning, he raised his fist and slammed it into the mirror.
He stood there in silence, surrounded by broken glass. He looked down at his hand as though it belonged to someone else and saw that it was bleeding.
He hadn't felt the pain.
The rest of the night was spent in her room. By morning, the mirror was intact once more. He retrieved his wand from the dressing table where it had been lying, unused, and left the room, locking it behind him.
It would not be entered again. It held nothing for him.
Months later, the war abruptly ended; three years to the day that he had last seen her. Potter had finally succeeded. Voldemort was dead, Bates was imprisoned, and he was on trial.
He didn't really care what his sentence was; he deserved it anyway. Besides, the Dementors couldn't do anything to him. His worst memories tormented him all the time already.
On the day of his trial, he sat there unemotionally as they pronounced him guilty and waited for the guards to take him away. He had just stood up when someone burst into the courtroom.
"What is the meaning of this?" One of the jurors stood up, outrage evident in his expression.
"Sir, my name is Finnigan, Sean Finnigan, and I've just been told by my Muggle neighbour that Malfoy saved his life."
"He saw the Daily Prophet I threw out, the issue with Malfoy's face on the cover and he recognised it. He says that Malfoy Disapparated him and his family to somewhere in northern Germany where they found a whole community of other Muggles that Malfoy had saved."
"Where is he?"
"Outside, I brought him here, thinking that you might want to question him more closely. He's ready to swear to it."
"Go and get him immediately, man! Be quick about it!"
As Finnigan disappeared out the door, every eye in the courtroom was fixed on him. He was as emotionless as ever.
"Malfoy, why on earth didn't you mention this?"
"You," he said, "didn't ask. Your Honour," he added as an afterthought, careful insolence in every syllable and had the satisfaction of seeing an angry flush creep over the juror's face.
A flurry of activity followed. The Muggle entered, looking frightened but determined. He vaguely recognised him as one he had saved close to the end of the war. His trial was postponed until the man's account could be confirmed.
Days later, he was let free, the spokesman's words echoing in his ears. "Draco Lucius Malfoy, you have not said one word in your defence since you stepped into this courtroom; yet the jury has decided to release you. There was a personal risk, yet you chose to save people where you could. Although some doubt your motives, the majority has chosen to give you the benefit of the doubt – that you were coerced into becoming a Death Eater and committing the atrocities that you were earlier found guilty of."
He walked out of the courtroom a free man. Free, but with no one besides him and no idea of what to do with his life. Yes, he was free; but freedom meant nothing to him – not now, when there was no chance of her returning to him. Underneath his hood, unseen by anyone, his lips twisted into a bitter smile. There had never been a chance, had there?
His parents were dead, killed in the final battle at Hogwarts. Nobody knew or cared what he did. He spent three years working as a Dragon Keeper, just to give himself something to do. Then he got tired of it and drifted around for the next five years. He didn't get another job; he had enough to live on for a few lifetimes and more. Neither did he look for her. By now, she would have reconstructed her life, probably centred on her son. She didn't need him turning up and throwing it back into disarray.
There was a second reason, but he refused to acknowledge it.
He might have spent the rest of his life in the same aimless manner if something hadn't happened… if he hadn't met somebody.
He was sitting in one of the smaller teashops on the outskirts of Diagon Alley, aloof and anonymous as was his custom. At that exact moment, he was brooding over his tea as he relived the past. Sudden childish laughter caught his attention and he glanced up to see a blond boy and a slightly younger dark haired one playing in the playground across the street.
The sight hit him like a physical blow to the stomach and he couldn't breathe for a moment.